How Does Your Garden Grow?

FullSizeRenderSo…my maternal instincts are in overdrive, apparently. Not content with co-mothering those goat kids, I simply could not restrain myself once I got to our local garden center. All those baby…tomatoes, arugala’s, beans and herbs…oh my!

My handy hubby has been working hard on some new raised beds, fencing and the like. To his credit, he only wavered slightly when I threw a couple of fresh-off-of-Pinterest ideas at him. I suspect a new affliction, called Pinterestophobia, might be gripping spouses everywhere… Add in a little home-grown fertilizer, and we were good to go. (See, honey, Button and Napolean actually DO earn their keep, in a way ; )

And, we’re off and growing!IMG_1085

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Wanna Do The Math?

ThreekidsTwoUddersWell, with FUN x 4…it’s been an interesting couple of weeks around here! We quickly figured out that, although Daisy is a great mama, 4 kids + 2 udders does not = a peaceful barnyard. She would look at us with that kind of “Calgon-take-me-away” look most of the time. We wanted kiddos to get enough to eat, and mama to keep making milk (and, greedy as we are, plenty of milk when it comes time for US to drink it!). Something needed to change, and quick.

So we began the old ‘switcheroo’. Yep…every 2-3 hrs. two kids get put in a time out (just kidding! They get to hang with their grandma Melody in the other pen), leaving the other two to nurse peacefully for awhile. Then we switch! You could actually see the relief on Daisy’s face ; )

I wasn’t completely sure they were getting enough to eat with our plan…yes, us Italian mama’s always worry that way. So for a few days I tried adding in a bottle when they were away from her, but kids can be little stinkers sometimes, and they all protested vigorously and LOUDLY. They were having no part of it! They’d rather hold out for mama. And honestly, I’d rather they have her milk mostly at this point anyway.

Next best plan was to start weighing regularly and see the progress. We’ve repurposed the bathroom scale (I’m quite sure it’s not coming back in the house now…) and sure enough, they’re gaiWeightsnMeasuresning, little by little. But mostly I just watch to see if they’re doing just what goat kids should do–and they are. Entertaining us with their constant jumping, climbing and King of the Mountain games. Starting to nibble some hay and drink some water, just like they see Daisy do. But…sometimes ya gotta do the math to be really sure : )

 

Cute + Cute + Cute + Cute…

Hello! Been awhile since I posted, I know. Life got a little heavy, plus we were kind of laying low at the farm throughout winter. Basically just waiting on our doe Daisy to kid again. I always say it’s my favorite time of year, but this year…ESPECIALLY so : )

We always try to be present whenever kids are born. Mainly because it’s so amazing and exciting, but also just in case any help is needed. After a week or so of being on “Daisy Watch”, she finally went into labor last Friday. All went well, as expected. And me, being the proud goat-mama that I am, quickly took a picture of her two beautiful little does and announced on Facebook that, “Amen!” we had two healthy kids this year. Pretty typical. And then the fun started….

Some more contractions? Well, it must just be her after-birthing usual (icky) stuff, right? Wrong…it’s one more little one! Another doe. Super exciting, because sometimes they have one, sometimes (less often) three, but two kids is the most common by far.

And just as we are getting little girl #3 situated by her mama….out dives (that really is the best word for it, all hooves and nose first) her brother right behind her! Unheard of! Some of us were jumping up and down with joy. Hubby had this attitude that I can only imagine human fathers of unexpected multiple babies have. To the point where I reminded him, “Relax! It’s not like we have to pay for college for all of them! Just love on ’em : )”

So, here they are. The “Fab Four”, from left to right: Pearl, Ruby (the first two born), Jasper and his twin sis Opal. All healthy and…so adorable I am rearranging my days so I can get home and cuddle! (for those of you that keep up with past…their dad is the aptly-named “Super Dooper Cooper” : )

Fab Four

Super Dooper Cooper

Hey folks…it’s that time of year again, where the nights get chilly, and you just want to curl up next to somebody and cuddle. No? Well, that’s what Daisy was tellin’ us (in her own goat way, of course). One phone call was all it took to bring in the hubby…our boy Cooper. He’s been elsewhere, doing things that bucks typically do, for the last year.

But he’s back now aCoopernd I must say, SMELLY as ever. My goat guru, Mr. T told me once very wisely, “lady, trust me, you don’t want a buck at your farm”. At the time, way back then, I had no idea why. These days, we remember why! No offense to the boys n’ men reading, but bucks STINK. We’ve got him in our farthest away pen and I mean all-the-way-up-to-the-house stink! And… they think it’s charming to pee (yes, really) on their heads to woo the ladies. But, whatever. The only lady that counts is Daisy, and she seems suitably impressed!

I affectionately refer to him as “Super Dooper Cooper” because, as icky as he can be, he has an usually sweet temperament for a buck. He looks at you with big eyes and always comes right over to say “hi”. Poor boy, I won’t touch him with a ten foot pole, but he IS a cutie. And he makes good kids. Our own little Ginger Pie (now 7 months old) is his kid. And, yes, it’s all worth it come springtime : )

Oh yes we did…

SmoresAaaahhh…the farm. Cool autumn nights, starry skies, warm fire, makin’ S’mores. Couldn’t be better…or could it? Well yes, actually. Isn’t everything better with BACON?! We thought so…

Love ’em and Leave ’em

ButtonBoyAnyone who’s been around this place will agree that Button (handsome, charming, ornery fellow that he is) pretty much steals the show. Every time, it’s “Can’t leave without a picture with Button!” And I can’t help but agree.
For such a smallish animal…he sure does have a BIG presence! His pen occupies (what seems like) the majority of the property–totally unnecessary, but he’s not suggesting we make any changes anytime soon. He meanders from the very bottom, where we hear his bray behind the barn as if it’s far, far, far and away, to the very top, where he likes to practically hang out on the back patio along with us. The bray is not so far, far, far and away then…!
But, he serves a purpose for sure, as our “Guard Donkey”.  The local coyote know he’s here, that’s important. And we’re always aware when someone has arrived at the house (although I know his braying then is more about getting whoever it is to give him a handful of tasty weeds than it is about protection!)
Yes, his charm is legendary. He has–let me say, had–a girlfriend up the hill. She would bray, and he would answer, or the other way around. After a couple of years, on a walk up that way, we learned that her name was Miss Persnickety. A little princess of a thing, apparently. And so their conversations went on. Very cute–who knows what donkeys need to say to each other?! Until recently. I thought I’d been noticing less chatter for a few weeks now. Sure enough…As I sat on the porch yesterday–gorgeous fall day!–there he was right in his window, as usual. I heard a bray in the distance. The donkey-phone was ringing. And he didn’t answer! I watched him. She kept going and he said nothing! I said, “Button! Answer her!” He just jerked his chin at me. He’s done. It’s over.
Had they disagreed on which were the tastiest weeds to eat? Did she smother him, calling too often? Did he tire of hearing her talk about shoes? We’ll never know. But anyone that knows Button knows his greatest charm is that “love ya’ and leave ya” attitude : )

Better Late than Never!

SeptFlowersA lack of rain for a verrrry long time, even by Arizona standards, resulted in a less-than-spectacular show of summer flowers for us. BUT…it’s amazing what lots and lots and lots of rain can do! By mid-September, I am usually hacking down dried out, scratchy sunflower stalks all over the farm. This year has been quite the monsoon, and it looks like that jobs’ going to have to get pushed back ’til next month!
Along with all the sunflowers, we’ve got a nice second-bloom on the Hollyhocks. And, I’ve lost count how many times the Snapdragons have done an encore performance this year–they just keep popping out!
All this bodes very well with my tried and true gardening method (I use that word “method” loosely): focus on perennials and things that can basically survive with very little-to-no intervention from me. And, as long as it flowers, leave it alone and enjoy it ; )

No Photoshop Required

RainbowMonsoonNot only does it look a bit like Ireland up here in Prescott lately with all the rain we’ve had…but we’ve been treated to an almost nightly show of sun and clouds that can only be described as breathtakingly amazing!

Here’s on from the other night with just fragmented parts of a rainbow showing over some deep gray skies. Warm light coming from the sunset itself.  Wow! (I am pretty adept at Photoshop, but I didn’t have to touch this one!)

Gray is My Favorite Color

RainRoseAt least at the moment. I can’t ever abandon blue! But right now, gray is good. Being originally from ‘back East’, there would be days and days on end of gray skies. I remember pressing my nose against the glass wishing it would just let up already (!) so we could get back outside.
How different things look from this side of the country! In Arizona, we not only like it a whole lot when it rains, I would go so far as to say we are downright giddy when it does. We put our jackets (and socks) on and actually go out and dance in it. We post endless pics of our beautiful cloudy skies. We get our comfy clothes on, a cup of tea and set out to enjoy a “rainy day” on the couch with a good book (…and then the sJuneBugrainun comes out and the mood is just not the same.)
Right now, we are enjoying a pretty awesome “monsoon” season here in Prescott. Rain, good-long-soaking rain almost every day. While I’m not a fan of 12-foot-tall weeds that have suddenly sprouted up everywhere, or ankle-deep mud in the goat pen–ultimately ending up in the house!–it is so good to see it. Soaking into this parched desert. Quenching thirsty roots. Keeping that bird bath always full. It makes some of our work around here harder and messier to get done, we’ll take it. Because we know when it goes, it’s gone for awhile and they’ll be no more playing in the mud for June Bug  ; )

Just Kiddin’…!

My favorite time of year on the farm!Daisynkids

First, Melody kidded in February and had two of the cutest (and extra-friendly) kids we’ve ever had. We named ’em Lucy and Ricky and they were full of sass and spunk! Let’s just say Lucy lived up to her namesake ; )

Then, Daisy had her second set of kids and they were like little mini-me’s. Almost identical to her, and each other, that we had trouble telling them apart for awhile. They are Gilligan and Ginger (definitely a “theme” to it all this year…) For the first time, I had to intervene some during delivery and kind of “help” Gilligan out. It was a little scary for me, I’ll admit. But a lot of prayer and pure adrenaline got us all through just fine! They are very close little siblings–here they are cuddling together in the hay box while mama snacks.

…and we’re back in milk—yay!