Saturday, June 30, 2012

Meet the Herd: Lizzy

 Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to introduce you to Miss Lizzy. As in Lizzy Bennet. Although she's more of a Jane Bennet personality... She's quite shy, but as she's gotten to know us better, she's started to open up. It's really just been in the past week or so, she'll tiptoe up behind you and start rubbing against your leg. In the last couple of days, she's even let us pet her and pick her up. I think that her Master Pip's flamboyant personality is starting to rub off on her. You really can't be giving Lizzy attention without Pip right there next to you letting you know who the attention's supposed to go to. Sorry, sir, you're not the only one here vying for some affection.

Needless to say, I think that this pretty girl has quite the potential for being a wonderful milk goat.

A little sassy, are we?

Friday, June 29, 2012

Just another day

If I were to pick a theme song for life right now, it would be 'Just Another Day in Paradise' by Phil Vassar.


I'll wait a minute while you pull that up. It's a good song.


Have you listened to it yet? Okay. You may continue reading.

It usually starts the day before - when you come in at 9 pm from evening chores exhausted. Switch out laundry, finish cleaning the kitchen, get ready for bed, and plop down on the couch just in time for the 10 o'clock news. You can't even stay awake to catch tomorrow's weather.

The alarm clock goes off in the middle of a dream, shattering the creative juices that you had going. Oy. Just 15 more minutes? No, because 15 will turn into 60 really quick, and there's critters waiting on you.

Mom and I head off to the neighbor's to milk the cows, leaving the rest of the posse to tackle the chicken chores, but the crew is still in bed. While Mom and I are gone, chaos apparently ensues. A certain someone ate almost an entire flat of berries on an empty stomach and quickly paid the price (keep in mind, Mom isn't home at this time), leaving a sick kid to be tended by ever sympathetic siblings who can fill any situation with plenty of drama. Another someone didn't eat breakfast in time and suffered from a cliff drop of blood sugar levels (for those of you who don't know what that feels like, you're fortunate to not be dealing with hypoglycemia). 2 down. 2 to go. But the survivors have sickies to take care of and chickens to wrangle. Just after they finished cleaning up the mess from bowl-bowing child #1, Mom and I come home from milking the cows (which took a little longer than normal on this particular morning). We were greeted by my brother saying, "Perfect timing!"

Tappa the mornin' to ya too, laddie!

As we got a vivid, dramatic retelling of the morning's events, Mom and I nibbled on some cashews, sipped a green smoothie, checked on the couch potatoes and headed out to milk the goats. There is one downside to the goats warming up to you - they really warm up to you. As in, they are, quite literally all over you, eating your shirt and jumping on the half finished milking stand. Yes, goats can be compared to Labrador retrievers. Maybe it's time to create some order to the routine because letting all the goats in the area that we're milking isn't working. And I'm beginning to think that Pip should be renamed Tom Sawyer. He's a charmer and a trouble maker. When he knows that you're on to him, he looks at you ever so innocently, cocks his head and rubs up against you. You're a suck-up, you know that?

With that said, we need to head over the other side of town to take the milk machine/vacuum pump thing-y in to be tuned up and fixed. Engines should not sound like that or be spewing a gummy, milky, oily mixture. We all have guesses as to what's going on, we'll see what the verdict is.

And the day's not done yet. ;)

I know it's just a season of life, we're having a huge learning curve with these animals, we've had the perfect storm of animal retention and situations that are out of our control. We're just trying to stay on the ride and enjoy it along the way.

Until next time! I think I need a nap.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Meet the Herd: Mazy and her doeling

To continue on with the 'Meet the Herd' series...

Meet Mazy. She's a queen bee if I ever saw one. She's the leader of the pack, and probably the most eager be off of the stanchion come milking time. If we get out there early enough in the morning and before the baby nurses, we could probably get quite a bit of milk from her, but we're not morning people. ;) So Little Miss gets most of it.

If Mazy is queen, that makes her little girl a princess, and she knows it. She has makeup around her eyes and fancy little feet. Mazy's baby has been called many things over the course of several weeks. Names don't seem to stick or match her spunky little attitude. We've called her Tinker Bell, Twinkle Toes, Nellie, Elle, Priscilla, Alice, Punk... Did I get everything? I'm probably missing a couple of names in there. Not much can keep this little girl contained - she thinks that she's part ninja.  

Mazy and her little girl. Yeah, Little Miss usually does this.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Meet the Herd: Pip

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I promise; I'm still here - just running around trying to keep up with everything going on. I'm coming to the conclusion that you cannot have an active social life and a full fledged farm. You burn the candle at both ends. The two just can't coincide while maintaining your sanity. But that begs the question: Why did you get into dairy animals in the first place if you wanted to keep your sanity? I plead the fifth. 

Back to the original topic. ;)

You haven't met our herd yet! We've had the goats for how long now, and I haven't made the proper introductions. Shame on me.

Most of the goats that we have already came with names, but the ones that we do get to name seem to have a literary theme. Leave it to a homeschooling family to give there dairy goat herd names from books.

Let me introduce you to Pip. Donning his smart black boots and showing off on his favorite perch, the straw bale. Actually, he likes anything that he can jump on, show off, and be higher up than everyone else in the room. The little goober will climb anything. He's our little wether and what a little heart stealer he is. Oh my... he's such a love bug! He certainly knows how to warm your heart; he's so sweet and affectionate. He was one of the first goats that warmed up to us, and now we can't keep him away from us. You can usually find him waiting for us at the gate now. If you walk into their stall, he's the first one to saunter up to you and firmly plant his little front toes into your thigh (I have bruises to prove it). You try to sneak out of the stall, and he's right there behind you trying to get through (honestly, I think that he's just an opportunist who wants to get out). If you sit down on a straw bale or a bucket, and he's the one to hop up onto your lap and start nibbling at your shirt. (Side note: to break the stereotype of goats - they don't eat everything. Did I just ruin your childhood? Sorry. Let me clarify. They like to taste things, but they won't eat it most times.) This little dude is inquisitive, curious, friendly and trouble waiting to happen.

I'll post more about the new additions as I have time. ;)

Until next time,

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Scwu Dwiver

I tend to jump into something without knowing what I'm getting into. (Sound like something else that we're doing?) I'll have a general idea of what I'm doing, and I'll dive in head first. Trial by fire. Flying by the seat of my pants. Yep, that seems to sum up most of my attempts at projects. 

I mean, really, how hard would it be to build a roost for your chickens? 
- 2x2's? Check. 
- Battery operated screw driver in a lovely shade of yellow to make the job easier? Check. 
- Another one to have the hole maker attached? Check again. 
- Screws long enough to go through your wood? Check (after I realized that 1 1/2" screws will not go all the way through 2x2s...). 
- An ensurer of a right angle? Why would I need that? I'm making a roost; not furniture. 
- Pencil? Yep.
- Measuring tape? You betcha! New motto in life is going to be 'Measure twice; cut once'
- Table saw? Umm... Could I use a hand saw instead?
- Assistant? All possible helpers are making dinner. I think I'll let them have their fun.

Wow, these are technical terms. 

Before I go into the rest of the story, you need to understand my relationship with power tools. The most I can handle by myself is probably a staple gun. And even then, that isn't really a 'power' tool, and it doesn't have the 'kick' that the electric tools have. I can also yield at paint brush, but that usually ends up all over the place. I can use some hand tools. I seem to be able to manage those. They behave at least... 

Ahem. Onto the woodworking. 

I found some scrap 2x2's in my dad's collection in the shed, measured out the space, and went to town with the hand saw (proving, once again, that I'm a lefty in a right-handed world... someone needs to redesign those hand grips). First lesson of the day - hand saws do not make a very straight cuts... For a project perfectionist like me, this isn't cool... but I'm still not going to use the table saw yet. Wood cut to the supposedly, approximate length, I packed up the tools that I thought that I'd need. I watch Dad do this sort of stuff all the time; I should be able to do this, right? I got the wood all laid out where I wanted it to go, drilled the holes, picked up a screw, started to put the screw in, and... The screw drivers kept jumping and slipping. The screw head started to strip... Lesson learned - Make sure that you're drill bit is big enough for the screws that you grabbed. Next, make sure that you have the right driver bit. Even after these slight adjustments were made, I still can't get the screws to go in straight. Well, one cannot go about making horrific sounds like that Dewalt without someone coming to see 'how it's going.' Well, help came to the rescue after the 'check up,' and my sister and I finished the roost. 

Being the project perfectionist that I am, I don't think that I could show you pictures - it is quite a pitiful thing. There isn't a single right angle or level spot on that sucker. Maybe it's a good thing that I'm not in carpentry or the construction business. But it serves its purpose - the chickens aren't sleeping on the floor anymore. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Arrivals

Emily, holding one of her 'grandchildren'
 They hatched. The goose eggs actually hatched. We had gotten to the point where we were going to kick the goose out within the next week because she was probably sitting on duds, but no, we were wrong. Which is usual. My sister was almost in tears, she was so happy. "That makes me a grandma!" she exclaimed. Her babies had babies.

June 6, 1944 - Allied forces claimed French beach heads in an attempt to reclaim Europe from Nazis. June 6, 2012 - geese have invaded our shores. (We're not Nazi, by the way, just to clarify. We just thought that it was interesting that the goslings decided to hatch on D-Day).

They've multiplied. We've went from 2 stinkers to 5 in a day. Now that they're parents, los dos ganzos are even meaner. If you thought that they were bad to begin with, they're worse now. They're personal bubble just got bigger. A lot bigger. Before we just had to run from the gander; now we have to run from mamma too.

It's been so sweet to see how the gander is behaving with the tres minis. I guess he's making up for the time that he didn't spend sitting on the nest. ;)

I've gotta admit though... they are painfully cute. All fluffy and yellow-ish. Big eyes. Dorky little tufts on their head just like their daddy. Hopefully they didn't inherit his big kahuna attitude. The first time they took the kids out for a tour about the yard, the goslings kept falling over their still floppy, webbed feet. As they fell they rolled around and cheeped... Aww. No! Must not let their cuteness sway me! I think that this is going to be a losing battle for a while; just until they get big and mean. :P Man, I really know how to sell a product. 

Oh, and don't you wish that you could have seen me trying to get these pictures. :P I had a garden hoe in one hand and the camera in the other. Trying to get the picture of my sister with all three of the little heart-stealers was even harder. I'll leave it to your imagination to figure out what we had to do. 
I guess they don't want paparazzi around
I got all three!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Keeping you posted

Has it really been a week since we brought the goats home? Wow... That went by fast.

- We still don't really know what we're doing. ;) We don't have a rhythm, at all. It's almost a 3 Stooges act every time we go out there. 
- Some of the goats have turned into rescues. Especially our little buck, wether, and one of the doelings. 
- We're still milking the cow 3 mornings a week. That makes for an interesting schedule.
- We still haven't officially named the nameless kids. :P Although, we seem to have a literary theme going. Can't you tell we're homeschoolers? 

Until next time!