Sunday, March 19, 2006

CD&T Adventures

Latte and Pumpkin have settled into their new home and are having quite a lot of fun playing and exploring outside. When they first arrived, they received their first CD&T vax, so I could watch and administer their booster 2 weeks later. They handled it just fine, though Latte developed a small lump in reaction.

The boosters I gave them on Sunday, March 12, went relatively smoothly, considering I'd never done it before. I put the goats on my lap, with my husband holding them in place, leaving my hands free to pull the skin and inject the vax. Latte was first, and she jumped free after only half the booster, so, unfortunately, we had to repeat to complete the injection. Pumpkin's shot went much more smoothly, injecting in one shot, and I was able to really rub it in as he munched begrudgingly on some cracked corn. They continued to play for the rest of the afternoon and ate dinner happily.

By the next morning, however, Pumpkin Pie was limping, refusing to use the leg on the vax side at all. After talking to two friends, I gave him an aspirin and posted to a goat list ( for advice. After some great replies, I opted to wait and watch a few days as temporary lameness seems to be a potential reaction to the shot. Because Pumpkin was still eating eagerly, moving around, chewing his cud and generally acting fine other than the lame leg, I felt relatively comfortable about continuing to watch him closely and giving him an aspirin daily to help relieve some of the pain and stiffness.

Late in the week, he began walking tentatively on the leg, and by the end of today, 7 days after the booster, he was running and jumping as if nothing had happened. Adventures in CD&T come to a happy conclusion.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Getting My Goat

Jules has been wanting a goat ever since she met our friend's Nigerian dwarf doe, Strawberry Flip. February, 2006, she became the proud owner of Flip's second round of kids. Hard to say who was more thrilled, Jules or myself--or Jim, for that matter, who's loving the goaties and the idea of fresh cheese.

Pumpkin Pie and Latte were born just after Thanksgiving 2005 and came to live with us when they were about 2.5 months old. Pumpkin is a wether, and Latte is our doe, whom we hope to breed this November. They spent the first week in one of our barn stalls, getting used to their new home and people. We've fed them by hand since we got them, working to tame them since they were not bottle raised. They've become quite friendly as long as we have that rattling cup full of grain or cracked corn.

First Plow

This week, Jim plowed the gardens with a single bottom plow he was able to borrow from the neighbor down the road. He turned over a large vegetable patch up near the house for me, a small melon patch in one of the hollows of the back pasture and large plot behind the meadow and back pasture where he'll be planting sweet corn, popcorn, yukon gold potatoes and pumpkins. He was a bit concerned about whether the 16 hp tractor would be able to pull the single plow, but it ended up to doing a solid job. After plowing the gardens, he was able to borrow a disc from the neighbor next door and break up the big clods. We should be ready to go in a few weeks with the veggie gardens. Now, to get my seeds and asparagus crowns ordered!


This winter, Jim's been modifying the existing electric tape fencing to goat fencing that will keep both the chickens and the goats in our pastures rather than the neighbor's yards. We're fencing in about an acre around the barn, which basically divides the main pasture in half. We'd been talking about dividing our two existing pastures each in half in order to maximize pasture rotation as we acquire animals, so this was a useful excuse to begin the process. Of course, he's been saving the tape he's taken down to use on the fence elsewhere, running a single line of tape along the goat fencing at nose height. The chickens will be permanent residents of the field-fenced upper pasture.

Currently, the plan is to keep the meadow unfenced and naturalize it with wildflowers and grasses for wildlife habitat. We're in the process now of clearing out the invasive chinese sumac as we attempt to seed the heads of the few staghorn sumac we have growing on the property. We also dug out several native Eastern cedars before Jim mowed the meadow and transplanted them along the property line. This spring we hope to hatch some northern bobwhite quail to release on our property, with the hope that they will colonize the hedgerow. Our plan is to house the heritage turkeys in the bottom half of the newly divided pasture, keeping them separate from the chickens. This spring, we plan to build the chicken house off the current barn, large enough to house three separate flocks. At that time, we'll make some changes and repairs to the existing barn, widening the door out to the pastures to accomodate the tractor.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Farm Sweet Farm

We moved into our new 5.25 acre farmette the last day of June, 2005, and haven't looked back—well, the adults at least. The kids miss the old neighborhood and old friends, understandably, but they're having loads of fun, too. We have grand plans to renovate the property, focusing on restoring native habitat, preserving rare livestock, and growing heirloom fruits and vegetables. Our homesteading adventure embraces a vision of sustainable agriculture, a commitment to biodiversity and a quest for spiritual fulfillment in harmony with the earth.