Monday, May 26, 2014

Remember Those Who Served This Day

Thank you to those who have served and those that are still serving our country! We hope you have a safe and happy Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Goat Field Day in Amite, LA May 2014

Last week, I posted a flyer about a field day that was being held in Amite, LA. We were able to attend and I must say, we had a great time! It's always so nice to catch up with fellow goat friends and of course, make new ones. The first part of the day was held at the LSU AgCenter.

There were several topics presented the first part of the day.  Our first speaker was Roberta Mckowen, DVM.  Her session was focused around the priority pyramid that's in the background of this photo.

I took another pic a little closer, because I really agreed with the pyramid........especially the bottom/first priority being knowledge.  Shane and I had read/gathered as much information as we could before we purchased our first goats.  We even visited other farms and talked with several goat ranchers before we dove off into the adventure of raising goats.  Even though we've been raising goats for several years now, we are still learning.   

There were also presentations from a Sweetlix representative regarding mineral nutrition for goats.  It was very informative!   It's amazing the decrease in issues with your herd's performance when proper mineral supplementation is practiced.  Minerals play a very important part in their overall health, which is true with any other livestock.

While we were in sessions, Mr. Mike Kimball was busy preparing goat jambalaya for us to enjoy.  He had a specific method to his system.  I was very impressed with his set up.  You can tell he's done this more than a time or two.

Mike's world famous goat jambalya in the making

Dillon getting to help Mr. Mike out

I will say, I've tried goat meat prepared many different ways.  This was THE BEST I've ever eaten.  The flavor was perfect! I'm telling you, if you don't think you would like goat meat, you should definitely try his jambalaya. It was out of this world good! I don't know if his recipe is top secret, or if he has any special ingredients.  Maybe I can get him to give me the recipe to share on the blog :)

Everyone enjoying the good food

After lunch, we all loaded up and headed out to Nic Girgenti's farm. 

They put a few goats in the working pen and if anyone was interested they were able to see how FAMACHA checks are done with the goats. Earlier in the day, Dr. Jim Miller, DVM did an excellent presentation on parasite management. FAMACHA checks is one of the best methods to use when it comes to parasite management!

If you'll notice, they had some very nice equipment to use to handle the goats.  The equipment can be such a lifesaver! I do remember a time when we caught up goats using our two running feet and only a lasso and leg crook.....long story there, but I will tell you herding them up with the dog and having a head gate is AH-MAZING compared to the previous method :)

Getting the goat in the head gate

In the photo below, Nic is showing how to hold the goats eyelids in order to see the mucous membranes to check for anemia (which is most often caused by the Barber pole worm; Haemonchus contortus )

Nic demonstrating how to check for anemia using FAMACHA method

Mr. Mike opening the side gate to let the doe back to the pasture

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Branding Day #2

About 2 months ago we gathered up the yearling heifers that we'd retained for our herd. It was time for them to be branded with their identifying number. Shane and Dillon got all of the tools that were necessary for the days work and fueled up the generator that would be used to power the "branders".  They are electric, instead of the other method of heating up the brands with fire. I wrote a blog post back in 2012 when we first tried out the this method of branding.

We rented a squeeze chute for the day from a co-op.  It was different than the one we're used to using, but it did help us get the job done.  You can see it in the background.  I had to share this picture, because of the two dogs sitting in the back of the mule.  Of course, without our family pitching in the help us, we couldn't be where we are.....but I will say without these two dogs, I'd probably be bald! They are such a lifesaver when it comes to rounding up the cows or goats.  Just send them out in the pasture and with a few voice commands, they will bring the animals to you.  Way better than what it used to be when we first started ;)

Alex and Davie; border collies

Shane getting ready to brand

  This is a picture that I snapped yesterday while out checking on the goats.  You can see how well their brands have turned out.  It's much better than trying to read their ear tags. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

One Proud Boy

The day that our oldest has awaited for what seems so long, finally arrived a while back. You see, Dillon worked all last summer earning money and made payments towards his very first kiko goat. He's been after his daddy to let him buy one for some time. Shane finally made a deal with him and all we've heard about is how he is going to have a herd better than ours. Dillon is just a tad bit competitive.  He sees how much goes into selecting good breeding stock to work towards improving your goat herd, and he's up for the challenge!  

He chose to breed his doe to Pistol Pete.  Of course, the first thing he said was that "The kids will be colored if Pistol Pete is the daddy."  We've tried to stress the importance of not getting caught up in breeding just for color.  He understands, but what can I say......the more colorful goats are eye catching.  However, I don't care to have a pasture full of beautifully colored goats that can't manage to take care of themselves. 

Anyways, the day finally came that his doe kidded.  She had twin girls.  He was so ecstatic! He did all of the routine checks with his goat and kids.  He weighed and tagged the kids and has begun the adventure of being a goat rancher.  It's so fulfilling to see your children learn such valuable life lessons!  

Getting the weight

Putting in the ear tag

Weighing the other

Can you tell he is one proud boy?  And I couldn't be a more proud mama of that boy!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

While I'm working on other blog posts, I thought I'd share a few photos from this past weekend.  We celebrated Mother's Day here at our house.  We had several mamas in attendance to celebrate the day. The pics were snapped with my phone, so they aren't the best quality, but they are treasured nonetheless!  Everyone was about to leave and my sister mentioned that we should try to get a few pictures.  The children had all changed from their church clothes to play clothes which they had definitely been playing very hard in :)

Me, my mom, my grandmother "Scooter", my little sis, and of course my girl Mal
Shane and his mom

The reason I am called mama

My sis, mom, brother and I
A very special thank you to my husband who planned the whole day.  He grilled and cooked lunch for all of us mamas.  His idea was to get us all together at one place and for us to just relax and enjoy the afternoon.  I have to say he did an awesome job! He grilled, whipped up the side dishes, and even made homemade vanilla ice cream! 
My honey and I
I had an absolutely wonderful Mother's Day! I consider myself blessed beyond glad that God chose me to be a mama!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Goat Field Day May 17

A good friend of ours, Mr. Nic Girgenti, will be hosting a Goat Field Day at his farm this coming Saturday, May 17.  He sent an email with this flyer attached with all of the information.  It was in PDF format, and for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how to get it in JPEG to upload on the blog.  Soooo, I took a snapshot of it with my phone and uploaded it to the blog.  I apologize if it's not real clear.  If you click on the photo, it should make it larger and easier to see.  

We are looking forward to being able to attend.  Topics for the day will be improving pastures, controlling parasites, and managing the integration of small ruminants on a farm.  They will also be offering FAMACHA certification for $10.  I have to say getting certified to do  FAMACHA with our goats was the best thing we ever did!

Also, I've been told that Nic's brother in-law Mike will be cooking some goat jambalaya for this event....yummy!  I believe you won't want to miss it! So if you live within a reasonable distance and are interested in learning a little more about goats, I'd recommend attending.  Hope to see you there! All contact information is located on flyer.  However, if you have any questions, I will be glad to direct them to Nic.  Just leave a comment on this post in the comment section. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Our Field Trip to the Dairy Farm

About a month ago, we were able to take a little field trip to a local dairy farm with some of our other homeschool friends.  This dairy farm produces the milk that I wrote about on our blog a while back here.  

Although we do live on a farm and raise cattle, our cattle are beef cows.  The cattle at this farm are dairy cows.  Their purpose is to provide consumers, like our family, with milk.  We were able to get a tour of their facilities and see their day to day operation, as well as a wagon ride out to the pastures.  The kids were even allowed to help bottle feed the calves.  I do believe this was their favorite part.  You can't help but love baby calves!

Dillon feeding a calf

Mallory....she really didn't want me to take her picture, but I managed to snap it quickly

Even after our tour, the kids went back to visit the calves on last time. 
We very much enjoyed getting to visit Country Girl's Creamery!  If you ever get a chance to try out some of their milk, I'd say go for it.  I'm not a big milk drinker myself, but I will pick this milk over the homogenized stuff from the "big stores" any day.  I really like the idea of buying local products.  Even more so, I like being able to visit the farm and see how the products is "produced" and exactly where it comes from. 

We were getting ready to ride out and tour their farm

Monday, March 24, 2014

Another Workday

This past Saturday we had another workday.  We are getting close to babies of all sorts being born around the farm, so we want to make sure everyone is healthy and moved to new pasture.  First the first timer heifers were moved.  We started keeping our heifer calves as replacements several years back. They are bred and have their first calf here on the farm at the age of 2 yr olds. If they breed on time, deliver a calf, and show good mother-ability traits, they will be added to the main herd. Being that they will have their first calf ever, they get separated from our main herd when it's close to time for them to have their calf. They are moved to the pasture close to our house, so we can keep a check on them. Hopefully they will not have any difficulties, but you can never be too sure. 

enjoying the clover and rye grass in this pasture

This young bull is also out here with the young ladies because he will be getting branded soon, along with the heifers.  We purchased him from a friend of ours from Louisiana.  Dillon is quite fond of him because he can pet on him.  He asked me to take his picture while he pet the bull.  I think he also would like it if I share it on the blog, so here it is :)  

Dillon petting "Little Nic"

We also moved the does and did FAMACHA eye scoring on them today.  They are due to start kidding in the next couple of weeks.  They were also moved into the same pasture closest to our house.  We are excited to see all of the new kids make their arrivals.  Spring is such a fun time here on the farm!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Better Late Than Never.....

I finally sat down in front of the computer to try to update our blog with another post only to find these photos from a month ago of a work day. Shame on me! All I'd done was upload them and save them. I didn't publish it to share. I have to say my time has been consumed by many other important things. I pour so much into my day that I'm just drained and my brain can't come up with words to share here on the blog. I apologize for that. However, I will share the photos that I intended to share last month. Sorry they're late. 

My handsome man gathering the goats

I absolutely love this photo! You can see one of the border collies coming around the side. 

Not only on this day did we gather up the does, but we also had some calves that needed to be worked.  Shane had purchased some portable panels at Tractor Supply about a year ago.  I have to say, they have come in quite handy. As you can see, they were put to good use on this day.  Our place still isn't set up quite the way we like it when it comes to working the animals.  These panels made it work out well.  Then we were able to pick them up and put them away until the next time we need them.  ( They make a great round pen when we need to work a horse too! )


I certainly hope that I don't wait so long to get another post put up. 

I'm hoping that everyone is getting some warmer, sunnier days to enjoy after this loooooooong winter that we all just endured.  Happy Spring!!!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Deep South Freeze

I do recall, sometime back in August, really complaining about how hot it was.  I even remember saying something about how I couldn't wait for winter to get here.  I even mentioned that I had hoped it would be an actual cold winter to savor, due to the fact that we generally don't get to experience what most would consider winter.  Most of the time here in south MS we are able to wear flip-flops and shorts.....I'm not kidding.  Well folks, I'm here to tell ya, this winter has been one of the coldest I've experienced ever.  That is, if my mind serves me correctly. No flip-flops and shorts for me! I will say that I'm not going to complain one bit about it because I know that when those sweltering hot temperatures of summer roll around, I'll be longing for these colder days. 

Last week we had some unusually freezing cold weather; several inches of freezing rain.  I snapped very few photos; to be quite honest my hands were killing me due to the cold.  Some of these photos are what I took with my phone to send to Shane while he was at work.  Thank goodness for technology!  I can't tell you how many times our cell phones' ability to send and receive photos/texts have kept things chugging along here on the farm. 

Our goats and cows were hunkered down in the brush in the back forty while the winter precipitation was falling.  They weren't coming out of their covering.  I couldn't blame them either!  I went out to check on the horses, because I knew they had no covering.  This is what I saw on one of the horses. 

Icicles! This is not a normal thing for my eyes to behold.  All I could think of is, how cold that had to be!  I moved the horses into an area that had shelter and do you know what? Those crazy things wouldn't even entertain the idea of getting out of that cold stuff. They ran around bucking and hopping like a bunch of kindergartners that had just been allowed to go the the playground.  It was a sight to see. 

Our goats and cows were hunkered down in the brush in the back forty.  They weren't coming out of their covering.  I couldn't blame them either! 

I'd told the kids they would be able to play in the snow later in the afternoon.  We waited and waited to see the white flaky stuff falling from the sky.  The only thing that continued to fall was the freezing rain/sleet.  Can you say disappointed?  My 2 kiddies were beyond disappointed that night when they realized we weren't going to get any snow. 

The next day Shane went out to check on the tub of water he had set out for the horses.  He had a water hose draped over into the tub and left the water running so it wouldn't freeze up.  Well, guess what? The water froze and we weren't able to get the hose out of the tub.  My Revlon hairdryer came the rescue.  Shane used it to melt the block of ice enough to get the hose out of it so he could get the water going again. 

I just found it very funny to see the farmer out in the horse pasture using a hair dryer.  Of course, I had to take photos of that!


Water did spill over the tub, as you can see in the photos above.  It caused a thick layer of ice to form on the concrete pads we have at our water trough.  The horses walked ever so carefully across the ice to get to the water. When one mare decided she was going to be a little bossy and make that sudden movement towards the other horses, she started slipping and sliding.  However, she did manage to recover and keep from falling. 

Speaking of slipping and sliding,  Dillon and Mallory decided to get out the boogie boards from a few summers back and put them to use.  They had a blast slipping and sliding on all of the ice that had accumulated from the day before. 

Now doesn't that look like fun? All I could think of was how badly I would hurt myself if I had even attempted this move.  They would run and jump on those boards over and over and over again.  Many giggles and squeals of laughter were had on this day.  Even though they didn't get any snow, I'm certain this day will be a memory forever etched in their minds. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

His Very Own Goat

Enjoying a cup of coffee with mom (mostly milk)
Our boy is growing up so fast!  He had to have a cup of coffee one morning after coming along with me to move our electric fence.  I usually don't allow the kids to have coffee, but I decided it would be alright if he had a little coffee with his milk ;)  He had gotten up early with me on this particular day and wanted to help out with the chores before school.  He has just matured into such a responsible little man right before my eyes. 

This past summer he earned kids kikobuck$ at the AKGA convention by participating in youth activities.  That got him fired up at the thought of purchasing his very own goat.  He has asked Shane a million times if he could buy a particular goat from him, so Shane finally told him "sure".  They've agreed on a payment booklet where Dillon will make payments towards the amount he owes.  He earns money by mowing the lawn or helping out with farm chores.    He is thrilled that he is going to be raising his "very own" goats. 

His first goat- Milkshake

The kids have always helped out and are involved with the goats, but there's just something about this goat being his and his only.  He was able to make the decision  to  pair up Pistol Pete with this doe.  He is so excited about the kids being born and making those management decisions about his herd.  What a great learning experience this is going to be for him!  

Friday, January 3, 2014

Removing An Old Fence

Each year Shane tends to have vacation time saved up with his job so he is able to have an extended vacation around Christmas. As you probably already know, there's always things to do when you live on a farm. His extended vacation time allows him to catch up on a few of those things.

Last year he started working on an area that joins our property that wasn't fenced in. He managed to get it cleaned up throughout  the year and fenced in; so far it has been goat-proof. This is what the  new fencing looks like.

4 strand of barbed wire with 1 strand of hot-wire

The old fence that separated this land from our pasture was pretty much still intact except for one area that had been removed so Shane could drive in and out of it. It was an old 4 strand barbed wire fence.  Shane decided to get that fence up so the goats and cows would have easier access. 

The two kiddos decided to help out with the job too. First Shane removed all of the barbed wire and rolled it up. Then he took the tractor and wrapped a chain around the t-post and lifted up with the front end of the tractor. It worked real well. Dillon had the job of wrapping the chain and then unwrapping when the t-post was pulled out. 

The cows arrived during the work.  They heard the tractor and wanted to see if it was time for hay

He then handed the t-post to his little sis who took her job very seriously. She would run to the back of the tractor and place the t-posts on the back across the hay forks.

They had quite a little system going there. They were quite the team. There wasn't one thing I could do but watch. I remembered that I had my phone in my pocket and decided to snap some pictures with it. 

I ended up walking down the the creek that runs through the newly fenced in area. I noticed all of the hedge bushes that are growing wildly, all had markings on them. I took a closer photo to show you what they look like.

That is what goats can do for overgrown brush! They are like a land clearing crew. They will chew the bark off of the brush and will nibble on the limbs and peel the tree with their teeth. They go after it like it's candy.  It's amazing how much they have improved our land by getting rid of the brush and briars.  I only wish I had taken pictures when we first got the goats.  I never thought of doing that.  

Have a great week ya'll!