Sunday, February 7, 2010

Goat Adventures

Here is the newest addition to the farm critters.  We had a family adventure to go pick him up outside Athena, Oregon, about an hour away from the house.  It was supposed to be a relatively quick trip, but after the keys being locked inside the pickup and waiting for a locksmith to rescue us, it ended up being a rather late night.  Gotta love these kinds of adventures!
This pretty goat was given to me as he was too small for the market shipment last fall and now needed to be removed from the doe pen before they begin having their new crop of babies.  I agreed to bring him home as my pet goat has been very lonely since his brother died serveral months ago.  I figured if this guy wasn't friendly and did not have the makings of a pet, he could always continue on toward his original fate as a meat goat. 
We brought him home last night, so figured on keeping him in the barn with the other goat for several days until he got his bearings and was comforatable in his new home.  He had been around people, but never really had much handling, so I expected to put in some time with him before he started liking people.  First thing this morning, Ethan and Eida ran over to the barn lot to see the new addition and he took right to them, even chasing Eida around the pen as if she were a playmate, bucking and kicking.  He loved her even more after several handfuls of grain.  After the kids left, every time I went outside, this new guy had his head through the gate rails, calling to me, begging me to come over.  He is not quite sure he wants to be scratched and petted, just wanted me close by, then was content.

Because he seemed to have bonded well both to myself and the other goat, I tried taking him out of the barn lot.  He stayed close to me, so we headed off on my regular evening walk.  He stuck right beside me the entire way, as if he had been taking walks with us forever.  The little brown goat, Snickers, is definately the boss, butting and biting if the new goat tried to get between myself and Snickers or jumped on a log to be king of the mountain, a major breach of goat conduct! 
So, it looks like this youngster may have the personality needed to save him from becoming barbeque.  He may even fit in well with some of the public events our animals attend in the community such as petting zoos and Living Nativity.  Lucky little guy!
Any good name ideas?  I was thinking of sticking with the sweet theme as the brown goat is Snickers and this guy is kind of a backward Oreo coloring.  He is a French Alpine breed, so maybe something French??  All suggestions will be appreciated!!
Until next time, may your attitude surround you with sweetness and keep you out of the stew pot!  

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Meet Chuck!

Last spring, Chuck came to live with us at the age of 13 weeks.  He had just been taken away from his mama, put into a dog crate, and hauled in a car for a couple of hours to get to his new home.  He was not impressed with all of the changes, his new home, or us!  Jordan is telling him that we really are okay, but Chuck is not easily convinced and pouted for nearly a week.

Once Chuck recovered from the tauma of moving to a new home, he warmed up to all of us and found a best friend in Roxy.  She tried to teach him important things like barking at coyotes, swimming in the river, and hunting mice.  He understands about keeping coyotes and bad guys away, has learned to splash around in the river and tries to imitate hunting mice, but really wonders what all the fuss is about - those little mice don't even count as a snack . . .

We lost Roxy to an unfortunate accident and buried her on the hill behind the house on Thanksgiving morning.  Chuck was very bewildered and did not understand why his lively friend would not get up and play with him.  He became so upset when we wrapped her in her favorite blanket that he had to be held back as he was pawing and unwrapping her faster than we could get her covered, even after we had allowed him quite a lot of time with her body.  His grief was so great that he continued to dig on her grave for several weeks and has now taken to spending a lot of his day laying up on the hill near her gravesite. 

Chuck looks so regal laying in the golden leaves by the river, but in reality is eating a dead fish.  He has even been known to eat dead dried up snakes he has found in the road.

Chuck finds great delight in the snow, running, playing, chasing, and rolling in it.  He really is well suited to cold weather and stays so much cleaner with all the sparkly stuff on the ground!

So, from afar, we can pretend Chuck is a regal, dignified protector, but close up he is just a goof.  Whenever he is out with the livestock, or on a walk wandering the pastures and woods with any of his people, he is actually quite serious, but when he is around the house, he is always up for a bit of fun.  With lambing season yet to come, we will see if he can keep the coyotes and cougars away, but we have not had coyotes close in by the house and barns as we've had in the past and have lost no chickens to predators since Chuck has come to live with us.  His grandparents are proven cougar killers, so maybe his family's reputation has gotten around and the local thugs have moved on to safer neighborhoods.

Until next time, may you be blessed with a diligent and loyal protector . . .

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Catching Up

My sisters, Stacey and Paula, are so diligent at keeping up their blogs, while I plod along slowly. My sisters, you inspire me and I can only hope to one day come somewhere close to your awesome accomplishments! I think I can, I think I can . . . .

If you have not seen their blogs, pop on over and visit Stacey and Paula and enjoy as they are both excellent writers.

So many things take place here on the farm when time passes between posts and it becomes difficult to decide where to start, but here is a quick run down of several changes we have had. I will follow up with more in-depth posts on several of these changes.

Of course, the weather has turned from early fall to midwinter and we are currently in mud season.

Last spring we had fairly heavy lamb losses due to predators, both coyotes and cougar, so Jordan got a Great Pyrenees pup whose parents are proven livestock guard dogs in hopes that he can help reduce any further losses.

We lost our beloved Roxy dog on Thanksgiving and still miss her every day. She was an invaluable part of our family and the farm, and we will never be able to truly replace her.

We took several of our most friendly critters to our church's Living Nativity and found out some interesting background on my miniature donkey, Elmer. Turns out Elmer and I share a birthday!

Another sad event took place a couple of weeks ago when one of Jordan's fair lambs, Jumper, died of pregancy complications.

After having his feet trimmed recently, Roland, KP's little mustang went down in the barn and may have died if Jordan had not gone out to check on the horses when he did. I beleive he pulled back and went down, tightening the rope further, flipped to his back, then was unable to right himself as the halter and rope held tight. He is such a good common-sense horse it surprises me he let himself get into such a predicament, but am so grateful the outcome was positive. While he was a bit shaky afterward, he seems to have no lasting ill effects and is back to his old self.

Amongst these highlights, both sad and glad, are the usual happenings of new kittens, baby calves and the never-ending hunt for the hen's newest hiding places for their precious eggs!

Until next time, hope your happenings are more glad and less sad!