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

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February Cuties

Three week old Brees is enjoying big goat food, and is up to 20 pounds. He is really shaping into a great looking goat. He also got his first shot, and got banded today. He is ready for the fairs.
Little Miss Princess Face has been resting and exploring,...
...along with her sister, just enough to worry mom Vinegar, who is quite glad they have a gate on the stall already. Both the doelings have not only discovered the warming barrel, but the comfort of each other.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Sleep Tight

Tucking in for their first night. Happy Birthday!

Twin Doelings

Our Vinegar kept us waiting an extra three days, but what little lovelies she gave us. To explain how healthy these two seem to be, I was on the tractor clearing the snow (What?), and Dave was hand shoveling the paths, when he heard some noise from the barn. They were that loud. When I put the tractor away and shut off the engine, it was a happy noise below!!!
Both little ones are already working on nursing, though one a bit better than the other. Vinegar is a terrific mom again, and is encouraging both to move to the udder. She keeps cleaning and nudging, and wailed terribly when we made the mistake of picking up both at the same time to dry them off a little.We agree it doesn't look too appetizing, but that hasn't stopped her.The family is now moved into the maternity stall with the warming barrel, and lots of clean bedding. Brees, at three weeks old, is booted out and has to grow up fast!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Doe's Secret Code of Honor

At the beginning of the month, my goat mentor, Shirley, sent this along. As we wait for Vinegar to kid, perhaps I need to keep history in mind.

During this time of year when we start to think about the
pitter patter of little hooves running around the house and the does soon to kid. I know some of us are already in kidding season and for the rest
it is fast approaching.

I am also reminded to take out my copy of the Does Secret Code. To
those of you that have never herd the legend of the code. It is said to be older that domestic goats, written back when man first realized that goats could be tamed and tasted the sweet taste of fresh goats milk. It was then that the code was written.

It has been passed from
doe to doeling, hidden first under stones and in hollow trees. Then later as people begin to house goats in barns and stables it was
hidden in the cracks in the walls and hollows under the mangers and hay racks. Even though no one truly knows who discovered "The Code" (I think they were scared to admit finding it for fear their does would revolt) It is rumored that it was first found on a small farm in the mountains of Switzerland early in the 19th century. That copy was carbon dated and it was found to be written in ancient goat language dating 437 B.C.

It took scholars years to translate it, late in the
20th century round 1963 the translation finally completed it began to be passed from goat keeper to goat keeper. I was given a copy a couple of years ago by an old goat keeper who took me under his wings and here it is for those of you who are new to goats and haven't seen it.

Secret Code of Honor

The doe's secret code of honor is as old as goats themselves and is

ultimately the species best kept secret. No doe shall ever kid before
it's time. (It's time being determined by the following factors):

1- No kid shall be born until total chaos has been reached by all
involved. Your owner's house must be a wreck, their family hungry and
desperate for clean clothes, and their social life nonexistent.

2- "Midwives" must reach the babbling fool status before you kid out.

Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair and the inability to form a sentence mean
the time is getting close.

3- For every bell, beeper, camera or whistle they attach to you,

kidding must be delayed by at least one day for each item. If they use
an audio monitor, one good yell per hour will keep things interesting.

4- If you hear the words, "She's nowhere near ready. She'll be fine

while we're away for the weekend," Wait until they load the car, then
begin pushing!

5- Owner stress must be at an all time high! If you are in the care of

someone else, ten to fifteen phone calls a day is a sign you're
getting close.

6- When you hear the words "I can't take it anymore!" wait at least

three more days.

7 -You must keep this waiting game interesting. False alarms are

mandatory! Little teasers such as looking at your stomach, pushing
your food around in the bucket and then walking away from it, and
nesting, are always good for a rise. Be creative and find new things
to do to keep the adrenaline pumping in those who wait.

8- The honor of all goats is now in your hands. Use this time to

avenge all of your barn mates. Think about your friend who had to wear
that silly costume in front of those people. Hang onto that baby for
another day. OH, they made him do tricks too! Three more days seems
fair. Late feedings, the dreaded diet, bad haircuts, those awful
wormings can also be avenged at this time.

9- If you have fulfilled all of the above and are still not sure when

to have the kids, listen to the weather forecast on the radio that has
been so generously provided by those who wait. Severe storm warning is
what you're waiting for. In the heart of the storm jump into action!
The power could go out and you could have the last laugh. You have a
good chance of those who wait missing the whole thing while searching
for a flashlight that works!

10- Make the most of your interrupted nights. Beg for food each time

someone comes into the barn to check you. Your barn mates will love
you as the extra goodies fall their way too.

Remember, this
code of honor was designed to remind man of how truly special goats are. Do your best to reward those who wait with a beautiful doeling to carry on the Doe Code of Honor for the next generation of those who wait!

What? Snow?

Thanks to those of you that have been asking about the flood update. Here it is. No flood yet, but more snow to melt when it warms up. Or more fuel for the fire, so to speak!I am gathering the correct wardrobe to sit on the tractor in about another hour. The snow is slowing down, but more importantly the wind has pretty much quit. We have thick drifts where paths and a driveway used to be. When I started to dig to the barn this morning, I couldn't find the old path to the door from the barn driveway. When I came out of the barn an hour later, everything I dug was gone, gone, gone. And the snow is SO dense, you can walk on it. With the wind chills in the single digits, the barn animals all stayed in today. The barn had snow inside from the heavy winds. The kids stall had snow in it from the vents in the foundation between levels. Those vents need to be there for air circulation, but on a day like today, the draft gets in. But they have a double stall, so they can find other places to snuggle.
This is the odd way the wind has been laying drifts. The kitchen door has a white welcome mat, but the stoop is clean.I shoveled the path to the mudroom, and when I came back, we had these mini drifts.No, I did not shovel this. Again, the twisting, swirling wind. The driveway is densely packed where we had it passable and clean. I have my work cut out. Its going to be heavy and slow.
The cats are no dummies though. While the goats were eating and having indoor recess, Snickers claimed the warming barrel. Mia and Snickers have their ways in and out of the barn. Some of them are snowed in right now, but the one below in the video, seems to work all the time. Mia doesn't seem to mind the snow does she? She followed us back to the house, and quickly dove into her blanket on the chair.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Farm Fashion - 2010 Collection

Although a bit earlier than last year's collection, this boot still life just got me started today. It really doesn't take much when it comes to me and fashion does it?
Last year, I noticed in this issue, we were sporting the hobo look.
While still part of my wardrobe, this year, I think its more of a leftover ski bum look.

With the snow, snow, snow, the bibbers and snow pants have never been so useful.

Who cares about fashionable! OK! Tourists!!!
Even the high school crowd sports the look. And the latest Blanket layer also.My advice about boots.

Buy them too big, so that you can put a second pair of socks in them when the insulation isn't enough. And do not forget the silk, long underwear. Slimming in black.

Menswear is a category unto its own, and is a more conservative look, in the less than snowy weather. Apparently there is a rule that all of them know, as they all show up the same from head to toe. And speaking of heads, hats are a huge part of Winter 2010. Hats of all shapes are IN, along with pajamas,
scarves, ...and ear muffs.
I love my series of football (soccer) scarves that make my statement ME. Love my old ski hat too. The bells keep me company when I'm on the tractor for hours. Old fashioned IPod.
Then back to the Oldest Steeler Hat look that only a man can pull off. But Winter 2010 is all about warm. I think we've done it.
**Some of this year's fashion trends were created in 2009. They were the more sheik and well conceived statements! We can learn from our visitors too!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Few Changes

Since we got the two feet of snow starting February 5th the kids have not been able to go out all day into a field. The snow was too high for them. and it was so difficult accessing another gate. That changed Sunday when Dave hand dug around a gate, and up to the shed in the upper field. I had planned to take my Deere out and mash my way out there, but I never got to try. The fear was getting me stuck in the now heavy, slippery snow.Today, after watching Brees eating grain with his mother, I took the time to set up a creep feeder. We have a futon frame I got for a couple dollars at an auction. With a couple of bungee cords, I cordoned off a corner, and put in a bowl of grain and minerals. He caught on very fast!A creep feeder is a place where the kids can get to, but the mothers can't. That way there is a supply of food that only the kids can munch on. Brees already is a bit stocky for the spaces here, but it will work for a few days anyway.

Naturally, today the rain and wet weather came along, but luckily short lived. Everyone but Twee and Brees got to spend the day outside, but they did get out for a while this morning.Tomorrow, they will have the company of Vinegar. Her due date is the 24th, and she is "ripening" up. Her udder isn't tight yet, but that could come quickly. I think she looks very good with two days to go. Her hips are changing, and her belly is dropping, but she looks very fit. She's been put in her own clean pen so that she can relax, and have some space of her own to birth. Can't wait! She's a good mom, so I expect no problems, but the baby monitor is on!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Free Labor

The best part about new kids, are the kids. Have I said that before? Maybe. But its true. Even better when they come and work too.Mary and her Mom came to visit today. Not being patient enough to wait for more kids until next week-end, Mary came prepared to play, and work for her fun. It was time to trim Zola's feet, and the extra hands to pass the tools as I needed them were great. And what a patient girl. No complaints about dirt or yuk. Just pleasant chatter about the animals, and questions about what they need for care. Then she helped round up the hens and feed everyone their dinner.For an eleven year old, I was impressed by her understanding and knowledge. She wants to be a vet tech. I'll give her a thumbs up!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Taste of Sun

Ah! The warmth of the sun.
We are surrounded by FEET of snow that we can't traverse, but we are adoring the sun today. We took the goats out for recess, but the snow is so deep, and getting heavier as the day gets longer and warmer, so they can't stay out all day. We don't have another gate cleared that we can open to a field. Even if we could, the kids are just too short and light, and someone would get stuck or hurt. There's been no way to get a surface cleaned. By doing the routine we have, I'm hoping that we work a large enough space down with traffic, so that soon there is room for them to mill around and play.So we took the kids outside to feed them their grain, and get some air. Same routine that we have been following since getting snowed in two weeks ago. It makes for a longer chore time, but probably worth the healthier air in the barn, and healthier animals down the line.



Brees and Twee are the first goats you see. Brees gets put up on the spool.
Two week old Brees doesn't hold back, now that he's gotten over the shock of the cold. His mother Twee really doesn't ask anyway. She definitely has stall fever, and longs to get outside with the other adults.If you're light enough, like Brees, getting stuck isn't an issue.
You just have to make it up ON the snow.You can make all sorts of adorable little hoof prints on top of the snow......and chase your own shadow.
And if you are bigger, and stuck up to your chest in snow like Kato, chasing a twig of fir is an issue, but worth the struggle.Later this evening, Jock was guarding the wheelbarrow, while it waited to go to the barn for a load of firewood.Just past the barn, we noticed a hint of color in the clouds. Another warmer day tomorrow?