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Showing posts with label farm animals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farm animals. Show all posts

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Babies, Babies Everywhere!

I've been rather "blah" lately.  Maybe it's the spring teaser we got in February when it was over seventy degrees for a week, and this morning it was nine!  Maybe it's this long stretch between holidays with nothing very exciting to celebrate.  Maybe it's Lent.  Maybe it's middle age.  Or maybe it's just my funky mood.  Regardless, I don't have many creative juices flowing through my veins right now, and I don't feel especially witty or interesting or profound.  So instead of talking about nothing, I thought I'd show you what life is like around the barnyard these days.  We just had another set of twin goat kids born on Friday, and there are babies all over the place.

We have baby goats.

Black goats and brown goats.

Tan and creme colored goats.

And we have baby sheep.

White sheep and gray/tan sheep.


And we have goats who ride on sheep.

I would certainly be remiss if I didn't include my favorite baby around here who doesn't live in the barn.

From the dining room/multipurpose room of the Preppy Mountain Farmhouse, I'm wishing you all a week that's not "blah."

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Is This Really February?

I know Punxsutawney Phil forecasted six more weeks of winter, but surely he was mistaken.  For most of this week, we've got temps near 70 degrees here in the Alleghenies.  One of our school groups planned an outing many weeks ago for families to go tubing at a nearby ski resort.  Our children had been looking forward to it for days, but when we arrived, it was a balmy 66 degrees on the slopes.  I didn't know whether to bring them t-shirts to change into or the traditional snowsuits and sledding gear.  We settled on something in between, but I did see a few teens skiing and snowboarding in shorts and tank tops.

I didn't participate in the tubing, but stood on the sidelines enjoying the unseasonable warmth and tried to get pictures with my phone because I forgot my new camera.

My youngest is afraid to go on water slides, so I wasn't sure she would participate, but she was the first member of our family to grab a tube and get in line.

And she loved it.  It was safer than sledding at our house since you didn't have to worry about hitting a fence, a tree, or going over a ravine at the bottom.

Initially they all went down one by one, but they soon learned it was more fun to link together and make a train.

The only problem was that our youngest son was usually at the front of their train, and when they came to a stop, he got flung out of the tube and rolled several times in the mud.

And that mud at the bottom just got worse as the evening wore on.  By the time we decided to call it a night and go into the lodge to eat dinner, everyone's backsides were covered in it.  Our smallest son was literally coated in mud from his neck to his toes.  I had them strip out of their outerwear in the parking lot and did my best to wrap up those clothes in a manner that wouldn't totally wreck the back of our SUV, but it was just one big mess.  I'm doing heavy duty laundry today and cleaning the inside of our vehicle, unfortunately.  We seriously looked like country bumpkin hillbillies at the resort next to the clean, mud-free skiers and snowboarders who enjoyed completely snow-covered slopes all the way to the bottom. But the kiddos had fun and would do it again in a heartbeat.

Meanwhile, back at the farmhouse, our pets and livestock have also been loving this spring-like weather.

Our lambs and goat kids are running and hopping all over the place.  Their favorite activity is to jump on the back of our large lone ram and ride him around the pasture.  They've even worn bare a patch of wool on his back where they like to sit.  He doesn't seem to mind as he goes about the business of eating any green grass he can find.  I have got to get out in the pasture with a chair and my camera when I have some free time to videotape it.

I hope all of you are getting some of this warm weather too.  Have a great weekend, Everyone! 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Little Things

This evening's post is a random list of little things going on here this week.

1. We got a surprise a few days ago when our goat Feta gave birth to twins: Fontina and Manchego.  After losing two of our older goats in the past month, these babies were such a pleasant surprise.

2. We've been picking up our grandson and hanging with him one day each week.  He is definitely a bright spot in our gray winter days.

3. We had more ice and snow here this week, which gave the kiddos another 2 hr. delay.  As you can see, the snow hit the upper mountain ridges while the valleys got the ice.

4. I realize I'm coming late to the game here, but my husband got a trial Amazon Prime membership, which means Downton Abbey is available to us for free.  Oh my gosh, I can't believe we went all these years without watching this.  It is now the favorite evening drama show of every big person in this house.

5. After coughs, fevers, and sore throats last week, we have now moved on to a stomach virus.  So far two of our little ones have been camped out on the loveseat next to "the Bucket."  Yuck.

6. This actually feels like a big thing because the carpenters finished our kitchen renovation yesterday!  I'll post no more pictures of this though until the new Amish-made corner hutch has been delivered, and I've put everything back together again.  But I am so happy with this fresh, bright room.

7. I'm sure you noticed that my blog has a slightly different look.  I wanted to make more room for the pictures, and there will be plenty more of those coming next week!  I hope this change is easier for you readers to view and not quite as "busy."  I'd love to hear what you think.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Those Unexpected Sad Days on a Farm

This was not the topic I planned to write about this weekend.  It certainly doesn't fit my cheerful Christmas theme I've got going on for the next few weeks.  But life has a way of taking turns that we don't plan on or control, doesn't it?  Today we lost one of our best nanny goats.  She was one of our original herd caprines that we purchased back in December 2010.  Her name was Cadbury, and she has been the best mother to her robust healthy babies and a fantastic milker.  Even though she spent her days out in the pasture and her nights in the barn, she felt like a member of our family.  Our goats have always been more like family pets than livestock, and we haven't lost an adult goat or sheep in a number of years, so it was especially hard and shocking to lose one this weekend.  

So instead of writing a post on Christmas decor, food, or traditions, I am tearfully composing a picture post in memory of this beloved member of our farm family.  She will be missed very much.

We are grateful to Cadbury for all the adorable babies she brought into the world, and the milk she gave us, and the blue ribbons she won for our children at the fair, and for the laughs.  No matter how many years we have this little hobby farm, the losses are always so incredibly sad.  We're grieving today, but I promise my next post will be a cheerful one. 

Blessings to you all.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Why You Never Sell a Goat to a Frat Boy

Two of our little bucklings left our farm this morning to move to another home.  That always makes us feel a bit sad, but we just can't keep them all.  My hope is that they go to good homes where they have lots of room outdoors to run, roam, and graze...and that there will be lots of female goats to keep them company.  Most of the time, we have been very pleased with the new owners of our livestock, but there was a time a few years ago when we sold a little buckling to a college boy, and that is the story I'm telling today.

In the spring a few years past, we had a surplus of goat kids, so I posted an ad on Craigslist.  Our Nigerian Dwarf goats are small and so cute, especially when they're little.  Sometimes people buy them for pets.  A few days after I posted Romano (all our goat kids are named after cheeses) on the web, I got a call from a nearby college student who wanted to stop by that evening to buy him.  I asked if he'd like some more information or would like to take a look at him and then think about it first.  He said he was sure he wanted to make the purchase and would pick him up before dinner.  By the way, this was a Friday.  Because we are fairly secluded out here, and I had a house full of little ones, I made sure I set the pickup time for after my husband returned from work.  No sooner did my husband come home when a car pulled up, and three college students hopped out.  The one who had made the call was very friendly and eager to put Romano in the back seat of his car and head out.  We tried explaining to him how this buckling should be cared for.  We asked him where he would be staying.  He said he'd be at the "house" for the night, and then he'd go home to a farm the next morning with one of the "little sisters."  We asked him if he had food for him, and he said no.  So we stocked him with some hay and goat feed for the night.  The other two young people seemed bored and disinterested, and said nothing, and made no eye contact with us.  We had serious misgivings about this sale, but we did eventually take the money and say goodbye to Romano and pray for the best.

My husband was very concerned about this little goat, and I felt rather sick about the transaction myself.  We had only been selling goats for a couple of years, and this was the first time red flags went off when we met with prospective buyers.  I told myself that we can't control what happens to our livestock after we sell them, and this was still probably preferable to taking them to an auction.  We went about our evening routine and said a bedtime prayer with our children for the goat that night.  And we went to bed.

Around 2 AM, someone was ringing our doorbell and pounding on our door.  My husband threw on some clothes, found a hunting rifle, and flew down the stairs to the front door.  I hid out on the stairs in my nightgown to listen.  At the door stood the frightened and nervous college fraternity brother who had come to our house earlier.  In his arms was Romano.  The young man apologized profusely, and asked if we would take our goat back; we could even keep the money.  It turned out that Romano was purchased to be the entertainment at a frat party that Friday night.  Someone reported the college students to campus police because farm animals are not allowed in the borough.  When the police showed up at the Greek house, they were told to return the goat to his rightful home immediately.  And that is why they were on our front porch at 2 in the morning.  We kept Romano in our house for awhile to make sure no harm had come to him.  He seemed perfectly fine as he trotted around the living areas and then tried to come hopping up the stairs.  We finally took him back out to the barn to join the rest of his goat family.

Romano continued to live with us for another month or two until a lovely family with a small farm bought him to breed with their Nigerian Dwarf does that would be shown in 4H in the future.  This woman was sympathetic and said she had been in a sorority in college and knew what some of the Greek parties had been like that she attended.  We were all grateful that our goat was OK and appeared to have had nothing more than a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that night.  My husband and I vowed to never again go against our gut instincts when selling our animals and to be very wary of high interest from college-aged buyers.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

August Snapshots

This post is a potpourri of totally unrelated images except that they all have to do with life at our farmhouse in August.  

Don't you love this time of year with all the fresh produce from your own gardens, neighbors' and coworkers' gardens, and the local farmers' markets?  The onions, tomatoes, purple tomatillos, and zucchini are ours.  The cucumbers were from elsewhere, and a bag of freshly shucked corn was mysteriously found on our front porch last night.  If it came from any of you local readers, thank you.  We're having it with barbecued ribs for dinner tonight.

Tomatillos weren't the only purple vegetable we grew this year.  My husband loves to grow out-of-the ordinary produce, so this was his new exotic experiment for the summer.  Our daughter turned them into mashed potatoes earlier this week for dinner.  The coloring hasn't been enhanced in this photo either; they really are this beautiful shade of violet.  Oh, in case you're wondering, they do taste like normal potatoes.

We've been going on evening hikes when the temperatures are a little cooler.  It doesn't matter what the month or season, I think it's beautiful up here in the Alleghenies.

While hiking up the mountain, we discovered the blackberries have ripened.  Time to don the insect repellant and start picking so we can make some blackberry cobbler.  First I need to pull my daughter away from the new Harry Potter book we picked up at Target this morning so I have some help.  

As we came down the mountain and got near our house the other evening, this is what we saw in the pasture.  Our little male goat kids love to hop on the back of our large ram and ride around on him like this. 

Asiago kept his balance on top of Snowflake as they ran up through the pasture to me.  There is always something ridiculous and crazy going on around here.

This really has nothing to do with life on our mountain farm except that it's now sitting in our farmhouse kitchen.  I've had my eye on these metal cork holders since I saw a jumbo sized one at Revival Kitchen.  Kohl's has had them on their shelves throughout the summer, but I held off because with five kids at home, there's always something more pressing to spend your money on than a cork holder.  But today they were 70% off.  From the picture I can see that we either don't drink as much wine and champagne as I thought, or we've thrown some corks away over the past year.

I'm going to end on a more serious note and a snapshot from July, not August.  But I haven't seen our newborn grandson in a week because he's been having digestive problems and has been hospitalized.  I usually keep these things to myself, but I do believe in the power of prayer.  So to all my praying readers, I ask that you keep him in your nightly petitions.

Thank you and God Bless!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Independence Day @ Our Preppy Mountain Farm

Like many of you in the Northeast, our actual 4th of July was rather cool, cloudy, and then rainy.  But the rest of our weekend was great, with the exception that Hubby was on call.  Our Teen Baker made these yummy patriotic cupcakes to take to our eldest son's house Sunday for a cookout.  I'm not sure how other bloggers get some of their shots, but my best ones were taken with me standing on top of our picnic table, straddling the cupcakes.  Looks like it's time for another pedicure.

While the children took turns on this gigantic rope swing, I got the pleasure of touring a 250 year old stone farmhouse with its many huge fireplaces, beautiful wide plank floors, and original doors and narrow colonial staircases.  It was like going back in time to colonial America...just as good as our trip to Williamsburg last summer.

On Saturday we took care of some things on our little farm.  A lot of our herbs are ready for use, including the chamomile above...

...and my lavender.  We snipped a bunch, along with some lemon mint, to dry for tea in the future.

Last year our black cat took his afternoon naps on my rosemary plant and killed it.  This one has taken to sleeping in this wooden barrel on our patio filled with chickens and hens.  I'm not sure this is their real name; it's what my great grandmother always called them, and these were her favorite plants.

My husband was busy finishing construction on our fourth chicken tractor, having to be creative and make something out of materials on hand because I refuse to invest much more into the farm.  This one is light enough to pull around, unlike our first chicken tractor.  It's also too heavy to flip over during a storm like tractor #2 did.  I think this resembles a Conestoga wagon, so I guess our chicks are now pioneer poultry.  Maybe some day we'll have one of those beautiful French chalets for our hens, but for now they will have to settle for a mobile home.

I think they're happy to be in their new home; although, they looked a bit culture shocked at first.  After spending their first month in a trough in our dining room, and the next 6 weeks in our garage, this is their first time outside in the grass, fresh air, and sunlight.  We're hoping they make a dent in the Japanese beetle and tick population, which are way too large this summer.

We also spent some time hanging out with our goats and sheep.  There's no question that this doe is very pregnant.  We'll have another batch of little ones soon.

We didn't make it to any fireworks this year, much to my children's disappointment, but we did have the most spectacular sunset Saturday night.  It was just as beautiful as any explosives, and way more quiet. 

I'd love to hear how you all spent your Independence Day.  Any recipes you care to share?  I'm in need of some new picnic dishes to try.