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Posts Tagged ‘goats’

I finally figured out what I want to do about goat fencing.

Since any fence that won’t hold water probably won’t hold goats either, I felt I was in a bit of a fix in trying to save my best trees and flowers from the creatures. At my dad’s, they have the run of the place, and have stripped nearly every tree of everything green as high as they can stand. I love my plants, and don’t wish such a fate on them. As I puzzled and prayed recently, voila!, I saw it – a rose hedge, advertised to keep critters and kids either in or out.

I feel it is a workable, long-term solution, though it definitely is not a quick fix. Since I was planning on moving some roses from the house in town anyway (I had yellow, white, and pink hedge roses there), I at least have somewhere to start. Then, it will be a matter of getting them to grow in the directions and to the extent that I want them to. And, it won’t matter if the goats eat some; they are unlikely to eat their way through the whole thorny hedge.

I picture a rose fence around the whole yard area, and a perimeter fence around the main tree area, to keep the goats in. (I’d like to save my pasture mostly for other critters, if possible.)

Of course, ideally, I desire a tall, Beauty-and-the-Beast type hedge, all swaying with blood-red roses. (Everything sways here – it’s windy.) Perhaps, all in good time.

Courtesy of: http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.growquest.com/rose%2520section/roses_2.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.growquest.com/rose%2520section/roses_a_to_z%2520L.htm&h=640&w=480&sz=58&tbnid=U4yc_szYk7yRFM:&tbnh=259&tbnw=194&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dred%2Brose%2Bhedge%2Bimages&zoom=1&q=red+rose+hedge+images&hl=en&usg=__TjmsyvK-5BCf_p2fC4WxqvLOgAo=&sa=X&ei=n6ckTbLaHoSlnQec4bXBAQ&ved=0CB0Q9QEwAQ

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This is the mudroom as it has no doubt stood for many years (minus K-10 the German Shepherd). It is a nice mudroom.

Random#25 099Only problem is, the attached kitchen is rather small. It has a nice propane stove, however, with six burners and two ovens. I would like to put our Dixie wood-and-coal cookstove in, though, as we use it most of the year, and prefer it to any other kind of stove.

With my favorite shelves added along the wall between the dining room and kitchen, and the south wall full of cabinets (hurray!) that leaves not much but a walkway from mudroom to dining room.

So…I would like to build a new mudroom. Nothing fancy; just an unheated space across the whole front of the house, about 10 feet deep, divided into two sections. On the right hand would be a space with a laundry sink, in which I could also put my wringer washer. (Wringer washers can be amazingly efficient.) There would be a place on the ceiling fitted to hoist up a deer or whatnot, for butchering or hanging. There would be a floor drain, for…messes. Will could also process all his raw dog food mixtures in here. Along the east wall (front), there would be quite a long space in which to stack a supply of dry firewood. In the other section, to the left of the front door, would be a summer kitchen/canning kitchen.

Here the old propane stove from the current kitchen would go, and I would want a wide bench, with shelving underneath, suited for processing large batches of food, and storing large cooking pots, canners, and so on. A potting bench, for the spring planting season, would also be highly desirable. Ideally, I would want windows along the north and south walls, which, if done right, could even facilitate getting baskets of produce into the house, without having to track through the front door continuously. There would be a nearly straight shot to the basement, and hence the cellar, from the front door, however.  This summer kitchen would be twice as deep as the butcher/washing section, as the house is not even across the front. This means that a winter clothes closet would fit nicely along the south wall, where it wouldn’t risk getting spattered with blood from butchering. Of course, all floors would be cement – easy clean, few worries.

I’ve introduced these ideas to Will. He thinks they sound nice. (Translated: He has no commitment to the plan, but wouldn’t mind if it magically put itself into action.)

Naturally, that would leave the old mudroom as a place to spill over from the true kitchen. This is important, as, if we choose to have electricity on-grid (not much of a probability), I will keep two refrigerators in the “mudroom”, along the south wall. One would be for household use, and one for dairy. A herd of milking does can produce several gallons of milk a week, and I prefer to make cheese in five to ten gallon batches.  At any rate,  on-grid or off, I’ll need someplace (with controlled temperatures) to deal with the milk.  Also, it would be great to have someplace to put a work table, as the counter space is limited. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Then – ahhh…at last. With these improvements, I’ll have a kitchen where I can cook without working around every project and family member in the house. Actually, two kitchens.

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My dad tends to get obsessed with his projects. At one point, it was the sawmill he was building; another year, the purchase of professional plumbing equipment (I know, I don’t understand it either).

When I was in high school, he went through a spell where he talked of nothing but goats and windmills. He was moving a big windmill (for pumping water) from a neighboring farm, and had much stress about the best way to dismantle it, move it, and re-erect it, without killing anybody. Shortly before that, he had bought his first pair of milk goats.

So a friend of mine joked, “Doesn’t your dad ever talk about anything else? Goats and windmills, windmills and goats! Goats standing under windmills!”

Of course, I remembered that conversation with the utmost clarity when I saw this adorable cartoon.

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I don’t have a picture of Kipling to show you, as I had not yet discovered the joys of camera ownership when I met him.

I don’t really know what his name is, or if he ever had one. Kipling is just what I decided to call him.

Kipling is a horse.

He is a rather mysterious creature, dark grey, with Pixie-bright eyes and a slight build. (Either that, or he’s young; I didn’t get a look at his teeth). He looks like a spunky version of Lee’s “Traveler”, for all you horse lovers out there.  He belongs to a pole barn customer we had last summer, and his story is, he showed up in the man’s pasture one day without explanation, along with a white horse.  The owner of the pasture doesn’t know who dumped them there, and doesn’t seem to care; he already had three horses, what’s two more?

I want Kipling. However, I’ve never told his new owner this. In fact, I’ve never asked about him at all, since we were done with that pole barn. I just keep hoping against hope that he’ll still be there, unclaimed, and unsold, when I finally get a place to keep him.

I keep thinking, with my other dreams that traditionally require a barn and pasture, there are ways around them. It’s not that I don’t have some land; my husband and I own some lots just west of the house that were originally hay fields. It’s that I’ve got to contend with retarded town ordinances. Whoever decided this wide spot in the road should have stricter ordinances than most large cities, should try for the  Darwin award. I’ll applaud if he wins it. So, I have to find a way to get around those ordinances. For instance, maybe I could housetrain a dairy goat. I’ve seen deer and rabbits living happily in house’s, without making undue messes. Problem is, I haven’t yet figured out how to successfully housetrain a goat. They don’t have much sense of place, though they are smart in several other ways. Still, a horse, and especially one like Kipling, is a bit too big to consider as a housemate, though I once kept a 13-hand pony who would come in with me. (He was very bold, and incredibly lovable. His name was Fuzzy.)

So, Kipling has no place with me yet. I’ll continue to hang a few dreams on the thought of him, and, supposing he’s really there when I figure out a plan for keeping him near me, I’ll make those dreams reality. Supposing he’s not there, for whatever reason…I’ll find another horse to take his place in the dreams.

Not an easy task, I think.

Kipling, I’m coming back for you.

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This one in front (white and black, with large horns) is Pansy. She lives at my father’s. She is a mixed breed, LaMancha and Nubian, I think, and does not like having her picture taken. To me, she looks like the perfect “Heidi” goat (as I imagine from the classic story).

More important, of course, are her milking qualities, and she is a fair and efficient milker.

She is supposed to be mine…someday.

You see, I keep holding out hope that one day I’ll have some place to keep my goats, undisturbed. Some place lush and orderly and quiet, with a spring or canal running through it, and a hay meadow.

Before Pansy

Pansy is one of a sucession of goats that was supposed to come live with me. Of course, there was that year-long jaunt with Morgana…

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…who is now a great, great, ever-so-great grandmother. She is nearly ten years old, and more of a pet than a milker.

Dad keeps her primarily for my sake. But, at times, she has also proven a good surrogate mother, and still has pretty babies of her own. “Queen Morgie,” he calls her – and she’s convinced it’s true. Besides her half-brother, Lance[alot], she is the oldest of the herd.

Lance also thinks he is quite special…

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Morgana came to stay with me, here in town, for a year, early on in my marriage. The first night, she cried so much that a neighbor mistook her for a baby, and came over to see what was wrong. He went home laughing.

It is true that if you want to keep a goat in a pen, it must be mouse-proof. That is, it must have no openings suitable for anything larger than a field mouse to get through. I used pipe panels with chicken wire fixed to the bottom half and staked into the ground, so Morgana got out regularly.

No one complained about this. After all, she did not jump on cars or demolish flower beds or butt cats and dogs. She did eat every cottonwood leaf in sight, chew on a couple of beer cans, and nibble our cherry tree.  She went for walks with any children or old folk who happend by, and she kept me company in my garden, as well as anytime it was nice enough to sit outside and work on a project.

Alas, her stay came to an abrupt end when someone complained, because they’d been told by the town that keeping livestock was against a town ordinance.

Still Hoping

Well, the complainer was right. We were forced to remove Morgana, and her child (by then, she had a daughter), and can only pray for a wiser town council, fair enforcement, and a wide place of our own.

Pansy, my beautiful Heidi-goat, waits patiently.

I hope we don’t have to choose one of her daughters, instead….

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When we hear “Old Yeller,” my siblings and I think of Dad. It’s not that he’s always angry…just loud. Even his goats have gotten used to it.

He yells for them to come in for feeding; he yells for them to come be milked. He yells at the “teenagers” for getting out of their fences, and for chewing up sacks left lying around the milk room.

They continue chewing on the feed sacks, or slurping up paper towels, and pretend they can’t hear.

Still, when Dad really needs something done, such as finding out the source of an illness, or preg-checking (the non-messy way), he calls in my sister or I.

“How many kids is she carrying?” he’ll ask.

Most of the time, we can tell him.

There they’ll be, snuggled up in the doe’s womb, almost as visible as if they were born.

Christa and I didn’t exactly develop this ability on purpose. God did it for us, for His purposes and for His glory.

Now for the story.

Notice: This article was originally published on Helium. I have chosen to duplicate it here.

 

Healing Cookie: The Gift of A Goat

December 2004
I clambered through the maze back of the barn, over fences, through gates, around tires set to fill spaces between the ground and fences. There in the December twilight lay a black goat, groaning deeply. My sister Christa had told me, “There are three babies, but the mother’s not getting up. Dad had to pull two of them.” So young, poor Cookie. She braced against a metal fence post, and kneeling, I talked softly to her and placed my hands on her side. I saw in my mind three tears along the artery over her uterus. Blood filled the gulf between her organs and womb. This knowledge made me queasy, but I hurried to the milk room in the barn, where Dad fussed over three birth-slimed goats, and announced, “She has internal bleeding. I’ll see if Christa has ideas to stop it.”

Christa often relied on herbs for her family’s health needs, and she and I had both experienced home births…and several first-trimester miscarriages. But we were not prepared for the gravity of Cookie’s condition. “Father-Creator,” we prayed, “what does Cookie need? We have no herbs on hand for bleeding.”

“Egg,” He said.

Cookie was listless when we returned from the house, and while I stroked her ears to bring her out of shock, Christa placed a raw yolk into her womb. We force-fed her the white, according to the directions in our hearts. Then we settled, one on each side, to comfort her. Consulting one another, we prayed as we laid hands on Cookie, and applied herbs to relax her muscles. Through the energy of the Creator, I persuaded her blood to clot and her pain to lessen. Soon she expelled some afterbirth, but continued to trickle blood. “What now?” we wondered – “goats don’t bleed like women.” We looked through our minds again at Cookie’s insides, and saw I had failed to clot the third hemorrhage, and Cookie had yet to expel all membranes.

Just then, Dad joined us. “The kids were born without the sacs around them,” he said.

We frowned at one another. What did this indicate?
But our musings were thrown aside as Cookie abruptly threw herself into an arc, like a mockery of lockjaw. She seemed to mirror her stiff and dying spirit. Quickly then, praying silently or speaking softly, we plied her with parsley, molasses, and whatever our hearts indicated, for an hour. Her body quieted, but her spirit continued to fret.

Then she spoke. She came eye-to-eye with my spirit, and asked, “Where is my black baby?”

“In the barn,” I said. “He’s warm, and fed and well cared for. We dried him, and he was lively when we came to you.”

Cookie shivered, and showed my spirit a meadow in springtime. Chicory flowers and cosmos grew thick, and she drew warmth from this imagination.

“I want to see my baby,” she fussed. So Dad brought the crying, frightened child. Cookie sighed and nuzzled him, and seemed satisfied. “I am content to live now, if my children are to live,” she said.

“They are healthy,” I told her. “There is no reason they should not live.”

Soon she dozed, and Dad brought a blanket and covered her. We tended the babies, and I instructed them, “You think warmth to your mama. She’s cold, and needs your help.” I saw they understood, and kissed them, and we went to the house.

Christa and I continued in discussion. Through prayer, she saw why the babies were born without sacs. “They were fighting,” she told me, “over who was going to be born first.” I looked surprise at her. “That’s why they tore the sacs, and tore the artery also.”

“Hm,” I said, then remembered a thought of earlier. “You know, when I held the cinnamon-colored one, at first, it told me it was third – but Dad said it came second. He had to push the white one back, because they were trying to come together.”

Suddenly Cookie came on a level with my spirit. “I want to name my children,” she said. She showed me her cinnamon-colored baby, kneeling before her. In this vision, she named it, blessed it, and kissed it.

So Christa, Dad and I went to fulfill the rite. We scooped up the babies, and brought them before the mother. For a moment she ignored them. The black one tumbled over her, seeking her udder. Then the cinnamon one knelt. He kissed his mother, and she kissed him. She called her other children, and christened them.

“What did you name them?” I asked.

“I named them what only I know,” she rebuked. “Not even the other goats call them by these names.”

“She is well enough to move now,” I said, looking at the others. So on a tarp, we dragged her into a horse stall. Cookie stiffened back into her lock-jaw imitation. “More parsley,” we decided.

But, “Milk,” said Cookie.

“Adult goats don’t drink milk,” we told her.

“I want milk,” she said.

So I mixed some, thin and sweet, in a pan, with parsley. When I re-entered the stall, Cookie was standing! I stared in wonder.
“She’s angry because she wanted to tell you something in private,” said Christa.

I advanced with the milk. “Here’s what you asked for,” I said. She lifted her nose in ill temper. “Cookie, you drink it.” I forced her muzzle into the pan. She slurped twice in self-defense, then jerked away.

Frostily, as through clenched teeth, I heard, “Thank you, that’s all I want. Now leave it, and I’ll drink the rest later.”

“Cookie, you can tell me now,” I said. She held haughty silence.

Christa and I departed.

Next morning, I went to visit.

Cookie greeted me warmly and led me to the middle of the pen. “Because you have done this for me,” she said, “you will be healed. Like in like kind. I am in worse shape than you. I will probably have no more children. But you will, because you have obeyed, and taken care of me.” No more miscarriages! I rejoiced.

“Take care of my children,” said Cookie. “Watch out for them, and check them when you can. I have asked Morgana to feed them, as I cannot.” This older doe joined us then, content with her charges.

Sugar, Cinnamon and Spice gallivanted around us. Spice kissed Cookie, Sugar went to Mama Morgana for a drink, and Cinnamon went to nap in a nearby tire.

December 2006
I sat at the end of my family’s long dining table, steaming with dishes of Christmas fare. In my lap reclined my tiny daughter – 1 1/2 months old, and nearly asleep.

It had happened just as Cookie had prophecied. My own womb had been healed, exactly a year before I conceieved, with a signalling twinge and a rebalancing of physical energies. I had carried this child well, knowing I would keep her – that she would be mine to love now and forever. She proved her miracle each day, and I talked to her softly about her three brothers and sisters, waiting for us at God’s side.

Dad had sold Cookie, succumbing to the pressures of bottom-line profits. Her children, too, were gone. But Mama Morgana still remembered, and whenever I visited her, we remembered together about Cookie.

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Mama Morgana, an old doe now, with her fellow goats.

 

Have you any experiences this way? Share your story with us….

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