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!

Adeline

I can’t believe I’m having to write another one of these posts, but I had to put Adeline down yesterday morning.

I went out to milk her and found her with one of her back legs hanging on by some skin and muscle.  I’ll leave the rest of the details out but it wasn’t something that she could recover from.

I’m living out my actual nightmares and don’t really have much else to say except that I feel pretty defeated right now.

 

I do really want to thank everyone who has reached out with their kind words and support.  It means a lot.

You are sorely missed, Adeline and Rocco.

Rocco

Rocco, King Supreme Billy Goat, died on Monday.  After a brutally quick parasite infestation.  He was lethargic and not eating on a Sunday, at the vet on Monday and died just a few hours after that.  I was with him the whole time, he died with his head in my lap, and I buried him under his favorite tree.  The worst part is that I had this unrealistic vision of my current little goat family just being with me until the end of time.  Silly me.
This does leave me in search of a new buck.  (Intact boy goat) (Not castrated) Ugh.  Rocco wasn’t easy to find, another guy won’t be any easier.  I wonder if I’ll even like another one as much.  I have to.  A buck is a pretty important piece of the “Baby Goats in the Spring” puzzle.
Rocco, you are sorely missed.

One Year Ago…

One year ago, I put in my last few weeks at The Last Full Time Job.  It was time to finally be a farmer.  Those few weeks and our honeymoon went by and that brings us to:

August 20, 2017.

After buying a new car battery, Scott and I went to go pick up my two newest goats that were currently in milk and I took over another local farmer’s dairy share.  Three days later, I started a new job and working “part time”.  The next day, I turned 27.  It was an overwhelming week.

Soon thereafter, I started making goats milk soaps and had some success selling them around the holidays.  I kept making soap, I kept making some money.  I had a herd of 13 goats at one point and the rabbits had lots of babies (before their untimely demises…).  We added a cat to the mix and we didn’t bother with a garden.  We maintained a social calendar that didn’t cause me insurmountable stress for the first time and have managed to have quite a few “lazy Sundays”.  I’ve started selling soap online, I’ve learned how to make caramel sauce and caramel candy, goats milk ice cream, and am about to embark on a 1700’s version of cheesemaking.  I also think I took my first walk through the farm by myself…I didn’t think the donkey I was meeting at the end of my walk would appreciate Roosevelt’s….enthusiasm for new friends.  We’ve learned how to butcher rabbits and tan their hides.  I’ve done a terrible job at making dinner for the last 4 months but we’ve managed to pay off all student loans.  We haven’t done any traveling other than for friend’s weddings and have floated down the river countless times.  The farm has also been in the positives – financially – since January.  So thank you to anyone who bought soap, cheese, eggs, rabbits, or a goat from me!  Your dollars literally help me achieve my dreams of the last 22 years.

 

The ‘end of this year’ has found me in a bit of a rut but it’s time to snap out of it and get started on another successful year.  To celebrate, I’ll have a couple of soaps on sale and maybe even a giveaway!  I might even start a fall garden.

Thank you to those who are reading and be sure to follow me here for farm goings on, on Instagram @maidamilking for soap sale updates, and check out the Etsy store here.

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Farm Update

First, I’ll answer a couple of questions I keep getting asked.

  1. Where are the bees?
    -They died last fall.  I was pretty overwhelmed with my to do lists last year AND beekeeping is a bit of an investment so I did not pursue them again this year.  I will certainly keep bees again in the future.
  2. Why don’t I ask my landlords if I can just buy my current house?
    First of all – this is such a weird question.  I can almost guarantee you’ve never asked anyone else this question who was renting a house.
    – It’s not for sale
    – It’s smack dab in the middle of THEIR 500 acres
    – Not enough land
  3. Why don’t I try and sell my cheese to restaurants?
    -It doesn’t work like that, you can’t just sell things.  It has to be FDA approved and I don’t even hit one requirement on the list.  Not that what I’m doing is unclean or anything, there are just VERY strict rules that I can’t afford to follow right now.
  4. Why don’t I try and get FDA approved?
    -That’s a lot of time and money I’m not willing to put in to a rental farm.
  5. Why don’t I ask my landlords if I can just buy my current house?
    -STOP ASKING THAT.  ITS WEIRD.

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Second, I want to ask a few questions.

  1. Does anyone make their own kombucha?  If so, does yours ever get fizzy?  If so, tell me how.
  2. Does anyone know how to destroy all the gnats within a 2 acre radius?
  3. Will everyone please FOLLOW me?  There’s a button on the home screen.

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Follow me.  Like the goats do.

Ok, now for farm updates.

The turkeys remain awesome but I have a feeling one is going to turn on me soon.  If you’d been attacked by a bird before, you’d know the feeling.

The 6 chicks from the spring should be laying eggs any day now, which is nice, because I kind of hate them.

Rabbits.  Mom, Dad, 4 ‘teenagers’.

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Goats.  Always awesome.  Always.  Except Rocco.  He’s a pain in my ass.  His only mission is to destroy everything.

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His beard is magnificent.  His behavior is…less than that.

Trumann killed his first mouse…I guess.  I found him playing with a dead mouse in the guest room the other night.  So…sorry guests…I have no idea how long that dried up mouse was in there.

Roosevelt.  The best dog in all the lands.

Kefir.  That’s the fermenting milk on the counter I have to feed every day.  It’s a complicated, confusing relationship that I will tell you about later once I know what to say.

Lastly, here, is a picture of my one and only harvest from the garden.  It is now a jungle of weeds that I only sometimes regret.  There’s always next year.

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Have a good weekend.

Why Goats Milk Soap?

Why goats milk soap?

Because you suburban people are obsessed with goats right now and we farmers are trying to take advantage.

Just kidding.  About the taking advantage part.

But for real, it’s got “alpha hydroxyl acids” that help remove dead skin cells.  Which makes you look younger.  We’ll just say that’s why I have always looked 15. Goats milk is high in Vitamin A which repairs damaged skin tissue. Milk soaps have fat.  Fat is good.  Fat moisturizes. Also, Vitamins and Minerals from the milk is going directly on to your skin. (And did you know it’s the largest organ??)

Also, it’s natural.  Like… you can pronounce all the ingredients and they are words you know. Go look at the soap in your shower right now and tell me what all those ingredients are.

It also makes nice gifts, ya know?  I’m all about getting and giving gifts that can be used up.  Because everyone has too much stuff already.  Soap serves a purpose and then goes bye bye.

This winter (it has to be winter, that’s when there’s time) I plan on learning how to make lotions, salves, chapsticks, other stuff.  Oh and caramel candies and ice cream and more cheese and and and and and…IMG_5188

 

Don’t forget to check out the Etsy store!  

Bye Bye Baby Goats

The time has come for the baby goats to go to their new homes.

It seems crazy that this short little phase of the farm is already over.  Wasn’t it just yesterday I was neurotically checking out the living room window with binoculars to see if the Mamas were in labor? Bundling up in the middle of the night to check for signs of babies?  Counting down the hours at work until I could be back home to snuggle with them?  Then BAM!  Just like that, they’re ready to leave and I’m covered in poison ivy from playing with them in the woods.  The end of BGT (Baby Goat Time) leads to the hot, hazy days of summer with my main herd.  Now consisting of 6 Mama’s and Future Mama’s, Rocco the Buck, and Fergus the Wether.

I stood outside for a bit last night in a cloud of gnats trying to come up with some sentimental parting words, but alas, they are goats, and they weren’t really listening anyway.  And most of what I had to say was profanity at the Gnat Cloud.

I will probably stop now before I get too weird wondering if they would ever remember me if they saw me again or if they’ll ever think about me and wonder where I went.

As the farming years go by, however, I just realize more and more how there is a season for everything and each one comes and goes with it’s ebb and flows and sometimes I make rhymes explaining the times.