Baby Goats and Healing Calves 

It’s that time of year. Our goats are having their little ones. Sadly two of them died. They were born in the middle of a very cold night; their mother failed to clean them up, which caused them to freeze. Well one of them froze in the night, the other one lived till 4:00 pm the next day.

Oh! We tried our best to save the little girl! But she caught pneumonia  in the night. Mom mixed up a concoction with her herbs; we fed it to her little by little, several times a day. The little goat fought to survive. I knew she was strong, otherwise she wouldn’t have lasted so long, but she wasn’t strong enough.

Slowly we watched her die in my mom’s hands. My mom gently put her in a wheelbarrow and stepped back. All four of us stood around the wheelbarrow, watching. We’d all seen animals die before–it happens to often on a farm– but that doesn’t mean it’s any less sad.

But life comes and life goes–animal life that is. Human life–human’s soul never dies. But that’s for another story. My brother brought the little one to the back where our dogs wouldn’t find it. And that was it. The chores went on, the animals had to be fed.

I believe the mother goat didn’t take care of her little ones because she was sick. Hopefully next time will be better. Now she’s giving us delicious goat milk. milk doesn’t have a lot of cream, we won’t be able to make a lot of butter from it, but that’s alright, we’ll soon start milking more goats.

Now we have six little goats from other mother goats and they’re healthy little creatures. I say, they are just the cutest! But I’d probably say that about every little creature.

One can’t always save every life, but one can save some of them. Mom also mixed up a concoction for our little calf, which also caught pneumonia and that worked out just fine. A friend of ours said he was surprised the calf lived, but she did.

I’m surprised how calm the calf is. She lets us pet her like she is a pet. I’d like to keep her as a milk cow, but we don’t have a use for her milk. The goats supply plenty. Therefore, she must go back to the heard.

I couldn’t help it . . . I named her Loretta.

She grew up here because her mom didn’t supply enough milk so we fed her goat milk. And that got her going real soon. I think that’s why she’s so calm. She’s use to people.

Well, I’ve gone on long enough about our animals. There’s much more I’d like to write about, but that must wait for another time.

I hope you all enjoyed the simple step into our winter farm life. Have a great week!


Spoiled Goats, Noicy Geese

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Goats can be annoying, especially spoiled goats, and mind you, our goats are spoiled! Plus when almost all the spoiled goats are pregnant goats in the dead of winter, it can be a problem. I remember last year at the beginning of May–one would think spring in that time of year, but it wasn’t. The flowers were beginning to bloom, the cherry blossoms beginning to peak through, with the grass a fine shade of green already, when a snow storm hit. One like we’d never seen before–especially in May! Even the elders, who lived around here all their life, said they’d never seen anything like it: nineteen inches of snow in May. Of course, for those who live up north it probably doesn’t sound strange, but for us in southwest Kansas, it was. TRUST ME, THERE WERE BRANCHES TO CLEAN UP EVERYWHERE!

But where were we? Yes, the goats. When that snow storm hit we piled them all in our barn, free to run around. Our miniature horse and everyone–except the chickens. At that time we didn’t have geese, nor did I have a horse. They all stayed loose, tucked in one barn for over a day. Our barn was a mess! This year we aim to come prepared. Just in case. We are setting up little stalls in every corner of our barn and keeping them there till summer. This is needed either way, for our goats are due in January and I believe one of them is getting close. So we best get to it! Starting tomorrow or next week.

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Not to mention our pregnant miniature horse is due in March. Of course, she’ll need a bigger stall than the goats. I hope all the goats are out of the barn by then. I have never had any experience with pregnant miniature horses; I would very much appreciate any knowledge if someone has to offer it. 

Imagine a corral full of little goats playing and a baby miniature horse in the next corral. And with any luck our geese will be nesting by then. You should see little geese follow their mother as the male goose follows behind. Oh, and have you ever seen little goats play? It is the cutest! IMG_20170613_090206586 

           (This image was taking in the spring from our geese.)

Plucking the geese has nothing to do with their cuteness. That is a whole different story. I will get into that another time.

I wait for time from my busy schedule to go riding with my horse, Izzy. She is desperate need for some exercise, plus my brain is in desperate need for some time with my horse– and miniature horse. We are training our miniature horse for buggy driving and so far it’s a slow process. Stormy, the horse, is not the problem, it’s the time that’s the problem. But I will get there yet. And I will let you know with the results when we hitch Stormy on to the buggy. Last time did not go so well. . . 

I know though driving the buggy might have to wait till after her delivery. I doubt pulling a buggy is good for them at this time. 

Oh, well I have said so much at such a late hour. . .  I’ma hit the sack. Hope y’all enjoyed a simple slip into my life. 

From the Chicken Coop to the Dinner Table

I heard what she said , but I wished her words would have went in one ear and out the other. Instead they repeated in my mind several times before I could answer. I will not show my fear, I decided. So I did it. Next morning I followed Mom out to the chicken coop, and clumsily chased the chickens around, trying my best to catch one at a time.

I set my eyes on the mean rooster first; once I had him cornered I slowly moved in, ready to catch him. Yet, my slow actions failed me. As I reached out to grab him he flew up over my head, landing on the other side of me. I’m sure I looked as silly as I felt, because Mom, who stood outside the coop, her face pressed up against the fence, giggled at the miserable scene. Rooster04_adjusted

I rolled up my sleeves and dove in for the second round. This time I carefully watched his moves; when the right time came I dodged in, trying  to keep my eyes open. There!  I did it. Now, the nerve testing task was next: I would kill the rooster.  Whether I should have been thankful or irritated, I don’t know, for I was neither at the time. But Mom said, “There now, darling,  I’ll kill him for you”. I was about to give the rooster to her, but she would not have him. She simply said, “No, you hold the body, I’ll hold the head”. I didn’t understand this method at first, but then with all her back-and-forth talk she took the rooster from me, then she demonstrated exactly how to hold the rooster.

I didn’t think much of it, I did what Mom said to do: putting my index finger between his wings and securing my thumb and the other fingers around his wings. Then holding his legs firmly with my left hand, I placed his head on the block, where Mom stretched out his neck. Then one, two, three . . . his head laid on the block, yet his body . . . I held in my hands. Suddenly Mom spoke up, “Now, point the throat towards the ground until he’s bled out”.

Well, the worse is over, I thought, patiently waiting for the bleeding to quit. However, I was disappointed. The rooster started shaking with all his might, nearly flying out my hands. Somehow I managed to keep a strong grip on him; I certainly did not wish to see a headless rooster running around the yard. Of course, with no beak I highly doubted he’d be able to cause much harm. Yet, I didn’t want to chance it. Even if he wouldn’t do any harm, my heart would reach out to the poor rooster for having such an unusual, horrifying death. 0f962d3bac3d0b2c9236e2892d88cffe--country-living-country-life

Just when I thought the rooster would never give up he finally stopped shaking and closed his eyes. (Interesting fact: once a chicken’s head has been removed the eyes will not close until the heart stops beating.) I laid the rooster down beside an old alfalfa bale.

I did the same thing with the other seven roosters, although this time I looked and felt more experienced. However, when it came to plucking the feathers I took baby steps, for once again, I had not the slightest clue what I was doing.

We carried the birds to the cottage sidewalks, where Mom asked me to pour boiling water into a five gallon bucket. After that Mom gently put the rooster in the boiling water, with a stick she dipped the rooster to the bottom of the bucket. Gradually she handed him to me, telling me to start plucking. I realized this would be easiest part of the whole experience.

Just as I thought, plucking the feathers was the easiest. Because next came scrubbing the skin until every part of it looked clean enough to eat. I didn’t think about scrubbing them, it wasn’t anything I wasn’t use to.  Yet what came after that made my skin wrinkle. I swallowed hard when the  rooster’s intestines became visible. Cutting the roosters skin, then breaking the thighs wasn’t nerve taking at all. Even pulling the gizzard out hadn’t bothered me to much, but pulling the intestines was a whole different story.

Mom told me what to do in as little amount of words as possible. The last simple words she said were, “just don’t tear the colon. It’ll stink if you do”. Of all the words she could have said she chose those.

We’ll I did it. No colon was torn, all the intestines glided down into the waste bucket under the table. Next I cut and broke the rooster’s bones into separate pieces. By the time the other seven were cut and broke into pieces I felt well experienced. Of course, I wished I would have known what I was doing at the beginning. But as they always say, “For everything there is a first time”.

After all the roosters were cut up,we washed and checked over the pieces two more times to be certain there was no filth left. We bagged them up; two legs, two thighs, one breast, one back and two wings in each bag.

We cleaned the mess and after everything was sparkling clean we walked to the house with our butchered meat in hand. From the corner of my eye I saw Mom smile to herself, what for,I didn’t know. I wondered if she smiled because of my greenhorn way of butchering chickens, yet I  didn’t know, therefore I pushed the thought away.

We froze most of the chicken and made dinner with the rest of it. The rooster that ran around that morning, now laid on our dinner table.

The next time Mom mentions butchering chickens I wont burst into an instant panic! chicken-620x350_620x350_81483960113