Wednesday, January 28, 2009

King Of The Hill

Filbert has discovered the fun of a huge pile of wood. The wood pile has been there for a few months but the other day Filbert took a look at it and saw it as his new playground.

And being Filbert he posed himself in various places so I could take his picture.

But the pile of wood was also just the thing to put him in his place. You see Filbert can be a bit of a bad ass when it comes to the pigs. Now all the other goats are afraid of the pigs. The pig girls take one step toward them and they run for the hills. Not so with Filbert. He takes one step toward the pigs and they run squealing away, thanks to a few well placed head butts. So Filbert will swagger around looking all bad and the pigs keep one eye on him ready to run at the slightest tilt of his head.

Little did they know the day would come when they had him where they wanted him.
On their turf.
Today I took a trip to my favorite feed store, Jerry's Drive Thru Feed. Why is it my favorite? For one thing you get to stay in your truck and drive down an aisle and a guy throws feed into the bed of the truck.
But the most important reason is candy. When you first pull up Jerry comes out and hands you candy.
Ferrero Rocher today.
I wanted to ask for 2 but didn't....I should of after buying food for a mini horse, 2 llamas, 2 pigs, 7 goats, 15 chickens, and a bunny.....come to think of it I should have asked for the whole box.
Anyway on returning to the farm with all my feed, I was met at the gate by all the goats....except for Filbert. Where was he? Cora Belle was there and he usually doesn't leave her side. True to my nature I awfulized.
I started thinking of all the different things that could have happened to him.
1. He got through the fence and was in the neighbor's yard...eating rhododendrons.
2. Someone stole him.
3. He was attacked by dogs and was dead somewhere...see what I mean? I always go for the worst case scenario.
I called. No answer. The goats called. No answer.
But as I neared the pig pen I heard the most pitiful tiny cry. Barely audible, like a goat whispering.
There was Filbert.

He was in Daphne and Fiona's pen, cornered in one of the dog houses. When I walked up the relief showed all over his face. As he stepped forward to come to the gate, Daphne rushed at him. Back into the house he went.
I really had to laugh at him.
You see the wood pile is up against the far side of the pig pen and Filbert must have jumped in from the wood and could not get back out.
Who knows how long he was kept hostage.

Not such a bad ass after all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Number One Son

Twenty-four years ago today, on Super Bowl Sunday, I gave birth to my one and only child. Born in the first month, at 1:01 am, weighing 8 pounds 1 ounce and measuring 21 inches in length he was bound to be number 1 in our hearts. What a pleasure to raise this boy was, which didn't leave us very prepared to say goodbye to him in front of that dorm room several years ago. I had always heard that by the time you get through the teen years you are ready for them to move out, not so in our case. Wise beyond his years he always amazed us with his common sense and larger than life vocabulary.
Now a man with a very deep voice he continues to make us proud. Always able to make things happen for himself, while making friends along the way.
Once my child and now my friend.

Happy Birthday My Son.


Monday, January 26, 2009


Boy did we get lucky when Goldilocks came into our lives. Not only is she beautiful, smart, funny and likes to laugh she has many special talents.

She can cook.....

She can feed babies.....

And hold babies......

She can brush out a llama...that doesn't like to be brushed...

She can open a bottle of wine.....

And stop and smell the flowers......

She graduated from college......

and went on to graduate school......

She can play pool.....

She can ride a pig.....

And a motorcycle......

She can read and make phone calls at the same time.....

Did I mention she's funny?

Happy Birthday Goldilocks. We love you.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's Back

My camera is back from Canon and after a few days of just looking at it, afraid it was still a lemon, I took it with me when I went down to feed this morning. The animals were eager to pose for me after a few weeks of being photographically ignored.
The first animal I always see on my walk down to the farm is this.....

Isn't she cute? I hope she never becomes hamburger.

Her pasture mate is suspiciously missing.

Where are you Reno?

It is best not to get attached to anything in this pasture. When my son was little we used to walk down and feed grass to a cow named Julie. One day when he was coming home from a day at kindergarten the bus stopped in front of Julie's pasture....just in time for my animal loving son to see the butcher cut off her head with a chainsaw.
He didn't touch meat for 10 years. 10 years we ordered deluxe cheeseburgers with no meat.

Here is Filbert. I have lots of pictures of Filbert. He will just stand somewhere looking nonchalant like he doesn't know I have the camera. But I know he knows.

Next is Riot.

Then the whole famn damily.


He loves to be dirty.

He had so much fun today running, bucking, and jumping with the horses next door. I will never worry about his creaky joints again. His secret is out. He has wonderful range of motion....when he wants to. I lunged him and he tossed his head and bucked. It was so much fun to see such a little guy tear up some turf.

So the jury is still out on this camera. They replaced the lens...again. There was a note inside telling me to use Duracell Ultra batteries....right next to the Duracell Ultra batteries I was using.
But I shall keep an open mind. Besides I hate it when I don't have a camera.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Goat Lady

On one of my previous post a commenter asked for advice on goats. One thing is for sure, I love to give advice. But lately I am feeling like my goat knowledge could fit on the head of a pin. I have had goats almost my whole life and was very involved with 4H as a kid but I am starting to realize I don't know so much.
So as far as goat advice goes, aside from the fact that you need good fences and a shelter, you also need a goat lady as your mentor. I have been fortunate to have had help from some very willing and knowledgeable goat ladies in my life.
Now I'll admit it...I'm a wus when it comes to things like castration and dehorning and have paid people to do it for me so I will never be classified as a true goat lady until I can do those jobs myself. Thus I stay only a goatgirl.
A goat mentor is essential. She is someone that doesn't mind being woken up when your goat is kidding and you are in a panic. She will drop everything to come to your house to look at your goat that is "dying" when it is only constipated. She always has the right medicine and utensils to get the job done...whatever that may be.
You may notice that I say "goat lady" because I have yet to meet a "goat man" doesn't even sound right.
Goat man....naaaa....doesn't work. Kind of scary.
My current goat lady is the goatfarmer at Herron Hill. She really hasn't been into goats that long but her knowledge far surpasses my measly on the surface goat husbandry.
And she's funny. I like funny.
Last Friday I went to pick up Semi-Sweet after staying several days in the honeymoon suite. She had a good time but was eager to get back home. On returning home I noticed that she was all hunched up and straining to urinate and poo. She looked like she was birthing kids every time she tried to go potty. The poor girl stood around looking very miserable. So true to my nature I worried. I knew for sure she had a kidney stone that was blocking her urethra.
She was sure to die.
I should tell you this is very rare in does. They do get urinary calculi but their plumbing is different than the boys and are able to pass them where the boys get blockages. But at 3am it is hard to remember that part.
I got very little sleep that night and was relieved to see her still among the living the next morning. She was still eating and drinking so that was a good sign. But the other end was the I called the goatfarmer.
Well she had goat problems of her own but true to the "spirit of the goat lady" she rushed over to my place to look at Semi-Sweet. And she brought drugs!
After looking Semi-Sweet over and taking her temperature she explained to me, a middle-aged woman that has been married forever and has given birth, that probably 5 days in the honeymoon suite might make a girl a bit sore "down there"

Can I hear a collective DUUUUH?

She gave Semi-Sweet a shot of relief and went on her merry way with a suggestion that I fatten up my does a bit.
And I thought they were too fat.

Semi-Sweet is doing much better today and almost back to her old self. I was never so relieved to see her T-bone Filbert for getting in her way.

As for goat advice...find a goat lady. They are worth their weight in gold.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I Hope That You Can Help Me

Years ago a teacher that I work with told me about a little trick she used to get results when needing help for a problem. It is like this, when someone answers the phone....Hi, this is Heather, how can I help you?....You say their name and then this...."I hope that you can help me."
Well naturally that person wants to be the one to help you and it works every time.

Except for my camera.

I bought my camera back in August. I was in love. It had zoom! But I noticed right away that I was getting a ton of blurry shots. Pictures that should have been pretty easy were all blurry. The trouble was every once in a while I would get an amazing shot.
Like this....

or this....
And my all time favorite picture....

But for every one of those, there were 50 ones that were blurry or soft. Shots the camera should have gotten but were missed and gone forever.
I was convinced it was something I was doing wrong so I let my son and his girlfriend check it out over Thanksgiving. They had the same results so I came home ready to take the lemon back. I marched into Target and said to the manager, "I hope that you can help me."
She smiled really big, eager to be the one to help me. Then took one look at my receipt and said that she could have helped me 10 days ago but not today. And she wouldn't budge. I would have to send the camera back to Canon.
I came home and called Canon. So of course I said, "I hope that you can help me." Sure enough if a gal named Heather didn't fall all over herself trying to be the one to help me. We troubleshooted and it was determined that the camera needed to take a trip to the Canon repair shop. She would send me a shipping label.
A few days go by and no shipping label. I call Canon and get a very disagreeable young man named David that told me that they never send you a shipping label. It was against company policy...and could I hold.
So I held.
He came back on the line to tell me that they would go ahead and send one but, once again, it is against their policy.
Off to Canon my camera went. They replaced the lens. The camera came back and I couldn't wait to start taking pictures. But still a lot of blurry pictures. My son thought it sounded like something was wrong with the shutter. It was so slow you could hear it clunk open and closed.
I call Canon again and threw out my best, "I hope that you can help me, Harry"
Well Harry had better things to do than help me. The boredom oozed from his mouth. So I hung up and called back hoping to get someone that would be dying to "help me".
I got Vicki. Oh she was dying to help me all right but this time I am asking for my money back or at least a new camera. So she called in the supervisor.

"I hope that you can help me."

Well Mike had heard it all before. He wasn't going to let this middle-aged woman get the best of him. I asked for my money back. I asked for a new camera. It didn't go well.
Let's just say it ended up with me telling him all about how bad the guys that I had talked to treated me compared to the gals. (Hubby said the guy probably thought I was some man-hater)
Once again they were sending me a shipping label. Apparently Mike didn't know it was against company policy either.
After I got off the phone, my son said, "It's time to stop the I hope that you can help me bit and start getting mad."
But that's hard for me.
So I turned to Hubby and said, "I hope that you can help me."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Honeymoon Suite

In the middle of winter, on a farm, thoughts turn to spring. Nothing is more a symbol of spring than baby goats. This year I want baby goats on the farm. We haven't had any born here for several years. Last year I bought the little buck Ruckus for this purpose. Well let's just say that Ruckus didn't have it in him. I did breed the two does, Lexi and Semi-Sweet, to him but they came back in heat a day after he left.
So I asked the goatfarmer over at Herron Hill Dairy if the girls could book a stay in the famous honeymoon suite that they had been reading about on the internet. She agreed to host the girls for a few days.
We now waited for the most opportune time for the goat girls to meet the dashing Captain January.

That was back in November. The first time they came in season it was Thanksgiving and we were in Bakersfield. The next time it was before Christmas and we were in the freeze of the century. Sort of like in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Remember the blizzard scene? I was not going to drive the girls to the honeymoon suite then.
It all boils down to a scheduling problem. The girls are never ready when everyone else is. Besides the honeymoon suite is a very busy place this time of year. I had almost given up when I went down to feed this morning and Lexi was mooning all over Moly, the pygmy wether.

I called the goatfarmer and said, "Ready or not. Here we come."

I put a dog crate in the back of the Jeep and went to load the girls. I decided to take Semi-Sweet too. The girls had other ideas and would normally be fighting to get out of the pasture were fighting to get back in. They know a Jeep ride can be dicey with nothing good coming at the end.

Over the river and through the woods we went to Herron Hill Bed and Breakfast. Met in the drive by a leery Great Pyrenees that had in the past greeted me with tail wags and smiles but now was not to sure about the hat I was wearing. It was my Portobello colored, floppy wool hat that I made a couple of years ago. It made me look quite suspicious to the dog who's job it is to guard the flock. But after a good sniff he smelled goat on me and decided I was OK in his book.

Lexi got hauled out of the crate first...and I mean hauled. She did not want to come out. But she recovered fairly quickly and before the goatfarmer could get around to the front of the barn, after letting the buck in, to give me my instructions the deed was done and we were all sitting back and having a smoke...not really.

Semi-Sweet was another matter. She spent the whole time perfecting her head butts. Some rivaling the Big-Horn sheep you see on nature shows.
It really wasn't very feminine of her.

She was checked into the honeymoon suite for a few days of romance. Lexi got to come home.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Christmas In July

Christmas in July......I have listened to those Sleep Country commercials for years and not given them much thought....until this holiday season. After another blogger mentioned having Christmas in July instead of December it got me thinking. Why are we doing this to ourselves? The weather is the worst, the traffic and airports are at their most hectic time, not to mention the shopping. I hate the shopping part. Don't get me wrong I like to shop all right. Just not under pressure, and for a lot of people at once.
This year I just plain gave up. I didn't get my shopping done. I canceled Christmas dinner because the weather was so bad and Hubby was spending it with a snowplow. So as my son and I were just "hanging out" on Christmas I told him I was going to start celebrating Christmas in July. When the weather is better. And the airport isn't such a mess. No need for a snowplow in July. I would be off work and I'd have plenty of time for shopping. You wouldn't get caught up in the commercialism either.
That way he could spend Christmas with Goldilocks, which is where his heart was anyway:)

He didn't quite believe me.

I had him look up when Jesus was born. It was closer to July than December. So that settled it.....Christmas in July.

And every ones getting a mattress.

Hanging out with my son was the best part of the holidays. He said he knew how stars felt with the paparazzi an all. A camera in his face all the time and never knowing if your picture is going to turn up on the internet. I told him, "Oh no, I won't put your picture on the internet."

Goldilocks will be so jealous when she sees that we got in a little horse backriding.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A House Of Straw

Once again Daphne and Fiona, the pig girls, amazed me with their intelligence. A few days before Christmas we were expecting quite a cold spell for this part of the country. I worried about the pigs keeping warm so I bought a bale of straw and packed it tightly around the outside of their igloo. I covered the entire house with clean straw. Daphne and Fiona have two dog houses but prefer co-sleeping for warmth and comfort. They squeeze their 80 pound selves into one igloo and then squeeze their way out in the morning. The only thing you can see are two snouts sticking out of the opening. So like I said I piled straw up and around the igloo of choice but the girls had other ideas. They worked for quite a while piling the straw to their liking. Then they crawled inside the igloo.

And closed their door.