Brownie Out, Buttercup In

19 09 2011

Well, on SUnday we said goodbye to Brownie, our Oberhasli herd queen and producer of fine milk. We’ve been waiting to find her a home until the end of milking season, as her loss cuts our daily milk production by half. Brownie was a good goat, but because I am trying to breed smaller goats, her size and flightyness made her more of a problem than an asset. Once she started giving less milk, and it became clear that she was physically healthy, it was time to bid her farewell. I am sure she will be quite happy in her new home, with two does similar in size to her that have their horns as well.

Taking her place as my herd queen is Buttercup. Buttercup is a smaller LaMancha with a wonderful, sweet temperament and a passion for staying in one place. She loves to eat, and is already doing a great job keeping the herd eating right alongside her. She prefers browse, pasture and foraging over eating hay, so I am pleased that she wants to stay out and eat the free food for as long as possible. Not only is this easier on the feed budget, but it produces healthier animals and better tasting milk.

The first thing I did yesterday at milking time was take the bell off Brownie’s collar, and adorn Buttercup with her very own collar and bell, signifying to the household (and maybe to the goats) that she is the queen now.

I think that even my goat-herd helpers C and P are pleased that Brownie is gone and that Buttercup has replaced her. Brownie had no problem with forcing the other goats back to the pen before they were ready, mainly because she prefers the easy life of eating hay and not having to work for her food. Hopefully she will get plenty of that in her new home.

Now all I need is that mobile goat pen so I can take them out in the morning and leave them to forage all day. It will free up a lot of time that Bean will be demanding from me in the upcoming weeks.

One final note for this post. Our new little buck is taking his job quite seriously. Navin has been courting Nelly and Buttercup, both of whom have gone into heat this week. Here’s hoping that they both kid in February! We’ll know by Christmas or so if they are pregnant for sure. So next year, we may be adding chevon to our freezer and availability with the chicken eggs and goat milk, cheese and soap. I daresay this herd share thing is going to be downright spiffy.


Week 20 and All is Well

23 05 2011

So today marks week 20 in this here pregnancy. I’ve been super busy with all this goat business: trying to get them settled in, find a new daily routine that works for everyone, what to do with over a gallon of raw milk a day, learning new cheese recipes, working on setting up a micro-farm business plan, feeding the goats, milking the goats, cleaning up after the goats, plus all my normal household duties.

With all this going on, sometimes I actually forget that I am in fact pregnant! It is getting harder and harder to miss though. Bean is getting bigger by the day (as am I!). Even with all the morning sickness I had in the first trimester, I have still managed to gain close to 20 pounds, and I have never felt sexier. I love my pregnant body, it just feels so good and natural and comfotable to me. I wish I could be 5 months pregnant forever. Much smaller and there is that whole morning sickness thing, and as I get larger I am going to slow down and start getting achy. Right now I am still small enough to be able to cope with daily life on a brand-new farm.

Bean is getting more active, or at least big enough for me to feel all the rockin’ and rollin’ going on in there. All of my clothes are getting tight and I have to figure out how to dress my new self without any kind of a clothing budget. I think this week I’ll be breaking out the sewing machine to sew up some tie/wrap skirts and some reversible aprons.

It’s hard to to come to terms with the idea that I am going to have a very demanding human on my hands 24/7 in just a few short months, but I know that when the time comes my network of friends and loved-ones will be there to help me. Even if it is just helping with the goats so I can get a little rest after being up all night…

Some interesting things I’ve noticed.

  • When I had my first child, I got mastitis in my right breast due I think to a tight underwire that blocked/plugged a milk duct. Now that same breast has already started leaking throughout the day.
  • Bean likes to snuggle down at the bottom of my uterus. All the pressure/movement/activity I feel is down at the bottom.
  • I can eat and eat and eat, and I am going to really miss that as my uterus takes over the space my stomach uses to expand into after a large meal.
  • All this fresh goats milk in my diet has changed my skin completely. It has never been so soft and silky before.

I guess all this adds up to a lot of hard work. But I can honestly tell you I have never been so happy while being exhausted at the same time. Life really is good.

Goat Update

23 05 2011

Sorry I haven’t been around lately. My life has been completely taken over by a bunch of goats. Seriously. If you don’t remember, earlier this month I put an add up on Craigslist stating that I would be happy to take any unwanted livestock since Mr. Ewe and I are trying to start building a little farm. Well, I asked and then received. An entire herd of 15 goats. Delivered to my doorstep. Things have been pretty crazy ever since then.

Having a new herd of goats is a lot like having a new baby in the house. They require near constant attention while they settle in. Life will never be the same again. No more sleeping in, and I am so exhausted by the end of the night there are no more late nights either. We started building a small barn before the goats even got here, but thanks to a supply of free (wet) wood, and a constant supply of free rain, construction has slowed down a lot until our wood dries out, and then we will have ourselves a barn raisin’.

I’ve been milking the goats twice a day, and trying to find all sorts of creative uses for all this milk we now have. I for one can’t seem to drink enough of it. Can you imagine having all the fresh, unprocessed milk you could ever want? It is so rich and creamy and thick. It is by far the richest milk I’ve ever had in my life, and puts goats milk that you buy in the grocery store to shame. So is the yogurt we’ve made (2 batches so far: strawberry-banana, and maple-lingonberry) and the chevre, oh my god the chevre. I had to buy crackers at the store yesterday so I have a way to eat this amazing cheese. Our first batch of chevre turned into three different flavors: chive, rosemary, and roasted poblano pepper.

Not last week but the week before, we managed to find a home for all four of our boy bucklings that came with the herd, and I think today our herd queen and one of my other does is going to a new home in exchange for hoof trimmings for the herd from a professional hoof trimmer. She is going to give us hoof trimmings and supplements for the next 6 months in exchange for 2 goats that I can’t even keep, how cool is that?

All of the goats have such different personalities! I swear I will put up pictures with descriptions, once I get pictures of each girl.

All this goat care has gotten me onto a wonderful schedule. It keeps me busy, and once I get the herd down to a manageable size, it shouldn’t be too demanding on me later in the pregnancy. I firmly believe I will be in the best shape I’ve ever been in by the time Bean is born.

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