Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chaotic Little Farm

It's amazing that even the tiniest of farms can fill your life with chaos.  With our operation still in its infancy and our learning curve about raising livestock and dairying remaining steep, Brian and I acknowledge each day that this life takes dedication.  It is an investment.  An investment of time, money and emotion.  But every time we feel like throwing our hands in the air and saying "Enough!", we look into the faces of the creatures who depend on us for love and care and we remember what brought us here to begin with.

I will begin with our most recent loss.   A week ago, our poor Rambo died.  He had been sick for a few days and due to his skittish nature we were unable to capture him and bring him to the vet until it was too late.  He unfortunately had a very difficult end and although we were incredibly saddened to see him go, it gave us great relief to relieve his suffering.  We are happy to have given Rambo some great months outside of the shelter where he was able to run free, chase rodents and cuddle with Betty White.

The loss of Rambo was certainly an unexpected bump in the long road to starting our goat dairy.  But life on the farm, or anywhere for that matter, goes on and, happily, the rest of the animals are doing quite well.  Daffodil is now five weeks old and is gigantic.  She is a glutton for her mother's milk and some days we hardly get any milk from Wendy at all.  Thankfully Daffy is starting to eat alfalfa and grain.  We are hoping by three months of age that she has self-weaned. 

For the last few weeks, we have put Wendy and Daffodil in the enclosure with the dogs and the little goats for brief periods.  Our goal is to have all animals live together on a permanent basis.  Due to the nature of goats, an order of dominance within the herd must first be established.  Seems like it should be a no brainer with Wendy dwarfing the little goats by nearly 100 lbs.  Maia, being the feisty goat she is, insists on challenging Daffodil.  They knock their heads together until mama Wendy comes by and makes it clear who has dominance in the herd.

The most entertaining part of the dominance struggle is Weekend's lack of desire to participate.  While the does are duking it out, Weekend is hiding behind a tree, person or dog. 

Our cheesemaking adventures have continued and we have enjoyed experimenting with Wendy's abundant milk production to make Chevre.  Brian transformed the basement kitchen into our dairy, cleaning, painting and refinishing until it looked like new.  He even taught his first informal cheesemaking class a couple of weeks ago and it was a great success! 

Hanging the curds, allowing time for the
whey to drip out of the cheesecloth.
The sun has been shining the last few days and we have all enjoyed this change of weather (this year has logged the biggest rainfall in the Rogue Valley since 1890).  It finally feels as though summer will actually come this year and we anticipate a wonderful season of milking, cheesemaking and just generally enjoying life!



  1. Lovely snapshots of life on the farm. I'm sorry for the loss of your cat.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear about Rambo. That really is too bad, poor little guy. Were you able to find out what caused him to get sick? Seems so random!