Monday, February 27, 2012
Does anyone know whether or not the groundhog saw his shadow this year? I'm hoping for an early spring. The only signs I have seen thus far are the buds on my maple tree, as seen in my attempt at photography. My grapes aren't budding yet (as you can also see in the other pic) and that's not a good sign. But my roses are sprouting new shoots, so maybe I just have a season-confused yard? Either way, I can't wait until March 21st, when I can celebrate having survived another wet, cold, snowy Northwest winter! Oh, and another date to celebrate: March 10th. . . that's the night we spring foprward on our clocks! Blessed daylight!
Thursday, February 23, 2012
I've named my baby girls, finally! The interesting part about naming them has been the correlation you have to extend from mom's name to baby's name. See, because of the pedigree, the names have to flow together. For instance, the mom of one of my doeling's, Jingle, actually has the full name Jingle Bell Rock. Jingle's real name is Rock and her Mom's name is Bell and her g'ma's name is Jingle. (I think that's how it went.) See how the word play goes down the pedigree line? I then had to come up with a name that flowed and attached itself to Jingle Bell Rock. So I gave it lots of thought and I came up with Star. Which is fitting because Star is chocolate brown with a white "star" on the top of her head. And when she kids, I will name one of her baby's Gazer! The other doeling I am getting, her mom's name is Dreamer. That's it. Just Dreamer. Which was nice because it required less thinking. With this name, I didn't want to start a word association game like Star's, so I kept it simple and just picked out a name that I really like but flows nicely with the sound of Dreamer. I picked Arabella. It is pronounced, in my world, like Air-uh-bell-uh. It means "prayerful". I think it's fitting for the circumstances in which I was prayerful for them. And still am.
I find it curiouser and curiouser that I don't have them yet, but the experience has taught me so much already. I realized and learned this week that my want of them has to be recognized as a gift from God and held with open hand. The more I close my fist around the gift, the more I become a control freak and worry about details. I don't need to be that way. Prepared yes; obsessive, no.
Stand by for more pics. I am expecting some soon!
Monday, February 20, 2012
So. . . the girls are coming home the weekend of March 24th! That's a couple weeks earlier than planned, but they are being bottle-fed and I get to have them to bottle-feed, too!
It makes my heart skip a beat when I think about how soon that is versus how much there is to do still. We still have to cross-fence the 940 square feet we have set aside for them, order supplies and food, re-roof the goat shed. . . I am happy-stressed and excited! I feel like a kid waiting on Christmas Day!
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I am discovering quickly that having just two goats is definitely an investment and is not cheap. I hold onto the fact that someday it will level out and maybe even pull ahead. But that's not for awhile. A long while. Emotionally, I am okay with it; I know that it will all work out and that everything will be provided for!
I have vowed to not go to JoAnn's until May because my frivolous spending there can be applied towards the baby girls. I have vowed to get serious on where I shop for groceries and coupon usage. And cheaper meals. I am also staying away from eBay! Which is super-difficult for me because it's so convenient to just hop on the computer and browse eBay. Whenever I feel tempted, I go find something to do for the goats, even if it means rereading some material I have. I am also cutting back by not getting my nails done; I am back to stubby-chewed nails, lol! Which I think is better anyways since I don't wanna have fake nails while dealing with animals.
Making all these "sacrifices" really puts into perspective how serious I want to be about making the kids a priority. I know making sacrifices is going to grow old. But I intend to push through.
Saturday, February 18, 2012
I found a quote that suits me and although it has nothing to do with goats, I wanted to share:
I don’t want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with grass stains on my shoes from mowing Sister Schenk’s lawn. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor’s children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone’s garden. I want to be there with children’s sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived. ~ Marjorie Pay Hinckley
Thursday, February 16, 2012
I'd like to introduce you to my dogs, Angel (the black lab) and Truffle (the mini poodle). They are my source of much laughter, as they are cheap entertainment! Angel is over six years old and Truffle is my baby at seven months old. We often call her Trouble because she's always up to something. It's like having an eighteen month old in the house! She chews on everything, I find the most interesting things in her mouth that she's carrying around (getting ready to chew on). I think the latest was a dryer sheet. I am constantly on the look out around the house for what Truffle can get into. But she's so sweet and cuddly. She knows when I'm upset and has climbed in my lap to lick my tears (which I didn't let her do since she has eaten cat "truffles" in the past--a habit which I quickly and hopefully broke her of). She is so funny with Angel and loves to play with anything, including the cats. She's all puppy!
Angel is my old girl. She is set in her ways, doesn't care much for Truffle's constant play unless it's on her terms and then she pushes Truffle around like a rag doll (Truffle loves it). They are a span of 58 pounds versus 7 pounds. Angel had issues when she was a puppy and for months she would only eat from our hands and drink water when we weren't looking. She often flinched and to this day she's not crazy about small spaces. But she is super-dog friendly and has a boyfriend named Mac. Angel is a lover and loves to rest her head on our laps. She's all lab with the chickens; she's killed two and I know I will have to keep a weary eye on her with my goats. I'm not worried about Truffle, but Angel I will watch like a hawk.
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
I didn't get the first choice doeling, the all black one, but I did acquire the chocolate and black doeling, her sister. As of today, it will be a done deal. I will be a mommy to two beautiful doelings and come April, they will be a part of our family! Btw, this photo is also courtesy of Left Foot Farm. I need to give due credit!
This is a picture, courtesy of Left Foot Farm, of a buck and doeling born to Dreamer on February 10th. The buck is the all black with the white top and the doeling is MINE. Well, so far! (I gotta pay for the sweet thing.) The other doeling I am hoping for was born to Jingle on February 13th. She is all black. In fact, she kinda looks like this buck, lol! If I get her, I will post pictures later.
Dreamer was bred to Jester, a Chenango-Hill buck. Both dam and sire are fine specimens and I am really lucky to have acquired their baby. Apparently, Chenango-Hill goats are well-known for their conformation and udder size--if I am saying this right. In layman's terms, they produce great milkers and win lots of shows for their good looks/body shape. Dreamer is already a winner in milk production, so I am super-excited to see what this little doeling can do!
Emotionally, I am so wound up to get these gals. I am really pouring my heart and soul into this endeavor. I am constantly going back and forth about my ability to do this. I know I can, but the fear creeps in that I'm not good enough. Instead of letting it get me down, as Fear would like to do, I am taking this as a challenge to show Fear who's boss!
Hi! I'm here to tell you about my life experiences with mini-farming. How loud can I say EXCITED??? I am so stoked about this adventure that I am kinda jumping the gun--I have no goats yet! Well, they are in the process of being acquired. . .
So deciding to goats was not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants decision. It's something I said I wanted to do since we moved into the Little Red House, three years ago. I became more serious about last year and then a few months ago, I really started to get the fever.
Originally, I wanted to invest in pygmy goats because I knew that I only have barely an acre to work with. I also knew I liked them because well, who hasn't pet a pygmy at the pumpkin patch or petting zoo? They are such agreeable little guys! So I researched and did more reading. In the process, I tripped across the words "Nigerian Dwarf Goat". Out of sheer curiosity, I clicked on the link and upon seeing the picture of the goat, I was smitten. Then I read about them. I was sold.
Like the pygmy goat, the Nigerian Dwarf goat stems from West Africa. The two were actually confused as one until I think it was the 40's or 50's. What's different about the two tho, are the conformity of the body: pygmy's are cobble-legged and more barrel-shaped, whereas the Nigerian Dwarf goat is literally a mini-full-sized-dairy goat. The ND goat has more suave to the shape of her body; longer legs, longer neck, etc. And upon my reading, I discovered they are actually considered a little sweeter in disposition. They also birth their babies with less problems than a pygmy. That's always a plus. ND goats stand about an average of 19-21 inches high, so they are still a small animal for my small "farm".
So my journey took a turn. Unfortunately, has been more difficult to find information on ND goats than pygmy's. For general care, they are almost exactly alike, tho. And finding the information was overwhelming, so I compiled a notebook of all the useful information I found. When I printed it, it was 205 pages long. I would say two-thirds of the notebook is probably about estrus (being in heat), conception, gestation, and kidding (birthing babies). I am rereading the notebook as I have spare moments.
In my search, I discovered that I wanted to buy from a real breeder, not a "backyard breeder". I wanted someone that would answer questions, know the history of their goats, had pedigree papers, etc. I want the real deal. When I looked at different breeders, my area is dotted with breeders from Oregon to Central Washington. I only wanted to buy from someone who also had a respectable, updated website. And then over the three I found, I prayed and I was led to Melissa and Jeremy at Left Foot Farms. I emailed Melissa and was just thrilled to get a warm, receptive response!
Since communicating with me, and already answering a plethora of silly questions, they invited us to their farm. I wish I had taken the camera with me; it was amazing! I don't think I have ever been on a farm that was so CLEAN. I mean, organized, too! And the kids were beautiful, the goats ran up to us and nibbled on our clothes. . . I was in goat heaven. (Nina was smitten, too. She got a little cold, but before she climbed in the Jeep to warm up, she whispered, "Buy me a goat!" I can't say how Dominic is taking it, as he had a head cold that was kicking his butt and he really could have cared less about anything.)
Scott and I discussed things and we picked our babies. Aww, poor Scotty. He has been sucked into one of my "schemes" again. He definitely did not let me have my way without getting the full scoop on everything. I really think him talking to Jeremy and getting another man's perspective was super-helpful. Scott's point of view on this new adventure is this: it's an investment and he wants to see an eventual return. Not an overnight return, but just at least get out what we are putting in. For us, this is a major deal, financially. And he is keeping that in mind. I see goats, he sees dollar signs. It's a good balance because he keeps me in check and I soften him up a little.
So meanwhile, since the trip to Left Foot Farm, I have measured out the fencing for the goats and staked markers for the poles. They have 940 square feet of roaming space and I read that each goat needs 250. So far, so good. I think what it really comes down to, at this point, is actually doing the deed and getting the experience.
My two doelings (girls) should be ready mid-Aprilish to come home and I got lots to do until then!