Saturday, July 19, 2008

Maggie and Truman (the world's cutest lamb)

Howdy! I'm Maggie Estrin of Little Grey Cat Designs. I had the great good luck to be able to visit Susan and Patrick recently when I went back east for a wedding. Susan asked me to do a guest post about the visit from my point of view, and I happily accepted.

I arrived Sunday evening and took the ferry from Woods Hole to Oak Bluffs. Martha's Vineyard is gorgeous--seriously, it's beautiful. We took the scenic route from the ferry to the house, and then promptly changed into "goat clothes" to take care of the evening chores.

My first sight of the critters was our trip to Felix Neck to see the nannies, ewes, kids, and lambs. Let me tell you what--these animals have the prettiest pastures I've ever seen! S&P use a movable fence at Felix Neck in order to rotate the feeding area to prevent overgrazing and parasite build-up. Basically, the moms and babies get new scenery every couple of days, and it's all pretty meadow and low woodlands full of delectable green stuff.

Sweet William, Bay Leaf, Cumin, and Clover still get bottles twice a day, and they know it! As soon as you get close to the pen with the bottles, they rush the fence to make sure they get them. Sweet William, saying he doesn't want the darn bottle

They suck them dry within about 90 seconds, and ask for more. The dogs (especially Fettucini) like to lick the babies' faces after they eat to get some yummy milk for themselves.
Fettucini (I think)

As you know, Rosemary's poor leg is in a cast, and she sleeps in the house every night. I was lucky enough to get to hang out with her while S&P bought groceries for dinner.

The next day was supposed to be full of fun things like dyeing yarn, going to the beach, and seeing the sights. The animals had other plans, though. Patrick very kindly took care of the early morning chores and let Susan and I sleep in a bit, but Biscotti decided to set herself free from the pen just as our day began. After retrieving her and staking her in the pen on a harness and line (so she couldn't repeat the process), we ran some errands for the farm and took water to the other animals over at Tisbury Meadows (another gorgeous site).

Finally we returned home and dyed some yarn (and our hands--my cuticles are still blue in places!).
The dark spots are from an accidental dousing in the steam bath--someone's yarn bundle leaked.

Just as we finished up around 2PM, we got a call that some of the herd at Felix Neck was out again. So, off we went. Herding goats is pretty difficult, especially when there's nowhere to herd them in to because the fence has to stay up to hold the other goats in! We finally succeeded, and then brought them some more water (which they drink at an astounding rate!). After finally finishing all this, we hopped in the cart to head back to the truck....and got it stuck. It just wouldn't budge. The fun never ends!

Thankfully the evening chores were uneventful. Being the gracious hosts that they are, Susan and Patrick kindly heeded my suggestion and fixed excellent mint chocolate chip milkshakes for dinner, and we collapsed.

The next morning (and my last bit of visiting), we moved fence at Felix Neck so the critters could have new greenery to chow on. S&P have a pretty neat system worked out for moving fence without letting the animals out, and once they were allowed into the new section, they attacked the new plants like they had never eaten before! Pretty amusing, really...but I forgot to take pictures.

I had a fabulous time (despite the jailbreaks, poison ivy, and bugs), and learned a lot--including that, though I adore goats, keeping them is not for me! S&P put so much love, hard work, and parts of themselves into their farm--it's amazing to see. Of course, there are rewards--the bottle babies running after you like little paparazzi, the satisfaction of making shareholders happy and producing a high quality product, working for yourself, and doing what you love. Susan and Patrick, thanks for everything!


KarenHarveyCox said...

I loved this post. What a fun trip to an enchanting place. Karen

woolies said...

Sounds like a blast. !!! Wish I was there!

joanb said...

Maggie - thanks for sharing your adventure with Susan, Peter and the gang with us. Loved the video of Rosemary.

Totally Timmy said...

Love those little wooleys!

Quirkles said...

What an awesome experience! And mint chocolate chip milkshakes? I'm jealous!