“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Free Range Goat

Neo, in the alley, on his own play spool
Neo and Trinity are five months old today. Neo is segregated from the rest of the herd now(so he doesn't breed), and so while we had the barn open for mucking the stalls, he got to hang out with us.

That meant he got to go in and out freely. He just followed along like a puppy wherever we went. Back and forth, from the barn to the manure piles. Makes you wonder if you need fences sometimes.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kim's Pasture Walk

Most of you know I'm new at this goat thing. It will be two years this August that we have Boer goats, but the learning and research was intense for the year running up to it. I have found that some of the best ways to learn are field days, Ag fairs, and visiting farms. There you get to talk with the people who have had experience, and can save you from making some of their mistakes.Kim Miller, in green(5th from right), talking to the workshop group
Last week there was a series of informational programs included in the Southwest Regional Project Grass Pasture Walk. They were presented at two farms in Ligonier, but they were mostly cattle oriented.
The Kananga Farm cows
I decided to drop in for the "pasture walk" part of the day, especially since JB Harrold from Project Grass was involved, and it was at Kim Miller's farm nearby. I was given JB's name two years ago at my first PASA field day near Carlisle, and he designed our fences for the pastured grazing that we are doing here.
Harry Marker, listening on the right, is a fellow Penn Stater. I believe he got his Agriculture degree in 1955, and raised a dairy herd on this farm till about four years ago.
Kim's Devon cows are bred for grass grazing. Most of your grocery store meat is corn fed. These gals were curious at the technology we were learning about. I think they were paying more attention than some of the people!
We all came away with our sticks for measuring our pastures. I'm still working on how that really works for the goats.
I'm always looking for these hands on opportunities to learn, and organizations like PASA, PA-WAgN, Westmoreland Conservation District (who sponsored this day) and the Penn State Cooperative Extensions, all provide series of classes and informational presentations through out the year for minimal cost. These classes are also a great place to make contacts for advice and ideas.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Life Was Simple with the Simplicity

There she goes.
A simpler life of just mowing lawns and blowing New England leaves and blizzards into tall piles for the kids to jump in, sled down, and even ski on, in her history. I remember when she was a "big" tractor. Ah! The good old days.
I ran into my neighbor at an auction last Saturday and we got to talking. He was waiting to add a tractor to his collection. They other guys there were willing to spend more that he was, so it didn't happen. That's when I realized we had a bit of a collection ourselves. We had three tractors, although we/I had decided that the Simplicity was the snow blower now.
The talking continued and led to a goat visit, and a Darlington Volunteer Fire Department's Tool Bash ticket sale. Then to a tractor sale.
I wish I had thought to take a photo of our "collection" all lined up, before the Simplicity and all her trinkets left on the trailer and truck. She had quite a barn full of attachments.
I hope she serves the next folks as well as she did us. Sniff!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Floral Display

Bachelor's Button
Clematis Candida
Bachelor's Button


Blue Indigo

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Oh Grant!

Everybody loves Grant. Grant loves everybody.
Little "Z" is trying to make new friends.
She's not going to be ignored by Carol.

Now we have your attention.
Sandy is getting away while she can.
Grant makes his move and cuts in.
Aziza was being a pest today but it was Grant who managed to get his big ole butt picked up - again!
He just jumps up and chews on you till you quit and give him a hug. That can't last much longer since he has to be close to 30 pounds.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Twins Visit the Twins

My neighbors son and family are in town for the holiday week-end. The twins were up this morning to get reacquainted with the old kids and meet the newest kids.
They are very quick at remembering names, and as many people have, really took to the littlest twins of Uno's.
Their dad asked when we would be getting the goats in tonight, so the girls could come up to help do some work. They were at the door 5 minutes early.
They helped spread bedding after spending a good amount of time helping us get everyone from the field and playing with them by the barn door.
They also took their own pictures with their camera.
I can see these girls as good goat herders, but we have to keep Kato off the skirt.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Kids At Play

I've been trying to post a video with this. Three tries and no go, so here are the photos for now anyway.
Cleo and Mei abusing their mother, Vinegar.

Be careful!

Now Cleo gets in on the action
Even though yesterday was one of the first hot and muggy days,

that doesn't stop the kids from getting antsy.

This afternoon everyone did a lot of napping, or at least tried to.
Some moms didn't have a chance!
The moms are really good about being their kids' playscapes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Watch Your Step

Most things we see on our walks bring us cheer and peace, and take our breath away, or that might be the walk itself. Sometimes there are bits of nature that surprise you. For me that would be snakes and snapping turtles.
One walk up the hill, I caught this snake sunning itself.
It quickly slid into the hole where its tail was still hanging in, and disappeared.

Another time, three of us were trying to hold Zola against the fence shortly after she kidded, and I looked down and saw a reptilian tail.
I must say, I first thought alligator.
We all stopped to see what was hidden in the tall grass, and get out of its way, once we realized how close all our toes were to the little beast.
We were hoping to see eggs, but by the next morning only its impression in the grass was left behind.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Easter Alley Light

Its now a month later, but while Andrew and Kristin were here for Easter, the handy man project was to install a post with power as far up the fence alley as the length of wire would allow.
Its amazing how tall the grasses and weeds are now. This looks so tidy.
This required hand digging the trench from the barn to the pole, and hand digging the hole for the pole. I admit that Kristin and I were nowhere near when this work was being done. We were shopping for Easter dinner. While we(they) were erecting the post, we put up a light like the one installed on the barn.
So the pole will serve two purposes: the light; and an electric box that we can run power from.
Mainly this means we can plug the heated water buckets further up the fields in the winter, and also set up something more permanent there too.
See the trench all the way to the barn?
Although we haven't had much need for the light yet, it works very nicely from the switch in the barn. It can also work on a solar sensor. In the winter, with the shorter days, the light will be used much more regularly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Smoke On the Water

Is this where that song came from?
Anyway it reminded me of a picture from our visit to Yellowstone National Park a couple summer ago.
The sun is up and blazing this morning and I think I will get mowing done this afternoon. The fields need their paths blazed for walking the dog. Without them its pretty hard to not get totally soaked from the dew. We change our clothes enough times from the barn. Another time for wet clothes and I'd have four changes of clothing by noon. Cold morning flannel and my puffy vest with old sweats to shorts and T-shirt by lunch. Then if I have to leave the farm for errands, there is a whole other dress code - usually -unless its Lowes or Agway or the Tractor Supply!!
The barn swallows have made fast work of a nest this week. I know I checked the "noise" only a day or two ago and it looked like the dregs from last year.
Today we have a very industrious couple with a whole nest that I can see needs a bit more mud and its home.
I love this shot of the barn in the morning light.