Happy Baby Goat Day!

Okay. I totally made that up. But I think it makes for a great precursor to Mother’s Day, don’t you think? Maybe we could call it “Get-smashed-on-mimosas-over-brunch Eve” but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it. And you wouldn’t get to look at pictures of cute baby goats.

I actually took these photos a couple days ago (blame my dial-up internet) and all three kids have since been dehorned/disbudded. I had a real nice lady come out and show me how to do it. Basically, you take this hot iron (glorified car cigarette lighter) and burn the skin around where the horn bud is beginning to emerge. The cap of the horn pops off, and then you cauterize the center of the horn bud. The tip of the day: anywhere there is hair, a horn can grow through. This was just one of those things you have to watch first-hand. Books and youtube won’t cut it. But it’s done and I won’t have dangerously horned dairy goats.

Now they have purple heads from being sprayed with disinfectant, but here are some cute play photos from earlier in the week… Pre-purple.

   

                          

Baby Photo Bonanza!

I took lots of photos of the baby goats this morning and even snuck in a couple of our fat baby sheep, Lambikins. Cami seems to think we should name the lamb “Gretel”. Trevor thinks she needs a real name. But “Lambikins” is kind of growing on me. 

As for the goat kids, I think we will be selling everyone except for one buckling. There aren’t too many people around here that are willing to stud out Nigerian Dwarf bucks (or perhaps there simply are not many). Most people in this county have Boer meat-breed goats, not dairy goats. The down side of needing to breed Nigerians is that they are so small. You can’t just breed them to anyone– you need a buck that is the same size breed or smaller.

So I will plan to keep back a buckling to breed to everyone, even Heidrun… for Mini-Toggs? Dwarf Toggs? Toggendwarfs?

   

                 

Bridgit Had Triplets!

Sunday afternoon Bridgit kidded triplets! I knew there had to be more an just twins in there, she was a blimp. I was able to witness my first goat birth as well. It was creepy, but awesome! Basically, there is a lot of gross, slimy stuff you don’t want to know about, then this big blob comes out. Once Bridgit started licking the blob, it moved! All of the sudden it started looking more like a goat kid and less like a blob. Almost as if definition came to its face  and legs and body as I watched it. Like I said, creepy, but awesome.

Now we’re just waiting for Luna to kid hers.

   

Tan buck.

  

Tan and white, Buck.

  

Black and white, doe.

 

Kids Are A Comin’

Not only is my brother and his wife expecting their first baby this week, my two Nigerian Dwarf goats are due on Friday. No worries Jordan, Bridgit is much bigger in the baby belly than you. You look great for nine months (plus one week) pregnant. 😉 I can’t wait to meet my first and only nephew! You both are going to do great and come out the other side healthy, happy, and relieved. And my brother swears he is going to actually call me when his son is born… I won’t have to hear big news from our mother on the phone for a change. (Hint, hint, Nathan.)

My goat news isn’t nearly as impressive, and would certainly never overshadow the birth of family, but the goats are also on my baby-watch list. 

   

  

 I had thought Luna was huge until Bridgit ballooned up this week. If she has anything less than twins, or dare I say– triplets, I will be extremely surprised. She is huge! The photos just don’t do her gigantic belly justice. Bridgit is literally wider than she is tall. She is making Luna look merely “chubby”.

In non-baby news, we planted some new fruit trees on the property. Trevor’s parents bought us a Fuji Apple tree when they visited a couple weeks ago; thank you again. Last week I was paid for a kids art camp I directed over spring break and decided to buy some gopher wire (super important!) to go with an Anjou pear and Gravestein apple tree. The Gravestein looked a little shabby when I bought it, but it was the only one and I had to plant my dad’s favorite childhood apple on our farm. 

So this week we planted three trees and are on baby-watch for three kids. Who says life doesn’t work in three’s?

  

The End of Winter in Photos

Life has held me captive for the last month. It hasn’t been easy, but I think we are getting back on track to normalcy. In that spirit, I walked around the farm with my big, happy camera, snapping photos here and there of what March has brought us. Spring will soon be here… phew!

Our garden idea has changed somewhat as well. Since we cannot easily fence in the back acre-ish for animals because of the shallow, solid bedrock, we are going to add a large pen out front where we originally planned to put the garden. There is only one hügelkultur in the front, so I won’t have to cry too much. We will make more hügelkultur mounds in the back as our garden and then start some fruit trees in massive pots (wine barrels?) until we can figure out how well that works out.

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Lessons From A Year On My Own Farm

You know how all the farming magazines, homesteading books, and old-timers say that you need a whole year on new land to observe before starting up farm projects? They give you all this blah-blah-blah about watching how the land reacts to each season and taking time to build up livestock.

Well, it turns out they’re right. It just happens to be one of those lessons you have to get through yourself. It’s not as if I didn’t believe this seemingly sound advice. When you finally have a place to call your own, somewhere you can do as you please without “the man” comin’ down on you, it’s exciting! You want to get everything going just the way you like in a hurry because –for some reason– the whole house and farm should be as picturesque as a Better Homes & Gardens cover shot within the first few months of living there.

I must admit, I had those expectations even though everyone kept telling me to take it slow, things at a new house took time and this was our first year. I’m nearly thirty and yet good advice went in one ear and out the other.

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May 2014

In this last year we have gotten quite a bit done. I didn’t realize how much we have change the property or ourselves until I looked a photos I took those first few weeks we moved in. We have turned a shed into a rabbitry, painted every surface in the house (with the exception of the cut-in around the ceiling fans?!), we brought home our first dairy goats and built a milking stanchion from pictures of others, Trevor’s parents helped us get two large areas fenced in, with my family’s help we installed one big hügelkultur, we sold some bucklings and bought two more dairy goats, got rid of lazy chickens and brought in new chickies, had great success with cabbage and heritage breed turkeys, added a pair of Viking sheep, made billions of delicious pretzel, and disposed of multiple truck loads of creepy-gross carpet. Oh, and the front door is an awesome egg yolk orange.

So while it didn’t seem like much progress was being made during the year, I can look back and see that we did –in fact– get a whole lot done on our new farm. That even includes the whole month of a “screw the drought and the world” attitude I had during the summer while I got absolutely no blogging done.

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May 2014

Well, now our first year is almost up. (I can say that because our mortgage is paid through the month of February and we moved in on March 8th of last year.) Close enough I’d say. After a year of home ownership my best advice to others looking down the same path is: to spend a whole year taking it slow.