Category Archives: Goat pics

Sweetie’s sweet baby

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Sweetie gave us a beautiful baby girl!  We’ve named her Sweet Spirit.  Little Spirit is already following her mamma around like a champ.  I swear, I saw her learning today!  She looked from where she was to where she had just been, like she was memorizing the distance.  She jetted across some of those distances sometimes, just for practice. Sometimes, her little face looked like she was concentrating hard.

And then I saw something funny in the barn.

Baby goats sleep in a “hut” or a small cave-like thing that lets them feel safe and draft-free when they don’t feel like interacting with the world.  Some farms make really fancy huts out of 50-gallon drums with a heat-lamp hardwired into the top!  We use what we’ve got.  So, when I setup the kidding area for Sweetie, I put in a small dog crate (without the door).  I put lots of soft barn bedding on the bottom of the crate.  And I don’t especially like the type of bedding we have right now, so I grabbed a burlap feed sack, folded it up, and put it over the bedding so her tiny baby feet wouldn’t slip on loose bedding.

And we have more kids coming.  So I setup two more “huts”.  Spirit’s hut is big enough to share when the new kids grow a little.  So I put out little huts, made by cutting a 50-gallon drum in half and cutting a little doorway in the side.  One has an open top, so I put a big bowl on it to close off the top.  That makes it short inside, but it’s strong enough for bigger kids to climb on without crushing it.  I put down soft bedding, and I decided that the burlap sack had been a success, so I took it out of Spirit’s hut and put it in the baby hut.  Spirit is walking just fine on loose bedding now, so I thought this would be fine.

🙁

And I put the two huts side-by-side while I worked.  And Spirit had a big, active day with her mamma.  When she started twitching, I took her back to the barn.  Twitching means their body is saying “sleep!” and their brain is saying “No! There’s so much more to do and see and explore and play and learn!”  They stomp their little feet to keep themselves awake, and twitch like little life-junkies.  So I take them to the barn for a nap when they’re twitchy.

Spirit walked to where her hut belongs.  But the new hut was there.  It’s a BABY hut.  Spirit walked in like she always does, but found it was shorter than she remembered.  She sniffed, backed out and looked around, as if she were checking her coordinates.  Convinced she had the right place, she got down on her belly and tried to wiggle into the baby hut.  It was still very short.  I imagine she felt like Alice in Wonderland!

She sniffed some more, decided it was the right spot, and collapsed for an overdue nap – with her butt halfway out of the hut.  I lifted the cover to make it taller, but she didn’t go the rest of the way in.  So I felt bad for her, and picked her up and put her in her own hut – the dog crate with soft bedding.

She poked her head out and looked around at where she was.  And the she sniffed the crate all over.  Something was off.  She sniffed and sniffed.  And she twitched and twitched.  And she kicked the bedding into a pile and flopped down for a nap.  But she kept twitching.  Her body was still saying “sleep!” but now her brain was saying “this isn’t right!!”   She started to get up twice.  It was fascinating to watch her!

I felt bad for her and put the burlap bag back in her hut.  When she went back in to her hut-in-the-wrong-spot, with the nice burlap bag on top of soft bedding, with plenty of room for her long legs and little body and big head with long floppy ears, she sniffed the burlap, sighed contentedly and curled up for a nap.

I know the goats sniff us.  I’ve seen them sniff our mouths to see what we’ve been eating.  But I didn’t realize just how much they use scent to take snapshots of their world!

You want pictures?

Alright, let’s give this a shot!

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Little Bart, growing up.

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Butters, aka Butterball, aka Nibbly Nibblet #1 (and ma’s boy).

brookinflight Brook

Beautiful Brook has Mamma Abbey’s athletic grace.

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Kopi peering over the hill

 

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Monk (Abbey’s son)

 

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Sweetie

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The triplets on the right, Ice in back, Token on the left.  Lisa is in the front on the right, and Maggie honored us with a picture of her butt.

Dancing with a tree

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Meg stands on her hind legs, finds her balance on two legs, reaches up high, and snags apple after apple.  The other goats don’t have the patience for standing up to eat apples.  They only get as many apples as we pick for them.  Meg gets as many apples as she wants.

Meet the new kids

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Photographing goat kids is like herding cats.  By the time you get the camera out, they have either fallen asleep, turned their heads, or discovered some other amazing thing somewhere else that they HAVE to investigate.  Often, that thing is the camera itself.  It’s sooo easy to take a close-up of goat noses.  Whole-baby pictures, however, require careful planning and a steady lap.

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Well, sure enough, the first girl fell asleep, and we didn’t want to wake her, so we just added another goat to the lap.  And he fell asleep.  The third one thought about napping, but decided to stay up and play, so she just elbowed her siblings for a bit and got down.

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Yep, that’s the culprit.  She already looks mischievous.  This other little girl is a looker.  Beauty is not the goal.  But it is a nice fringe benefit.

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(Yeah, I’m not dressed for barn work or photos, but this is what I threw on under a flannel shirt at 4 am when I woke up to check on the newborns.)

Beauty

At this stage, they’re easy to babysit.  They mostly sleep.  Or practice – it literally IS their first day with new legs.  The skinny one is already practicing her hopping skills.

They’ll stay in the barn for at least a day, letting the new Mamma settle into her role while she gets lots of hugs and rubs and “good job, girl”s.  She’ll call to them and learn how to get them to follow her while they learn to recognize her voice.  Because leading baby goats is like cat herding, too.

We reserve all copyrights to our photos.  Even the bad ones.

Lovable LaMancha Goats

I love our LaManchas.  They are kind of funny looking with their tiny ears.  Supposedly, the Spanish called them Monas or “little monkeys.”  Because LaManchas are born with tiny little nub ears like monkey ears.

Baby Paddy

Baby Paddy

Or maybe it’s because they act like monkeys.  They love to climb and play, and they love to explore.

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Sometimes I think they look like aliens.  Broad forehead, narrow mouth.  But I think they’re all beautiful.

And their personalities are glorious.  They are the most loyal, intelligent goats on the farm.  They’re big, powerful animals, and they are gentle with us by choice (we haven’t trained them to be gentle).  They love to be loved, and, sometimes, it makes them so happy that they jump and kick up their heels afterward.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – you can’t have a smart animal without her being a little head-strong.  Abbey thinks I should spend more time with her.  Yesterday, she called her “something’s really, really wrong” voice.  I know she was lying, because all the other goats around her were calm.  Yep, they figure out how to trick their people.  Fudge used to get me with that “Aaah!!!” voice every time.  She would cry out, and I would come running to check on the babies.  “Where are the babies?!”  And I would search and search.  And the babies would be sleeping in the barn.  Fudge would wait at the door while I found them, then she’d run – fast – to the pasture.  Because she knew I wouldn’t leave her babies alone.  And neither would she.  If she could just get me down to the barn, she could go play in the pasture, confident her kids were being protected.

Baby Pepper Minty Fresh

Baby Pepper Minty Fresh

No complaints. She was a fierce Mamma (still is!) and I loved that she chose to trust me with her precious babies.

Our La Manchas are not shy about asking for what they want.  But their wants are usually fair and/or charming.

I want more love!

I want to spend more time with you!

I want a rub.  Right now!

I think I want my dinner early.  Get over here!

I am in heat!  Bring me your finest male goat, now!  Now!

Perhaps they are loud sometimes, but they are lovable all the time.  And, a lot of the time, they call out softly, gentle voices that almost say “please?”

No, we don’t dock their ears, they come that way.  Little nub ears don’t fall in water buckets and get frostbite in the winter.  They can even wiggle their ears.  And maybe they look a little like aliens, but they are beautiful aliens with sparkling eyes, expressive faces, and the most delightful personalities.  And, sometimes, I think they play jokes on us.  Fudge seems to smile afterwards.  Heh heh.  Little stinkers.  I think they are especially sociable, especially domesticated.  And ours are smart.

I say that goats are like a cross between a cat and a dog.  Our La Manchas have the loyalty and affection of a dog.  They have the stubbornness of a mule.  But they do want us to be happy, as long as they get to be happy, too.  Sometimes they swing at a goat who is breaking our rules – “you know they don’t like when you do that!” – and Hannah sometimes helps us escape from babies (lovable babies, cannot resist lovable babies!) by distracting them with play while we slip away.  Clever girls, all of them.

Maybe you have to be a goat person to love a La Mancha.  But I think animal lovers of all stripes can enjoy the special little monkeys who joyfully share milk and love.  I know floppy ears are awfully cute, but the La Manchas have a special inner beauty.

Pics! Our babies are growing up

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Clever baby – she’s holding the blackberry stem down so she can reach the leaves.  Kit in front, Jack in back.

I need a better camera; mine’s so slow it didn’t catch the action – Kit leaned on Jack’s back to stabilize herself while she grabbed onto the stem.  When he realized what she was doing, he slipped out from under her to share her snack.

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Rhi has been a complete witch since about a month before giving birth.  She doesn’t have any friends anymore, except her babies.

Mamma's Boy, still

Mamma’s Boy, still

Rho was born with the face of an angel, and he's got the personality to match

Rho was born with the face of an angel, and he’s got the personality to match
Tiny Rho curled up under a heat lamp

Tiny Rho curled up under a heat lamp

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Rho is still a little angel

Tiny Mocha, tucked into my jacket

Tiny Mocha, tucked into my jacket

Mocha

Mocha is probably our sweetest new BG this year. She’ll walk up to us and lean in and curl her body around us – Goat Hugs!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

With a name like Mamma Goat, you might think we have a certain affection for mammas.  Well, it’s true.  Mammas are special.  So, if you’re stumped on how to honor your special Mamma, here are some thoughts to get your creativity flowing.

Sometimes, the best gift is a hug.

Sometimes, the best gift is a hug. Curl up on the couch and watch Mom’s favorite movie. Or just bask in the sunshine together.

For the gardener, a pair of nice gloves to protect Mom’s hands, a knee pad for more comfort kneeling, and a promise to do the weeding this month (or some seedlings from the farmer’s market).  A nice lotion and our honey-shea soap (Buckwheat Honey) add a nice touch of luxury and care.  You’ll find lots of started plants at the farmer’s market this weekend.  Would Mom love to spend an afternoon planting her new treasures with you?  Maybe you should get a pair of gloves for yourself, too!

Give Mom a goat.  Well, give a goat in her honor, through Heifer International.  Goat shares start at $10; for $120, Heifer will give a needy family the gift of a goat – a long-term lift from poverty – in Mom’s honor.  Wrap up a goat milk soap with a note telling Mom about her gift.  Maybe bees are Mom’s thing?  Heifer has those, too, and we can hook you up with a honey soap for Mom.  For $20, Heifer can give a family an entire flock of chickens, or ducks, or geese, and llama shares start at $20; sheep shares start at $10.  We don’t have felted soaps right now, but Nuts About Berries does, and you’ll find them at the farmer’s market, too.  What’s a felted soap?  It’s soap wrapped in raw wool, llama fiber, or alpaca fiber, and then hand rubbed until it forms a soft, scrubby pouch around the soap.  It’s like a bath scrubby or washcloth, but much, much nicer!

Moms love spending time with their kids.

Moms love spending time with their kids.

Take Mom for a hike.  Our Take a Hike soap has a fresh burst of Citronella.  Add a foot massage, some heel balm, and a picnic lunch for a special day out with your favorite Mamma.

Try to spot Mom's favorite flowers and birds.  And lend her a hand on the steep parts.

Try to spot Mom’s favorite flowers and birds. And lend her a hand on the steep parts.

How about Thai?  Give Mom one of our Lemongrass soaps, one of our virgin-coconut oil soaps, and take her out to your favorite Thai restaurant.

Does Mom love farm blogs?  How about a copy of the Chickens in the Road book, and one of our Redneck soaps (made with shortening, like some of the Crisco recipes in the book!)?

Lavender!  Always a favorite!  Box up one of our lavender soaps with a lavender bath salt, maybe add a potted lavender plant, or seeds and a seed starter?

Did you enjoy tea parties with Mom?  How about a selection of gourmet teas and one of our green tea (artificial fragrance) soaps (99% natural, though!)?  Add a nice set of teacups and fresh baked pastries or flavored honeys from the farmer’s market for a grown-up tea party with the special woman in your life.

If Mom is more of a caffeine afficionado, pack up some special coffees, some luscious toppings like gourmet cocoa powder, whip up homemade whipped cream, and maybe tuck in a bar of our Mocha coffee scrub soap and some chocolates from the farmer’s market.

For the gourmet mom, some fresh veggies from the farmer’s market, a knife sharpening service or a gift certificate to her favorite kitchen store, and a nice kitchen soap may be in order.  Stop by the New Seasons Market booth for a recipe, and maybe it’s your turn to cook for mom?  Maybe a flavored vodka (available at the farmer’s market) to spice up one of her signature sauces?  Or some local chocolates?  Fresh free-range eggs?  If your mom’s a gourmet, you’re sure to find some great, unique gifts at the farmer’s market this weekend!

For the mother of your children, maybe carve both your initials into a bar of soap, old-timey style*.  Add a few kid-free hours to soak in the tub, or read a nice book (provided by you), uninterrupted.  Bring her a mug of her favorite beverage, light some candles, and take the kids to the park (or to the farmer’s market to pick up dinner fixins).

Personalize your gift.  Most of our packaging can be personalized with permanent markers.  All of our soaps can be packed in a cotton drawstring bag on request, and you can write your heartfelt message right on the bag.  Our brown gift boxes can also be drawn on, written on, or decorated with stickers.  Our handprint shopping bags take ink like a champ, whether pen or stamps, so you can spend time personalizing with the kids to make Mom’s gift totally unique.  If you want to go all out, you can even decorate our wood crates before filling them with plants, gourmet tidbits, or a whole lot of soap.  (A thin layer of sealant will make your message permanent).

Oh, and if you’re thinking flowers – yep, the farmer’s market has that, too.  Fresh, local flowers, gorgeous and fragrant.  By the stem, for you to arrange ’em as pretty as you want, or already arranged into gorgeous bouquets (I watched them made all day last Saturday, beautiful).

* Soap is hard, but it can be carved if you’re careful.  Use an ice pick or a mechanical pencil with the pencil lead retracted.  Wipe the tip of the mechanical pencil clean before carving so you don’t leave lead in the soap.  A narrow philips screwdriver will work, too.  Carve lightly and repeat until you get the desired result.

BG Training

Kit napping, Rhodan piled on

A BG is a Baby Goat. They have to be trained. First, they learn that people are safe, not scary. Then they learn that people are nice. We hope for them to learn that we are part of their world, not just farm machines that deposit food and replenish buckets.

You could also call this chore “hanging out with adorable baby goats” or “awesome!” But it is not optional.

So I cuddle BGs (if they’re willing). I hang around the barn, waiting for babies to sniff me. Waiting for them to fall in love with me. Sometimes, it’s a lot of waiting (not unlike my 20s). But I always get my goat!

Now, that picture up there might look like “aw, you’re so lucky!” but it’s actually me being hard at work. No, seriously! I mean it!

I love this part of my job, even on days when it’s stressful to find time for it. So, yeah, I’m so lucky! They are cute as heck, full of joyous energy, and sometimes they’re quiet and cuddly.

That pic – I had Kit cuddled in my lap and Rhodan hopped up, lost his footing, legs splayed, and decided “this is nice” and went to sleep. We didn’t get the picture when Jack piled on, because I have a 3-goat lap and Mocha wanted to be part of the goat pile. The pile collapses when 4 goats try to squeeze into my lap!