Our New Junior Herdsire

Here he is! Drinking a gallon of milk a day and eating grain and alfalfa hay like it’s going out style, tearing up paper, jumping on furniture, unplugging appliances by wrapping himself in the cords, and generally being a goat-nut. His name is Sunrising Danziger Elijah and we LOVE him! He was a little wild and crazy the first couple of days, but now he leads with a collar and leash pretty well, loves to be scratched on his hinney and follows me everywhere!

He’s moved to an outdoor pen beside the girls for exercise, but still comes inside at night. Since our livestock guardian dog is on the other side of the fence, he might not be able protect him from wild coyotes or wolverines…(luckily we have few of either of those around here). Plus, the girls usually go inside the barn at night, and we don’t want him getting lonely….and being inside with us has helped him tame down tremendously.

We look forward to him having kids on the ground early next spring, and us having more milk to use in soap making too!

Click here for info on his awesome sire!

 

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Cold Winter Dry Skin Care

Many parts of the country are experiencing record-breaking cold temperatures right now and here in Virginia, we’re experiencing that cold, dry air too. Winter weather used to mean that my hands, which spend a lot of time in water, washing milk buckets, water troughs, and general cleaning both indoors and out, would become raw, red, cracked and bleeding and they HURT! Well, those severely dry hands are a thing of the past since I got rid of commercial, detergent-based soaps and started using hand made goats milk soaps. The vitamins, minerals, fats, and oils in hand-made, cold-processed soaps don’t suck moisture out of my skin, and in fact, actually add moisture back in every time I wash my hands. And when I add a nice goats milk lotion or salve over freshly washed hands, VIOLA! Comfort at last!

Our Soap Shop On Etsy

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Love Spells Goat Milk Soap

Neem Salve

Neem Salve

The Lonely Rooster

Fluffy is a rooster. He popped up in a litter of chicks and he was very scruffy looking. Instead of calling him “Scruffy”, I decided to call him “Fluffy”…because his feathers were always fluffed up and didn’t really look like feathers anyway…more like hair with quills.

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From the time Fluffy was a baby, all the other roosters would pick on him and not let him near any of the hens. I took pity on him and brought him inside sometimes, but mostly he hung around by himself and he eventually started following me around everywhere and pecking my feet. He let me pick him up whenever I wanted to and for a while I was worried he thought I was his “hen”. And in fact, he DID think that I was his hen. All that weird behavior stopped however, the day all the other roosters, who had been fighting amongst themselves, went to live on a goat farm to protect a goat farmers hens and eat bugs.

Fluffy started crowing the very next morning after all the roosters were gone. His crow sounded like someone getting murdered, but over time his voice evened out and he no longer croaks when he crows. He adopted the only two hens on the property, even though they did not seem impressed by his small size and creepy crow. He’s a persistent fellow though, and he finally talked the two hens into being herded around by him in a loving fashion, dust bathing with him under the cedar trees, and tearing up the garden whenever the chance arose.  Yes, he traded his strange friendship with me in for two hens, and I couldn’t have been happier.

However, things have changed a bit over the last two weeks and Fluffy is a lonely rooster once again. BOTH of his hens have gone broody at the same time. And not only that, they are both setting on the same clutch of eggs in the same nest and refuse to have anything to do with Fluffy at all. They won’t roost with him on the hay bales, or scratch for bugs in the manure pile, or eat dog food from the guardian dog’s bowl when he isn’t looking. Fluffy is very sad.012

 

His hens, however, are very happy with their new egg-sitting job.

 

020I’ve tried separating the hens numerous times, giving them each 5 of the 10 hatching eggs and making them a nice new nest of their own. But, they’ll have none of that. By the end of the day, the hens have rolled all of the eggs back together and are stuck like glue to each other in this heat. I can’t imagine. It’s kind of cool though to think about these two hens sitting on eggs in the same nest. They were hatched out together as chicks. I don’t know if they shared the same parents, but they had the same mother hen.

The eggs should hatch next weekend if they are fertile and not too dizzy from being rolled around by the hens from nest to nest.

022Meanwhile, Fluffy will just have to be content with hunting and pecking and dust-bathing by himself until his eggs hatch and I’m keeping my fingers crossed he won’t take to following me around and pecking my feet again.

 

After The Rain

Do you ever notice how after a good rainstorm everything seems fresh and clean? Well, around here things seem mostly muddy and dirty and everything smells like a wet dog, but this morning, we are decidedly under the spell of  fresh-and-clean. It’s probably because of all the other rainstorms we’ve had lately that have made the Virginian greenery grow out of control. It’s hard to make mud out of grass and tomatoes. So here are a few pictures of lightening-induced-nitrogen-fertilized garden plants and greenery from our farm this morning.

Pictures left to right. #1 Tomatoes, #2 Peppers and Cucumbers, #3 Cucumbers being trained up a pretty wimpy treslis, #4 LAVENDER PLANTS FROM SEED! First time I’ve ever gotten lavender seeds to sprout, let alone grow into actual plants, (although yes I do know that lavender from seed form whacky plants that in no way resemble their biological parents), #5 Bird House Gourds (the tall plants) and sweet potatoes (the shorter plants in the foreground), #6 Bird House Gourds trying to take over the entire garden. (right now I’m winning the battle, but each night I have to go out and uncurl their tendrils from around other helpless garden plants who are being smothered).