Friday, December 24, 2010

Do animals talk on Christmas Eve?







There has always been the question in our family if the farm animals talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Maybe they do, but would it be in English? Arlo says they do - but of course Arlo speaks English all the time anyway.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Westfarm to all of you.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Two of a kind

I like Forrest's "ears" in this one.



Forrest


Arlo














Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Firefly


I can't believe it, Firefly was in heat yesterday! Luckily I've plugged the holes in the fence that allowed her access to the bucks pens. This picture was only taken the first of July.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Did you save in pumpkin skins or apple cores for us??


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Finally!

I found 3 eggs in the bantam house last night. There has only been ONE egg since August. I think the red heat lamp is helping. Now if the big hens would just get all their feathers and start the egg production again!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Arlo's Worldview

Hi! It's me Arlo ()

Anne was up visiting last night and she said I had been too quiet on the blog - guess I've been slacking letting Mom Lori do the work.

I was having fun teasing Hans while Anne was here. Hans has been crazy all day (he is the new guy - Swiss Alpine, the same age as Christopher, so he's still a kid) Boy does he think he is something though...... Some of the girls have been in heat and so all the bucks are really fragrant. Glad I don't smell like that - no one would want to hug me! Mom Lori let us into the pen closer to the bucks so we could have more running room. Hans was making the crazy buck noises at me, sticking out his tongue and hanging his head through the fence. I was teasing him by getting just close enough that he could almost touch me - BUT NOT, hehe. I think I smell like the girls, since of course I live with them. I was pretending to head butt him but stayed far enough from the fence that he could touch me - hehe - it was funny...

More later ()

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ready for snow

I was able to get the garden ready for winter, the fairy garden put away, flower pots put away, summer pasture fence taken down, stuff on the back porch covered with a tarp or put away, and a few other miscellaneous chores down yesterday. I feel like it can now snow and I won't be rushing around doing things. It helps to not have snow until the end of Oct/first of November. Last year it started at the beginning of October and many things were left undone.

The Halloween lights are even up down by the chicken house :)
It's nice to have that orange glow as I put the chickens to bed, particularly since it is getting dark earlier and earlier.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall activities

Since it's been cooler and damp the last week, more cats are showing up for dinner. The big brothers of the new kittens have been rather scarce this summer, but now they are here on a regular basis. The only two cats I saw everyday during the summer were Midnight and Sparkie (and of course Bernedette - she's always here). Even Merlin - the patriarch - has been here. This is only the second time I've seen him since Aug 1. He may actually come to eat more often but just doesn't stay long. Usually he's friendly but this time he only hissed at me (maybe Midnight had just introduced him to his new kittens ). Hehe.....

The raccoon is still passing through every few days. It rearranges stuff in the barn, but I've been diligent in removing the cat food and other snacks at night. Hopefully it will give up soon.

Made some delicious pumpkin bread with some fresh pumpkin. Used my favorite banana bread recipe and added pumpkin spices.

I'm hoping to get the terraced garden beds rototilled today and then plant garlic. I think this should be perfect timing for the garlic as we may get a hard freeze this week.

More and more hens are FINALLY starting to grow their feathers back!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And more...

Actually it turns out there are 3 kittens: two black and one gray. And I petted the gray one for quite a while - of course it was concentrating on drinking goat's milk and didn't really notice :)

The circle of life

Friday night when I closed up the chickens, I found my blue cochin bantam hen Fatima, lying dead on the floor. No signs of being killed, and she hadn't appeared sick, so I don't know what happened. As my grandmother, Mimi used to say "chickens just die" - I always need to remember this.
I took Fatima's body to the end of the property so something wild could have dinner. The next morning only a few feathers were left. I don't mind giving up the bodies to feed the foxes and raccoons, just as long as they leave the live ones alone!

The raccoon has been back a couple more times but hasn't been able to get into any barrels of food (the new sack of cat food is still in the house).

Now for the exciting news: Midnight has brought her kittens back to the barn. They were born about Aug 15 under the toolbox in the barn, but she moved them a couple weeks later when I was doing too much cleaning and banging around in there. She moved them over under the neighbors A-frame shed and I hadn't seen them since. I knew they were ok, as Midnight is obviously nursing. So yesterday morning there were two little fuzzy heads peeking over the hay. They actually came out to eat and have goat's milk so I could see them fairly well. Don't know the sex of them yet, but the black one's name is Onyx. The gray one will be Pearl if it is a female, if a male then maybe Cloudy or Foggy

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Raccoon

I may have discouraged the raccoon -FINALLY. The barrels were extra secure and the cat is in the house :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Where did fall go?

My favorite season of the year - autumn and it has hardly been here this year. It was summer last week - at least temperature wise. One week of fall temps and then winter?!
We've had over an inch of rain in the last few days - FINALLY! But yesterday part of that moisture was falling as large white flakes, it did melt when it hit the ground thank goodness.
Maybe wildfire season is over and I can relax.

But this reminds me I still have a solid list of things to do at the barn before it really snows. Oh and I want to plant garlic again this year. Last year the snows in October prevented the planting.

Darn Raccoon!

Monday night the raccoon managed to open the metal trash can and eat 5# of cat food. So last night the cat food came in the house. I double secured the chicken feed and other possible goodies - keep your fingers crossed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Silly Hens

I found two eggs in Stewart's feed bucket when I closed him up for the night last evening. Guess I need to look more carefully in the goat houses for eggs.....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Renegade Raccoon!

Now there is a raccoon invading the hay barn at night. First night it knocked over the cat food container, ate its fill and pooped on the grain barrel. Second night I "secured" the cat food - yah right. It got into it again! Third night the cat food is now in a heavy metal trash can with the lid bungy corded on. So the raccoon can't get to the cat food, therefore it turns over everything else: milk cases, container of goat collars, straw bales...... gads what a mess. We'll see what happens tonight....

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rain dance

Arlo's rain dance was not very effective. The only chance for rain this month was last Tues/Wed. Although they did get some good downpours down in the city, we received about .16 of an inch. Enough to wet the ground, no mud, but not enough to do any good. The 58 degree temperature during evening chores was nice however :)

Forrest's Birthday party


A couple weeks ago Christopher went with me to Forrest's 8th birthday party.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rain Dance


We need everyone to do a rain dance. It is so incredible dry, I'm so concerned about a fire. Arlo did a great snow/rain dance a couple years ago - I'm trying to get him interested in doing it again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Nubian buck for sale


I'm trying to sell Kendal. He is the main herd sire, is 7 years old and very healthy. I would keep him except that his genes have saturated the herd and I really can hardly use him anymore. Kendal is disbudded and is relatively easy to handle. So if you know of someone who could use a new buck, please pass on this information.


Skunk update

We did catch the skunk in the live trap that we set that first night. So now less worry about the dogs being sprayed in the early morning hours - although we still shine a flashlight around the yard before letting them out. Another one could always move in to the vacancy.

But we still our only getting 8-10 eggs a day and there haven't been any bantam eggs in weeks. So either their hiding their eggs someplace or the hens are molting.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

SKUNK!!

We known there has been a skunk around here most of the summer. Before letting the dogs out in the evening or predawn hours we always check the backyard with a flashlight. So far no one has been sprayed THIS year.

So last evening while I was doing chores, it was about 7pm and still fully light, the bantams go charging out of their house to the other end of their pen and the large chickens are making a huge fuss. The last time they made all this noise it was a fox. So I went around the corner to check - couldn't see anything and they started to quiet down. A few minutes later it started again, so I feel I should investigate further. So running around outside the door and underneath the bantam house is a what?? A SKUNK! It appeared to be frantic, trying to get out of the pen AND it was running with its tail down - no spraying.

So I block Wendy and Mattie in the barn and run for the house to get Vernon. Not really sure what he will do since you could hardly shoot it right there in the chicken yard. Of course he is not back from his walk..... so as I head back to the barn I see the skunk dash underneath the goat barn. Guess we're ok for now. Checked on the bantams, I was particularly worried about the two broody hens sitting on eggs. All were safe. Unfortunately one large hen was dead - she had been for awhile.

I get everyone closed up without incident. We set a trap by the barn - we'll when it gets light, but I haven't smelled anything.

I now think the skunk has also been eating eggs - here I've been accusing the poor hens of not laying well and in reality it was probably the skunk eating 3-4 eggs every day. Thinking that skunks are mostly nocturnal, I didn't really worry about the eggs or chickens during the day.
Well think again.....

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Portraits

Ok, so I meant to put this in the last post - and now can't figure out how to edit...

So the goat portrait photos are all by Povy Kendal Atchison
www.povy.com

More portraits

Baby Belle

The Oberlis


Penelope



Randolph




Arlo

photos by



Naughty Goat

I guess this is Munchkins opinion of Povy taking his picture.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Goat portraits

Povy has been capturing some wonderful goat portraits that I'd like to share.


Brigitte

Owen



Tinkerbelle









Melanie and Herbie




Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Melanie's kids

Introducing Junebug (on the left) and Firefly (on the right). The dad is Lars, an Oberhasli - so Junebug looks like him. Firefly looks like Melanie who is pygmy/angora. They are about 36 hours old in this picture.



Forrest loves to talk to the kids.



As you can see they are very different in size. Firefly weighed about 2# when she was born, but she is growing quickly.











Saturday, July 3, 2010

Christopher


Christopher is a triplet born to Iceni in April. He had a rough start - it was very wet and cold - so he wasn't eating well in the beginning. I bottle feed him for a weekend, but continued to bring him to the barn. He stayed bonded with his goat family. Christopher loves people and is a sweet guy - he'll be staying :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Melanie


Melanie hanging out in her shed the day before having kids.

More kids!

Melanie had twin does yesterday. Her breeding was an accident - Lars opened the gate for her..... This is the last of the kids for this year. It's been pretty wild - 18 of them and only 5 females! It's time to sell may of the older ones and get the population back to a reasonable amount.

More about Melanie's kids later....

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meet Mattie Briar


A couple weeks ago we were at the family farm in southeast Colorado, when this little dog showed up at the door. She was soaking wet from the rain and couldn't even see well for the hair hanging in her face. We checked with all the neighbors (the closest one is 1/2 mile away) and no one recognized her. I was actually glad, as she had been neglected. I think she had been feed, but she had terrible mats of hair all over which were full of grass seeds and stickers.

So we couldn't just abandon her there since no one actually lives at the farm now. So I brought her home, took her to the vet - she is health, no heartworms etc. About 1 1/2 years old and not spayed. So right away had to get her spayed before she came into heat with our large male lab Cap handing around.

In the meantime I clipped the mats off - took 6 hours, but you can see how patiently she laid there while I worked.

She loves to sleep sitting up in my lap. What looks like a 5th leg here is a large mat of hair I couldn't trim as she had a sore under that arm. Turns out the vet flushed THREE foxtail seeds out of that spot!


She is not fond of goat chores, but doesn't like to let me out of her sight.
Amazingly, Wendy doesn't mind her - guess she doesn't consider Mattie a threat to her position as head chore dog.....
So not the size of dog I would have picked out, but she picked me and my best dogs have been foundlings (Wendy included). I guess I have a house dog now too.



Friday, June 18, 2010

Missing Bantams eggs

So I thought the heat was causing the bantam hens to lay fewer eggs (seems to be the case with the other hens), but last night peeking out from under their house was Thelma (a mottled cochin hen). She was sitting on a nice little next of eggs. Moved her and the eggs inside so they wouldn't be fox food. Hope some of the eggs hatch!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Been crazy around here

Sorry there's been no postings for awhile. Too much going on with spring/summer arriving. Must get caught up after the frozen winter. Will try to catch up here in a week or so.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

SPRING IS HERE! - I hope.....

Its spring, I'm on break between semesters, and the sun is warm!
Well, since the snow and rain last week, the corrals are a mucky mess again. However, the weather is getting warmer, the sun was warm on my back as I worked with the goats. It's time for cleaning the corrals. Many of the gates were bound up with ice last March, then the hay and mud worked their way up against them, to make them totally nonfunctional. I've been climbing fences to feed some of the goats. Not so bad for me, I've climbed corral fences all my life. However, many of my friends don't have the life experience and lets face it, we're not as agile as we used to be..... I don't bound over the fences like I did even 10 years ago.

So since the days are warmer and the sun is out (at least part of the time), I've started digging out some of the worst areas. I spend about a hour each morning with the wheelbarrow and take 5 or 6 loads out. Brigitt can now be accessed through a gate again! And Lars' gate should be freed up this morning. The goats love it - they get to go out on the pasture while I clean their pens.

The chickens get to roam the green grass again. It's fun to look down on the pasture from the deck and see the little black tail feathers racing across the green. The 3 barn cats were even playing amongst the chickens down there (and no they weren't hunting chicken dinner). I started waiting until noon to let them out, I think they were finding other places besides their chicken house to lay their eggs. A couple days ago there were only 8 (the usual is 15-18). Very suspicious.....

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tulip giving birth - part one








video



This is for all of you who have been trying to see a goat birth, but couldn't get here for one.



Forrest and his mom Povy timed it just right, that's how we were able to film the video.

Tulip giving birth

video

Here is right after the birth - hope this video works!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Arlo's Worldview

Hey! I'm famous!!
When I went to Earth Day at the college with Mom Lori everyone took pictures of me. Now I'm on the cover of the college paper!

http://www.arapahoe.edu/sites/default/files/shared/images-pdf/campus-life/student-press/arapahoe-free-press/arapahoe-avenue-issue6.pdf

Ar ()

PS - Gingerbread (an Oberli) had twins and one was a doe!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

More kids

Three more kids born. Tinkerbell had her's in the middle of the night on Thursday. She did just fine by herself. Anderson, her grown son, did break out of their house that night. Guess he couldn't stand it.

Yesterday went out to do chores and Tulip was in labor. Forrest and his mom were there so they were able to watch the whole thing. Had to help with this one - he was big.

And you guessed it - all boys.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cute pictures




Robin, Tulip, Daisy and Baby Belle



Randolph







Brigitt's kids - Nelson and Owen


More kids due today - after this weekend we are done with kidding except for Melanie at the end of June (that was an accident).

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Friends - Arl's Worldview









Ar again, Forgot I wanted to tell you about our new friend ( that is since February). His name is Forrest. Forrest is a seven year old human, who loves goats. His mom, Povy, has been bringing him up here to visit on Saturdays.
Forrest has learned to milk Daisy (she is very patient). And he and Lars really talk a lot.
Povy is a photographer and has taken lots of pictures, so we're putting some up here. It's fun having them visit.
Later, Ar ()

Arlo's Worldview

Hi it's Arlo again. Honestly I'm not doing a snow dance! It snowed all day Friday and Saturday morning - the really wet heavy stuff - about a foot. Mom Lori had to knock snow off the chicken netting over the coops FIVE times. She says this netting is better than the chicken wire, as it stretches, although the coop needs a few repairs.
Then one of Iceni's triplets got hypothermia. I guess he didn't get started with enough milk and then it got cold and wet. So he was in the house for a couple of days - seems to be doing fine now. He is eating from Iceni better now, so he'll probably be staying outside. His name is Christopher.
I'm going back to bed - it snowed another 4" last night - yuck mud!

Later! Ar ()

Arlo

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Arlo's Worldview

Yawnnn..... this is Arlo.
I'm still tired from yesterday. Went with Mom Lori to her college for the Earth Day events (remember I spent my first two weeks of life there), so it was fun going back to see everyone. At first I was a bit nervous since we had to walk across this big pasture and there weren't any other goats. Finally when we got closer to the building I could see that there were people, so I wanted to run towards them!
We were there about 4 hours standing around talking to people about the advantages of goats for a local sustainable food supply. Everyone loves to have their picture taken with me :)
I sampled some of Mom Lori's lunch - it was mac and cheese from Noodles. YUCK! It's made with COW cheese. The grass there isn't very tasty either. I nibbled on some dry leaves, tried for some red tulips (boy those really looked good - too bad Mom Lori wouldn't let me near them).
The only thing I don't like is jumping into the car - so Mom Lori always has to get help to lift me in. It was a fun day - but I was tired. Never got to lye down all day.
When we got home, Mom Lori had to rush off and help her friend Emily with Marika's kidding. It was Marika's first time and Emily was nervous. Marika is a nice big black and white nubian, which is a good thing cause she had FOUR kids!! But darn they were all bucks. Emily might end up bottle feeding one or two and Mom Lori said that Iona has lots of extra milk if she needs.
So when Mom Lori gets back from Emily's house - SURPRISE! Iceni had triplets - she wasn't due until Saturday. One little guy had managed to wander half way down the corral and was being watched over by Fiona ( you know - the scary sheep). So many babies (hit forehead with my hoof) not sure what I'm going to do with all of them - you know my job is to be the uncle.

So Mom Lori had to rearrange all of us for sleeping last night cause of all the new kids. So I didn't sleep very well; kids making noises and I wasn't in my usual stall - had to sleep with DARBY!

Later
The Ar ()

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More kids


Iona had twin does yesterday afternoon. Finally some girls! She had them while I was at work, guess she didn't need my company. Iona has previously had two sets of twins, so she is experienced. Iona is the tall goat in the middle of the picture.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mandy's worldview

Hi, I'm Mandy - you see me here doing my yoga stretches. I had my first kids last Friday evening. The other does and I are coordinating are labor to start at 7 pm, so that Mom Lori is almost done with chores and then can be around for moral support. We're trying to make it easy on her and not have kids in the middle of the night.
My labor lasted about 2 hours and I had two nice little bucks. I hear that my labor went well and there were no problems, but it was really scary. This is the first time I've had kids, but mom Lori and my goat mom Avalon were there, so I was ok. Also my new owner Maryanne (one of mom Lori's friends) was also there.
Everyone is doing well, but my boys keep running around and playing with the other kids. It makes me nervous when they don't stay right with me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Brigitt's kids

Brigitt is very frustrated these days as her two adventurous sons are going through the fence to play with their dad - Lars. It's great fun to go over with the big guy.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's Alive!

My new website is finally live. You can now order goat's milk soap from there.

http://www.westfarmgoats.com/

And more kids

Shannon had twin bucks born during chore time last night. I had already closed her up for the night, when I heard her start to yell. The funny thing was she didn't have the usual discharge, they just came. Although her behavior made me think it would happen sometime later in the night. She wasn't due until Friday, but was so heavy and full of milk, I expected her to kid early. I really was expecting triplets or large twins - it was neither. Just normal size kids.

I think the mothers try to wait until I'm there for moral support. Shannon didn't need help, but I kept checking in on her as I finished chores.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

And more new life


Last night at the end of chores as I was closing up the barn, I heard baby kitten voices. Midnight had her kittens nestled under the tool box in a nice cozy bed of straw. I kind of suspected that she had had them on Friday. She was very vocal that evening, was acting strangly - even let me pet her slightly (not her normal thing).

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Arlo's Worldview







"Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to Arlo!" ( I'm singing) "Happy Birthday to me!"

Anne and Nancy came over to celebrate my birthday. They brought banana peels and strawberry tops, yummy! It was so much fun, we went outside the corrals and played. I visited with Kendal and Stewart (even shared some of my birthday food). It was a beautiful sunny afternoon - spring is here (now I'm dancing- no it's not a snow dance).

Note from Mom Lori - I was supposed to post this last night, but it was to late.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Brigitt

Yesterday we mourned the loss of a life. Tonight we celebrate the birth of two new ones. Brigitt just gave birth to twin bucks, I was there for the whole thing. She did fine even though they are her first kids.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Life Too Short
















Today Nelsen passed on. About 3 weeks ago he was having trouble breathing, we tried steroids which helped some, but then last week his breathing got worse again. He had a heart attack today as they tried to drain the fluid from around his lungs. The diagnose - lumphoma. He was probably born with it and his body has been able to fight it off for these 4 short years.

Nelsen was wonderful peaceful cat who came into my life on a whim, when a friend found him as an alley cat. Originally the plan was for him to live in the barn - but Bernadette had other ideas. She beat up on him, thus the move to the house. Horace and Sage accepted him - no big deal. My Dad called him "The Admiral" after Admiral Nelson from the battle of Trafalgar - do you know your British history??


There was a kittenish side to Nelsen occasionally, he was still young after all. He loved to grab my feet when I walked around in wool socks. And the morning ritual of rubbing my legs while I put the fresh goat's milk away after chores. He often followed Wendy and I outside in the mornings at chore time, although he usually didn't come to the barn. He just waited for us on the back porch to finish and then came back inside when we did.

He was only about 4 years old - I had expected him to out live Sage who has lived for 2 years with a tumor that we continue to remove. Sage shows no signs of being ill.

As with all our furry friends, we must out live them - I had just not expected this so soon.
We will miss you Nelsen - someday I will see you again.