Tag Archives: adventures in farming

Goat rodeo on ice

Battie and Betsy all cozied up
Battie and Betsy all cozied up at twilight

Well, Monday is a wrap.  Finally.   We had quite the morning.  Zelda and the buck Oreo were scheduled to leave us and join the farm that Sassafras and Pickles went to live on two weeks ago.  And it was not as easy a transfer as I would have liked!

Scheduled is the word.  I was worried all last night that Zelda was going to be the one that was difficult, and Oreo would be the piece of cake to walk into Curt’s trailer.  Not.  What a surprise, but it’s something that should not shock me at all.  You just never know.

Zelda the Beauty!
Zelda the Beauty!

And so we had the goat rodeo on ice.  Oreo knew something was up the minute we went out for chores this morning, and we were even being nonchalant.  I did my usual thing, and Sam went to do his.  Oreo was having none of it!  Zelda came with me into the catch pen and launched into her morning hay like nothing was amiss.  But Oreo got the wind up and it took four of us adults to get him cornered and caught, slipping and sliding on the ice and the snow.  I really hate doing that.  In the process, Sam got an arm injury, John came in with a bleeding arm, and the new owner’s hands were bloody by the time we got the buck into his trailer.  I waited to take a fall until I tripped on the handle of a bag in the house.  Not a winner of a day, I can say that now.  But tonight, it feels like it is ancient history.  I can truly say that this morning was kind of the end of an era.

Since last spring I have been working toward getting all the animals together that I can definitely handle alone.  Sam will not be here forever, and when he moves on, my 62+ year old body needs to be able to handle what we have.  I don’t move as fast as I used to!  And so I have planned accordingly, and we made a plan for who to keep and who to part with.  I had a really hard time parting with SnowPea’s daughters Pickles and Sassafras, and Zelda was an even more difficult cull.  But we lucked out and found an amazingly wonderful farm in Auburn, Maine, and the owner there really loves our girls and our genetics, and not only has the 3 girls now, but he also has Oreo the buck.  I couldn’t have asked for a better home for them, and they are not really that far away.  (He has Nigerian Dwarf goats as well, and I am dying to go up and visit his place!).

Anyhow, we are turning a corner here at the farm.  I think we are as tight as we can be.  I have two purebred Lamancha does left, and 7 almost purebred Guernsey girls.  One Guernsey buck and one half Guernsey buckling.  It’s finally a picture that I think can work for me.

The winter seems to be settling in, so I am glad that the Goat Rodeo is finished for the year.  I hope.  After the Solstice I think I can feel a little more positive going forward.  But we definitely won’t think about January 20th just yet :*/

Pippi’s big day

Pippi leaving in the back of my Forester
Pippi leaving in the back of my Forester

Or rather, date!  Yes, our breeding woes have gotten us so far that we really have no other option than to get the girls we want bred to a buck off the farm, one we know and trust,  for breeding.  And of course, yesterday late in the afternoon when I was just (finally!) getting my garlic planted, I looked over to see Pippi behaving rather peculiarly.  Jumping on all the smaller girls, and just generally being a loud nuisance.  And her tail was flagging madly, so I knew right away that we had a live one in heat.

We are down to not many options, so I went in and called our friends at a farm in Friendship, and the date was made. But because we do not have a cap on our truck, my husband needed to take my car, and I was left hitching a ride to work from my son.  As complicated as the day felt, almost everything went to plan.

My one miscalculation was in the set up.  I had to get Pippi separated from the rest of the girls before I went to work.  (The goats aren’t stupid, they know when the two men are coming at them that something is up!).  I have a permanent “catch pen” where I feed them their grain everyday, so at a moment’s notice, I can grab any one of those crafty buggers.  But since it was going to be another few hours before John would load her up and take off, I didn’t want her in the pen alone, to get all worked up and crazy.  So I made sure to leave both of her daughters in with her.  Apparently Beezus, the sweet brown yearling goat, didn’t think much of that plan.  When the men went out to load Pippi up, they found that Beezus had tried to jump the high galvanized 4X4″ grid fence.  At least her front feet were on the ground, but both her back feet were caught in the fence, higher than her head.  They got her out and she was very shaken up.  No broken bones, but a giant loss of equilibrium for awhile and she still seems to have some aches and pains.  Sheesh.  It’s like we can’t get through a week without at least one goat disaster.  No, not true, it just feels like that recently.

I gave Beezus the Jumper an anti-inflammatory and she is fine tonight.  When my son went out to check on things a little while ago, she ran away from him and hid behind Big Zelda.  I hope she continues to do okay.

Pippi takes everything in stride!
Pippi takes everything in stride!

Pippi was totally herself tonight, in spite of the ride in the car and her meet up with Romeo.  Our friend’s bucks are both experienced and efficient, so it wasn’t even that big an outing.  I am sure that Pippi had a grand time, she always makes the best of her opportunities :*)