Category Archives: Golden Guernsey goats

Peanut’s big moment

Peanut’s last bottle

The time has come.  Our little girl is almost 6 months old, and she finally, finally, had her last bottle a day or two ago!  Yay for our Peanut!

I know it seems like a long time, and under normal circumstances we would not have let a kid bottle feed for this long, but it just seemed to be doing her a lot of good.  She didn’t take to grain very easily or quickly, and I think she needed it.  Our Twig the Tank is still nursing on her poor mother Eleganza, and you can definitely tell :*)

Peanut’s hoof trim

In the morning we are still giving Peanut a grain share, but she eats it outside the paddock.  No one else gets morning grain, but since Peanut is really a person and not a goat, she has to come out and help us with the chores anyhow (i.e., standing/jumping on the pile of hay that we carry in a canvas sling – this hurts -, racing back and forth from the driveway to the back of the paddocks, flying onto and off of the milking stand, and so on), so it just makes sense that she can have her feed in peace.  But now instead of having a milk chaser after her grain, she must make do with water.  She is still complaining, but not very hard…  I think she was ready.

Twig gives up the fight

Peanut and Twig were not very impressed last week when it was hoof trimming day!  Our friend Emily, a shearer, comes every few months to help out with the feet, which is very hard on the back for me these days.  We didn’t put the littles on the milk stand like the mamas (their heads would just come back through the stanchion), so Emily had to sit them down on their butts.  Goats have extremely pointy, bony behinds, unlike most sheep, so Peanut kept sliding over, where she just stayed in the end.  Twig twisted around and landed on her back  and just gave up,   although I got the big stink eye from her.

Reddog the studly one

And so it goes.  The weather is gorgeous, cool nights and warmer days.  The bucks are in bucky heaven, pissing copiously all over their faces, beards and legs.  They are very impressed with themselves and are ready for action.  (Too bad there won’t be any girly time until almost November!  Poor things.)  I am looking forward to a beautiful autumn season, and am trying to enjoy every moment of the crickets and the grasshoppers and the singing of the tree frogs while I can.  I think I miss that most when the windows get closed and the frosts come.  But we still have awhile yet.  It’s all good.

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Houdini Hagrid saves the day

Hagrid is still a sweetie! (And he is finally growing a beard!!!)

This past week has been crazy as usual.  Lots of goings and comings, but in between all of those, we kept noticing that our little buddy Hagrid (Pippi’s baby of this year), was always on the wrong side of the paddock enclosure where he is housed with Reddog.  He and the big guy get along famously, they never fight, they eat in peace together and things have been going extremely well.  So we have been scratching our heads and wondering where he could have been escaping from.  We walked the fence lines multiple times, beefed up a few joins here and there, but we could see no way that he was getting out.  (Luckily, when he gets onto the other side of the fence, that is a large fenced area at this time, because that is where we are letting our moms graze a few hours each day after milking.  Needless to say, we have not been able to let our moms in there for the past week, because I definitely don’t want anyone bred this early!).

Hagrid on the other side of the fence, again!

Sam has been out there diligently watching and waiting, but the minute we turn our backs, out the little guy is again, and we did not catch it.  Sam puts him back in, we walk away, and 10 minutes later we see him on the wrong side.  One night he must have gotten out there just at twilight, because after it got dark, Sam heard him wailing piteously from his hidey-hole under the tractor.  So out he went to rescue the little guy.

Fence mend

We had come to the conclusion that he was scrambling over the cattle panel and dropping to the other side, although none of the panels over there are droopy or springy in any way.  Finally, on Wednesday afternoon we were out at the usual chore time, and Hagrid was doing his Houdini impersonation for us, but this time Sam caught sight of him out of the corner of his eye, just in a flash.  There Hagrid was, with his head and one leg and shoulder through the fence!  What we did not realize is that there was a square of galvanized fence missing, it must have come away at some point, right behind where we always had a hay bag hanging.  In all of our fence line searches, we never looked squarely at the fence itself, only at where each panel joined up to the next one.  Who knew!  He is still small enough to shimmy himself through, but he never could get back!  There must be a sharp edge there on the opposite side.  And so the mystery was solved.

Wheel barrow full of Nightshade. Yuck!

But in the meantime, as I was standing there trying to figure out how he was getting over the fence, while he grazed very unconcernedly at my feet, I realized that along the fence right at that spot, was a whole viney patch of Nightshade!  OMG!  We usually have giant pumpkins growing in that swath of ground, but this year we do not.  I wonder if it had been getting bold, growing under those enormous elephant ear pumpkin leaves, and taken hold.  I could not believe it.  If Hagrid had not been escaping, I don’t think I would have noticed the Nightshade until it was to epic proportions, or until one of our does got sick from it.  Hagrid wasn’t munching on any of it, nor do I think he had, but it almost gave me another heart attack!  Ah!

I wonder if Hagrid knew it was not a plant he wanted any part of, but  whether or not it’s the case, I am extremely relieved that our attention was drawn to that area and the nasty plant has been removed.  I am going to go over that whole paddock again before we let any of the girls back in there, and maybe after this lovely rain, it will be easier to pull out if I do find more.  I hate that stuff!  But in the end, what a relief.  And so it goes :*)  Hagrid definitely deserves some treats!

August already!

Peanut, helping herself to the chair

It’s so easy to say: the summer is just slipping and sliding by.  But it is!  Our crew is getting steadily smaller as the babies go off to their new homes, which is both happy and sad for us.  It’s a lot quieter here, although the wild bird song in the early morning is a joyous racket these days.  And as the peepers have slackened off their singing at night, I have been noticing that the grasshoppers and crickets are beginning to chime in to what I always think of as the end of summer music.  For living out in the woods, we have plenty of nature’s sounds to enjoy!

Poor Twig

Things are ticking along pretty well, with the usual monkey wrench thrown in here and there.  Our pretty little girl Twig had been fighting an eye infection last week, and I thought it was gone, only to have it pop back up again a few days ago.  I do think that Twig has taken the loss of her sister and her two good friends, Saffron’s girls, pretty hard, so it doesn’t totally surprise me that she is a little compromised, but she does still have her mama, so I am not going to actively wean her.  I am getting about 1.5 quarts from Eleganza, her mother, at each milking, so I am not complaining about sharing!

Lots and lots of beautiful milk

As for the milk and the cheese making, it is going great guns here.  Going so hard, I had to freeze some milk late last week so I could take a breather for a day or so!  If my cardiac rehab schedule was not three days a week in Brunswick (which is a ride in the summer traffic), I could alternate days for making more than just chevre.  I did carve out some time to make some Halloumi a week or two back, and it was awesomely good.  We don’t seem to be able to get it around here, so it’s a fun cheese to make from time to time.  And I keep wanting to get going on aging some cheese, but have not quite gotten it together to do so.  I have some plans for that, however, hopefully soon!

Our summer weather has been amazing so far.  Not too many hot and humid days, and lovely cool nights.  Not great for the tomato and eggplant growth, but good for sleeping and enjoying the air.  And so it goes.  I hope everyone is finding something to enjoy this summer!

 

Best laid plans and July catch-up

Peanut browsing while Battie finishes her meal on the milkstand

Things have kind of gotten away from me.  I have been so busy I don’t know if I am coming or going some days.  I do Monday/Wednesday/Friday cardiac rehab appointments in Brunswick, which is about 25 miles from here, and I need to factor in the summer traffic on Route 1, which makes for a day that is quite foreshortened.  It’s craziness, but necessary.  And so by the time I get home around 12:30, things get on a roll, and some days I don’t even get dinner organized until close to 8 PM.  Not the best laid plans, for sure.

Seriously cool climbing opportunities

But the farm has moved gently into the summer and things are going well on the whole.  Peanut came down with a case of coccidiosis, but the treatment took care of it and she is cruising along nicely.  We had to cut her milk consumption back quite a bit while she had it, and we have not returned the amounts to the previous, even though she has done some pretty loud complaining about that.  She is 13 weeks old, and it’s time to look at some weaning, so she is down to two 8 ounce bottles per day now.  Much easier, and as a result she is eating a little more grain which is important for her.  She is a just over 30 pounds, and loves to come out of the paddocks and race around with us while we are doing stuff.  She is good entertainment value and a real sweetheart!

Saffron’s girls ready to get into the car :*(

And today Saffron’s girls were picked up by their new owners and are on the road to their new home in Massachusetts.  They will be in good company with Nubian goats and some Icelandic sheep.  One of the girls was a little anxious, but I got a text from their new owner saying that they ware asleep in the back of the car and doing well.

Peanut is snacking on the dinner buckets!

And so it goes.  We now only have 3 little doelings for sale.  It’s going to be quiet around here pretty soon!  Twig got used to being sister-less pretty well, and none of the moms seem to mind having their babies weaned from them.  We are chugging along with the milking and the cheesemaking.  A few of the moms still have babies on them and I am getting more milk than I actually have room for in the refrigerator!  A nice problem to have, really.  I won’t complain, my milking and cheesemaking year is a short one.  :*)

Finally, two days of sun!

Saffron with her babies, moping about the grey and wet weather

Yes, this week we finally have had two consecutive days of sun.  It must be a plot to make us think that spring and/or summer might just be here!  We are supposed to have rain tomorrow, but they say the weekend will be gorgeous again.  That’s more like it!

Batch #2
Hagrid in the foreground, Mayo is by the old feeder

Well, we have been busy here on the farm.  We moved Jingle the donkey back in with Reddog the buck, so Fergus the wether could babysit the two bucklings, Hagrid and Mayo.  They really needed to be off their mamas…  Hagrid is very mature for his age and he was seriously practicing his humping skills on anyone who stood still.  At 8 or 9 weeks old, he shouldn’t be able to breed any of the girls, but you just never know!  This is a much safer solution.

As a result, Hagrid’s mama, Pippi, is all mine to milk.  That’s a celebration all by itself right there!  It’s so wonderful to get a decent amount of milk to get going with cheese again.  I started my 3rd chevre batch of the year yesterday, and so far things are going very well.  It’s always so satisfying to get those little cheeses wrapped up and ready to go.

Peanut has gone from lounging in the recliner to napping next to the rock pile

On the Peanut front, she is now 9 weeks old and she is beginning to slow down on her bottle feeding amounts.  I am hoping that in another week or so we can bump her back from 3 to 2 per day.  That middle of the day feeding can be a pain if we all are out and about during the day.

Five of our 8 babies that were for sale are spoken for, and so we really just have to find homes for Dorcas’ two doelings and Edna’s little girl.  Not too bad!

Slowly

Peanut lounging in one end of the old greenhouse this morning

But surely spring is showing itself to us.  The end of this past week was very warm, unnaturally so, but this weekend has been mostly sunny and breezy, with more normal temperatures in the 60s (F).

Battie’s beautiful girl watches from the back of the greenhouse

As the leaves are finally popping out, we have been moving toward making the new greenhouse more amenable in the warmer weather.  We already removed all the sectioning panels that we had up during the kidding months, and Sam cleaned out all the old straw, hay and debris.  The last of the ice that was lingering under all those layers of straw is finally gone!  It’s a big, wide open space now so the girls can find a spot with their babies without getting nudged by someone else.

Open greenhouse gable end, difficult to see properly

The only thing left to do, however, was to figure out when it would be advisable to take the plywood off the driveway gable end of the greenhouse.  That end was totally closed off, which is the north side, so it was a huge help during the winter.  But now it is becoming important to get some air moving through there, so Sam took it down on Friday.  It has made a big difference, and I am glad, it was time!  I am not a fan of really hot, humid weather, but when it does come, at least we will have about as much air circulation as possible.  The goats seem to appreciate it, and our Peanut has another vantage point from which to watch for our approach!  She is using it well :*)

Baby pile in the morning sun

I was able to sneak up on her this morning and get a photo after she had her bottle and was lounging next to another baby pile.  They were all happy and dozing in the sun.

Peanut’s new adventure

Peanut having breakfast (she is on the left)

The weather has finally cooperated and we finally made the move to having Peanut stay out with the other goats all night.  She is effectively a “real” goat now!

She remains the smallest of all the babies out there, even though she is 7 weeks old today, but she is doing very well with the others. She has not had any crying jags out there at all, either, except when it’s very close to bottle time.  We have not gotten her onto 3 bottles per day instead of 4, but we moved the last feeding of the day to 8 PM, instead of 9 (once it’s pretty dark outside the goats tend to be bedded down, and if we go up there, everyone gets all riled up).  It doesn’t seem to bother her!

One thing I can truthfully say, it’s quite a relief to have her out of the house… even though she was only inside for a little bit of the evening and about a half hour in the morning, she has grown so much and is so strong now that she can just about jump onto any table or pile of newspapers without giving it a thought.  Talk about chaos!  It was exhausting supervising her.  I have only tackled a little bit of the cleanup in the house that it’s going to take, but there is no rush.

And so our little House Goat is growing up, but her cuteness remains intact.  I don’t think that will ever change!

(It’s difficult to get photos of her because every time I go into the pen she runs up to climb on me.  The photo above is about the only one I have been able to successfully take in the last few days).

Peanut is growing up!

Even though we are having a pretty grey run of weather with never ending mud, the days are just flying by.  I have been getting a backlog of spinning projects going, and over the weekend my grandson and I went up to Maple Lane Pottery to visit during the Maine Pottery tour.  We had a lot of fun, and got to make some pinch pots in Robbi’s studio.

Peanut’s little den in the living room

On the farm front, Peanut continues to grow like a weed, and she is now spending all day every day outside with her friends.  She has really matured quite a bit in the last week, and can hold her own even with most of the mamas.  When she came in last night for her last bottle and bed, she ran right over to the little container that I have had out for her and gobbled up all the sweet grain that was in it.

Peanut has nighttime “quarters” in the upstairs bathroom, where she can move around and she has her sleeping tub, but we also have a large dog crate in the living room (I know, the things you find in farmers’ homes) for her.  She has her hay and grain in there, along with some salt and mineral mix.  She is doing very well with the hay, for sure.

Pippi babysits the crew on the rock

And so I think that when this run of nasty, drippy, damply cool weather is over, the middle of next week may be our target for getting Peanut outside for the overnights as well.  She is still taking four 12 oz bottles a day, so we shall see if she cuts back on that to three or not.  That makes it just a little bit easier on us!  Every evening when she joins us back in the house she looks bigger to me, and doesn’t look for much cuddling any more.  Wah, wah!  Our little Peanut is growing up :*)

Peanut and the herd

Peanut the house goat is plotting a leap onto my lap!

The past week has flown by and I just have not gotten my blog mojo on!  Tired at night in this drizzly, grey weather.  Dealing with a house Peanut is also keeping us busy, as all her systems are on green light, and I cannot seem to keep the diapers on her.  So we are constantly cleaning up while she is in the house.

Busy moms and babies in the greenhouse

We are trying to get our little goat integrated into the herd of babies and mamas, but it has presented its challenges.  She seems to do fine when the youngest of the babies are out playing and she fits right in with them.  The older ones can be a little pushy, and the moms mostly have no use for her and if she is not careful, they can do some damage.  Yesterday it poured all day, so we only had her out during chore times.  This morning she came out at chore time and we left her up there, but it turned damp and raw, and we found her kicked out of the greenhouse, huddled up by the fence shivering, late in the morning.  So we brought her in for an hour to have her bottle, then got her back up there.  The temperature has improved, even if the grey skies have not.

A napping Peanut

So we are hoping for some slightly warmer weather, but it looks unsettled with rain and fog on and off for the next week.  The weekend, however, looks like a winner!  We shall see.  I am not anxious for the blackflies, but it will be nice to see the sun again sometime, with some slightly warmer temperatures!  Spring in Maine, never a dull moment.  (Or maybe many dull moments with a few grateful sightings of the sun!).  And until then, we will keep getting our Peanut out with the others and watching carefully.  We have had house goats and lambs in the past and I know they get out there into the mix in the end.  It just feels like forever!