Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Farm Update 4/30

Good Lord, what a week it has been here on the farm. 
I have all kinds of news but I want to start with an apology for the infrequent posts of late. It is no exaggeration to say that interest in our farm has exploded in the last two weeks when the Wall Street Journal article ran. In addition to the dozens of new shareholders that have joined us (Hi Ya'll!) I have been swamped with kind emails and phone calls and I have sometimes felt like I am barely keeping up. Obviously, this is the best kind of problem and please don't think that I am anything but grateful, grateful, grateful, but I have been completely distracted and remiss about blogging. I promise to make it up to with lots of posts this week because, as you know, babies are on the way.
In fact, the first new kid was born about an hour ago! I am pleased to introduce you to Astrid's new doeling, Tansy. 

Mama and baby are both doing just fine.  It is always exciting when a knew kid is a doe (female) because I know that I will get to see her grow up and have kids of her own. Bucklings are just as good for growing fiber, but there is definitely something extra special about doelings.

Speaking of bucklings, we have two new bottle babies on the farm. We picked up Clover and Sweet William from Buckwheat Bridge Angoras last weekend. [Thanks to Karma, Carol and Caroline for the name suggestions!] They are both funny, sturdy little guys and we fell in love with them instantly.

[I love the looks on Patrick's face in this series of pictures.]

Sweet William is on the left and he is a little milk thief! He waits until all the nanny goats are eating their grain ration and he runs from mom to mom, nursing on them until they realize the baby drinking their milk isn't theirs and butt him away. Sweet William doesn't let the rejection slow him down - he just moves on to the next available udder. And this is in addition to the three 16 oz bottles of milk he gets from us everyday. I am completely smitten with him!

We also picked up 7 new wethered bucks this weekend. Wethers are castrated males. Every flock only needs a couple of good bucks for every hundred nanny goats, which typically results in most buck kids (and ram lambs) being sold for meat. We're lucky because the CSA allows us to keep as many bucks as we want, but we have to castrate them because too many intact males would bring no end of frustrations and problems. Males tend to be more aggressive with one another and they will worry the nanny goats to death. 

All of the new wethers are beautiful and shy. We unloaded them in the dark, so I was unable to get individual photos of them for you, but I did get a couple of shots of the one blue horned buck in the group.

Isn't he lovely? We need to choose a theme for this group of goat names and a really special name for this fella.
Another goat from this new group is the twin of my all-time favorite goat Jack, pictured below.

Jack was a bottle baby that we purchased last year and he has the best personality of any animal I've ever known. He's just so good-natured and affable. We bought him with an eye towards using him as a breeding buck this year, but her got very very sick in the fall and didn't get the kind of size on him that I would like to see. Bucks keep growing until they are three so I haven't given up on Jack yet, but when we went to pick up the new wethers, Jack's twin- who was raised by his mom, hadn't been wethered yet, and I was sorely tempted to keep him intact for future breeding. The thing is though, my reasoning was completely faulty. 
I wanted to breed him because I love Jack so much and I was thinking of this new goat as some sort of Jack clone. Patrick, Sara and Dan had to convince me that however much I love Jack, this twin brother wasn't him, and it didn't make sense to keep the twin as a substitute.
It was all very interesting and I felt like I learned a lot about the way I make decision. 
We have five nanny goats left to kid, although I am not over sure that one of them is actually bred. I will send out updates just as soon as Jane, Linda, Beatrice, Olivia and Hannah go into labor.
Friday is my last day at my full-time job and I am going to celebrate by shooting some videos of the babies over the weekend to post here, so check back on Sunday. 
If you have any questions about the animals or anything else, you can post always post them here in the comments section or email me. I love getting your emails and I am constantly amazed by the level of detail you all are interested in. So ask.


ladybug said...

wow, the blue-horned buck is beauuutiful.

caracolina said...

Tansy is adorable! Thanks for thinking of my suggestion, it looks like the name fits perfectly. Clover and Sweet William sure look like a handful! ^_^

woolies said...

I just love all the goatie pictures.
SO your Etsy shop is completely empty - did you sell all your shares?????

Diane said...

>>the one blue horned buck in the group

How's about calling him "tangled up in blue!

Diane said...

or just "tangled"

Katom Burke said...

i vote we name the new group after Red Sox players....but that's just me. not sure where you and Patrick stand on baseball esp with your New York connection...
Manny, Big Papi, Youk, Dustin, Tek Papelbon & Lowell. I'd name the blue horned guy Tek, after the Captain.


--Deb said...

As always, the names are perfect. (I adore Tansy, and lordy, Sweet William. Swoon...) They're perfect, of course, because they go with those sweet faces!

And yes, those expressions on Patrick's face are priceless. These twins are obviously bigger than the ones he had in a pail a month or so ago!

Quirkles said...

Love the pictures and second the Red Sox names suggestion. Congrats on Friday being your last day at your old job! Enjoy!

Jenny said...

Tansy is just the cutest kid! Congratulations!!

I am so excited for you that tomorrow is your last day and you can finally really focus on all of this. I'm sorry you've been so stressed, but at the same time I'm PSYCHED you've had reason to be so stressed! :)

I've been telling everyone I meet about the CSA and I have a few friends who are considering getting in on the Spring shares- I'll try to light a fire under that ass. ;)

Jenny said...

Oh yeah- happy birthday! I hope it was a good one!

Phyllis said...

I'm a new shareholder. Hello to everyone. I don't know where to post my suggestion for a new naming scheme, so I'll do it here for now. I'd like to suggest classical composers; i.e. Bach, Vivaldi, Schubert -- you get the idea. I loved today's blog and the pictures are wonderful. I look forward to more.

Sandra Cohrs said...

I second the idea of using classical composers. The blue horned wether looks like a Beethovan to me, or maybe a Grieg. They are all so cute I swoon at each picture. Oh, to have the yard to have one or two myself!:-) Congratulations on your last day of work and good luck with all the kids.