Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Update on the kids, 2016

So everyone has been asking: 'how are the kids?' 'want to see what's going on with the kids!' 'bet they're getting big! what's new with the kids?'
okay, okay here is a nice dose of things to make you smile:

Baby goats are very busy.  There is always something that needs exploring, tasting, or to be fluffed up and laid on for naps.  It's funny how they never walk anywhere but rather race and bounce where ever they go.

Buddy finds a bug.
At a few weeks old they were ready to go outside and explore.  Moma laid quietly in the shade while Grandma babysat.  Up until about 12 weeks old, most of the babies' diet consisted of mama's milk (with a little extra from Grandma).  They watch mom carefully to see what's good to eat and what to leave alone.  But like all babies, they're constantly mouthing and playing with all sorts of stuff they find in the play yard.
They grow fast.  More to come.

Friday, September 16, 2016

September, where does the time go?

I'm always a little surprised when I realize that another month has slipped by and we're sailing into a new season.  Summer was very dry this year.  Central New York has areas that have been deemed drought zones, including My Happy Acres.  We've been fortunate that our well hasn't gone dry but we also make an effort to conserve water whenever possible.
The garden was not planted as heavily as last year.  We have lots of plum tomatoes.  Unlike last year, the poblano peppers are doing really well.  We have enough to enjoy fresh yet enough to freeze and enjoy this winter.  When you want to add a flavorful, yet sometimes spicy kick to you meal, substitute the bland green bell pepper with a poblano.  It's a real flavor treat!  (for recipes, check this out.)
Of course, it wouldn't be Summer without fresh green beans and fresh three bean salad.  One of our favorite parts of Summer are all the cool summer salads.  Such a shame to see the season come to an end.  Our dog is also very fond of fresh green beans so I have to be watchful when the bucket is being brought in from the garden.  He gets a few, but only when I give them to him.
The apples are almost ready for harvest.  The Galas should be ready in the next day or two and promise to be extra sweet this year.  Gala apples are one of the choice apples for making traditional apple crisps and sweet apple pies.  They retain their shape, yielding a sweet, lovely flavor to your baked goods.  If you have a favorite apple, get your reservation in soon before they're sold out!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New babies first pictures, 2016

I don't think anyone wants to see those pictures of the babies just as they're being born, but you might like to see those sweet little faces, happy and content in their world.
Our first born, a precious baby girl

Second born, a constantly hungry baby boy

Number three, a baby boy, is now much stronger and more inquisitive than his siblings.

Fluffy, showing off her much thinner self, wanting to know why I'm taking pictures rather than giving her more sweet feed.

Monday, July 11, 2016

The hostages have been released, Fluffy babies! 2016

At five this morning, Ms Fluffy made a face at the camera then turned around to show that she was in labor.  Ah!  So we're not fooling this time!  A few hours later and she had three darling babies on the ground.  Two boys and a girl(!). 

The first born was the girl (on far left).  She, of course, will stay on the farm and is to be named 'Precious'.  The second born, a boy, is a little eating machine.  Every time Fluffy stands up, he's first to the dinner table.  When she lays down, he gets as close as he can to her, periodically nosing her side (is it time for snacks yet?).  She softly tells him to knock it off while she rests.  The other boy, had a rough time getting born and is very tired.  He's had some snacks but I suspect he's going to need supplemental feeding (oh, boy. a bottle baby.). 
Fluffy, our Proud Mommy!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Update on Queen Fluffy, 2016

No, Ms Fluffy hasn't had her babies yet.  The hostages are due to be released for another few days but still we have her on watch.
Dad-gum it! Can't reach that itchy spot!
Fortunately I still serve a purpose in her life: reaching & scratching itchies, providing cookie support, shoo-ing away any bugs (or bucklings) that are bothering her...   To keep her spirits up, her sisters have also been helpful.
Fluffy?  All you need is a new hat and you'll right as rain!
Everyone has been grazing for awhile before laying down and enjoying a summer day.  The boys have plenty of toys to play on.  If they start to bother Fluffy a little too much, their mom or even Aunt Dorothy will give them a nudge and off they go to find other adventures elsewhere.
We'll continue to keep tabs on Ms Fluffy, hoping for happy, healthy babies soon!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

When did you say you were due? Adventures with Fluffy, 2016

Fluffy is approaching her due date so we're keeping a weather eye on her.  Every time she makes the slightest grunt, we jump and check on her.  I suspect she's now grunting for her own amusement (hey, girls! watch this: GRUNT!  Did you see how fast they jumped? ha! ha! let me do it again!).
I'm ready for my snack!
 It's so good to have purpose in one's life.....
Meanwhile, the boys are growing fast and soon will be ready to strike out on their own.  Constantly exploring and playing, the bigger girls sometimes will join in the fun.  Aunt Dorothy plays the goat version of Hide-and-go-seek which appears to consist of the boys hiding their heads behind a large object (while their other ends stick out like warning flags) while Dorothy walks around and around until someone is found.  Once found the hider races about gleefully bleating then goes and hides again...usually in the same place as before.
Peek-a-boo!  Where's Lightning?  Where could that boy have gone?
One just has to pause, watch, and smile.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Ninety degrees meanwhile out with the goats, 2016

I'm always surprised at how resilient Boer Goats can be.  This breed originates from South Africa and has become one of the best meat goats ever bred.  As other animals, including the human variety, head for the shade or the AC, the Boers are all out sunning themselves, enjoying the lovely day.
 I'm the first to admit, that I love our goats.  They are such personalities!  Fluffy is herd queen.  Although very pregnant, no one challenges her.  First to the pasture.  First to the water bucket.  First to eat.  First to get pats.  Everyone waits patiently until Fluffy indicates everything okay.  She's sweet as can be to the boys, gently correcting them when necessary. 
The boys are busy!  Like little perpetual motion machines with only two settings: High and Off.  Like most toddlers, they race every where: hurry to the pasture! hurry to the barn!  hurry to the feed tray! hurry to the milk wagon! hurry to see what grandma brought!  Most pictures I take of them ends up where one or the other is blurry.
I think I saw some cookies in Grandma's pocket!  you knock her down, I'll grab em!
I think I caught them sharing a secret.  We'll never know.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Early Days of the rainless summer, 2016

The west coast is on fire.  The Mid- and Southwest are struggling with high temps.  The South and Southeast including Texas are struggling with flash floods.  Here in the Northeast, although temps continue to be relatively mild, we've received nearly half as much rain as we had by this time last year.  Spooky.

On the plus side, the late cold temps in Spring caused many of the blossom heads to drop making culling fruitlets a much simpler task.  The dry conditions add to the fruit drop.  Too much water stress however can cause fruit trees to not bear the following year, so we have to be vigilant.
It's easy to forget that trees need supplemental watering in warmer or dryer weather.  Setting up a sprinkler in the early evening may seem like a great idea however one needs to consider how much competition  for the water your tree may have.  Flowers, grasses, and other trees are all taking up the water being applied.  Additionally, the drier the ground, the more difficult it is for the soil to hold water and not allow it to merely run off.  At My Happy Acres, we start by moistening the soil around the tree before giving each one a long drink.
Determining how much water to apply to each tree is a simple calculation.  Begin by measuring the circumference of the trunk.  Divide this number by 3.14.  This will give you the diameter (D) of the trunk.  Multiply the diameter times ten to get the number of gallons needed (D x 10 = #gal).

Although there are gizmos out there that will allow a user to precisely me asure the amount of water flowing from one's hose, most households produce enough water pressure that using the calculation, diameter times five, will tell you how many minutes of water flow will provide your tree with its water needs.  (D x 5 = Minutes)
Remember that it's important to measure your trees.  Although many of our trees were planted four years ago, some are slow growing and others are more robust.  The Sansa for example are only 1.4" in diameter however the Northern Spy are nearly 3".  The difference is in the variety.  Some grow fast.  Some grow more slowly. 
Take care of your trees and you will be rewarded in the fall with some lovely fruit!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Goats and the Apple Orchard; Spring 2016

Not long ago a friend of mine asked why I didn't just put the goats into the Apple orchard and use them for weed and grass control.  Think of it this way: offer your family a choice of salads.  One salad is made up of plain lettuce.  The other salad is fruit-flavored and delicious!  Now offer the choice of eating grass or eating apple trees to a bunch of happy, always hungry goats.  What do you think might happen?

After trimming and pruning some of the apple trees, we took a bucket of 'snacks' over to the girls to enjoy.  Fluffy immediately started hoovering up leaves as fast as she could munch.  The bucklings watched Jellybean closely as she sampled the branches.  She allowed them to pull leaves from the branch she was nibbling on.  In short order, the lightbulbs went on and boys were soon scampering after leaves of their own.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Warmer weather, warmer smiles to share; Spring 2016

There is very little idle time on the farm.  When living in the city, I had little appreciation for the hours spent at the park watching the kids play or quietly reading in the shade.  I have no complaints.  I get up with the sun.  I am greeted by the happy smiling faces of my dog and goats.  Even the chickens want to snuggle up in my lap if I sit down for a moment near the coop.

Jellybean's bucklings have been growing fast.  This morning they each weighed in at more than 40 lbs!  All they want is to wiggle, get pats & scratches, and play! play! play!  Then, after a quick snack from mom, take a nap in the sun, then play some more.
It's Grandma!  Look how fast I can run Grandma!  Here I come!

I'm Grandma's favorite!  Are not!  I'm her favorite! Quit pushin! Moma! He's pushing me! Quit!
Fluffy is due just after the Fourth of July.  I feel so sorry for her sometimes.  She's nearly 70" in circumference.  I'm sure she's carrying at least twins (which is not unusual for Boer goats) but it may be more.  I can only hope that she's as good a moma as Jellybean has been. 
Fluffy is tired of being pregnant.  She's so big she can't reach all the itchy places.  She was trying to use scratch her back foot with her horn the other morning.  She wiggled this way and that way and stretched and contorted, grunting with each yoga position she attempted, never quite reaching that pesky foot.  Finally she laid down, periodically stretching that back leg to wiggle the foot.  Poor baby. 
Don't mind me.  Just let me lay here and moan.  A cookie would make me feel better.  Just leave the bag.  Really I just want one...or two...or...
She might not be able to run as fast or as long as the other girls, but she still romps and plays tag.  Then lays down with the boys for naps.  I suspect she feels that July can't come quick enough.  Hoping for happy, health babies and easy births.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Spring has Sprung, new babies

Life has been quite busy the last few weeks with the birth of our first babies.  We couldn't be more pleased!  Jellybean had two delightful little boys about a week ago.  Birthing went smooth and she's a good mom.
We were ready for bottle feeding just in case.  As it has turned out, Jelly has plenty of milk to take care of her children.  The boys have been growing at a rate of 1/2 - 2/3 lb per day and have plenty of energy to race around, explore, and get into general mischief.  
Now all we need to do is think about names.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring has sprung, taking care of the itches

On the one hand, Spring is a lovely time of year.  The flowers are coming up.  The grass is turning green again.  Brightly colored birds are returning and greeting the day with their trilling songs.  Spring is also the time of mud and hairballs.
"I don-wanna walk over there!  It's muddy!  Icky!" the goats all seem to say as they gingerly step through the softer places in the pasture.  Then, they all want to stand on the same 'high place', be that a rock or a brick or slightly raised place on the ground that appears to be a wee bit drier than where they were standing before. 
Before you know it, the tussling starts: 'This is my rock! Get your own!'  followed by pushing and shoving and running and stamping down whatever the coveted 'high place' happened to be.
The warmer weather also triggers everyone to begin shedding her winter coat.  That lovely, thick angora undercoat that worked so well at keeping a goatie warm while rolling about in the heavy, wet snow, is now too hot and itchy.  Every fence, post, gate, and pant leg that holds still long enough, becomes a place to rub against.
Think about your pets.  In the Spring and Fall it becomes important to brush and keep them clean.  This small step keeps them happy and healthy.
Using a nubby paddle brush, each girl gets in line to get some personal grooming time with the Moma.
ohhhhh yeah!  that's the spot....ahhhhhh!
Moma's all done!  don't I look pretty?

Monday, February 29, 2016

Secret Stuff, Spring 2016

We have a little secret that we're very excited about: two of our goat girls are pregnant!  Due at the end of April we're doing our best to ensure that they are all safe and well taken care of.  Special hay and lots of extra attention has been the rule of the day.  If you thought the girls were spoiled before, you haven't seen anything yet!  Boer goats are well known for having twins, but triplets and quads are not unheard of.  We're just hoping that the girls are all able to take care of their own babies and are good mommies.
For now, all is aglow at our house as we enjoy the happy thoughts about dancing baby goat feet!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Is it Spring yet? 2016

We're all getting a little stir crazy as we wait for Spring to finally arrive.  Temperatures warm into the 40s and 50s, then plummet back into the teens and 20s.  The chickies and the goat girls stand at the doors of their respective homes and stare out at the weather.
"What?  Are you nuts?  It's cold out there! We want WARM food! Can't we get something delivered inside?"
Then it happened: a warm day.  DH opened the front of the barn and out bounced the goatie girls.  Oh, happy day!  They ran back and forth as they bounced and they played.  This continued until the skies began to turn grey again.

"Awwwww Daddy! Make it sunny again!  We want to play some more!"
After a little more bouncing, they came racing back into the barn.
"Did you see us?  We ran really fast!  Can we have some cookies?  We've been really good!"
A cookie for each with a scratch on the neck and each little girl pranced back to her house, ready for another adventure this afternoon.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

How cold is it? Feb 2016

I was amazed.  By the end of 2015 we had had just a scant bit of snow, leaving Winter to look like a bust.  Since then the temps have been all over the map.  Up into the 40s and 50s, then plummeting into the teens and less.
 I counted our blessings when we only got about 18" last week, barely missing the bulk of a storm that dropped over three feet of snow just 20 minutes east of us.  Once the wind laid, DH was able to get out and clear a small area for the goat girls to play in (no fun to drag pregnant tummies in the deep snow).  I wish I had my camera as they bounced and froliced around him, so happy to see him, so happy to get outside to play!
The weather changed abruptly.  Bitter temps and high winds caused dangerous conditions for all the beings on the farm.  Extra hay was added to all the coops and stalls, providing protection and a nice warm bed to snuggle down into with friends and family.
How cold is it?  Air temps averaged 3F yesterday.  This morning, the thermometer indicated that it was -11F. So how cold is it?  It was cold enough to take a warm egg out from under a hen, and, by the time it took to walk with it back to the house, it had froze and cracked. 
Holy CATS!  That's cold.
I think it may be a good day to find warm things to do inside the house.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Just a little snow

It looks like the snow has finally stopped.  Before letting the girls out for the day, we cleared a trail leading to the hay crib (goat girls) and scratch (chickies).  To see if they would voluntarily walk in the snow, a right angled path was cut.  Sure enough, rather than getting their feet mussed, the little goat girls carefully picked their way down the trail.  It should be said that the snow in the pasture is not much more than a few inches deep.
Stay on the path Jellybean!  Snow monsters might be hiding in those drifts!

Wadya mean Back Up?  You Back UP!

Guess this is why we call them Princesses.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Windy days and rearranging the furniture

Winter has finally arrived in the Northeast.  Although we had a wee bit of snow around Thanksgiving, the storms have been steadily sifting for the last few days.  Just before the drifts arrived, high winds  pushed the warm weather, trees, and other things away.

One of the items, much to our surprise, was the 250 lb calf hut that was strapped down in the pasture.  During the night, winds were clocked in excess of 45 mph.  Apparently this was accompanied by swirling air currents which were just enough to lift the hut like an over sized box kite and send it sailing into the pasture 30 feet away.  I was grateful that the goaties were are tucked into their snug little beds inside the barn.  I was also grateful that I didn't have to go searching for it in the wood or in the next county!
I think I'm beginning to understand why the goatie-girls aren't all that keen about the wind!