Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Gentle Giant

There’s a new buck in our lives.  Zacheus has joined our farm to help our Mini Nubian goats give birth to even better babies next spring.

Zach is a big boy.  Well, compared to our girls and to our relatively-young boys.  But Zach doesn’t strut around like the big guy on the farm.  He’s a gentle giant.  He sort of hums – he calls out rather quietly, asking for companionship and affection.  He’s under quarantine – health observation – while he’s new here.  I’m his friend.  He has such a gentle voice for such a big guy.  “Uhhh.  Uhhh.”  Kona isn’t quite Zach’s friend, but he doesn’t leave Zach alone, either.  Kona has been staying near the barn, keeping Zach company, or maybe making sure Zach doesn’t escape to steal Kona’s girls.  I dunno.  I spend time with Zach, welcoming him to our farm, making sure he’s safe and comfortable.  On my way in, and on my way out, Kona runs to me.  “Love me!”  Kona wants equal time.  “You had time for the new guy!  Make time for me!”

Bucks are a special kind of yuck.  They are sweet (I only deal in nice boys), but they are bucks.  They are big and strong and virile.  They smell like bucks.  But they’re raised with extra human love, and they want pets and scratches even when they’re stinky.

I love our boys.  They give our girls lovely babies.  They are charming boys in their own right.  They just want love.  We love when our girls want love.  It’s not the boys’ fault that their natural behaviors make them stinky.  But, well, I don’t particularly want them stinking things up.  So I scratch behind their ears – with my washable hands – and I stand back and talk nice to them – but I try to avoid too much contact.

The gentle giant wants lots of scratches behind the ears.  He’s big, strong, mature – but he’s a lovable vulnerable baby in a new home.  He’s a little scared and a little confused and a lot stinky.

Well, he’ll give us lovely babies next spring.  If I can work through cold rain, I can give comfort to a stinky boy in his new home.  I make extra visits to the buck barn now.  “Hi, Zach.”  “Hi, KoKo.”  “Good boys.”  Zach is extra diary.  He’s got amazing coloring, like a designer sweater or blanket.  He’s loaded with good genetics, and I can hardly wait 6 months to meet the new kids.

We’re baaacckk! See you Sunday!

Or, as the chickens might say, we’re bock!

We’ll be at Orenco on Sunday.  Weather forecast calls for just enough sun to get us all outside and squinting.  What is that brightness?  It seems familiar, but, so long ago, I can’t remember.  Oh!  It’s called sunshine!

We’ll be at the farmer’s market, so we won’t get to see the goaties do the happy dance they do when the sun comes out.  They’ll be partying.  Goaties love sunshine.

If you requested orchid, you have to come out, because we haven’t even put it up for sale and we’ve sold half of the batch.

If you’ve been waiting for Gentle Goat, it’s back and better than ever.

If you’ve been wanting to try true Castile – it’ll be best after Christmas, but I’m using it now (on my face) and happy with it.  It’s ready for release to all but the most sensitive skin (and you can certainly stash it away for Christmas gifts!).

Are you looking to buy a goat?  Stop by and chat with us!  We’re finalizing breeding plans for next spring and we’re pretty excited about the matches we’re making.  We have mini Nubian and LaMancha babies coming in March-April-May of 2015.  And we may let some 2014 kids go.

All farming and no play makes Phil a dull boy

So here’s how he keeps sharp:

Chicken calisthenics

A silly little video of farm life, aka, I’m having too much fun with my stupid smartphone.

Anyone for the Tri-Cities Chicken Marathon?

In other news, short dark and handsome (the mini Nubians’s new boyfriend) did not come home this weekend. :=(  Somebody smashed our trailer light, and we needed to pick up some 16 foot stuff to finish the new buck holding pen (way too long for the truck).  Tall, dark and handsome – Abbey’s new boyfriend – has been located.  Now I get to go meet him and play matchmaker.  “Will you treat my girl well?  How’s your relationship with your mother?  Do you really want a lot of kids, or are you just saying that to get a date?”

Okay, sort of just kidding, but, aside from health questions, pedigree, and conformation, I did ask short, dark and handsome those same questions.  “Tell me about your kids.  Do you keep in touch with them (so I can meet them)?  Are you a gentle guy?  (Hey, I have to hang out with the bucks at feeding and caretaking times, I want them to be nice.)  Tell me more about your mother.  Oh, your mom was an actual dairy worker?  How nice!  She got honors for her work?  Ooh.  You’ll like Goatzilla, then, you two have a lot in common!”

“I hate you!”

Yes, it’s that time of year, when the goatie girls are all screaming, “I hate you!  I’m never going to find a man, and it’s all your fault!!!” and then run into their stalls and throw themselves down on the bedding dramatically.

It’s breeding season.

The mini Nubian girls have found a man.  He’s from a dairy, and a handsome fellow with a lovely personality.  We’ll call him short, dark, and handsome (hey, they’re a mini breed).  I’m excited.  I think he’s a good match.  But they haven’t seen him yet, because I want the new bachelor to have a Big Reveal.

Kona, however, drew the short straw here.  He’s going to be downgraded to “talk to me when you grow up” status while the girls fawn over the distinguished older gentleman (goat).

The LaManchas are a different story.  I love all the goats.  But the lamanchas are just so darned people-oriented, they’re hard to resist.  Huge personalities.  The Nubians have cute floppy ears.  But the lamanchas are always talking to us.  “Hey, you made it!  Great to see you!”  Or, “I hate you!  I’m never going to get a man…”  Well, I had a big wish-list for their guy.  So I still haven’t found the ONE.

But I found one.  I’ll have to go visit him to make sure, but his pedigree and performance data are good enough for my babies.  The Nubians are easy – they’re so similar, one buck can be a good match for them all.  But the LaManchas have different strengths and weaknesses for the buck’s genes to work on.  In one sense, that gives me more opportunity to create something new and wonderful; in another sense, it makes my wish list too big.

But the guy I found – he looks a lot like my favorite girl.  I didn’t even understand how gorgeous she was, in terms of goat qualities, I just knew she was beautiful to look at.  Now I understand that the fluidity and strength of her motion was because she was built well.

Next up, enhancing the buck housing situation to accommodate 3 new guys while keeping the management system simple.  Then we’ve got to get the girls ready for their dates, and then I want to change the girls’ housing situation too.

We’re also experimenting with something this year – pre-pack-goat training.  I may be looking for a pack goat trainer to consult or partner with us.

What happened to Mamma Goat?

We’re still here, slogging along.  We have fresh soaps ready for you.  We just haven’t been at the farmer’s market.

Phil’s mom died, he flew home to help his dad, and he got sick (ear infection).  Long wait to see a doctor.  Doctor said it would have to work itself out, or it would have to get a lot worse before they could do anything.  So we were, at best, down to 1.5 farmers to tend the animals, work on rehabbing the farm, maintain the farm, build new equipment and facilities, and go out to farmer’s markets.  For a lot of the last month and a half, we were down to 1 farmer to do everything.

And everything is a lot for 1 farmer.  Alfalfa pellets come in 50 lb sacks.  Hay comes in 135 lb bales.  Water buckets weigh up to 400 lbs, so even tipping them over gets to be heavy lifting.  Plus lots of heavy bending.  And I’m a wimp.  50 lbs is enough to send my back into a tizzy some days.

So, we were down to .6 farmers – I was hanging in there, but my back was screeching.  I knew if I pushed too hard, I was going to throw my back out altogether.   And we need to convert our basement from feed-and-supplies storage to a guest room for dad.  So the work load increased rather suddenly.

And then Phil got really sick.  His inner ear sort of collapsed, and the inner ear is what helps the eyes figure out where the world is.  He couldn’t walk safely on his own!  He couldn’t keep water down to stay hydrated, and it got really ugly really quick.  He ended up in the hospital (over a stupid ear infection – you don’t appreciate all the stuff your ears do until they stop doing it).  And I decreed that we would be a 1-farmer farm until he was totally well.

I kept asking the doctor when Phil could return to work, and he was kind of snarky with me, like it was a stupid question.  “Well, he isn’t going to feel like doing much anyway.”  Right.  That’s not how farming works.  You don’t wait to feel like doing the work, you work every day.  I was kind of asking for a checklist – what can I quote the doctor on when I’m telling Phil “no, you are not going to do x or z because the doctor said __”?

Well, Phil is back to work, and, so far so good.  But we cancelled the rest of the season because our farm is just too small to keep paying for market fees on sick days.  We plan to add some dates back in, but the schedule is up in the air because we also have to do the farm projects that fell behind during the rough spell and we’ve got new family responsibilities, too.

We have a mailing list of people who want to be notified of our next market dates.  If you want an e-mail, contact us through the contact page or by emailing tracy@ (if you set the subject: “Market date notification” that’s all you need to send) mammagoat.com.

Thanks for your patience!