Archive for the ‘my other job’ Category

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Doeling in their hut. 

April vacation started Thursday.  Olive’s due date was Saturday.  Perfect planning…not that I had a whole lot to do with it.  Nature has it’s own rhythm and it worked out to my advantage… so not.

Anyone that owns goats knows that the gestation period for Nubians is roughly 150 days, with the typical goat kidding three days to one side of the due date or the other.  I try hard to schedule kidding during April vacation or as close as I can.  I work with a bunch of really great people who understand my “other” life and I can go home when the deal goes down.

Olive worries me.  She has had milk fever her last two kiddings and needs meds to get up and going. But I have a barn cam and an app on my phone so I can monitor things and run home if necessary  which makes me way less anxious this time of year.

Honestly, things are perfect…great people, good technology and decent timing….

Until Thursday morning.  Olive’s ligaments were gone.  Ligaments are a sure way of telling of impending kidding.  They run along the side of the tail and are usually described as feeling like a pencil  that runs diagonal along the backside below the hide.  In preparation for kidding a doe’s ligaments will soften and “disappear”.  So they are gone.  It is 4 in the morning I have to be to work at 7.  Maybe all will happen in those few hours.  Yeah, no.  So I make a plan.  I will stay home until 11 and youngest son will sign out, come home and be on watch after that.  Remember above when I said that I work with great people…I truly do…but I also work in a district with a contract.  Under that contract I cannot extend a long vacation.  So therefore I felt I needed to be at work at some point during the day. I kind of stress over these things.  I have this kind of guilt not guilt.  I choose to be at the farm but yet know I should be at work….it is a shitty paradigm.

So I check Olive once again, go in the house change into somewhat presentable work clothes, check Olive again, drive to the neighbors and ask if they will check on Olive at 10 and 10:30.  Drive back to the house check on Olive, mind you nothing has changed. Drive to work. Neighbor calls at 10, nothing happening but there is a slime string hanging down.  Neighbor calls at 10:37 very long slime string but nothing else to report.  I continue to pretend to work.  At 11 I sit down with my friends for lunch and check the app on my phone, you know the one that is connected to the barn camera.   It comes onto the screen and I see nothing but here this little, baa….Gotta go.

Seriously, I jumped up grabbed my purse and headed out the door.  I raised home and had a set of twins waiting for me.  All are doing well, but Olive did need her dose of meds.

I truly love the people who make this farming this possible, good friends all!

p.s. Lilly is due next Saturday….

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So folks it has been a while since my last post. Probably over a year.  A year of questions and maybe some answers as to where this little farm and this aging farmer is going in the future.

This little farm started as a way of life.  The husband and I grew up farming in one way or another.  He worked dairy all of his teen years and a bit more.  My mom and stepdad had a few cows because they were cheap and they could make have me milk every morning before school. I grew up gardening at home and with my grandparents, who I spent every possible weekend I could with.  It was where our food came from.  I believe in farming. I believe in good food.  I believed my children needed to know where food came from.  So we kept farming.  Starting with vegetables, actually no, we started the summer before we married with pigs.  Along with my mom and stepdad we raised two pigs for our soon to be separate households.  Vegetables came the following spring.  For the past 31 years we have farmed, even when Husband and I took a break from each other, I gardened. It is in my blood, my soul.

Then I decided that I wanted goats.  As one with a farmer’s soul I knew that they had to earn their keep if I had them.  I started with an Oberhasli in milk and two Nigerian Dwarf doelings.  I milked Maddie, the Oberhasli, and everyone hated the taste of the milk.  So I made soap and sold that.  People love goat milk soap.  But my family nor I would not drink the milk and you can only make so much soap when you start. So Maddie was sold and I bought  Nubians, the bitchy Miss Olive and her doeling Lilly. I bought a buck, the infamous James with the Giant Peaches and bred the Nigerian does.  Milk was flowing and we loved the milk, (still do) and I made soap and cheese and more cheese and more soap.  More decisions were made. The Nigerians are great little goats.  Emphasis on little, everything about them is little, including teat size and milk production.  So they were sold.  And things have remained pretty much the same.  But the big questions is where does this little farm and I go from here?

I have a day job.  I work in education, an amazing job for farmers. I mean, you get your summers off and that is when the down and dirty farming of gardens, hog and bird raising happens.  But I work in special education. I have chosen to work with the tough students. The ones that break your heart with their emotional and behavioral needs.  The ones that require a body that my almost 50 year old carcass can’t always bend to. I  I feel that I am not fulfilling the daily requirements of my needy job and that kills me.  But my family also needs insurance and over half of my paycheck goes toward that. So I have done the work that pays the insurance for almost 15 years but I want to be a farmer.  A Farmer, with a capital F.

So there are decisions that are being made that will change the face of the farm and myself.  Please stay tuned as I walk you through the process of change.

 

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One of Those Days,

I woke at my normal farmer with chores to do time.  Did all the things I needed to do and then realized that I had to dog proof the mudroom.  Momo and Echo usually spend their days in the shed while we are all at work or school except for the days when it is too cold for them to be out there.  One would think that after going out into the bitterness for chores I would realize that they need to stay in the warmer place.  But, truly I typically do not notice how cold it is until I am heading for work.  Of course, then I am wearing only one pair of pants and one coat, no gloves or scarf so the cold is, well cold.  The dog proofing set me a bit behind my normal leave the house time.  I am one of those that prefer to arrive at work at least ten or fifteen minutes early.

On my way to work I see that my gas gauge is lower than I like it to be when it is freezing outside so I pull into the local convenience store for a cup of coffee and fuel. I prepay inside and start pumping my $15 worth.  This morning I swear the pumps were dispensing molasses and it was cold, very cold molasses.  Mind you I have on only one coat and one pair of pants, no hat, no scarf and no gloves and the digital read out on the pumps were moving slower than you can possible imagine.  Yes, I could have gotten into my warm car.  Yes, that would have been the intelligent thing to do.  But I have this thing where when I am irritated I cannot give in.  I could not, would not get in the car.  So therefore, I stood in the cold for what seemed like forever but was actually around 20 freaking minutes pumping $15 worth of gas.  I did make it to work at precisely the time I am to be there. I was frozen, but I was there.

You see, I could not be late today.  I was leaving a bit early.  I had an *ahem* appointment in Augusta. The annual Agricultural Trade Show is this week and today they were offering a class/talk about getting a kitchen licensed to sell food stuffs.  I had to go.  I had to.  Guilty or not, this was something I really wanted to do.  I arrive and find the area where the talk is being held.  Find a seat next to this very friendly woman.  She was asking me questions about why I was there and what I was interested in doing with the information that I hoped to gain, yaddy yadda.  I told her that I had a small herd of goats and was considering selling jams and jellies and a few other things.  I handed her my card and she handed me hers.  She was a reporter from the local paper.  Shit, now someone from where I was supposed to be will probably see me…in the paper.  At least I am not in the District Court section.   One of those days!

See the evidence article here.

p.s. The talk was fascinating and I am now deciding if I want to go commercial kitchen or creamery.  More on that as it develops.

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Holy crap, it has been almost a month since my last post.  I have started a few:  one with a slide show of the photos from the photography extravaganza but I could not get the slide show to work on here.  So I was frustrated and gave up.  The second one was about rendering tallow.  It was late and I was done with fat.  One or both may eventually make it onto here.

Things seem to interrupt my blogging; lack of computer ability, inattention to a subject that I probably have spent way too much time participating in and am sick of  done with or the good stuff ; like family and friends and spending time with them.

Or work.  Work is a bit of both the good and not so good some days.  I love my job and the people, little and big, that surround me.  That said, I love what I do here, on the farm more.  I would love to be able to spend my days here making a life and a living from doing things that get my hands dirty.  So when it is time for  the farm unit at work I AM IN HEAVEN!!!  You mean I can talk about what I love to do while doing the other thing I have to do to afford doing the thing I love?  Oh yeah!!

  I took in goat milk, blueberry chevre and goat milk soap balls for the kindergarten classes.  Talked about how they are made and such things.  Kindergarteners ask the greatest questions but are not keen on trying new foods.   I do lunch duty with these kids and I know how picky they are.  The milk and cheese received about 2/3 of each class asking for seconds.  It must be good stuff.

As one student was putting his soap ball into his back pack I heard him tell a friend, “I am taking a bath, tonight!”

And then this:
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and these:

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I am loving it.

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