Animals – Goats

November 1, 2011 – 4-Leggeds Gone

This weekend marked a different kind of milestone – something significant getting subtracted from the farm. We sold the last of the sheep and goats today. It was a bittersweet time as the four-leggeds had been part of the farm for a long time. But realistically, we have no right trying to squeeze the animals into our schedules.

So, this winter, the barn will be silent. We’ll see next spring if we can stand not having any return, but for this winter, so hay sourcing, no trudging to the barn in the cold and dark hours before dawn to attend to food and water before heading off to work.

We might enjoy the spring and not having to be around most of March or April waiting for the ewes and does to give birth. But, the animals also added life to the farm, and we are firm believers in having a complete system of animals and crops. We’ll still have chickens and turkeys to provide some fertility.

September 5, 2011 – Mulberry Treats

It’s that time of year, the time to start cutting down the weedy mulberry trees along the fences and along the edges of the property.

Fortunately, the animals eagerly strip the leaves off before I cart the branches down to the burn piles.  Mulberry is highly digestible, contains up to 28% protein, and contains high levels of many minerals.  It’s a good supplement to late season pastures as well.  The animals love it.  Each day, I can cut  a cartload and slowly free the fences and edges.

one year ago…”Emma’s Car”

May 18, 2010 – Goats on the Ground

Pearl successfully gave birth today.  Last year we just found her two newborns dead.  This year she had two kids and is fairly fierce in guarding them.

They one that looks like her is a male, named Henry and the brown one that looks like her father, Harriet.

After we found them in the pasture, we moved them to a pen to get acquainted and not lose each other.  The children went into look at the kids in the pen and she started pawing the ground, then lowered her head and the children decided it was time to leave.

one year ago…no post

May 12, 2010 – Fern Brings New Goat to High Hopes

Fern delivered her first kid!  Fern is a very undersized doe and we weren’t sure how she’d do with her first delivery.  Because she was so small, we waited two years to breed her.

doe and kid goat

But she delivered her first kid with no problems and we can now introduce you to Hazel.

kid goat

Martin had naming rights to this kid, based on the fact he was the only child home when the baby was discovered – Martin picked Hazel as the name, so Hazel it is.

one year ago…”Cadillac Mountain, Acadia National Park”

January 23, 2010 – The Ultimate Christmas Tree

Now that we’ve grown our Christmas tree, dug it out of a snowbank, dragged it into the house for the holidays and decorated it, it’s time for the 2nd to last use of the Christmas tree.

Here it is after the animals had a chance to browse the branches and even chew the bark off the tree!  The last step will be for the tree to be dragged to the site of next year’s burn pile to be the base for next December’s bonfire.  Certainly the high hopes version of the giving tree!

one year ago…”Laying Hen Update”

August 10, 2009 – Mulberry Forage

Mulberry is excellent forage – comparing favorably to alfalfa in protein content.  There is so shortage of mulberry around here, so the goats and sheep have been getting a small daily ration of trees cut out of fencelines and other places I don’t want them going.

When the pastures start to fade in late summer, it’s a good boost for the animals.

one year ago…”State Fair Day”

January 12, 2009 – PFI Conference Wrap-Up Part 2/Nellie’s Gone

We had a juxtaposition of events that causes us to rethink how we do some things around the farm. Before Christmas, Nellie,  our two-year old Nubian became thin and we had her stool tested for parasites and found she was indeed in need of treatment, so we did that and she was getting her weight back on.

In this picture from just before Christmas she is furthest to the left. The vet gave us some wormer and she seemed to be on the upswing, and put weight back on.  Last Wednesday when I was in the barn, I heard a goat bawling like one had their head stuck – I looked and everyone looked fine, but it was Nellie bawling.  I thought she may be missing the goat we recently removed from the herd. An hour and a half later Emma went to do chores and Nellie was down.  We called the vet and he was out in an hour and her body temp was 3-4 degrees below normal, he administered the usual antidotes, and asked if we had a heated building to keep her in.  We tried bringing in some heat lamps, but it was not going to keep her warm enough, so she went to the vets.

To make a long story short, while we were attending the PFI conference, we were getting updates on Nellie, none of them good.  The vet thought she ended up with some neurological damage, and cautioned us that there was a remote chance she could be suffering from rabies.  By Saturday morning it was clear she was not going to come out of it and she was put down.

All this was against the backdrop of a 3 hour session I attended by holistic veterinarian Will Winter who opened our eyes to many things we have been somewhat (opposite of proactive) about.  He made a very string case linking pasture health, mineral content of soil, and pasture brix level to herd health, particularly parasite control.  We just started using the pasture and creating separate paddocks within the last couple of years and have done some overseeding to increase plant diversity and medicinal herbs, but we have not yet performed a soil sample to see what kinds of mineral deficiencies we may have in our soil, and therefore in our pasture plants, therefore in our animals, and ultimately in us. So this spring brings a renewed emphasis on pasture improvement.

But back to the unpleasantries. So this morning, I  arrived at the vet clinic at 8:00 to deliver the goat head to the Iowa State Vet School for rabies testing.  I must admit it was unsettling to pick up a sealed foam cooler that contains the head of your goat to get a test that could lead to a series of… oh well, let’s just stop there and wait for the results.

one year ago…”Trip Redux – Six-Year-Old Style”

June 30, 2008 – Nellie the Goat

Here Nellie sticks her head out of the barn door as if to say “what ya got for me today?”

They’ve had a smorbasboard of different foods this spring. An acquaintance of a friend keeps buying 50 lb bags of various plant materials, hoping to use them for dye. They don’t quite work out as he planned, so we are the beneficiaries of 49 lbs of beet pulp, 49 lbs of ground alfalfa, and a 5 gallon container of liquid molasses. When you are a goat, it’s all good in small quantities!

one year ago…”Trees Gone Wild”

April 18, 2008 – I Feel the Earth Move

Last night was the 5.2 quake centered in Illinois. It was felt west of Des Moines, so we were in a place where we could have felt it. We think we did, but never would have thought twice about it and didn’t realize it at the time. We both woke up (this was at about 4:30 am) and it sounded like a large animal was chewing on a door or some woodwork. Linda asked what it was – I said “It sounds like a big animal chewing on the door” and not wanting to actually find a big animal in the house chewing on the door, rolled over and went back to sleep, chalking it up as “old house” or “farm noise.”

Milo is having some troubles. This morning he looked dead, with a faint heartbeat. We brought him in the house and for the first time, tubed an animal. That involved taking a tube and shoving it down the kid’s mouth about 10-12 inches down into the stomach and them injecting milk from a syringe into the stomach, via the tube. It’s one of those things that is a bit unnerving the first time you do it – put it accidently into the lungs and you drown the goat. But this goat was virtually totally unresponsive and we had nothing to lose by trying.

So Linda gave it a try. Milo laid motionless for about two hours after that on a heating pad in the house. Then he blurted out once and I was able to get him to drink some more out of a bottle. He then actually got up. Then he slept for a few more hours and ate again and seemed miraculously vibrant. I thought since he was walking around, he should go back to momma, so brought him back in the barn – but within a few hours later, he was cold and sleepy again, so he came back into the house and was used as a “lap goat” on the couch and spent the night in the house.

one year ago…”Martin Brings Home a Tree”

April 16, 2008 – Milo and Fern

We’ve been anxiously awaiting Nellie’s first birthing experience as first timers can have problems until they figure it out. Paullina gave birth 2 1/2 weeks ago. Here are Milo and Fern – a girl and boy. They are very small but seem like they might be ok. Nellie has an “oh shi#*” look in her eyes, but seems to be licking the kids and murmering to them in the proper goat way.

Here they are a few hours after birth, Fern on the left, Milo on the right.

Compared to their barn mate Solo (being held by Emma) they are shrimps. Solo was born 17 days ago and was not a multiple birth and so he looks like a giant.
one year ago…”New Driveway Gravel”

March 30, 2008 – “Solo”

The kids have officially named the baby goat.  The first name that hung around for a few hours was Henry, but eventually it turned to Solo.

The name was no doubt inspired by the fact that Solo was the first single goat born on the farm.  He’s already walking around in the pasture.  I’m thinking the next kid could be Hans.  Hans, Solo. Maybe the next kid could be Franz to to have Hans and Franz to “pump you up.” 

 It reminds me of the story of a confused student assigned to write an autobiography in a high school English class. Â  Through a google search of “Tito” the student wrote the fascinating and far-ranging story about “Marshall Tito Puente” and his amazing life as Yugoslavian dictator and latin bandmaster.

one year ago…”Mushroom Planting”

March 29, 2008 – Baby Goat!

Sometime between 8 and 10 this morning Paullina gave birth to her baby boy!

She’s a good worry-free mother who always does well with her kids.

This is the first year she’s only had one, but this guy looks big and vigorous.  If it makes any difference, we were hoping tha Paullina would give birth before Nellie, who is pregnant for the first time.  We hope she picks up some pointers from Paullina as she is close to her first birthing experience.

one year ago…”Thingamajig Thursday #65″

May 6, 2007 – Portable Fencing

Here’s a picture of our new portable electric fence.  The name of this fencing is “Permanet” as it is designed to be left up for the whole season, if necessary.  We get our electric fencing from Premier Fencing in Washington, Iowa.  Many people swear it is the best you can get. 

We’ve used some of the poultry electric netting and been pleased with it, so when we found this version that is taller and firmer, we thought we’d use it to start some rudimentary rotational grazing in the back pasture. 

This picture cracks me up – it shows that forbidden grass is always better than grass you’re allowed to eat.  The goats were just turned loose into this pasture that goes all the way to the fence in the distance over the goat’s back.  Where do they choose to eat first?  They stick their heads through a fence guarding a tree to get at the “good” grass.

one year ago…

March 20, 2007 – Life and Death on the Farm

Sometime last night, Paullina gave birth to two kids. The boy has the waddles, like his daddy, Sugar. These kids are a Nubian/Alpine mix.

Here’s Emma holding the boy with under the watchful eye of Paullina. Sadly, we lost the girl kid. We have some pens made up of cattle panels in the barn and one of the panels wasn’t entirely secured and some time during the day it fell down and the kid happened to be underneath it when it fell and it died. It’s one of those things that just wrenches your gut to see that dead nearly newborn kid.

Then you go through all the what-ifs? What if the panel hadn’t fell? What if the kid hadn’t been underneath it, what if it happened on one of the 5 days a week someone was home all day instead of one of the 2 days everyone is gone? And so it goes. Not a happy on the farm day.

In the evening, as neither of us has not yet seen an opera and a touring company was presenting the Marriage of Figaro at Stephens Auditorium in Ames, we were able to go both see our first opera. We both enjoyed it – like most things it was much better live than recorded.

one year ago…

December 8, 2006 – Photo Friday “Fresh”

This week’s Photo Friday Contest theme is “Fresh.” Here’s a shot from the high hopes archives of milk about as fresh as you can get it!

This is one of our milk goats, Paulina.

We all know there’s more than one meaning to “fresh” so keeping that in mind, and in keeping with the goat theme, here’s another photo.

Back up to about 6 months before the milking picture for Mr. Billy getting “fresh” with his lady!

one year ago…

October 16, 2006 – Sugar (Shoog-uh!)

Yesterday the good people at Morning Sun Farm brought a young Alpine goat buck when they came over to make soap. His name was alternately “Whiteface” or “Sugar” and we decided to call him Sugar, pronounced “Shoog-uh” as his job is to impregnate Paullina and Blaze. The two young boys went to the sale barn on Saturday, and the two young girls went to Two Friends Farm for a while.

Here’s Shoog-uh with one of his harem.

one year ago…

August 28, 2006 – Stuck Goat

This evening the goats were bleating like they do when one gets separated or they need help. It’s a different kind of sound than the “feed me” or “milk me” sounds.

Nellie caught her head in the fence.

Trying to get her head out every which way – neck first, nose first, and on…

Finally, it’s time for the fence bending blocks and levers to try to bend the wire just enough to release the goat. If this doesn’t work, the ultimate solution is the sawz-all!

Free at last!

Last night it started raining (about 2.25 inches worth of driving rain) about 3:30 am and strong east wind and unseasonably cold August temperatures in the mid-50’s. I started to worry about the chickens outside, but tossed fitfully until first hint of light, hoping not to see a pile of dead birds. Just one died – a turkey – but I jerry-rigged additional shelter with tarps to get them through the rest of the day.

May 27, 2006 – “Beautiful Weekend?”

The weatherman has been promising a great Memorial Day weekend, hot and maybe a bit breezy. Last night a small chance of late afternoon thunderstorms was added – but a small chance. Evidently the storm at 5 am that woke us up was 12 hours late (or early)!
This afternoon damaging winds blew through, not as part of a thunderstorm, at least not here. It made my work for the next few days clear.

I moved the chicken tractors out of the barn a few days ago to check them over as the chicks may get in them later this week. The wind wrapped it around this apple tree very nicely!
Lots of small limbs are on the ground and are on the garage roof, shed roof. A big hollow limb off a silver maple fell off in the back pasture.

There a lot of branches in the front yard snapped off, but still hanging in the trees. There were at least a dozen bird nests blown to the ground as well.

I didn’t notice right away that the back door of the barn had been ripped off as well. I heard Paullina bellering especially vigourously and went to check. I could hear a kid (goat) whining in what sounded like a part of the barn that wasn’t supposed to have goats. I went in and couldn’t find her. We still have a few layers of hay against one wall of the barn, about 6 bales high. The sound was coming from within the bales, so I started unstacking the hay. Sure enough, the kid (Millie) had gone through the place where the door had been, climbed up to the top of the hay and fallen in the crack between the hay and wall. When I got to the bottom and could see her, she wasn’t moving – her head was stuck between the bottom bale and the wall and she couldn’t lift it up – her momentum must have wedged it in pretty good. With trepidation, I pulled the bottom bale, not knowing if she had broken anything and she was fine!
We lost power and as I went out to check on neighbors, I saw the reason for the outage.

A powerline snapped at the ground in front of our closest neighbor’s house to the south – and didn’t fall to the ground because it was leaning against some trees.
The other direction from this neighbor, a big silver maple blew down (away from the house) and the small park a mile away lost trees as well.

Not exactly the “beautiful weekend” advertised! But now I know what the weatherman means when he says a “bit breezy.”

May 14, 2006 – Goat Milking

Goat milking season is in full swing. It’s good for drinking, making yogurt, and a bunch is finding its way into the freezer for goat’s milk soap.

Here’s the front end of the goat during milking.

Here’s the milking end of the goat.

Quite literally, here’s the kids at play during the milking.

I’ve got a little bit of feeling in my hands tonight of the long-time Minnesota tradition of fishing opener. It’s been cold and windy and drizzly/rainy for many days now, but this evening we went out just before dark to pull weeds from the perennial flower garden. Now my hands have that deep stiffness from the wind, wetness, and cold, much like repeatedly dipping your hand in the minnow bucket on a windswept lake in the middle of May.

This morning Martin was the perfect gentleman. As soon as Mom got up, he brought her the Sunday paper in bed. Then he brought up a cup of coffee. Then a bowl of strawberries with a dollop of whipped cream. Then some sliced pears, egg scramble, and toast, finally a piece of organic dark chocolate and bussed the dishes downstairs! This afternoon he took Mom to see a stage version of Winnie-the-Pooh. He ended the day, helping in the garden.

April 9, 2006 – More Kids!

We thought Paullina was due in a couple of weeks, but when we came home from church there were two babes in the barn. That’s the second year in a row that Paullina has given birth while we were at church. Emma was the one that found them, she had a friend come over who arrived shortly after we returned home and she and Betsy found them and ran back excitedly to the house.

Here is kid #1 a darling black and white kid (no name yet).

Here is kid #2 looks like her mother. They are both females!
We also started to plant the garden – a little bit of lettuce, beets, larkspur, and spinach.
Here are the kids are cutting up the potatoes to dry up before planting.

Here’s part of a trench to plant the spuds – just look at that rich dark soil!

April 5, 2006 – A Great Day to be Born!

Today started out well enough. In the morning Martin and I took care of some small things – we pulled out some fenceposts to move to make way for the new trees. Martin could pull them out, drag them, and lean them along another fence once I used the fence puller to get them nearly all the way out.
Then we mowed the strip where the new trees are to go.

We uncovered the garlic from the winter straw.

We unwrapped the winter wrap from the peach trees.

We got out the ladder and cut some of the middle-sized pines to a single leader on top. We added some chicken wire to the bottom of some cattle panels so the chickens couldn’t get to the new trees.

Right before lunch, we went to check on Blaze, and this is what we saw!

Blaze had given birth to triplets sometime between 10ish and 11:30. She was a dutiful mother and was licking the kids with conviction. One is very small and was not able to get up for a few hours. Although it is windy, it got up to 70 degrees today, so it was a good day to be born.

Then the UPS truck comes with the trees I was expecting Friday. So, after getting everything ready for planting, I went to State Center to get taxes signed off and pick up the girls from school so they could see the kids sooner and help with planting.

The sound of the girl’s shouts of glee when they looked in the barn and saw the kids was worth a lot of mid-winter chores and then some!
After playing with the kids for a while – Emma tenderly and confidently picking up the runt and easing the kid’s mouth into its mother’s teat was very nurturing. Blaze had all boys. Last year we had 2 boys. If you count Martin, that’s 6 straight males conceived on the farm!

Linda got home a bit early and it was great to see all five of us working to get the trees planted before dark/evening thunderstorms. Claire liked to dig holes, Emma liked to plant, Martin liked looking for worms and the rest was just hauling water and digging more holes. Eventually, Claire went in and cooked dinner for us as we finished. We finished by planting four more peach trees that came with the firs. We still have the mulching left, but all the trees are in the ground. The skies opened up minutes after getting back to the shed. More good karma.

Linda and I had a good 45 seconds of bliss as we were alone on a corner of the farm, looking down a couple rows of orchard, beyond that two full rows of conifer on the north edge stretching to the end of the property. To the right were the windbreak trees we planted when we moved in reaching 10-15 feet, and a distant view of shiny white new roof on the corn crib. After the new life, delightful experience of all of us pulling together to get more trees planted, we were able to remove ourselves from the never-ending “to-dos” and could simply enjoy what we’ve done since we arrived on the farm. 45 seconds of bliss, plus the sounds of the girls seeing the kids is enough to keep us going another year. It’s the kind of day that deserves a Morning Sun home brew from brewmaster Mike. Today is a good enough day to open one!

March 26, 2006 – Goat-Proofing Barn

Ok, so “goat-proofing” may be too optimistic a term for what we did today, but it sure sounds hopeful! Every once in a while, the goats climb over the feed bunks in the barn and get in the main part of the barn. Today, we put up cattle panels above the bunks to help them decide to stay on their side of the barn. Again, with goats, this is all theory.

If you look closely, you can see the panels up on the far wall. We also fixed one of the doors that the Billy knocked off, and fixed one door that had settled and did not close. So, now we are more ready to the kids – Paullina is scheduled to deliver this Friday.

December 23, 2005 – Dr Barnes, Goat Medicine Woman

We’ve had an outbreak of Pink Eye amongst the goats, both those visiting and resident. The treatment is similar to humans, ointment in the eye. You can imagine the fun it is to administer ointment to a goat’s eye twice a day. We had a few who had an especially bad case and needed shots of anti-biotic to help them recover. Here is Dr. Barnes, Goat Medicine woman, before administering the remedy.
goat shots

December 11, 2005 – Goats with Attitude


I’m not sure what this goat is trying to say, but she looks like she’s got a bit of a swagger to her.

Even more goats came over to be bred by Billy. Billy and Ringo have been very cozy lately – Ringo wagging her tail furiously and sticking around Billy. The goats do not like to go out on the snow – there are very few tracks out in the snow.

November 5, 2005 – Date Night at High Hopes

Today we went to fetch Billy. He and Blaze “hit it off” right away. Blaze’s tail was wiggling and happy to see Billy. We’ll have Billy for about a month before he moves on. Hopefully Paullina’s time will come as well. We can sure tell there is a Billy here – it really stinks in the barn now.

Today Maizie entered the stinking dog sisterhood by finding and rolling in something disgusting. The girls gave her a couple of baths to try to remove the smell.

It was probably a good thing after coming home from the shelter – she is reported to be much more fluffy now.

October 1, 2005 – “Billy” and coop cleanup

Today we entered into a somewhat mysterious partnership with a neighbor we don’t really know in purchasing a Nubian buck from another neighbor who is moving, cleverly named “Billy.” We need buck service for our two ladies, and the other neighbor is willing to keep the buck at her place as she had many more does to service. Anybody who has been around goats, knows this is a good deal and the Billy goats are quite pungent. We hope it works out.

Linda had her semi-annual clean the chicken coop day. It’s part of our agreement- she does manure hauling, I deal with dead (animal) bodies.

September 3, 2005 – Goat Update

Today was another market day in Grinnell. It was “Happy Days” in Grinnell, so the market location was replaced with a car show. There were many more people in town, but about the same number of market farmers. We had ramped up, expecting to sell more than usual, but it was an ordinary day. The lambskins are popular – we’re down to one left.

The baby goats are growing up.

Here’s a portrait of Thing 1.

August 22, 2005 – Non-Gas Powered Brush Cutters

Are goats part of the solution to the rising oil prices? I promised ya’all before and after pictures of an area pre- and post-goat. Due to a technical malfunction (I erased the “before” pictures – you’ve all got to remember I’m still operating with a Dell and Nikon camera, not the Televac 62000).

There is an area under some big trees that is prone to overgrowth by mulberry and other brush. It has been a pain to keep it clean via mowing or cutting with pruners or a heavy-duty weed whip with metal blades, so I turned the goats loose surrounded by our electric netting fence powered with a solar fence charger. It worked great as you can see by the following picture.


You’ll have to imagine a brushy area under the trees, with lots of 3-6 foot mulberry shrubs.

August 18, 2005 – Got Goat?

Pictures don’t get more goaty than this! Here’s Paullina standing up against the lower half of the barn door.

Number One and Number Two are growing up nicely. They suffered the fate many of us face of being born male.

I promised more milking pictures. Here they are.

Hand milking is a long lost art. Here another human gets passed down this basic farmsteading skill.

August 15, 2005 – Welcome Blaze!

I know, Blaze sounds more like a horse than a dairy goat, but a dairy goat she is. She was a ribbon winner at the Story County Fair and some neighbors bought her a few weeks ago before they knew they were moving. Getting the goat home was like a scene one may have seen in a joint episode of “Sanford and Son “and the Beverly Hillbillies. The truck was crammed full of garbage for a dump trip the next day, so we brought the “new” utility open-top trailer and Linda and the goat rode in the back.

Here’s our girl, posing.

Here’s a head shot. She’s a great milker. We let Paullina rest starting last week, so it’s nice to get some more milk.

August 7, 2005 – High Hopes Salon

Today was the day for goat pedicures at High Hopes. Nothing but luxury here! We are rookies at the goat hoof trimming experience, but here’s how it goes.
goat hoof trim

Paullina is led into the barn to the goat stanchion for trimming.

goat hoof trim

Here’s a before picture of a very overgrown goat hoof.

goat hoof trim

Linda hard at work trimming the hoof. It doesn’t hurt the goat, but the material is very hard and needs special goat shears.

goat hoof trim

Here’s a newly trimmed hoof.

goat hoof trim

A picture of all 4 hooves neatly trimmed!

Besides this, we also got the chicken house shoveled out and lots of mowing and trimming around this year’s tree planting.

May 16, 2005 – The Leaning Goat of Melbourne

We have recently started miling Paullina, our Nubian goat. We have a nice milking stanchion courtesy of some neighbors. All we had to do to use it was to add a feeding tray so Paullina could eat while she was being milked.
The milking begins traditionally enough, with Linda pulling one squirt at a time.
Soon however, this must become tiresome for Paullina, so she begins to lean on Linda, gently at first and as she continues, leaning more and more.
This reminds me of a band playing in Austin, TX at the end of the month (I was checking out the music listings for when we visit at the end of the month). I’m guessing there is not a steel guitar or mandolin in “Super Heavy Goat A#$” (last two letters of band not faithfully rendered).
I think Paullina may be leaning because whe is a) ready to be done b) wants to have the other side milked, or c) want to see her kids which have been separated from her all night.

April 11 – Goat Girls and Spiderman

Here’s today’s rainy day shot from in the barn of the the two goats and a couple of kids.
goats and girls

The girls learned about the not-so-cute part of goat husbandry today. As every parent knows, newborns have a predictable, if not variable excrement pattern. The first “discharges” are tarry and black, and once they start nursing, the semi-solid yellow follows. Well, shall we say the goats don’t have good “clearance” and much of the yellow stuff ends up stuck on the little guys. But other than that, they’ve been faithfully monitoring to make sure they are getting enough milk and getting the hang of nursing.

This morning there was a break in the rain, so “Spiderman” (a.k.a. Martin) and “Green Man” (a.k.a. Dad) went to work. We planted 11 more potted chestnuts and seeded and covered the mudhole with marsh seeds. Today’s rain has been just perfect (so far) that it hasn’t washed away the seeds. Spiderman was very good at fetching trees, putting empty buckets back on the wagon, and putting the empty containers back as well. Spiderman and Green Man actually worked faster than Green Man could have worked himself. Martin is fascinated with Spiderman, – I’m not sure where he came into contact with Spiderman, but according to Martin, he is half good and half bad. His Mom was a spider and his Dad was a Dad.

April 10, 2005 – GoatBabiesRUs

The mama goat finally decided to let loose her kids today, 5 days past her due date.

When we got back from church, they must have been only a few minutes old, a half hour at most. They are both boys (last year she had triplet girls).

I’m not sure what we’ll do not going out to the barn in the middle of the night. One of the girls usually checked around midnight and Linda around 3 am or so. What a feeling it must have been for the girls, to be up so late, walking out to the barn alone at night in the dark, wondering if when they opened the barn door, they would be the first to see the new baby goats and run back to the house to report the news to the family.

The first flowering shrub broke open today – the viburnums on the south side of the garden.
viburnum flower

March 24, 2005 – Goat Early?

When we were gone a few days ago and called home to see how things were, it was reported that “something was coming out of the goat.” Since she is pregnant, we assume it was the mucous plug and now she can birth anytime (about 2 weeks ahead of schedule).

This may complicate Easter plans as when we bought her, we thought that the april 5 due date would not interfere with travel plans. So, Linda may end up staying home.

Seventeen surveys were returned today. They are interesting and I will share them after I compile the results in a week or so. It was a very dark and rainy day, good day for a work day away from the farm.

February 26, 2005 – Got Goat

Paullina joined high hopes today. She is due to give birth April 5. Last year she had 3 female kids! She is 4 years old and we will post Paulinna’s photo on the web site soon so you can all meet her. Pauline is less than the perfect Nubian dairy goat as she evidently had her ears frozen at birth, and lacks the classic long ears of her kind.

Today Martin described himself as “Mr Cranky Pants” and no one argued with him. This accurate self-assessment will no doubt serve him well in the future. Besides class all morning and fetching goat, that is about the day. Tomorrow we can try to look at our outside fences and see (it won’t take long for the goat to show us) where they need a little help.

February 25, 2005 – Web Site Updates

Finally got the website update/redesign finished today. Still have lots to add, but for now, it is at least a bare bones presence. Was able to get outside some with Martin. We hauled and stacked Wednesday’s woodcutting. Martin is excited to become a “goatkeeper.” Tomorrow goat arrives. We made the mistake of reading the goat book, especially the what can go wrong in labor section. It’s a good thing I read the James Herriot books long ago, so I will be prepared for any eventuality.

February 24, 2005 – Got your Goat?

It’s all but official now. Permanent goat will be coming to high hopes. We have in the past performed goat-sitting, but we have just committed to buying a bred nanny. Our motivation is simple – we may nevermore run out of milk. The doe is set up to come in two days and should give birth within a month. At that time, the milking will commence. Of course, there are the minor details like building a milking stanchion and making sure the fences where goat will trod are goatproof. Daughters have promised to care for goat to best of their abilities. I’m sure this is just the first chapter of many revolving around goat.