Archives for posts with tag: goat milk

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.

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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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We have been waiting for George, a miniature donkey, for several weeks. This is not an animal with which you can put into the back of a truck and ride off into the wind. In fact, good luck catching one, haltering one, loading one, unloading one so on and so forth.

Nonetheless, he arrived. Scared, bellowing (holy shit are they loud). The shorthairs were all over him, one left crying after a solid kick to the shoulder. He actually went willingly into a stall. He demonstrated, throughout the day, that he has never been stalled. Alone. Or alone just in general.

I put him next to Angel, my rogue goat. She will rush an electrified fence. Or force her way under it. She refuses to be contained. Except in her stall, but there she really has no choice anymore. I removed the built in feeders that she used to  leverage herself out of the stall with.

I need these two to be buddies. I need them to want to be together, not with me. Tomorrow brings more containment attempts. HOUDINI LIVES.

My visitors the other night (who helped me load up my goat) were Jim and Beth Rude. They are a creative, entrepreneurial, interesting, funny, and inquisitive couple. Beth is a master gardener and Jim is a food stylist. Together they created P. Dickey’s, a gourmet mushroom seasoning company based in our hometown, Janesville, WI. They brought me a farm warming gift, their Wild Shroom Seasoning. It’s made up of morel, porcini, and shiitake mushrooms, garlic, salt, spices, and more.

Which prompts me add why it is so great to be able to work from home now and again – I am able to make my lunch and eat it at pretty much the same time.

Anyhow, I cooked organic young chicken breast in a blend of oils with P. Dickey’s Wild Shroom Seasoning and some chicken broth yesterday. Having let it chill overnight, I cut it up and added some diced onions and baking raisins, never-too-much mayo, two tablespoons or raw, organic goat milk (fresh this morning), and warmed a piece or sprouted grains bread.

I ate it immediately. All of it. With a baby dill pickle. Delish.

Make that two baby dills.