animals




Little by little we’re getting rid of the goats. It’s a little heartbreaking—they’ve been such a big part of our lives for the last decade (or more). They’re just not a good fit for us now, though, and we’re so lucky to be finding good homes for them.

Once we got the fence around the garden completed, it was full speed ahead on digging the beds, most of which were all but destroyed by chickens and wayward pigs. Except that it’s been a lovely, cool, wet, Appalachian spring, the likes of which we haven’t seen in a few years! It’s been gorgeous, but very, very hard to dig in the garden! Yesterday was dry and sunny, and the day before it only rained in the morning, so I think it’s actually going to be dry enough to prepare some more beds today. I have four young strong people from Wildroots coming today to work in exchange for dairy products and eggs (and lunch), so I think we’ll haul manure, clear weeds, break the beds, and maybe even crank up the tiller I’ve borrowed (also in exchange for dairy products) from our neighbors. I’m very excited to see how much we can accomplish!

Looks like Dixie the pig might be getting bred in the near future—I’m looking so forward to baby pigs. We’ve been looking for a Gloucestershire Old Spot boar (or sow or weaners), but they’re proving difficult to find around here!

I’m also trying to sell this bull for our neighbor. He really doesn’t want him back, and we’d really like to get him gone now the both the ladies are bred (to calve in January—sheesh!) Not having too much luck selling him on craigslist so far.

It’s hard to find time to use the computer at all right now, much less actually write anything! It’s crazy around here—that special spring crazy, that I forget about every year in the winter when I’m pining for spring.

Liath is in heat, which has called forth a neighbor’s Great Pyrenees, who Saturday tried to kill Bernard’s geriatric beagle, and darn near succeeded. Liath is scheduled for a little operation next Wednesday, but in the meantime Bernie the Pyr is proving resistant to confinement. He’s back again this morning, locked in a stall in the barn, waiting for his owner to show up and take him home. It sounds like he may be scheduled for a little operation himself!

Confinement seems to be the issue of the moment, as we’ve had escaped horses (I woke up to the sound of a car horn the other morning, and went out to find Marlene the Haflinger faced off in the road with a car, whose occupant was, fortunately, laughing), escaped goats, escaped sheep, and of course, the perennial ducks in the road. The chickens are mostly out of the garden, though an occasional one flies over the fence. We’re building a chicken house, which will have a pen, which should hopefully solve the problem. The bull is still nursing from the cows, but we’ve got milk to spare right now, so we don’t really care. We’ll have to keep him until at least 1 May to know if the cows are bred. He’s very sweet, but it’ll be nice to have him gone, just because of the added aggravation he brings!

We’re all tired, with aching muscles, and we all fall into bed at night.

Edited to add: Oh boohoohoo! Listen to me whine! I’ve got it made and I know it!

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Now playing: Dwight Yoakam – It Only Hurts When I Cry
via FoxyTunes

We’re eating lots of salads from the greenhouse, but still not doing much in the garden. DH and I are both plugging away at getting a fence around the garden to keep the chickens out—we’re getting close! There’s no point in even turning the beds until that happens—the chickens dig huge craters in the soft soil. I did get brave and dig one bed in front of the greenhouse, where I planted snowpeas and radishes. So far they haven’t discovered it!

Fanny the house lamb has been moved out into a pen in the front yard. She has goat kids for company, which is fine with her—she likes everybody. She may be the most cheerful creature I’ve ever seen!

We bought a new cow from the same neighbor who sold us Maude. Her name is Pearl—I’ll try to get a picture of her here soon. We also brought home a Jersey/Guernsey cross bull, who I hope is old enough to get the job done. Maude was in heat this last week, so in three weeks or so we’ll know if she’s bred. The bull is gentle with people, but he’s a nuisance to have around because he nurses from the cows! We couldn’t figure out what was happening to all the milk until we caught him at it one day, so now he has to be separated from them.

I’m off to the Hot Springs market this morning. It’s been a great social occasion, and I’m actually close to making feed money!


A friend is coming over to buy two sheep today, and I think we’ll be done selling animals, at least until the goats kid next month. The rest of the sheep are getting penned up and fed hay for a couple of months, to let the pasture recover and so they’ll put on weight. And ED and I will finish shearing—they all look really silly right now since we sheared only their backs for the good wool!

Here’s one more lamb picture—I couldn’t resist, it was just so darn cute!



Hallie had a single ewe lamb today—isn’t she adorable?

So the really weak lamb died yesterday afternoon, but the other is doing fine, following his momma all around the yard. The next time it’s not pouring rain, ED and I are going to do an assessment of the flock—this birth caught us completely unaware. We’ll see who all is pregnant and who needs worming, and who could use some supplemental feeding. We’re also going to sell a handful of ewes, as ED would like to have fewer white sheep, and more colorful sheep. Then perhaps we can pen the remainder of the flock so they don’t spend all their time walking the pasture looking for that one elusive blade of grass, and instead settle down and eat their hay and keep a little more weight on.

It’s been a bad winter for worms—lots of warm wet periods. We never even consider worming anybody in the winter most years!

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