Saturday, December 10, 2011

I'm Swearing Off Milk!!

Sabrina's milk for a day. Jar on right is 1/2 gallon.
Yup, that’s right folks….. Me, the big milk drinker will be forgoing milk!
Ok, not forever, but at least until the end of January.

After drinking whole, store bought milk for ages, I have become horribly spoiled to fresh, raw, uber healthy, perfect goat’s milk. So have my munchkins…

If you recall our "Dramatic Dairy Dilemma" you originally wouldn’t have thought my kids would have become as attached as I am to our fresh, raw milk, but they have been 100% converted.

Sabrina, my sweet polled Alpine is due to kid January 26th. This means she needed be dried up prior to kidding….

Sabrina with her March twin doelings on an unexpected cold spring morning.
Drying up is a process. There are several opinions on the best way to do this. I’ll share mine, though I promise it’s not the only way to go about this..

Some may think it odd that I’ve been milking Sabrina through her pregnancy, but I’ll explain that.

Some will allow does long, extended dry periods thinking it best to “give them a nice break”. When in fact these long times off do the owner's thought process a lot of good, but not so much for the doe or the long term health of the udder.

Kind of like those owners who put hats on their dogs… Yes, the owner thinks it’s adorable and it’s keeping Fido’s ears warm, but poor Fido wants to eat the stupid hat, vomit it up on your nicest rug and scream at you that he has furred ears for a reason…

As long as the doe is in good condition & maintained well, there is no reason for them to have extended dry periods. When an udder sits dry for long periods it can be harboring mastitis causing bacteria that is not being flushed out of the udder by milking and since the doe is not being milked the owner is often unaware of any issues until the doe freshens again.

So, ideally we keep the girls milking for the first part of the pregnancy and then begin drying up for the last 1-2 months of pregnancy. Does do need to be dried up at least a month or so before kidding again so they can produce colostrum for the new kids.

Now for our drying up process….. Sabrina has always been a great producer… We always got AT LEAST a gallon per day, even though she raised one doeling who stayed with her 24/7 & nursed until she was almost 7 months old. One day, when she was about 2 weeks fresh, we pulled Sabrina’s kids for the day & bottle fed them so I could get an accurate weight on the milk produced in a day without the kids stealing it. That day we got a lil over 14lbs of milk! For reference, 8lbs of milk is roughly one gallon.

Sabrina's udder 8 hours full at 1 month fresh
So… since she has such a great “will to milk” and produced well, I decided a slow process for her drying up… For about a month when I milked I didn’t fully empty her out.. I’d leave about ¼ of the milk in the udder at each milking instead of emptying her. Then I had about 3 weeks of leaving about ½ of the milk each time… This told her body the demand for milk was down, so her production gradually went down as well.

Then we went to once a day milking.. This was a nice change as I only had to milk in the mornings and wasn’t tied down in the evenings to rush home and milk on time. I had only meant to do this for a little while, but ended up milking once a day for a lil over 5 weeks… Liked the combo of fresh milk & less chores.

At the actual time of drying up, I simply stopped milking. I hear folks saying they go out and relieve the udder every 5th day (or whatever schedule) but there is NO NEED to go out and relieve the udder UNLESS she is filling to capacity and is becoming painfully full or is risking leaking. If she reaches that point you need to empty out just enough to relieve the pressure and prevent leaking, but no more.

I see people going out and emptying a few squirts on a doe who is no where near to being uddered up and the only thing this does is prolong the process and tells her body to keep on milking.

Silly 'Brina begging for treats... Her favorite treat being Mountain Dew!
When I decided to dry Sabrina up, the 2 days before I only milked her out less than half way and on the 3rd day I didn’t milk.

Not only did I not milk, I did not put her on the milk stand or do anything that was even close to our milking routine. She still got a bit of grain, but in a feeder in the pen instead of on the stand.

This is because for some does the whole milking process tells her body to let down milk… Sabrina instantly let down the moment she jumped on the stand and since we were drying up, I didn’t want her having any of her “Let’s Milk!” signals.

I did check her udder daily and thankfully it all went smoothly… She never over filled or leaked and now she’s officially “dry”.

I tried an organic cow’s milk from the store… Ick. Tasted the same as the non organic stuff to tell the truth… Watery, seemed thin and was, as my daughter so eloquently put it: "Just Blah."

I went to the health food store and bought a non- homogenized, low heat pasteurized cow’s milk… Not being artificially & mechanically homogenized it at least had the cream on it still, but instead of this smooth cream that’s blended in perfectly with raw goat’s milk, this cream was a big thick chunk that I had to poke at with a spoon in order to let the milk flow through the jar. The actual milk is ok…tolerable, but not fabulous. It is better than the homogenized cow’s milk (both organic & non organic) that I tried, so that’s a plus… For a quick summary on how cow's milk is homogenized click *here*.

Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized and doesn’t have to be artificially & mechanically homogenized like cow’s milk does & it’s so rich, smooth, flavorful & creamy…. Well to be fair, cow's milk doesn't HAVE to be homogenized either, raw cow's milk left in it's natural state is pretty good, but big dairy business doesn't seem to agree with me on that one...

I miss my goat’s milk.
I’m getting a silent protest to the “store bought milk” (which my kids now say that as if it’s a dirty word)..

Before, Tator alone would drink at least a quart of goat’s milk a day… If given a choice of soda (rare), sweet tea, water or goat’s milk at dinner time, they always chose milk. Now they choose tea or water….They sometimes hold out hope, check the fridge for goat’s milk before choosing. I have had the same gallon of store bought milk in my fridge for almost 2 weeks now and less than 1/2 of it is gone…

Ok, I’m done whining (for now anyways)… At least the wait won’t be too awful long.

My mom’s miniature doe, Keys, is due any day now, and Tootsie, the miniature Alpine doe I sold to my mom (who is also Keys' full sister) is due at the end of December. So I’ll go to momma’s, look pitiful, and she’ll send me home with milk to hold me over until Sabrina kids at the end of January.

Not to mention, not only will I soon be back in fresh milk, but I’ll also have baby goats!

I’m stating this publicly so y’all can hold me to it…. No matter how freaking unbelievably cute Sabrina’s kids are, I AM NOT KEEPING ANY OF THEM. So if you see me hinting around or being swayed by the overwhelming cuteness, firmly tell me “No!!”....... I really want a daughter out of Tonka, and since I have to keep my numbers low I can only keep so many. So, this kidding season I’m only planning on retaining a Lamancha doe, no Alpines retained until next year.

See?!?! The urge to keep them is hard to fight!

It's even harder to say no with this munchkin around begging to keep them all!

Thankfully I already have a few folks interested in bottle babies, so my goal is to move them out as fast as possible so I don’t get attached.

In theory this all sounds fabulous… Let’s see how firm my will power is at the end of January....…

Friday, December 9, 2011

Noodleville’s Fowl News

Here’s just a random mish-mashing of all things of the feathered variety around here.

First of all, I gave away 7 chickens. The Silver Laced Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons & 1 Jersey Giant rooster. My mom had a bobcat go on a killing rampage in her chicken coop, killing 27 of her 28 birds. They shot the cat, but all those birds she had raised, and who had just started laying were gone.

My chickens are the most ill treated birds ever. They have no coop, no pen and half of them suffer from a case of species confusion and believe they are dogs… So these were things I had to keep in mind when choosing which birds to give away. The 3 Silver Laced Wyandotte hens were very flighty and couldn’t seem to grasp the concept of staying on my property. The 3 Buff Orpington hens wouldn’t come when called and weren’t people friendly…. And the big Jersey Giant roo was fondly referred to as “The Survivor” as he survived the inappropriate advances of a buck in rut, but carried the battle scars of a naked bum due to being held down and plucked by that goat. He was an outsider…after all, why would the hens want the half naked roo who had been molested by a goat? Now all 7 are happily contained in my mom’s nice coop & run… Jersey roo is the only roo, king of his domain, is growing his feathers back, and with it, his lost self esteem.

Jackson- The bloody thirsty rooster

Next up, we got rid of Jackson, our former top rooster. Jackson was supposed to be a Light Brahma but obviously wasn’t. He was a small, stringy looking bird with a lot of attitude. He fiercely protected the girls though, so we tolerated him…. Until he turned his temper fits loose on us.

I was attacked a few times and usually gave him a kick, and once beat him off me with a bat. You’d think he would have learned…but NOOOO!

One day, my son was outside & Jackson was stalking him…

Usually Tator turns around and threatens him and that’s that…. This day was different. Tator ran & the blood thirsty beast of a bird loved that!

I’m ashamed to say I failed miserably in my motherly duty that day….. Tator is dashing about in one huge circle, that evil bird right on his heels and the entire time Tator is screaming…. Not several screams…but one very long, extended, solid scream that went on and on like a looped recording…

My gosh it was hilarious!! So funny in fact I could barely help him out due to the giggle fit that had me paralyzed.

I know! I know!! I already said I was ashamed of myself so stop thinking evil thoughts about me!!

I did eventually help him though and caught up to them just as Jackson caught up to him.

That day Jackson went to freezer camp & “Big Red” happily stepped up to the plate as the only roo left.

"Big Red", his girls & the barn cats sharing kitchen scraps.Girls are: Jersey Black Giants, HP Reds, 1 Welsummer, Speckled Sussex, Blue Cochins, 1 Blue Andalusian & Ameraucanas..
 I love Big Red….. He’s watchful & protective of the girls, mellow with people & doesn’t crow non stop like Jackson did. He’ll gently take treats from you, follow you around the yard and round up all the girls for me when I call the chickens. Big Red won’t ever have to worry about a trip to freezer camp.

Next up a Riccardo update.

I introduced you to Riccardo *here*.

Well since she received her unfortunate name I think it altered her personality. Perhaps she thought she needed to be simply outstanding to help folks see past such a ridiculous name… Either way, this bird is officially a pet. She’ll stay as long as she lives, regardless if she’s productive or not. She comes to her name, likes to sit on your lap and is very, very smart. She averages 6-7 eggs per week too, so that’s not too shabby!

One day, Jasper is carrying on, barking up a storm. I get on to him twice & finally put him in his kennel because he won’t be quiet. Once all is quiet I hear a “Tap-Tap-Tap”…. “Tap-Tap-Tap” on the front door…. Not being able to see anyone through the window at a distance, I assume it’s the neighbor’s kids knocking and I couldn’t see them and that’s why Jasper was barking.

I open the door thinking to find a child and instead find Riccardo!

She cocks her head to the side, reaches out her foot and scratches my pants leg…. This scratching is common and means she wants food. So I go grab her some kitchen scraps, take it to her and she happily leaves to enjoy her snack. 15 minutes later the whole thing repeats and I now have a bird that knocks on the door for food…..

She also went broody on me! She went missing for a few days and I freaked out. Couldn’t find her anywhere… Then one day I found her with this:

A big ol’ clutch of eggs… Timing was bad, but I was going to let her have them… Sadly my neighbor's wretched dogs ran her off of it and the eggs got cold so I had to toss them. I really, really, really despise folks who don’t have the decency to contain their dogs.. And this nut has anywhere from 9-12 at a time! Ugh….


Next up in fowl news, our odd egg find:

Clayton poking the squishy egg to show it's squishiness

It was all squishy and had no shell, just the inner membrane. It was also double yoked. The kids thought it was great… Tator wanted to keep it, Shayla wanted to eat it, but in the end the barn cats got it. Haven’t had one like that since…. They have a good diet, plenty of calcium and such, so I’m assuming that one was just a fluke.


We had our first real predator threat not too long ago… An owl!

Around 4:00am I hear frantic squawking from the front yard where there’s a door leading to the bedrooms and a covered porch. In the midst of the squawks I hear the “Tap-Tap-Tap” on the door… I jump up, turn the light on and head out with the closest weapon… A broom.

Never underestimate a woman armed with a broom.

All the terrified birds are piling on each other, Riccardo is trying to get inside and just past the porch overhang a big owl has one of my beautiful blue Cochins by the wing and is trying to gain altitude!!! He was about 7ft up in the air when I took after him with the broom… Two solid hits makes him release my Cochin and he hit’s the ground on the other side of the fence… I check on my birds and much to my surprise he comes back!!!

Tough lil booger.

He does another low fly by and once again gets my broom, though this time he was high enough I only managed to give him a swat to the backside.

He goes from telephone pole to tree….flying just out of reach, back and forth, getting closer to the porch each time. We play our game for about 25 minutes, but by this time, I’m cold and tired.

Jasper, excited by the outside commotion, wanted out.

Turned out to be a fabulous plan! He had such a great time chasing that owl back and forth across the yard and after the owl’s first swoop down with Jasper, he discovered that a Great Dane has a pretty impressive leap and was forced to stay higher up to avoid becoming the most delightful chew toy ever. Jasper faithfully chased the bird and watched him until sunrise (though I don’t believe this was done out of loyalty to my chickens, I think he was just having fun, lol)…

I cleaned my poor Cochin’s wing (only a few punctures) and everyone survived the night…. Now they all roost in the barn. Thankfully it only took one night to teach them to bed down somewhere safer than a porch!

My Blue Andalusian is a hen (she's in the top picture with "Big Red"..small blue bird, big comb, white earlobes)! Couldn't figure it out for some time with her big comb, no noise and no eggs...She is a small bird but lays good sized white eggs, is the most scatter brained bird I’ve ever encountered and she can actually fly. She’s my only white egg layer and for the past month or so we’ve been averaging 4-5 white eggs per week. The kids used to be crazy over the *green eggs*, but since we get 14-20 of those a week now, the new competition is to see who can find the white egg… A real chore since that dumb bird lays them in the most inconvenient places..


And of course I saved the best for last….and for obvious reasons, this bit once again will feature the famous Riccardo.

My son has this giggle….. When I hear it he’s either 100% tickled to death about something, or he’s doing something he really shouldn’t be doing.

I’m in the kitchen one day and hear "The Giggle"…. So I walk from the kitchen, into the living room and glance out the window to see Clayton trying his best to control his laughter, but he's having such a fit he can barely keep himself upright.

He’s kneeling, holding an apple core in his mouth and Riccardo is jumping up on his knee, taking a bite, and hopping down… Over & over again. I went out and snapped pics really fast, but sadly these were the only two that didn’t come out blurry.

Clayton feeding Riccardo an apple core while holding it in his mouth... Big Red wants some too!

I believe the Ameraucana thinks both of them are nuts...

I asked him what on earth he was doing....

“Feeding Riccardo of course”

Yes, Yes, I see that, but WHY are you feeding her like that?!?!

“It’s funny momma, she likes it”

Okay….but WHY did you start this? When did you start doing this??

“Oh, we always do it and it always makes me laugh… We do it all the time, she really likes bananas! Isn’t it so funny momma??”

Yep honey, it sure is…..

Of course it’s gonna make folks wonder why I don’t give you better things to do so you're not compelled to invent strange ways to feed the chickens, but whatever floats your boat honey!

Silly kid…Silly bird..

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Sufferings of a Mother

I adore my kids….. There were times I worried we had kids too early, or had moments of sheer terror thinking I was not ready for such an immense task, but if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I may be biased, but I do believe I have some of the most well behaved kids…..Never prone to tantrums, always great students, respectful and most importantly they care about other people.

They don’t avoid temper tantrums because they fear retribution, they avoid them because they know how it would make ME feel..

To have children their ages (6 & 8) with a genuine care for those around them and how their actions could affect others makes me proud beyond words…. Sure they have their typical kid moments, but those moments are never severe and pass quickly.

Shayla is the sweetest, most compassionate child I’ve ever encountered. She is a friend to everyone and a joy to anyone she encounters. She’s goofy, good humored and is always willing to help. She is naturally that person who sees the glass as half full, not half empty and her easy going, happy nature is sure to make anyone smile. She loves animals, music & dancing though I am saddened that she seems to have inherited my dancing skills….

Clayton is an intense, sensitive child. Very gifted, focused and has an insatiable thirst for knowledge. He always thinks outside the box and is the one to ask the questions most wouldn’t think to ask. He is very straight forward and often embarrassingly blunt….He loves Art, and wants to be a Marine Biologist & Paleontologist when he grows up. He tends be obsessive over things that interest him (he gets that from me) and at times seems wise beyond his years..

I could go on and on about my children… They are my most precious gift, my favorite people to be around and a constant bit of humor in my every day life…

Tonight I’m forcing myself to go over all the joys of motherhood because I’m suffering from the aftermath of some of the not so nice sides of being “Mom”…

Mom tucks you in at night, teaches you how to cook, plays silly games with you, helps with homework & brings home that new puppy you’ve been asking for. Mom fixes boo boos, tickles you to make you forget something upsetting and takes care of you when you’re sick..

There’s that word… “sick”

We’ve had a round of some stomach flu here. The kids stayed home from school Friday because of it and it’s been a weekend of recovery… Or so I thought.

After a weekend of getting better and small meals, Clayton was feeling great, and hungry! He chowed down on pizza and seemed his normal self since early this afternoon. Even had a bit of ice cream.

All was well….. Until about 10:45pm.

I was snuggled up, reading a good book when I heard the awful sound…. That pre-gag sound…

Oh God, please not again…

Rush into the kid’s room in time to see Tator hanging over the top bunk vomiting EVERYWHERE!!

Do you have ANY FREAKING IDEA how far vomit can spread when it’s done from a good height?!?!?!

I didn’t break out the measuring tape to get an exact coverage area, but lets just say it covered a pretty big area…

But, being the holder of the title of "Mom" I had to pay my dues for all those happy times I enjoy so much.. So I crawled on the top bunk, held him until he was through, the whole time telling him not to worry, it’s okay, and I would fix everything up.

Got him settled and tucked in on the couch, reassured him that everything was just fine (he was apologizing for the mess, poor kid) and got him set up with his favorite show. All the while letting him know the mess was just a little one, no big deal and it would be easy peasy to set everything right again.

Sometimes moms lie!

Once he’s far away, I enter the contaminated zone of the house…. Oh noooo…. There is so much, on such a variety of surfaces that I don’t even know where to start and I know if I don’t start soon I’ll get overwhelmed and it will be that much harder. Thankfully the kid’s room isn’t carpeted…

I start with the bed….get it stripped, bedding in the wash, bed rails scrubbed down.

The floor took 2 entire rolls of paper towels just to get the more “solid“ bits….

Then the toy box.. Oh Oh Oh! Please say it isn't so...Not IN the toy box!!

I’m loosing my nerve here… Yes, call me a sissy but it’s getting to be too much, I’m getting sick.

Come on Crystal! Breathe through the mouth, don’t think too hard!

That was until I picked up a dinosaur toy and it DRIPPED vomit onto my other hand…

I jumped back…right into a missed puddle on the floor…

Slipped, and fell on my bottom right into a vomit puddle!

Can’t right myself without touching more of it…

Yep, too much for me!

I barely make it out the door to get sick myself.

I sit on the porch in my now nasty jammies, in the cold and bawl like a baby.


Why can’t mom’s have an “Ick Person” on call for these types of things?!?!!? Why is it just a given that moms can handle this stuff with ease?

I use the freezing water hose to clean off my feet & legs before going back inside… Strip down to my undies to finish the rest of the process & probably went a lil overkill with the disinfectant cleaner…

I admit, I gave up, tossed a BUNCH of stuff in the trash….

If you wanna call me wasteful then YOU can come do this crap next time.

At this point I’m barely holding it together…Cleaning, bawling and gagging as I go….

I will replace the toys I tossed.

I threw the toy box & my soiled clothes in the front yard.. Not very mature, but I figure in the morning I can hit them with the water hose or burn them…Whichever strikes my fancy when I‘ve had time to clear my head…

A bottle of chlorox, 3 big rolls of paper towels, two feed sacks worth of contaminated stuff and one very sick, empty tummy and I’m off to boil myself in the shower until there is no hot water left.

Once clean, I check on Tator… I cheerfully tell him the room is spic and span and it was only a little mess… He ask what all the noise was and I tell him I tripped. I fix him a lil chicken broth to sip & a few crackers to nibble. I wipe his brow with a damp cloth and sit with him until he drifts off to sleep again.

Because that’s what Mommy is supposed to do. He’ll never know my ordeal, the slew of profanities that slipped through my mind or my desperate hope that anyone but me could be mommy in those few nasty moments.

I’m wide awake and now that the mess is gone and he’s snuggled up around his beloved, ratty pillow known as “Stripey” I can bask in the joys of motherhood. He won’t be this sweet or this small forever. One of these days he won’t want me to cuddle him and one of these days he’ll probably give up that awful looking pillow and certainly won’t name his next one…

My favorite picture of Clayton & his "stripey"

Yes, at times moms pay a high price & get the tasks others can’t handle. But what we get in return is simply priceless…

Though if anyone is feeling sorrow over my plot tonight, you can hook me up when Mother’s Day rolls around… I jokingly tell people they can get me diamonds, but in reality I’m needing some seamless, big, stainless steel pots for cheese making (as well as a slew of other cheese making supplies), a yogurt maker & canning supplies....

Just kidding… Kinda J

There is one small bonus to this night.. Though it was far from fun, I won’t have to worry about that slice of pizza going to my hips, nor do I have the slightest hint of midnight munchies!!

See look at me "Little Miss Optimistic": Seeing the brightest side of things, even though it's approaching 2:00AM!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The GREAT Joy of Plans Gone Wrong.....

I’m still playing that blog catch up game and I need to share some of my happiest news yet.

Now, to some, this may not be “big news” but to me, it’s HUGE…

What is so huge you ask??

Well, my newest baby!

We made a 9 hour drive the first weekend of October to bring home Jasper, a 6 month old Great Dane puppy.

Jasper at 6 months old
Great Danes are my OBSESSION (even more so than the goats if you can believe that!)….. I grew up with them, odds are good there isn’t a question about the breed I can’t answer.. My kids learned to walk while holding on to an ever patient gentle giant… These critters just tug at my heart strings.

We lost my “Heart Dog”, Brutus almost 4 years ago to cancer…. To this day I still tear up when I think about him.. He was my 3rd child & weathered some of the hardest times in my life with me.. ..There is simply too much to say about him here, but one of these days, I’ll give him his own post.

We had been on a waiting list for 6 years for a Dane puppy.. I know to many this is just weird. Why wait for a puppy when there are tons in the classifieds??

Jasper riding in the truck on the way home to Texas...
Well, I wouldn’t settle for just ANY puppy.. I refuse to support BYBer’s (backyard breeders who just pair up dogs with no thought to genetic potential) or puppy millers. I will only purchase dogs from someone who actively shows and has AKC pointed dogs. This is not a status symbol, this is my proof that breeding stock was evaluated by an outside source and found to conform to the breed standard. This isn’t just about a “pretty” dog…. Good form is followed by good function…..

Jasper's Sire
Next is the health testing.. I have rescued & fostered many poorly bred Great Danes over the years. I have dealt with hip dysplasia, Wobblers Disease, Von Willibrands, Addisons & Severe Canine Epilepsy. The heartbreak in dealing with these things is awful… I had to sit with a 21 week old Dane puppy when she was put to sleep because she was so severely dysplasic her hips were missing the sockets & she wasn’t even a candidate for hip replacement. A foster boy we took in would hurt himself in violent epileptic fits & was unpredictable when coming out of the siezures...

Jasper's Dam
The anger that follows such heartbreak is hard to deal with......especially knowing it all could have been avoided if folks who shouldn’t breed, wouldn’t breed. Breeding isn’t just “pair male #1 with female #1” You need to understand genetics. When breeding, a breeder needs to be motivated by improving the breed by producing sound, correct, healthy puppies & not motivated by how much money they think they can make off a litter...

You need to have your stock evaluated by outside, knowledgeable sources to determine if they adhere to their breed standard… You need to be sure the breeding stock is of sound temperament, you need to have your dogs health tested after 2 years of age.. This doesn’t mean “My vet looked ‘em over & he’s heathy” I want to see OFA certificates, I want to CERF clearances, I want to see genetic testing. I want to see a background of healthy, long lived ancestors....

When having a dog this size, you want assurances that they are of sound temperment...... Poor temperment is genetic & you certainly don't want a dog of this size with fear or aggression issues...

Jasper & Tator playing...

Jasper making himself at home with the kidos his 1st morning with us.

So given my criteria for buying my puppy, you can understand why it took me so long to find a puppy. There were a few puppies we could have gone with sooner, but the timing was wrong. Then, a dear friend of mine had a litter planned and I waited anxiously for her to finally do the breeding. In September I waited for news of my new baby… Only to get the heartbreaking news that there was a single puppy, and he was stillborn. We had worked ourselves up for this all year and it was a huge let down.

Long story short, a friend gave me the contact info for a breeder who may have something to suit us… I was skeptical. The puppy was the wrong color.. A fawn whereas I had my heart set on a Harlequin or Merle. He was also 6 months old and I wanted to start fresh with an 8 week old puppy to have an easier time meshing him into our diverse home.

Wrong age, wrong color…. All of that went right out the window when I met him. Love at first sight!

Got lip??!!? How could ya not love a face like that??
Jasper has a docked tail due to an injury and I swear his lil “nubbin” is too cute!! When the breeder first told me about the tail in an email I was a bit put off…. How strange would a Dane look with no tail??

But it turns out, a Dane with a lil nubbin’ of a tail is cute as can be (especially when he’s really happy) & it’s SAFER!! If you’ve ever been beaten with an iron rod like Dane tail.. Or have a refrigerator in your kitchen with DENTS in the door from a happy Dane tail, or ever watched an entire shelf on the entertainment center be cleared in one giant tail swipe, you can certainly appreciate the perks to a Great Dane sportin’ a nubbin…. Plus did I mention it’s freaking adorable?!?!

Jasper lounging on the couch watching the chickens through the patio door
I really worried about him & the free range chickens due to his age…. Surprisingly he did amazingly well with them, though he was a bit freaked out by them in the beginning. Once he settled in, he had one “iffy” moment in which he showed a lil too much interest in some hens who were running & squawking like crazy, but a sharp “No!” from me, and an angry rooster to back it up and he got the hint and keeps a safe distance now… The goats creep him out.. He’s ok with through the fence nose touching with the does, but the bucks scream & stink to high heaven & not a thing in the world would make him willingly approach the boys… Can’t say I blame him though……

Jasper has this silly quirk of collecting things… Socks, a hairbrush, a glass left out, a toy, a shoe….Just the most random things and he’ll bring them to you like a present and gets so excited if you act like you just love these “gifts” . So far he’s not destructive unless he finds a bit of newspaper… He simply can NOT help himself & must shred paper…. But once he’s done, he’ll grab a blanket from his kennel & cover the mess…lol

Jasper hiding a softball under all that

He is my constant companion….there hasn‘t been one day since he came home that he hasn‘t made me laugh & nothing is better than snuggling up with a Great Dane & a good book when the kiddos are at school.

He needs some socialization & work on perfecting some basic commands, but so far he’s proven to be a quick study and very eager to please….. We’re hoping to get his CGC after the holidays & am contemplating doing therapy work with him as he has the perfect temperament for it.

And since everyone seems to ask me this: Yes, he surely does live in the house… Yes I surely do let him on the couch (it’s why I have easy to clean leather furniture).. Yes of course he plays with my kids, he's quickly become their constant playmate & companion..... He hasn’t been here long but has already claimed them as HIS kids and heaven help anyone who troubles them…... This is a breed that is highly bonded to their humans…..they thrive on close contact to their people & make excellent, calm house dogs. I know many who have Danes that keep them outside…. That is simply something I could never, ever do…. I’d sooner make my brother live outside! lol

I’ve found this breed to be one of the most level headed guard dogs…… Fierce & brave when needed and in the same thought can have a toddler climbing all over them. Jasper is proving to be a good watch dog so far despite his youth…

I had some men come over late one night while hubby was in Oregon wanting to buy scrap metal… Very weird to say the least. Jasper was doing the very best Cujo impersonation…he stood firmly between me & the open door quietly growling.. If the men tried to come up the porch, he went NUTS, but as long as they stayed on the side walk near the drive way he just quietly growled & watched. I was happy for such a fearsome show, made me feel much safer. And as soon as they left his lil nubbin' was going 90mph and he was bringing me every single toy he could possibly find.... I think he was also impressed with how he handled the situation.....

When people come over, he’ll make a good showing of barking & carrying on, but the second I tell him “It’s ok” he’ll stand by me and wait for an introduction… Once he’s introduced then the poor visitor is attacked by Dane lovins galore… they get “hugs” (yes he wraps his head around you & squeezes), leans & if he really likes our visitor, odds are good he’ll bring out his favorite toys to show off.

He may have been kind of spur of the moment… He may be the wrong color. He may have been “too old”, the last minute, 9 hour drive may have been tiresome (and the 10 hours home in bad weather was even worse)….But I could not be happier. Our whole family is 100% smitten and it feels as if he’s been here his entire life.

Jasper & Shayla fell asleep watching Toy Story 3

Thank God for plans gone all wrong!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sprays of Urine, Home Grown Gossamers & The Sunscreen

Once again I had one of “those days“…the exact kind of day that inspired my “Noodleville Adventures” almost 5 years ago…

Start off… Jerimiah got a very last minute, once in a life time opportunity to go on an elk hunt (and fly by private jet!) on a 42,000 acre ranch in Oregon and on my “To-Do” list that day was to finish up a bit of his laundry so he‘d be set to go.

I needed some help getting the buck's feet trimmed (the boys are in rut aren’t exactly easy to work with alone sometimes) so my mom agreed to come & stay for a few days while Jerimiah was away….. Which meant I needed to tidy up the house a bit…

So my “To-Do” list consisted of a quick bank trip, laundry, wishing for Mr. Clean to appear in my house, picking up the kids, homework, then shower & get the kids ready to go out to dinner with my father in law before he & my hubby left for their elk hunting trip the next morning…

Simple, uneventful plans.

Why oh why could it not be as simple as it sounds on paper?

What actually happened was this:

First Casper, one of my Lamancha girls (the wild one) escaped…My fault, I left a perfect step stool for her next to the fence and she happily went right over… She’s in season, been screaming like a lunatic and I’m keeping her from the boys (don’t want her bred yet)….

Anywho…she takes off and heads down the road. She won’t come to me and I surely can’t chase her… Finally took her sister, Comanche, out on a lead to entice her to come… Comanche acted as if me leading her down the road was some form of torture & did not do anything to make the task easier…. Long story short, almost 3 hours later I had Casper & Comanche safely contained once more. Though part of this trek included me carrying one idiot goat while dragging the other one…. Of course it was up a freaking hill too….

This put me behind on my chores quite a bit… Made a mad dash to the bank….Some bank error was going on……..showing the wrong name on my account… Took 30 minutes to fix it… A very quick trip turned into an hour & a half of time wasted (drive time wrapped up in that).

Finally get home to start cleaning…. Got the dishes done & glanced at the kitchen clock..

OMG! OMG! I’m late to get the kids!! How on earth could I be late to get the kids? I’m NEVER late!!!!!

Rush as fast as possible watching storm clouds roll in along the way…

Sit in the parking lot for 15 minutes before I realize that I did not adjust my kitchen clock and I’m in fact early…really early.

If I find whoever invented Daylight Savings Time, I’ll happily kick the fool right in the gut!!

Do I wait? Or do I go home? Contemplated waiting, but the storm clouds looked like a nasty one, so I decided to rush home, open the barn for the boys & get my round bale of hay covered & protected from the rain…

Lots of wasted time, wasted fuel, aggravation & I’m home with the kiddos, the clouds blew away, no rain, no noticeable house work done & I don’t have much time to get homework done & get ready to go out to dinner.

This my friends is where it all goes to hell.

I set the kids to their homework & go out to take care of the critters before dressing for dinner..

The feeder in the boys pen was broke…bent to fix it and in the process Sam decided to perfume himself… Hitting me with a steady, strong stream of urine in the process!! Hits my hair, shoulders and I feel this sickening warmth run right down my spine….

Stupid, stinking, nasty goat bastard!!!!!!

So now of course I have to wash my hair! I have longish hair, very thick, prone to messy waves & frizz…’s not easy to make it look civilized …It requires a flat iron to tame the masses. Flat ironing it takes forever.

Woo freaking hoo! As if I needed another thing to eat up my time, which at this point I no longer have any time to waste.

In the shower I hurry… in my rush I grabbed a bottle of water proof sunscreen instead of conditioner. Don’t ask me why it was sitting on the side of the tub…despite questioning, no one in the house knows how or why it was sitting there….

I’m slick & oily as a duck who waddled around in a tar pit.….three shampoos later & I still can’t get the damn sunscreen out…. My hair feels NASTY…can’t even run my fingers through it. I hop out of the shower & head for the kitchen for the Dawn dish soap…. You see those commercials of once oil slicked wild life happily restored thanks to Dawn… Had the images of adorable lil critters going through my head as I lathered up….

If you ever run a ginormous handful of waterproof sunscreen through your hair, Dawn is your ticket to clean hair…just FYI. Though you will be forced to deal with a dry, itchy scalp later… Cute lil critters don’t have that disclaimer on the stupid commercials!

I quickly check the kids homework & send them off to change out of their dirty school clothes while I tackle blow drying (I do so loathe the blow dryer & I’m really ticked at being forced to use the hand held cooking device!)….

Hair dried and doing it’s best to look like something off an awful hair band album cover… I really considered throwing it in a pony tail and putting on a ball cap…. But when I do that I look like a truck driver of an undetermined gender…. The look doesn’t flatter me at all so I decide I’ll flat iron just the front pieces and the top layer so it at least looks tame… I’m loving this plan and my hair actually looks ok.. Not great, but much better than looking like a gender confused truck driver.

Out to check on the kids….. Clayton changed his shirt….. then crawled under the porch to fetch a hidden egg & had what look suspiciously like chicken poop on his fresh shirt… dear, sweet Shayla was in her freaking Halloween costume!!!!

God why?!?!?!?!!?

I tell them both to just put their school clothes back on and wash their hands & face & go to get myself dressed.

Had a cute grey sleeveless top picked out to go with one of my few pairs of jeans that aren’t stained and ruined by mystery substances & possible unmentionables.

Oh, it actually looks semi cute!!
Oh wait!!
What’s that??

Oh, it’s only an armpit pelt!!

Damn it all to bloody hell!!!

In my frenzy to get the sunscreen out of my hair, I forgot to shave!!!! I’m sure my inlaws don’t want to sneak a peak at the armpit Gossamers I’ve been growing so I need a different shirt…. I don’t care that it was in the low 80’s… I found a blessedly clean long sleeve t-shirt & that’s what I wore…
Get everyone in the car & on the road I start to breathe again. I think:

“It’s all okay….mom changed my diapers, she’ll forgive the messy house”

”We’re only going out to a casual Mexican joint so the kids in school clothes is okay, even if they are a lil dirty from the play ground”

“My father in law isn’t picking up Jerimiah until tomorrow morning, so I have time to finish up the rest of his laundry tonight..”

Then the call comes…. Hubby letting me know that they are leaving after dinner instead of the following morning!!

Ok, I almost panic (I like everything planned & scheduled…deviations of any sort make me panic, no matter how trivial the deviation is, stupid yes, but it‘s one of my many character flaws)….. Instead I hit an ATM, get cash so hubby can buy a pack of socks (all the whites were in the washer… time to dry them) and meet my father in law, sister in law, her fella and all the munchkins for dinner.

Had a pleasant dinner, all went well, company was good, food was good..

Once the kiddos were in bed, hubby was on the road & I was sitting with mom watching TV I felt my sanity slowly, but surely seep back into me.
Yes, I had to chase, carry & threatened escapee goats, I wasted gobs of fuel & time running all over the place. I accomplished nothing on my to do list…

I suffered urine in my hair, on my skin and on my clothes…

I had a frustrating battle with various sudsy products in the shower trying to remove an impenetrable film of hair matting ick…
And yet, I made it to dinner, EARLY & civilized looking……even if I did have two lil Gossamers growing under my shirt!

Yea, that’s just the way I roll… I’m kind of awesome like that sometimes.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Blood, Bone & Bleuberry

Shayla & Bleuberry

As some may have noticed, I’ve been kind of absent from the whole blogging bit….. If you did not notice, do my ego a favor & pretend you noticed my lack of posting!

Been sick, busy and did I mention sick?? Started off with this nasty, deep to the bones ache & complete lack of energy…went away for a week…then came back with what I’m guessing is some upper respiratory junk…coughing, congestion, some fever, aches & snot.

Three weeks later and I’m still coughing like a life long smoker…. I’m way behind on almost everything & I think I’ve scared folks with my haggard, hacking self when I’ve been forced to venture out.

Despite all of that, here I sit, alternating typing and coughing…feeling quite pleased with my multitasking this evening. Going to do my best to catch up my blog….

ANYWHO, I’m obviously side tracking myself, so I’ll get on to the subject of the title..

In the midst of the worse part of my sick I was in rough shape…. Just making it out to the pens to feed was a struggle so I altered my milking schedule so I wouldn’t be due at the barn until 10am or so…

One lovely morning I finally manage to wobble out to the barn, milk Sabrina, fed the milk to the chickens (too tired & gross to be my typical uber sterile self) & was about to go toss myself in bed when half way to the house it dawned on me that Bleuberry, one of my Alpine does who never, EVER misses so much as a scrap of hay, did not greet me (read mob me) at the gate.

I stood there on the porch in the remains of my Nyquil induced fog & considered chalking it up to the ever constant antics concocted by goats to drive you insane, but thought better of it and went back out… I swear the walk to the barn felt like 2 miles…..

I cussed Bleuberry the whole entire walk, just knowing that as soon as I got out there, she’d be bounding around, smug with satisfaction of making me put out extra effort on her behalf.

Well, I do admit, profanity was the first bit out of my mouth when I saw her….. She stood in the back corner of the barn, leaning on the wall, head hanging and her entire body shaking violently. …Pools of blood were visible on the floor and she had a nasty leg cut…

Cut after 1st cleaning. It extends down & around another few inches under the bloody area shown

Cut was on her rear leg, about 7 inches long, straight down the front…cut so bad the bone itself was visible and even had a gouge on the bone!! Looked like someone took a potato peeler to her leg in an attempt to leave nothing behind but bone! The cut was shaped like a shallow backwards “C” with flesh from the top & sides puddled in the center instead of firmly attached in their proper places….I couldn’t get the lower half of the cut to show in the pictures, so you’ll just have to use your imagination on that…..

Ran in to get supplies, washed with Triodine 7 & tried to put the flesh back in place, but it just kept sliding down the leg making this grotesque lil puddle…

Stitches were definitely needed, and I would have happily stitched her up, but the wound must have occurred late in the night or very early in the morning as the flesh had already shrunken… Despite my best efforts I couldn’t cover the entire area with the missing flesh as it had shrunk so much…

In the midst of this I realize I’ve made unnecessary trouble for myself….. Something as simple as a CD/T Toxoid Vaccine would have saved me a mad dash into town…Typically I’m very good about giving the vaccine, and the booster 21 days later every year (booster is essential to seal immunity)…This year, I didn’t get around to it…So not only did I have the drama of this nasty wound, I had tetanus to worry about too!

Ran into town (40 minutes away) and got the much needed Tetanus Antitoxin….something every goat owner should have on hand for emergencies as it provides instant, short term protection against tetanus… So my goat friends who read this, go NOW, make sure you have the antitoxin on hand, and better yet, make sure your CD/T’s are current!!

Before leaving I cleaned it as best as possible, locked her up alone and gave her a nice shot of Banamine to help ease the pain…..Banamine is another essential for your goat medicine cabinet. It eases pain, reduces inflammation/fever and in really sick goats, it can ease their suffering enough to allow them to eat, thus keeping that ever important rumen functioning properly.

Came home, got the Tetanus Antitoxin in her and then sat with a new dilemma… I’m sick and wobbly…Bleuberry is a big girl…taped at 165lbs and she’s in pain. I have no help…

I drag my big metal milk stand through two gates and into the lil pen I have her in, then lift her, one half at a time to get her on the stand…then get crushed against the wall in her attempt to get away while I was trying to hold her head in the head gate and lock it.

I confess….in the middle of this struggle, I contemplated goat BBQ…only for a split second, but I seriously didn’t feel up to this.

Washed her as she alternated between panicked shaking and frenzied fighting. I had to pull the piled flesh back and flush it as it was a real nasty mess….This chore earned me a kick to the shoulder and one square in the chest which knocked the wind right out of me…. As I laid flat on my back in the dirt, goat manure and other unknowns gasping for air I once again thought of goat BBQ….. But I had to remind myself that Bleu is such a sweetie (generally) and my best quality Alpine so she could not become BBQ, no matter how bad, at that very moment, I wished I wasn’t dealing with this mess…..

A very stressed out Bleu resting after our doctoring ordeal

I got it done though….. Once flushed well, I sprayed down with Vetericyn VF (GREAT stuff BTW) and then packed EMT Gel under the flesh, pulled the flesh back in place as best I could then coated the rest in EMT Gel…. Applied a non stick gauze coated in EMT Gel….. Took 4 gauzes before I finally got one on her that she didn’t kick off…Then taped it down and wrapped in pretty pink Vet wrap…. Let me tell ya, trying to get the wrap on properly, without disturbing the gauze underneath, with one hand was quite the adventure, but when all was said and done I was THRILLED…

Bleuberry rockin' her new bandage

Yes, I am woman, hear me roar! I triumphed over goat, blood, ick and sick.

Banamine was such a huge help…. Once it kicked in she finally started nibbling her hay, where as before she wouldn’t even touch grain. We topped this off by stabbing her with a shot of Biomycin (antibiotic) & Bo-Se (to help boost her immune system).

We went through the cleaning, redressing, shot of Biomycin & Banamine in the evenings and eventually when she saw me coming with my “Bag O’ Tortures” she tried to stay as far away as possible… Poor gal. Future dressings were much less dramatic, thanks to my helpful hubby…He’s a great assistant.

Bleuberry warily watching as I approach with my "Bog O' Tortures"

Now, she’s barely got a limp and I’m beyond pleased with the looks of the wound. I swear by EMT Gel… I’ve used it on dogs, horses, sore, raw hocks on bunnies and now Blueberry…kind of pricey, but worth every single penny!!! Here is a picture of the wound now….No signs of infection, no swelling, and the white you see is where it’s healing over the exposed bone where I didn’t have enough flesh left to pull over it. That white bit looks like it’s a slimey coating or something, but it’s actually got the texture of firm skin….The flesh puddle (like my sophisticated medical terminology?) is firmly attached, and the open areas on the outside of the wound are getting noticeably smaller with each redressing (which we redo every 4-6 days now)..

Bleu's healing leg 13 days after injury

Front view of Bleu's healing leg

Just keeping it wrapped now to protect it from the awful plague of flies we’ve been dealing with here lately and once there is no longer an open area, I’ll leave it unwrapped...below is the most recent shot of her leg & I'm so thrilled with the progress... Once it's time to change this bandage I think I'm going to leave it unwrapped.

Looking good!
 I don’t even think it’s going to scar as bad as I originally thought.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Green Eggs of Noodleville.....Try them! Try them, if you will....

Do you like green eggs & ham?

I do! I do! I do like Green Eggs & Ham! Well, perhaps not green ham, but green eggs, yes ma'am I do.

That Sam I Am may have drove the poor grouchy looking fella nuts in one of my favorite books, but I must say, That Sam I Am was really on to something!

Green eggs that is.

Our rainbow of eggs
My Ameraunacana’s have started laying and we’ve been getting these pale greenish blue eggs and eggs in a rich, sea green color. Pictures don’t do them justice, but they are really pretty.

My two favorite colors, dark brown & the pretty sea green egg....wish the colors showed up better.

Granted, only the shells of my eggs are green…the yolks being a rich yellow/orange shade… If I had a critter of an unknown species hounding me to try eggs with green yolks the odds are good I would have become hostile, so I can’t say I blame ol’ grouchy for being annoyed!

Not to mention the green meat to boot!! I'm positive I would have passed on green meat of any variety..

But.....I can also sympathize with That poor Sam I Am…..

Had you be given the task of marketing green yolked eggs, you too would have had come up with catchy scenarios & rhymes to try and have your product sampled..

Now, if only That Sam I Am had what I have…green eggs truly worth marketing.

My 6 year old daughter was home from school with a respiratory infection and wanted one of her favorite foods for breakfast…. “Slimey eggs cooked the easy way” Which translates into fried eggs, over easy.

She wanted 3 eggs, one dark brown, one white and one green…so I went out to visit the chickens and see what they had to offer. Luck was with me, we had a beautiful green egg.

Cracked it open and much to my surprise, look what I found:

Yep, not only is my green egg far superior to those conjured up by the great Dr. Suess, it’s also double yolked! How cool is that?!?

BTW- My daughter claims that green shelled, double yolked egg perfection was the very best “Slimey egg cooked the easy way” ever!

Eat your heart out Dr. Suess!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Noodleville in the Awards Ceremony

Okay, Okay….there isn’t exactly an “awards ceremony” but I’m suffering from a bit of writers block here and that’s what popped up.

BUT, if you can believe it… My ramblings, and my tales (both tragic & humorous) did actually get an award!

Thanks to my dear friend nick named “Hoosier Girl” over at Blessed Little Homestead Life I am now the proud owner of the Liebster Blog Award!

Don’t think it’s true?? I can sense your skepticism….. But ya know what honey, the proof is all right here!

See?!?! Isn’t it pretty? My very first blog award ever and I think it’s positively peachy! And now that I’ve provided you with PROOF your no longer allowed to be skeptics.

Now…what is this phenomenal “Liebster Blog Award”?

Liebster is a German word meaning dear, sweet, kind, nice, good, beloved, lovely, kindly, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The Liebster is awarded to spotlight up & coming bloggers who currently have less than 200 followers.

Now that you know the meaning of it you can truly see why “Hoosier Girl” won this award and why she so graciously passed it on to me…Thanks so much hon!!!

Yes, she may think of herself as only a glorified lavatory attendant at times, but now she gets some well deserved, public recognition for being so much more.

I also know your wondering why *I* got it….well that’s because they can’t give you an award for being scatter brained, OCD, clumsy, hot tempered, irrational, silly, child like, overly dramatic & easily distracted until you have at least 200 followers! At that point you reach an all new level of fame and your character flaws are no longer dubbed with the stigma of “insanity”, rather the prestige of eccentricity.

Like all good things, there is work to be done in return, so here are the rules for the Liebster Blog Award:

1. Thank the giver, and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks & let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy & paste the award onto your blog
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all, have fun!!

Since I’d love to share the love & spotlight with a few of my favorite up & coming bloggers, these are my choices….Bummer I couldn’t choose more as I have several I truly enjoy but rules are rules ya know and one must follow them or risk the wrath of blog world fairies…

1. Range to Range- First of all this is one hard workin’ gal who can tell a simple story in such a way that it brings the reader right along with her in her life adventures on a 250,000 acre cattle ranch… She shares the best pictures and always has great info on things such as yogurt, soap & butter making… If it wouldn’t scare her half to death, I’d happily stalk her just so I could camp out at her beautiful mountain side home.

2. One of my favorite Texans over at Sand Holler Farm deserves this lil gem of an award as well. Gardening advice? Awesome pictures? Book recommendations? Adventures at Farmer’s Market? Goats, chickens and a slew of other critters? You betcha, they have it all and I really love the layout of their blog.

3. Third time is a charm as is my choice at #3... Rummage through Sarah’s blog at Teufel Hunden Farm and your in for a treat. Sarah is quirky, upbeat and shares all sorts of goodies like recipes, projects, pictures and humorous stories. Her art work is positively adorable and her felted soaps look divine! If I had to pick anyone who could be my long lost sister, she’d be it as I can totally see me reacting exactly the same way in some situations (Her post about the snake comes to mind here…lol)

4. Next up is a quirky gal I can totally relate to over at Midlife Farm Wife. She is one of those who, IMO, has passed any stigma of insanity and wears the prestigious badge of the slightly eccentric. She has so much going on and is so creative I’m left in awe with every posting. I mean seriously…how many of you could run a certified organic farm and still have enough creative juices & energy for an awesome blog?? If I’m having a bad day I know I’m guaranteed a good laugh with just one visit to her blog. Pictures & how to’s on hog castration? You got it! Everyday observations of an often on the edge farm wife? Without a doubt! Lots of beautiful soaps and photography….. And my favorite “Angry Soap” that looked like bacon and made me LOL at 2am!

5. Last, but certainly not least is Kay over at BedeSisters. Great pictures, awesome items in her Etsy store and more creativity in her pinky finger than I have in my entire body! Yes, I’ll admit, I’m a smidge envious off all of her adorable (and useful) crafty items….So envious in fact I think you shouldn’t hesitate, not even one single second to hop on over and take a peak around her blog and store.

So, I’ve followed rules 1-4. I am now able to fully say I own that Liebster Blog Award. As for rule #5.… In the land of Noodleville, fun & adventures are to be had in every day at the most unexpected times so I’ve got that one covered.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Newest Earless Wonders of Noodleville

Not too long ago I posted a blog about being trapped in my barn and as an after thought tossed in info and pictures about my sweet Lamancha boy, "Tonka".

Yes, I know his earlessness is repulsive to some. My husband swears he's the ugliest thing on 4 legs.

I happen to disagree. I think he's simply adorable. He has the sweetest, goofiest disposition and is such a clown.

I had plans to add a doe for mentioned in my recent "Hay Fairy" blog post, it would be such a shame for Tonka to be the only earless goat, and a virgin to boot! Can you just imagine how much hell he'd catch from the other boys?

That intention of adding a doe turned into adding TWO does (got a 2 for 1 deal that I simply could not pass up).

So, please meet my newest girls, Casper & Comanche. They are half sisters, same sire, different dams...Casper is a March 2011 baby, Comanche an April 2011 baby.

                                                  Aren't they just adorable?!?!

Both girl's have been dam raised and are a little bit timid, but I'm confident that a lil time and treats will have them won over.

Comanche, the youngest, is the bravest and was the first to approach us. She is an American Lamancha and though the pictures don't show it well, she's very dainty looking and has the prettiest dished face and big eyes. I have a feeling she's going to become the kids favorite thanks to her brave disposition.



Casper is the older of the two and isn't as easily swayed as her sister.

Last night she wanted nothing more than to stay far away, but this morning she did come stand beside me and nose me a bit so she'll come around in time.....They haven't been with me for even an entire day yet, so the shyness and bewilderment of their new surroundings will pass as they settle in.

Casper is a PB Lamncha and is very well grown for her age (taller than my Alpine kid who is the same age).

Casper & Comanche

Casper chowing down on alfalfa pellets

I'm really excited to have these girls and am looking forward to amazingly adorable Lamancha babies late Spring.

Not to mention, that will, give me two more girls to milk..

Lamanchas, on average have nice level lactations and produce very rich, creamy milk.. They are only slightly behind the butterfat production of the average Nubian, and in general they produce more butterfat than my Alpines.

Not to mention I've noticed my Lamancha tolerates this horrible West Texas heat far better than my Alpines do, so I think Lamanchas are a perfect match for us.

Comanche enjoying her alfalfa pellets

I'm very happy with the condition these girls arrived in and the care the breeder gave was top notch. She stayed on top of coccidia prevention (hence the nice growth these girls have had), and used proper dewormers on the correct schedule..

All in all I think the breeder was great, very helpful, very professional, allowed me to test them for CAE prior to purchase.

I started this goat adventure with the Miniature Alpines....then added standard Alpines, and now Lamanchas.

Through all of this I've learned quite a bit. I started my herd with tested, CAE negative stock but in the begining I didn't know exactly what else to look for. Thanks to some dear friends and mentors I've got a better handle on what a quality dairy goat should look like, what to look for and what traits are undesireable.

Nothing I have is perfect, but I'm happy to say that with each purchase I've "bought smarter" and have gradually added better quality. I've found what I like, and don't like and I think I've figured out what direction I want to go in this endevor.

I have no intentions to show, but I want to produce quality, disease free goats that milk well. Shayla really wants to show, she's been going on and on about for a few weeks now and she is quite heartbroken that she's not old enough yet (she's 6 & she has to be 8 to join 4H) but I hope to produce goats that she will be able to proudly show and at least do well with in our local shows. 

I no longer have Miniature Alpines.... I find I prefer longer legged, taller gals on the milk stand, easier for me to milk. So Tootsie, Keys & Ella have gone to my mom's and Houston will go soon as well.

Lilly, Sabrina's girl is being sold to a dear friend of mine to be a future home milker. It was a hard decision, but I simply can't afford to keep everything, and I'm very happy with her future home.....she'll be a spoiled mess I'm sure.

With Lilly gone that will leave me the Alpine trio & the Lamancha trio. I plan on retaining a Lamancha doe this kidding season, but have no plans to retain any Alpines as I only have room to expand so far and I've chosen to expand my Lamanchas.

At the moment I have Casper & Comanche in a 40ft x 10ft corral. This keeps them separate from the others so they can settle in without getting caught up in dominance games and this also makes them easier for us to catch & handle. We'll probably keep them separate for the first month at least, then we'll test the waters and see how they do with the others.

Lilly has just been bursting with curiousity, and I find it quite funny that she, like Sam when Tonka came home, is facinated (or perhaps confused) by the girl's ears (or lack of) Any time she's able to sniff them, she's bumping their tiny ears as if she's trying to figure out the new oddity...

Lilly meets Casper...Casper isn't impressed..