Winter is Coming

Finally.

I think one of the number one questions I get asked about the farm is where do all the animals go in the winter?

Um.  Nowhere.  Just like you.

However, you may have noticed that winter is different than summer.  Therefor, the care and keeping of livestock is different in those seasons.

For the goats, this mainly means: Hay.

During the spring/summer/early fall – the goats eat grass and leaves and weeds til their little bellies are full but in the dead of winter, none of that exists and they have to be fed hay.  Which is basically dried nutritious plant.  This is different than straw which is dried, stalks of plants and used for bedding because there isn’t any nutritional value in it. So I stock up on hay, which is the itchiest of farm chores unless you, like me, are perpetually covered in mosquito bites and poison ivy and then all chores between May and November are itchy.

I don’t really do anything for the rabbits.  They provide their own winter coat and I just make sure they have a cozy little den to sleep in.

I don’t really do anything for the chickens either.  They have shutters on their coop that get shut at night.  A lot of people have a problem with their chickens not laying eggs in the winter because they aren’t getting 14 hours of daylight.  Mine have never really stopped or slowed down so I don’t even think about artificial lighting in their coop.

The one “hard” thing about winter is the water freezing.  Most mornings, I need to make sure the ice is cleared out of their buckets and if it’s going to be below freezing all day, I just go out at lunch time too to make sure they still have access to water.

 

But because I also milk the goats, there’s a bit of a process to stop milking them.  The thing is, you can’t just stop and start back up again in a week.  Once you stop, you stop until they have another baby.  Let me explain.

I will not be milking the goats after October 20th.  This is because:

  1. I’d like to start going on vacation.
  2. They need a break to just lay around and get fat off hay all winter.
  3. They need a break to grow a baby.
  4. I don’t have a need for it year round.

Some people stop milking in December.  Some people never stop milking because they have different goats on different cycles.  Some people don’t milk their goats at all and this isn’t an issue.

Everyone says to stop milking you just….don’t milk them but I like to make it a little easier on those udders and gradually decrease their grain so that they are gradually producing a little less milk.

 

And that’s that.  That’s what happens in the winter.  Eating hay keeps the goats warm and they can sleep in the shed if they want but most of the time you’ll find them sleeping outside, even if it’s 30 degrees outside.  The chickens don’t particularly like snow so they’ll stay inside if there is snow on the ground and the rabbits seem to prefer winter far more than summer.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just realized I’m wearing a raincoat in the house and I’d like to go hang it up.

The Coolest Thing

Hello.  It’s been a while, hasn’t it?  Well that’s because my brain turned to mush and I couldn’t get the brain words in to mouth/keyboard words.  Anyway…

The other day I was wondering if I was cool or not…as one does…and I came to the conclusion that if you have to wonder if you’re cool – you’re definitely NOT cool.  Which led me try and do some things that would make me cool and they all made me even more uncool.

  1. I cut off a lot of my hair and was going for a “omg did she just ride up here on a wild stallion post saloon fight in the Wild West??”look.  What I got was “wow, that girl JUST got on ‘The Rachel’ hair trend of 1994.
  2.  I tried to hold a cigar in my mouth and talk at the same time (can you see we’re    going with a cowgirl=cool theme, here?) and it turns out I can’t do that or I gag. Now let me explain – I enjoy smoking cigars, but because I have an insane gag reflex, I can’t hold it in the side of my mouth and talk.  Unless the conversation is to make retching sounds.  Scott has this turkey call thing that’s about the size of a guitar pick that you stick in the roof of your mouth and I basically barfed it up when I tried it.  He is nice enough to keep talking to me.

Clearly, I can’t be cool.  Then it dawned on me….while I was washing my stupid Rachel hair…that the coolest thing about me is how my dog and cat are best friends.  People are always suggesting I start an Instagram page just for them and now I realize….what they’re really saying is “we hate all of your other stupid pictures, please please PLEASE only post pictures of those two”.

Well, friends, I’ve heard you.

I’ve heard you, but for the most part, I will ignore you.

But really, let’s talk about this dog cat duo of best friendship.

First, there’s Roosevelt.  Roosevelt is a 2.5 year old Australian Shepherd with a wonky eye.  He is my actual best friend and does all the exact same stuff that I do except that I have to go to work and he gets to nap all day.  He is insanely good with all of the animals on the farm and will even let turkeys stick their head in his mouth.  One time, he just sat nose to nose with an escaped baby bunny and waited until I got there to put it back with his mom.  He is just the best.  Company stresses him out, he hates when his routine is broken, and he overreacts to most things.  Three things I could also say about myself.  So one random day when Scott and I decided to get a cat, I figured it would be fine.

Insert: Trumann.  Trumann is a year old black cat.  Do cats have breeds?  Trumann is a cool cat though.  Not like all the other dumb cats out there.  Trumann goes outside and poops in mole holes and has a groundhog gang that he joins all day.  I guess.  I have no idea what that guy is up to, he just comes in when I get home and is really dirty and covered in spiders.  He also really enjoys head butting you at 3 am and every half hour after that until morning.  I’ve never had a cat before but I would say Trumann’s only flaw is that cats need litter boxes and now we have a litter box.  I should also point out that Trumann is the smallest animal on the farm and I neurotically worry about him a lot.  Even though he’s the only animal here that kills stuff.

I got Trumann as a teeny tiny kitten and the minute I walked in the door, I told Roosevelt he had a brother, dumped Trumann out of the box and they became best friends instantly.  So if you were hoping for advice on how to make your cat and dog best friends, I have no idea.  I just assume it will work perfectly every single time. 

Oh! And in case you don’t know and are wondering about their names.  Roosevelt is named Roosevelt because Scott had just watched a documentary and read a biography on Theodore Roosevelt and really wanted to name whatever dog we got, Roosevelt.  Then, we thought it would be cool to keep a presidential theme but I also have a theme of naming pets after places my extended family lives.  So there’s a Truman president and a Trumann, Arkansas where my mom’s family is from.  Win win.

There you have it.  The story of my two best mates.

Now.  Pictures.  Be prepared for your heart to explode.

 

Hygge

I wrote this on Sunday…today is Thursday…so travel back in time with me…

I lost my whole train of thought because I can see New Boy Goat Bohannan and Gwendolyn trying to go at it through a fence in the rain.  Gwen loses her mind when she goes in to heat.  Literally loses it.  Friday afternoon when it started, she was just sprinting as fast as she could back and forth and just clobbering me every time I walked near her.  I really recommend everyone get goats.  There is NEVER a dull moment.  If there is, they’ve escaped and you just didn’t notice.

Oh yeah, I wanted to talk about this thing called Hygge that all 4 of you reading this recently heard me mention.  Ever heard of it?  Probably.  I’m normally 2 years late to the game.  Anyway, if you don’t

Seriously, the goats are going insane.

Ok, if you don’t know what Hygge (“hoo-ga”) is, just know that it’s indescribable but basically means: a Danish word for ‘coziness and comfort with feelings of contentment’.  The more I got in to reading about hygge, I also got really in to ‘fika‘, ‘lykke‘, and ‘lagom‘.  Just go look those up on your own.

Ok, so it’s a rainy, Sunday afternoon and FINALLY starting to feel like fall.  I’m in wool socks, old jeans, flannel, and have pretty much just been consuming tea and caramels all day.  Also, the house is small enough that you can smell all the fall soaps curing in the guest room. That’s pretty hygge.  I’d put flannel sheets on the bed but it IS going to be 80 degrees later in the week and that would be ridiculous.  I also recently finished a book called “Seasons at the Farm” by Shaye Elliott and it just gave me the warm fuzzies about home making and eating well so that, combined with all this fall-ness was very hygge.

Geez.  Gwen is back at the fence.  KEEP YOUR PANTS ON GWEN!  HOW am I supposed to keep everyone’s virtue intact until November?

Why am I telling you all of this?  Oh, because I was reading all about hygge, and fika, and lykke, and they were just such basic, nice principles to live by, I recommend anyone who needs a light read, checking out the books:

The Little Book of Hygge
The Little Book of Lykke
The Little Book of Fika
The Little Book of Lagom

(Note: my fate is in your hands.  If you purchase any of these books through the link I gave, I receive a small commission, at no cost to you – which I (and the goats) would greatly appreciate!)

In summary of this useless post, I think we/Americans are focused more on doing more more more, wanting more more more, buying more more more and maybe we should be more content with having a pastry break in the middle of the day or relishing in the new light bulbs that make your kitchen seem cozy.  Enjoying a cup of tea that doesn’t make you sweat profusely because you love tea regardless of the season but don’t keep the house at 62 degrees all summer.  Little things.  Big things are cool too.  But sometimes all the big things are too much and we need to focus on the little things.

 

 

Fall

I’m going to pretend that September = Fall and complain every single day it’s over 60 degrees.  So get ready because it looks like it’s going to be in the 80s and 90s indefinitely.  But winter is coming and everything is just going to get so great.  Now that my 4 favorite months are upon us, I’m going to tell you how I’m going to make them great, because maybe you want to make them great too and you need ideas.

  1. I’m going to get rid of all our stuff.  (This is how I find out if Scott actually reads my blog…)
    – I don’t really mean get rid of ALL our stuff but it’s time to really organize and really question why we have 5 spatulas. There is a water bottle on a shelf that I can’t even reach so there’s probably no need for that in this house.
  2. I’m going to do all the little projects that I haven’t done because of one thing or another.  Like the posters without frames TAPED to the wall of places I’ve never been and will never go NEED TO VACATE THE PREMISES BECAUSE I HATE THEM SO MUCH.
  3. I will actually mow down the “garden” and cover it in plastic so that we can have a garden next year.
  4. I will do the dishes every day so that the next day, dish doing isn’t as crummy.  This will also motivate me to cook and bake more because the dishes I need will be clean and the minimal amount of counter space I have will be free of filth.
  5. I will finally figure out what to do with all this milk the goats are giving us.
  6. I will get a new boy goat and spend a few months making sure he doesn’t get anyone pregnant and then spend November making sure he gets everyone pregnant.
  7. I will keep making double payments on my car to be able to pay it off 2.5 years early!
  8. I will try chai tea.  It seems like something I might like.
  9. I will sell all the soaps.
  10. I will make all the soaps.
  11. I will patiently wait for the next Outlander book to come out.
  12. I will lie about #12 and IMPATIENTLY wait for the next Outlander book to come out.
  13. I will read and watch all of Lord of the Rings.  It’s been too long and only Lauren understands.  Wednesday morning was rough, Lauren.
  14. I will write in this blog more, come up with idea’s for children’s books, and work on my coffee table book ideas.
  15. I will start going on nightly wisdom walks with Roosevelt.  And try and get the goats to come too.  The 9 of us need the wisdom.  Oooo what if I made a saddle on one of the goats for Trumann?
  16. I will force many of you to ACTUALLY follow this blog – like put your email in the little box, so that I can get followers and become rich and famous.
  17. I will get REALLY in to Christmas.
  18. I will get REALLY in to Thanksgiving.
  19. I will STILL not care at all about Halloween.
  20. I will create a really awesome Christmas card.
  21. I will not feel overwhelmed or busy because I will just say “NO. LEAVE ME ALONE.” to things and/or people.
  22. I will eat 100% from scratch foods, spend no money on frivolities, get 8 hours of perfect sleep a night, do yoga daily, keep the house immaculate, and shower every day.

 

Ha. Hahahahahahahahaha.  That last one was a joke.  But the rest aren’t!  I’ll even prove it – in a month, I’ll let you know if I did any of these things.

There are no pictures with this blog post.  Take your disappointment elsewhere.

IMG_6046Just kidding.  Here’s a picture of Trumann being all Hygge.

23. Be Hygge all day every day.

Farm Update

Here is what’s going on:

Friday is my 28th birthday.  AH!  Crazy.  Scott and I are going out for crabs Friday night and then going horseback riding all day Saturday.  Best birthday ever!

The Farm is an actual jungle.  At this point, there’s no point in trying to tame the poison ivy, mosquitoes, gnats, spiders, snakes, the horribly invasive “mint/licorice plant”, and the garden.  Hopefully winter comes hard and fast and just takes care of those things.  Upon further investigation, it seems global warming is ruining everything and winter won’t be coming this year.

The two goats that I’m milking are starting to slow down.  I don’t mind – I’m ready for this phase of the year to be over.  My hands are pretty tired from milking every day and it’d be nice to sleep past 7 every once and a while.  A new buck should be coming to the farm soon and that will keep me on my toes trying to time “goat dates”.

IMG_5965

New Boy Goat Coming Soon

The turkeys got butchered Sunday.  Everyone’s first reaction is “wow, that’s so early!” – but you’ve never even butchered a turkey so how would you know?!  But really – it is early.  These guys just grew so big so quick and are pooping everywhere and starting to attack me so they gots to go.

The chickens are doing well – everyone is now laying eggs, which is ridiculous because we’re still only eating about 5 a week.  People who eat a dozen eggs a week freak me out.  I know that’s like….everybody….but you freak me out.

The rabbits are…
I don’t know.  I feel like they’re not doing great.  4 need to be butchered, but it’s no rush so we’re just waiting for a 45 minute window to get it done.  Then I’m just left with a boy and a girl and the girl isn’t doing well?  She just doesn’t seem lively.  Probably the excessive heat/humidity.  It just rains so much then turns in to a sauna.  Hopefully fall will cool her off and perk her up.

Soap Buiz.
Everyone asks how it’s going and it’s just going ok.  I really thought more people would be interested because it was now available online as opposed to having to come all the way to my house but alas.  I must keep my office job.  Also, I have to remind myself it’s been 2 months.  Rome wasn’t built in a day…at least that’s what they tell me.

All Fall/Christmas Time, I will be making Fall and Christmas themed soaps and I’m really hoping that excites everyone as much as it does me.

Roosevelt and Trumann are just as cute as they’ve always been.

IMG_5911

Other things I’ve been interested in:

Does anyone know what Hygge is?  If not, look it up.  Anyway, I LOVE it.  I’m obsessed with it.  Basically, the Danish are far superior beings.

We have a trip to Washington planned for the beginning of November to visit my grandparents and I’m so excited. Washington is my favorite place and we haven’t been anywhere in so long!

As soon as September 1 hits, I’m over summer and I’m getting ready for fall/Thanksgiving/Christmas – we’re even working on Christmas card ideas!

There is no way to eloquently end this post.

IMG_5932

Helen!

WHAT THE WHAAAAAAAAAAT.

I did some crazy super sleuthing on the interwebs and solved a mystery that I’ve had since last June.

Helen – the little white and black goat has always been way smaller than the rest of the goats.  I knew she was a triplet and I got her as a baby so I just thought “oh, she’ll catch up, triplets are always smaller”.  I had another baby goat at the time that was born 2 weeks after her though, and she was TOWERING over baby Helen.  Well then Helen got really sick so I figured that probably stunted her growth a bit.  She’ll catch up.
It’s been over a year and um….she’s grown a lot but still very small.  So my question kept being: did her getting sick stunt her growth??  Was I lied to about what type of goat she was??
It didn’t really matter too much- she was just…small.
Every once and while though, I would begin to question WHY she was so small.
I got on the ‘”farmer” I bought Helen from’s’ Instagram.  I found the post on the day Helen was born.  Ok, so she really is as old as I think she is.  I found the post that might have showed a picture of her mom.  It had the caption “any day now” and it was a few days before the Baby Helen picture.  French Alpine goat – like I wanted.  Where is a picture of her dad?  Thaaaaaaaaat’s what I need to know.  I’ve gone back a year at this point – luckily she doesn’t post much.  I’m about to give up – WAIT, was that a big, ugly goat beard??  Why yes, yes it is…on a NIGERIAN DWARF BUCK!  3 OF THEM!!! (Which seems like a lot of bucks to have for such a small number of does but whatever)  SO SHE’S HALF NIGERIAN DWARF GOAT!
This means:
1. I can’t breed her with any Alpine buck that I breed the rest of the gals with – the babies would be too big and could cause a lot of issues.
2. I either don’t breed her, borrow a Nigerian Dwarf buck for a month, or get a Nigerian Dwarf buck and hope he and the other (much larger) buck get along.
3. I’ll probably go with borrowing a buck or not breeding her.
4. I’ll be much more wary when buying goats in the future! You can’t trust just anyone!

Who Am I?

I’ve had this weird “obsession” with “identifying” myself as a certain “type” of person.

Most of that is in quotation marks because the whole sentence felt so much more extreme than what I was actually thinking.  It probably should have read more like this:

Sometimes, these thoughts pop in to my head: do I actually like any of my clothes? what kind of clothes do I like? do I like any of our furniture? what style of house do I like? what style of decor do I like? what century should I have been born in?  what culture do I most fit in with? what haircut would fit my personality?

Here’s the thing – none of this MATTERS because I can just wear what I want, decorate how I want, I don’t have a choice what century I was born in to, and I have whatever culture I have.  It’s just that I do a lot of daydreaming and out of the blue, things just strike a chord with me and I think “Ohhhhhh THAT’S what I’m like” or “Ohhhhhhh THAT’S how I would describe myself”.

I’m constantly asking Scott how he would describe me if he was forced to write a 5 paragraph essay about me and he’s accurate but I think there are more things that I think about myself that he doesn’t say.  Also about two years ago at work, we were all told to take this personality test and share our results with the group and I 100% disagreed with my results and the entire office agreed with them.  So they literally had no idea who I was.

I guess what this pointless discussion is all about is that I’ve finally decided who I think I am and I’m going to tell you so that you won’t have to play the ‘pretend to write a 5 paragraph essay about Kelsey’ game.  Scott still has to though.

  1. Bucolic Milk Maid
    Just a gentle, tender to animals.
    IMG_5752
  2. Mid 19th Century Lady Outlaw
    Seriously, GET AWAY FROM MY GOATS AND STOP OPENING THEIR GATES.  Also, most of the time, when shit hits the fan on the farm, Scott isn’t there.  So I’m pretty tough.
    IMG_5825
  3. Snow White
    The animals follow me around everywhere and while they don’t really help with chores or anything I feel like if I sat down and starting singing one afternoon, they’d all gather round.  They sure do love their Mama.
    image
  4. Peggy Lee’s “I’m A Woman”
    Because I really do do it all.
  5. 1940’s Southern Farm Wife
    Because I like playing hostess and I like their dresses.  Plus I got Arkansas kin folk so I must have some of that running through my DNA.
    image (1)
  6. I also like being outside, I like bad weather, I’m friendly and talkative but actually kind of introverted – I’m basically hung over after going to or hosting a party, I like baked goods, I think I like to cook, I like reading, I like making things, I like traveling (but less since having the farm because it adds some stress), I like baby goats, I like all animals (except toads and frogs), I like fall and spring, I like smoking cigars 5 times a year, I like horses but I’m kind of scared of them, I like snow, I really like this whole “hygge” thing (look it up), I like tea, I like French stuff, I like vintage stuff, I like sleeping outside when there aren’t any bugs around, and I like old houses.  I like other stuff too but you get the idea.IMG_7760 (1)

 

Now that I’ve wasted some of your time, go do things that you like.