Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Day

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This was our sunrise that morning.

I'm thankful for a basket of fresh eggs.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon soap

Try my new goat milk soap - Pumpkin with Ground Cinnamon. It contains real organic pumpkin which makes a great facial cleanser. The cinnamon has anti inflammatory properties.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Hay Days

Join Molly, Marshall and me at the Humphrey Museum in Evergreen. We will be at the Hay Days event from 10-4 on Saturday Oct 27th.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Arlo's nap

I'd been cleaning the chicken house and doing things around the barn. When I've been out there for a while the goats ignore me and take naps. I heard snoring and looked over to see Arlo crashed out using Josephine as a pillow.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meet Socrates

Socrates is our new Alpine buck, hopefully a fruitful herd sire. He is still young, but very ready to visit with the girls. He will be visiting with the yearling does in November: Molly, Brenda, Flower, Marika, Rosie, Yentl, Helen, Junebug and Firefly.

In the meantime Marshall and Elliott are loudly complaining about living with him so he has company.


I love mornings in autumn!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Marshall says "HI!"

"Anyone have an extra bottle of milk in their pocket? The service around here is terrible!"

More goats return home

Rachel helped me with the goat retrieval trip to Greeley today. Was hoping to bring the remaining 5 goats home, but decided they would not all fit in the back of the Subaru. Particularly since Arlo is the size of two goats. That would have been about 600# of goats in the car and really crowded. So Tulip and Helen had to stay for the next trip. They are in with Todd's goats so they won't feel too lonely.
 Sunflower and her kid
 Arlo's glad to be home! Although he says he will miss Noah and Andrew, the human kids at Todd's house.

Westfarm Goats Farm Tour

Westfarm Goats Farm Tour
Saturday Sept 29 from 3-5 pm

Come see how the kids have grown over the summer
Wear long pants and close-toed shoes.

Come visit the kids one more time before winter.

Goat’s milk soap available for purchase at ½ price during the tour.

Email if you need directions

 Meet Nickolaus, our new buck.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Slow Money and Sustainable Settings

On Labor Day weekend my friend Rachel and I went to this Slow Money gathering at the Sustainable Settings farm in Carbondale. Slow Money is the idea of investing money locally in small sustainable food business instead of sending your investments off to companies that don't have the same principles as you do.I'll write more about the gather later.

But the Sustainable Settings farm was fabulous!. They are a nonprofit that is an educational center for sustainable living practices. They offer workshops, school tours and internships. It is a 240 acre farm in a river valley surrounded by tall mountains (the farm is flat!). They grow grain and hay for their animals, sell eggs, and cow shares. There are about 200 chickens and a few turkeys running around together with some pigs, goats and lambs. Thye have a few beef calves and 8 milking Guernsey cows. I was able to look into their milking shed. Not a big setup - just a cement floor with hot water from a solar heater. They do use a portable milking machine. The second room had a stainless steel sink, jar sterilizer and storage.
They had a harvest dinner with the most amazing food I've ever had buffet style. It was all cooked right there on a huge fire pit.

Here is the menu.

9th Annual Harvest Benefit
Saturday, September 1,2012 /4 - 9 PM at
Browse our Silent Auction Featuring Gifts from:
Individuals and Businesses in the
Roaring Fork Valley and Beyond
Slide Whistle and The Sticky Mulligan Band
Mud Puppet Theater &
Draft Horse Hayrides with Molly & Zap her
Our Own Heritage Duroc Pork 5 ways
.:. porchetta wi gremolata
.:. nose to tail terrine in squash blossoms
.:. pig butter
.:. roast pork shoulder
.:. pork liver pate with radishes
.:. sausage
.:. roasted beets, cavatelli, beet greens, ricotta
.:. grilled bones (ribs braised and tossed in a
spicy cilantro sauce)
.:. okedJamb tacos, asst sauce~gnr1.. __=_ _
.:. pit roasted goat
.:. porcini & heart jus (my own dried porcinis)
.:. wood fire grilled Flatbread with leek and
avalanche goat cheese fonduta wi drizzle of
.:. wood fired polenta
.:. swiss chard in garlic, onion
.:. roasted potatoes in chimuchurri?
.:. kale salad
.:. grilled beans:
.:. greens slow cooked with tomatoes
.:. fennel & austin family farms apple salad,
celeriac dressing
Our own Beyond Organic Heirloom Local Organic
Apple Crisp & Ela Family Farms Peaches and
Jack Rabbit Hill's Organic Estate Wines,
Local Beer from Aspen Brewing Co, Carbondale Beer
Works, and Big B's Organic Apple Ciders
Guest Chefs:
Mark Fischer, Jim Butchart, Chris Lanter, Bryce Orblom,
Lee Liebmann, John Little and more ...
Thank You for Supporting Sustainable Settings

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Retrieving Goats

Now that the worst of the wildfire season is over (we hope), I've been bring the goats back from Greeley a car load at a time.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Chickens View

A chicken's view of the sky when not out in the pasture.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Yep, It's a Full Moon

Yep, It’s a Full Moon
“Catalon, I can’t believe you got sprayed by that skunk”!  Catalon is my friend’s blue heeler who is spending a few days with me. The first evening here she asks to go out in the backyard and runs right into a skunk. I should have looked first before letting her out. Now she is slathered in peroxide and baking soda.  This neutralizes the smell at least. Catalon just gives me this look of disgust and disbelief.

Yep, it’s a full moon.

“Red! What are you doing up on the highway?!” I’m also goat, chicken and horse sitting for the same friend. It’s 6:30 in the morning and as I round the corner of her driveway, I see Red, the pinto horse, running down the highway across a 35 acre pasture from where I am. Red must be on the road, cars are slowing down. The highway is just a two lane mountain road with a 40 mph speed limit and most folks who drive this road are used to watching for elk, still…..

 Izzy, the other horse, is dashing around the pasture as if to say “Red! You big idiot, you did it again! Every time you mess with the fence we both get confined to the corral.”

After parking the car, I’m able to call Red down off the highway into the neighbors pasture. How am I going to catch this guy? I’m a goat person, not a horse person. I grew up around horses, but have never been totally comfortable around them. Oh, wonderful, there’s a gate on this side of the pasture too, but it’s locked!  If I could have opened this gate now, Red would have rushed right in. Now he’s off and running again. Back to the corrals I trot to grab some alfalfa. If I put some alfalfa down, he should stay down here until I can get some help. Willard’s phone number is on the board in the barn. He is the older gentleman who has the team of Belgian horses a couple places over. After a quick call, Willard shows up with a bucket of grain and easily slips the halter over Red’s head. Now to open the gate… I have no idea where the key might be.
Back up to the barn again, find some pliers. Unscrew the bolt from the post and the chain comes free. Willard hands me the halter rope and I get to walk Red back to the corral. The sun is coming up over the mountain, hitting me in the face. We are walking in the shade/light area that is so blinding. I have trouble seeing exactly where the corral gate is located.  Just hope this big dingbat doesn’t decide to take off on me in the process. He behaves relatively well, except for trying to walk faster than I am. We arrive back at the corral, I swing the gate shut and remove the halter. Izzy is waiting in the stall like the responsible horse he is. Red heads for a drink of water and I take a deep breath.

Now the goats need attention. They are not happy to have waited an hour for breakfast and milking. It’s already 8:00 and they are all yelling to be let out and feed. I still need to get home and tend to my goats.  By 8:30 when I return home, the sun is fully up and blazing heat into the barns. The goats are yelling, the cats are yowling and the chickens are squacking as if to say “It’s way past chore time, where have you been?”

Yep, it’s a full moon.

My next chore for the day is to cover the hay stack with tarps. It was just delivered and I need to cover it before it is rained on. Unfortunately I don’t have a barn large enough to hold the year’s supply of alfalfa, so it must be stacked on pallets and carefully layered with tarps. The tarps must be layered so the rain runs down off of it and not into the stack and they must be securely tied to keep the goats from snacking on the buffet. A double high fence must surround the stack to keep the elk from feasting all winter as well. The 20 x 30 foot tarps act like a parachute with even the slightest breeze, so it is much easier if a second person can help from the ground. However, none of my help is available today, so it’s me, the orange baling string and the tarps. Oh, and the thunderstorm coming in with lots of lightning. This should be lots of fun walking around on top of the stack.

Yep, it’s a full moon.

But I timed it right to plant the fall crop of peas and spinach. Plants that grow up need to be planted with the waxing moon just before it is full. Root crops should be planted with the waning moon.

Yep. It’s a full moon.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Garlic harvest

 Just harvested my garlic - 3 weeks earlier than normal
 Some of the elephant ear bulbs are the size of my fist.
 They will cure for a couple weeks on old window screens I salvaged from the old dairy.

Good number of bulbs this year.
Think all plant a second crop of peas in the area vacated by the garlic.

Goats temporary home in Greeley

 16 of my kids are staying here until the fire danger lessens - wishing for snow.
 Andrew had most of their names figured out before I even left.
Thanks Todd and Glen!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Wilma the Wanderer

I’ve counted several times and there are only eight red hens in the house. Where is the ninth one? Don’t see her wandering the corrals, but I’ll check again. Maybe she is around the corner of the Oberli goat house.

Nope, not there either.

Well, I’ll put the other chickens to bed and hopefully she will appear. I’d hate to leave her out all night, the fox would surely get her.

Hmmm, who is that woman up by the lawn mower? She asks if I’m missing a spotted chicken. The chicken is under the lawn mower, she lost her grip on her and she ran under there.

“Yes, that is my chicken!”

“ Where did you find her?”

“She was wandering around the chicken house at Garins. No one was sure where she came from then George mentioned that you have chickens”.

I retrieve the hen out from under the mower, she is breathing hard, scared and thirsty. My goodness it is Wilma!

I don’t normally name my chickens individually. They usually get group names such as all the Silver-laced Wyandotts are named Matilda, all the Black Australorps are named Penelope. But Wilma made herself known as an individual. As a young hen she started following me around and talking. She likes to be picked up and carried around. I think she is one of my barn cats (Connor to be exact) that was reincarnated. When holding her, I can “purr” at her and she “purrs” back. I would hate to have lost her to the fox.

Don’t know how she managed to get over a 4 ½ foot fence and across a 3 acre horse pasture during the day. Why did she wander so far from the other chickens? Must have been chasing some juice grasshoppers or maybe the wind blew her down there. It was strong that day.

Been crazy around here

June was a crazy month. Kidding season ended with 19 kids born. Two batches of day old chicks were delivered (total about 58). They are a month different in age. I've had help cleaning corrals, so been on that a couple days a week. Some alfalfa was delivered. Starting to stock up early this year. Could be a major shortage due to the drought. Currently have enough to make it through the next six months.

The major disruption has been the cleanup of the property for fire mitigation. Also have been packing up valuables and have the bugout bag ready to go if we have to evacuate. No major fires have been close to us except for the one in March, but it is soooo dry. It only takes one careless person or a lightning strike to set the mountain on fire. We have had a few tenths of rain in the last week but not near enough. They say we may see the monsoons start on Friday! Hope they last for several weeks like usual.

Have been developing an evacuation plan for the goats. If there is enough time, say 1/2 a day, I could get everyone out. But if there is less time......
So a wonderful friend Todd, has allowed me to move 16 goats to his farm. They live on the plains by Greeley. Even though it is incredibly dry there also, at least it a grass fire is easier to stop.
More about the goat move later.
Now I could probably get everyone out in two trips.
Does anyone know of a 4 horse/stock trailer for sale??? It doesn't need to be new or fancy, just sturdy.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kid games

Guess which one is the goat :)

Thursday, May 31, 2012


Finally, Tulip had her kid last evening! I thought she was due on May18- guess I was wrong. She had a big healthy buck. This will probably be the last time I breed Tulip. She has had kids three times, all large single bucks. These births are hard on her. She should continue to milk for 2-3 years anyway.

Now the only doe left to kid this year is Olivia. Olivia was born here, but now lives with my friend Maryanne's herd. This is Olivia's first kid so we will be watchful with her as well.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May Roll Call

And more kids in May.

May 4, Isabelle had twin girls, Virginia and Georgia.
 May 9, Annie had triplets, two males and a female (Penelope)
May 15, Shannon had twin girls, Carolina and Montana.

May 29, still waiting for Tulip.......

Kid Roll Call

Well kidding season is winding down. Only still waiting for Tulip to have her kids.
So here are the April babies:

April 12, Baby Belle had twins, a male and female (Freckles).
 April 17, Gingerbread had triplets, 2 males and a female (Daffodil).

April 23, Sunflower has one boy

April 25, Iceni has 3 boys 

April 30, Robin has twins, she keeps Nevada (female) and gives Marshall to me to raise.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

"True Sisters"

Read an excellent book last week, "True Sisters" by Sandra Dallas. I've been a fan of Dallas' books for many years, but this book tops the list. Her books are historical fiction, but you can tell she does a tremendous amount of research on the topics.
"True Sisters" is about the last Mormon handcart emigrant journey across the plains. The story is horrific, because so much of it is true. The characters in the book are fiction of course, but they are based in reality.

Friday, May 18, 2012

HI! We're Back!!

Molly says "Hi!"
Think I figured out how to get the browser issue fixed so can post here again.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Henry David Thoreau on Facebook

The excerpt is from a post on the blog I've only posted the first couple of paragraphs. To read this rest go to their blog.

Thoreau finished his dinner soon after moving to his cabin on Walden Pond – fried rat, wild cat, roots, berries, raw fish, mushrooms – and he sat down to record the meal. He wanted to share the experience of living alone at Walden Pond, to demonstrate to himself and the world that he could live near nature, make his own decisions, shed some of the fears and restrictions of society, live a life of self-determination. He saw his page as a living “Walden.” When he finished eating, he clicked on the “Publish to Facebook” button and went outside to gaze at the stars, stretch and relieve himself in the woods.
Thoreau, committed to a life of simplicity and very little use of technology, was at first reluctant to bring a computer into his tiny cabin, or to get a Facebook Page. He didn’t like the Internet, and had refused to do his banking online. Of course, he had no money, so that wasn’t a huge sacrifice. But he really disliked social media, the idea of all these strangers coming into his life. Writers should work alone, be mysterious, he complained. He didn’t want to meet his friends from childhood, and he hated the idea of e-mail. His publisher persuaded him that would help him market “Walden Pond,” and sell more copies of this dubious project to people who did not want to live on a pond in the dark and hunt and cook for themselves. You know, his editor said, brand yourself.
When Thoreau came inside after swimming naked in the pond, and capturing a frog for dinner, he was surprised to see more than 100 comments on his Facebook posting. “Fried rat!,” said one comment, “you better get yourself to a doctor now. You will have parasites and worms in the morning.” There were more than 20 comments from animal lovers horrified that he had eaten a cat, and there were warnings about berries, queries about the mushrooms, and questions from environmentalists about whether he had eliminated in the woods, properly disposed of the carcass. He was cautioned about drinking water that wasn’t boiled, and told that he might freeze if he didn’t dress more warmly in the winter.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Taught by Goats

Taught by Goats

What do goats teach?

You must slow down and be deliberate.

If you are in a hurry the goats rebel.

Don’t rush, latch the gate otherwise everyone will raid the barn, bounce onto the milking stand, stuff their faces deep into the grain bucket, and ransack the hay bales.

Slow down.

One step at a time.

Nature has her own rhythm; the light of day slowly fades to night until it is almost completely dark. I don’t even notice the darkness as it falls gradually while securing the goats in their cozy stalls and locking the chickens away from the foxes. I know the foxes stock the chickens at night, they leave their footprints in the newly fallen snow.

What do goats teach?

They play ring around the house instead of going inside to eat. What’s the problem? Are there ghosts inside? Oh, now I remember, it must either be a new moon or a full moon. Maybe it is the total darkness the new moon brings, but it is connected to a goat rule. If it is dark and Lori hasn’t yet closed us up for the night, it isn’t safe to go inside – RUN!

Always be watchful.

Goats’ heads all turned one direction. Motionless. Not a muscle twitches. Could be the Border Collie from next door. Or an elk. Or maybe a fox. Roosters shriek a warning if a fox is near.

Always be watchful. Always be aware.

Pay attention. Or the goat will step in the bucket full of creamy milk.

Pay attention. Or the chickens will dash into the pasture.

Pay attention. Or you might get sprayed by the skunk eating the cat food in the barn.

Pay attention. Or you will hurt your body.

Pay attention. Don’t lean over the back of a goat with horns.

Pay attention to the wind. It brings the scent of spring or a wildfire.

Pay attention to the clouds pouring over the mountain to the west. Will the thunderstorm catch you outside?

Pay attention to the sunrise. It is red, it will be storming later.

Pay attention to the rhythm of the earth rolling beneath your feet.

Pay attention to learn what is enough.

Pay attention to learn how to live!

Snow Dance

Arlo got everyone to do the snow dance. We had 5 inches of the nice wet stuff on Tuesday.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Gardens and such

Started working on the garden yesterday. It was nearly 80 degrees, today it is supposed to snow. It is really too early to plant much, but we tilled in the manure and planned it all out. I did plant the asparagus roots - they take a couple years to establish before you can harvest them. Don't know why I didn't plant them 8 years ago .......We also planted some kale and have plastic jugs over the seeds to protect them. Will be starting cucumbers, califlower, cabbage and peppers inside soon.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lime Easter Egg soap

I have great lime scented Easter Egg soaps for sale.

Spring cleaning

Been cleaning the stalls to get ready for the new kids. Baby Belle is the first one due - April 17th. But Tulip and Gingerbread are not far behind her. That will be a busy week!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Busy day today

Having a hoof trimming event this afternoon. I'm hoping to get the more difficult ones done while I have help holding the goats. Then we are moving more hay into the barn from the outside haystack. I've been having a war with the elk over the hay. The hay is covered with big tarps and inside a fence, but the elk are still managing to work around the tarps in a couple of places.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Spring is just around the corner

Even though we still have a foot of snow on the ground and it is much colder this month than last, it is time to daydream about spring. Browsing through seed catalogs, I've already ordered the asparagus roots, seeds need to be ordered soon. April and Laura are excited about gardening, so I'll go for a bigger one this year, since there will be help!

It's also time to think about baby chicks. Think we'll just go for laying hens this year. I will buy a few extra day old chicks, so if anyone is thinking about urban backyard chickens, let me know. I'll raise them for a few weeks, to give them a good start for you. I'd like more Welsummers, but they don't seem to be available this year. So the other breeds I'm considering are: Americanas (they lay the blue/green eggs), Columbian Wyandotts and Rhode Island Reds. All are heavier breeds that lay brown or colored eggs. The heavier breeds do better in our cold climate.

Molly the ultra spoiled goat

Molly is still demanding her bottle twice a day at 9 months old.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Patches' Ghost

Here is a photo of Patches a few weeks ago. She is the one on the right with the black nose and brown ear. She is in the same stall as the one with her ghost in the photo below.

Could this be the ghost of Patches checking on Milky Way?