Friday, April 04, 2008

"Tails" From The Farm... Part 2

You can read part 1 here.

The Jeeters were sort of helping us along in our homesteading skills. They already had chickens and goats and had raised pigs for 4H. They lived about 4 hours away. Whenever we could, we would go and stay the weekend with them. They are very dear friends and when we are with them we just take up where we left off without any re-aquainting. We called and asked them lots of questions about getting goats and what it took to care for them. They had an Alpine goat who was due to kid. It belonged to their son, Johnny Reb. Johnny and Joshua, who at the time was "Billy Yank" but has since seen the light and is now also a "Johnny Reb;" decided to do business. Johnny was going to sell Joshua this new kid if it was a doe. Joshua did extra chores, bugged the neighbors for chores and saved every penny he could get his hands on.

Well, the great day came and a little doeling was born. Joshua was beside himself with excitement. We wanted to go as soon as possible and pick her up, so that she would bond with Joshua. He named her Ellie. She was black with white splashes on her. The whole family went to pick her up. We found someone locally to buy milk from to feed her and we had bottles, and all the baby goat things we thought would be needed. It was such an exciting time!! We brought her home. Goats are herd animals and do best if you have at least two. We had planned on getting another goat fairly soon, and we were going to get another baby.

It did not take long for us to realize how much money we were going to be spending to keep this baby in milk, so we went ahead and jumped in with both feet. We found another goat, Minx, who was in milk and we bought her. The Lord has been so good to us in picking out our animals. We had no clue what we were doing. I picked Minx because she was brown. =) We found out later that she came from one of the best French Alpine herds in Florida. Our friends the Jeeters could not believe that we had a Sand Dance goat. We did not even know what a Sand Dance goat was. =) That is the herd name by the way. We had to go about 8 hours in the opposite direction to get her. We left on Friday and were going to spend the night and then go get her early in the morning and start for home. After we left my back went out. I hurt so bad, I was almost physically ill. It was very hard trying to sleep that night. We got up early that morning and headed out to the fair grounds. They were having some sort of Chataqua fair and the owners were there. She was sort of spoiled by the man who owned her. He gave her Hardy's biscuits and Nutter Butter cookies. We wanted to get started home because I was miserable and the ride was not really something I looked forward to, but I wanted to get it behind me. We had taken Ellie with us since she was not even two weeks old yet. She was getting four bottles a day. We stopped at a rest area and Joshua got out to walk her on a leash. Someone stopped and asked him what type of dog she was. =) Minx was not happy to be taken away from all that she knew and loved (and I think ruled). We even stopped at Hardy's and bought her a biscuit. She would not eat it. Once we got her home and settled she bonded right away with Joshua, because he milked her.

We had a huge water oak tree in our back yard. The owners had built a platform like treefort in it. We put up lattice and stock panels underneath that as the goat pen. The one huge limb leaned way over. We could not keep Ellie in the pen. She would climb the leaning trunk and jump out over the fence. She had so much bounce. She would run and zig and then zag with lightning speed. She would jump up and put all 4 feet out to one side and then land on them. She was so much fun to watch. We ended up putting her into "The Back Forty" with Minx and the chickens. Ellie was already spoiled. We would go and get Minx out to milk her. Ellie would try to sneak out too and often succeeded. We called her the "scape goat". If she was blocked from getting out, she would get mad, stomp on all fours over to the spools that were there for the goats, jump up on them and snort at us. This amused us greatly. Things settled into a routine and we began to think with satisfaction of, "this was the life for us."

Now, goats do no like to get wet. So, a shelter had to be provided for them. We named ourselves The Master "Tarpenters." We can build a shed or whatever is needed with those wonderful blue tarps. So, a shed was soon in place. Whenever rain was in the air, the goats would hide out in their beautiful blue shed. Our son is a contractor with his own business. He gets lots of repeat business because he has a cabinet makers eye. He has very good taste and every thing is plumb and square. He was not fond of the tarpentry then and he abhors it now. =)

We were drinking and sharing goat's milk, selling eggs and the animals were paying for much of their own feed. This was getting fun. However, goat's milk is naturally homogenized so we could not make butter, and were not able to use the cream. We would go and visit the Jeeters and good friends of theirs had a jersey cow. We would bring home about 3 gallons of milk. Oh, how we loved that milk. We would skim the cream, make butter and enjoy those glasses of rich milk. So, we began to pray for a Jersey cow.

To be continued...


Anonymous said...

I remember a lot of this stuff. Especially your first baby goats! :-O LOL!

Tipper said...

How interesting-can't wait for the next part!

Frazzled Farm Wife said...

So interesting! Can't wait to hear more.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law have had several goats for roping practice and those darn things can be such a nuisance. Sounds like yours was pretty spoiled and not too much of a nuisance.

Sharon said...

Our neighbor has goats (I don't know what kind ~ they are white with brown markings)and during the winter when the trees in the woods are bare, our dog can see the goats in the pasture and barks at them for a long time until she finally realizes they are not going away.

I'm looking forward to reading more of your story.