Archives for posts with tag: dairy goats

I approached the farm, slowed down early enough to spot a stranger in the herd. Little did I know there were two strangers. Words fail. Pictures will suffice. Congratulations to http://www.opiesgoats.com for the first two of many great additions to 2013!Peanut with baby boys

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Louise with her twin boys, Walker and BarrettI went to feed Louise yesterday and Barrett was gone. Baby Barrett was missing. We searched low but not high and frantic can’t describe how I felt. I let Louise out to help point the way but no luck. No Barrett. Then I heard a little cry. Baby Barrett had escaped UNDER their fence (I’ll never understand how he fit) and went to visit his sweet Uncle George, our miniature donkey. He had climbed to the top of George’s giant hay-bale bed and fell through – he was literally stuck between and under bales of hay! JP dug him out and George’s company, invited or not, was carried back to his mother, uninjured.

The animals are more quiet than usual today. The weather is perfect, not to hot but not at all cool and a thin, thin layer of clouds that lay more like a thin blanket in the sky than the cottonball formations, cumulus clouds, whatever you call them and now this is a terribly structured sentence.

Anyhow, it is peaceful, quiet and laid back here today. If I didn’t have to work I’d be laying in the sun on my zero-gravity chair, dozing in and out of the early stages of sleep. But I have to work.

It is so quiet today, in fact, that not even George, the donkey, has made a sound. He is not a fan of the heat or the bugs that bug him as long as the sun is out. Every hour or so I see him saunter out of his lean-to and walk his patrol – he really takes his job, as guardian, very seriously.

Louise and her kid bucks shift between fierce dining sessions and equally fierce naps. I envy them. Louise is eating her cud during her slumber (I am grateful I do not eat and cannot eat in my sleep). As ruminants, goats have four stomachs and it is best for them to lay and rechew their food for about four hours a day. I think she hit four hours of said activity by noon today!

Anyhow, this is what it’s all about. Embracing days like this, when I can say, write, feel and enjoy a peaceful day on the farm.

Just in case you did not know, I am telling the world right here on WordPress.com that I named my baby goats Walker and Barrett after the candidates in our Governor recall election here in Wisconsin. The goats are much cuter and not at all argumentative. They are so unlike their political counterparts, in fact, that they are sporting red and blue collars for their respective parties in order to provide a hint as to the source of their names. This is a historical election and still there are people who do not get the joke. Many even ask why I didn’t name them Walker and Texas Ranger. Really?

This is just nuts. The heat, the lack of rain, the humidity, the inability to do much – of anything. There is a deeper sadness, a fear, that comes with going weeks without rain, especially in the Midwest. Everybody is thinking about crops, the cost of corn, ethanol, the supply of sweet corn – not just for now but for years to come. One bad year equals a decade of unforeseen expenses. F’in drought is depressing.

I’ve never regretted waking up to sunshine before. I am actually aware that regret is not the correct word, but I’m too drained to go back and change it. Make due. You know what I mean. Deep in my bones I am craving a storm. I’m sick of the heat, the burnt grass, the short stalks of corn, and carrying twice as much water out to the animals every day. I’m sick of the dust and the boredom in my animals eyes. It’s too hot for them to even play, if only a little bit.

Mother Nature is f’in pissed and she is paying us dearly for it.

Urbal Girl

If you didn’t know, strip grazing is a technique used by organic and Amish farmers to reduce and eliminate parasites in livestock. By moving animals in a certain order, cows, then chickens and ducks, then sheep, etc., the parasitic cycle cannot thrive and oftentimes cannot survive at all.

My goats and their donkey have been in parallel strips of pasture for a week or so now. The grass is eaten down and it is time to move them. Parasites live nearer to the roots of the grass, thus moving the livestock before the grass is to short is critical.

It is not as easy as it sounds when one has to consider shelter for the animals and access for the farmer to get in and out of the field for any of many reasons.

For me it is a staring down process. I go out to the pasture, stare at…

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So this morning I went to the barn, milked Angel. Went to the pasture, watered, tightened the fence line, said my hellos to the goats and their new miniature donkey, George. Came back to the house, drank coffee, filtered milk, packed my lunch, jumped in the shower.

As I got out of the shower I heard some noise outside. Opened the blind. There they all were. My goats, my donkey. Looking at me through the window. The goats had their hooves on the house, peering into the window.

It was cold, mind you. Cold. I dressed. Barely. Didn’t grab my glasses. Just walked out of the house. Right past them toward their field. The goats followed. George, the donkey, well he quite liked the dirt border around the porch and decided to roll in it. I kept walking. He had the nerve to get up, rotate, and roll on his other side.

He then got up and ran to join the group. All but my naughty goat Peanut followed me into their fence line. I wrangled her soon after, closed up the fence only to find the ground wire wasnt connected to the energizer (it electrifies the fence).

I guess they wanted to find me, their mom. And they did. How did they know I was in the shower?