Saturday, May 9, 2009

raising a kid is a full time job.

This past week has been exhausting (in a good way). I get up an hour earlier now to tend the garden, bottle feed Finn, and take care of the other animals before work. By the time I pull into the office I've already carried hay across a field, mixed a potion of milk replacement in a glass Coke bottle with a rubber nipple, hauled water buckets, weeded hay-lined beds of young veggies and had a long shower. That's a lot to do before your first cup of coffee.

I'm not complaining either. I love this life, and the effort it entails. But man, have I been tired. But the chores are down to a system now. For example, this morning I grabbed hay from the porch and then let Finn out of his pen to follow me around while I fed the sheep (who are warming up to him), feed the chickens (which he chases), and check on Bean and her litter (which all 8 babes are alive and well). Finn follows me around perfectly. He'll be a great trail goat. And in the next few weeks he'll get banded (for castration) and start walking with me on trails on lead. It's somewhat exciting having a draft animal to raise. Every hoof-print with Finn has a purpose.

I bring him to the office everyday. His feeding schedule demands it. It's kind of hilarious seeing the cars out in the parking lot, with their back hatches open. The first car has an English Springer, the second a pointing Lab, the third...my goat. I'm glad Orvis is so cool about having animals in the office. But when you work for an outdoors company it would be ridiculous not to be, wouldn't it? Anyway, having him at my desk chair sucking on a bottle while I check my office emails is a perfect scene of my current life. Technology and the farm, all together now.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

a kid and new kits

A congratulations is in order! My French angora doe, Bean Blossom, just gave birth to a healthy litter of kits! We have anywhere from 7-9 little bunnies sleeping in a pile of angora wool and straw. The rabbits will be pedigreed, tattooed, and ready for spinner and hobby farm homes within the next 6 weeks. If you're interested in an Angora fiber rabbit (or apartment sheep, as I call them) from Cold Antler, let me know. Goat kids and kits... what a week.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

finn meets the gang

poultry swap!

Sunday I was up early, even for me. I had to get a jump on the day since I had quite the schedule ahead of me. The morning activities included all the usual farm chores, but along with all that, I was heading to a livestock tailgate party over the state line.

The annual Schaghticoke Poultry Sway happens the first weekend of May. Picture a fairgrounds parking lot with endless cages, squawking, chirping and animals and people everywhere. Folks pretty much park their trucks and set up shop. Need a rabbit? A peacock? Maybe you had your eyes on a black lamb or a goat kid - you can get those things here. It's quite a show. I scored two new laying hens. Little girls, just fifteen weeks old, but promising. They're scared of everything right now and haven't left the coop once.

I showed up to the swap with a sneaking suspicion a goat kid would be riding in the passenger seat on the drive home. I wanted a young buck I could train for pack work. I have two packing dogs, but with Jazz and Annie are both nearly ten years old, the idea of taking them out for long treks in the Vermont mountains seems less and less possible.

But a goat like Finn, he's a natural mountain man-agile, fast, made for steep climbs and happy to help carry the burden. I've been reading up on training a draft animal of this sort, and so far Finn's big job is to walk on a leash, which he's doing well. I've taken him with me to work, Tractor Supply, Wayside, everywhere I go throughout the day this kid is with me. Learning people, and noises, and following me around with his tail wagging. I can't wait till we're in those mountains together. Just a gypsy and her violin and her trusty goat...Few things are that perfect together.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

meet the new kid