Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wow, do I suck!

So, when I got behind on the blogging, I went out to take pictures to make a little throwaway post about Kelly. (Two posts below this.)

Turns out I made that same post about a year ago. Heh. I suck. I will start blogging for real again now. New Years resolution. be fair, at least I took a new photo....

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


If you've followed the blog for a while, you know about June. June was one of the first kids born on our farm. And June was the first adult goat we ever sold.

June was a silly, sweet clown of a goat, but did not have the best milk production her first year. She made enough milk for a family goat, but not really enough to stay at a dairy. So we found her a wonderful family and we threw in a second goat to keep her company(blog post to come on this story)and said our goodbyes.

We told June's new family, who have become friends of ours, that we would babysit her anytime they needed us. They took us up on it a year ago and June had her kids here at BHF last Chanukah.

And then she exploded with milk. June more than doubled the capacity of her udder in her second year as a milker, and we had some serious seller's remorse. But we were happy for the Hydes, who got a lot of good milk and obviously really loved old Junebug.

This year we babysat June again as her family took a last vacation before the arrival of their third baby. (Human baby, that is.) As the enormity of the prospect of milking goats while caring for a new infant and home schooling the other two kids set in, they began to wonder if they shouldn't re-home June and Emmylou. Long story short, we snapped her up. June has come back to Blue Heron Farm.

We learned a lot of things in the unfolding of this story.

First, it reinforced our idea of how important it is to sell goats to good families. We got to see June a lot in the time she lived with the Hydes and we were so thankful that she went to such a good home. It would be so hard to think of an animal you love in a place where they would not be treated like family. June was and is happy and healthy in both of her homes.

Next, we realized that you can't make decisions about milking potential in the first year. Many goats don't really come into their full production until age three or sometimes even later. This has been true with a number of our goats - they just keep getting better as they get more mature.

This leads to the fact that we can't raise babies. We knew this, but really - this is huge. One and two year olds will eat just as much as three year olds, but give you half the milk? Stupid. We knew this a year ago, but we're hanging on to Binder and Penny Lane anyway. Sigh. That, as you know, is its own story.

The biggest takeaway for me was the realization that I am going to stress any time we sell an adult goat. It is SO much harder than selling the babies you don't really know. We have a couple we have considered selling this year for production reasons, but I just don't know if I can bear to let them go. Even when they go to a great place - as June did - I know how much I will miss them.

We'll see if I can get over this. Because Miranda - while sweet as pie, just had a second mediocre milk season. If she doesn't get it together in year three, she may have to move on. I should probably start screening applicants now. Who knows how long this might take.

Monday, December 21, 2009


One of our older does, Kelly, developed a really peculiar behavior in the last year or so. It has intensified in the past weeks into something almost cartoon-like.

Kelly foams at the mouth at meal time.

It starts about an hour before dinner. Everyone is usually hanging out, chewing cud, thinking about getting milked and the delicious treats that come with that. And then Kelly starts to salivate.

A lot.

And it's thick, like meringue.

And it gets all over anything she touches. Fence posts. Other goats. Her own ears. The cat.

I've given her a new nickname. Kelli-ccino.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Seeing Ghosts

Last winter we sold a pair of goats to some farmer friends. Poinsettia was born on Christmas and Daisy was born on New Years Eve Day.

Normally we don't see the goats we sell again, except in photos, but since we have Skeeter the Magnificent here, we offered to take the girls back for breeding. (Not an option when the only male you have is their dad.)

The girls came back a couple weeks ago and are staying for two heat cycles to make sure Skeet gets the job done. While I love having them around, it has been a profoundly bittersweet experience.

In a remarkable coincidence, Poinsettia is Loretta's daughter and looks almost exactly like her. If you don't remember, Loretta was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer and had to be put down in June.

Daisy is Miranda's daughter and she came out looking exactly like her great aunt Patty. ...the other goat we had to euthanize this year.

Seeing these two brings a smile to my face every day and has brought me close to tears on several occasions. It is like having Loretta and Patty's ghosts here reminding us how awesome and yet how hard it is to be a compassionate farmer.

I am glad our goats are living on through their genes and bringing their goofy personalities to a whole new farm.