Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Too Hot to Handle.

The last week has consisted mostly of 90F days.  While I have personally always enjoyed hot weather, the other members of our little farm do not share my feelings.  The animals spend their days lying around and Brian is forced to retreat indoors for the hottest hours of the afternoon.

So we find ourselves, once again, anticipating the change of the season and with it, cooler temperatures.  Only problem is, it usually stays pretty warm around here for another couple of months!

Last time I wrote a blog entry, I believe that I jinxed myself.  I wrote, in refence to Bea and Gretel, that  "their escaping and running about the neighborhood is becoming far less frequent".  Not thirty minutes after posting this blog entry did I see Gretel running across the front yard.  Since then, they have been found in a neighbor's barn, in a different neighbor's pasture, in the middle of the road, making their way to the pears and various other locations around our property.  They have learned how to go over the fence, whereas they previously dug their way under. 

Unfortunately for us, this wandering is a natural breed characteristic.  Great Pyrenees came from the mountains where they were able to go for long hikes with their herds.  I have heard stories of these dogs climbing five foot fences and being found ten miles from home.  We are obviously distressed by this phenomenon and are working on a way to keep them safe and to keep them around to guard the goats, as is their job!  The one thing we have to be thankful for is that they are always willing to hop in the car and come back home, with big smiles on their puppy faces.

Don't be fooled by her cute face - Gretel is actually
the leader of all escapes!

We remain on the same milking schedule, often getting a gallon of milk from Wendy on days when Daffodil isn't feeling especially greedy.  When she is less greedy with milk, however, she makes up for it with alfalfa.

In cleaning up the property a few weeks ago, Brian found something rather funny.  A birds nest that was made mostly of Bea and Gretel's hair!  Good to know that all their shedded fur this summer has been recycled.

With days full of our regular chores, our employment outside the home and wonderful visits from many friends and family, the summer has flown by.  Despite the hectic schedule that we keep we always try to take some time to enjoy the beauty of this crazy place we call home.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Summer came a bit late this year but, with only the occasional interruption of rainfall, it is here nonetheless!  The hills are fading to yellow, pastures are getting hayed and baled and trees and plants are finally fruitful.  Growing conditions in the valley have presented a challenge this year because of the atypical precipitation.  We are happy to have had a little success at our place!



We have now been dairying for just over three months.  Having a milking animal takes dedication.  Wendy is on a twice daily milking schedule and her diet is supplemented with special grains and hay.  I am proud to say that Brian and I can now both effectively milk a goat (which I originally had slight concern about, how can you start a dairy if you can't milk a goat??).  Brian is particularly skilled, having mastered the two-handed milking technique.  

Daffodil is now a little beast at 75 lbs.  She looks more like her mom every day.  She is drinking less milk and eating more hay and other vegetation.  She is still as cute as ever!

On some mornings and most afternoons, we bring Daffodil and Wendy into our back pasture for more nutritional variety and exercise.  They are most excited about the blackberry bushes.  It is quite possible that there will not be any blackberry jam this summer!

Bea and Gretel have now been with us for over a year.  It has been fun to watch their transformation from little furry polar bears to big, gentle beasts.  They have been wonderful dogs so far, keeping the coyotes at bay and living harmoniously with the goats.  And their escaping and running about the neighborhood is becoming far less frequent.

Bea and Gret at three months old

Much bigger now but they still like to get muddy.

The newest chaos in our lives came in the form of two kittens.  After Rambo died, we unexpectedly found in our possession two baby animals needing a home.  We initially balked at the idea of additional responsibility but their sweet affection soon won us over.  They are living inside until their medical needs are situated and then will join Betty White in rodent predation around the property.

Lion, stuck under the wine rack.


The rest of the summer promises to be busy and full of friends, family and goat milking.  Our new pasteurizer and yogurt maker allow us to further enjoy and experiment with Wendy's milk.  As they say, practice makes perfect!