Sunday, March 15, 2015

I'm getting goats again! And piglets!

A few months ago, I sold my goats, after having raised and milked them for over a decade, because I thought I needed a break from milking, breeding, birthing, feeding and worrying about them. Besides, our family was leaving on a five week road trip, which would leave the rest of our farm and critters attended by a house sitter. Caring for goats would be a lot to ask of a house sitter, so the timing of selling my goats worked out perfectly.  It broke my heart.



However. It is now spring, and all of my friends' goats are having babies. I am getting baby goat fever. I think I'm annoying my goat-owning friends by pushily volunteering my help when a doe goes into labor. “Call me anytime!” I tell them. “I'll keep my phone by the bed side in case there's a goat birthing emergency.” Or I drop by their barns and inspect the does' tails to see if the babies have dropped and labor has started. I just want to be there, immersed in the messy miracle of birth, amniotic fluid, and cute goat babies.  Two of my friends just called me a couple of hours ago AS THEIR GOAT GAVE BIRTH, and I got to "witness" the whole thing over the phone.  I love my friends! 

So I decided to get goats again. This time, I will not push for maximum milk production so I don't have to make hard cheese from ten gallons of milk every four or five days. This time I will attempt to milk once a day (and leave the babies on the mamas), and then just make easy stuff like yogurt, kefir, chevre and the occasional Gouda, Tomme, Cheddar or Manchego. I think it's doable. What do you think?

I've been working frantically to get the goat barn ready.  Steve built it over a decade ago out of recycled and salvaged materials and poured concrete on half of the floor for easy cleaning.  Last week, I cleaned up the messes that have accumulated in it over time.  I washed the milking stand, and mucked out the bedding I didn't remove after I sold my goats because I was too depressed about them being gone. I also shoveled a bunch of compost made with their manure to spread on the garden. 


It might not look pretty to you, but it is so much better than before.  The milk stand will be on the left.



Steve helped with the scraping.  Notice the bare upper bodies?  In March?  Crazy, right?




I'm pretending to milk a goat.  Soon.  Soon.
Oh yeah!  The garden is gonna like this!

Now let me show you the piglets.  We got four this year, and they like to curl up in their food dish to take a nap.  Ahhh, pigs!  We have a great system with our moveable pig pen and electric fence.  They get moved to fresh pasture regularly, doing a good job of eating grass and rooting in it.  Since we only have five acres, all this happens on our neighbor's pasture.





With all this cleaning, mucking, shoveling and digging, we managed to get some bike rides in as well.  You gotta take advantage of this weather.  So one day, I got on the bike with my ten year old son for a little ride, and we accidentally biked 22 miles, to be met by the rest of the family at the bakery in town.  And the day after, we tried out the tag-along ride-behind bike that was given to us.  Eva rode 8 miles on it on her maiden voyage!  As a reward, we biked to the river.  What a life!  What are you feeling blessed by this week?









10 comments:

  1. I've had two goats and made lots of simple things from the milk. totally doable. :)

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    Replies
    1. Yes! I used to have ten goats, so two is totally doable!

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  2. Ahh that really does look like my kind of country... That last picture is magical.
    Thanks for the e-book by the way. Love it!!
    I hope to learn a lot from your blog.

    Grüsse aus Schweden!

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    Replies
    1. All the way from Sweden! Wow, that's so cool. I'm really glad you like my e-book! I hope you are gonna try to make some cheese and sauerkraut with its guidance!
      Gruesse von der Amerikanischen Wildnis!

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  3. Don't you love spring? It looks like you do! We're enjoying early spring here, too. What river is that? I am so jealous of that crystal clear water! Also love your piggies. I've toyed with the idea of piggies but I love them so much with their little smartness and personalities I could never butcher one. What kind of pigs are they? Never been much of a goat person though. Almost all ranches around here have meat goats. It's a big lucrative business apparently. We have horses, cows and chickens.

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    1. The river is the Skagit River. We are so blessed to have some of the wildest, most beautiful rivers within walking distance! The pigs are a mix of Hereford, Berkshire, and Duroc.

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    2. I just got the soap and took a shower with one of the bars. SO nice! Smooth and creamy. Smells superb! I actually love that your packaging is not all slick and upscale. It shows that you put your efforts into the product! I have never liked that super deluxe stuff you get in the store. You know 95% of the price you're paying is going into the packaging. What a waste! Anyway, thanks. I love the soap and I'm going to share with my sister in Colorado and maybe you'll get another customer then. Keep up the good work!

      We have rivers like that in CA but it's a 4 hour drive to get to them. We're in dry land farming and you have to go over the Mendocino National Forest and then there's the Eel River 3 hours into the drive. Yikes!

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    3. I'm so glad you love my soap! I am totally addicted to it. My skin is super dry, and I used to have to slather lotion on my skin every day. After making my own goat milk soap, I don't use lotion any more because my soap is so moisturizing! I have customers who used to have eczema, and they only want to use my soap! That makes me feel really happy!

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  4. Goats...some day, some day. We are just starting our homestead, and trying to take things one step at a time. This year, annual and perennial gardens, laying hens, meat rabbits. The five-year plan definitely includes goats.
    Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. I think you are really, really wise to take things one-at-a-time. Gardens, chickens and rabbits will be plenty of work! If you add too much too soon, you might get overwhelmed!

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