Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

My Alter Ego

For years people have asked me, “Why do you have goats?” Mind you this question started long before goats in pajamas inundated your Facebook feed.  I always replied with a simple, “Well, I like goats.”

In reality, I have loved goats since I was a child.  Well, I loved them until my dad brought one home from the auction.  His name was Billy.  Of course, it was. He was a male and  back then no one knew that a male goat is a buck and a female a doe.  They were billies and nannies. But  I digress, Billy was an asshole.  Billy was the epitome of the reason why no one thinks anyone with a brain or a new car should own a goat.  He climbed everything in sight and if he could not climb it he rammed it.  He could not climb children and he rammed us…hard.  Billy lasted two weeks and then made a trip back to the auction. Not a tear was shed.

In my twenties, my friend Rhonda had a horse and two  pygmy goats to keep it company.  Their names were Hans and Ivy.  My love was renewed.  These two were freaking adorable and friendly.

Years passed, I am try to be a sensible person and can only have things that have a purpose on this farm.  Goats give milk, we drink milk, a sensible purpose. So I convinced Rod into getting two Nigerian Dwarf goats.  But they were just kids and would need a year to be productive so I found another goat.  One in milk that we could use and the Nigerians would have time to grow.  Milk is good.  Well, not true, completely.  Our first milking goat , Matilda, gave the worst tasting milk I have ever had.  I thought it tasted like I was licking a stall floor.

 

Junie B. Jones and Amelia Bedelia as kids

So we continued to buy milk at the store, good tasting milk and gave the Nigerians time to produce.  Junie B. and  Amelia Bedelia did eventually give good tasting milk but it was such a small amount that I decided that I wanted to try another breed. A standard breed goat, a large goat. Larger goats have larger teats…easier to milk and more of it.  Matilda was sold and Olive and her kids, Skippy Jon Jones and Lilly  were purchased.

                                                                3 2013 butting heads farm Painting-9637Olive and friend

So then I had two Nigerian Dwarfs and two Nubian does to milk.  And I did not need all that milk.  And to be honest the Nigerians, the ones you all know as the goats in pajamas, are drama queens in my opinion.  They bitch  yell if they are in heat, want food or just feel like it.  The Nubians, Olive and Lilly yell when in heat and you can hear them from a mile away as they are the loudest breed of all goats but it is a deep resonate sound not a whiny bitchy sound. Drama queens and whiners suck no matter how cute they are or how much you love them.

You are right the sound of an animal should not be the deciding factor of a preference and it is not. I have had Olive for 5 years now and she is truly my hero.  She is who I want to be.  She loves her cookies after milking, I prefer mine at midnight with milk. She always believes in letting her wind blow freely from any end she chooses. She loves the smoke of a cigar, especially mine. And maybe my favorite thing about her…if she doesn’t like someone she simply slams them in the head.  I love this goat!

 

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So it is finally here.  The last son is graduating.  The nest is emptying….

I pride myself on being this tough old broad that is hard and realistic or at least I think I thought I was.  Then this happens.

Don’t get me wrong it was hard when the last two completed school and moved on to their futures.  But this is the last one, there will be no one to wake up 47 times to ensure timeliness, there will be no more dirty dishes or socks in the mostly unlikely of places. No more permission slips to sign in my last minute dash to work. No more lunch money.

I have been a bag of emotions today.  I felt like I have been fired from a start up business that I had birthed and grown into a fantastic, thriving successful thing.  I felt unemployed, my job is no longer necessary.  I will be kept on as an adviser but I am not  in charge of it.  I had contemplated selling the goats because why not.  I was rethinking every life decision I have made.

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Youngest and his girl

 

As I was explaining  the jangle of shit that was going through my heart and head to my husband, the goat guy shows up.  “Hey, I have a proposition for you….”

I have two new goat kids coming Tuesday.  They are bottle babies.  They will need nurturing and I won’t have to wake them or find their socks but something wants me to keep doing what I am doing, so I will.  Even if it is with tears in my eyes.

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Family Traditions

It all started innocently enough, the middle son brought home a leprechaun chain from nursery school.  It was carefully crafted by small hands. There were green shamrock leaf shaped pieces of construction paper strung onto a green yarn with snippets of straws in between each leaf.  The idea was that you hung it somewhere and the leprechauns would climb it.  We, of course, hung it.  The boys went to bed and I pondered…what the hell is a leprechaun going to do after climbing the chain?

As the boys woke and came down the stairs into the kitchen they saw what a leprechaun would do.  He would overturn chairs and pee in your milk making it green. Youngest son had a big problem with drinking milk that someone had whizzed in.  That was the first year.

The boys then learned that if you trap a leprechaun you would reap the reward of all his gold.  So the quest to build a better leprechaun trap was on. With their involvement becoming more and more the scenarios for the morning had to become more imaginative. I crafted feet out of polymer clay to leave foot prints in the many different medias they left to find where he went to hide his pot of gold.  I left the tiniest of notes from Ian McMarty regaling his narrow escapes and chiding them that they would never get his gold. And the milk was always  peed in and turned green.  Youngest son still had issues with it.

Then time came and stole away the young boys who would trap for leprechauns and refuse to drink whizzed in milk.  The leprechaun chain is in a box upstairs with the kindergarten cookbooks, the class pictures and lovingly misspelled love letters to me.

I awoke around  3 this morning to make the usual call of nature and when I came down the stairs into the kitchen…I stopped and I smiled…the place was trashed.  Every chair was overturned, the fruit bowl was upside down and the fruit was everywhere.  Drawers and cupboard doors were wide open.  While I was sleeping a leprechaun was among us and he even took a whiz in the milk.

I love green milk!

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Today’s morning was to be devoted to getting the middle son back to college.  Orono is a little less than a two hour drive from our house.  FH dropped youngest son off at work at seven a.m. Then came back home to load the car for the trip.  FH, myself and middle son left home, car loaded with clean laundry, groceries, a box of bonsai plants, and another filled with kumbucha, kefir and other fermented wonders.

Our road was a bit slick.  It is tree lined so the sun has limited opportunity to melt any snow or ice.  The icy ruts were throwing the car around but we are used to that.  We proceeded to the Interstate.  The Interstate that was a bit more slick.  The speed was reduced from 65 to 45; not that anyone seemed to be paying any mind to that.  The sun was out, temps were almost in the 40’s, surely the ice was melted.  Yeah, no.  FH, mind you he drove milk tanker during the Ice Storm of ’98 when no one else was on the roads, was cursing and creeping along.  The road was covered with black ice.   We saw three or four cars off in the median at various intervals.  There was one 20 mile stretch that was so ice rutted that it made our road seem like dry hot top.  Remember this is the Interstate.  I have honestly never seen it like that.  We finally made it and dropped the boy off with all of this stuff and promptly headed South.  On the way back, we saw four semi trucks in the ditches laying on their sides.  Two of them were heading in the opposite direction.  There were two others that were off the road but still upright.  We made it home just in time to pick up the youngest from work.

We decided to clean out the goats and chickens in the sun and warmth.  FH took the chicken house to clean. Youngest and I worked on the goat pen.  He had to deal with Miss Olive our Nubian bitch in charge.  She does not really like anyone other than me and FH.  She gets all up in the youngest’s face and challenges him. She will rear up and grunt at him.  I laugh.  Youngest swears.  Olive continues to torment.  We pitch dirty bedding.

Much to Olive’s chagrin the girls were cleaned out and their dirty hay was thrown to the pigs.  Sorry that I am not a camera toter, so I could have snapped a few pictures, because those pigs were in Nirvana.  They were rooting and laying in that dirty hay like they were digging for gold.  They would lay down, stretch all out and just wiggle and snort.

Since we had the pens all cleaned out I decided to rearrange the milking area in the barn.  I like to rearrange things, a lot.

So one boy is back to school, the animals are all cleaned out, the milking area is rearranged and everyone is happy.  FH is especially happy.  If I rearrange the barn things then he does not have to turn the light on in the bedroom to make sure the bed is where it was when he awoke.

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  Well, 2013 is gone.  I could get all reminiscent and that sort of stuff, but that is not my style.  I am going to relive this past year in lessons learned.

     1. Never underestimate the jumping ability of a horny goat.

     2. Trust your gut.

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     3. Milking a first time freshening doe is a sport in and of itself.

     4. Potatoes do grow in hay, so do snakes.

     5. Birth is amazing, death sucks…unless it is potato bug or Japanese beetle then reverse it.

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     6. Tomato horn worms “glow” under a black light.

     7.  Old tractors always need new parts.

     8. Never plant your squash in a garden that slopes to the goat pasture.

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     9. Pigs do not see well in the dark and will follow a flashlight beam.

    10. Without my family’s help and support none of this would be possible.

May all your lessons in the next year be good.

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And since I have not posted words in a long time here a few pictures to show you around, maybe make you smile.  Our farm in pictures:

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2 2013 butting heads farm web -9648BHF_WebSize-0522BHF-7058BHF-06033 2013 butting heads farm Painting-9637The PicturesButting Heads Farm2013_04_13 Butting Heads Farm_574619 2013 butting heads farm web-9676

Please do not use these photos without permission, they are the property of the photographer and Butting Heads Farm. Thank you very much!

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Ins and Outs

graduation 035

The past few weeks have been craazzzy.  Middle son graduated high school and youngest middle school.  One out of high school and the other in.  In four years we can plan on doing this again.

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