Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Thanks

I love a road trip. I love riding along and looking at how other people live. I love looking at farms and imagine living there. After our last road trip where we made the unfortunate stop in Vegas I didn't think Hubby and I would ever leave our street. But we did and I'm glad for it.

We decided to take a Thanksgiving trip to Bakersfield to visit my son, goldilocks, and her very fun family. It was so good to see them and laugh about our above said trip, share a bounty of good food and meet goldilocks' 90 year old grandma. I have come to the conclusion that Bakersfield gets a bum rap. The butt of jokes for years, Bakersfield is not as I pictured. It is very much like Tacoma, the town I grew up in...but minus the rain plus sweltering heat, I hear. I love California...north of the Grapevine hill. It still has a lot of open spaces, lots of farms and some very beautiful countryside. Grapes grow around Bakersfield as far as the eye can see. I love grapes and I love wine so grapes as far as the eye can see is good. But most of all I love where real people live and Bakersfield is full of real people. It is a practical, sturdy town that helped to mold goldilocks into the smart, down to earth, real person that she is today. That is why my son loves her....and she is beautiful. I'm sure that has nothing to do with it.

Some random things I observed on the road trip are...
America if you are listening, we don't need any more stores!!! If I see one more new modern complex with a Target, Home Depot, etc. etc. I am going to scream. All the towns are starting to look the same.
People need to take a lesson from Hubby and turn those junk vehicles into some cold hard cash. That's scrap metal you know. I think there is enough out there to fund the bail-out for the automakers. The circle of life.
Oregon is the cleanest of all three states. Hubby described it as the best of California and the best of Washington all rolled into one state but they love their ADULT SHOPS right next to the freeway.
Oh and one more thing...Danni, when did Waddles become Hooters??? That's just WRONG.

Solomon was happy to see his brother...

Returning home to find all animals in good shape is always a blessing too. My animals love when I'm gone because that means my neighbor, Barb, feeds. Barb is very generous with the food. She thinks a little hay is good but a lot of hay is better. I come home to fat and happy animals.
I have been trying to entice the neighbor's chickens into my chicken coop. Now I admit it is chicken thieven' but the reality is that they are at my place all the time. I feed them and they don't. I don't want them eating at my place and laying at theirs. It kind of reminds me of when another family lived there and bought two sheep. They were under the impression that the sparse pasture was enough for the sheep to live on so fed them no extra. I couldn't stand to see them looking through the fence at me and would throw them hay when I fed my animals. A year later I was talking to the woman and she marveled at how wonderful the meat from those sheep was...and it didn't cost them anything to feed them. I didn't clue her in because they were moving and I wouldn't have to feed any more sheep and they needed the help anyway but I refuse to feed the chickens and not get any eggs. They started out with six lovely young hens and because they don't lock them up at night they are down to three. One nice Black Star and 2 wild Rhode Island Red Heads.

Before I left I locked up the Black Star in with my hens. She really liked the never ending buffet.
The Rhode Island Reds wanted nothing to do with it and freaked out, upsetting my girls, so out they went. Barb was able to lock the Black Star in every night with my girls. No luck on the wild red girls. I am afraid their days are numbered.
I asked Barb if she got any eggs and she said no that there weren't any in the boxes. I thought that strange and went out to look. Oh there were eggs all right. It's just that my girls lay all their eggs in one to speak. They have six boxes and all lay in one. If someone is using it at the time they just wait their turn instead of choosing an empty box. Barb just didn't look at the one on the far end so I have eggs to sell tomorrow.

It's time to get back to our routine.....and put these animals on a diet.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Koo, the llama, is a gentle spirit. He is peaceful and passive and moves willingly when Penne steps in to steal his food. Pushy Penne is relentless when it comes to the pursue of the best food given out at the time. Koo just quietly moves out of the way. Why push it. It's not like anyone at my place gets a chance to build up a roaring appetite.

But this morning he snapped.

Koo had just discovered the better quality hay left-over from Sunny's breakfast and moved in to enjoy his prize when running in like a locomotive or a big wool couch was Penne. Penne outweighs Koo by about 100 pounds so she is a force to be reckoned with.

He arched his neck and gave her a spit.

She just spit back.

He spit again, only more and louder.

She kept coming.

He had had enough....months of giving up his food came to a head in Sunny's pasture.
He reared up and attacked Penne. Kicking and striking he brought her to her knees. I was shocked...I had never seen any aggression toward each other....ever.
Penne did not back off...she was going to fight to the death for those 6 stems of green hay.
I was afraid to step in so the best I could do was to flail my shovel around wildly and shout. Llamas fight like a combination of horses and dogs. Rearing and kicking and wrestling and biting. They finally gave up but I think it was out of exhaustion since that was the most energy they have ever exerted...ever.
Both went to their respective corners and hung their lips down. Apparently that spit tastes so awful even they can't stand it.

Then Koo enjoyed his hay in peace.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sunny Side Up

Life with Sunny is starting to look up. What a difference a few weeks make. Guess what? No more figure 8 track. He has better things to do now. There is eating the grass, chasing the cat, eating the grass, talking to the new filly next door, eating the grass, teaching goatgirl to give him treats, eating the grass, going for walks....and eating the grass.

Sunny is working his way into my heart. I figured out that my expectations for him needed to change. You see I have wanted a miniature horse for about 25 years, ever since I saw one at the Puyallup fair while touring the horse barn (while eating a scone). Hubby and I couldn't believe our eyes when we saw this horse in miniature. I remember not wanting to walk away from it. I was in love. So when I set out to find one all I wanted was a tiny horse to look at in my pasture...that's all...just a pasture pet. A mini horse for my mini farm.
But when I saw the ad for Sunny and it said he was athletic and loved to run and jump, was cart trained, shown in obstacles, loved people and animals my expectations rose. I wasn't satisfied with just looking at him. I wanted to run, jump and cart.
I was disappointed that he doesn't run...ever, he doesn't jump and he doesn't even look up when I come around. I told myself that that was all right. I didn't need another animal mauling me for a handout...I had the goats and llamas for that, oh and don't forget the pigs....and the chickens. I didn't need Sunny to join in the fun. And he doesn't.
But he does look cute out in the pasture. And he is calm I led him into the house on Saturday while Hubby was watching T.V. on the couch. Sunny walked right in like he had done it a million times and Hubby looked up and said," Hello Sunny Jim" like he had seen a horse in the house a million times before.

And for the first time Sunny stuck his nose between my knees and gave me a nose bump that went straight to my heart.

I just have one question...if they could miniaturize his head, muzzle, ears, feet, legs, etc....why couldn't they miniaturize his mane?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Perfect Saturday

Goldilocks here again. So I have always loved animals and yearned to own some land when I grow up so that I can have a horse or two roaming around in a pen in my backyard. Unfortunately, I have no real experience with horses. The one time that I was on a horse I was 10 years old. That is until this morning. I found a local ranch online and called to schedule a trail ride. I arrived this morning and climbed on a very pretty 14 year old mare named Ginger. My trail guide was a very gifted rider, and we had a really good time. We walked, we trotted, we even cantered a little bit. My hour ended, we brought the horses back, unsaddled them, and put them out to pasture. The ranch owner, who knew that I had never ridden a horse, asked how it went, and the trail guide told him that I did really well. To my surprise, he said that I could come during my free time and volunteer at the ranch and ride for free in exchange! I spent the rest of the afternoon mucking stalls and leading horses carrying young children in an arena. And I loved every minute of it! All my dreams are coming true. I'm going to learn to ride and how to take care of horses (for free!!).

One more thing for my perfect Saturday, a few weeks ago I received a package from Washington (from none other than goatgirl). Inside was a local cookbook from my boyfriend's hometown. I love cookbooks! I immediately sat down and looked through every page making mental notes of all the things that I wanted to try. I soon had to abandon this because the list got too long to remember. But anyways, there was one recipe in particular that caught my eye; Original Puyallup Fair Scones. For all of you that have been following the blog for some time, you may remember that goatgirl absolutely loves the scones at the Puyallup Fair. When I got home this afternoon from my horse adventures, I decided to make scones (much to my boyfriend's delight).

Here's the recipe for any of you that are interested:

2 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbls sugar
1 Tbls baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 Tbls shortening(or 7 Tbls butter)
1/2 cup seedless raisins
3/4 cup milk
butter rasberry jam

Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Work in the shortening until the mixture is like coarse corn meal. Add the raisins, and mix thoroughly. Add the milk, and stir with a fork until the mixture leaves the the sides of the bowl. Turn out on a lightly floured board, divide dough in half, and form into two balls. Pat out both balls of dough with cupped palm to about 6 inches across, 1/2 inch thick, leaving the center higher (thicker) than the edges. Cut each round into four wedge-shaped pieces like a pie. Bake 15 mins at 450 degrees. To serve, split open but do not cut through. Fill with butter and rasberry jam. Makes 8 scones.

Trust me they're yummy! My boyfriend loved them and said, "Well you did it, you made Puyallup fair scones. They taste just right."

Friday, November 14, 2008

The First Snow

Greetings from Colorado! This is goldilocks, the girlfriend of goatgirl's son. I've been given permission from goatgirl to be a guest blogger. As most of you know, goatgirl's son and I moved to Colorado for grad school at the end of August. When we first got here, goatgirl's Hubby asked a waiter when snow season begins and much to everyone's surprise we were told Labor Day (which was only three weeks away at the time). After that, Hubby began to take a poll. He asked everyone we saw when snow usually comes. The consensus was Halloween. Well, Halloween came and went and no snow. Two weeks later, and still no snow. So last night, my sweet boyfriend said, "Do you think it's gonna snow tonight like it said on the news?" Of course I answered, "No way, they've been saying that for weeks, and it hasn't yet. Besides, it was so hot today." (Yesterday, it was in the 70s)

Well, I got into the habit of looking out my window every morning to see if it snowed while I was sleeping. This morning I woke up, and a little flutter caught the corner of my eye. And I thought, hmmm was that a snowflake? I looked down at the ground which is xeriscaped (which is a fancy way of saying landscaped with rocks instead of grass), but no snow. Then I saw another flutter. It was a soft little snowflake. This time I looked up, and there it was. Snow! Covering the branches of the tree outside my window! Now, I am a born and raised California girl. It has only snowed in my hometown once in my whole life. My family used to drive a couple hours in the winter just to play in the snow. So let me tell you, I was excited. Snow, right there in my front yard. I called my mom. I called goatgirl. I even called my grandma. I was like a kid in a candy store. I jumped out of bed, threw on some pants and a sweatshirt, ran outside, and this is what I saw.

Have I given you a good enough picture of how excited I was? If not, just imagine a five year old on Christmas morning, and that should do it. Now imagine the disappointment at 11am when I realized that all the snow had somehow mysteriously disappeared. But no worries, something tells me that this first snow won't be the last!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

My Most Embarrassing Moment

I almost didn't write about this. Almost. It is my most embarrassing moment ever. But the vet over at Vet on the Edge wanted to hear. She posted about weird things that dogs eat and being very competitive I had to top her story.
So here goes.....

When Hubby and I were first married we lived in a duplex surrounded by other duplexes in the lovely small town of Steilacoom. Some of the neighbors were pretty junky as some renters tend to be and their garbage would spill out over the cans. At that time we had a small Dalmatian named Mandy that lived to slipped under the fence and sample the offerings in the neighboring yards. I know now that we were young and a bit irresponsible and should have tried harder to keep her in but at the time we just weren't as conscientious pet owners as we are today.
Well one day I noticed my dog out in the yard straining to go to the bathroom and was horrified to see her intestines trailing out behind her. I could not imagine what was wrong with her so in a panic I loaded her in Hubby's sports car that no animals had ever had the pleasure of riding in and sped off to the vet.
Rushing in with Mandy in my arms I told the startled receptionist that my dog's intestines were coming out of her rectum. She hustled me into a room and I waited, shaking, for the vet to come in. In walks the young woman vet. I explained that my dog's intestines were coming out. She walked around to the back of the dog while I held her in my arms and lifted her tail to take a peek.

With a dour look on her face said, "It's a rubber"

With my face turning fifty shades of red I stumbled all over my words explaining Mandy's habit of eating the neighbor's garbage.

With no expression at all she said in that same dour way,

"Let's hope that's how it got in there"

There was no charge for that visit....Mandy had eaten the rubber and the ring had gotten caught on the way out of her rectum so her bowel movement was in the end of it as it hung out her body...anyway you get the picture.

At least I hope that's how it happened.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Vicarious Vet

I have been told my whole life that I should have been a veterinarian. The only person that hasn't told me that was my high school chemistry teacher who I had to beg(and I mean BEG) for a passing grade so I could keep at least a B average to continue driving my car. It also didn't help that a good friend of mine that is a few years older than me and a whole lot smarter flunked out of vet school. And to be fair I am just not that ambitious. So I moved my wish onto my son, who is very smart and very ambitious. I thought I had a pretty good shot with him because he loves animals as much as I do and excelled in all the sciences. I pictured in my mind him becoming a vet and me working in his office. I pushed pretty hard but he chose people over animals and is now in graduate school studying molecular biology and doing medical research along with his lovely girlfriend at the University of Colorado. I told you he was smart...and I couldn't be more proud.
I have always been fascinated with veterinary medicine and although I do whatever I can myself I do enjoy taking my animals to the vet. It's better than shopping. As long as it's not too serious, then it's not so good, but that's rare since I try to be proactive and use good management with my critters. Anyway, I always learn something new and usually come home with something to doctor up my animals with. I always did love to play doctor and I love my vet. He is practical while staying up on the latest things and he respects my knowledge. I still remember the day he got his first ultrasound machine. I had a Sheltie that was due to have puppies and he wanted to try out his new toy on my very pregnant girl. He asked me if I would let him give her an ultrasound, free of charge, so he could check it out. I told him sure if he would let me go back and watch. So we went into the back room where the machine was set up and put Grace on the table with her tummy exposed. The vet tech. shaved her belly and we proceeded to wave the magic wand on her only to see one humongous puppy. One! And I had 4 already sold. I was a bit distracted and as I picked Grace up to leave my foot got caught on the electrical cord that was draped across the room and sent that ultrasound machine almost crashing to the floor. If it hadn't been for the doctor's quick reflexes my bill would have been seriously higher. I wonder if he ever lets owners in to watch anymore?
I am also a huge fan of James Herriot. I have all his books and read them to my son as he grew up. They are truly laugh out loud before it was LOL. One time my son had an assignment to write to his favorite author and he chose Dr. Herriot. He wrote to him only to get a letter from his publisher saying that Dr. Herriot was too ill to answer any letters. Shortly after that we heard that he had died. Hubby came home to his wife and son crying their eyes out. He said,"Oh my gosh, what happened?" We howled, "James Herriot died."
It has left a bit of a hole in my life. But I think I have found a way to fill the void thanks to a comment left on my last post from "I need orange" sending me to a blog called Vet On The Edge that is very James Herriot like. It is funny.....and you know how much I like funny and it is about veterinary medicine.....and now you know how much I like that....and it is from Alaska where my Grandpa lived.....which reminds me of another story. When I was a child my grandpa lived in Alaska. I heard stories of his dogsled and was so excited to travel to Alaska to visit him. I didn't say a word to anyone how excited I was to get to go out with Grandpa on the dogsled. Imagine my disappointment when I got there and he had traded his dogsled for a snow machine (that's Alaskan for snowmobile). I have never gotten over it.
Anyway check out this vet's blog my friends, but grab a cup of coffee or tea and be prepared to spend some time reading about the adventures of a vet on the edge.
I give this blog a two thumbs up. I plan to live vicariously through her.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hope Floats

We are floating away. According to the rain gauge in Mrs. R. 1st grade class we had 5inches of rain in one day. That didn't surprise me one bit. I saw 5 inches of water everywhere. In Sunny stall, in the llama lounge, in the woodshed and even in the garage. I spent a few hours after work yesterday bailing out. After digging a ditch to carry the water out of the stall Hubby ambled in after work and made the mistake of saying,"Hi, what's up?" Well I filled him in on what was up. The water was up like I hadn't seen it before and the rain has just started. I know it seems like I complain a lot about the rain but do not judge until you have walked a mile in my gumboots. It is mainly the question of hair. I have said before I don't have the hair for this weather. And to make matters worse I have not had a haircut in months and I couldn't do a thing with my mop this morning. I frantically called my hairdresser for an emergency appointment. She didn't have anything. But my friend, the hair police, came to the rescue. She gave me her appointment.

Which can only mean one thing, my hair was worse than I thought.

And speaking of hope, I am surprised at some of the reactions I got from my last post. I got everything from, Wow what a great post, to Man goatgirl has been dipping into the KoolAid....whatever that means. I am a bit floored on how extreme the reaction to this election has been. I am old enough to have been through many presidential elections and this one seems to have brought out the best in people and the worst. I have never seen so much fear, hate, and yes, hope. None of us knows what the future brings. Only time will tell.

Can't everyone just get along?

That's all Moly wants. So let's take a lesson from an old goat. Don't worry about tomorrow. Let's just ask ourselves how we can make today a better day.
I hope you have a good weekend. Stay dry!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Got Hope?

I am probably the least political person on this planet. I guess I lost hope. But last night I witnessed a country come together to celebrate America. I watched our young people care about their country and come out in record numbers to vote. I saw every color of skin stand together and rejoice in our sameness. I was in awe of the history in the making, of which I had never seen before in my lifetime. I know that many people I dearly love were disappointed in the outcome and many people that I dearly love were ecstatic but regardless of who you voted for you had to be moved by the American spirit waking up and saying "Yes, We Can!"

Enough about politics! We are settling in for winter. I happen to hate winter around here. It means rain and only rain. Mud and only mud. And can someone please tell me why oh why we had to go back to standard time. Why can't we stay on daylight savings time?
It is always this time of year I wonder why I have so many animals. Come spring I will forget about the hassles of farming in the rain and wonder no more.

Speaking of the animals, I am keeping my fingers crossed for baby goats in the spring. I bred Lexi to Ruckus a couple of weeks ago and plan on breeding Semi Sweet to the lovely Captain January at Herron Hill Dairy if all goes right.

I did sadly sell Ruckus the other day to a very nice family that had 4 Nigerian does and wanted a buck. I felt bad but found I just didn't want to keep a buck. I'll tell you a secret....they stink....really bad. I found myself going to school and catching a whiff of buck goat on my hand when I leaned down to point to a child's paper. And that is after I had washed about 3 times. I had to do something before a kid said, "What stinks?" And believe me, they would. Kids can humble you faster than anyone. They have no problem telling you that you have coffee breath....or buck goat hand. I just got an email from the new owner and he is settling in nicely.
Sunny, who Hubby is now calling Sunny Jim, is doing well. There has been no more kicking of the pigs and he loves to do his clicker training. Apple treats being his favorite. I have him on Cosequin for his joints but it will be a while before I can tell if it's helping. I bought a surcingle for him the other day and we have had a blast driving up the road. I took Hubby out with me and asked if he would like to try. Boy that was interesting. He had no natural ability at all. Reins flopping all over the place. Finally I said Forget it, you're going to ruin my horse. Stick to motorcycles....and cutting down trees.
And speaking of trees, Hubby has been working very hard cutting and clearing and burning. We now have enough firewood for ummm....let's say....25 years. Which is a good thing since we heat with wood.

Now that gives me hope.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Milking Stand For Everyone

There is a milking stand for all tastes. They come in all shapes and sizes but the major function is all the same. Hold that goat's neck while you do something to it. While searching for one I came across some interesting models.

Here is one with all the bells and whistles. I can just see this person's truck. They probably have a J.C. Whitney catalog next to their chair.

I did like this well made, sturdy stand. Someone has a handy hubby.

This stand has a new twist for the headlock. Sort of a combination sheep/goat stand.

Here is a stand that my mom would have....if my mom had goats....and actually milked them....and they sold it at Nordstrom's. This one would look cute just hanging out in your living room with a few plants on it.

This stand was found under milking stand for Nigerian Dwarf Goats. You have to be kidding me. It is made for a small cow. These kids could fall off and hurt themselves.

This stand is hardly practical. This picture was taken at a local fair. I can't imagine schlepping this stand through the fairgrounds, can you goatfarmer? But the girl is darling and I love the artsy spin on the head lock. Makes holding the goat's neck actually pretty.

So there you go, a milking stand for all tastes.....including you Mom.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Stand For Milking

My dad built my first milking stand when I was around 12. It was a handy stand because the stanchion was built on a box. I could take my stand to the fair with all my supplies tucked inside. My friend (the other goatgirl) and I painted it a bright blue and added our club name "Milk Maids" to the top. I drug that milking stand everywhere I lived for about 30 years. Finally it fell apart only to be thrown on the burn pile one day. Since then I have been trimming hooves and doing basic doctoring while bending over and chasing around a goat that is tied to a post. It worked for a while but I use to be younger and my bones didn't ache so much. It was apparent that I really needed one the other day when the goatfarmer and goatjudge came to draw blood. We did OK hanging on to the goats but I was missing my handy stand.
I have been on the lookout for a used milking stand. They come in many different varieties. I was looking for one of those snazzy metal ones that can fold up. And sure enough, one came up for sale and I set off on Saturday to pick it up. After driving for about 45 minutes I came to the driveway of the people that were selling it. I started climbing, and climbing. and climbing. The paved drive was covered in slippery maple leaves and was as steep as they come. I got about half way up and my truck couldn't climb the slippery slope anymore. Panic set in. What was I to do stuck halfway up these people's drive, unable to go forward, unable to go back. Then I remembered the truck has 4 wheel drive. So I turned the knob and gave it some gas. It gave a lurch and slowly started to climb the slippery slope. I finally made it to the top but the adventure wasn't over. After I roused the house from their sleep (they were expecting me!) the woman jumped in my truck and pointed the way to the milking stand. Down another steep hill and through the woods that I tried my best to avoid scratching Hubby's new truck on blackberry brambles, we pulled up next to a darling, neglected goat barn. This goat barn was at one time a busy place. The family had raised 8 children here and the evidence of happy farming times was everywhere. We moved the wheelbarrow and rototiller and uncovered a metal milking stand, just like I wanted, but not in such good shape. It had more rust than I expected and was a bit green with moss but after driving all that way and climbing up that driveway and driving through the woods and down the slippery slope I bought it anyway. I mean really, the lady had 8 kids. I felt bad. Hubby says he can sandblast it and re-paint it. Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

There is something very comforting about having a milking stand again.

I am ready for anything.