We Haz Finded Our Legz

While we endured 98 degree desert heat, the little babies were very hot and panting. We spent the day canning and dehydrating yet again.  Tomorrow the beans get canned and the cabbage goes into the fermenting croc.  As the weather cooled in the evening, the babies found their stride.  They also found their legs.  They discovered that they are built out of springs!

 

Just Some More Hopping Around

The first day out of the kidding pen.  Mom reunited with her sisters and the babies hopped around under the barn awing.  They got their first dose of probiotic today to jump start their rumens.  They are starting to munch on grass, so they need a strong digestive system.

So the new quandary is that we discovered that they are both boys.  We have an offer in to the vet tech school our farm helper attends to see if she wants a buck for the school’s flock.  If not, then at least one needs to be wethered (neutered).  We have no need for 4 intact bucks.  The other alternative is to euthanize and that of course, will fall to me.  So we’ll see what happens.  Wethers are very sweet and can be kept with the girls.  The earliest we can do the deed is 4 weeks and today they are 4 days.  We will be pondering.  In the mean time…… they are so stinking cute!

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I’m Never Going To See My Wife Again.

Zina took the day off today to be with the new baby goats.  As long as I’m out in the barn with her, she’ll give me the time of day.  I’m thinking about getting a cot out there for her to spend the next few nights on!  Of course, she is smitten with the little duo.  They are ridiculously cute, which furthers my assertions about how babies grow up to be adults…. cuz they are cute!

Everyone is fine.  Momma Ginger seems to be taking it all in stride.  The interaction is kind of fascinating. She talks to them.  She tells them to eat.  She is always cleaning them to bond.  She will nudge them back to her udder.  They are totally interacting with each other.  Momma will come and rub on us as if to get reassurance that she’s doing everything right.

The little doe-ling gave us a little start today.  They both got their first vitamin dose.  Tomorrow is a pro-biotic to jump start their little rumens (how they digest).  Afterward, the doe-ling looked kind of lethargic and was having “wet” coughs.  All seems well now, but with goats this is the time where EVERYTHING can go wrong.  So this gave us some pause.  By the time we left them alone this morning she was up and even chewing on some alfalfa strands.  Zina just came in and said they were jumping all over her…. a very good sign.  Pictures below.

So the coughing activated Zina’s Italian mothering instincts.  I had to hold her back from trying to feed her red sauce and pasta (Food is love after all! LOL!). But I was not innocent of concern either.

The birthing process attracted every fly within a mile radius.  If you’ve never endured fly season on a ranch or a farm, just think annoying like mosquitoes.  So I set to cleaning the barn and turkey coops again with gusto, as well as getting the wood chip bedding freshened.  I also sprayed the barn with fly repellent last night like we have been doing all summer and then realized that these little guys are smaller than a Chihuahua.  So, of course, I worried all night that the fly repellent might do something awful to them.  Nothing like parental or care-giver worry.  I can’t blame mine on my heritage.  Dutch people don’t really give a hoot.  Must be all that ice in Northern Europe.  Must be something else.  Guilt.  We’ll go with guilt along with a little shame if we actually fail at something.  A dead baby goat… its all your fault you .. fill in the blank.

So all appears well, but I miss Zina.  I could go out  there again, but I worked hard again today and breathed in a lot of turkey poop dust while cleaning the coop and am kind of wheezing.  Yes dear,  I wore a bandana as a mask.

Here is more serious cuteness:  Breast feeding in public?  Who friggin cares!

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You Never Understand Until…

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>>> A little size perspective.  They probably don’t weigh a pound a piece and the entrance to that cat carrier is only about a foot.  They are little bitty turds.  We will wait a bit to make sure we are out of the woods.  If the little boy makes it, his name will be Neo.  He will join his daddy and uncle: Tank and Dozer.  The little girl will follow the rest of them and get a name after an herb or spice.  Currently we have Cumin, Paprika and Ginger.  But we reserve the right to re-use names (The dogs are Basil and Sage, so those won’t work).<<<

We read everything about goats.  We had “How To” books, read online websites and all things “expert”.  However, NOT ONE THING  about that stuff makes any sense until said critter is in your lap.  We have had our goats going now into our second season.  We’ve got the adult part pretty well under control.  Then, BABIES!!  We gots this too, but it is one thing to read what you should be “looking for” and actually seeing it.

This morning I walked into Uncle-Farmer-Jon-hood.  It changed the entire day.  “OMG!  She gave birth and didn’t tell us!  Did they get their Colostrum?  Where are the birthing sacs? She ate em?  Wow!  They are so clean and seem to be happy!”  “Ok.  So if they aren’t screaming for milk, mom must have done her job.  Breathe you idiot.”  “But will she feed them and what kind of schedule do we keep for milking that is best for the kids?”  “I got her teat to squirt, so the faucets work, but Nigerians are little goats and I have walnut crusher hands.  I think we need a milker”. Ordered. $$$.

The babies seem happy.  Momma doesn’t seem to have rejected them, but she is a first timer and was bottle fed….. how is all this going to transpire?… answers damn it I need answers!  Someone really moved my cheese today.  I was going to build my new garden wagon, weed, plant and harvest and make Sauerkraut and tomato sauce, but NOOOOOOOO! The universe dumped two new goats on me.  Deal with that control freak!

So I jump on our most informative website.  Funny name “Fias Co. Farms”.  Today I was living in a Fiasco all right.  I felt like Trinity in the Matrix having the ability to fly a helicopter downloaded into her head within seconds.  I’ve been learning factually, that which we knew only conceptually.  Didn’t I already do this 24 years ago?  Do they need a college fund?  What about a bassinet and crib?  I just have these questions!  Aaaagghhh!

So Fias Co.  said that these little hopfrogs like to have a little place to crawl into to nap.  So I took one of our cat carriers, took off the door and they love it!  The humor was that the little buck went in there and proceeded to plop down for a nap.  Sister didn’t see him do it and started screaming like a baby with a wet diaper because she couldn’t find him.  The reunion took place and all is now calm.

I knew that we were going to have to dis-bud (de-horn) them.  It involves taking something like a soldering iron and burning off the buds that will form horns.  I’ve branded, doctored and castrated calves.  These are much tiny-er and it is on their head.  The thing burns at 1000 degrees F. Knowing vs. doing….    So I checked into that as well today.  It is suggested that it is done within their first week!  Crap. I don’t have said soldering iron or the box to hold the kid in.  Ordered…. more $$$.  Now granted, our little herd is pure bred and registered blood lines, so some care and expense is in order.  I was just too pumped on adrenaline to remain calm.  So next week when said branding equipment comes, I get to burn goat buds.  I WILL be wearing earphones.  Just like baby pigs, they can scream like you can’t believe.  What a thrill.

So this evening I went out and put the turkeys in their coop and checked on the newborns and momma.  All seem well.  Ginger wants to get out of the kidding pen, but that won’t happen for another day or two.  Friday she gets to go out and graze a bit.  In about a week, after the disbudding, the babies will get to go out and explore a bit too.

One site says, milk immediately.  Another says, wait 2 weeks or wait until they are weaned.  I guess, like with everything I do, I’ll land somewhere in the middle.

On top of this, my new garden wagon came, the weights for the fermenting croc arrived, all the other animals didn’t disappear or seem to not need food today.  Breathe, breathe, breathe.  As usual, I’ll get this down once my mind processes it over night.  If the babies are still alive in the morning, we’ll take the next step.  After all, goats aren’t endangered and have been reproducing for millennia.  I imagine they will muddle through whether or not I know what I’m doing.  Good job Ginger!

Twins!! Almost To The Day

F7A7715B-332E-4E1E-A464-2D7126D0A8C3ABF630AE-EDAD-4694-B421-6957B24851543198D853-85F5-4D0C-BFA6-B8B06E8B194CWoke up this morning and dragged my butt out to feed.  As usual, Donovan was honking up a storm for hay.  When I got out there I heard the little Baa-ing of little baby goats! Ginger had twins last night.  A boy and a girl!  They are too stinking cute! They probably don’t weigh a pound.  Momma must have been very hard at it last night.  She had them all licked clean and dry.  Really not much of a mess.  Evidently they got fed too.  They weren’t frantic when I was out there.  Momma seemed a little confused, but she was licking them and all seems well.  The faucets are working and the babies seem to know where they are.  So much for the need for human involvement.  All that “Get the birthing kit, towels, and nitrile gloves together” was much ado about nothing!  Of course, we will still be watching.  Ginger herself was rejected by her mother, so we need to make sure they both get tended to.  If not, it will be three or four times a day bottle feeding.  Joy.

So, of course this is very exciting.  We have newborns that aren’t birds or pigs on the farm.  The next evolution has begun.  If you are going to have a farm, as they say in the business book, your cheese will get moved.  Adjust, adapt, or get out.  Once more we stand… waiting to see what happens next.

 

Ginger Watch. Place Your Bets!

Our little momma to be was found being a bit disoriented and tired in a corner on the donkey side of the barn.  Farmer Jon got the bedding down, the waterer and feeders filled and minerals doled out.  Ginger was very docile and tired and was more than willing to waddle into her delivery room.  I don’t know how to administer an epidural, but I suspect I’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the barn this week.  It was hard to just watch her lie down.  With those milk bags and her full pregnant width, if she could talk, I imagine she would be griping up a storm about not being able to get comfortable.

Place your bets!  I’m betting twins at least.  She is quite rotund.  We are at day 149 of 150 so things could go pretty fast from here….. or not.  From what I’ve gleaned, twins are common and triplets are not out of the question.  Will keep you posted.

Citiots and The Saga Of The High Plains Goat Wars

 

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Above is my buddy Dozer.  The trespasser could have been his brother.

One of the things about having the farm pretty well completed and operational, has been this desire to have things calm down.  After all, as John Prine sang:  “Blow up your TV, Throw away your papers, Move to the country, build you a home.  Plant a little garden, eat a lot of peaches, learn to find Jesus…. on your own.”   That’s the goal.  All was heading in that direction UNTIL!!!!  –  New idiot neighbors.

The house to our north sold a few months back.  The house is nice but the property was a typical rural mess; completely strewn with several generations of farm equipment and general junk.  So, as to not be a nuisance, we stayed way.  One day, some horses showed up, we could occasionally hear some ducks, and whomever was clearing the property of junk had an affinity for some VERY loud Mariachi music.

Last Sunday, we finally met the neighbors.  She is a very nice lady and is there now with her two sons.  The way we met her was kind of humorous and head shaking at the same time.  We came home from an errand and there were 6 goats in our north west pasture (All bucks for krisake).  Well,  that was surely going to happen considering that the only fencing between us is an old, sagging, dilapidated, barbed wire fence.  I’m surprised her horses haven’t come over for a visit.  They’ve certainly been curious about the donkeys.

Zina stopped the car and I hopped out to go round them up and send them back home.  Zina took the car and went and knocked on their door.  We found out it was her birthday that day as well.  I got the goats back through their fence – wasn’t hard, they didn’t really seem to know it was even there (the saying is that if your fence can’t hold water, it won’t hold a goat).

These little devils went back through the fence and then headed west toward the road, came back through the fence toward us then and headed down the road.  It reminded me of the scenario when I had a baby pig escape.

OK, so that was funny.  The neighbor was very apologetic.  She was repeating over and over that she is still learning and that it won’t happen again.  However, like typical Citiots, you can’t tell them anything.  “Oh, I promise it won’t happen again!”  I laughed and tried to be a nice neighbor, having just met her and all, but I responded “Yes it will.”  Their fences couldn’t hold a retarded Coyote.  I told the husband, as we were again herding them back to the fence, that there is no way they are going to be able to keep those beasties contained until they learn how to build fencing – I offered, I’m pretty good at it and I’ve never had an animal escape unless a gate was left open.  Crickets.  Can’t tell these fools anything.

So a day or so goes by.  We were told that the bucks were being held in their barn so they couldn’t get out.  Wrong.  They were in a pen that looks like a chicken coop.  I haven’t seen a few of them since, but the lead demon spawn and I were about to tangle.  Keep in mind that we have about $2000.00 of PURE BRED REGISTERED Nigerian Dwarf Goats.  We cannot have strays coming on to the property because goats can carry any crazy number of diseases and we have already dealt this year with Tank getting Pink Eye; not to mention Ginger is due in 2 weeks.

This week was hay purchasing and stacking day (not to mention Sage being sick too – vet bills….. erg.). Usually, when I go outside, the boy goats (Tank and Dozer) call out to me.  They did so again but I thought I heard an echo.  It came from over by the greenhouse.  I turned and it looked like Dozer had gotten out of the pen.  Nope, the neighbor goat was in my garden (They also defoliated two of our apple trees and they are now dead.  Out here fruit trees take upwards of 5 years to produce fruit.  These were three years in…. pretty pissed).  Kind of a big sacrifice to be neighborly – because after all – “Still learning”.  So this demon was in our garden.

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Make hay while the sun shines!

Now anyone who knows me in person, is familiar with my bark.  I can scare shit out of a Marine drill sergeant.  I let fly on that goat somethin’ to wake up the neighbors.  This buck looks just like Dozer, except he has horns (Ours are all dis-budded to avoid injury).  He understood pretty well that he was an unwanted visitor.  He got into the garden because I had left the fence netting open as I’d been working in there.  He high tailed it out of there and back home.  Catastrophe number one averted.  Goats like foliage, so he was probably sampling the plethora of greens in our acre garden.  That alone is enough for war.

I head out, bought hay and came back.  It’s a little bit of an effort to get the truck and the  tractor through the gate, keep the dogs out of the pasture, keep the goats IN the pasture, and get set up to unload and stack the bales.  While I was doing that, Basil was barking, I heard a goat bleating, looked up and that little shit was back again!!  This time he wanted in with the does.  My dogs were awesome.  I sent em off after him.  Sage is bloody fast.  She was on his heels all the way back to the fence.  She rolled him and when he got across the fence she didn’t follow him through it,  turned and ran all the way back to me.  So much for being sick.

For those of you who have never bucked hay, its a ferociously physical job.  After yesterday’s load was up, I hobbled back to the house, took a shower and collapsed.  That evening I got up out of my chair to let the dogs out before bed and Sage bolted out the door.  I noticed a dark silhouette out by the donkey gate, and once again, thought Dozer had gotten out.  Nope.  Visitation number three by Satan’s cousin.  This time, he had tried to get into the garden but got his horns all tangled up in the fence netting.  So here,   instead of going into all the details,  I’ll just share the text I sent Zina after all of this ended.  This is a classic example of people moving out to the country, thinking they know everything, and then screwing everyone’s lives up who have been here for years.  Citiots think they know everything.  She’s about to get a lesson in life.  The mildest lesson is don’t buy livestock until you can contain them (Especially goats.  They are smart and can figure out any weakness).  The next is “why the hell did you buy six bucks?  Did no one tell you they stink to high heaven and unless you are breeding you don’t need them?”  And number three:  Don’t fuck with the guy to your south.  Don’t make him angry…. you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.  He turns green and his body tears his clothes off and he smashes things.  Lastly…….  Your goat is going to get shot.

“3 times today that Dozer looking buck came over.  Once this morning and it was in the garden, second while I was unloading hay and the dogs chased it home.  They have earned their keep.  Sage was ridiculously cool.  Then I let the dogs out before going to bed.  Sage bolted and I saw a brown silhouette down by the donkey gate.  It was that same fucking goat.  It was tangled every which way in the garden netting.  I got my climbing rope out of the garage.  I had to be kind of mean to it.  Kneeled on it to get the rope around it’s neck, and I had to go back to the garage to get a cutter to cut the netting off of him because he had the netting in a birds-nest around it’s horns.  By this time I smelled like goat.  Kicking and screaming like a bitch (because I didn’t shoot it then and there) I took said lassoed goat across our north west pasture.  With the long rope he had enough lead that he jumped through the barbed wire fence and I couldn’t get him back through it.  I ended up going between the wire strands and ripped the shit out of my shirt….. twice – once in, once out.  Banged on the door…. no one home.  Went around the side of the house and fell on the concrete because I didn’t know there was a one step down on their walk way.  When I fell I lost the rope and the goat ran off.  At that time  Maria’s daughter and husband/boyfriend were coming up from a walk, I guess along the property line.  I totally let fly as bad as you’ve ever seen.  They are duly notified that if their bucks come on our property again I will shoot them dead.  3 times!!! Just today!!!  Pretty sure I scared her to death.”

Let the games begin.

Here’s One You’ll Never Hear Told In The City Over Drinks

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Ah! Farm life!  Tank’s pink eye didn’t improve, so catch a goat, put goat in a dog crate. Put crate in car.  Next time bring ear plugs cuz goats scream.  Watch goat do back flips at the vet to try to escape.  Listen to more screams while getting injections and having eye lid sutured shut.  Put goat back in car.  While driving home have goat pee all over himself cuz that’s what bucks do.  Roll down windows in 95 degree heat to kill the smell in the car that you are taking up for your son to use cuz he got a new job at school.  Such is the life.  Tomorrow begins super-duty fly suppression cuz that’s what spreads it.  More goop to apply to his eye.  So much for weeding the gardens.  Glad plants are forgiving.

Garden Progress

When you have a problem, sit and stare at it for awhile and let your mind come up with the answers.  We have three issues that the eastern flat-landers don’t have:  1. Very dry air and desiccating wind, 2. Hail, and 3. Intense sun.  Last year’s drought really  pissed me off.  We lost virtually everything. Being who I am, I was not about to let that become a recurring theme; at least not without a fight.  So as you have seen with previous posts, we ran a high pressure hydrant to the garden areas which has jump started the drip irrigation.  We also built the hail guards and sun shade cloth on all the beds.  As of today, the hail guards have been successfully tested with inch sized ice and the shade cloth is doing exactly what it should.  None of the gardens looks stressed.  In fact, they are looking very healthy (along with the evil Bindweed).  My green beans have not come up and I think it’s because I used older seeds; so more are on the way and I’ll replant those when they arrive.  Even the frost bit tomatoes have all rebounded.  We are back on track.

Cucumbers:

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I even got Spinach to germinate this year!  It’s planted with the Cauliflower.

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A Bajillion Peppers from Bell to Habanero.

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Onions Galore

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Our usual forest of Garlic.  Scapes soon for Pesto and the actual harvest around July 4th.  This bed will get replanted with Green Beans.

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Much to my son’s displeasure, the Broccoli is luvin’ life!

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All of the tomatoes have snapped back from the frost.  It looks like we will be making plenty of sauce this year. There are 60 plants plus the cherries.

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The Black Beans are up.

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Future Coleslaw:

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Farmer Juan taking a break to rough-house with the boys.  They are the sweetest, most rambunctious guys ever.

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