Saturday, June 27, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday McKayla!

This past Thursday was our daughter McKayla's 5th birthday. Since she was traveling home from Vermont that day we didn't get to celebrate the event. So, today we had a birthday party for her. It was her first birthday party in which she got to invite friends over and not just family. Our good friends from SC came up for the event and some new local friends came as well.

The kids played for quite some time, then we stopped and made hand puppets, played some more, had cake, they did a bit more playing and then had a pinata to open! Everyone seemed to have a fun time!

McKayla was thrilled because she got the new bike she has been asking for and many other cool toys as well.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More goat news.

I have been bottle feeding our two 6 week old twin doelings out of our doe Mary Jane for a week and a half now in anticipation for today. Today was the day they got picked up by their new owner, Ellie, an avid 4H'er. These will be Ellie's first goats and she is very excited about them. She named them Daisy and Gracie.

Evan with Daisy.
(Evan thought the straw made him look more like a farmer.)

Evan with Gracie.

Ellie had gone to 4H congress this past week and while there attended a class on alpacas and totally fell in love. I told her she could come and work with mine whenever she wanted to. I have several that need halter training still.

Meanwhile, I have fallen totally in love with the new little buckling I brought home yesterday. He is taking to the bottle pretty quickly. He is very social and will stick around to get petted and scratched... which I find amazing for a pasture raised kid. Mine don't even do that. I will keep him locked up in the dog kennel (while I am not with him) for a few more days for him to settle in. Then he will have to move out the buck barn with our adult buck Gottaway. I hope Gottaway enjoys the company and plays nice with him. I wish I could let him romp with the rest of the goats but young Nigerians can be fertile as young as 7 weeks old and I have several does I do not want to bred yet, one of which is my last spring doeling, Emily.

Oh, and drum roll please... we decided to name him Jeepster!

I ended up following his dam's line naming scheme. His granddam is Mercedes, his dam is VW and now he is Jeepster, a fitting name for a rough and tumble boy! Plus, Neil is a big Jeep fan and owns a Jeepster as a project car so it just seemed to fit.

Oh, and the kids, the human kind, come home tomorrow... yeah!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

New Goat... take two!

Ok, I don't know how it happened that we got two new goats within days of each other but that is how life happens some times.

I was just browsing through North Carolina goat farm web pages last Friday. It is something I like to do with most stock we raise just to get a feel for what is being offered around us, how their web sites flow, what farm products they offer, etc. I really wasn't shopping for another goat... especially another buck... but I discovered at Buffalo Creak Farm a 6 week old buckling that was completely solid in color (light brown) and POLLED. He was just too perfect. I knew that if he was still available he would have to be ours! So, today baby Taylor and I drove out to get him and bring him home. And here he is:

What a cutie huh? He is of yet unnamed... and ideas? I have only eight letters or spaces to work with. His sire's name is Carson City and his dam's name is VW (like the car). I have to decide soon as I need to send in his registration along with Belva's transfer of ownership by next week.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Quiet weekend.

It is so strange not having children in the house (the baby doesn't count here). It just seems empty without them.

Since Neil's dad was batching it while Neil's mom had the kids in Vermont we drove over to visit him and bring pizza for lunch. We picked up pizza in Clarksville, VA and as we were driving through town I noticed a farm stand with fresh peaches. I asked Neil to stop so I could get some... with the promise of peach cobbler for dessert!

So, pizza and peach cobbler. An odd combination but when the local peaches are ripe you don't miss a chance to savor them.

On another note, the goat's milk soap I made Thursday night still seamed soft to me last night so I let it cure for another 12 hours in the mold.

Then today I cut them into bars. They still have to cure for about 6 weeks before use.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New goat!

This is our new goat: Belva... we will be calling her Belle.

She came from Little Flowers farm about 1 1/2 hours south of us here in NC. Stacy from Little Flowers farm was nice enough to drive her to our farm this morning. Belle is very nicely marked, has some great milking lines in her pedigree and I am happy to have her join the herd!

Oh, and the little cria, Poppy, that was born on Monday is doing well too. Frolicking around the pasture like all healthy crias should. They are such fun to watch!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Flown the coop...

Well, all is quiet in the house now.

Two thirds of my children (Evan, 7 and McKayla, soon to be 5) were picked up by their grandmother at 7:30am this morning. They are traveling to Vermont for a week to visit with family. This time every year there is a large balloon festival in Quechee, VT that they all go to. Evan got to go last year but this is McKayla's first time away from home for so long. Even though I know they will be having lots of fun I will miss them terribly.

So, for the next seven days it will be me and baby Taylor hanging out.

I have grand plans to get lots of stuff done... we will see how productive I really am.

Muscovy duck with FOURTEEN newly hatched ducklings!

I sold a pair of American Chinchilla rabbits yesterday and two of the juvenile goslings this afternoon!

Evening update: Got a new batch of goat's milk soap made up tonight. I made a cornmeal scrub soap scented with cedar and orange. It should be a refreshing soap to use after doing chores. It will be 5-6 weeks before the soap has cured enough to use. At that time I will be selling some on our Etsy site and also (hopefully) at a local farm store here in town as well.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Criation at last!

Well, after a very long wait, the first of our three alpacas that are late term pregnant had her cria today! Joy, a first time mom, gave birth while I was down at the barn doing chores. She had a beautiful little girl. It looks to be medium fawn in color (but its hard to tell for sure until completely dry).

She is strong and was up and standing within 15 minutes of birth and was nuzzled in nursing at about 30 minutes.

Joy is being a very attentive mom for her first time. I couldn't be happier!

Friday, June 12, 2009

What is that I see?

I was surprised this morning to see Emmie, one of our Anatolian livestock guardian dogs, barking at our alpaca stud, Novio, as she chased him along the fence line. This is not a behavior she usually does. I stood at the window for a second watching before I noticed a smallish sized animal with very long legs also running along the fence line after Emmie. My first thought was one of the alpacas must have given birth early this morning as I have 3 that I am expecting to birth any day now. But, something wasn't right... the neck of this long legged creature was too short to be an alpaca. I squinted my eyes up with disbelief... this was a fawn! A very tiny fawn... inside the woven wire fencing of our pasture.

I slipped on the barn boots and headed out to the pasture to confirm what I had seen. All the alpacas in the pasture were standing off to one side watching this little foreign creature in their pasture. Emmie and Berk, our LGDs, were following close behind what was most defiantly a newborn deer fawn. How it got into the pasture is beyond me and I wasn't quite sure what I should do about it. I tried at first to catch it but it just continued to run from me and slam itself into the fencing so I quickly gave up the chase.

Back at the house I called the local animal control office but had to leave a message since they weren't open yet. I waited 10-15 minutes but really felt I needed to do something, anything, to help this fawn. It didn't take long to do a search on the internet to find a name of a wildlife rehabilitator here in North Carolina. I called and spoke with the rehab person and was told to catch the fawn and put it into the woods and was assured that the mother would find it.

So, out to the pasture I go. I don't see the fawn running around anymore. But Emmie is laying quietly in the grass so I go over to see her. As I get closer I can see the fawn in the grass at Emmie's feet safe and sound. As I get even closer Emmie starts in with a low growl and shows her teeth. She has decided that this fawn is her charge and is protecting it... even from me.

With no hope of reaching in to get the fawn without Emmie removing part of my arm I headed back to the barn. I hadn't fed the dogs yet this morning and I hoped that food would tempt Emmie away from the fawn. It worked, but not easily, she did not want to leave the fawn alone in the field but her empty stomach won in the end. Emmie came down to the barn and I locked her up in the stall with her brother to eat like I do every morning.

Back out at the fawn I went and very slowly as I was afraid it would pop up and run without Emmie there. But no it lay still as I reached down to pick it up. I tucked its little legs in tight to make it feel safe while I carried it. I stood not 20 feet from the wood but our 6 foot high woven wire was between it and me and no gate. We had to walk away from the wood toward the barn, go through the gate there and then walk all the way around the pasture to get to the other side of the fence by the wood. I went about 50 feet into the wood and found an open space in the trees that still had some cover. I put the fawn down and because I could feel it want to bolt away I held it firm to the ground until it relaxed. I stepped back and the fawn stayed still for a moment and then slowly raised up and made its way into the brush.

I truly hope the doe finds her fawn once all is quiet and our scent is cold. But I never will know for sure...

Friday, June 05, 2009


This was what I saw out my kitchen window this afternoon...

This is our turkey hen that has been raising up its own single poult. The babies like to catch a ride now and then.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Homemade yogurt.

It has been a while since I have routinely made homemade yogurt so today I thought I would whip up a batch.

After scalding the milk I cooled it to about 110F, added the live yogurt culture, some sugar and flavor extract, poured it into my glass yogurt jars and set in the yogurt maker for 8 hours.

After the 8 hours it is placed in the fridge overnight and will be eaten for breakfast... yumm!