Sunday, April 27, 2008

You Can Take The Boy Out Of The Farm, But You Can't Take The Farm Out Of The Boy, And He Brings His Girl Right Along With Him.

We had a very busy weekend with the arrival of our son and his lovely girlfriend.
Along with feeding baby goats

and convincing a llama it wants to be petted,

we got down to some serious hoof trimming. We decided to take advantage of the extra sets of hands and try out our pig flipping technique. My son practiced a few times on the dogs with good results so was ready to give the pigs a try. My hubby and I stood outside the pen trying to come up with a plan of action. Our son just jumped right in and flipped Daphne gently on her back. She screamed her head off but held very still while I trimmed her hooves. The tin snips I bought wouldn't touch it but my horse nippers worked just fine. Before she knew it she was upright again with a mouthful of wormer. Fiona was not so easy. She heard one squeal from Daphne and shoved past me and out into the pasture. It took a fair amount of convincing and a bit of pig food to coax her back in the pen. Her flip was much more difficult. She gave it a good fight and a few times struggled on her back, which according to what I read rarely happens, but we sent her on her way with a spring in her step.......and a mouthful of wormer.

Our Family Portrait

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

I am totally in love. Cora Belle and Filbert are the most darling pair of baby goats. They have settled in quite nicely. Cora Belle has been taking the bottle from day one but Filbert put up such a fuss I stopped trying. The other day I gave Cora Belle her bottle and then thought I'd try Filbert one last time. They had spent their first night in their stall and he was feeling a bit sorry for himself. I put the nipple in his mouth. He didn't protest, thought about it a second, took a sip and has never looked back. He loves his bottle and now he is putty in my hands. He loves me. Bottle babies are great. While they are drinking I pet them all over to get them used to being handled, everywhere. Besides there is nothing cuter than a baby goat, tail wagging, and drinking out of a bottle. I purposely wanted them to bottle feed. My son and his girlfriend are coming home for the weekend. I think part of the farm experience has to be bottle feeding a baby goat, don't you think? And I have noticed that it comforts them to have a bit of milk.

I let the kids out with the big goats yesterday and much to my surprise the herd was quite nice to the babies. It is fascinating watching animals respect the babies of the herd. Cora Belle and Filbert were very comfortable with the big goats. Semi Sweet acts like they might even be hers, she just can't remember.

When I get home from school I let all the critters out in the common pasture. Not Cora Belle and Filbert though. They are just too little yet. So imagine my surprise when I went to put everyone away tonight and meeting me at the gate is Filbert and Cora Belle. I couldn't imagine how they got out.But when you put two Belles together it means TROUBLE. They put their two Belle heads together and pushed the dog crate across the stall and jumped on that into the other goat stall that was open to the pasture. So they were free to join in the herd fun. Out came the dog crate and Hubby swears there is no way a baby goat can get over that wall. I don't think he has heard the stories. I told him that these are not ordinary goats. These are super athletic goats. The likes of which we have never seen. He looked a little concerned.
Now if I could just get him to stop calling her Clara Belle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Filbert and Cora Belle's Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

Taking babies away from their mommas is traumatic any way you go about it. Cora Belle and Filbert have spent the first full day away from their mom and they don't like it. Filbert has been trying all day to get back to her. He is sure he is late and needs to get back before he gets into trouble. Cora Belle is pretty much content to stand by my side and be adored, she is in no rush to get back. Cora Belle will climb right in your lap for a snuggle. Filbert will climb in your lap too but only because he has noticed that your head is closer to the top of the stall wall and that is where he wants to be. I feel bad for him and tell him that some day, very soon, he will be happy at our small farm but right now my words fall on deaf ears. He has fought me on everything. No way on the bottle! You want to put WHAT around my neck! He has spent the day giving the fencing a good look over. Body slammed it a few times to check for weaknesses. This is one smart goat. It's in his genes. I have read all the stories about his family's talent of escape artistry but didn't quite believe it until I experienced it for myself. I have been content all these years with my not-so-bright herd that only could get out in the usual ways. Filbert has raised the bar. He is now known as Herron Hill Don't Fence Me In.
He just can't go anywhere with out his beloved Cora Belle. She is his strength.

Penne takes a look.....
Penne likes the babies and Koo admires from afar.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Kids on the Block

In between April snowstorms we brought Cora Belle and Filbert home, along with some milk and a bottle. I am going to bottle feed them for awhile so that we can bond. Now they have never had a bottle but we decided to give it a shot. Cora Belle took right to it but Filbert acted like we were fattening him up for the kill. He has heard stories in the goat yard about what happens to some wethers. Eventually he decided that he was a bit hungry so he gave it a sip. Cora Belle sucked hers down in nothing flat. But these two are as different as can be. Cora Belle will let me touch her all over, Filbert won't let me touch him anywhere. He is very cautious. She is very curious.

Filbert was kind of overlooked by me. I only had eyes for the lovely Cora Belle. Now that I have been able to spend some time with him I can see he is a very pretty boy. He looks just like a miniature French Alpine. So it is my mission to get him as comfortable in his own skin as possible. I will do the TTellington Touch on him. It is a series of movements that you do, with your fingers, on their little bodies while they lie on your lap. I have done it before on babies that are just a little shy and it gets them very comfortable with being touched.

We have them in a dog crate in the "old" bathroom/mudroom because we are having some freakishly cold weather and they were cold. They are all snuggled in getting lots of attention......and I don't have to go outside. Now I just have to get Hubby to stop calling her Clara Belle.

And because I still think I need another doe, I put an order in for a MiniMancha doeling.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Saturday morning I will climb the hill to Herron Hill Dairy and bring home Cora Belle,and her brother Filbert!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Celebrity Spotting on the Key Peninsula

About a year ago I was surfing the web for Nigerian Dwarf breeders when I came upon a website for Herron Hill Dairy which led me to the blog of Baby Belle, a Nigerian with an interesting point of view. It is creatively written with a quirkish sense of humor. I do think Baby Belle has a book in this, not unlike James Herriot who happens to be one of my favorites. The great thing is is that Herron Hill Dairy is 20 minutes away from me. So this morning I set off to look at baby goats and to find the famous Baby Belle.
I have been wanting to add a doe or two to my herd and I love the pictures of Herron Hill's goats, especially Boxcar Betty and the Minimanchas. Low and behold but a twin to Boxcar Betty was born this year and that is the one I've set my sights on. Trouble is the goatfarmer doesn't know if she wants to part with the lovely Cora Belle. That's okay, I understand, she is scrumptious.
Herron Hill Dairy sits up on a hill. It has a beautiful big white farmhouse and a big white barn that over looks a lovely valley. It is one of those classic barns you drive by and say to yourself, "I want a barn like that." Well, at least I do. I saw baby goats galore. Darling Nigerians and cuter than cute Minimanchas. I met all the goats but was on the lookout for Baby Belle. I still hadn't seen her. The goatfarmer left me to look at goats when another lady stopped by to pick up her new babies. I wandered around and recognized a few faces but I didn't see Baby Belle anywhere. Then I heard a noise in the manger in front of me and peeked in...
This is what I saw.

Baby Belle is that you?

She wouldn't answer but I think it is........what do you think? I told her she should write a book, that really she already had a book. Her postings being publish worthy. She just kept silently picking the alfalfa out of the grass hay. This goat does not talk with her mouth full.
What an enjoyable outing. A beautiful old farm that is being preserved, the goatfarmer is extremely funny to chat with and the goats are just as Baby Belle tells it.

My first choice is Cora Belle. I have some arm twisting to do here. I even said she could bring her brother, Filbert. Now Cora Belle comes with the stipulation that she is to be shown. I can do that. I used to show goats as a kid and most recently showed dogs for many years. I just got tired of showing dogs because it is a lot of work and traveling. I think it would be great to get back into goats but being that I am competitive and would like to think I have a good eye for conformation I want a really nice goat and Cora Belle is that.
Here is Cora Belle and her brother Filbert.

My second choice is this lovely little MiniMancha, I think her name is Augustine. She is Cora Belle without ears.

Or I will take both!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Twelve Good Looking Chicks

My biddies are growing by leaps and bounds. I swear one day I was taken aback on how they had changed overnight. I had to do a double take. I am very pleased with my choice of hens. Ramona the Brave, the Red Star, remains my favorite. She and I have a bond. The Black Star, whom I call Black Star, is proving to be very friendly too. The Americaunas are quite a colorful bunch. Beautiful sable browns and golds with one a powdery gray color. They aren't as social as the other girls so I haven't really named them yet but that will come. The Wyandottes are now hard to tell apart. So my special chick is a Wyandotte, like fellow blogger DCV said, just with more white.
I can't wait to get them out of the brooder. Hubby too. He keeps asking when we can put them outside. You see he has flashbacks of a first grade class he was in that raised chicks but never cleaned the brooder and he said the smell was terrible. Every day he had to sit in that class and smell chicken smell. So he is a bit paranoid about chicken smell. I am here to tell you I clean out my brooder. But it is time. This weekend it is suppose to be nice so out into the coop they go, ready or not. No really, they are ready. All feathered out and no heat on them anymore.
Here are some pictures of the girls...
A few green legged gals and a Wyandotte
Ramona the Brave, the Red Star future egg laying machine
Powdery gray Americauna

Three's a crowd.......
No modeling hands available. Had to use my old farmer girl's hand.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


We brought Oliver home almost 17 years ago. A Christmas present for our then 6 year old son. Oliver was a red toy poodle of questionable parentage. He was friendly and athletic and so good with kids that he was the perfect companion for a gentle boy. He went everywhere with us and had many adventures and just as many close calls. We used to say he had 9 lives. He has been attacked by a wild pony. Had his ear pierced by an angry raccoon. Fallen over the bank and caught in a tree. He has driven the motor home, ridden on horses and motorcycles all the while looking stylish in his fancy red coat.
It is hard to remember that Oliver because in the last few years he hasn't looked so good. Too fragile to keep well groomed he looked like a little sheepdog. His hearing was bad, he couldn't see much and had accidents all over the house and was reduced to wearing a diaper. Every time I thought it was time to put him down he would rally and show a glimpse of his former self putting off the inevitable for a little while longer. What a hard decision to end a life. But in the end we took him in and said good bye. As hard as it was I wasn't really that sad. This dog had never known a day of want or suffering. He was the cherished companion of a family that treated him like a king. We all should be so lucky to have a life like that.
God Speed Oliver

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

All the Dog a Person Needs

We got lucky when we adopted Solomon last Halloween. I had wanted a Chihuahua for some time but I didn't want a shivering shaky freak of a dog. I wanted a big dog in a small package. And it had to be black. So when Solomon's family had a new baby, he was out. I truly don't get it because he is so easy and loves children and people. Even babies! He is impeccably housebroken and a funny happy guy. We keep saying to him "Why would anyone give you up?" (I don't know, maybe he licked his bottom and then the baby:) Dogs do stuff like that. But they are young and did a wonderful job with him in his puppy hood. This is no shivering, shaking and scared Chihuahua we all think about. Oh no, he is the most fearless (in a nice way) little creature I have ever seen. Able to leap off and on beds in a single bound. He has never met a stranger and loves to run around the farm herding goats and chickens. He would make the perfect agility dog if he had someone that was motivated to get off her behind and do it! And I know if he could he would retrieve a pheasant for Hubby if he could just go hunting too.
We now say, all the time, to anyone that will listen, "This is all the dog a person needs."
Here is Solomon on a quilt that my grandmother gave me. I love this quilt because it was made by a blind woman and the colors are outrageous.