Sunday, December 20, 2009

Did you hear, it's almost here!

Merry Christmas everyone! The last 3 weeks have been whirlwind and show no sign of slowing down.
I have well meaning photos, written news and just stuff in general. I promise to do a real entry in the next week , eek , or two! until then Merry Christmas dreams and praise!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Santa Paws no not Disney

On Friday I left in the morning to go to our Great Pyrenees Rescue Annual Christmas event. Santa Paws happens in the historic town of Jackson  at the fire station.
Randy and Debi Carpadus (Debi was Chairperson of Rescue for 10 plus years) began this event and continue to work hard at seeing it gets done. This was my first year going to it.

I stopped by Potter Valley and White Dog Ranch to pick up Caspian who is a 5 month old Pyr. pup who was taking his first big adventure off the ranch on his own.

For a pup who has never been on a lead or around strange people and places he was amazing. He did bark going around Clear Lake to the Valley and drool but those of you who have done that drive know it would make a grown man do the above also ;-)

We stopped at Williams to meet up with Donna and Dallas plus Lacey their lovely Aussie who is recovering from an emergency spay surgery. Lacey is one cool girl and is my sleeping buddy whenever I go to visit them in Cottonwood. We had a nice visit , got a bite to eat in a tailgate picnic, exchanged stuff and off I went to do a home inspection for rescue in Dunnigan a bit south on I5.

The potential adoptive family was very nice. They have a cute place that needs little to amend it to make it Pyrenees ready and they also are previous Pyr owners so now we just sit and wait for the right dog to find their forever home with them.

On the way to Jackson a wonderful rainbow appeared as the rain clouds that followed me began to butt up against the Sierras. I did my best while driving to snap it. A few telephone polls in the way but this photo gives you an idea of how nice it was to see almost all the way up the hill from Sacramento.

Rolled into to Jackson about 3:40 and found the firehouse and another set of early birds Tina and her daughter Jenn plus Jenn's friend whose name now has left my brain. That unfortunately happens often anymore. :-(

They brought Prince with them for the photo shoot and had already captured the imaginations of many shoppers with a stroll down Main St. with Prince decked out in his Christmas finery. He is a handsome fellow isn't he?

Randy , son Tyler and Randy's two nieces arrived with all decorations, printer, camera etc. So we got going on making the cozy, small fire house decorative with the spirit of Christmas. We got allot of help from a gal from the chamber whose name I have also forgotten and the place was looking pretty spiffy. Folks began to find their way in for a photo taken with a donation to rescue with the big white dogs.

Caspian did his part too not to be out done by the ever popular Prince. Snuggling up to this toddler for a quick pose with Mom and older sister.

All in all the event was great. Good conversation, excellent chili provided by Tina , cheese and crackers by me. Spent the night at Randy and Debi's and headed out the morning after a great tag team breakfast eggs by Randy and biscuits by Debi.

Returned my travel partner to his ranch and drove home to the farm where Geoffrey had provided good care to the critters in my absence.

Next adventure will be the annual trip to Fresno at the end of month to have Christmas with the kids and grand kids. Hope your Thanksgiving weekend was as grand as mine!


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day of Thanksgiving

Have spent today with barn chores, making soap labels and stumbling down memory lane. About 5 years ago I got a lovely black and white nubian doe from a herd in Washington. She was a first freshening yearling and we got her about a month after she freshened. She went on to give us triplets the next year and we retained one doeling Walnetto-Farm Logan's Berrie who is in the barn today. But this is about her dam Pearl who passed not long after that kidding but had a short career as a "rock-a-billy" bands mascot. I stumbled across this photo from a newspaper ad those many years ago.

Pearl never made any public appearances nor went to the Full Circle Brewing Co. but she was a lovely doe who left us a legacy of good bloodlines (her dam was Royal Cedars Pazaaz Celebrity) and we are looking forward to the kids from daughter Berrie and granddaughter Pearl this coming year. And we are thankful that we to have a lifestyle doing what we love!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours and may your life be blessed with what you love.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wednesday Thanks

I am thankful that I can post for two days on one post since yesterday got away from me.

Yesterday was spent with everyday chores plus making mashed potatoes that are part of tomorrows feast. They need to set 2-3 days after being made to age properly. They contain garlic powder, cream cheese, sour cream and butter. Absolutely yummy! Did a few other things including walking Spinner my working girl who certainly enjoys getting out of the goat yard on occasion and seeing the sights.

Today on my way back to the house from the barn I stopped by the fish pond. It is extremely overgrown and with the lows in the high 20's and low 30's the fish are coming to the top to warm themselves and grab some oxygen. I made mental note to self that it needs cleaning out. So the next thing I know Geoffrey is out there cleaning away, great minds think alike after 38 years of marriage.

After the cleaning we counted about 20 goldfish (really farm supply feeder fish) from about "can I really see you" length to about 5 inches long.

Gold, white and orange and a black wee one. They have been busy this summer breeding and are so happy to have a clean pond to swim in.
This is what came out. They are now singing the 3 little fishes swimming in the dam song-do do doum doum watum bam! Today I am thankful for a husband that can read my mind! 

Monday, November 23, 2009

A week of Thanksgiving

I make every attempt to make each day a thankful one. I have gotten much better the further along in my journey I am. Not perfect just a bit more ahead of where I was last year or even just yesterday.

I will begin this week of Thanksgiving with a huge thank you to Kat. Kat is my friend, she also happens to be a Master Herbalist and this is her link . Kat most kindly reminded me she would be my eternal friend the other day due to our commitment each in our own way to God and prayer. What I like the most about a spiritual journey is it is allot like raising goats. There are allot of ways and allot of words to get you where you need to be but the pathway isn't always the same but the end result is.

Anyway this is my story. One I never thought I would write or speak of because until this part of my journey I would never have done what it took to put a goat of mine in this situation. I leased out a buck, I have a closed herd , I don't lease. I have in 25 years heard horror stories about this act. But I did it, why isn't as important as the end result.

He came back to me a week ago Sunday. Three quarters dead, 60 pounds under weight, losing hair, eye injury. But it was not his time to die and he was despite all the external issues a solid individual. He has simply put been sublet and bred into a hole. Yes I did check him during the lease and yes until the day he returned he was in good condition when I saw him. But that is all beside the point.

To make this long story longer we , my husband, the lessee and I carried this guy into my barn with a sling. I started him on herbs, Kat's herbs. I also gave him lovely alfalfa hay and he ate darn near nonstop for the first week. As the days wore on I introduced grain, sunflower seeds and more herbs. The first week he got Cayenne tincture every 2 hours 12-14 hours a day.

He is becoming stronger and on Saturday last he sprayed again. Yeah, he knows he is a boy. He has a day pen by the does for company and at night goes into the barn in a kidding pen. When he is more advanced he will be transitioned to the buck barn. He needs a name as he was named by his lessee but it needs changing to help diminish the bad juju. He comes from fine stock. But for now he is just "Mr. Man".

So this Monday before Thanksgiving Mr. Man and I are saying "Thanks Kat" couldn't have done it without you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Neither rain,sleet,ice nor snow

Last night when I went down to the barn to say "goodnight" to the girls and Spinner I noted that Pinto Bean a lovely yearling was in heat. Knowing that she would not be in standing heat then and having no burning desire to take her down to the bucks in the dark , sort out bucks, breed her and bring her back up the hill I kissed her goodnight and left it for today. Knowing fully well we were to have about 1" of rain today but hoping we would have a break in the weather.

The conception God's must have been listening because at 12:30 this afternoon there was a break in the clouds
and not being one to leave opportunity knocking I put on my muck boots and made a beeline for the doe barn. Now Pinto Bean is a very vocal LaMancha as some of my does are when the mood strikes them. She was taking advantage of the same break to leave the barn and serenade the bucks down hill. Note open mouth "U-hoo , boyssssssssssssssssssssssss!" To which the ardent suitors replied "come on down honey."

Now due to  fact that this farm is a work in progress since we aren't here permanently I have only one buck barn and pen. So to breed does I need to do a bait and switch in inclement weather. Luckily I am working with 8 month old bucks so they are , mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, none too bright.  So into the loafing area and put a lead rope around Pinto Bean upon exiting doe barn grabbed a second lead rope to remove the not to be lucky fellow from pen. When I got to the buck pen I let Pinto Bean go with lead still attached and while she trotted up to the far fence I slipped in the pen grabbed Cowboy Casanova with the other lead rope removed him from the pen, distracted him with apple trees (boys do love to eat) and retrieved Pinto Bean and shoved to her destiny with Longfellow.

He covered her twice , I opened gate which she was handily standing by put lead rope around her and pulled her out while shoving CC back in pen by collar. All to the amazement of Longfellow and myself. I guess I have learned a trick or two in 25 years of having dairy goats. Of course I don't know if I would try this with a mature buck , at least by myself. And yes we do have a temporary pen set up at the top of the hill to use in nice weather but there is no shelter so for this season I will need to rely on skill and luck.

So are you now wondering who was the lucky boy? Longfellow is the all black fellow and his dam is a lovely redhead by the name of Walnetto-Farm Katz Meow. So with luck we will have a couple of kids in April by him. This breeding will combine both of my lines. Pinto Bean is a very stylish young lady with a nice udder and production. She had two does this year and since I have to keep down numbers until we move I opted to keep her and sell them.

So while all this was going on the fish in our little pond were enjoying life to the fullest. The rain bringing them to the top of it.

Enough adventures for today in goat land. The butter is soft time to make cookies. Have a craving for oatmeal cookies crammed with dried fruit.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Busy week

It has been busy. On Monday I picked up the smoked portions of the hog we bought half of. Ran several other errands and yes did take the camera but nothing moved me to snap the shutter. Tuesday made more soap and a multitude of other stuff around here. We were going to have eggs, toast and fresh bacon for dinner that night but it became a very cold, rainy day. The menu was changed to crock pot chili and corn bread. Yum!

On Wednesday I fussed with this and that plus taking both Spinner and Kelsey for walks. Not at the same time. Spinner seems to really enjoy her occasional walks and the goats are always happy to see her come home from one. Kelsey loves to go to the creek and forage for whatever her nose comes up with. Yes I should have taken the camera but didn't. Dinner was left over BBQ steak made into stroganof , mashed potatoes and assorted veggies.

This morning I milked out all the does for the next to last time. Tassel's will milk through but no one else. I made bread.

And while it was rising went out and cleaned the crates I stupidly let get rained on. They are now drying and will be stored in the hay area for winter as I don't want to forget to tarp them and have a repeat performance!

On the way back into the house I noticed how lovely the Mum and Rosemary are doing. The cooler weather and generous rain certainly has been to their liking. I just love to pinch some rosemary on my way up the walk and sniff my finger tips until it fades away.

Back inside the cats were occupying various stations in the sun. Mollie is our misplaced barn cat that something tried to eat two Novembers (Thanksgiving Day to be precise) ago. As a result she lost her rear leg and she has been a reluctant house cat ever since. When we get moved to Palo Cedro she will be able to go out and about since the perimeter fencing there is so well thought out. I am sure she and the other house bound felines will appreciate it also.
A lazy kind of day, week. I am so enjoying getting to be home!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Week Two

I am into week two of not working outside the farm. And in a nutshell it is" WONDERFUL!" Could I say that louder? "WONDERFUL!"
Now that that is done may I also say I had a lovely time in the Redding/Red Bluff area over the weekend. I hadn't been to properly visit my dearest friend Donna in almost a year so 4 days there was great. The drive over was lovely.

Smooth going over the mountains to I5 and landed at Donna's a little before 1 p.m. We hot footed it over to Shasta College and began setting up for the North Valley Dairy Goat Assoc. first Goat Education Day.
We had allot of interesting speakers including Karen Senn , Dr. Joan D. Rowe DVM from UC Davis,Donna doing a cheese making class and Kat Drovdahl with her great presentation on herbs.Also present were Randy and Debi Carpadus of White Fire Great Pyrenees to talk about livestock guardian dogs. Dallas Robertson did a presentation on building a milk stanchion that will last over 25 years (both Donna and I have one that old) and there were several vendors.

That night we got back to Donna's and had a great dinner. Talked a bit with Kat and then we all hit the hay as 5 in the a.m. comes way too early even for farm girls.

Saturday was filled with the sights and sounds of the Education Day. The turnout was wonderful for a first year with well over 60 participants. Everything went pretty smooth considering we really had no idea what to expect.                                      

Top photo is view of raffle table and behind is Kat's booth. To the bottom left is the registration table in full swing.             

The next day Donna , Dallas and I crashed. Getting up late by farm girl standards 7 a.m. We had a great breakfast of eggs/bacon/fried potatoes and toast courtesy of Dallas and gallons of coffee. Donna and I left later and cruised around the area doing this and that. We ended up at my soon to be home in Palo Cedro and had a wonderful visit with Marilyn, Micheal and the llamas. Let us not forget Peanut the Border Collie who is way too sweet for my own good. We had great wine, goat cheese, crackers, salmon dip and the most incredible chocolate raspberry pie I have ever tasted. And yes folks it was just about all organic-let's hear it for Green! We went out and got nose to nose with the llamas and went home peaceful and full from the visit with our friends.

Monday we had another lazy morning, I could get used to this! And then I got the most incredible massage from Natalie in Red Bluff. I am still feeling really good from it. Natalie will be seeing me monthly after we get moved. Donna and I had lunch at a cute cafe in Red Bluff and then we went into Redding to run some errands. After which we got home and went up to a most sacred place on her land. It was so lovely and comforting to visit with the Ladies. Women of the  tribe indigenous to the area. Their spirit abounds on the land.
The house, goat  and horse barns below.          

 Below by the goat area along driveway.
 Come Tuesday morning I packed up , loaded up the two Nubian does Berrie and Pearl who had spent the last two months at Donna's being bred to her yearling boy Red. And then we were on our way to Redwood Valley. All the way over to Donna's I had such a strong sense of going home. On the way back my sense was that of leaving home , going to RV where my family (two and four legged are) but not going "home".

I passed a church on the way home that always has snippets on their announcement board by the highway. Many have rung a bell but Tuesday was more so in regards to our life in waiting for the move home. "Patience-is trusting in God's timing". Says it all. Below the view of Clear Lake on the way to Redwood Valley.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And when it comes

Life is so full of twists and turns. Mountain peaks and deep valleys.

We are a community of farmers, ranchers who share in common our daily acts of tilling the soil, tending the animals, producing products from those gifts that we are given. So no matter how far apart in miles we all are we are local. Common goals, life styles .

In the goat community it seems that the ties run deeper perhaps because in the large scheme of things we are small in the farming community. So those we know no matter how slightly or even just in passing become family by virtue of  a common love. Sometimes those ties run deeper, a family you see at shows, 4-H meetings, FFA or the neighbor down the street. Goat people are made of strong stuff, we hang together.

So when the news came today of the passing of one of our communities young ones it hit hard. This young man with his family and particularly his mother found great joy in breeding and caring for lovely Nubians. They never hesitated to help out another person and Travis was no exception. My last very vivid memory of him was as a lanky young man at the show in Madera helping my 7 year old granddaughter into their pen to smooze his Nubian kids.

And now in the blink of an eye he is flying with the angels. Sandy and Don have so much to be proud of in him and their heartbreak and loss is a whole communities. I trust they can take comfort in knowing that even as young as he was he left a legacy as a kind,gentle, person. Quick to offer a hand, a smile.A Nubian kid for a 7 year old girl to hug. God's speed.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Good - bye MAH

More change in life and change is not something I am good at. It bounces me all over the map - I like predictability, no surprises unless they are anticipated. No wonder I love raising dairy goats we share this in common.

Yesterday was my last day at the hospital. It has been just shy of 4 years of employment with them. I am amazed it has been that long already. Even though we have no planned moving date yet I have given allot of thought and prayer to this for many months. I became a vet. tech because of many reasons and I do love what I do. But calling strongly to me in thoughts and gentle whispers is a new journey.

What? Most certainly when the move to Palo Cedro is complete we will begin work on a certified milk room and cheese room and begin the journey of artisan goat cheese. I have made a variety of cheeses for about 20 years now for friends and family and been told I do pretty good at it. It will be a small venture with just a few specialty cheeses that will be marketed at Farmers Mkts. and perhaps a few select outlets.

What else? My dear friend Donna , her sister-in-law Nancy and I have a joint venture in mind. It is evolving as the days go on. More on that later when there is more concrete news to tell.

My co-workers and friends have asked "will you work in vet. med again?" Perhaps but not full time again. There is so much I will miss about it. But the whispers tell me there is so much ahead that I will not say "yes" but I will not say "never". Even though my career was short lived I feel I accomplished so much and was blessed to touch so many. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to those along the way who encouraged me down this path.

The work with Great Pyrenees Rescue of Nor. Cal will continue and critters of all species will continue to be a large part of my life. I can't imagine this not being so. So stay tuned I am just getting started!

Me and Murray an Irish Wolfhound.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Changing of seasons

Today was the day that comes to us each Fall. The young does who will not be staying part of the herd go to the dairy about 70 miles south of us. It is a good place, run by a fellow who has a good heart and does all he can to make it work. But non the less it is not what these young ladies are used to.

So we pamper them with great alfalfa and a soft ride. A gentle loading and hugs all around. They are our children of the hoof and each will be missed. It is a wide new world on the dairy and I keep reminding myself on the ride down they are, after all, DAIRY goats.

It is with tenderness and the utmost respect we send these lovely young ones on their journey. As we do with the young men who we have no place for. And in their case we often times need to remind ourselves that there are worse things than death in life.

But it is seasonal. And the seasons of change have already begun with does being bred to give birth to the new young ones. The circle remains unbroken. Unlike my heart. Safe journey, good lives to you girls.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Last October Sunday

Got busy early today. Made a pot of soft cheese and then bread to rise. The bread is a recipe from the King Authur Flour 100 Years Anniversary Cookbook.  
I so enjoy using the King Authur line up, even tho the FOB makes it a bit pricey it is worth the cost for the quality I don't find elsewhere. So until I begin to grind my own wheat this makes me happy! 

       First comes the dough. I love to knead it until it feels just like a             baby's  bum. Takes time by hand a good 8 to 10 minutes but
       it gives me a time to entertain thoughts and mull over them. Then
       comes the first rise in a bowl and a final rise in the loaf pan.

Next creative chore to tackle was the apple pie made with local McIntosh apples. There are multiple wonderful apple growers in our
area. We do have our own trees but we let nature take it course and
don't cull as we should so as a result the apples are small - great for
human hand eating and goat treats but a bit of a chore to do anything
major with.

End results?

 The bread was wonderful - crispy crust, lovely texture and soft. The loaf that  I made into cinnamon / raisins rolled with melted butter (I am a big believer in real butter and lots of it!) was to die for!  The pie still has the jury out on it. We will find out after dinner when it gets served up with a big scoop of french vanilla ice cream.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Some after thought

This has been a very long week.

Working 5 days in a row is always a  challenge in addition to the chores at home. Add to that our daughter Annie had a biopsy scheduled to determine the meaning of an area of shadow on a lung lobe. She is 32 and mother of two birth children and two acquired by loving the fellow children. So it came to pass and no biopsy was done and this mother is encouraging their mother to have a follow up with her Dr. and keep on the antibiotics that seem to be shrinking the area. Which means it could be Valley Fever instead of cancer and addition of scar tissue from a previous lung collapse two years back.At any rate our friends came through with prayers and energy and love. And believe you me for that we are thankful!

Another post later this weekend but I will leave you with the most beautiful Rainbow the day of her procedure.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Time's they are a'chang'n

Saturday was fantastic!

Donna came over and after I was done at work she met me and we drove down to San Rafael to the Marin Civic Center and attended Caroline Casey and Dr. Andrew Weil's program at the Bioneer's Conference

Caroline is a visionary activist and quite an entertainer also. Dr. Weil is a well know holistic physician with many books, appearances on PBS or NPR

We enjoyed a refreshing, stimulating evening and also went to the vendor area briefly prior to the talk. We visited the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers and I purchased their book.

After the event we stopped at McNear's for Spring Rolls and Coconut Shrimp and beer. Arriving home at 12:45 in the A.M. OMG - we are not too old for this!
As long as we can catch some sleep the next night.

The next day we went to Ardelle's in Willits for a great breakfast. And then a bit of a walk around town to help make the large amount of food consumed go south. Donna spied a nice big sign for a book sale and we browsed the selections. Donna ended up with a few items I just enjoyed looking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

This 'n That

Today was a welcome day off. We were in surgery all day yesterday and when I drug in over 30 minutes later than hoped for I was pooped. But it was a good day and I slept well.

So today catch up! After milking I made some ricotta cheese. This recipe is wonderful as it is for whole goat milk instead of the usual whey ricotta. It will be molded in bread pans one frozen and one used in the lasagna later today for supper.

After some mandatory household stuff, laundry, ironing scrub tops and so forth I ended up back in the barn with the goal of trimming feet on all my adult does which numbers 13 today since the two nubians Berrie and Pearl are still at Donna's to be bred.
Can you tell that Tassels was none too thrilled at being the first up? No I don't make my does stand still for hoof trimming without alfalfa pellets or a bit of grain but Ms. pain in the bum decided that the % of grain to alfalfa pellets was not to her liking and moments before snapping this photo she lifted the bucket out of the holder in front of her and tossed it to the floor.Goats have very tactile mouths and use them well.
On the way back to the house after reaching my hoof trimming goal the rain gauge showed that we had gotten 2.5 inches in about 36 hours and believe you me every drop was a blessing and so appreciated!  Even the ferns and fish were delighted.
Supper got under way late afternoon. Yummy lasagna made with just about 100% home grown products. Included were the ricotta of earlier plus some goat mozzarella. The ground beef was courtesy of a friend who was kind enough to sell me 1/4 of a angus cross she had butchered. Yeah I know ugly word but when we are stewards of the land and of the critters there is a destiny for everything. So with each meal we thank that fellow for giving up so we may eat. 

 So the above ingredients including some canned tomatoes made a lovely supper tonight for this we are thankful.

 Snowy River one of two barn cats is thankful for a comfy spot to nap during the rain. And lastly we here at Walnetto Farm are blessed to have a lovely Medicine Wheel at the base of our pens. So we sleep well at night knowing that we are protected..