Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blackberry - after shearing

He was SO happy to get his wool off, I think he felt like a new man! Er, well a new goat at least!

Meet the Cast - Blackberry

Blackberry, because when he's in full wool he looks like a blackberry or so the kids think.... He came to From the Country Farm as part of a package deal with Strawberry. He's a Pygora (a cross between a pygmy and an angora) wether and yes, his fiber spins like a dream!! When he first arrived he just stood in the corner of the barn and shook, he was so freaked out, he was in his 4th home and he's only 1 1/2 years old. I was told that he'd not been handled much by any of the previous owners (because of time constraints and his young age) and thought it was unfortunate given the fact that he's adorable as all get out and people want to touch him. We took it slow with him, we figured we had time, he's not going anywhere. we started out by going out to the barn and just sitting in the stall with him one at a time. Strawberry was fine, she's kind of nosey and an in your face type of gal, if you let her. Many times we'd just sit for a few minutes and avoided eye contact while he shook(he's a prey animal and did not want him to think we were going to eat him, we're vegetarians!), as the time that he shook got less and less, we could start talking to each other and to the goats and he really started warming up to us. This summer in fact he's started approaching us if we're outside and sometimes even follows us around like a dog! In fact he was so comfortable with a friend of ours that he walked right up to her and checked her out! He's come a long way and I'm so happy he's comfortable around us now. It was so upsetting to inadvertently be the cause of stress to him. I mentioned in a post about watching chickens run being very amusing, well when Blackberry (or B for short) runs it is equally amusing. He'll run and kick up his heels and toss his head like he's... I just cant think of an appropriate term other than to say he's B.

Meet the Cast - Strawberry

Strawberry as she has come to be called, (well in all fairness she had that name even before we ever thought about getting goats,) is a purebred Nubian doe. Andrew again, he started saying shortly after we got Coreah that he wanted to live on a farm and have a goat named Strawberry and a pig named Scramble. (We had a pig for a short while and let me tell you, I do not see any in the near future, but that's a story for another day.) She belonged to my sister for a short while but she decided not to keep her as she wouldn't stay behind their fence, knowing what we have for fencing and all she asked if we'd like her, one catch, she was part of a herd that could not be seperated, she had a buddy, a little pygora wether that was part of the deal. I talked to my saint of a husband we decided we'd try it. So December 26th 08 they came to live at From the Country Farm. I really didn't think it would be an issue with all the herd animals getting along seeing at they are all herd animals anyhow. They all blended together nicely. FYI she stays behind our fencing... ours 'bites' a bit more than my sisters did.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Made in the U.S.A

Made in the U.S.A.
Beautiful. Delicious. Local.

Meet the Cast - The Golden Girls

Other than lots of poo, our farm was not producing much; one shearing from a llama cria is nothing to write home about. (I did though, as it was exciting for us.) The garden was at fledgling stage having just been planted, it would be a while before we were eating from it. So we opted for some laying hens. Well, technically day old chicks would be more accurate. I like options so to have choices as to what we could get was thrilling. I had raised and shown poultry in 4-H as a kid but what I had had been given to me so this was very exciting. I let the kids pick out 2 chicks each, thinking I'd cover the bases in case something happened to one of theirs... you know..... I figured they'd pick two of the same, (silly me) they are my kids, they like options too. Faith chose a New Hampshire and a Silver Laced Wyandotte, Andrew chose a Light Brahma and a Rhode Island Red. My niece also chose a Light Brahma, but it would live at Twistie's farm because their hens wouldn't accept it into their flock. Rounding out the flock includes a Buff Orpington, Golden Laced Wyandottes, Black Astrolorps, Barred Rocks, and an Araucana, for a total of 12. To make a long story short we do not have the Light Brahmas, we got the Araucanas instead, due to a mix up at the feed store..... I say Araucanas, but we are down to just one, the other turned out to be a rooster and has since been dispatched. My son was heartbroken, and we'll leave it at that. I call the flock as a whole 'The Golden Girls', but they are each named individually, we have Sophia, Dorothy, Blanche, Rose, Knit, Purl, Gimp, Screech, Queenie, Merrily, Queen Hatshepsut, and Little Mouse. (FYI the rooster was named King Tutankhamen even before we knew he was a rooster! That'll teach us!) For over a year now we've been producing our own farm fresh free range eggs! The yolks stand up SO tall and proud and the color is almost an orange-ish yellow, far superior to those supermarket eggs in my opinion. Talk about local!

(On a side note: cage free does not always mean not-confined, <-my soap box for today!)

In addition to eggs, the girls provide us with entertainment, you have not see funny until you've seen a chicken run! They are also great recyclers, they turn kitchen scraps into delicious eggs! Yum!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Meet the Cast - Dakota

Meet Dakota, Garlic's buddy. The first winter we had Garlic seemed like it would drag on forever, and I think he felt that way too. We had SO much snow and ice that it felt like at any moment we'd start seeing polar bears! That said, I think Garlic would have welcomed the company, he seemed really sad and lonely, spending days in his stall with only his head poking out as if to say 'Damn, it's still here!' Wishing it away did not work for either of us. So in the spring we added a llama to our farm. Dakota (named by my daughter after a horse she dearly loves at another barn) was smitten with Garlic and I thought the feeling would be returned, it was not. Garlic could have cared less for Dakota, he was not the least bit interested in making friends, eventually Dakota's persistence paid off and now when I take Garlic out for a ride he'll whinny back to the barn for his friend.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Meet the Cast - Garlic

We moved in, got settled, ok, now what? Empty barn?? Seriously!? NO way! So the search was on for a horse, I knew what I wanted and what I didn't, much to my delight when I was perusing the online ads I found what I wanted, a young paint mare in foal, green broke (read in this case - wild as parts of Africa.) Had the vet come out to do a pre-purchase exam on her, (she was not in foal after all, but continued anyway.) found some issues, but that did not deter me, my mind was made up. I felt feeling pretty excited about it all. Through divine intervention I ended up stopping at a local horse dealer/tack shop/feed store to pick something up for my sister on the way to her house one afternoon. Knowing that we were looking for a horse but not knowing that I'd already decided on the paint mare the kids mentioned to an employee we were looking for a horse. For reasons I'll never know he took us out back, to the place where they kept the horses that were not for public view, aka 'the skinny pen' to show us a couple horses, I went along out of sheer curiosity. He brought up two horses that were clearly in need of some groceries and lots of tlc, an Appy mare and a Quarter Horse gelding who'd both seen better days. The Appy was beautiful, but too small for me to feel comfortable riding. The Quarter Horse was is worse condition, it was May and he was still in most of his winter coat and despite that you could easily see his ribs and hip bones. In my head I thought he looked like a geriatric bag of bones; the poor thing looked pathetic but had very kind eyes and I felt bad that another human being would let him get into this condition. The four of us talked a bit, my 2 children, the employee and I, but I knew that I'd already decided on the paint mare so we left. I felt a tug on my heart strings for this poor animal, knowing I just wanted to take him home and care for him, make him well. This image of him and the hold he had on my heart would not fade, so the following week I 'found a reason' to stop in again, though it was over an hour drive from our home. I inquired about that poor horse and was taken to see him, he'd been moved to a new pasture but still skinny. The employee told us that he remembered us and hoped that we'd come back and it felt like an honest statement. I knew instantly when I saw him that I could not leave him there, so I went into the store to purchase him and have them deliver him the following day. No history, no pre-purchase exam, nothing, just pure faith and the belief that it was the right thing to do. I drove home feeling more like a child on Christmas eve waiting with anticipation you can feel all the way to your toes than an adult who'd just taken on a huge responsibility. I grinned like an idiot for days!

He was delivered early the next morning and I'm sure the guy who dropped him off drove away from our home laughed all the way to the bank but what they did not know what that I was the lucky one as they had just sold me solid gold at rock bottom prices! My life changed forever that day. You see when I was a little girl I had drawn a picture of a bay horse with a blue halter standing in a stall inside a red barn with white X's on the doors and at that moment that is what I had. At the place where I bought him he just had a yellow livestock tag around his neck but when he was loaded that morning they grabbed a blue halter and that what he came home wearing. You see dreams really do come true.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meet the Cast - Harley

So I kind of feel about dogs like Lay's feels about their potato can't have just one. That's how we ended up with Harley, our Boxer. She and Coreah were fast friends and played very well together.

Seeing we lived within city limits at the time, we were not allowed to have any livestock, so the dogs were the beginning. My husband was hired by a company far enough away from our first home to cause us to move, much to our delight! When discussing our new home his requests were a garage and high speed internet; mine were different, I wanted land and a barn. After many months of looking we were about to throw in the towel and settle on a house that had a few of the things we wanted. In fact the day we were going to make an offer on another house is the day this house found us and we made an offer on it that night. We'd have moved in that night too if it hadn't been for all the official paperwork and all. We'd found it, land with a barn, garage, high speed internet and it came with a house as well! (To be quite honest, it was the land and barn what we bought, the house was just an added bonus.) My husband says he did not have a list of things that he wanted in a house but this house was it as soon as he saw it. My mom loves architecture and rode shotgun with me while we were house hunting all those months, so needless to say she came with us to see this house. As we drove in the driveway she said "welcome home." I knew right then I was home. Getting out of the car and walking through the barn and around the property brought me to tears; this is truly one of my childhood dreams come true. My family was blessed to have found this property, in ways that I simply cannot put into words.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Meet the Cast - Coreah

How'd we get here from there? Well, my son Andrew popped the bedroom door open one morning and said, "Mommy I need a puppy!" We got one a few months later. An American Bulldog whom he named Coreah. It was his version of a character of Veggie Tales, but he was only 3 years old at the time. It was hard to say no to those big squishy cheeks at the time, but I digress.

We got Coreah when she was 4 months old, what a tank even at that stage. Here she is in all her glory at almost two. Watching over 'her' kids of whom she is fiercely protective.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

the view from my world

Welcome to my life. Come in, sit down and enjoy the view.