Friday, December 19, 2008

Once Upon a Cold Night Long Ago......

This material is copyrighted,
December 1998
by Betsy Hultin.
It had been a blustery day out in the pastures.
Shenai and the other does had stood with their
backs to the wind all day long, not wanting to go
very far afield. Not much browse this time of year
anyway and Shenai knew her kids would be born
very, very soon.
Agba, the shepard boy, blew his horn and the does
ran, ears flopping, towards him, shoving their noses
in his pockets looking for treats. He rubbed their ears
and looked carefully at each one to make sure no one
was limping or not well. He watched as Shenai slowly
made her way down the slope towards him. She was
his favorite doe. As they made their way into the
welcoming shelter of the barn, the first stars had come
out. And the chill of the night made Shenai shiver.
Agba began the evening feeding and milking. He looked
up at a commotion in the yard on the other side of the
barn. Uncle had had many people coming to him for a
place to stay, there was a counting going on and Agba
had never seen this many people in the streets of
Bethlehem before in his short life. And he had never,
ever seen Uncle have to turn away people from his Inn
before tonight.
All the does munched satisfyingly on the fragrant hay
Agba gave them. To Shenai, he gave a little extra grain
for he too knew her time was near. Her eyes followed
Agba wherever he went and Agba put Shenai in her own
stall, the one all the does who kidded in the barn went
into. Then, he put hay into the manger there and offered
Shenai a bucket of water, which she drank eagerly.
Having finished feeding the does, Agba went to gather up
the cows and milk them too. Brother had put the sheep
into their cote just before Agba had finished milking the
does. It was a game between them to see who would finish
first and sample Mother's cooking. Since Father had died,
the family took in extra boarders at the Inn to help pay for
food and the taxes the counting would surely increase.
Agba always smiled because his does asked so little of
him, but gave him so much in return.
As Agba walked out of the barn towards the Inn, he
noticed a couple entering the yard from the street.
A man and his wife, who was very soon to have her
child. The woman looked very uncomfortable and Agba
offered her some fresh milk from the does as her husband
went inside to speak with Uncle. Uncle came out of the
Inn with a determined look on his face and the man very
close behind him. There was no room.....and then Uncle's
eyes fell upon the woman who was so soon to give birth.
Mother came out of the Inn as well and looked at Uncle
with knowing eyes. She helped the woman off of her
donkey as Uncle spoke carefully to the man. They both
walked into the barn and soon came back out. The man
motioned for his wife to come in the barn and bring all
their belongings. Agba went to Shenai and told her she
would have to give up her place for this woman who
was so tired of carrying herprecious burden. As Agba
led Shenai out of the stall, the woman looked at Shenai
and rubbed her ears. Shenai saw the gentleness and
strength there and knew she and the woman would give
birth on this very night so close together.
A small meal was prepared and Brother brought the food
to the special visitors. The tired woman laid down on the
hay where the man had spread a blanket for her. Shenai
looked through the fence of the pen she had been
returned to where the rest of the does had bedded down
for the night. The woman looked back and closed her eyes
and went to sleep. So did Shenai.

Sometime later, Shenai awoke. Her sides hurt and she
needed to push. Suddenly a bubble popped out, followed
by a pair of little hooves and a nose. A strong push and
her son was born. She set about cleaning him up and he
stood almost immediately. But she needed to push again
and this time, a doe, with ears down to her knees. Shenai
cleaned her and both kids stood to nurse. The other does
wanted to see what was going on, but Shenai was very
protective. She growled at the other does.
Suddenly, Shenai realized that the rest of the does were
not looking at her babies.There was something else
happening in the barn and all the animals were watching.
The light became so bright that all the animals needed to
squint to see just what it was. And where was all the light
coming from?

Suddenly Agba awoke and saw the light in the barn. He
ran out of the house and into the doe pen. The light had
startled him as well and he thought the barn was on fire!
When he saw Shenai's babies he put his arms around her
neck and hugged her as tight as he could. Shenai licked his
face and he laughed.
Agba stood up and looked in the direction of the kidding
pen. The light was so bright, he had to sheild his eyes. He
picked up the little doe and carried her with him to get a
closer look at the wonderous sight in the kidding pen. Agba
became aware that there was more than just the man and
woman in the pen. There were things he simply could not
explain there, men and ladies with what looked like wings!
Dressed in flowing white, glowing garments! And the
singing! He had never heard such beautiful voices in his
life! Then he heard a bleat. It was the little doe, nosing
Agba for milk.
The light began to fade and the singing quieted. And then
he heard a different sound....not a baby goat. He had
heard his Aunt's baby when she was born. That was the
sound! The woman had her baby as well and Agba
wanted to run and get Mother to help, but the woman
just looked at him with a secret smile and motioned for
him to come closer. He looked into the manger where he
had put the hay for Shenai earlier. There was a small baby
there. So small, but so beautiful! And He glowed! The
woman had wrapped him in rags that she had torn from
her under dress. She told Agba that the baby was named
Jesus. Agba knelt beside the manger and touched the
babe's hand with hisfinger, but the babe wasn't interested
in Agba's finger. He was interested in the four footed
creature Agba had put across his neck. The baby coo-ed
and grinned to see the new doe kid. Agba held the little
kid so the baby could see and the baby laughed! The kid
snorted! Everyone was full of joy!
Then suddenly the baby reached up with both arms and
touched the baby doe on each side of her head, right where
the horn buds grow. (And to this very day, that is why
goats have little cow-lick swirls of hair just where their
horns buds are.)
The little doe looked startled and snorted again. Then
everybody laughed. By this time, Mother, Aunt and Uncle
had come in the barn to see what was going on. (Later,
Brother would complain he had slept through it all!)
Mother brought the woman some old clothing which the
woman was very greatful for. Then Mother told Agba it
was time to go in to the house, for the new mother and
her new baby to rest. After all, tomorrow was the counting
and everyone must go.
What Agba didn't know was that many things were going
to happen in the coming days that would help him grow
to be a very wise man when he grew up. Right now, he
just wanted to go to bed. He put the baby doe back into
the pen with Shenai and her brother, then went into the
Inn to his bed, to dream of the beautiful singing men and
Shenai just watched and chewed her cud. She knew that
secret smile the woman had. And she knew the gift that
the baby in the manger brought. And that is why, if you
will go to the barn quietly on Christmas Eve, it is the herd
queen who tells the story of the baby doe and the beautiful
baby child.
And sometimes, not all the time, the does listen even more
closely to see maybe, just maybe the beautiful singing men
and ladies come in the night to sing with the herd queen
before she passes the story to her own daughters.

"And it came to pass in those days, that there was a decree
from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed."
- The Gospel of St. Luke, Chapt. 2, Verse 1 KJV

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Gift of the Old One

By Eunice Day, Washington ME

The young couple had made their usual hurried,
pre-Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt
their elderly parents with their small herd of
goats. The farm had been named Lone Pine Farm
because of the huge pine which topped the hill behind
the farm, and through the years had become a
talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark
in the countryside.

The old folks no longer showed their goats, for the
years had taken their toll, but they sold a little milk,
and a few kids each year, and the goats were their
reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's

Crossly, as they prepared to leave, the young couple
confronted the old folks. "Why do you not at least dispose
of "The Old One". She is no longer of use to you. It's been
years since you've had either kids or milk from her. You
should cut corners and save where you can. Why do you
keep her anyway?" The old man looked down as his
worn boot scuffed at the barn floor and his arm stole
defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her to him
and rubbed her gently behind the ears. He replied softly,
"We keep her because of love. Only because of love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man
and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward
the city as darkness stole through the valley.

So it was, that because of the leave-taking, no one noticed
the insulation smouldering on the frayed wires in the old
barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One".

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the
hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a
cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife
to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved
goats. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing
heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground,
helpless before the fire's fury.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking,
glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife.
They thanked those who had come to their aid, and the
old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon
his shoulders as he clumsily dried her tears with a frayed
red bandana. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much,
but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas.
Let us, therefore, climb the hill to the old pine where we
have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down
upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared."

And so, he took her by the hand and helped her up the
snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back
of his hand. As they stepped over the little knoll at the
crest of the hill, they looked up and gasped in amazement
at the incredible beauty before them. Seemingly, every
glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in
the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine,
and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its
top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like
spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas
tree such as this. Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of
wonder and incredible joy as he pulled his wife forward.
There, beneath the tree, was their Christmas gift.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the
tree, was the entire herd, safe. At the first hint of smoke,
she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led
the goats through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never
looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping daintily
through the snow. The kids were frightened and dashed
about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling,
hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they
licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The milkers
pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved
calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now,
she lay among them and gazed at the faces of those she
loved. Her body was brittle with years, but the golden eyes
were filled with devotion as she offered her gift-
Because of love.

Only Because of love.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More oddities and other stuff from around the farm

OK, so this is not something from around the farm. This has been in the news of late, at least FOX has been doing some snarking about it.

This is a picture of the "Montauk Monster", said to have washed up on the beach of Montauk Island in NY. No one has been able to identify it yet, and several websites have been running contests to see if anyone knows just what it is. It may even be some sort of Hollywood FX sort of hoax to get people's attention and away from more important stuff like.........

....The Giant Grampus. I saw this on the porch of a local store and it just sat there for hours, its' little bug-ly brain wondering how it got there and where it needed to go when it left, if it could find its' way to where it needed to go anyway......

This is the season when all sorts of strange insects appear. Can anyone ID this fly?

These moths were on the tree outside my front door. They did not make it through the night- a cat, most likely trying to be helpful, assisted them in disengaging themselves....Oops!

Now this is really important! I found a farmer who grows barley, along with hay. He raises his own corn, oats, barley and other feed for his cattle so he does not have to buy it. His family is one of the folk from the area who is a multi-generational farm family. And it looks like they will be farming for many more generations. It brings a tear to my eye.......
The goats are very pleased with the choice of feed stuff here- they have taken a liking to it and have put on some of the bloom I had been getting from alfalfa hay, which I can no longer get locally because my hay man passed away last year.
Of course, there are other uses for barley which we may try- beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Family Grows......

We have an announcement to make-

DH and I are going to be grandparents- it's our younger daughter and her signifigant other of more than two years. They are elated, we are .........adjusting. Having a little two-legged around will be delightful, but we were hoping to have a few years to ourselves, with some time to do what we'd like, before it all starts again......sigh......

She is due in the middle of January and has chosen her midwife- she'll be using the Lisa Ross Birthing Center for the birth. They are connceted to the St. Mary's system so if anything were to happen, she could go right to the hospital for the birth. Lisa Ross midwives have priveleges there, and they take daughter's insurance. She wants to birth at the center, as they have a birthing tub.

I'm a strong believer in home birth and midwivery- considering the modern male centered medical establisment considers birth as a medical issue to be managed as only 'they' know how, instead of a natural unfolding process, and also a huge money making scheme, I am 100% behind my daughter's choice. Ricky Lake has a wonderful movie out called The Business of Being Born, which reveals the facts about home vs. hospital births in the US. Considering I loath hospitals, have very little faith in modern healthcare and that many, many US doctors are just in it for the money and not patient care, this is an important movie- in fact, Ricky has had some medical establishment come after her for her views and the release of this movie!

So, stay tuned for more pieces on this subject- there will be lots. Now, I'm waiting for what the rest of my family is going to say.........

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Tomato Jungle

And it starts.......
This is the first year we have had such success with the garden - specifically the tomatoes. Truly food for the soul- so good that you can take an ice cold tomato out of the refrigerator and bite right into it. Be careful now, and don't scare that delicious, ripe and juicy fruit! Make sure that the liquid goodness runs down your chin and all over your fingers. This is the taste I remember from my childhood!
These are Cherokee Purple tomatoes, which as an 'open pollenated' variety, which is to say that you can save the seeds fom year to year with no fear of some tomato-like swamp thing growing in your garden with dubious taste and form.

We have been gathering these beauties for a few weeks now, with no end in sight yet.

The squash was planted rather late, but seems to be doing well nonetheless. Zuc's and Yellow Crookneck are worth waiting for. The potatoes are also in full bloom and I'll do a piece on them soon.....
If you look at the photos from our Field Day, you will note that we make the raised beds from roofing tin and concrete blocks, with old tent poles to hold them together- all recycled from objects that can no longer be used for their intended purpose, but will last for many years in their current job.
To that we add a foot or so of deep, dark composted goat manure, which has been cold for several years. The worms are almost as big around as my little finger. The compost is so rich because we use a very good mineral mix for the goats- high %'s of many minerals that are sorely lacking in these mountains. Copper and Selenium for heart health, Calcium and Magneseum, etc.
Yes, that is an old toilet in the background there with a fern in it- I plan to do interesting things with it and make trellis' all around it next season- along with old bath tubs full of mint and herbs on each side.
This is the jungle of Cherokee Purples- We have not had to spray or dust for any pests- there are none here. The chickens and guineas take care of those early on. And the goats have left the area alone- which is strange. I had expected to keep running them out of the area when they are out foraging.
We still have beds of Amish White tomatoes to work with- these are one of the open pollenated white varieties of tomatoes and I believe that these are a paste tomato, which I am looking forward to working with in the kitchen. And the egg plant and other nameless squashes that volunteered, along with one HoneyDew melon, are due later on. The onions, well, they are hiding their heads until later this fall, and we should have a bumper crop of them to go with the potaotes.
As we get closer to fall, I'm looking at building more beds for more crops on the spring- the other side of the garden has not even been developed yet, so we have so much work ahead of us in the coming months. It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Linear Appraisal 08'

Heeerreee's Chicago- his Immense-ness.......

We had a LinearAppraisal session here at the farm on August 1st- we try to appraise the goats every other year, but we had to skip last year because it got on so late in the year, what with the drought and all.

ADGA sends out appraisers (by request of the goats' owner) and each goat is scored in areas such as stature, strength, dairyness, udders, etc. We ened up scoring 24 animals in all and it sure was hot. The appraiser found it delightful when we offered him a Blenheim ginger ale-

Chicago's score was EEE 91 at 5yrs., 4 months of age. This means he scored Excellent in the three structural catagories that a buck is scored under and had 91 total out of a possible 100 points. You don't usually see higher than a 92, but some does have scored 93 and one doe, a Togg, I know of has scored a 94!

Chicago's grandmother, McQuitty Farm Aloha, was two times Nat'l CH Saanen, and he's been throwing beautiful daughters in several herds in NC. We are very proud to have him here with us!

ADDENDUM, 8/20/08: Chicago's daughters, One-More Dasha and One-More Cha Cha were 3rd place 2 yr. old and 3 yr. old Saanen milkers (respectively) at this years ADGA National Show! We are even more proud to have him with us at the farm!

Also, our buck Dzimianski's Zaphod Beeblebrox's momma was 5th place 5-6 yr. old milker as well!

This is Eilidh, one of the heirs to the Brandenburg doe-line. She has a gorgeous milky udder, woth easy to milk teats. At three years old, she still has some maturing to do, but her score was ++VE, 84, with a score of 43 in rear udder height. That final 'E' is for mammary- I knew she'd score an E mammary, her mother was the first homebred E mammary here at the farm.

That's Sassy in the background- she's anticipating the day when the Guernseys are accepted into ADGA so she can get scored too!

And here's Mysty, hiding in the round bale of hay, waiting her turn. She's no slouch- she scored a VEEV 87, at 5 yrs. of age.

My babies did well too- the dry yearlings all scored well and Eilidh's daughter was spectacular for with a score of EcEcV(Ec). I feel like we are finally going in the right direction with the Saanen herd!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Food for Thought

Even more food for thought.......
June 30, 2008 IssueCopyright © 2007 The American Conservative

"Food for Thought-
Renewing the culinary culture should be a conservative cause. "
by John Schwenkler

"Alice Waters might not seem like a conservative. A veteran of Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement, who once cooked a $25,000-a-seat fundraising dinner for Bill Clinton, she eagerly compares her campaign for “edible schoolyards”—where children work with instructors to grow, prepare, and eat fresh produce—to John F. Kennedy’s attempt to improve physical fitness through mandatory exercise. Her dream of organic, locally and sustainably produced food in every school cafeteria, class credit for lunch hour, and required gardening time and cooking classes is as utopian as they come. The name she has given her gastronomic movement, the “Delicious Revolution,” strikes the ear as one part fuzzy-headed Marxism, the other Brooksian bobo-speak. This woman is not, as they say, one of us."
John Schwenkler is a doctoral candidate in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.
The American Conservative welcomes letters to the editor.Send letters to:

Friday, July 11, 2008

What is needed is not more food, ......

but less greed.

In these days where millions of people on this planet, mostly women and children, are starving, and in many cases have gone to making mud pies to eat, this is absolute insanity!

Over caviar and sea urchin, G8 leaders mull food crisis
Tuesday, 8 July 2008

"World leaders are not renowned for their modest wine selections or reticence at the G8
summit's cheese board. True to form, discussing the global food crisis, spiralling
grocery prices in the developed world and starvation in Africa was clearly hungry work
that left their stomachs rumbling."

Sunday, July 6, 2008

A Goatkeeper's Prayer

I thank you Lord for giving me a simple lot in life.
Born a farmer's daughter and became a laborer's wife.
I don't socialize and visit as my neighbors do,
but when I'm caring for my herd Lord,
I feel closest to you.
I've spent nights in the stable till nearing morning's light,
Caring for a pregnant doe, just trying to calm her fright.
I've delivered her baby kids, and placed them by her side.
These simple things Lord, have given me a sense of pride.
So when you call me home, Lord, to be with Papaw and you,
I wonder if you'd have a little herd
that needs some tending to?
I don't need a lot of riches like silver and gold,
Just a lot of little kids to tend and hold.
Oh, listen to me Lord, trying to tell you what to do....
You created me so no one knows me as well as you.
So whatever you have in mind for me will be just fine.
I'll say goodnight now and ask you Lord to keep an eye
on me and mine.

By Irma Brown
Bellville Acres Dairy Goats

Friday, July 4, 2008

I Am Only a Farmer

I am only a farmer.
I know the sun better then anyone.
And the soil.
And the wind.
And the rain.
I am the one who works with them.
Who loves them.
And who sometimes fears them.

I am only a farmer.
I am the sower of seeds.
I am the tender of stock.
I am the reaper of harvest.
I am sweat. And tears. And pride.

I am only a Farmer.
I am the one who feeds the young.
And the old.
The weak. And the strong.
I am black earth of spring.
The green hills of Summer.
The harvest gold of autumn
And the cold white stillness of winter.

I am only a farmer.
I am warm memories of the past.
The steely reality of the present.
And the hopeful dream of the future.
I am an optimist. A thinker.
A watcher. And a doer.

I am only a farmer.
I live in a complex world.
Made of simple things.
They are my source of joy.
And hope. And comfort.
I have walked the morning fogs.
I have paused for the Summer song of the meadowlark.
And I have savored the breeze off freshly cut hay.
I have paused, remembering, by the stream I knew as a child.
I have felt the power of a thousand storms.
And rejoiced in the fresh world left in their wake.

I am only a farmer.
I am accountant. Chemist. And doctor.
I am midwife. And mechanic.
I am seller. Trader. And buyer.
Helper. Comforter.
And partner to my spouse.
And teacher to my children.

I am only a farmer.
Not a person of riches.
But one of great wealth.
I have learned to treasure life.
And all things living.
To respect their maker.
And my own.
I am humbled by the earth's bounty.
And awed by endless rebirth.
I am fascinated by the marvelous intricacies of my world.
And enriched by their beauty.

I am only a farmer.
If one can be truly free, then I am.
The day. The Week. The month.
They have been entrusted to me.
They are mine to spend.
They are mine to invest.
They are mine to use wisely.
It is a solitary profession I have chosen.
Or perhaps, been chosen for.
Where no promises are given
No excuses taken.
I have but one man to answer to.
One man to depend upon.
One man to confide in.
And the quiet of the years, I have learned to know him well

I am only a farmer.
I am perseverance.
I am creativity. And courage.

I am only a farmer.
I am confidence.
And ingenuity.
And intelligence.

I am only a farmer.
A seeker of excellence.
And I will endure.
---Author unknown

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Going to the Country

That's what my uncles would say when the family went to work in the garden at Mrs. Cole's place......

When I was a young child, my parents often told me that I was adopted. I guess this was to ensure that I was special in some way- believe me, this has its' own drawbacks. Later in life, when I found that my birth mother had been a farm girl it made great sense to me about why I had such a desire to be in the country, since my DNA was hardwired with the knowledge of how to deal with farm life- I instinctively 'knew' how to ride a horse and milk a cow. No one had to teach me these things.

One of my earliest memories was when we'd go to church on Sundays and then head out to Mrs. Cole's place near Warrior's Path Park. The whole family would go- even my mother's brothers and sister and Mamoo, my mother's mother.

We would take a lot of food with us and have a huge lunch at Mrs. Cole's farm, then the family would go to the garden and work there for the afternoon. I was very young, but I remember going to the hen house to look for eggs and getting my hand pecked by the hen and looking aound the other buildings. This was the very first time I had ever seen an outhouse. Mrs. Cole's house was the house of my childhood dreams- a white frame farm house with none of the modern conveniences, just what you'd expect from folks who lived a simple and blameless life, practiced 'right livelyhood' and lovingly fed their familes and friends.

Since I originally wrote this piece some years ago, my Uncle Bob has told me that Mr. Cole had a rolling store and would bring his produce into town each week. My mother's family would buy the fresh vegetables, butter and eggs, and also can the vegetables for winter use. Mr. Cole would also sell much of what he brought into town to the Golden Rule Grocery, which was one of those old neighborhood groceries that went the way of the world while I was an older child. So sad......

When Mr. Cole died, Uncle Bob says the produce was also gone, so I am pretty sure that's when our family began to help out Mrs. Cole. I remember the garden work very vividly, but I never remember my family getting their hands dirty! Yet, the freezer at Mamoo's was always full to the brim with the fresh produce from that garden.

The most vivid part of this memory for me was the day I got flogged by a rooster. It was then and there that I decided that becoming a farmer was what I would do when I grew up.

Mom and Dad were always puzzled to find pictures I had drawn of the digestive system of cows and the like- I remember them sitting me down to discuss how inappropriate it was for me to draw those pictures instead of seeing this as my calling to be a veterinarian or dairy person. Since I washed out in school and became an under-achiever, I became a dairy person instead of the vet that I could have been. It was years later as an adult that I found out that Pastor Sparks, who was originally from Parrotsville, TN (Salem Lutheran) and confirmed me into the Lutheran Church, had been raised on a dairy farm and grew up milking cows when he was boy.

In the present time, my goal is still very much the same as Mr. and Mrs. Cole- to feed my family and friends, to show them that that simple lifestyle and peace of the country is the best way to raise their children in an environment away from the unsafe cities full of toxic water, schools and people. I left the city and went to prepare a place for my cousins to come to so they can leave behind the false world of more money and instant credit, and go to a place where living deliberately is the greatest gift one can give one's children. I truly hope they see this, leave the city and buy land here to begin a life of fulfilled dreams- now that we have DSL, there is no reason not to come here and thrive, rather than just survive.

Come get your hands dirty and thrive in God's Garden.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Adventure Con

Last weekend we went to Adeventure Con in Knoxville. A good time was had by all, to be sure. this is me with Brain Harnois of Sci Fi channel's 'Ghost Hunters'- a really nice guy and we had a chance to chat some about ghost hunting.

There were many characters there in costume, including Slent Bob and a lot of other truly well made costumes.

I took this shot of Wonder Woman for the Rev. Elvis Drinkmo. Dude, this one's for you!
And this one is hubby and me- Browncoats to the very end.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Saanen doe udder pictures

For folks who want to see pics of the udders on the does for sale:

Helga- 2nd freshener

Gretel- 1st freshener
These does are twin sisters, both stand on strong feet and legs with good udder attachment fore and rear. Teats are not too big and not too small, and both does milk out easily. My bloodlines mature at about 4-5 yrs. old, so these ladies still have lots of growing to do to fill out their frames. My camera batteries went dead as I was shooting these, so I have to get more before the Nubian pictures will be put up.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Mutant Goats, Space Quail and other oddities

It occurs to me that I have been remiss is introducing readers to the interesting menagerie that we have here at the farm this spring.

In April, we had some Guernsey goats born from Sassy, an 'SR' level doe who came from Stump Hollow. Pippa was the first one out- and she was so small, about 2 lbs., but she was up in about 2 minutes- and I noticed something very strange about her. She had only one eye and no tail!

She had a normal brother and another 'sibling' of indeterminate sex- this is what happens sometimes if you breed a polled goat to another polled goat. This other sibling had very strange body parts, but both little extra kids have left the farm.

Pippa does not run- she hops! She boinks around like a little bunny rabbit and for all her disability, she has more agility than many other baby goats have at her age. She will never be a big doe, and most likely she will not breed, but she is a pet and a good will ambassador for the Guernsey goats here- along with Wilbur and Bo, she'll get to go out and meet folks at fairs and displays.

Now here is something completely different- Guineas. The neighbors call them 'Space Quail' and that's just as good a name as any- those 'deely-bobbers' on their heads make them look like they want us to take them to our leader, which in itself is interesting since they say that to anyone who will listen- Rosie says that hers run around and periodically wonder how they got there in the first place and just where did they put their car keys!

If you want other weird fowl stories, here's one: We were sitting on the sofa last week and heard this strange 'GRONK!" noise outside- Dory got up and looked , but thought it was down the driveway. When I got outside, Dory was standing over behind the milk shed and said , 'Mom, there's peacocks in the woods!' Since she's been wanting a couple of male peacocks for their feathers, I'm thinking 'oh my gosh, the Universe has up-chucked and here's the results.'

She set out food to see if they would come out of the trees, but no. And the next morning, when Deb and Cavey were here, I heard them again and this time they were below the pen. There were three of them, two males and a female- obviously done in after a night of partying, and waiting for their limo to arrive- 'We thought this was a quality establishment....', or whatever their pea brains were thinking. they have not been seen since......

This is 'Wake-y Wake-y', our senior rooster- he sits in trees and yells 'Wake-y, wake-y' at 4 am most days, to which our Border Collie, Flora, 'woo-woo's' back at him for several minutes. she must think she is a chicken......she is 12 years old and well bred- her father in a TV star on Animal Planet- Breed All About It's Pete, owned by Stan Moore of Philadelphia, TN. Sometimes Wake-y Wake-y yells out 'Can you hear me?" and we all say 'YES!'

Here is Pip and one of the Space Quail hens- we noted very early on that Pip's tail has one small vertebrae like a Manx cat does, so her spine will not open up later on and she has control over her sphincter muscle.

Here are two FB Guernsey kids, Iris and Bo, who found a nice cool spot under the shed and just wanted their picture taken......

This is the largest Wolf Spider we have ever seen here on the farm! she decided that she needed to live in the house to have her babies, but we said 'absolutely not!' and promptly took her outside and far away from the house to release her.

And lastly, here is Ms. Sneaky Blacksnake, come to our hen house during brooding season. Dory was cleaning out the hen boxes last week and found her in there- with a nice large lump in her belly that looks about the size of three or four just hatched biddy chicks. I do not begrudge her a large meal, Mother Nature is not pretty sometimes, but she needed to go someplace else to live, so we took her off into the woods and set her free, a mile or so from the house as the crow flies. Doubtful she will be back this way anytime soon......

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


The goats have learned to speak 'LOLcat!', but humans seem to have a hard time translating goat-speak sometimes.....
The milkers come up to the shed to be milked and these are the looks I get when they just can't seem to wait their turn.....

Sorry these are so dark- the flash did not go off, but there are always more 'dirty goat looks'.........:-)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Remote Area Medical

LMU Vet expedition 08'-
This past weekend in Harrogate, TN the annual RAM expedition took place at Lincoln Memorial University. As the vision, dental and medical portions of the expedition took place at LMU's arena, the veterinary portion took place at the facilities where LMU holds its' veterinary technician certification program.
Having directed the Cosby, TN RAM vet expedition in 2005, I was anxious to take part in another RAM. In 2005, my job was in 'intake' where all the animals were checked in, and I wanted more experience in a different part of the process. I chose 'recovery' and I was not disappointed!
When I arrived at the facility at 5:30am, there were already 45 people already there with their animals! These hardy souls got up much earlier than I and were already checked in and had their numbers at the ready.

I had brought three rescue animals to be spayed and neutered, so I had the opportunity to see what the whole process RAM creates from start to finish.

When my number was called, I brought in the animals and watched as each one was weighed and measured to make sure the correct amount of anesthesia was given to each one. The technicians made name tags that went around each pet's neck for positive identification after the pet recovers from surgery and can go home.
The technicians also recorded each animals vital signs on the intake sheet each owner was required to fill out.

After the pet's anesthesia was given and the animal was given time to go under, the pet was then transferred to the prep area where their bellies were shaved for surgery.

Then, as a veterinarian became available, surgery began. The report was that the vets were averaging 8 minutes per animal for a spay, and 5 minutes for a neuter.

There were a total of seven veterinarians donating their time for free veterinary care to make sure they put a dent in the pet overpopulation. Many of the females I saw were already in estrus, so this made a big difference!

The care each pet received was impressive!

After surgery, technicians were at the ready with post-op meds for pain and infection, as well as vaccinations for distemper and rabies.

While the recovery area was the end of the line, it was never dull there either. It was gratifying to see each animal wake up and regain consciousness. some were frightened little babies, and some large dogs were dis-oriented, but not one animal was lost or misplaced!

I had to include this one!

We even got a visit from reporters from the Daily Mirror in UK, and several TV news teams out of Knoxville, TN.

Here are the folks who get this program going- Stan Brock and Jean Jolly. If they look tired, they ARE tired- it is hard work to keep RAM going to provide the care that is so needed both here and abroad.
I am beginning to see RAM as a very large family that I am very proud to be part of- and it looks like that there will be another expedition at Cosby in 2009, so I am looking forward to being of service once again for this very worthy charity.
Please consider making Remote Area Medical one of your favorites as well- go to and make a donation.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Since we have a dearth of yummy fresh goat cheese, I am usually really befuzzled as to what to do with all of it.

Some time back Linda Campbell sent me a very nice stoneware stamp of a goat to put into cookies before baking, and a recipe for goat cheese shortbread. Of course, in the meantime, I have put them both in a 'nice safe place'.

Having no recipe to work from, I devised my own- and it has turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. These are actually a cross between shortbread and sweet scone, but they sure are tasty! Later on I am going to try things like raisins, amaretto, extra butter, lemon zest and other interesting flavors. Since all ingredients would have been available in some form during the periods inclusive in the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), these would certainly be a sweet treat to serve at feast or to take for a potlach dinner event. Be sure to make 3 times what you think you will need because they disappear quickly. It has no real measure and is made pretty much the same as one would make 'cathead' biscuits. Enjoy!


-As much fresh goat cheese as you think you will need.
-As much sugar (white or brown), or honey you thnk you will need
-As much self-rising flour or bisquick as you think you will need
-A little salt to taste

In a large bowl, combine cheese and sugar to make a thick liquid paste. Add salt to the liquid ingredients. Slowly combine the flour and do not be afraid to mix with your hands! When you have the consistency of a ball, roll the mixture into 2 in" balls with your hands and place on a greased cookie sheet. Place in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until slightly golden brown on the top.

Let them cool slightly before pouring a big glass of ice cold fresh goat milk and then prepare yourself for ecstasy!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


On Saturday, May 24, the weather held and the first field day was held here at the farm! I want to thank our speakers and also everyone who attended. We had a nice group of folks for the first time, and even though the goat roast was postponed for another weekend, we still had good food and fellowship!

Patti Erion, shown above and below, talked to us about composting and building raised beds in the garden. She told us about the different kinds of manure- brown and green- and also about the the proper mix to get your compost pile working correctly.

Here, we see the bed being prepared. Yellow onions were immediately planted!
And the folks who attended.

This is my daughter Dory, showing her chicks to the folks as she discusses her chicken operation.

And our new bee hive, awaiting the other three supers for honey production. It is still quite cool up in the mountains and the nectar flow is not in quite yet, so we still feed the bees.

And here is Max milking Jolie. I have to say that all three young people who attended the day were very good about getting milk out of the goat! With a little practice, they will all be good goat farmers!

The day would not be complete without BBQ! Along with a few other delicious items and beer, dinner was very yummy- and I made goat cheese shortbread for dessert. Of course, this morning, we had the rest of the shortbread with strawberries, scrambled eggs, sausage and onions. This reminds me why I love to cook!
We will be doing this again in a few months and I plan to start an occaisional Saturday afternoon 'Tea with the Goats', wherein gardeners of all kinds are welcome. Please plan to bring a fresh and light dish of something you have made from your own garden or other enterprise that you produce food from. Watch for announcements on email lists. Let's all get together and talk about our gardens!
Characters will be welcome!