Saturday, December 20, 2014

White Gold

Whoever originally said, "don't cry over spilled milk," had never milked a goat.  Though I love the little dears, their behavior on the milk stand can bring me to tears.  I have been milking WebiGayle off and on for a year now.  It's taken that long to build a relationship and learn all of her little nuances.  We have to follow a routine: first she runs into a shelter, then she lets me catch her, and we head to the milk stand.  Once on the milk stand I always have to be aware of her behavior.  Sometimes she gets bored with the time it takes to milk and starts to jump around.  Other times a noise my spook her.  I always keep a hand on the milk pail.  Goat milk is a precious commodity; sweet and delicious.  Yes, I will cry when it spills; it's taken time and hard work to produce.  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It's a Blog About Nog

Fresh Goat's Milk Eggnog!!

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  It is  FINALLY snowing in the Rocky Mountain Foothills.  We are enjoying a warm, cozy day at home here on the Ranch.  It's so nice to relax in front of a roaring fire, making Christmas goodies.  I still have cookies to bake, but I thought I'd give homemade Eggnog a try.  I have fresh goat's milk and eggs, so why not!  

Goat's Milk Eggnog Recipe
1 quart raw goat's milk
4 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla

Pour 1 quart of goat's milk into a pot and slowly heat to 160 degrees.  This will pasteurize the milk.  (Have a candy thermometer handy to check temperature.)  While the milk is heating add sugar, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and vanilla, whisking as ingredients are added.  Continue to whisk occasionally.  As the milk heats crack 4 eggs into a blender and blend until frothy.  Once the  the milk mixture reaches 160 degrees, slowly pour in the eggs, whisking constantly.  Whisk mixture for 2 minutes to cook eggs slightly.  Pour into a glass jar and chill for several hours.  Once chilled, ENJOY!  

The Eggnog is delicious by itself or with a shot of whiskey or rum!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Battle Has Been Won

Playing momma goat.

For a week I have been doing battle with my doe, Erudite.  Last weekend she developed a VERY full udder, and it didn't look as though her doeling, Candor, had been nursing.  Erudite was attentive to little Candor, but was constantly keeping her from getting anything to eat.  I milked Erudite out and gave the wee one a bottle.  After a day of this little game, I discovered a cut on Erudite's udder probably from Candor's sharp little baby teeth.  I spent the past week milking Erudite twice a day and feeding Candor with a bottle.  Candor was definitely ready for the bottle when I'd head out, she was crying in hunger.  Erudite would give me at least 8 ounces at a time when I milked her.  She was paying attention to baby, but wouldn't let her nurse.  Finally, yesterday morning Candor was less whiny and Erudite was less full.  By last night Candor didn't even pay attention to me, and I only milked a trickle out of Erudite.  Baby's happy, momma's happy, and I am happy.  Thankfully, the three of us remedied this very frustrating situation.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Double Trouble

Angel and Candor playing in the goat pen.
Two pretty doelings are ready for their close up Mr. Demille!

Sweet little Angel and Candor are a little over a week apart in age, and they are always together.  The day after Candor was born the temperatures dipped below zero.  Angel, Candor, and their mamas spent a week in an insulated shed.  The girls had plenty of time to bond during the deep freeze.  Now I watch them leaping and playing in the goat pen.  They jump into tires, hide in grain buckets, and drive their mamas crazy.

Feeling Creative!

A 16oz. quilted Ball jar is turned into a soap dispenser with some spray paint, Gorilla glue, and a soap pump.
The tired cabinet in our main floor bath is spruced up with some chalkboard paint and newly painted knobs.
I've been collecting scrap wood to make signs.  Now my girls are doing it too!

Lately, I've had a burst of creativity.  It's been simmering inside of me for ages, and I've finally unleashed it.  I think reading The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith helped.  If you get a chance read the book, Myquillyn has some amazing decorating ideas and tips.  That being said, I've pulled out a lot of the odds and ends I've been collecting and turning them into beautiful home art.  Coffee bags a purchased for $1 a piece are becoming sofa pillow covers and covering up a gaping hole we've had in a bathroom wall.  Old cabinet knobs have been painted and reused on knobless cabinets.  I've been collecting scrap wood to paint and write quotes on for whimsical art for our walls.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lots of New Life

Newborn Lionhead Rabbit Twins

It feels like spring on the Ranch, not late fall.  Every week it seems like we're blessed with new babies.  My youngest daughter has a female Lionhead rabbit named Gingersnap, my oldest daughter has a male named Skittles.  We've tried to put them together on several occasions, but never thought anything had happened.  Earlier this week I tried to move Gingersnap out of her small indoor cage to our much larger outdoor hutch.  Once the deep freeze moved in, I put Gingersnap back into the house this time in the basement.  I wasn't in the mood to shell out more money for yet another heated waterer.  I visited Nappy (as I like to call her) a couple times a day, making sure she had fresh food and water.  Earlier this morning, I checked on her, everything seemed normal, so I went about my morning ranch chores.  A few hours later I went back down to get the goats a little grain, as I peered into Nappy's cage I noticed several tufts of fur in one corner of the cage and a small amount of blood in the other.  Babies, were my first thought, but I couldn't find any.  Gingersnap hopped nervously around the cage.  Finally two, tiny pink babies started wiggling in the pile of fluff.  I grabbed the cage and made my way upstairs to show the girls the new family.  We brought Nappy back up to the girls' room, where they'll be warm and safe.  I covered the cage with a towel  to make Gingersnap more comfortable.  At last check she was busy keeping her wee ones warm.  I think this is the end of births at the ranch for awhile.  Whew, what a day!

My Little Problem Child

Big Buck Ranch Candor
One week ago a beautiful, unexpected doeling entered the world.  She looks just like her mama.  I didn't realize mama was pregnant until nearly a week before she gave birth.  Erudite is normally a little wide after she eats.  She was supposed to be bred this fall, not accidentally this summer.  Here is her beautiful little girl, Candor, born in the warmth, spending her first week dealing with unseasonably bitter cold.   Thursday morning, I found her shivering, stuffy, and wheezing after a frigid night of eight degrees below zero.  After a dose of VetRx and a little goat coat, she was clear and perky yesterday morning.  Yesterday was a balmy 40+ degrees, a perfect day for a new baby to finally warm up.  This morning, my little surprise goat once again had to deal with the deep freeze, as snow a single digit temperatures raced in.  As  I went around doing morning chores, I discovered Candor with her front feet in the bucket of warm water I had just put in the shelter for her mom.  Luckily, I had a towel in the shelter to dry the wee one off.  Candor seems more fragile than the other babies born in the past couple of months.  She's more wobbly, had to deal with winter right off the bat.  I worry because she's precious.  Hopefully, next week with it's warmer temperatures will give Candor a chance to thrive!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ewwwwww, there's poo!

Freshly laid Big Buck Ranch eggs.  The green own comes from a breed known as an Easter Egger.

Let's face it, chickens aren't the cleanest animals.  They poop anywhere and everywhere they please.  This includes their nest boxes.  Ugh!  Fresh chicken eggs are not the pristine specimens you find at your local grocery store.  On some occasions it's a rarity to find a clean egg in the coop.  Most of the time the chickens have gotten something on the shell, this includes feather, wood shavings, dirt and poo.  Fear not, this gunk on the shell will not hurt the egg!

I do not like to wash my eggs, much to the chagrin of my husband, I prefer to keep the poo on the egg until it's time to crack it.  The day I use the egg, is the day that it's washed.  When a hen lays her egg, she puts a protective mucus coating on it called the bloom.  The bloom dries in a matter or seconds after the egg is laid.  Chances are unless you've seen a hen lay an egg, you wouldn't ever know that the bloom was there.  The bloom protects the the porous surface of the egg from bacteria.  Soooo, by not washing the egg I keep it a little fresher, a little cleaner, and a little safer.  Bon appetite!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Little Angel


Once again, I missed it!!  Sweet Candy, my yearling doe, was due November 1.  Lo and behold, she delivered in the cold two days before her due date.  I had left the ranch to attend my son's last regular season football game.  Sweet Candy was looking big, but she was eating normally and hanging with the herd.  Nothing seemed to be happening.  Midway through the first quarter of the game, I got a phone call from the lone child at home.  Sure enough, Sweet Candy had delivered twins.  The babies were tiny and fragile; the white doeling was alive and well, while the black buckling struggled for air.  My daughter tried to revive him, but he quickly faded.  The game was a blow out on our part, so I cut out during the final minutes of the first quarter to rush home to the new family.  I placed the wee doeling in the warm shelter and had to catch mom to get her in.  We decided to call the doeling Angel, a fitting name with her white fluff and blue eyes.  Mom and baby are warm, snuggley, and doing incredibly well.

The Maternity Ward

Erudite and Sweet Candy in the birthing shelter.

Last Thursday my yearling doe, Sweet Candy, gave birth for the first time.  She had twins, a boy and a girl.  Sadly, the little boy did not survive.  I've been struggling with his death.  I was gone the night Sweet Candy delivered, I keep wondering if her buckling would have survived if I had been there to help.

This morning, I headed out to the goat pens to give them some hay.  Webi and Sweet Candy are currently in one pen with their babies and Pipsqueak, my wether.  The other two does, Dauntless and Erudite, have been moved in with the bucklings for breeding.  I was putting hay in their pen, when I noticed Erudite looked very wide.  I walked behind only to find a swollen back end and what looked like a full udder.  Not too sure who the daddy is, and I'm shocked I completely missed her pregnancy.  I quickly moved Erudite back to the "baby" pen.  This led to a hasty division of my large shelter where Sweet Candy and her doeling are.  Sweet Candy and Webi delivered out in the cold, Erudite will deliver in a warm clean shelter.  I'm not taking any chances!  Once again we're on baby watch.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Meet Teddy!

Teddy the morning after his birth.

Teddy at 1 week old.

Yes, I am incredibly late with our big announcement; meet the first Big Buck Ranch baby! Teddy.  Teddy was born in a mud puddle on October 2, despite the fact that I had thoroughly cleaned both shelters.  My darling hubby named him after Teddy Bridgewater, since he was born the night the Green Bay Packer massacred the Minnesota Vikings.  

Teddy comes from an amazing gene pool.  His mom is BOHICA ACRES WebiGayle and dad is 5280 Farms Eli.  Mom may be golden, but dad is a pretty black and white.  I plan on registering the cute little guy as Big Buck Ranch Zeus.  The birth went smoothly, and Webi did a fabulous job.  She is being awful to milk, but Webi is a great mama!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Anxiously Waiting!!

Webi earlier this summer.

The first Big Buck Ranch Nigi babies are arriving any day.  My beautiful blue-eyed blonde doe, WebiGayle, is due Monday.  I am on birth watch!  I keep peaking out the windows at the goat pen, looking for any changes in my girl.  This will be her third kidding, so I'm confident in her birthing abilities, not so confident in my ability to help.  I'm sure I'll have an update soon!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Random Thoughts of a Stressed Mommy

Lately life has been a tumultuous series of ups and downs, chapters ending and chapters beginning.  The month of August was a blur, I'm not sure if September will be much better.  There have been events that bring me great joy, great sadness, and great frustration.  For every blessing there is a battle that ensues.  I'm exhausted, and still feel the effects of the cold that hit me three weeks ago.  I need to keep pushing forward, looking for the good in every situation, relying on the amazing people in my life that keep me grounded.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Palisade Peach Time

Mmmm, it's that time of year in the great state of Colorado that Palisade peaches are ripe for the pickin'.  There is really nothing better than biting into a ripe peach, juice running down your chin and arms.  Yum!!!!

Today, I decided to puree some peaches that I had frozen, so I could make jam with them.  I was antsy and only thawed them long enough to easily get the skin off.   Taking the peach pits out, I put the frozen peaches into my food processor and let it go to work.  I ended up with a delicious thick, frozen treat!!  My kiddos and I were thrilled with the yummy, cold sorbet.  A perfect healthy snack on a hot afternoon!
Simple Sugar Free Peach Sorbet

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A New Journey

At the moment I'm going through a great awakening, a period of self discovery.  It may sound selfish and self serving, and yes I am a very selfish person.  That said, it is time to break free from the shackles of the past a reemerge as a kinder, gentler soul.  I have lived my life in the past, hiding behind false ideas, false images, false personas.  I do NOT have to the person the world wants me to be, I am my own person.  I love critters big and small.  I love being outside, getting dirty, working hard.  I love being creative and testing limits.  

I want to be present in this life; not a spectator, which may mean life isn't always easy, it isn't always fun.  I need to accept  challenges as part of life.  We live in a world so tuned into being happy all the time, no bad should come, full of fast food get it now pleasures.  There will in struggles, tears are okay, frustration is okay.  It's time to sit back and enjoy the journey.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Goats of Big Buck Ranch

All of my Nigerian Dwarf Goats are registered through either the American Goat Society or the American Dairy Goat Association.  They come from excellent milking lines including Heaven's Hollow, 5280 Farms, Wyojem, and Velvet Acres to name a few.  BOHICA ACRES Dauntless (1 year old doe) and BOHICA ACRES Valentine (4 month old buckling) are not pictured.  The 2 little rascals wouldn't stand still long enough for me to get a photo.  Enjoy!!
Bred-due the end of September

Bred-due the end of October


Oven Drying Fresh Herbs

Fresh Lemongrass and Wild Chamomile drying in the kitchen.

I have been selling herb infused salts and herbal vinegars at the Pine Junction Farmer's Market.  I use fresh, locally grown herbs for both.  The vinegars are easy, I just add the fresh herbs to heated vinegar and let them steep for a few weeks.  When I make salt, I dry the fresh herbs.  Normally I like to air dry them near the kitchen window.  If I'm in a hurry to make salt, I'm finding the oven method is fantastic.

I wash my fresh herbs, pat them dry, and put them on cookie sheets.  As I'm prepping everything I preheat the oven to 175 degrees.   Once I've put the fresh herbs in the oven, I leave the door cracked a little to let moisture escape.  The drying time varies from herb to herb; thyme dries within an hour while sage can take 3-4 hours to dry.  I just keep checking them periodically to see how they're doing, and pull them once they're dry.  After a brief cooling, I strip the herbs from the stems.  Some herbs are easier than others; thyme gets tricky because the leaves are so small and the stems break easily, while sage goes quickly due to the size of the leaves.  

I leave the herbs on the cookie sheet, it makes crushing and bottling so much easier.  Once all of the herbs have been stripped from their stems, I cover them with parchment paper and crush them with a rolling pin.  My kids have a small rolling pin left over from a Strawberry Shortcake baking set, it's the perfect size for the pan I use.  

After the herbs are crushed I pour them into a mason jar to use in making salts or in cooking.  The herbs have such a punch of flavor compared to store bought dried herbs.  The process may seem long, but it's something I can pick up and put down throughout the day depending on my schedule.  All in all it's worth it.

Monday, June 30, 2014

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming

I keep waiting for some calm in our lives, but it doesn't seem to exist anymore.  Our stress is as oppressive as a humid summer day.   So much to do, so much happening, so much going wrong, so little in the checking account, it makes my head spin.  I find peace in cuddles with the kids, in prepping meals for the critters, in goat kisses.  Those simple actions take me away from the daily grind, the thought of what will go wrong next.  I need to cherish the simple, look for joy throughout the day, leave this little pity party I keep having for myself.

My head swims most days with tough choices, second guesses; should I do this, was this right, why does every decision seem wrong.  I'm blessed with an amazing man, who listens to my crazy, who brings the calm.   He reminds me that not all of my decisions are wrong, but supports me through all of them.  I am blessed with amazing children.  They enjoy my crazy most of the time, it's given them the opportunity to commune with animals, build tepees in the woods, and be kids without technology.  Granted there is a lot of technology in this house.  I am blessed to live in an amazing home, nestled in the woods, away from the hustle of city life.  Sometimes the hustle gets too close though.  Cherish the quiet moments, look for beauty in the simple, take time for those I love; that alone will help me weather this current life storm.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Kitty Kisses

Purrpikitty's favorite nap spot.

Other than our lab mix puppy, Buster, there is a rotating cast of characters that share the bed at night.  Usually it's a cat or 2, some nights it's our little Cocker Spaniel, Cookie.  The other night my beautiful little tabby, tortie, Purrpikitty, joined me in bed.  At some point during the night I woke up, used the bathroom, put on some lip gloss, and headed back to bed.  Shortly after returning to bed I felt something wet touch my nose followed by a sandpaper tongue on my lips.  Purrpikitty was licking off my lip gloss!  This goofy little cat loves peppermint, and I had put on peppermint lip gloss.  I don't know why she likes it so much.  She will even try to lick the toothpaste from my face if I sit down on the bed to watch the news while brushing my teeth.  What a goofy, sweet girl!!  Gotta love the personalities of animals.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Milking Time

I have had the new group of goats here for a couple of weeks now and every day things get a little easier with them.  Goats are very skittish by nature.  They think I want to eat them.  It's taken a year for my first two does to feel at ease with me.  My two black does are learning slowly but surely that I'm not a threat.  I'm finding you can't rush things with them, slow and steady will win this race.  

Milking time takes about 20 minutes for me.  I know it can be done more quickly, but it's not a wham bam thank you ma'am activity.  Erudite, my milk doe, now walks nicely on a leash to the milk stand, this used to be more of a tug of war.  She dives into her grain instead of calling out to her herd mates.  Even her herd mates now ignore our twice daily excursion.  I brush her before I milk and talk softly, this calms her and teaches her that I won't eat her.  Erudite now stands calmly munching her grain as I milk her.  The 2 pounds of daily grain are putting weight back onto her slight frame, having nursed twins before she came to live at Big Buck Ranch.  This is a peaceful time for me, a time when I can focus solely on the bond between my goats and myself.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

This is why I've been MIA

Things have been slightly chaotic here at Big Buck Ranch.  Other than chasing down my goat, Houdini, on a daily basis, I've been selling pine cone firestarters and herb infused vinegars at our local farmer's market.  I still have grain bag and burlap totes to complete, but the rest of my product is ready to go.  Hopefully, I'll start having more time for other things, like chasing my escape artist goat!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Life Lessons from a Runaway Goat

As horrible a week that was, as much stress as I put myself and my family through, losing my goat Houdini was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.  Don't get me wrong, it was an awful experience I never want to duplicate, but good has come from it.  I've been able to regain the faith of my mentor.  I've learned more about goat behavior.  I proved to myself that I can work through a difficult, bleak situation.  Most importantly, I've learned a true sense of patience and calm with my animals.

Monday, I brought the last of my herd home; a doe in milk, a two year old old, and two month old buckling.  My dream of breeding and raising Nigerian Dwarf goats is coming to fruition.  When Houdini came home, I was hurried, stressed.  I stuck a frightened flight animal into a pen with an ornery goat he'd never met and expected things to go well.  This homecoming was different, it was quiet, slow, peaceful.  My youngest daughter helped carry over the baby while I moved the does.  I let them see the other goats, got my milk doe into the milk stand for a quiet brushing, and chatted with the girls in the new goats' pen while they got used to their surroundings.  

Be quiet, be still, be peaceful, be present; those are the things I need to do to settle my new herd.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Enjoy the Silence

Scooter snoozing.

It's 8 am on Memorial Day, and the house is blissfully silent.  I'm going to enjoy these last few moment with a nice, hot cup of coffee.  I've already headed out once to let the chickens out of their coop and give the horses and goats their Chaffhaye.  They should all be happy for a few more minutes.  I want to bask in this time before the kids wake up, before the dogs need feeding, before I must get on my way.  

Today, I head over to my Goat Guru's house to pick up a Nigerian Dwarf doe in milk.  I'm sitting here pondering who else I should bring home.  Originally, I was doing to bring home a young recently bred doe and the doe in milk.  Yesterday, she proposed that I switch things up and bring home an additional doe in milk as well a beautiful buckling.  I'm not sure what to do; I've prayed, I've talked to hubby.  He made a good point; I'm not patient in my new endeavors, I jump in head first and end up biting off more than I can chew.  I spend way more money on the latest whim, stressing myself and my family in the process.   What to do, what to do?

As it stands right now I'd like to stick with the original plan.  Bringing home only one doe I have to milk would simplify things.  Spend some time getting used to milking again, and then decide to bring an additional milk doe home.  I do want the fresh goat milk for cheeses and to drink, but I also don't want to put my family through hell in the process.  I cause them enough problems with my need to farm.  For me it's a passion, it's a drive, somewhere deep inside this small voice keeps saying "you can do this, don't give up."  It is time to slow down a bit with all of this.  Consider my family's needs as well as my dreams.  Make good decisions.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Rain, rain go away

The dog and chicken run have recently flooded.

It has been raining for so long here, I've forgotten the last time it was dry.  The pastures and pens are stinky, mucky messes.  I'm worried about thrush in the horses and hoof rot in the goats, at this point there isn't anything I can do to combat it.  Heavy rains have flooded the pens creating waterfalls in odd spots.  Luckily there are lulls between the storms to allow for some drainage.  I'm seeing green in the horse pen where there hasn't been any and wising I had gotten my raised beds planted before our storms.   In the back of my mind fear lingers that this abundant rain will give way to weeks of dry weather.  In Colorado our weather seems to be feast or famine, either we get lots of moisture or nothing.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Homestead Ingenuity!

Well, it ain't purty, but it does the job.  Between the 2 foot snow storm we had and all of the recent rains our little patch of grass has become a lovely, lush carpet.  My chickens have been ogling it for days.  I haven't wanted to extend their main fence to this area because it's along a nice path, then genius struck!  I found a cheap snow fence and wooden stakes on Craigslist.  The fence will allow the chickens out to free range, but can be dismantled in seconds if we want to get our tractor down the path.  Cheap, functional, creative, temporary, I'm really hoping this does the job!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Lessons Learned and Still Learning

I royally messed up with Houdini when I first got him here.  That is why he disappeared.  I put a frightened flight animal in with my biggest, most annoying wether.  Houdini was in a new place, he was scared, and I added a goat twice his size that bullied him.  I should have put Houdini in the buck pen alone, and quarantined him for at least a week.  That may have alleviated the entire ordeal I put myself and my family through.  I was irresponsible, OK done beating myself up!

New goats should be separated from the new herd for at least a week, and possibly up to a month.  The new animal may carry something that can be devastating to my herd.  In Houdini's case he did come from the same breeder that my other 3 Nigi's came from, but mine have been here for a year so they they have established an immunity to my area.

All of that being said.  I'm going to keep Houdini in with my does for the next few weeks, bring the new girls over, and keep them in the future buck pen.  Yes, there is a method to my madness.  

Houdini is a crafty goat.  I will have to make some changes to the doe pen.  They were planned, but now they're on a hurry up.  Yesterday, I crated my LaMancha wether (he had been in with Houdini, but I separated them when Houdini came home), and brought him to a new home.  Houdini has been skittish ever since.  He's jumped the low side of the fence twice.  Luckily, he doesn't want to leave the ladies or the delicious taste of Chaffhaye.  Despite the fact that I want to yank the low fence out and rebuild it, I'm going to have to make some temporary adjustments to prevent my flight animal from taking flight.  

Goat ownership has been an amazing learning experience!  Despite the constant ups and downs I truly believe that this is what I am meant to do.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Mission Accomplished!

Houdini (aka VooDoo) at home in the pen.

After a week plus of worry, tears, and frustration my buck is home!! Deep down I knew this scrappy little bugger was alive and safe.  Houdini survived over a week in predator infested woods AND a nearly two foot snowfall.  He's intelligent, I can see it in his eyes as he observes me interacting with our other goats.  Right now I've got him in a pen with my Nigi does and wether.  I want to make him comfortable.

Friday night Houdini visited my neighbors.  Luckily, one of them is a good tracker and located Houdini's hide out.  I went back out Saturday, but he ran from me when I went to toss him a goldfish cracker.  Yesterday, I brought my doe, WebiGayle, and a big bucket of treats.  After nearly 2 hours of searching, we relocated Houdini in his bachelor pad.  I sent Webi up to meet him, what buck can resist a cute doe?  It took 45 minutes of careful walking to return him to the pen.  All the while I prayed and repeated this Harriet Tubman quote in my head, "Lord, I'm going to hold steady on to You and You've got to see me through."

Now, I need to decide what to do with poor Houdini.  All the while he was missing I couldn't wait to get him back to the Goat Guru.  After going through all the effort to bring him back, part of me wants to keep him.  Something draws me too him.  He looks at me with those piercing blue eyes, as if he's trying to communicate.  Houdini has something to say, there is so much potential there.  I put my family through hell during the time he was missing, I'm at a loss as to what to do right now.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Llama, Llama Goat Drama!!

VooDoo a week ago before his great escape.

OK, there are no llamas involved, but it sounded cute!  With the help of many wonderful people, I've found my devil goat.  He is in goatee heaven (not literally); pasture, forage, rock outcroppings, crevices to hide, and a creek.  I want to hang out there!  I've tried bringing my wether, Pipsqueak, and treats, no luck.  I've tried goldfish crackers and chocolate Cheerios, no luck.  Today, I'm going out again with mama goat, WebiGayle, and black licorice.  A friend with goats suggested black licorice.  At this point I'l try anything!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Beginning of the End...

I've lost my mentor.
I've lost my foundation buck.
I've lost the opportunity to get two new does.
I haven't stopped crying since I hung the phone.  Even an extra "happy pill" hasn't made a dent.  My hopes and dreams seem to be crashing around me.  I screwed up, it wasn't a little screw up, it was huge and detrimental.  I feel lost, unsure.  Every ounce of me says quit, give up, yet this little voice says keep plugging along.  I'm truly at a loss right now.

They're Baaaaack!

The hummies are back!  The hummies are back!  I'm thrilled!  I've heard the hummingbirds for a few days, but this is the first day I've seen one on the feeder.  Despite the snow still in my yard, spring has sprung!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

No One Said This Would Be Easy!

The past week or so has had multiple challenges.  No one said homesteading would be easy or fun everyday.  Sometimes I think I try too hard only to have things blow up in my face.  There is truly nothing I love more than to spend my days outside with the dirt and the critters.   Unfortunately, my days are anything but that.  Kids, hubby, house, weather, other responsibilities take precedence most of the time.  

Other days, I'm too exhausted and overwhelmed to get things accomplished.  Today is one of those days!   The brooders in the basement are disgusting and way overdue for a clean out.  The outdoor coop is a mucky mess after days of wet weather.  Poor Pearl has an infection on her leg I'm trying to get under control.  I'd like to put her in the big goat house, but that is a major disaster after our return to winter.

I still have issues from last week that are haunting me.  My brand new goat buck escaped his pen and disappeared.  I am truly dreading calling my mentor and explaining to her I lost her goat.  I have the utmost respect for this woman, and now I get to admit I was irresponsible.  At least that's how I feel.  Oh, I tried to keep the darn goat in.  I spent an entire day rebuilding his pen to contain him, but no matter how hard I tried he found a way out.  Honestly, I think he could apparate out of the pen to stare me down at the kitchen window.  I guess some things aren't meant to be.  

 Something deep inside me doesn't want to give up!  I want to try to make my crazy dream a reality.  I want to keep plugging ahead no matter how stressful all of this is right now.  I know in the end it will be worth everything I put into it!

The Never Ending Winter!!

I get to a point during spring when I am ready for winter to end.  Winter in the foothills doesn't really start until February.  By May I want it gone, yet this morning I awoke to a dusting of the heavy, white stuff and Sunday we were blessed with a good 18" of snow.  I know these late season heavy, wet snows lower our fire danger and green everything up, but I'm ready to pack away the winter coats and boots.  

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

God Has a Sense of Humor!!

Last week was chaotic and hectic, and this week is proving to be no different!  I currently have a nice 2 inch Harry Potter like cut on my forehead from a branch that was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I swear that thing was like a spear sticking out of the darn tree.  The Ideal Poultry order from last week that was all messed up, is no better this week.  Some how after talking to 2 people about it, they lost my reorder.  I spoke to Debbie at Ideal today, and hopefully everything will be correct come Friday!  I'm having misadventures with children, dogs, and goats.  I was at point of giving the whole darn farming thing up and selling everything off, when low and behold I got this t-shirt in the mail.   I guess God thinks I should keep plugging along no matter how challenging things get.  Kinda funny!  A while backed I entered a t-shirt contest on some farm website.  Guess I won!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oh Happy Day!

To most I would seem slightly insane, but yesterday was blissfully perfect.  Finally a warm, sunny day with nothing on the calendar but farm chores.  Honestly, a good day of manure removal is a pleasure.  I was able to get a few things knocked off the good ole"to do" list.  

After a hearty breakfast of eggs from our lone laying Ameraucana, I headed out to do chores.  The old fence around the raised bed garden was removed, and the beds moved to their new home.  The gate to the goat pen was covered in a piece of fence in hopes that the fox won't be able to get in.  Multiple piles of manure were removed from the horse pasture, although that project is far from complete.  My youngest and I created a vermicompost bin for the worms she's been collecting and the kitchen scraps I've been collecting.  I wrestled my two Nigi does to trim their hooves.  Now that chore is completed for a while.  Finally, I ended my day going on a hay run.

Today is a windy, gloomy day with chances of rain and dreaded snow.  It's the perfect time to recover from a day of hard labor and to return to the craft projects piling up in the dining room.  Ahhhhhhh, relax!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bring on the Day!!

Miss Kay, Phil, Si, and Willie, and yes they are all girls.
I have a BIG Duck Dynasty fan in the family.

Most morning my brain feels schizophrenic over the sheer amount of work that needs to be accomplished now that winter is losing it's grip on the mountains.  The horse pasture is in desperate need of a clean up after collecting a winter's worth of manure.  The half of the goat pen I haven't gotten to needs to be finished.  I'm almost done with the buck pen, but I need a few wooden fence panels to complete that project.  Gardening, feeding, planting, building, my mind is a jumble of "to do's."  I find it incredibly difficult to focus on what is most important.

In addition to all of the muscle building, back breaking (literally) work I want to accomplish, I also have all of the farms critters well being on my "to do" list.  We've added 4 new ducklings to the family to replace the ones we've lost in recent massacres.  They have joined the 7 new chicks in the basement brooder.  Next week I'll pick up a few more little fluffy butts.  Golden Mill is getting in Russian Orloffs, and I need to replace the ones the fox ran off with.  

Yesterday I brought a buck rag home (it's a rug rubbed on a stinky buck) to bring does into heat.  Dauntless, who is still at my Goat Guru's house, should be covered in the next few days.  I'm waiting on the call to be able to bring Webi over for a "playdate."  Hopefully, by next week I'll have 2 bred does who will be expecting in the fall.  

The horses and goats need their vaccines.  I need to complete the goat pedicures and worm the group.  Pearl needs continued training.  She's getting better at that whole listening thing.  The list continues to grow and grow.  I need to finish here, so I can start outside.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Love My Horsey!!

I have the most amazing, goofy horse.  Today I was out in the pasture with the kids and their friends.  My gelding, Flash, was doing his best to hide behind a tree.  The poor guy has issues! The kids and I headed up the give him some love.  I patted his cheek and he started nuzzling my face with his nose.  After while sweet Flash was resting his head on my shoulder dosing peacefully.  I sure love that guy!!!

Mmmmmm Breakfast

Super yummy smoothie this morning.   It's packed with fruits and veggies.   I mixed 1 cup spinach, half an avocado, 1 banana, a half cup frozen blueberries, leftover strawberries, an apple, 1 cup coconut water, and chia seeds.  It was so filling!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Rebuilding the Flock AGAIN!!!!!

Here are the new chicks the girls and I picked up today after our latest mass casualty.  Thank you Golden Mill for having some great breeds available.  Today we brought home a Gold Laced Wyandotte, 2 Ameraucanas, 2 Lakenvelders, and 2 Dominques.  
Seven new babies to replace the 10 birds we lost.  Next week our new ducklings are set to arrive and in May we'll be adding Russian Orloffs, a buff Brahma, and a Delaware to the flock.  Here we go again!!!!

One Thing Leads to Another

I spent much of the day fixing the fence Lil Bit went through on Wednesday night.  Of course this repair job led me to remove the rest of the fence in the future buck pen and start to rebuild the pen.  It was a job I had been procrastinating doing.  Now, I'm nearly finished, one more side to go.  This is the tricky side, I need to put in a wooden fence to separate the buck and the does.  I'd like to enlarge the doe pen as well.  More projects, so little time.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

And the Day Begins...

Yes, that is my future buck and yes, that is the one side of the fence that needed minor work.  I give up!!  Our darling pony developed founder over the winter.  Founder or laminitis, is a potentially life threatening hoof condition.  Lil Bit snuck WAY too much grain from his senior counter parts and that caused the issue.  It's funny Frank and Flash don't mind if Lil Bit snitches grain, but if Bitty gets near their hay they chase him off.  We've been putting him in the buck pen with a little hay until the old boys finish their grain.  Last night my animal loving daughter neglected to remove her pony from the pen.  At around 8:30 pm, after a gentle reminder from her mother, she headed out to rescue him.  Our 5 house dogs were out at that point and caused a terrible hullabaloo, which in my mind frightened Lil Bit who was trapped in a small pen.  Lil Bit jumped the fence in that spot thus bending the heck out of it.  I am now off to figure out  how in the world I'm going to fix a 6 foot fence.  Anyone want to trade a shot gun for a pony?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

From Triumph to Tragedy

After an eggstatic Monday morning when one of my new layers started laying, Monday night was wrought with poultry carnage.  Monday evening I got busy with dinner, cranky kids, exhausted stressed out hubby.  At around 10 pm I lay in bed, relaxing while reading a dog training book by Jon Katz.  Somehow while reading my mind began to wander.  Jon's farm ramblings often lead me to start thinking of my farm.  This is when I realized no one had shut the pop door on the chicken coop.  I threw on a coat and boots and high tailed it to the coop with our lab rottie mix, Chug, at my heals.  I quickly shut up the chickens, but discovered that the fox had beat me to the coop.   Nearly all of my new birds were gone.  I was sick!!  I was even more furious to discover that the wily little devil was sneaking under the goat gate, onto a goat house, onto the chicken coop roof, onto an old rabbit hutch next to the coop, and in.   Needless to say I am not a happy person.  Next purchase...shot gun!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Creative Juices Are Flowing!!

I really should be outside tending the farm animals, but here I sit in a whirlwind of creative thoughts.  These are the mornings when I get a late start because of all of the ideas swimming in my head.  I'm not sure I could type or write fast enough to catch the deluge in my brain.  These are the days my adult ADD is kicking in big time, and I have to use every bit of self control to be a functioning parent, teacher, and wife.  I would love to hole myself away in a quiet corner to take notes and create.  Alas, I cannot I need to do my best to pull away from the creative monster waiting to devour my time and wait until another quiet moment arises.