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Feb 2015

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Meeting new goats.

We met some nice goats today as part of our effort to expand to a herd of three.

Posted Fri Feb 24 15:21:14 2017 Tags:
Dwarf Nigerian wether

Meet Edgar, named after Edgar Allen Poe.

Skittish goat

Yes, we decided to keep him. In part, this was just the course of least resistance. By the time I'd stopped crying at the drop of a hat, Aurora had accepted the newcomer into her herd...although she's still chasing him away from any source of food unless I give her something more tasty to keep her occupied.

Floppy-eared goat

But, mostly, Edgar is part of my plan to change several of my goatkeeping methods to prevent another disaster like the one we recently lived through. While many factors were likely at play, I think my biggest management error with Artemesia was thinking I could leave a four-month-old kid with her mother and think the former would be weaned naturally before her high-production mother used up all of her fat and stored nutrients to feed a growing kid.

Now, I mostly fell into that trap because I was too sick to pay attention and didn't realize Aurora was still nursing. But I also didn't really have many other choices at the time. With only two goats in the herd, they had to stay together for the sake of everyone's sanity.

Tiny goat

Adding a wether gives me more options. Assuming we do find another doe to increase our herd to three, a kid or kids could be separated to hang out with Edgar while their mother recuperated from heavy-duty milk production. A boy kid could be kept around longer using the same technique without worrying he'd impregnate his mother or sisters. And I have a feeling that a herd of more than two goats will also be less scared of predators and more able to keep their cortisol levels low.

Yes, you read all that right. We're adding a boy to our herd as a nanny goat. Of course that won't be confusing. Right?

Posted Fri Feb 24 07:16:09 2017 Tags:
Firewood cutting with the Kubota.

We got a head start on Winter 2018 with some firewood cutting today.

To prolong the battery on the Oregon chainsaw we stop when the power gets down to one dot out of four.

Posted Thu Feb 23 15:05:31 2017 Tags:
Under the quick hoop

Lettuce isn't quite hardy enough to survive even a mild zone-6 winter despite quick-hoop protection. But the row-cover fabric produces a protected microclimate that pre-heats the soil for spring...while also growing quite a sturdy crop of dead nettle, chickweed, and speedwell.

Early spring weed killing

I've hand-weeded beds like this in the past...and it's a bad idea. One of my goals for this year is to think of smarter ways to handle body-breaking tasks, so I'm experimenting with two early spring weed killers.

Option A: (in the foreground) solarization, which I really don't expect to work at such a cold time of year. Option B: a short-term cardboard kill mulch, which I expect to weaken the plants within a couple of weeks and make them easy to handweed.

Perhaps Mark should pull out the flame weeder and see if we can come up with an experimental option C?

Posted Thu Feb 23 07:27:30 2017 Tags:
New plastic pulley for Chevy S-10 truck.

The belt broke on the truck due to a broken pulley.

A new plastic pulley with belt and labor was 105 dollars.

Posted Wed Feb 22 15:29:59 2017 Tags:
Dirty feet

When life gets tough...I take off my shoes. The weather gods very kindly sent a Tuesday with high around 70, which meant bare feet and short sleeves were a perfect fit for the garden. After a couple of hours of sun and mud and frog calls, I was feeling astonishingly better.

Posted Wed Feb 22 07:34:44 2017 Tags:
Gardening in the Winter.

We got a little closer to normal today after some late Winter gardening.

Thank you for your hope and prayers during this difficult episode.

Posted Tue Feb 21 15:29:58 2017 Tags:
Anna Oops?
Goat bridge

So, you know how they tell you not to jump into a new relationship right away after a very important breakup? That's extremely good advice. The trouble is that Aurora started screaming the minute we carried her mother out of the barn. For her sake, we couldn't wait. So we went to check out John and Jeanne's farm in Lee County.

Dwarf nigerians

I'd already cried a couple of gallons at that point, but was doing my best to put on a good face. Still, I have to admit I wasn't 100% as I picked out our new doeling from a herd of twenty contenders.


How can I be so sure I was off the mark? Well, when we got our new doeling home, she peeed...without squatting...and I realized we'd accidentally purchased a wether. Oops. Now what're we gonna do?

Posted Tue Feb 21 07:21:21 2017 Tags:
June 2014 - February 20, 2017

We loved you, Artemesia. You were far more than a goat and I feel lucky to have enjoyed even such a short time as part of your herd.

May the honeysuckle be copious and the pastures green on your side of the fence. We'll never forget you.

Posted Mon Feb 20 15:02:19 2017 Tags:
Baby goats

Despite a niggling sense of deep disloyalty, we decided Saturday that Aurora needs a new friend. So I called up the folks who were disbudding their Dwarf Nigerians at the same time Aurora's little horns were being burnt off.

"Any chance you have a goat for sale?" I asked.

"We've got several," they answered. "Come on over Monday."

Life goes on. Today we're taking a trip to see how those little cuties look all grown up.

Posted Mon Feb 20 06:17:45 2017 Tags:

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