Ramblings – January 2019

Farming is a constant learning process. Take today as an example. I learned two things today. The first, is that the cow hooves I buy the dogs to chew smell horrendous!! Seriously, I searched the house high and low convinced that Boomer had an accident. Then  I discovered the smell was coming out of his other end…the end chewing on the cow hoof. Oy!

Second, I discovered I am capable of having some pretty in depth and interesting conversations….with myself. For instance this morning I in the back yard with Boomer, dressed in my pj’s I was encouraging him to do his business before I froze, when I looked up and saw the goats walking along the fence line out towards the woods. I began my good mornings to them, calling out each goat by name. I got through the group and realized someone was missing. I did a quick head count to double check. Yup definitely missing one. Then I realized Beauty was the doe that was missing. She’s the first due to kid and so large that yesterday I joked her belly looks taunt enough to split open and purge the kid in true “Alien” (the movie) fashion. Seriously, look at the size of her! The doe standing slightly behind her is also pregnant and due about a week afterward. I’m not trying to give her a complex or anything but she looks like she’s carrying a full litter!

I gave another good look around the pasture for Beauty, but couldn’t find her. With her coloring, she’s usually pretty easy to spot. Not ready to panic yet, I gave a few yells, calling her name. This usually brings her running or at the very least, she’s yell back to me.  This time I was met with silence. “What ifs” started running rampantly through my head and so began my interesting conversation.

Me: I’m sure it’s nothing. She’s not due for another 11 days.

Also me: Have you seen the size of her? And let’s face it you aren’t the best at recording breeding dates accurately.

Me: That “may” be true but really….11 days! Do you think I could have screwed up the date by 11 days??

Also me: Yes.

Me: That’s mean. Have a little faith!

Also me: How are you going to feel if she’s up there having problems birthing and you didn’t check her because you were sure you couldn’t possibly have screwed up the due date?

Me:   …………..

Apparently, I really know how to push my buttons because I  turned around and hightailed it into the house and shimmied into my farm clothes in record time, racing back outside and heading up to the goat pasture. Fortunately, before I ever got that far Beauty came waddling out of the woods. Once my heart meandered back from my throat to my chest, I looked suspiciously at Beauty, convinced she had done this intentionally. She’s got a great poker face though and gives nothing away.

Yup, farming is a constant learning process, all this excitement and it’s not even lunch time yet. Who needs Hollywood when you’ve got goats.

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Farming Lessons & Life Goals

pepper starts 012019Once upon a time I hated pepper plants. They are notoriously slow to get started from seed and no matter how much I babied the seeds they were always weeks behind the other plants. While all my other starts were tall, strong and bursting to get outside and into the sunshine, my pepper plants were always tiny and struggling. It became an annual frustration. I would move them to the best location for light, place a seed mat under them, have a small fan blowing nearby for air circulation, etc… But every year when it came time to move the seedlings outside I would look at my peppers and feel as if I had failed once again. I took to starting them much earlier than the other seeds but I did it with so much frustration, mumblings and complaining the whole time at the extra work and attention they needed.

A few years ago I decided to approach the growing season differently. Rather than trying so hard to get my peppers to go against what is their inherent nature (being slow to start), what if I embraced that trait? Rather than complaining about starting them a couple weeks early, why not start them a full 4 weeks early and do it with a happy heart? After all usually by the beginning of the new year I am itching to get outside. I’m perusing seed catalogs with glee and dreaming of when I can sink my hands into some dirt. So why not start the peppers super early, enjoy playing in the dirt and let the peppers take their sweet, and molasses-like, slow time to reach maturity. It took me a bit to finally stepped outside the box of my normal schedule and routine and try this life shifted without a grudging heart, but once I did….. what a change.

I was able to enjoy having a valid reason for playing in the dirt in the middle of winter and the peppers were finally allowed to follow their natural inclination. Best of all they were ready when the rest of the plants were, standing tall and strong and I didn’t feel like a frustrated failure. Win- win! Wouldn’t life be awesome if this idea could be applied to people? Rather than trying to get people to fit into other’s ideas of what or where they should be in life, we just support and appreciate their individual quirkiness? I love it when farm lessons teach me about life. ❤

Farm Records

thumbnail_img_1936[1]Those of you on my Facebook page have heard me drill over and over again that you must write down accurate breeding dates! Life can get way too busy to try to reply on memory, especially a memory as bad as mine. A few years ago life was kicking my rear end and as we struggled to just stay in the game, we would take the short cut of just moving the girls out with the buck and “letting nature take it’s course”. Of course, the result was that every spring we had no idea when the goats were due to kid and I would be pulling my hair out trying to prepare for the event with no idea when it would occur

This year was better. I actually planned our breeding season methodically and with intent. I was so proud. I kept diligent records of each and every time we exposed a doe to the buck! Because of this diligence we were able to plan our pre-kidding activities with some degree of certainty, and not just making a random guess. It was rather exciting to think I was finally getting my poop in a group (aka getting my sh*t together).  I took this as a sign that we were on track to a better farming year.

So armed with these dates we spent last weekend trimming hooves and giving the goats their vaccinations and supplemental injects that they need 4-6 weeks prior to kidding. We made plans to shave rear ends in two weeks and also to prepare the kidding area, stock up on supplies and give the whole barn a good cleaning. thumbnail_img_2062[1]

While I was out working with the goats I noticed that Beauty and Vessie were both much larger than the other girls. I tried not to stare or mention it to them. I didn’t want to make them self conscience but in fact they looked ready to go at any time. I snapped a picture and even mentioned to Hubs that they both looked like they were starting to bag up already….. but that just wasn’t likely this early from their due date.

This morning on a whim, I opened my records to recheck Beauty’s first potential kidding date (rather than going by my often faulty memory) and discovered it was within 2 days! WTH? Apparently my tired brain had forgotten that first breeding. This kicked us into high gear.  We now need to do all those same things…but much sooner.  I have some serious doubts that they will kid it in two days…they look close but not that close, but we need to be ready regardless.

So other then whining, why am I telling you this? Well, apparently just keeping accurate and detailed records isn’t enough….. you have to go back and check them too. *sigh* Here’s to hoping that next year will go smoother.