|Big Pink Farm||
When seven of your dairy goats give birth within the space of four days, it gets a little crowded in the barn.
Many people think that farm life is so peaceful and quiet, but to me, it's noisy. I don't think it's because I have exceptional hearing, but rather because I have an exceptional sensitivity to sounds. So just for fun, I tried to capture some of the animals sounds on the farm. The goats, chickens, cats, and wild birds were cooperative, but the cow steadfastly refused to make any noise except for some sniffing.
(I should point out that he's not really a cow, per se. He's a castrated male Holstein 9 month old calf that we're raising for meat for the freezer. It's just easier to say cow. We raise one like him every year. Because he's a dairy breed, we won't get the same yield as a beef breed, but for us, it's a good way to feed a large family.)
Enjoy the noise!
And now for something completely different, a very old and very silly cartoon just in time for Halloween.
This past weekend, I took a trip to eastern Kentucky with some of my favorite people for Alice Lloyd College's Appalachia Day. Like last year, I sold my handmade goat milk soap and Natalie sold her handmade jewelry, but mostly it was an excuse to visit my college girl. And of course, with the ever-looming anniversary of Maxwell's death, October could use a bright spot.
And now, commence with the poorly-framed and hastily snapped photos.
Would you like to watch a short video? Of course you do. This is a new song for the Voices of Appalachia, Natalie's college choir. It is based on a poem by James Stills, a former poet laureate of Kentucky, and composed for them by a friend of the choir director from Cornwall.
(The wind was wicked during their performance, and this is the first time they sang it for an audience. Given those constraints, I think it's still quite lovely.)
I arrived home on Sunday night to a large package. In it were two quilts that were lovingly and painstakingly created for me by my mom. I could describe them to you, but instead, I think I'll show you.
You're looking at Max's t-shirts. I am undone.
I was late to school today. We're nearing the end of the semester, and it's starting to feel like I'm late for everything, even my thoughts.
In between classes I took a moment to check my Facebook on my phone. Facebook likes to remind me of things that I posted about last year, the year before, and so on. Naturally, since I'm a sucker for nostalgia, I took a look.
Apparently, my goats have an organized and coordinated effort to escape their shackles. And also, apparently, I write about it every year.
You might chalk this up to random happenstance, but I'm not so sure. I think there might be an animal conspiracy at work here. Further evidence (like I need more, because hello? I think I made my case already): tonight at dinner I learned that one of the lambs broke out of his enclosure shortly after I left for school.
They're coming for you. You've been warned.
This is Sally. In October of last year, Sally and her herdmates were each bred to our Lamancha buck so that in the spring, they would have babies. And we would have milk.
(Goat pregnancies last about 5 months, so the time is near for babies to be born.)
A couple of weeks ago, Calvin -- my intrepid 10 year old goat farmer -- told me that Sally wasn't eating like the rest of the goats and that she spent much of her time lying down.
This is almost always bad news.
Fearing the worst, I went down to the barn to check her out. I did a thorough examination and could find nothing wrong with her. Her temperature was fine. Her eyelid color was nice and pink. Her poop looked normal. She wasn't in pain, and her respiration was normal. She was chewing her cud, and when offered food, she ate it with gusto.
So I concluded that she was just in the very end stages of pregnancy and didn't have the energy to fight the other goats for access to the hay feeders. And then I prayed that I was correct in my diagnosis.
This past Sunday morning, as the family was scrambling to eat breakfast, get dressed for church, and finish all the animal chores, Calvin hollered from the door: "SALLY HAD BABIES!"
Well alright then! All hands on deck in the barn!
Three babies! That's a lot for a goat. It's not unheard of, but it certainly explains her general malaise for the past two weeks.
All's well that ends well.
I'm just going to leave this here, because hello? Baby goats!
The cuteness is strong. Resistance is futile.
With the help of worms, of course!
The garden is well established, and if I was a more consistent blogger, you'd know what it looks like now. Very weedy. But aside from the weeds, everything is coming up gangbusters. Potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, swiss chard, beets, green beans...it's all good. I just don't have photo proof yet, because I'm a slacker. So you get to see photos from over a month ago instead.
Gardens don't just plant themselves, of course. They need help. They need worms, bees, chickens and humans.
It is hard to believe that it has been one year since our website went LIVE! online. One year ago I was welcoming you all to our little space and now here we are again: one year older and hopefully a little wiser.
See you next month!
I should post updates more often. I really should. I mean, lots of interesting stuff happens here (or at least, it's interesting to ME). I should stop playing that really addictive game on Facebook and start a new blog post.
We're going to be processing the last batch of meat chickens for the year in a few days. Maybe Friday? I hope it will be warm and sunny by then because right now the weather forecast says SNOW tonight and tomorrow. SNOW! It's still October. We're still on Daylight Savings Time, for crying out loud!
In other news, the baby is still cute. See? She likes to stand in the field and help us move goats around to fresh pasture.
Soon there won't be any fresh pasture to move them to, and we will have to move them to their winter quarters and feed them hay. We have bred a handful of goats - two dairy and four meat - for January kids. Those goats will get to live in the barn because having kids in January is stupid. So we'll be ready with heat lamps to keep those kids warm and dry and alive. The rest of the goats are going to be bred for April kidding, which is much more sensible. So now you know.
It has been and still is my intention to get it together enough to write one more post - this time about the county fair - before the month is over. I still have one more day!
Much of the blame belongs to me, Alison. I am: Wife to 1 man, Mom to 10 kids, and Farmer to a great many critters.