Thursday, April 29, 2021

A Family Visit: Ryan & Abigail

Myles loves peanut butter treats.
I wrote this post back in March, also, but couldn't find the time to edit images and post it until now. Time seems to be feast or famine, as many things are on the homestead. 


Sean's brother, Ryan and niece, Abigail spent the last two weeks with us. Visiting from North Carolina, they needed to quarantine so there wasn't a whole lot they could do outside of the homestead. Thankfully, we had LOTS to keep them busy right here.

Interior boards repurposed from
pallets. Exterior boards and plastic
wrap will make the shelter draft-free.
Ryan was a god-send, helping Sean with finishing up the buck barn in the back woods. They installed the roof and finished the walls. All that is left to complete is the floor on one side before the boys can use it properly. In the meantime, the older wethers and young breeding bucks are fascinated with their new space, giving it lots of attention. Additionally, Ryan was invaluable helping with animal chores morning and evening, pitched in with tracking CD&T immunizations, assisting with picking up and stacking hay stores, and even put his hand to mucking out the barn along side Sean. When we began milking this week, Ryan strained the milk and recorded milk yields for us.

Cutting Feta curds
Miss Abigail tried her hand a making bread from scratch, helped make lotions for a Tiller & Rye restock, learned how to make soaps, and made our first batch of cheese for the season. She took on the responsibility of bottle feeding Jake's morning and evening supplementary bottles and helped with tracking copper bolus treatments for our herd. Abigail is staying on here at the homestead for a while longer and we are thrilled to have her with us. While her Dad's flight was in the air, she watched Honey give birth to a BIG, singleton doe who needed a helping hand to be born. 

Abigail and Jake
It hasn't been all work. We've played board games, watched movies together, stargazed and had a bonfire in the doe pasture. Once their quarantine time was past, Abigail and our daughter had an adventure hiking and browsing for treasures at the Big Chicken Barn. Since we share the same faith, we also enjoyed family worship times and meetings for worship via zoom. Snakes, crested geckos, ferrets, and goat kids joined us for snuggle-times.

I can see why having a large family was a blessing when more folks farmed for a living. The many hands made light work of necessary chores and gave us time to spend with one another each day. 


Boy! Time has a way of flying! I meant to post this almost 3 weeks ago! Since then, Abigail has returned home to her parents and made plans to return for a visit soon. We are looking forward to that for sure. Maybe, we can even convince her hard-working Dad and Mom to come along for an extended stay this summer! Oh the projects we could tackle. I mean, how I look forward to relaxing time to chat and catch up. ;) 

Thanks for visiting with us today, Friends. We enjoy your company. 
Sean & Sonja

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Hatching Season Begins: Sebastopol Gosling

With the weather making a valiant attempt at warming, the geese, turkeys, ducks, and chickens are all thinking HATCH SOMETHING with varying degrees of success. Since we aren't ready for chicks quite yet, we have been thwarting all the hens efforts to procreate by collecting eggs from the nest boxes each morning. In response, they have begun their yearly game of "Find Where I Am Laying My Eggs Now". I have no illusions that we will win this game, but if we can help minimize the number of 'Barnyard Beauties' (what we affectionately call chicks of mixed heritage) hatched in favor of pure bred chicks which can be adopted to other families, that would be well in my eyes. 

The turkeys have started laying, but not yet sitting on nests. THOSE I do want to hatch- the sooner the better. 

The ducks have no hope of success. At least, not without my purchasing another male to live here. Our big boy, Boris passed last year and we haven't had the heart to find another until now. Without a male, our females have zero chance of hatching ducklings for us this season. And, I would love more Muscovies living here. 

Which bring us to the geese. Lucy decided to lay a nest under Sean's ladder, next to the barn, in the open. Since she wouldn't be shifted from that intent, we built a small shelter over and around her to offer some protection from the elements. And, 28 days later, she hatched out ONE single gosling. We candled the other eggs in the nest. 3 stopped developing early and 3 others were not fertilized. This singleton is getting lots of attention from the entire flock of geese. Gregarious by nature, our geese have the philosophy of 'It takes a village...' so they are all very protective and supportive of this little one. It is sweet to watch. 

Three other geese are now sitting on nests in their shelter within the pond area. If they are successful, more goslings will join our farm in May. 

These short video clips were captured in Early April. I hope you enjoy. :) 

Thanks for visiting with us today, Friends. I hope you come again.
Sean & Sonja

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Doe's Secret Code of Honor

Doe's Secret Code of Honor
Author Unknown

The doe's secret code of honor is as old as goats themselves and is ultimately the species best kept secret. No doe shall ever kid before its time. (Its time being determined by the following factors):

1- No kid shall be born until total chaos has been reached by all involved. Your owner's house must be a wreck, their family hungry and desperate for clean clothes, and their social life nonexistent.

2- "Midwives" must reach the babbling fool status before you kid out. Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair and the inability to form a sentence mean the time is getting close.

3- For every bell, beeper, camera or whistle they attach to you, kidding must be delayed by at least one day for each item. If they use an audio monitor, one good yell per hour will keep things interesting.

4- If you hear the words, "She's nowhere near ready. She'll be fine while we're away for the weekend," Wait until they load the car, then begin pushing!

5- Owner stress must be at an all time high! If you are in the care of someone else, ten to fifteen phone calls a day is a sign you're getting close.

6- When you hear the words "I can't take it anymore!" wait at least three more days.

7 -You must keep this waiting game interesting. False alarms are mandatory! Little teasers such as looking at your stomach, pushing your food around in the bucket and then walking away from it, and nesting, are always good for a rise. Be creative and find new things to do to keep the adrenaline pumping in those who wait.

8- The honor of all goats is now in your hands. Use this time to avenge all of your barn mates. Think about your friend who had to wear that silly costume in front of those people. Hang onto that baby for another day. OH, they made him do tricks too! Three more days seems fair. Late feedings, the dreaded diet, bad haircuts, those awfulwormings can also be avenged at this time.

9- If you have fulfilled all of the above and are still not sure when to have the kids, listen to the weather forecast on the radio that has been so generously provided by those who wait. Severe storm warning is what you're waiting for. In the heart of the storm jump into action! The power could go out and you could have the last laugh. You have a good chance of those who wait missing the whole thing while searching for a flashlight that works!

10- Make the most of your interrupted nights. Beg for food each time someone comes into the barn to check you. Your barn mates will love you as the extra goodies fall their way too.

Remember, this code of honor was designed to remind man of how truly special goats are. Do your best to reward those who wait with a beautiful doeling to carry on the Doe Code of Honor for the next generation of those who wait!