Blackberry Mountain
Another Farewell 09/08/2011
Well we had three goats and now we are down to one.  Our goat set up quickly got to be too much to handle and so we are taking a moment to step back and make a few changes to our housing and fencing areas.  We sold Mikey, our five month old buckling, yesterday to a family that had lots of brush for him to eat and also had plans to breed him.  He will be pretty happy when he realizes he gets to use his "male gifts" with the ladies on another farm. 

Mikey was the first and only goat that we have seen through birth and grow from that point.  He has been a challenge but he taught us a lot.  As we waited on his new owners to pick him up yesterday we talked about how it seemed like just a few days ago that he was a little kid learning how to walk in the yard or jumping on my grandma while she sat on the porch.  He loved to eat my hair so I had to keep it pulled back.  We believe Mikey may have been the first kid that Roses was able to stay with after birth and milk naturally so that was a learning experience for Roses, I'm sure.  She did a great job helping us to wean him (sometimes by kicking him in the head) when it was time.  Just last week I noticed them snuggling on a cool evening, just like mother and son should. 

    We had to sale Mikey because there is too much risk with him being so close to his mother when she is in heat...we did not want baby goats out of incest for obvious health reasons.  So its a sad day but we can now move forward with some farm repairs in hopes to get a new doe this fall.  Our hope is to find another dairy doe that can be bred for years and to also have Roses bred one final time (she is 8 so this is her last year to safely birth).  Here's to lots more goat adventures!

It's Electric! 06/27/2011
Having goats is very exciting but it is also very unpredictable which means that it takes a lot of care, patience, and hard work.  We bought Bella in May 2010 and kept her in a pen at night but she freely grazed our yard all day.  And she ate our bushes and trees and garden.  When we got Roses, in November, they grazed the yard together until one day they crossed to our neighbors yard.  Uh oh.  After that we had to start keeping them on "tie-outs".  We moved them to various parts of our yard so that they had ample food but unfortunately they still had little "free" space.  Now with three goats, keeping this up became a major daily chore.  So we talked about fencing for a while.  Jeremy put his mind and body to work and began preparing for his planned set up.  After a few nights and days of work when I was home we now have an electric fence.  It is one that we can expand and move as we wish.  Yes, they got shocked a few times but I believe they have learned their lesson for the time being.  Now we have three happy grazing goats and they have a lot to eat.

Note: The photo below is 2 month old, Mikey.  He's getting big!
Our farm has grown from two goats to three.  On Saturday, April 16 at 12 a.m., our first goat kid joined us, birthed by an incredible mom, Roses.  Labor was obvious to us for about three hours but we believe she may have been in labor most of Friday.  Roses showed all the signs when I got home from work on Friday evening so we waited.  I did so much research to be prepared but there was nothing I could do as Roses let nature take its course.  It was not quick but it went smoothly and healthily.  Jeremy and I watched as our farm grew.  Roses moved around quite a bit and at the end of labor she sat in a corner and gave it her all letting out quiet moans throughout.  She birthed and immediately began to lick and clean her kid.  I’ve never seen anything like it and could not imagine a better image for motherly instinct.  We actually didn’t even check the sex until the next day because Roses was so motherly.  This was truly moving to me, to see nature at its best.  We did learn, on Saturday, that our kid is a male.  We named him Mikey and it fits him.  Roses has been producing quite a lot of milk so we had to milk her in order for him to get a good hold on her teat.  He was happy after that and nurses as he needs now.  Roses is very motherly and she spends time guarding Mikey from the dogs and Bella by running at them and grunting loudly and head butting when needed.  Mikey is very active when awake, hopping and running around curiously.  Now we continue to build onto our farm making room for our new friend to grow. 

Spring is a season of new life but this year it seems that death and suffering loom with the death of Jeremy’s uncle Michael, after a year long fight with cancer and the unexpected death of Lonus, a buddy of mine from church.  Death is something that touches us all and one thing that we all have in common.  Death is unavoidable and while it can be painful it can also be peaceful and the much needed end to a long, hard journey.  The reason we named the kid Mikey was in memory of Jeremy’s uncle and my friend.  Michael Lonus will remind us of the death of Michael and Lonus but will also be a reminder than even in the midst of our sorrows and tears a goat kid is being born, crying as we welcome him into the world.  We all have death in common but we also have life.  Michael and Lonus began a new part of their journey this past week as we begin our new journey on the farm.  And the circle of life carries on.