We have had radom amazing sunny days here on the homestead. Days that are best spent in the company of goats.
My strigose cowl is now available! I can’t tell you how beautiful the tests turned out! I’ll just show you!
They turned out so amazingly! Also, I have a new design fresh off the blocking wires!
I have not been blogging so much these past three weeks which I apologize for. I’ve been crazy busy with work and the farm and all sorts of OTHER stuff. I have lots of pictures (goat pictures) to share this weekend and maybe even some news that I’ve been sitting on for a while.
See, things went down about a month ago that I wasn’t really willing or ready to talk about. Life changing news (and not the OMG THIS IS SO AWESOME! kind either). I took some time to look inward and harden my shell a little bit. I’m an odd mix of completely extroverted guarded person. I am free about my happiness and addresses, my embarrassing mistakes, my failures, and triumphs but this was beyond those things. This needed some time to just be and for the Mr and I to recover. It was a sort of phoenix moment and I finally feel as if the wind has picked up and started to blow away the ash of the old and what lays ahead of us, our rebirth, is exciting, terrifying, and brilliant. I know I am the luckiest woman in the world to have such an amazing family, such fantastic friends, the worlds best husband, two dogs that make me laugh and snuggle me when I need it, and a wonderful base of blog readers who don’t know me but leave such fantastically supportive comments.
I love you all.
The other day it was so beautiful I decided to take some pictures of all the goats. The babies were out in the sun and I thought it was time to introduce everyone.
We have lambs! Oreo and 1tag decided to have their babies on the same night. It was fortuitous! The Mr and I had cleaned out the old turkey stall just that day and gotten it ready for their arrival. We ushered the sheep inside (which was a huge pain in the butt because that’s what sheep are) but we got them all in and settled. That night it snowed 5″ and the sheep dropped off 2 lambs for our trouble. I can’t tell you how glad I was that we had them inside. Now we are only waiting on 1 more ewe.
The girls gave us two ram lambs so they won’t be staying long term on the homestead. When you have boys on the farm they aren’t good for much. You only need one breeder and from there, every male is superfluous.
We also have baby goats!
Brutus (in back) and little Twinkie take a nap.
Need a goat of your very own? Jet is now for sale.
Rocket is staying with us because she has the privellage of being a girl.
Tank ADORES the baby goats. Well, he adores all goats no matter what. He’s a super goat enthusist. He will sit at the gate and just gaze at them adoringly as they play. It’s really pretty sweet.
I want to thank you all for your awesome comments. Things have been a little crazy around here and I apologize for not writing back like I normally would. I plan to! I promise! Things are ok. Sometimes you just have to accept what the universe offers you and move on. That’s what we are doing. The universe basically told us (in not so subtle terms) that we were not living the life we were meant to and did something about it. Frankly, if the universe didn’t completely shake us up we probably would have been on that path for a very long (and miserable) ride. It’s something I think that you never realize about yourself while you are in the moment. You might ask yourself “Am I happy?” and if you are not clearly UNHAPPY then yes, you MUST be happy. That’s not always the case though. The lack of unhappiness does not denote happiness. We were just there. So now we are not and you know what? It’s ok.
So much has been happening. It’s like it was all planned out (if sheep and goats had the ability to plan anything that is). DD gave birth to amazing triplets that I adore so much. They are healthy and happy and bouncing around like puppies. They are the epitome of SWEETNESS. Then the other day (because we’ve been meaning to do it for 2 weeks) the Mr and I cleaned out the old turkey stall and threw down fresh straw. The sheep were getting close to their due date we knew so on a whim we put them in the barn to get them used to it.
Overnight it snowed 5 inches and in the morning the Mr went out to the barn to discover 2 little lambs. Pictures are terrible because it’s the BARN and has terrible barn lighting but yeah. 2 little healthy boys. Since they are boys they will both end up…well…as dinner. I know that probably made a few of you sad, but on a farm, boys get eaten, it’s a fact of life. Girls, girls are gold. The goats produce milk and the ewes produce wool (which is finer this year than any I’ve seen it from my sheep!). Boys? Boys get floods of testosterone and become idiots. So boys aren’t our thing.
And now there are some of you who are all “But Preita!!! You had baby boy goats! Surely you aren’t going to eat them!!!” No, rest asured we are not. They are going to be sold off to other people. Maybe as a future breeder, maybe as brush control, maybe as something else. But they won’t be staying here either in the barn or anywhere else.
So you know how much I love my goats? I love that I can go in to the stall and pick them up for a sweet cuddle and they lay their heads on my shoulder or kiss my nose. I love that they are content just to be snuggled and chill out. Lambs? Lambs are not like this. Lambs are quite the opposite. Lambs KNOW they are not supposed to be off the ground, they KNOW they are not supposed to be cuddled or snuggled or pet. It makes me a little sad because they are sweet little babies with curly little fleeces that make them look like poodles but yeah, I guess it helps with attachment issues. Maybe my goats KNOW they could never be dinner so they don’t mind? I don’t know. Lambs, while cute, are not goats.
We have been handling the goats a lot which is something we probably won’t do too much with the sheep. The kids on the other hand benefit from a lot of handling because two of them will be future milkers. A wild goat is a pain in the butt. Goats that are used to handling are easier to milk, lead, and groom. Above I’m holding our little girl out of DD. Since the Mr was the midwife and pulled 2 out of 3 goats from DD’s womb I gave him full honors of naming them all (something that was hard for me because I’m a control freak sometimes). Above is Twinkie which makes me giggle ridiculously. Especially since DD is short for Dumbledor (we did not name her) so when we register her it will be Dumbledor’s Twinkie. It’s silly but I love it.
So yeah. We are waiting on 1 more ewe and then we are done with babies for the year. Kind of makes me a little sad because I loved the process.
In other news I’ve decided to start work on an E-book on Ravelry turning some of my most popular shawls into rectangular wraps/scarves. It will be a lot of knitting but I hope to have the release by the end of summer. I don’t just want them to be plain rectangles where anyone with half a brain could have pulled them off so it will take a little more planning. Where the wrong side is just not as nice I plan on dealing with that so no one has to see it. So yeah. Off I go to the races!
My list includes;
I’m not ready to blog about what happened the other day. Thank you all for your kind wishes and I know things will turn around soon. What I am ready to blog about is GOATS!
And then after the Ides of March kicked us in the teeth we had a miracle.
DD had her babies. Triplets! And if the Mr wasn’t home we might have lost at least 2 because 1 goat was breach and he had to help mama out.
Two twin girls and a big fat boy!
A few things have been going on in the last week which is why I’ve remained silent. Last Thursday I stepped down into the goat stall as I was getting ready to put everyone away for the night, and I rolled my ankle. Seriously, I heard that gross popping sound and I face planted into the straw. Thing was is that though I am usually awesome and paranoid about bringing my phone with me at all times I decided not to take off my muck boots and go back into the house to retrieve my phone not 5 minutes before. So there I was, laying on my face in agony with the almost certainty that I’d broken my ankle. My husband wasn’t due home for another 2 hours and it is a long way back from the barn to the house when you are a cripple.
So I sat there for a moment and took a deep breath of the musky straw of the goat stall and remembered that I am not the ‘wait to be saved’ type. I go onto my knees – my poor unreliable angry knees – and crawled out of the stall trying not to hit my foot to hard on the floor below because every tap was agony. I used bits of straw and fallen hay as knee pads as I crawled on my hands and knees down the cement hallway toward the door. The whole time – and this is probably stupid – I was physically saying to myself “I can do this.” over and over again. Every shuffle of the knee and hand was “I can do this.” Oddly though I still wasn’t crying.
Pretty pathetic right? Yeah, well, I knew once I got to the door of the barn I had 20 feet of mud to the fence and a bunch of goats who wanted their grain more than anything so I decided I’d test it. I pulled myself to my feet and with the aid of one of the Mr’s many 2×4′s I took my first tentative step. It hurt like hell but I could move. So I did. I used that 2×4 as a bastardized cane and moved as quickly as I could through the barnyard and through the yard and into the house where I had enough thought to grab and icepack before falling onto the couch and reclining as far as I could to elevate the offending joint. I went fast because I knew that I was working on adrenaline and that it would probably wear off at any moment. And it did. Just about the moment I heard my husband’s voice on the other end of the phone.
So yeah. We had a lovely little ER trip to our local hospital where I was checked in by a woman too bored with me to stop looking at houses and who got snippy with me about my -completely abnormal for me - high blood pressure. HA! You know, the only people who make a big deal out of that are people who’ve never been hurt so bad they needed to go to the ER before. Unless you’ve felt that fear and pain you can shut your sweet ass up. My blood pressure was high because I was in pain, because I was terrified I wasn’t going to make it out of the barn by myself, because I had already broken this ankle when I was 13 and have two screws in it, and I was terrified that I would be out of commission for 8 weeks.
People, I have stuff to do. I’m too busy to be a cripple for that long.
So 4 hours later I was greeted with the news that it was NOT broken. People, I felt like I had just won the lottery at that point. Everything else didn’t matter, I was as good as gold.
So yeah. My wonderful husband took amazing care of me for the next 3 solid days. I hobbled on crutches and scooted around the house on a rolly chair and did my best to keep completely off it for that time. The swelling went down and the bruising came - omg it is SO bruised! – and I’m able to walk around pretty confidently now with aid of a brace.
To celebrate let’s have a contest! Comment here with your worst injury and I’ll pick 5 random people (with help of the random number generator) to win 3 patterns of mine of their choice. You have until Monday the 27th before I’ll pick my winners.
And though this has nothing to do with the post here are some goats.
Things are pretty awesome frankly. I feel like this year is finally what I’ve been waiting and working for. The last two years prior were kind of – or really fucking amazingly – stressful so this year I feel as if I’m finally able to smile and reap the long sewn rewards.
Hannah’s babies are doing great. They are more mobile every day and galloping around in the most adorable ways. Not only do I love these guys but it means that in a few months I’ll have milk for my family and start making cheese. I’ve looked at an automatic butter churn and think I’ll add that to my kitchen arsenal too. The Mr and I have had a goal for quite a while now to be as self sustained as possible. Not because we are hippies, not because we don’t think groccery store food is good, but because it has become more important to us to be able to provide for ourselves. I think that the more involved you get in growing your own food the more horrified you are when you discover what a lot of your food goes through to get to you. Have you ever seen a milking plant for cows? Yeah, I’m not squeemish or a bleeding heart anything but damn, something about that doesn’t seem right ya know?
Our goats are for milk only but it goes a long way in adding that missing factor to our self sustainability. We already got 99% of our meat this last fall from the 4H kids & FFA members when we bought animals at the fair so this year I’m going to focus on gardening and other forms of preserving food. I’ve already got a large garden mapped out (around our small apple and plum orchard) and I’m excited to go to town.
Jet is our little buckling and he’s jet black (hense the name). I haven’t really decided 100% what I’m doing with him. He’s unrelated to my other doe but I already have a buck I can breed to both ladies. He’s just so beautiful though. I’d love to sell him as a buckling to someone who wanted to enhance their herd but I don’t know what the market is like.
His sister Rocket on the other hand is definitely staying. She’s absolutely beautiful with her markings and will be added as a milker once she’s old enough. I can’t even tell you how happy I am to have gotten a girl, I was just terrified that I’d end up with all boys. I’m still hoping that DD (our pregnant La Mancha Doe that came with Hannah) has some girls. Cross your fingers for me! Boys are kind of worthless. :/
We’ll be registering the kids soon and keeping a close eye on Rocket. I’d be interested in showing her just to see what the experience is like.
So for my Christmas present from the Mr I got 3 La Mancha milk goats. 2 does and 1 buck. The girls were dry and needed to be bred (if the buck hadn’t already done his job). I am not a pro at goat breeding so I watched and fretted and HOPED that my man had gotten the girls. I spent weeks staring at them with a serious frown debating if they were pregnant at all. I mean, nothing seemed to really be happening. Then last week I mentioned to the Mr. “Dude, Hannah’s bag has blown up!” which is not a sentence I would have ever thought I’d utter, (HA! Udder!! ok I’m a dork), in a million years. Let me translate this sentence to you non-goat to you non-goat types. A bag is an udder, and blowing up is when it fills with milk. Basically Hannah told me in her goaty way, “Lady, I’m totally pregnant and you’ve got babies on the way”. I was pleased.
So I started to think about the things I’d need to do before the babies come. I needed to clean out the last stall in the barn and switch the goats around so that mama could be by herself when she gave birth, I’d need to have colostrum and bottles on hand in case a baby didn’t feed, and I’d be prepared, because you know, I’m kind of obsessive that way.
Well…when the goat books tell you that the goat’s udder swells you have a month they are lying. You don’t. I had a week. I didn’t know that though till yesterday morning. That’s when I went out to the barn as my usual routine to let everyone out and feed them when I spied 2 tiny little forms in the stall and a THIN Hannah!
Someone had babies when my back was turned.
And my god they are beautiful! I know I squealed and ran around like an idiot. I worried that they wouldn’t be taken care of if I didn’t do it, but that’s dumb. By the time I moved goats around and got Hannah and her twins into the stall they will be staying in I noticed they were active, healthy, dry, and warm. Hannah is a great mom.
I was blessed with one little girl (above) and one little boy (the black kid) and I’m pleased as punch. I was terrified that I would get all boys. No, they don’t have names yet because I can’t think of any but I’m sure we’ll get around to it.
they are so perfect and tiny that I can’t get enough of them! Right now they are about the size of Chihuahuas!
(Excuse my terrible expression. I was trying to deal with my camera in the low light of the barn). They are sweet as punch and I can’t wait for DD (my other doe) to follow suite in a couple of weeks. Then after that you know what? LAMBS!
You guys, I am so overwhelmed by all your kindness and your wonderful comments. I’m responding to all of them as I can. I find that if I write back all at once they tend to be generic and I hate that. So I’ve had kind of an awesome 2012 so far and it’s not even 33 days into the year! (Lets pepper this post with some goats shall we? It just makes everything better.)
1. My testers are JUST about done with my Coastal Waters Shawl which is turning out BEAUTIFULLY. They have worked so hard and so completely that this will be such an easy shawl to knit when I publish it. It is a study in slipped stitches and really fun and interesting!
2. I’ve just finished another shawl design that I’m pretty sure is one of the neatest things I’ve done because it was with out planning and just spur of the moment. I just really dig it.
3. I’m fairly certain that at least one of my goats is pregnant and that 3 of my sheep are which rocks my world.
4. I finally was able to string together 150 words for my Ariel synopsis to eventually put into an agent letter. It took the help of my wonderfully honest cousin, my best friend, and the Mr who spent a half an hour alone re-writing the last line but I think it might actually be what I’m looking for. If you’ve never tried to compress a book into 150 short words it’s pure torture. The first few attempts I had sounded as if they were written by grade school kids.
Through the eyes of the casual observer Portland may seem like just another city but just below the eco-friendly surface it’s a hub for forgotten gods, mythical creatures, and things that go bump in the night. Standing between these two worlds is the arch angel Ariel. Ariel is divine justice and keeps the peace between pantheons, creatures, and humans for as long as such things have existed. It is her job – and her job alone – to make sure that everyone who walks among humans follows the laws set down by the most powerful of her kind. Now someone or something is changing the game and setting its sights directly on the peacekeeper herself. Now not only is the lion of heaven in grave peril but the world itself.
Right now things are going pretty good and I’m pretty pleased with myself. I have some knitting to show you but I thought goats might be just the ticket
So awesome in fact that I’ve got a goat post just for you all. Your response to my Oulaw sweater was overwhelming and if you heard a high-pitched distant squeal that was coming from me running around my house and barn as you bumped me at one point to #2 on the “whats hot right now” list on Ravelry. I did get reports that dogs from miles around lost their bananas for a few hours and I’m making restorations for that but guys, it felt so darn awesome. The response was such a huge ego boost I can’t even describe it. I’ve been turned down by Knitty.com twice, Interweave Knits twice, and Knit Scene once. Then with a self published sweater I put a lot of thought and work into you all made me feel SO un-losery I can’t even begin to thank you.
Well, I can begin so I will…with goats.
Who on earth can resist a goat smile? No one I say, NO ONE. It’s kryptonite, you know it is. You see a little goat smirk and your insides go all squishy then try as you might a force bubbles up inside you till you just can’t contain it and you explode with an ‘awwww’. You know you do. I KNOW you do which is really all that matters right?
Running Prancer runs. He also prances quite a lot. He also side kicks and wiggles happily. I swear La Mancas are the happiest goats on the face of the earth.
Sometimes I see him running and he’s running right at me and I won’t lie, I pucker a little when he doesn’t turn directions until the LAST second. You will read a report one day that I am completely bowled over by this goat. It might even be the way I die. If it is that would be the most ridiculous thing ever and if the Mr posts a damn obituary saying “at least she died doing what she loved” I would haunt his ass so hard because no one loves getting run over by a goat. But I digress. Back to the cuteness.
There aren’t a whole lot of hat wearing holidays are there? I think we’ll have to make some up to be quite frank.
We had snow and the goats didn’t really know what to think. It wasn’t bad like rain but it wasn’t awesome like sun either.
And as a special little extra tree here is a little video of goaty goodness!