Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

This is one of my favorite holidays.  (I love food, what can I say?)  There are holidays that are all about presents, there are holidays where we get to hurt people by forgetting them, there are holidays where people divvy up by religion – but Thanksgiving’s biggest warring camps are “turkey!” and “ham!”

Now, I’m not saying we don’t get heated defending our tofurkey.

But Thanksgiving is the least petty holiday, the most psychologically healthy holiday (a day to think about how lucky we are! We’re alive, hopefully we’re healthy, hopefully we have a full tummy and a full heart – and some of us have a whole lot more blessings than that!).  Yep, the homeless, orphaned, and far-from-family folks still have some pangs of sadness, but the homeful folks are so much more likely to open their hearts and doors on Thanksgiving than on, say, Christmas or mom’s birthday.

It’s a day of thanks, and a day of giving.  And I’m thankful for both.  When the food is gone, the warmth of thanks and of giving will still be there.  I have a lot more than just food to be thankful for.  I won’t list them all, but, since this is the Mamma Goat blog, I do want to say thank you to our customers, friends, and supporters, and thank you to the mamma goats who make me feel blessed every day.  (It still touches me when a goat lifts her leg out of the way to make it easier for me to milk her!)  And huge thanks to Phil for doing so much of the grunt work in his spare time.  Our farm would be done if Phil weren’t hefting the big bales of hay and sacks of grain that make up our mammas’ Thanksgiving feast.

I hope you and yours are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoying the real riches of the day.


Love and thanks from all of us!

Are you enjoying the Gentle Goat weather?

Yep, it’s Gentle Goat weather. Freezing temps drop the humidity right out of the air, the dry air sucks the moisture out of our skin, and we start getting chapped and parched and bleh.

I’d been using our liquid soap, but dry weather calls for the big guns. For me, Gentle Goat is a big gun. When I had to put lotion on my hands for the first time in the season, I knew it was time to swap soaps.

If you’re using our soaps and fighting dryness, try rinsing less. Rinse just enough to remove the bubbles – the soap – but leave a little of the “superfat” on your skin. Superfat is a tiny bit of extra oils we add to the soap to make it kinder to your skin. Pat the tops of your hands dry so the towel doesn’t rub off the superfat.

Use lotion if you need it! Your skin needs a protective layer to reduce evaporation. With dry air, moisture moves from moist to dry – your skin is naturally moist, but the air is stealing the moisture. A protective layer slows that down. Can’t use preservatives and emulsifiers? Try virgin organic coconut oil – just a dab – and rub it in well on ever-so-slightly-damp skin. I also like rice bran oil. I’m sensitive to lotions, so I wear cotton gloves to bed to hold the moisturizing oils onto my skin for 8 beautiful hours. That’s 1/3rd of each day when my skin is extra protected – it makes a difference!

But… I’m not as sensitive to lotion as I used to be! My skin has healed itself. So if you’ve been using natural soap for a while and think you can’t use lotion – maybe try a patch test? You might surprise yourself.

Remember to drink water – we can hydrate skin from inside and from outside! And wear gloves outside whenever you can. That outside air can be harsh – dry, cold, and windy means maximum moisture loss from skin.

If you need a Gentle Goat fix, make an appointment to stop by the farm. We have 4 corporate holiday fairs coming up in December, and stock is getting a little thin. Yikes. But we made a fresh batch of Gentle Goat, and our loyal customers get first dibs before the holiday fairs.

Breeding and feeding

I’ll be VERY happy when breeding is done.  Our dairy goats are very hormonal when they’re in heat.  They cry like they’ve been hurt.  My very, very good girls fly right over stall dividers now.  I have to keep Paddycakes locked up on her worst days.

The boys are good boys – stay where they belong.  The girls, however, say that if the boys won’t come to them, they’ll go to the boys.  Paddycakes tried to jump a gate I had just made taller.  She slammed into the post raising the height, bounced off of it – and she wanted to try again!  I don’t even have the buck for her yet.  I have to keep her and her mates from breeding a mini Nubian – or killing herself trying – for 3 more weeks.

Bean is supposed to breed a young mini (Nigerian dwarf) buck.  First, she told me to bring him back when he grew up.  Then she thought she’d give him a go, but he couldn’t figure out how to make it all work with a goat so much taller than him.  He almost had it, then he got distracted.  He noticed her underside, tried to nurse her.  She kicked his butt and told me to bring him back when he grows up.

It was a beautiful plan when I wrote it up.

Happy Veteran’s Day!

Appreciation and respect to the men and women who served their fellow Americans and the world in all the ways our soldiers and sailors and airmen (airpersons?) do and did.  Thanks to the gunners and the payroll clerks and the pilots and engineers and cooks and medics and all the other folks who make it all work from enlistment to food to medical care to coming home for keeps.  And thanks to the families who keep it all together back home so the military member can go and return and focus – as much as is possible being so far from family, friends, and home – while away.  And hugs and hope and healing to the family, friends, and service members who lost loved ones to the ultimate service.

I’ve been there in some of the ways, never the hardest ways.  People talk about risking your life, but not as much about being away from home, or even away from a phone or email or letter mail, about worrying whether the lights will be shut off at home while you’re gone or meeting your own child after he or she had multiple birthdays.  Every military member loses part of their life on deployment.  They lose hugs and hellos and favorite places and just being “home” for months or years at a time.  Every member sacrifices a lot in service to their fellow Americans.  Whether small sacrifices or big ones, they are appreciated.

Thank you.

Someday, this will be funny

With a bitterly cold wind today, I put out extra hay for the goaties. Their fur can keep them reasonably warm, but not in wind. And sudden weather change is hard on them like it is on us.

I didn’t feed them alfalfa, because most of them don’t need it right now, and because the alfalfa I brought in 2 months ago to get us through the beginning of winter – it grew mold. Inside the barn. Over a ton of premium priced alfalfa down the drain.

Our new buck used to eat alfalfa exclusively. We had been switching him over to orchard grass, but I guess he wasn’t going for it. Two days after we discovered mold on the alfallfa, we found the new guy losing weight. Just that fast. Bucks get – bucky – in breeding season and they don’t care about food anymore. Just girls. So they don’t have weight to lose. We missed a breeding.

We brought in an emergency bale of hay to keep the buck alive while we figure out what to do about losing half a winter’s worth of alfalfa (the seller’s only “help” is to suggest we peel off the mold and feed the rest).

Well, you can imagine how precious alfalfa feels right now. We basically paid $50 a bale for the little bit we used between delivery and today. So we cut everybody who doesn’t strictly need alfalfa – and that’s most of them. The kids are growing well, almost fat. Most of the moms need to “dry off” (stop making milk), and you encourage that by reducing their feed quality. This is low-protein season, and we’ve been cutting everybody back so our supply would last past the end of the year.

Now we have 1 usable bale of alfalfa. Good farm store quality stuff, though. The new buck already looks better. He was feeling good enough to work today.

Except, we don’t have 1 bale. I forgot to latch the gate after putting out extra hay for “lunch”. And within an hour somebody pulled the gate open – it’s heavy enough to hurt my back dragging it, but it doesn’t stop the goats. And the little b*st*rds all went into the feed area and climbed up on the hay and knocked the alfalfa bale onto the floor, then stood on it, eating and pooping and peeing.

When I started yelling, the herd queen had the presence of mind to start herding the goats off the top of the hay stack. When I turned to grab one going the wrong way, she slipped past me. Discretion is the greater part of valor.

So, back to the feed store for another emergency bale. Yet another bale of expensive alfalfa headed for the compost heap. Grrr. This “spend an hour picking up small amounts of hay” process is part of what I was trying to avoid by storing hay by the ton.

Now we’re back to regular alfalfa runs again. And they still had hay in their feeders. Rotten goats.