Friday, October 26, 2007

We're Expecting!

Our two oldest goats, Rosebud and Buttercup are bred for sure. They have developed udders!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Babies

Next came Pansy.
The same day we brought home Rascal.
Next in was Tulip.
The next to come were Scarlett
and Clover.
The last addition to the herd was Cheyenne. She did not have a buddy, so she spent a lot of time with John.

So Rosebud, Buttercup, Buddy, Petunia, Pansy, Rascal, Tulip, Clover, Scarlett, Cheyenne. That makes 10 Goats who live on our little farm.

We also took in 4 boarders. We have three milkers that currently reside on the farm. Calista, Chickadee, and Buddlea. Not too long ago they were joined by a young buck, Tuan, for breeding season. So now we take care of 14 goats.

Too much fun for us? Na-a-a-a-a-a

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Adventures of Farm Girl and Tractor Boy

For months we have been looking for a tractor. There will be many uses for one on our farm. Levelling the pad for our RV Barn. Managing the power line pasture. Clearing land on the other side of the power line so we can put up fence. We've done the research. Mother Earth News had an article on working antique tractors and how they make wonderful homesteading tractors for a small hobby farm. We've been to many many auctions and saw them go for terrific amounts of cash, which was just crazy for something that needed major restorations.

One Saturday afternoon we went to look at a newer International Harvester tractor. It had a belly mower, roll bar, basically a good machine, but not very low to the ground (hence the roll bar). We weren't impressed. We finally wrote it off for safety reasons, we have a lot of sloping land and I did not want to be worrying about the thing tipping over.

John happened to notice this gentleman had numerous outbuildings, and decided to ask, "Do you have any other tractors for sale?" The man replied, "well I've got this old red belly ford that I am thinking of getting rid of." We tried not to jump up and down. We walked out to the shed where the tractor was stored and he started it up and brought it out. A WORKING TRACTOR -- and for much less than we expected to pay. SOLD!!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Little Buddy and Petunia

The next two goats to join the farm are Buddy and Petunia. To clarify, Apache Blue (Buddy) came first.
We were having a blast with Rosebud and Buttercup, and were ready to add onto the herd. We were looking for more does, because at that time we were not really sure we were going to keep any bucks on the farm. Our good friend and goat mentor Gloria had a beautiful doe that was due to kid and we asked for the opportunity to see any does she kidded. Well much to our dismay, she had two bucks, oh darn! But we went to come see them anyway. Well, needless to say, we fell in love with Buddy, who seemed to be sort of ignored by his dam. Gloria sent us home with a couple of quarts of goats milk and some colostrum and we were in business. John set up a playpen in the living room and the first indoor baby took up residence. Buddy spent much of his first week cuddled up on PapaJohn
About a week later, John went to visit the farm where our first two goats came from and saw a little black and white banded doe of about five days of age. He was afraid to bring me to see her, but knew there was a pretty fair chance I would want to bring her home. Especially since we wanted a playpen-mate for Buddy. So of course, Petunia (AKA Oreo girl) came home too. She has turned out to be the most loving and curious goat in the herd. She follows PapaJohn into the milkshed and gets locked in, but manages to find her own way out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Here Come the Critters

Last spring we started doing some research for what kind of animal we could raise on our farm. We ruled out large animals like cows and horses, (though I really kept thinking about horses) because we wanted to be able to handle all the care and upkeep ourselves. We looked at regular goats - specifically dairy breeds, but still the size seemed a bit difficult to deal with. Remember, hooves need to be trimmed, vaccinations given. Not to mention the input and output. We found pygmy goats, but were kind of put off by the scale of this breed. They seemed like little walking barrels. Then we came across Nigerian Dwarf goats, also a dairy breed. Medium in size, something like 50 to 60 pounds. A friend gave us some milk to taste and we were hooked!

Milk from a goat is nothing like what you find in a store. I found most store bought goats milk to be somewhat bitter and grassy tasting. The milk we drink every day now is sweet, and is good on cereal, and works very well for cooking. I have found since I switched to goats milk that I have less problems with indigestion and heartburn.

Research tells us that the fat globules in goats milk are smaller and therefore easier to digest. I was told that some years ago, goat farmers in this area sold milk to the local hospitals who then pasturized it for infants and elderly. True or not, it sounds reasonable.

We started with the two little unregistered goats in the above pictures. Rosebud, who is queen of the herd, and her sister Buttercup. We purchased them from a local breeder. They have been wonderful additions to the farm, entertaining us with their social and inquisitive behavior.

Next Post: Buddy & Petunia~

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Welcome To PapaJohns Farm!

Two years ago this month, we made the momentous decision to look for a way to exit Florida. By the end of December, I had a wonderful job offer, and we began looking for a home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
After a huge search, we had begun to wonder whether we would ever find anything that would work for us, we got lost one day, and found this!

Our log cabin has a large stone fireplace, which we have converted to a cast iron stove. A greatroom with country kitchen and master suite on the first floor. Two bedrooms and a den on the second floor, and a walkout basement with laundry area. We are situated on 10+ acres of land in an area of gently rolling hills.