Saturday, April 30, 2011


I decided to liven things up with a new color. :-)   Today I took a couple of goats up to the Whitefish Community Garden for their open house they had.  I took Maggie and her kid Mariah.  They did really well considering this was the first time they had ever left this place and been around that many people. 
  Mariah did better than her mom of course, since she didn't know that maybe she should be afraid of strangers.  She was really good.  There was a little girl there that hasn't had much exposure to animals and was afraid to touch the goats.  I told Mariah to go up to her and say hi, and I'll be darned if she didn't look right at the girl and walk up to her!  The girl cautiously petted her then decided goats were okay after all.  That was a neat experience!  The girl went and got her brother and brought him over, too.  She was about 5yrs old I think.  
   The weather wasn't very good.  It was quite chilly and it started to rain just after the garden bed building demo was over.  I just barely got everything loaded up before it really poured.  It's been snowing up here just about every day.  Most of it melts, but yesterday I had to sweep the snow off the solar panels since it wasn't melting.  The end of April and I'm having to sweep snow off!  I will say, though, that I'll take this any day over the tornadoes and severe weather down South.  Snow melts, that other stuff can destroy everything in seconds. 
     My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by that storm system.  I wonder how many goats were lost in that?  That's a major meat goat raising region.  The media rarely reports on animal losses, just human.
  Yesterday I finally joined Facebook, after just about everybody I know kept telling me I should.  Haven't quite figured it all out yet, but I will. :-)
  Well, tomorrow it's back to dehairing.  I didn't do any today, since I wasn't here, so I'd better get back to it  This time of year there is so much to do around here.  Spring clean-up time is here!  I need about three more hours of daylight and I'd be good. :-)
  More as it happens...       

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Astrid had her kids yesterday.  I missed it!  I was in town running errands.  When I got home, here were two babies up, dry and eating.  Astrid is a great mom, with plenty of milk.  I am really surprised that she had twins after her episode a couple of months ago getting her head stuck in the fence and getting butted right in the side, repeatedly.  She had a little blood coming out her back end, and wasn't feeling good at all.  I guess me pulling her out of the pen as soon as I found her and isolating her for two days must have saved the kids. The black one is a girl, and the brown one is a boy.  Oksana and Socks.  His socks are so white, they look like splints or something.  He will be a nice wether!  They are so cute when they are little.  Today they were out bouncing around and playing with each other. Not real coordinated yet.   Mariah and Luna were just kind of watching them.  They are too big for these two to play with yet.
  This is a strange year for goats around here.  My dairy does are not pregnant according to plan.  I put Hercules in with Belle, (and the other three) last fall.  Belle was the only one in heat, so I figured the others would be safe.  Yesterday as I was milking Speckles, I was thinking her belly was getting more and more round.  So  I took my "s" hook on a string and held it over her back to see if she was pregnant.  She is!  Belle, on the other hand, is not.  So, now I need to start drying off Speckles, I've been "running her through" this year.  Now that I know she's pregnant, and due on May 24th, I need to get her dried up so she can put her energy into the babies and not making milk right now.   Not sure why Belle didn't take this year.  I know Herk got her, more than once, so I don't know why she didn't take.  I had her with bucks three different cycles, and she didn't take.  Hope she does this fall! 
  The two cashmere does had their babies a week late, each.  Astrid was right on her due date. At least they are all healthy, strong little kids. 
  We had some snow again today.  A little sun, too.  I dehaired all afternoon and the batteries still got charged.  Longer days sure are nice! 
   Well, that's all for now.... 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Is it Spring yet?

  Winter sure isn't wanting to leave very fast this year.  Except for this morning, we have had at least a dusting of snow every day all week!  Finally today was a nice, mostly sunny day.   Easter will be nice, too, then back to colder, rainy or snowy days again.  Our yard is slowly appearing as the snow is melting.  I guess I can't complain too much.  This is way better than what most of the rest of the country is experiencing with the severe storms, etc.  At least the snow just melts.
  I'm still waiting for Astrid to have her kid.  The other two are doing great.  They are so cute.  Now that Luna is old enough, her and Mariah are starting to play together a bit.  They sure have different body builds!  Mariah is going to be a solid, sturdy doe and Luna is going to be a lean, mean, racing machine.  She is going to be a long legged, rangy type like her grandma.
  I got another dehairing order done today.  It's such a good feeling to cross another one off the list!  I'm taking tomorrow off, since it is Easter, and I'm going on a cooking and baking spree.  Then I'll be back at it on Monday with another order.  I've got cashmere to dehair scheduled clear into July now!  This is a good feeling.  Hopefully I'll get to mine sometime in there.
  When Alltel switched to AT&T, we lost our phone service till we could get a signal booster again.  Of course all the equipment we had with the old phone didn't work with the new ones.  So we had to hike half-way up the hill behind the house to use the phone for a week.  Now that we have the signal booster, I can talk almost anywhere in the house!  Before, we were tied to the wall in the bedroom since that was the only place the signal came in good.  Now with the new booster, we can talk everywhere but there.    Progress is good, even if a bit expensive.  I've been taking lots of pictures and short videos of the goats on the new phone, but haven't figured out how to get them from there to the computer.  I think I need a USB cable or something.  One of these days I'll stop in at the cell place and find out.
  Well, Happy Easter to all...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Two kids now

Here's the first kid born.  She's a cutie!  Her name is Mariah.  This was taken when she was 24 hours old.  Now she's two weeks old and very sturdy.  She comes running up to me to be petted whenever I go in the pen. 
  Arianna had her kid on the 14th at around 9pm.  I missed that birth.  I went out to check on her again at 10pm and here was a kid up and mostly dried off.  So, Arianna waited till in between checks to do anything. I missed it when she had her first kid a couple of years ago, too.  Oh well, she obviously does just fine without anyone watching.  She has tons of milk.  I might end up milking her on a regular basis if it doesn't slow down.  Luna, the kid, is only using one side, so I'm keeping the pressure off the other side so Arianna doesn't get mastitis. 
  Luna is a solid black little girl.  She has long legs, I think she will be a tall goat like her mom.  Only one left to go now, and that will be sometime next week. 
  As busy as I am with the dehairing, I'm glad I didn't get a whole bunch of kids this year.  This is the fewest I've ever had!  A bit strange, but nice.
  Today I sold two goats to some people from Idaho.  A little almost a year old buckling and a yearling wether.  They went to a good home.  So now I have 51 goats.  Gained two, but sold two.  There are three yearling wethers that will be going into the freezer pretty soon. 
   Got some more goats combed out.  The one I did today has some exceptional fiber!  Better than I thought just looking at him.  Now I only have two adults left to go.  Then I'll do the kids, and then when the bucks have almost completely shed out, I'll clean them up and get them nice looking again.  Since the smell never really gets all the way out of a buck fleece, I don't ever get it processed.  I did that once, spun it into yarn, then made a scarf for my dad out of it.  I wondered why he didn't wear it very much.  After he died and I got the scarf back, I noticed a faint buck smell to it, even after repeated washings and a couple years later.  So, after that I didn't bother to collect the fleeces off the bucks anymore. :-)  The smelly dudes.
   Our snow is finally starting to melt.  The chickens got into my tulip bed and almost destroyed that today.  They also got into the daffodil bed.  I saw them in there, so chased them out before they did too much damage.  Free ranging time is over, too many things are starting to grow now.  They have a huge pen to live in, so it's time to shut them back in there till fall.  The deer are eating every blade of grass on the hill as it's coming up, so there might never be anything for the goats to eat! 
  Well, that's it for now.  I'll post more kid pictures as I get them.     

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Mountain lion picture

     Here's one of the pictures I took of the lion.  He hasn't been back at all, which is good.  I hope he stays out in the forest far away from here.  We are surrounded by thousands of acres of forest land, so he shouldn't have to come around here ever again.
   There is still a lot of snow around our place.  Up by the house it's melting, and I have some flowers starting to come up!  There is a little patch of crocuses blooming, too.  They are so cheerful looking. 
   One kid has been born so far, she's a week old now.  Another doe is due any day, and then the last one is due around the 24th. 
   I went and raised the prices for dehairing cashmere the other day.  I was quite nervous about doing it, but I had to.  I wasn't making enough money to even make the payments on the machine at the old prices, so I raised them substantially.  So far I've heard from two customers who are sticking with me, and understand the need to raise the price.  Since I take the time to really do a thorough job of dehairing, and I actually like doing it, love it, in fact, I figure if I'm going to continue, I'd better make enough money to at least pay the bills!  This really is one of the slowest processes on the planet, yet it's the most critical part of the whole process.  If the cashmere isn't dehaired properly, it doesn't make nice yarn, or anything else.  For years I've been frustrated with the amount of guard hair left in the fiber when I got it back.  I would take tweezers and sit down and pick through the cashmere, ounce by ounce, removing 99% of the guard hairs so when I spun it up, it would make nice soft yarn.  Now since I got the machine, I run the fiber through till it gets almost all the hairs, then I handpick through it as I pull it out of the machine and bag it.  There will still be a very few hairs left that I've missed, but not many.  What's left is easy to pick out as one is spinning it. 
   I've almost got the goats all combed now.  Only 6 adults left to go.  The stand I put them in to comb them works quite well.  I built it out of scrap lumber we had laying around.  It holds the goats, I sit beside it in one of those white resin lawn chairs and comb away.  I'm comfortable, the goats are comfortable, and all is well.
   Well, it's time to go out and check on Arianna to see if she's getting ready to have her kid yet. 
More as it happens....