We’ve been enjoying our little goat family for a few years now and since the herd has been growing it’s time to find some new homes. These guys are all our babies so we’d like to find homes where they will be loved and appreciated. Our herdsire, Mr. Gibbs comes from Old Mountain Farm stock and we are utterly in love with him. At this point, we’ve been keeping our buck and does together like their former owner did. Gibbs loves his kids and it is great to watch them interact as a complete herd.
We are blessed to have an excellent vet clinic locally with a wonderful goat vet. I used Molly’s Herbals for most deworming and any supplements necessary but I will used traditional medicine if it becomes necessary. Our herd is small. 15 right now. We purchased Buttercup and 2 wether companions from tested herds in 2015. Then we added Mr. Gibbs and his lady Isadora in the fall of 2016. All the rest are born and bred here.
Our vet was out a week ago and we sent in blood samples for routine testing. Should be getting the results soon, but don’t expect any problems. UPDATE! All tests were negative as expected. Tested for Johnnes, CAE and CL.
I will try to put up pics of the rest of the gang when I get the chance. Life stays busy here! There are some videos available on my facebook page.
Available today are Dandelion and Bramble (wethers) , Milkweed (yearling buck), Cockleburr , Chickweed and Oregano (bucklings …will be wethered if not sold but they’d be awful good daddies) Rose (doeling) and possibly Marigold and Hollihox (first freshener does).
We wondered if we would like the taste our goat milk?
I’ve read dozens of opinions and it seems to be 50/50 between YES it’s DELICOUS! and NO its TERRIBLE!
My verdict….I love it!
Two years ago we adopted Buttercup and bottle-fed her. She is all grown up now and giving us milk every day.
Milking was a completely new experience for me. I read a bunch of books and searched the internet for all the advice I could get. It has turned out to be a great experience!
Apart from the subzero temps all through December, trips to the barn in the wind with my milk pail, frozen barn doors and fingers and pulling myself out of bed on Saturday mornings, I have enjoyed it so much! Even on those frigid days, leaning up against Buttercup’s warm goatie side to harvest our creamy milk has been downright cozy.
Sometimes I sing…even a self-conscious singer like me can be comfortable singing for a barnful of goats. They are a forgiving audience.
Our barn cat, Simpkin, makes a habit of joining me. He waits patiently while I wash Buttercup’s udder and strip the first few pulls. He knows he can have those first couple of shots. The rest belongs to us.
Larry built us a milk stand. We referenced info from Fiasco Farm at https://fiascofarm.com/goats/milkstand.html. Fiasco Farm has lots of good info for beginner goatherds. We have been using their Molly’s Herbal products for several months and are so far very pleased with the results. The goats love it.
I have been drinking the milk for several weeks and now cow’s milk tastes rather flat. Buttercup’s milk is rich and sweet and creamy. Larry gets a latte in his thermos on Mondays and Fridays as a treat and these days it is made with goat’s milk.
Many people say that when the buck and does live together, the milk tastes off. That hasn’t been an issue here at all and Mr. Gibbs so enjoys the company of his herd. We love watching their herd behavior.
Looking forward to having a couple of does in milk in the future now that I know we like it so much. It doesn’t last long in the fridge.
Hopefully we’ll have some kids out of Isadora and Mr. Gibbs this spring.
Next year her daughter, Marigold, will be old enough for a family of her own.
Looking forward to more milk and some adorable registered Nigerian dwarf kids to sell in the spring!
Well, seems things always take longer to get done that I expect. Our first kidding experience on our little farm occurred over 2 months ago and I am only now recording it here….
Bouncing baby Bramble was born Jan 16th and he is a cutie….
We really should sell him, as we are sort of thinking of milking and “he” won’t be giving us much for milk…..but…..Larry won’t hear of it. He’s already way too attached….and the grandkids begged to keep the first baby on the farm. So here he stays. Hopefully, it will be easier after this first one to part with others…. We do have a very small farm!
Gotta love this face!!
My carefully prepared “kidding kit” didn’t get much use as Isadora had done almost all the work when I went to the barn that morning. Just a dip of his umbilical cord and a tiny bit of blow drying…..add a new sweater and we were good to go.
The baby monitor didn’t do its job because I missed the pretty much everything…..went to the barn in the morning and there he was…beautiful and bouncing around already. Isadora did a wonderful job. Her companion in the kidding pen, Thistle, didn’t do so well….he looked absolutely terrified….where did that little thing come from!!!! He couldn’t wait to get out and join the rest of the herd in the pasture. The miracle of birth was obviously not his thing…
We simply love our new little guy….he’s been growing SO FAST! Cute little horns are getting longer and he is a very happy little goatie.
For the repurposed sweaters I read several blog posts and kind of did a hybrid of all of them. First I washed all of the sweaters in hot water a couple of times with maximum agitation. Then machine dried them. They all felt differently and you end up with something of a surprise. But even a little felting increases the warmth value and helps with fraying while you work with them at the sewing machine. Tightly felted wool wouldn’t really need to have edges finished at all.
When I cut the sleeves off of the sweater it gave me the raw material for two goat baby versions. I also made some mittens out of the body of the sweater (using the ribbed band at the waist as the cuffs) as suggested on http://www.cornerstoneacresfarm.com/recyclereusereduce.htm
I added little sleeves to my version to cover a bit of their tiny legs.
Also put together our birthing kit….found a good list on Fiasco Farm’s website at https://fiascofarm.com/goats/kidding.htm.
Some of the items, we had around the house. The others were purchased at Fleet Farm, Tractor Supply and Walmart. Gathered them all together in a big plastic tote bag which sits in our dining room ready for whenever.
We set up a separate kidding pen in our granary this week. Isadora and Thistle spent last night there just to get used to it. It is a nice private place for Mrs. Goatie and also has good lighting and a little easier to keep warm as it has electricity and is fully enclosed. Oh….and closer to the house, which I love!
Thinking I should add a good book or some knitting and maybe a radio to the kit…..
Post Script!!! This post was written weeks ago, life got busy, and it wasn’t posted. Since writing, Isadora brought us a wonderful little buckling on Jan 16….all by herself! Hope to post pictures when I find time.
So it’s been awhile since the last post. Life kinda catches up on you sometimes.
These last months have been filled with the loss of my Dad, the loss of my dear friend and prayer partner for almost 20 years and a walk through deep water with one of my beloved sons.
What does life look like when everything seems to be unraveling?
I’m finding out first-hand. And it’s called Jesus.
It’s called redemption….and grace….and power made perfect in weakness.
It’s called letting go of my expectations and coming to terms with the fact that God’s plans are far higher than mine, and that he is accomplishing something in my life (and the lives of the people I love the most) that is far greater than my cherished dreams for temporary earthly happiness. He is after FOREVER. And He is bringing life out of death every moment of every day.
And it’s called Faithfulness.
So we do not lose heart….
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,
as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.
For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Paul …2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
When life crashes down to the bedrock…..Jesus is there. These things are an opportunity to experience the depths of God’s faithfulness first-hand. To taste and see that the Lord is good.
It’s one thing to know something is true, to read it in God’s Word and believe it. That’s good…. It’s very good….
But it’s a very profound thing to experience it at the core of your life. To KNOW it. Nothing life hands you can ever take that away.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
One of my favorite phrases…..
All through history the Bible keeps a record of situations that seem wrong….look bad….even hopeless. And then comes the phrase “But God….”
Bringing life out of the grave. Turning mourning into joy. Using a hard place to make room …..to pour His blessing into the deepest places of the heart.
Experiencing first-hand the security we can have in Jesus. Nothing can truly hurt us when we belong to the King.
Everything that is meant for harm is simply flipped around and used for our good and His glory…..in Hisperfect time.
He never ran for President. He didn’t win an academy award or play football on television. He wasn’t even the mayor of our little Minnesota town. He didn’t pull children out of burning buildings or write a best-seller.
So what makes my Dad so darn special???
Everything that really counts.
When I see my father’s 85 year old face, I see the face of unadulterated faithfulness. I see my first hero and my first best friend.
As a very little girl in the early 1960’s , my family went through some deep waters. Years of living have taught me that pretty much every family does. But when you’re in the middle of a test, it feels like it’s only your house that’s in crisis.
I am the oldest of 2 children. I was a toddler and my brother was a baby when our movie star beautiful mother fought a battle with depression (greatly misunderstood in 60’s era rural America). I will most certainly get many of the details of the story wrong, as our extended family did what people did back then. They protected the young with silence. We didn’t get all the facts, but we knew enough and my child’s heart filled in the rest with the imagined.
There followed years of fuzzy memories of Mom in the hospital. Grandma Frances moved in to take care of us and keep house and what a blessing she was!!! In the meantime, my mother was fighting the hardest part of the battle….all alone in a hospital. How different medicine is now. And what a sacrifice she made to spend all those years away from her family, unable to see her babies growing up….. But that’s another story…
my mother’s incredible courage and determination
and how much I admire her for these!
Our childhood was one predictable day after another of watching Dad eat eggs for breakfast….. take his gray lunch box with the thermos of coffee…… and go to work as a lineman for the rural electric company.
My brother and I spent our days at home with grandma, watched television, played both inside and outside and as we got older, went to school. The afternoons brought a snack and classic afterschool tv while we waited for 4:30 and our father’s clockwork return from his workday.
I look at those years now and realize how unusual it was for a young man to try to raise small children without a wife at home…… day care was unheard of…… single dads just didn’t seem to exist. But our dad spent his entire life giving us the most stable, loving and safe home two kids could ever ask for. Everything he did and everything he had was for us….. and he was my first and best best friend.
….I never knew real fear, because I absolutely KNEW that my dad would always be there for me.
He taught us to love animals and the beauty of nature….. He brought home fertilized chicken eggs and we hatched them in a makeshift incubator in the house. I remember dad explaining how we mustn’t help the chicks pull the shells off , because they needed to open them on their own. But then…. eventually…… the cheeping, struggling baby chickens got the best of him and he couldn’t resist helping out…just a teeny bit!
He built us the world’s coolest fort in the backyard one winter, made of stacked haybales. We had haybale benches inside and played house for hours.
We went “road-hunting” for pheasants along the gravel roads near our home. We rode along to take the garbage to the local dump…I still consider a trip to the dump a rare treat! He took us on vacations to the lake, the Black Hills and Yellowstone National Park.
I loved 4:30 in the afternoon. Grandma would be making dinner and Dad would walk through the door with his empty lunch box any minute…..without fail.
We watched television most evenings….our mid century rambler a cocoon of predictable security. I loved sitting at the end of the couch while Dad watched his favorite shows.
Some children inherit large sums of money from their parents. Some inherit fame and prestige. But my brother and I inherited a lifetime of security and love. Everything I know about unconditional love and faithfulness, I saw first in my daddy…..
We got the best deal of all….there simply isn’t anything better.
……my father passed away just a few weeks ago after a sudden illness. Ironically, it occurred only days after I wrote the draft of this post. I miss him terribly, but he has left us a beautiful legacy. Thanks Dad:)