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Meat: it’s what’s for dinner

Well I guess you could say we chickened out. I can’t deny that we kind of did, but it just seemed easier this way. Let me back up and start at the beginning.

We have three lovely lady dairy goats; for us to continue to get milk they have to kid every year. Well this year our 3 ladies gave birth to six bouncing baby goats: 3 boys and 3 girls. Early on we had said we wanted to keep all the girls to eventually replace their mothers. We knew one of the mothers, Vivi, was getting up in age and was having a harder time each season with getting her milk flowing consistently, and we thought about not breeding her again. Instead we got a good offer to sell two of the girls to a guy who already has a herd and was looking to add to it, so we were confident they were going to a good home. So off they went and we had a little money to buy more feed, straw, and hay.

The boys had a different path planned for them. We knew we needed at least one of them to go live with their dad so he wouldn’t get bored and lonely being by himself. We castrated all three of them and left their horns on because the father, Sherlock, has horns and we wanted them to be able to defend themselves. But what to do with the other two goats?

We decided that we would wait until fall and harvest two of the wethers. It was the responsible thing to do. This decision was met with shock from many of our city friends and family. We had made the choice to come out to the country and learn more about where our food comes from and this was another step. We didn’t just want to collect pet animals. We talked to a neighbor about putting them down and dressing them when the time came, then we would do the rest. I know that may have been chickening out number one, but we knew we would have a very hard time putting them down. I knew I could do a chicken, and if an animal was sick or injured I knew I could muster what it would take, but this seemed different.

Well the fall arrived and what do you know? A friend of a friend is looking for some goats, any goats, to have as some sort of pets to live with her donkeys and horses. It was decision time. We made a compromise with ourselves, we would sell the goats to someone happy to have them but whatever money we got for them we would use to buy meat and stock the freezer.

So our planned freezer of goat meat became a freezer of assorted meat.

A hundred dollars seems to go pretty far. I don’t know how much meat we would have gotten off our little wethers, but this seems like a lot more than was on them.

Sure I know we took the easy way out this year, but I’m okay with it. Things happen for a reason. In years to come we may go through the same process, and it may end differently. But I feel this year, for this pile of meat, we sort of earned it. It’s like we grew a crop then bartered for what we needed. I know I’m pushing it with that analogy but I like it better than straight out saying we took the chicken exit on the roller coaster.

To all those out there that responsibly harvest their livestock, you have my respect. Millions of people go into the grocery store and pick up meat for dinner never knowing where it came from or what decisions were made in its life. Millions more people live with and harvest the animals that end up on their plates. The transition in knowledge between the two is where I currently find myself, no longer fully in the first but not completely ready step into the other.

D.

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Let spring begin

Well spring is here and it came in with another round of snow.

Thankfully it was beautiful to look at and gone within a day. Hopefully we can start to get night temperatures above forty so we can leave the seedlings out in each night instead of taking them in and out each day.

Yesterday my morning routine was disrupted by a great surprise, Caro, finally gave birth. I opened the door to the goat house and it almost seemed peculiar to see a baby goat laying next to her. My brain took a few seconds to actually comprehend what I was seeing. But there it was. She had done it all on her own. So meet Lulu.

She looks just like here momma don’t you think?

Well off to the yarden to gsd. Have a good one world.

D.

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A baby filled morning

I know it has been a long time since I last blogged, but I want to make more time to do it and commit to more regular posts.

This morning I am writing on my phone while sitting on a milking stand in my goat barn. I am watching a pair of baby doe Nubian goats who have made their way outside for the second time since their birth on Wednesday. In another stale a pile of three bucklings, born yesterday, sleep quietly with a rhythmic breathing. A rooster crows in the distance and I take another sip of coffee. The morning chores have already been done, my own breakfast consumed and now a little reflection time before starting once again on the list of projects to eventually get to.

“How did you end up here?” I find myself asking very often in the past few weeks. A lot has gone on in a very short period and that seems to be the tempo of life at home now. Frantic effort and change followed by periods of peace. I feel so good about where we are, and am looking forward to so much more.

Yesterday Sidda gave birth to three boys. We knew that was a possibility but hadn’t expected it since she only gave birth to one last year.

Vivi too surprised us Wednesday with a pair of little girls.

And while each mother had one baby that wasn’t quite as strong as the others at birth, this morning everyone seems to be doing just fine.

With one more mother, Caro, still to give birth, we are going to have quite the growing herd.

Last weekend we had just come through a wind storm that knocked down at least 8 trees, including 2 across the drive way and one on top of the goat house.

The tree on the goat house was a particular issue as it was also about to take down the two fences that separate our pen holding our buck from the girls. It also broke a rafter and put several holes in the roof. Needless to say we got the problems repaired quickly as we were sure baby goats were on their way.

We for now I have to get back to work. I leave you with a short video of a happy goat.

D.

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I’m back

It’s been a while but I am back.  My pharmacy partner was out on maternity leave and I got out of sync, but I am back and ready to take on the fall and winter seasons.

We have been working hard cleaning out the garden beds. River the cat had been faithfully keeping an eye out for attacks.

It’s the time of year to get some baby goats baking, so we bought a new boyfriend.


His name is Sherlock and he is a miniature Nubian.  Even though our girls are full size he has gotten the job done.  At least we hope so.  We’ll find out in five months.

I’ll keep the post short for today as we are headed into Charlottesville to hit the farmers market. Have a great day world. 


D.

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‘Tis the Season

Fall has definitely arrived here at Snuggly Duckling Farm.  How can I be so sure, you ask?  Is it the shorter days? Is it the changing color of the leaves? Is it the sound of migrating geese?   It is a big “No” to all those.  The way in which I can tell fall is here is that I put on a sweater today.

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With fall here it also means it was time to get the goats freshened for next years milk production.  This was our first time going through the breeding process, and for my suburban brain, it is a bit of an odd thing to be a part of.  Caro, our Alpine/Toggenburg mix, we took to spend a week with a buck at Bad Moon Rizn farm, where we had got her from.  So that one was pretty easy, but for Vivi and Sidda, our Nubians,  it was suggested that we bring the buck to them.  So, meet Theo, our girls knight in shining armour.

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Although he definitely does not smell like royalty at all.  I had heard that bucks stink, with all the peeing on themselves and sticking their face in the urine of the female, but holy moly he is one pungent fellow.  I picked him up in the same mini van that I had transported my goats in, but it was suggested that I but up a barrier.  I did that, but a pallet didn’t stand a chance against that smell.

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He will be staying with us for a little while, and I have to get use to having him around.  He is, of course, much larger and much more powerful than our girls, and makes a lot more sounds which at this point is the aspect that is most nerve-wracking.

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Besides the fun of Theo coming to visit, we also have had the excitement of a broken lawn tractor.  I’ve talked about how frequently things seem to breakdown around here, and how I’ve had to learn lots of new repairs, but this one was beyond my new learning.  So on Tuesday, a local garage came and picked it up.  For now we will just have to deal with the sight of leaves gracing the vistas.

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Enjoy the fall, folks, and we will check back in later. D.

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