Friday, May 29, 2009


Sunny has a new bridle. My very good friend makes bridles. How lucky is that? So she made Sunny a little driving bridle. Up to this point I was driving him with his halter, casually meandering down the street. With the new bridle, driving took on a whole new meaning. Luckily my friend who makes bridles has also driven a horse one more time than I have. I have never driven a horse. So that makes it once for her. She had some good ideas and not only does she make leather items she also is a dog trainer extraordinaire so naturally she had him working nicely and we sailed down the road. I let her drive him....because she DID make the bridle. And she got that same goofy grin I always get when I am running down the road behind a little horse.

I couldn't believe it when she informed me that this bridle was just his test-fit bridle. Wait until I see his real one!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Goat Therapy

Today I finally had an opportunity to talk to the teacher of the class of children with autism about how their day with the goats went. This teacher has a heavy load and a very stressful job, to say the least, but as she spoke of their day with Cora Belle and Filbert a gentle smile came across her face. It was a moment, let me tell you. She said that it was wonderful. They walked the goats all over the school. The kids loved them and C.B and Fil got more than one kiss that day. Shhhh don't tell our school nurse. She'd have had them sterilize their lips. Aside from the kids, I had noticed throughout the day that the staff also took the goats out and walked them around and at one point while on a break sat under a tree while C.B. and Fil munched on grass and leaves. What a calming effect these two little goats had on everyone that came into contact with them.
It seems that a little goat therapy was just what the doctor ordered for this hard-working staff and their wonderful students.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Cora Belle And Filbert Get Some Learnin'

Today I took Cora Belle and Filbert to school with me. They had a very important job to do. We have a program at our school for the severely autistic children and one thing they do is go for long walks around the school grounds. One day as I watched them I thought to myself that it would be a lot more fun if they could walk a goat. And what better goats than my own Cora Belle and Filbert. They are leash trained and love people so I offered them up to the teacher and she quickly agreed that it would indeed be fun. I took a large dog crate and a couple of leashes and put them behind the classroom for the kids and the staff members to get them out and walk them. Periodically throughout the day I saw Cora Belle and Fil walking with the kids. They were great. I have yet to hear about their day because the teacher was running off to a meeting but as she ran by she said what a great day it was and she'd tell me about it tomorrow. I am anxious to hear.
It is also farm day in kindergarten so I took the kindergarten class out to walk C.B. and Fil. I was able to get a few pictures. What I love most about bringing animals to school is seeing how the kids react. One little boy who is very quiet and meek took one look at those goats and became a different person. He grabbed that rope and walked those goats all around helping other children that were having trouble walking them.
Here is a picture of him and C.B.

Here are a few pictures of Fil's day.

And Cora Belle....

Kid and kids...two of my favorite things.

Monday, May 25, 2009

My Dream Job

Ever since I was 11 and saw my first baby goat on the Captain Kangaroo show I have been goat crazy. So with that in mind, what would be my dream job? Milking goats in a real milking parlor with a cheese room attached. The other day that dream became a reality when I went over to Herron Hill Dairy to learn part two in the relief milker training. I had already learned the routine when hand milking was needed (I mean really, you are talking to the 1977 Pierce County Fair Goat Milking Champion) but I needed to master the milking machine...something I had never done. First off I had to enter the cheese room and remove my outside shoes, I was then presented with my own pair of milking parlor shoes. There can be no outside contamination in the cheese/milk room. Everything is white and clean and stainless steel. It's the real deal.
The goats are trained to go up a ramp and enter one by one through a special door. I was instructed to NEVER...NEVER...NEVER leave the latch undone between goats because the goats would open the special door and let themselves in to be milked...then all hell would break loose in the parlor. Needless to say I forgot to latch the door. The goatfarmer kindly pointed that out to me before the hell broke loose.
One by one the does filed in to be milked. The hardest part was remembering all the steps. It's enough to make me obsessive-compulsive. Did I wash that udder? Did I dip that teat? Did I latch the door? OMG, what am I doing outside in my inside shoes?
I shall take you through the routine.
1. Let goat in. Latch door. Tell the goat how pretty she is.
2. Clip goat to the stand and give her some grain.
3. Wash and disinfect udder. Don't forget to dry said udder.
4. Attach suction cups on teats. Sometimes this is easy...sometimes like in the case of a bulbous teat, not.
5. After the milk stops flowing remove suction cups and clear the milk out of them.
6. Now comes what I call the spa treatment. Dip teat with teat dip and then apply udder cream and give the udder a good rub-a-dub. Tell the goat how wonderful she is to share her milk.
7. Open up second door and let the doe out of the parlor. Sometimes they fly out sometimes you have to give them a good shove. Goats aren't dumb. They like a good supply of grain and a spa treatment.
8. Repeat as many times as there are milkers.
So I think I did pretty good if we don't count the spilled teat dip and the over zealous udder cream application and a few twisted milking lines. Or the fact that Lucy peeked into the milking parlor and saw a tall relief milker that she wanted no part of, entered the room like a freight train, and took a flying leap right into the middle of the grain tub sending grain flying in all directions. I must remember to bring Swedish Fish next time to persuade her to come into the parlor and act like a lady.
I had no time to take pictures....this is the real thing folks. I'm talking milking parlor, milk processing room and cheese parlor. Did I mention stainless steel?
So even though I have no pictures I did leave with this......

Jammies' milk!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Broody Hen

I have a broody hen. I just like saying "broody hen". Just like I like saying "biddies" (I learned this from Pam on a Southern Farm). So when I'm not saying biddies I'm saying broody hen. I have a broody hen that is going to have biddies. That's right biddies. Because I went over to the farm across the bay and got a dozen fertile Americauna eggs and put them under my broody Americauna hen Cedar.
In 21 days we should have biddies beyond the sidewalks.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Faux Udder?

This is Semi-Sweet. She is a 7 year old Nigerian Dwarf that has kidded once about 5 years ago. Since then she has been a lady of leisure. Last year she was dying for babies. She was one big raging hormone. She even bagged up but I knew she wasn't with kid because there hadn't been a buck around. This year I decided to breed her to the handsome Captain January so she spent about a week in the honeymoon suite.
She would be due around June 8th...I think. Since then she has not made me feel very confident about her being pregnant. She has continued to be one raging hormone. She is acting very bucky and has been chasing the other girls around and at times acting like she is in heat....but that's hard to tell because she always acts like she's in heat.
Once again, this year she is bagging up and getting a bit of a tummy. I put her in the milking stand last week and could feel nothing. Not a kick to give me hope.
So I took pictures of her faux udder that I am deep down hoping is a true udder.

If you look at something long enough you can imagine anything. I am imagining that her tail is even changing and getting little hollow places along the top. My mind is telling me she's not pregnant but my heart still hopes to have some Nigerian babies this year....and some sweet candy milk.

What do you think?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thanks To Jammies

Thanks to Jammies I can now say I love goat's milk.
Here is Jammies. You can read about her here

To let you in on a big secret, the goatgirl doesn't like goat milk or goat cheese. It has always tasted...well...goaty to me. I want to like it and have tried it often but I can always taste a hint of goat. As a kid with goats the milk was pretty good and I would find pleasure in serving our unsuspecting guest a glass of my goat's milk but my mother wouldn't use the milk as a rule and what we had was fed to the babies or given to a friend of a friend for their child that was allergic to cow's milk. Or my mom's friend's hippy son. It was the '70's man.
When I got Nubians after I was married the milk always tasted a bit off so once again I fed it to the babies and then let the momma dry off after they were weaned.
One day at school, someone brought in the most gorgeous salad you would ever want to eat. You know the one, three different kinds of lettuce, candied pecans, cranberries, raspberry vinaigrette dressing.......and goat cheese. Chucks of smelly goat cheese that tasted like I had just licked my goat. The only one that couldn't stand it was goatgirl...and the secretary because she too has extraordinary taste buds. So I have pretty much stayed clear of anything made from goats.
Until now...
The other day I went over to the goatfarmer's to learn how to be her relief milker when she needs relief. It was very fun but since I hadn't milked in years I was a little rusty. The LaManchas were a breeze but the Minimancha, Jammies, was a bit of a challenge for me. The dwarf-sized teats and these farmer-sized hands did not a match make. I milked out one side but could not get my weak left hand to milk the other side. The farmer got it started and I knocked her out of the way so I could finish. While milking Jammies and knowing that her milk was the farmer's favorite I asked for a taste of it. The farmer got a funny look on her face and said she was so sorry but there was none left. I said well what about this milk right here that I'm milking out now? Well what could she say then? She took the milk inside and poured it in a clean jar and set it to cooling while we milked the rest of the does.
After we finished milking all but one doe (Bertie wouldn't come in from the pasture as long as the relief milker was anywhere in sight) we went inside to get the milk. The farmer told me to have a taste now. I made some lame excuse about it not being cool but saw that wasn't getting anywhere so gingerly I took a sip. Wow, my eyes flew open because swirling around in my mouth was the best milk, goat or otherwise, that I have ever tasted. Creamy, sweet goat's milk like none I had ever experienced.

I took my prize home and have been enjoying it all weekend in my coffee wishing I had some cheese making supplies. Even Hubby has been bypassing the 2 gallons of milk he bought the other day to slip some of that delicious milk into his coffee. After two days I tried it again, almost sure it would have a hint of goatiness....not a hint. This is good news and I am now on a mission to find my own sweet milking goat since neither of my Nigerian's are going to kid this year:(

So thanks to a little goat named Jammies I am now a true goatgirl enjoying all that is truly goat.

update: Being a "nothing ventured, nothing gained" kind of person, I told the goatfarmer that I would buy Jammies. I was politely reminded that I had a darling Nigerian named Cora Belle that is related to Jammies and would provide me with the same sweet milk next year (I guess that's a no). I had somehow forgotten about that in my goat milk stupor.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Shedding Time

It's time to shed the winter coat.

And everyone is itchy.