Posted in Animals/Chickens

Hope and Nino

Some things have been going on over here that have been raising red flags and I can only hope that we do not have to move again.  I must learn to take one day at a time and not try to foresee the future, jump to conclusions, or panic.  Today.

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We sat down to dinner last night and bowed our heads to say grace.  We thanked the Lord for our meal, prayed that everything would work out alright, and for hope.  Doug went out to milk and came running back in to get me outside.  Elsa was in labor!  Our first time mama was having her baby a week earlier than we expected.  A little boy came out fairly easily.  One baby for Isabelle, one for Elsa.  Odd that there were no multiples.  But, we are thankful for a healthy and quick labor and delivery.  An adorable baby boy with red hair came into the world.  He looks like his mom, a Saanen, the waddles under his chin, but with red hair.  He loves to snuggle and is so cute!  Hope is all around us.

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Doug named him Nino Bonito for beautiful boy but also he was born in what seemed like El Nino!  A horrible storm raged on outside the lean to.

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Posted in Animals/Chickens

Who Knows How To Milk A Goat?!

Uh, I probably should have inquired about milking lessons prior to this.  I have read many homesteading books which outline how to milk a goat.  I milked a goat at the animal shelter I worked at.  A large goat.  Every morning.  Twenty years ago.

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Yesterday we moved the milking station into the goat yard.  We put sweet feed in the tray and enticed Katrina to get up on the wooden structure, stick her head through, and enjoy the treats.  We didn’t touch her,  just let her get used to the station.  It became a fabulous game and playground the remainder of the day with goats jumping in high twirls off of the platform.

We locked the baby goat into a kennel in the igloo late last night.  We cleaned a shiny metal bucket and the two quart canning jar we would use to store our delicious goat’s milk. Chocolate milk on my mind, I placed a funnel, topped with a sieve, topped with a coffee filter on top of the jar.  We were ready!

This morning we got up with the sun.  We distracted Loretta out of the goat yard.  Enticed with some help (me trying in vain to lift her back end onto the stanchion) and sweet feed we got Katrina into place, latched the short leash to her collar, and set the bucket beneath her.  It barely fit under her large belly.  I never thought to bring out the bucket and see if it was too big!  I could barely fit it under her, but I tried to grab a hold of her very swollen teats and milk.  I tried to close my fingers around her, but she was too swollen, and I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing, I realized.  She placed her foot in the bucket.  A few very cold, frustrated minutes later, we let the baby out of the kennel to nurse.

Emergency early morning texts were sent to our farming friends.  Today I need a milking lesson!

Posted in Farming

Clash of the Farm and City (true story)

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Okay, these things really happened last week.  This is how you know if someone is not a farmgirl.

1. Someone walked up to the booth and asked Nancy if our goat’s milk soap was moldy cheese. (Doesn’t look like Ivory soap, I guess.)

2. I have counted at least twenty people come up to the booth at the farmer’s market and ask, “What is that?”  The answer?  Lettuce.

3. I said to Nancy, “I wonder if the market is slow because the weather is 40% chance of dry thunder storms, 96 degrees, and wind at 12 miles per hour.”  “I don’t think anyone else looks at the weather as closely as we do.”  I still think it was slow because of the heat!

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4. Emily was walking our baby goat, Jovie, down the aisle at the farmer’s market and a family stopped and said, “Look!  A dog!”  Emily said, “No, this is a goat.”  They gave her a bewildered look and said, “Nooo, that is a dooog.”  “Okay.” was Emily’s annoyed answer.

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Now, how to know you are a farmgirl.

1.  Your feet are not clean from mid-May through mid-October.  Flip flops and farming leave very dirty feet.  Go ahead and take a shower, in five minutes you will be back in the dirt.

2.  A goat peeing on your dress is a regular occurrence and one you deal with with grace and dignity.

3. You throw diatomaceous earth on small black bugs eagerly eating your cruciferous vegetables and with an evil, uncharacteristic laugh, yell, “Die Bastards!!!”

4.  You know when the sun rises and are ready for bed when the sun sets. (But of course  you have way too much to do.)

5. The electricity going out excites and challenges you.

6.  You walk your goats into a bar. (True story.  Happened today.)

May we all find our inner farmer.