Monday, March 31, 2014

The Goat Adventure Continues

Pipsqueak and Sweet Candy
It was nearly a year ago that we added goats to the homestead.  I started with a LaMancha buckling and doeling.  Shortly after I added a trio of Nigerian Dwarf goats.  So far I haven't done much with any of them, until today!  I am embarking on my new journey.   I spent the morning with my "Goat Guru" getting schooled on all things goat.  My "Goat Guru" is patient and a wealth of knowledge.  She takes the time to explain why she does things, not just the how.  

After learning the finer points of breeding does and bucks; she helped me pick out our new buck and doe to add color, conformation, and milk production to my small herd.  We're making sure all of my goats are registered and bred for milk production.  Of course I'm also looking to keeping the blue eyed gene in the herd.  By fall I should have this little experiment fully up and running.  My new doe will come here bred, and my 2 foundation does will be bred in the next few weeks.  I'm super excited for tiny goat babies!! There is nothing cuter.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

My Dream Dog

My dream dog is currently out with our small goat herd.  She is just precious!  Pearl is an 8 week old Great Pyrenees beauty.  Her training is just beginning, but she's already showing a lot of instinct.  The goats are slowly warming to having Pearl around, and Pearl has been the picture of young dog in training.  

My darling, angelic hubby and two of our kids made the 4 hour round trip trek to Peyton, Colorado to get her.  The trip was well worth it; not only did I get to bring home an amazing guard dog, but I was blessed with a new friend in her owner.  I may be calling with many LGD questions.  I've trained dogs before, but never a working dog.  The biggest challenge is leaving this little cutie outside when all I'd like to do is cuddle her.  

Mr. Fox, take notes, I've got a future 110 lbs. + guard out there now!  You've just enjoyed you last chicken dinner at my expense.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Oh What a Beautiful Morning...

There are some mornings I just want to burst into song.  Usually, it's "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" from Oklahoma.  I love the sunrise over the mountains; the quiet while I'm feeding the goats and horses.  Now that the weather is warming and the ground thawing; I've been able to let the goats and horses out together.  I've found the horses will sneak into the goat pen to munch the hay that the goats have deemed unworthy, and the goats love to see if any grain was spilled by the horses.  

The world holds so much promise now!!  Planting will soon begin, repair projects started, horseback rides around the neighborhood, and longer days enjoying the warmth.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Evolution of the Homestead

My little homestead adventure began the spring of 2008.  Somehow my son had developed an obsession with chickens.  Not too sure where that came from!  I had attempted to read Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, but it only confused and overwhelmed me.  So, my son and I took a class on raising backyard chickens.  Suddenly it became simple, doable, and the homestead adventure began!

I have never been one to take my time, ease into things; I like to jump in feet first, go big.  The chickens led to llamas, which led to a short experiment with pygmy goats.  Those animals were eventually re-homed, and I was content with poultry.  

Last spring I decided it was time to take the homestead experiment to a whole new level.  I added lambs and goats.  The lambs were supposed to give me wool and meat, the goats milk.  I loved having the critters around; bottle feeding snuggly lambs, watching my doeling and bucklings leap around their pen.  Those days were simple and peaceful.  Of course reality, finances, and opportunities often throw a wrench into the best laid plans.   

For the past couple of years I had been riding an amazing, slightly moody horse named Flash.  I love that boy dearly!!  Last summer I received a phone call asking if I would like to bring Flask home.  Of course I did, but there had to be some concessions for me to add a 1000 lbs. animal to the ranch.  Unfortunately, the lambs had to go.  There went my plans of meat, wool, and more lambs.  Of course I'd much rather have Flash here with me, but I do miss Cossette and Juliet.  Flash has been a wonderful addition, despite his many quirks.   Then last December we were offered Frank, Flash's buddy.  My daughter is in love with that horse, so he had to join the farm family, too.

So, that brings us to today.  It's time for me to turn my homestead dream into something more than a money pit.  I have plans, I have ideas, I have dreams.  The creative juices are flowing!  In the coming weeks I hope to add a livestock guard dog, a buck for breeding services, and come up with some creative crafts to sell.  

Welcome to my crazy dream!  It's a wild ride, enjoy it!

Thursday, March 27, 2014


The Rocky's are stuck in the wild, unpredictable days of early spring.  Warm 70 degree days tease us before a foot of heavy, wet snow brings us back to reality.  The "To Do" list grows as spring projects are discovered as winter slowly eases it's grip on the land.  Projects that will be put on hold until the ground thaws and the mud pits dry out.

My frustration grows over poultry eaten by predators due to my own stupidity.  I'll have a lack of fresh eggs for the first time in 5 years until my new pullets start laying.  The realization that unless I get a doe in milk, I won't have any until my girls are bred.  I tried to breed my older doe, Webbi, last fall, but she didn't take.   

New gardens need to be planned, manure that has appeared under melting snowed cleared, fences mended, the list goes on.   My weak back and busy schedule lately are preventing a lot of these projects to begin.  I can't wait to get back outside; to clean up the winter yuck, to get sweaty and dirty, and to see all of the crazy plans I have take shape. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Craving Simplicity

The past many months have been a whirlwind.  Time slips away a little faster and faster, with each passing day has becoming a blur of activities.  I love this picture of Bear, finding a bit of peace amid the chaos.  I truly cherish the days when I can be home; finally spending time with the critters, the kids, and working on projects.   I love when I can bake, plan meals, make jam, be creative in the kitchen.  I've collected boards to make cute signs for the house; they're sitting in a pile in the basement. Seed catalogs and garden books have taken the place of the kitty and the movies on my perpetually cluttered table.  I'm yearning for a quieter time, when the schedule slows down and I can focus on the simple things that bring me peace.