Thursday, October 21, 2010

Feeling Bucky!

So there have been some additions to the herd since my last post.  The first one was a little Pygmy goat.  His name is Ferdinand.  He comes to us by way of a coworker who's name shall not be mentioned here to save her the disgrace she's sure to feel after you hear poor Ferdi's story.  She got him from her sister who purchased him with the intention of using him to practice rodeo roping skills.  I guess no one informed her that this little goat was full grown and she quickly discovered that he was going to be too short to be of any use.  So Karen (oops! I slipped)  decided to take him home.  I should also make note here that I was recently at Karen's house and saw a picture of her sister with her very attractive husband and 5 beautiful children and I mentioned that they seemed like such a nice family....anyhoo, I received a phone call from Karen late one afternoon inquiring on how to care for little Ferdi.  The first thing I instructed her to do was to get another goat.  Goats are herd animals and should never be kept without a little buddy to play with.  After some discussion about other necessities that would be needed and the realization that he was never going to stop pooping in her garage she decided to bring him to the farm and I would try to find a new home for him.  And here he stays.  I put a lovely ad on craigslist but only have had one response and that was clearly a meat vendor.   So if anyone wants or knows of anyone who wants a pygmy goat and is willing to be drilled by me in order to determine their qualifications for goat husbandry, please let me know!

The other addition to the gang is a large rather smelly buck who goes by the name of Rocky.  He would be what you'd call a "Rent-A-Buck".   We have leased him for a small fee to mingle with the ladies if ya know what I mean.  We picked him up on Saturday afternoon and he's already become very acquainted with three of the girls.  I penned Shirley in the small run so she wouldn't be exposed to him.  She is my Saanen doe and I had planned to take her to the breeder so I would have some purebred Saanen kids in the spring.  Well apparently our fencing in the barn has a couple of weak spots because by Monday morning she had managed to get back into the main run with the other goats .....and Rocky.  There is some evidence (I will spare you the dirty details) that she was bred by him.  It makes me want to cry but what can I do now?  I am going to secure the fence and put her back into the smaller run with the little ones and hopefully she will come into season again in a couple of weeks.  

So the yellow on his front feet and his face...URINE!  I know, disgusting right?  Even grosser, watching him do it.  He's a pretty gross dude.  And his smell...don't even get me started on that one.  I can't stand even going into the barn anymore.  There isn't enough fresh air in the world when he's standing right behind you.  You may not be able to see him but you sure can smell him.  Twenty-two more days and counting till we can ditch him.  As you can see in the photo below,  the ladies don't share my sentiment.

This picture was literally taken the minute I put him in the pen.  I was so disappointed in my girls.  I thought they were all so much better than to fall for such a Casanova so quick.  His habits are rather crude and I'll be so relieved when he's finally gone and we can go back to the way things were before "smelly boy" came.  I am really looking forward to all the little babies we'll have running around here in April though.  Only, I'm really hoping for all girls! 

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, October 14, 2010

City to Country

So I started the following post more than two weeks ago but it seems I never have time to sit down and finish it. I thought it was still worth posting and hope you'll consider putting it on your calender for next year.

This weekend we had a blast at Scott Co. City to Country Tour, sponsored by the University of Minnesota Agricultural Department. When I first suggested that this might be a fun activity for our family to do I heard a slur of complaints; "We live on a farm, why would we want to go and tour someone else's farm?", "That sounds boring", the complaints go on... I finally managed to convince them and we headed off to our first stop. First I should tell you that the City to Country Tour is a self guided tour, consisting of three different farms in Scott County that focus on different aspects of agriculture. This year the farms included a pumpkin/squash grower, a market sheep producer and a dairy farm. The tour provides members of the community the opportunity to tour local farms and demonstrates the importance of agriculture and the rural character of Scott County through demonstrations, hands-on activities and educational displays.

First stop, Bartens Pumpkins, owned by Fran Barten and family.

The front yard was a mass of orange. Pumpkins in every size and shape. Gourds galore! The tour began with several different stops along a winding path. First we learned about the benefits of having a rain barrel. FYI, you can get one for yourself for only $75 through the Scott Co. Soil and Water Conservation Department. Then we heard about the benefits of home canning and growing your own garlic.

By the way, if you live in Belle Plaine you might have seen a picture very similar to this one in the Belle Plaine Herald.  I was wondering why the guy next to me was so interested in taking pictures of my kids and then he identified himself as a photographer for the Herald.  When Joshua saw his picture he said, "I'm famous!"

Another really fascinating endeavor this family has managed to master is mushroom growing.  They are growing beautiful Shitaki right in their backyard.  They have these logs propped up and a simple irrigation system that provides the equivalent of one inch of rainfall a week.  Each log has several holes bored into it in which they inject mushroom spores.  They then cover the hole with wax and in as soon as three days they can be eating these beautiful mushrooms

I don't remember the other variety of mushroom they are growing but the spores are layered between "slices" of logs and the mushrooms grow right out of the sides.  Amazing!

They also had a small apple orchard and gave really great advice for pest control without spraying and using harsh chemicals.  We were able to sample fresh honey from their bees and see where they keep their hives.

The second stop on our tour was a sheep farm.  We saw the cutest donkey there and were able to watch a man shear a sheep in record time.  As you can see the sheep isn't as impressed!

Stop number three on the tour was a dairy farm.  The little calves were so adorable.   One even sucked my thumb!

We learned the importance of buying local to support our local farmers and then got to sample some yummy cheeses from Bongards Creamerie in Jordan and topped it off with a milkshake.  

We all had a blast and definitely recommend taking the tour with your family next year.  Every year three different farms are featured so who knows what we'll get to encounter next year.