Saturday, November 5, 2011

Moving day #1

Well they came and went. The movers. So here I sit for at the least 3 more days until the girls and I leave. I am in good company even if the furnishings are rather sparse at this time. Geoffrey took four of the house cats and all my goldfish from our pond and left this morning. He is now home. I have Ari , 2 yo English Setter, two of the house cats we thought would make the transition better with me. Also all my does and doe kids and last but never least Spinner. And it is raining! But the Son was shinning for our family today we are so blessed to be off on our next journey!

Monday, October 31, 2011

On this date 6 years ago we put our home in Fresno on the market. On this date today we are officially no longer the owners of the house we currently live in. We have a contract allowing us two weeks to move stock and us to our new home. Please note the use of home ( A valued place regarded as a refuge) vs house (The physical structure within which one lives, such as a house or apartment) . 

Welcome friends and family to our new home. Trust you will visit soon and often!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday no rest today

Even though Sunday should be a day of rest when the farm is going home, finally by grace of God, there is plenty to do. Got the kitchen mostly packed up. We are eating out of the barn freezer trying to minimize both the cost of food in the next few weeks and using up what is there. Going off grid is going to be a lesson in transit so we are strictly living by less is more!

Made more soap labels for the soap that will be sold at the goat ed. day in Red Bluff next Saturday. My dear friend Donna is going with her granddaughter and will bless them , be flying solo this year. Geoffrey will take the soap over on Wednesday when he goes to Ash Creek to start up the temporary shelters with Donna's husband Dallas.

My lovely Onyx has recovered from her bloat and scours. She is the daughter of my  PJ who is a stunning two year old this year and she is the cover girl for out blog. Razamataz  had an insect bite that caused aggressive swelling of her neck and face, she too is now on the mend. Raz is special as she is my last Nubian , I intend to begin the Nubian line again with her. Her dam Berrie and sister (two years older) both passed this year. As I have said before it has been a rough five years for us in this location. We are eager to move on and the girls have been given instructions to be well and safe for the duration of the next 7 to 10 days.

We will press on in our journey. Many angels have been placed in our path . God is good.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It is Saturday take the chicks to chick sitters

This is the second time we have moved Walnetto Farm. The first was almost 5 years ago from outside Fresno and that makes a 5 hours drive in a vehicle. If there is a trailer behind more like 6-7 hours. Of course all is veritable due to traffic. This time the move is about 3 hours northeast without trailer, with more like 4 or so. Again factor in traffic.

So I have learned the fine art of farming out the farm. Since there is nothing on our land except the solar/well house and the log home we need to leave some critters at various sitters. My dear friend Donna in Cottonwood is now buck sitting with our 2 y.o. LaMancha buck. The Polach family in the central valley are also buck sitting an 8 month old, Sundance Kid. In addition they were gracious enough to offer to have our 25 pullets and 1 cockerel shipped to them two weeks ago.

Today my 9 senior chickens all hens went to my friend Patty about a mile away. She has an empty coop and is delighted to care for the ladies for a bit. Geoffrey leaves Wednesday next to get going on the temporary shelters for the does (who are still here with us and will go directly to the new home) the bucks, the chickens and so forth.

I am anticipating that  all of the farmed out members of the farm will be home by early December. Also by then will be our newest Great Pyrenees a two year male. Who will be helping Spinner out with the guard duties.

We again are grateful to all who are helping make this move easier by giving them safe haven until we have somewhere to put them. In the Spring we will be breaking ground, God willing, for a post and beam wooden barn. Where there will be room for all and some expected additions.

Also in the works is a revamped blog and web site. It will be good to be home finally. And we are so grateful to have been blessed by God with this gift. Have a lovely evening!

                                                     Almost Home on Ash Creek!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

another amazing day

It has been a heck of a day. Started with the usual barn chores. I am now drying off the girls in milk so we are milking only every third day. PJ, Spring, Cradle the first freshening two years old's are varying stages of drying off. Even with milking's three days apart they are still producing 1 gallon plus each. Beanie who is now 3 years old is milking very persistently like her Grand dam did . Milking her only once every 5 to 6 days and she is producing 2.5 gallons a milking still. I know from many years experience they will go dry but we are almost at a point of "watch out what you wish for you just might get it". 

At any rate we went from morning chores to the bank to wire the funds to get the home on Ash Creek closed. Then to Tractor Supply to pick up a stock tank to serve as a temporary home to our fish. They are feeder fish from Mendo Farm Supply but after three years are part of the family. No way will I leave them to chance so they will travel with us to our log home.

After that off to the notary to get some title work done. Turns out that her hubby is an acquaintance who spins and knits from the LYS (local yarn shop), small world once again!

The afternoon was spent taking one vehicle at a time into the shop for oil changes. Geoffrey cleaned the barn and got his paperwork with the title company done.

Dinner was nachos , Geoffrey makes the best on the planet. I caught up with a few things, email, laundry and did evening feeding.

Tomorrow is another day on the way to paradise. But right now it is time for bed. Have a blessed night! 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Been a long time coming

Well if any of you have made it until now I will share with you the new farm. In 1.5 weeks we will be living at the Log House on Ash Creek. We will be off grid and starting from scratch. Temporary everything but house and solar/well house. It is a blessing from God, a dream so long dreamed. A place where we can house children and grandchildren if the future brings that. We have 42.34 acres. Be still my heart! I see goats, sheep, horses. I see a grade A milk barn and a cheese room. I see bliss, peace, love and we will finally after 5 years of lessons, lose and heartache-I see home.

Stay tuned. May not be frequent at first but new things are happening!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

"Be Prepared " a Girl Scout motto

Here at Walnetto Farm we  are still thick in the process of hauling in winter hay. After tomorrows trip we should be in a fairly good place as far as having hay for most of the winter.

Other happenings afoot. Barter, I love to barter. I truly believe if this world ran on a barter system we would have a more symbiotic existence. If we had no monetary system and relied on barter we would truly need each other in a way we don't now. With that said my bartering days are evolving into my vision.

Today I bartered my soft herbed goat cheese for a healing salve. Next week a local organic farmer will pick up my excess milk to feed her piglets on. In exchange we will get her organic veggies.Also yesterday I set up a tentative agreement with someone to barter for her massage/Reiki  sessions. And a local farmers market participant came over to glean apples off my trees in exchange for her jams/relishes.

How does this play out in being prepared? My goats have feed for over wintering. I get those veggies that we can't or don't plant in our garden. And the most delightful fresh jams and relishes in return for the apples that grow on my land.

Next installment? Our bees. On Tuesday with the help of a friend we will open the hive after one year and see if there is enough honey so that we can "borrow" some. And what of this honey? Dependent on amount some for us and some to sell to the local soap maker who already takes my milk for her goat milk / honey soap. If there is enough to share she will get some local honey too. And yes I do make soap, but this lady makes a delicious bar of soap and it is one more thing I can put by the way side to spend more time knitting, weaving or spinning.

Think local, think barter. A win/win for everyone!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Barn Hop

This was a pretty laid back day here. We don't get many of them especially at this time of the year. It was a cool morning , a hint that Fall is on the way here in Nor. Cal. After chores of milking and feeding I took our livestock guardian , Spinner for a walk. Spin has been our LGD for almost eleven years , her birthdate is 10-13-2000, and we have had her since she was four months old.

Her partner Kingston passed about three years ago. Spinner and I began our tradition of walking not long after that when I stopped working at a local animal clinic as one of the nurses. She missed the interaction of her life partner and the activity of occasional play time with him. So we began to walk daily at the time anywhere from 2 to 5 miles. We both dropped some weight and she certainly seemed happier for the extra attention.

Now that Spin is getting older, ok, me too! We don't walk as far a mile round trip being about it. She has some issues with her spine and some old dog things also. I have old goat lady issues so it seems to work well for us. She still lives with the goats 24/7 and probably wouldn't know what to do if she were not in the barn. She still guards but her ears don't hear like they used to and she is getting cataracts in both eyes. So her guarding isn't as aggressive as in her younger days. And we are fortunate that the area we are in now doesn't require her being fence line from 0-60 at this point.

Spinner came from a wonderful breeder who has had the breed for 50 years. Their dogs go from field to ring and excel in both areas. They have also earned their good citizen awards. Her dog (sire) lived to be 11 when he was euthanized do to advanced liver cancer. Her bitch (dam) was still alive last year at 13. An amazing age for a giant breed. So we are hoping that God grants us another year or two with this amazing girl who has spent her life caring for our critters and keeping them from harms way.

So until then we will continue to walk, not daily at this point but several times a week. And if you are ever in Mendocino county and see an old goat lady with a big white dog give a howdy honk!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #22 but only #2 for me!

What did I do to prepare today? Began getting in hay for winter. I always try to buy enough hay to last from Sept/Oct until April. We don't have enough land to grow our own but do supplement with goat garden stuff as much as we can. But good milk demands alfalfa and my friends it ain't plentiful nor cheap anymore!

130 # bale went for $5 in 1987 it now goes for , ouch,ouch, $15.50 to $19.99 and more often than not they aren't even close to 130# a piece .  So today as luck would have it the fellow I often get hay from brought in 178 bales of pretty darn nice goat alfalfa. Fine stemmed and leafy. Not super green but then green doesn't always mean good. Price was right, so I came home with 10 bales. If they test out well by the "alfalfa test goat team'' I will get another 64 and hope that the weather cooperates and it is a wet winter, early dry spring and baling begins on time. Which would be early to mid April.

 I have a nagging feeling that with lousy economics in play, weird weather for two years running. Very late season for beginning to bale here this year. That hay will be very hard to find and very expensive. I wouldn't be surprised if it hit $25 a bale in my area. Since there are very few if any who farm it over here and most all of what is available here is trucked in from either S. Oregon/extreme N. Cal or the Sacramento valley. So that increases the cost.

The thing I miss most about moving out of the San Joaquin Valley? Besides my grandbebes and kids. My hay man. Brett who grew high octane alfalfa, cut and baled to perfection, delivered it and stacked it with a retriever. Bless him he would also scale the retriever arms and knock the first two courses down as we didn't have a ladder that would work.

Other than that today not much in the way of being prepared. But I just got a heads up the tomato's are beginning to ripen. Good thing I ordered extra jars from Azure this month! Have a wonderful rest of weekend.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Barn Day . at Walnetto Farm that is everyday!

A walking tour of Walnetto Farm. We are small only 4.3 acres but that is enough to allow us to raise livestock, have a garden and honey bees. We have been working on being self reliant as I spoke of in the last post for many years. It will never be perfect thank God as we would then be done and on a farm there is always something to do!
 This is P.T. one of our many cats, we have 8 including the house and barn. One of the "professional hazards" of being in veterinary medicine. P.T. is a 50/50  cat. In and out but most certainly in at night. The crew in the window are (L to R) Chloe, Monkey and far right Mollie.
Both Monkey and Mollie are three legged which at least in Mollie's case illustrates why we prefer not to leave our cats out at night. We do live at 1000 ft. in the eastern edge of the coastal range in Mendocino Co. There often are things that go bump in the night around looking for an easy meal.

The beauty on the right is one of the many flowering plants that I have in locations all over the farm. This one lives on the front porch below my office window. I am the flower person here and Geoffrey is most certainly the "all business" veggie guy!

Below left are the "teenagers" . These five girls Maggie Mae, Wonderlust, KC, Katy and Onyx are  5 month old doelings . They love to have their ears rubbed, Maggie Mae in particular , and will most likely all be staying in the herd a bit. We will see.

If these two look like impending trouble you are right. Justice followed by Liberty are the last kids born this year on July 2. They are  6 weeks old and full of it. Love to cuddle when they get their bottles and love to nibble on bare legs when one is wearing shorts. OUCH!!

Some of the older does enjoying a mid afternoon snooze.  The  small ones are two wethers belonging to one of them who are almost two months old. Time to start looking for a new home of sorts for them.

We have had Great Pyrenees now for 21 years and it seems like only yesterday when our first joined the herd for predator protection. We have had five of our own but for many year worked with Great Pyrenees Rescue of Nor. Cal and have fostered and transported dozens more. They are wonderful dogs, hard working, intelligent and self motivated. Our current dog Spinner has been with us for almost eleven years. She will be eleven in November and she is slowing down but will live her days out doing what she has known all her life. Spin was whelped on a working horse/sheep ranch . When you are eleven and have worked all your life you more then deserve a good nap on a daily basis.

We are ending our first year with our first hive. These bees came with the land. The original hive was over 60 years old. Over the years feral bees have taken place of the original deliberate occupants. We got rid of the old boxes and frames which were rotting and were lucky to have the bees stay with us instead of swarm after both a change of housing and the location of the hive.  Visit an older post and see what we did to get to this

A lovely plum tree is just one of many fruit trees we got when we moved here. These are a prune type and last year I dehydrated many of them . They are really sweet and great to munch when on the way to or from our barn. We also have multiple apple trees some over one hundred years old and various nut trees plus a persimmon and pears.

Full circle now back to the garden area by the front porch. The sculpture below I purchased about 10 years ago at a stand in the central valley just north of Fresno. I enjoy it all year round and this goat is without question the easiest keeper we have!  Thanks for visiting and have a wonderful day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Preparedness Challenge

Well I figured out how to link to the challenge but am still not really clear about how it works. Perhaps Amy can email me about that.

I was a Girl Scout so I guess that qualifies me as being prepared. At least that is what our trusty leaders always said.

We have been leading a life of being self sufficient for a time now. Getting closer each time we tweak it. We have dairy goats for milk and all that brings. We have our own chickens. When we get moved to the next , and I pray final house, I would like to raise a calf for meat. We have done that in the past and with pigs but haven't recently.

Geoffrey plants a wonderful organic garden. He is the Master gardener on the farm and I am the canner of the bounty he provides.

As I learn more about the PC I can do a bit better on this. Oh, did I mention our bees? Year one almost to a close. Honey is on the way!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food is love and love can be food and sometimes my food has a name!

My husband brought me a bouquet today. Not your usual bouquet and not your FDA vase.

A lovely arrangement of ? You guessed it carrots and delivered in a very stylish kid milk replacer bucket. I love a guy who thinks of details to fit the recipient! 
And this lovely bouquet became quart jars number 21 of homegrown organic carrots. When I think of carrots I think  of so many things. Pot Roast, soup, salad, goat treats. But I also value carrots for their eye appeal, the interesting shapes that veggies grown in such as the couple below.
Locked in sweet embrace as if they were in a movie say Casablanca, Titanic or Sleepless in Seattle. Yup chick flicks gotta love them. 

My food has names. I frequent two local Farmers Market Ukiah about 10 miles to the south and Redwood Valley about 3 miles east of me. I love knowing the folks who produce what we don't or can't but love. For instance tonight we are on round two of these lovely Yukon Gold potatoes who were grown with love and sweat by Jessie and her crew at Inland Organics. 
When cut for cooking they crackled and sputtered moisture as if they were pulled from the earth at Jessies farm this morning. And as so many of the veggies Inland produces they are wonderful! 

The green beans to the left are Geoffrey. Planted from seed, nurtured and loved to the hilt. Geoffrey's vegetable garden is to him what the goats are to me. Beans picked only 30 minutes before cooking and eating. As intended.

And then there are items. Things I have used daily from friends. And every time I use them I smile because it reminds me of my friends. Friendship a scared ground. A place you can go an be accepted, not judged, supported not turned away. And loved and to give love back. A comfortable place each time it is visited be it in real time or in memory. 

The basket above keeps important daily used items in one spot. I love it, the shape, the size , the handle. And I love the family who gave it to me several Christmas's ago. Tim, Pamela, Krista, Mariah and Jessica. They began us buyers of goats when their daughters were but wee and over the years have become treasured friends. 

Take a look around your kitchen you might be surprised by who you find!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I am naughty

I find I am able to keep everyone up to date with my Facebook Page quicker and easier then the blog. It is just that busier than busy time of year. So for now if you don't see a current update here you can go to my facebook link on the right. I have a wealth of photos stored for when time and life slow down.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Support needed

Please go to my Facebook page (link to the right on home page) and send your positive thoughts, energies and prayers. We are not in the habit of shouting out to the world to help us help ourselves but we need all the help we can get on this! Thanks.

Friday, July 8, 2011

We aren't in June anymore Toto!

Time just keeps on keeping on. We had our last doe of the year kid on Saturday last with two does Liberty and Justice. They are most certainly lovely but then I am barn blind .Liberty is on the bottom with the white belly band. Topside is Justice a bit dirty white but as she grows will have more of her sisters caramel coloring I think. They are both quite spoiled (that is their job) and adored!

We had a bit of an interesting time span with Tawny who freshened in mid June with twin bucks not a week after kidding had a infection of some sort. We treated her with herbals and some traditional and she finally came round. Two weeks after recovering from that she decided to give her best impression of the HMS Titanic and had a whooping case of bloat. Crusty old girl she is recovered and has gone on to be fine. The one draw back is the back to back events left her milk poor so I am supplementing them several times a day. That is just fine as it gives me a break and some fun watching them be boy goat kids doing boy goat things.

The days are getting cooler after a week plus of high 90's to l00 degree weather. It does cool off at night nicely. Which never happened in Fresno so when it was hot it was hot. In fact we are to be in the 80's in the next few days . Which will be a treat for us and our three oldest granddaughters who are coming up to visit next Wednesday for a week.
I am so looking forward to it. They are growing up so fast with Aubrey being 13 now , Emily 12 and Claire 9. I don't know where the time has gone. But it went! We will have a trip to the coast and entertain ourselves with small things. Like swimming at the river, trips to local parks , making ice cream, eating ice cream and feeding baby goats! The girls can work on their knitting skills and I have dusted off the board games.

I will leave you with the photo above of Helen. Doing what cats do best. She fell asleep on the mantel right under the sky light. Looking quite angelic but she is a calico so don't let that fool you. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Soggy Sunday This was 6/5 post got lost until now.

Someone , somewhere has my Spring. Could I have it back please? In the big picture weather wise I should be grateful that all I have is endless rain. But I am having a minor pity party over my goats ready to revolt due to "barn fever" from not being able to leave the barn for days. You may not know this but goats don't care much for water that isn't in a bucket. So the inside of the barn is beginning to look, despite our best efforts, almost the same as outside-wet and mucky.

Then there is the baby goat factor. 20 baby goats times 4 the number of hooves they have equal 80. That would be 80 little hoof prints on me at least twice daily. I didn't know designer clothing was a beni   of raising goats in a wet climate. Now I do and probably should be grateful I own a unique wardrobe.

Now the goat below is not only lovely to look at but also an easy keeper!

And I love the mini roses that live not too far from the goat and cart.

Now you why it is called a "cat tree". Top to bottom Chole, Boot Scootin Boogie, PT (patient termination - wait not a grim nasty name- I saved her from exactly that when I worked at the Central Cal. SPCA as a tech.) Helen who also came to us from CCSPCA. Missing are Monkey and Molly who are otherwise occupied.

We are suddenly having a break in the rain so I am dashing out to the barn to see if I can talk the a fore mentioned goats into stepping outside so I can put down more straw.

Have a wonderful Sunday and HAPPY 34TH BIRTHDAY to our baby girl Annie.

Mid week check in.

Busy week beginning on Monday with late night kidding. Then a wonderful thing happened - Spring returned! So we got busy outside again with this , that and the next thing. But the first thing was the oak tree that came down Monday night in one of the goat pens. We are thankful for it having been dark so all goats were tucked inside the barn, no fences or shelters were harmed either.

 As you can see the pruning crew arrived spot on Tuesday morning! Followed by the playground testing technicians below.

Followed by back up. And dear Raz-a-ma-taz our Nubian princess who took her work most seriously. You know Nubians all business when it comes to  good, fresh browse.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Journey beginning or ending

When one sets off in life it is always difficult to know if one is actually going or coming. When we left the central valley in 2006 for Mendocino County it was an adventure. Geoffrey and I always said that we would "run away". Well perhaps the running away time is for youth or not.

This county is lovely and has much to offer. But alas it was not long before we figured out it was not where we were to be planted. So long story short we are in year three of having our house on the market. We are having an open house tomorrow so we have both spent three long days tending house and yard to make the place shine like a new penny.

It is time and then some for us to leave. Time for this house to have those who are intended, not just place keepers, living in it. So this is a request from anyone who reads this post. Prayers, energy, begging whatever works for you will work for us. It is time to move on. Not back to the central valley but to the north valley where friends and our forever home on this earth await us. Your thoughts are appreciated to bring us a buyer and a swift start to our new journey.

And yes, the goats are going too.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

May all of you have a wonderful Mother's Day. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Keeping good company

The company one keeps should be good. Good for you, for them and for whatever the cause is. Today I joined what I consider to be some very good company. I got this in the mail.

I see this certificate as a recognition of love. Love for not only the two breeds I have Nubian and LaMancha but for the species altogether. Love for the individuals , those does and bucks that steal our hearts and give us so much. Love of those long days of kidding, incredible long hours of milking. The delight in falling in love every year over and over.

It is also a recognition of small farms. Those who love what they do and cannot imagine doing anything else , no matter how long the hours, how heartbreaking the losses. The work is hard, never boring, never tedious. As with all farming there are periods of intense activity. With goats it begins in the Spring with kidding and that brings twice daily milking and up keep. Everything from feeding kids (if one is bottle raising) to pen cleaning, hoof trimming, vaccines (if one is giving them) and/or herbal support.

There are rewards the smell of a new born kid , the joy of an udder on a first freshening doe, a grand champion ribbon at a show, fresh cheese that is to die for. There are heartbreaks a kid too long in a poor position that came into the world without breath, a favored doe as she struggles to take her last breaths while resting her head in your lap while her yearling doe kid lies beside her mourning.

But in farming, that mostly dealing with livestock, we deal in two worlds life and death and with one you get the other. Would I change it for a moment? Would I even know what to do with my days if it were taken from me forever gone? NO. And that is a big no.

So I am thankful. Thankful that the passion has gone on for 25 years. That even tho I know realistically that the chances of another 25 years at my age are slim. I intend to press on and the worst that can happen is I die doing what I love. Thank you ADGA for the recognition. Thank you to all those bucks and does who for 25 years have made my life what it is. A bit of Heaven on earth.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Saturday Doings

We are having a cool, cloudy Saturday. The weather police tell us there may be some rain, which is good because it is better than drought but after almost 36 inches of it I am done. Wet weather encourages a wealth of muddy baby goat hoof prints on my jeans. Not one of my favorite side effects of muddy hooves. 

I searched and searched for kid feeders for the last week or two. Nothing appropriate or inexpensive enough. Geoffrey volunteered his services so today we (well he) hung two feeders that are just what I wanted and the price was right - sweat equity.  

Maggie Mae kid feeder test goat

PJ's girl and friend looking confused

Itsy's girl checking out the new "thing"
Finally all kidding pens taken down!
My two goat stand with the fold up ramps.

On the way back to the house I snapped a few photo's of this and that. Enjoy.
Bottle kids enjoying the day
Snowy River cat napping
The house dressing up for Spring
Love this volunteer Tulip!
Sitting area front porch I love porches

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Almost Wordless Saturday or a walking tour of Walnetto Farm

                                            The last kids born
                                    Cradle proud Mom first freshening two year old.
                                           Holy Goat Batman! Bottle Babies!!

Maggie May

                                                               Buddy above
                                                     Below Buddy Lily of Redwood Valley
                                             Next Buddy's nameless sister gently sipping

                                                    Redbuds in bloom
                                                       Our bees survived the winter!

                                 Above the fellow in charge Walnetto Farm Longfellow
                                    Walnetto Farm Raz-a-ma-taz  above
The Three Musketeers 
                   Above Kitty Grandma of all the LaMancha kids this season , Longfellow's Dam
                                                PJ two year old first freshener
                            Spring two year old first freshener also
                     Walnetto Farm I C T-R-O-U-B-L-E above , dry yearling

                          Raz followed by Walnetto Farm Cats Paws both dry yearlings
                                          Apple trees in bloom
               Walnetto Farm Magnolia, Maggie May's Dam also the grand dam of the herd at 10 years of age.

I just might join him - a nap in the warm northern California sun!

Disclaimer? Because I manage to loose things this is as edited as this entry gets. Forgive the long line of photos and any typo's. Enjoy!