Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where There is Smoke...

Woodlands Fire
This is a cross post from my dairy goat blog.

These past couple of months have been eventful to say the least. In August, we finally finished the new pen for the girls just in time for school to start. I've changed grades this year from 4th to 2nd and have been happily adjusting to my new routine. Just when I thought things had calmed down, the whole area went up in flames!

Magnolia Fire
On Labor Day (Thanks Caroline) , I headed out to feed the girls early at about 3pm. I noticed the huge plume of smoke in the woods behind the barn and was immediately concerned. Since we've been in this horrible drought, there have been a few forest fires near the barn, but none as close at this one was. The barn owner, Mike headed over to check it out. I spent the rest of the evening waiting for an evacuation order. Hours later, it came. There was ash in the air, when Chris and I loaded the girls up and headed for our closest goat neighbor at Blue Heron Farms.

Maximum Security Goat Pen
Goats are not easy to keep in a fence, so I couldn't take them to just any farm. Unfortunately, Blue Heron had a wild fire in their area as well. Their fire was much larger, but not as close, so we decided to risk it. By the next day, our fire was out, and the Magnolia fire was huge. We couldn't get in to get the girls and bring them back and I was panicking. Blue Heron had taken in over 100 goats, most of them lactating. The last thing they needed was my girls.

Tuesday was spent driving all over the area, trying to find a road that wasn't closed so that I could get my girls and hopefully help in any way I could. Blue Heron was very nearly under mandatory evacuation. It was tense. Luckily, I was able to get the girls late that night and find our way back home through the confusing maze of closed streets, and the smoky haze.

Baby Patron With His Chicken Friend
My ordeal pales in comparison to what farms like Blue Heron, Swede Farms and Brushy Creek Farms are still going through.

In happier news, my girls got appraised this weekend. I was very happy with their scores.

Valerie was rated +V++
Leda was rated VVVV
Valencia was rated VVVV
Sandra was rated +VV+

Now that I've got a better idea about their strengths and weaknesses, I've selected a buck for them. His name is TLC-Farms NAN Patron. He has great bloodlines. His father Nick At Night appraised very well and his mom looks great too! I'm so excited to move into the next phase of goat keeping.

I am sad to report that I have an additional update. While Louie, our recently ill pug, is doing fine, our other pug, Dupree, died on Tuesday. We're completely heart broken and can barely even speak about it right now. I'll post soon to honor her memory. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

Louie and Dupree
As many of you may know, Chris and I have five dogs.  These dogs are all firmly suburban dogs. They are smushed nose breeds, so air conditioning is just as important to them as it is to me. Coli and Louie are the oldies, both out-living their breed expectations. Dupree is our bratty middle child, then Petey our special needs girl, and finally, our baby is Winston. We planned on stopping when we had two dogs, then when we had three, and again when we had four. Now I promise we are stopping.

Our engagement photo with Louie
When you have a really old dog, specifically one who everyone says should be long gone, there is a constant nagging worry. It doesn't help that the old dogs start losing their hearing and can be pretty difficult to wake up at times. Even when you think you've prepared yourself, things can hit from out of the blue. Louie starting having accidents in the house, which isn't like him. I figured that he was losing control of himself and would need some medication, and planned on taking him to the vet. I took him in this Saturday, only to find that he wasn't losing control, he was completely blocked, his bladder was on the verge of bursting. He needed surgery.

Baby Winston
Old pugs don't typically survive anesthesia, but we didn't really have a choice, so we took the risk. Since it was the weekend, we had to have the surgery done at the emergency vet. Luckily, he made it through the first procedure, but on Monday we'll have to take him in to discuss further surgeries. At the youngest, he is 16 years old, possibly even 18. He's survived seizures with medication, arthritis with medication and cancer with surgery. It seems like an easy choice to just let him go, but it really isn't. Louie's lab work shows he is strong. His quality of life is great. He is happy and still doing well. These costly surgeries could kill him, or buy him time. Who knows how much time or if the time would be good time.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've got Winston. He's only a year and a half, by far the youngest and healthiest dog Chris and I have had together. He's learning the ways of our family, and getting away with more than the other dogs do in the process. I'm glad he is here now, because he reminds us how much joy dogs bring to us and that even though there are tough decisions to be made, and the endings are brutal, owning a dog is a wonderful thing. They give us so much, that even with the pain and sadness, it is totally worth it.

We'll probably take another risk with Louie tomorrow, knowing that if we lose him, at least we tried. If the time comes when he is hurting, or suffering, we'll have to make the hardest decision of all. Wish me luck in these complicated times.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Winston and Valerie

We have a new dog named Winston. He is a French Bulldog/ Pug mix, and he is adorable. When he was just a tiny puppy, we watched him for two weeks while his owner was out of town. My husband got really attached to him. When we heard his owner had to find him a new home, we were happy to take him. Our other dogs are taking to him pretty well. He is very sweet and fun to be around. 

 TLC-Farm Dear Valerie Plame has finally come home too! I'm so happy to have all four of my goats under one roof. The girls are getting so big we're going to double their pen next month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haflinger Plush Toy

I thought my Haflinger Friends out there might appreciate this cute little toy I made in honor of Morrissey. I think it might even be a little bit cuter than the plush goats. Shhh! Don't tell them!

I still miss her so much, but I'm sure she is having a good time with her new owners. There are several new boarders at the stables right now. We have a Mustang and a Percheron. I always thought my haflinger was drafty, but this girl puts her to shame. Her name is Zoe. I've never been around a draft horse in person. She is so big that the word that comes to mind when I see her is  always "dinosaur". 

In goaty news, my final doeling for this season will be coming home next weekend. Her name is TLC Farm Dear Valerie Plame. I can't wait to have all my girls in one place. I am crossing my fingers, hoping that the four of them will get along.

New Official Site

I'm very happy to announce that my dairy goat herd, Gray Stables, now has an official site. It isn't completely finished, but it is presentable enough for now. Feel free to check it out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shape Shifter

Valencia is keeping a secret and her shadow is telling the truth. She's not a goat after all. She is a bunny!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sweet Geets

I'm so excited to announce that I'm opening an Etsy shop! Now that I'm only working part time teaching summer school, and most of my goats are weaned, I'm finding myself with time on my hands. I've always loved crafting, and really enjoy making handmade gifts for the children in my life.

My nephew Jackson's birthday was coming up, and I wanted to make him a goat. No matter what I did, I couldn't find any cute goat patterns. Through trial and error, I was able to come up with an adorable one. I called it Jackson's Sweet Geet, since we use that nickname for our goatie girls pretty often around here.

He loved it so much that I've decided to make them available for other children too. I'm really enjoying making them, so even if Jackson is the only child who loves a Sweet Geet, that is fine with me.

Check out my shop here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


That was fast. The trainers were there, she was loaded and she was gone within minutes. It was really hard. To make myself feel better, I spent a lot of the money I made from her on the goats right away. I've got pretty much everything I'll ever need for them arriving next week. I'm also shopping for a maid. Having a horse was a huge extravagance for my suburban family. It will be nice to have that breathing room. What a crazy day.

Monday, May 30, 2011


This has been one of the hardest decisions of my life. Morrissey has been sold. Her new owner's trainer will be picking her up this Thursday.She'll be on her way to New Mexico. I'm so sad to see her go.

She is a wonderful horse and she needs someone who is as passionate about horses as I am about goats. Her new owner was so excited! Right now my emotions are all over the place. I'm going to make sure my last three days with Morrissey are special.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meant for the Stage

Waiting for the Show
Saturday morning Chris and I woke up an hour late at 5 am, packed the girls into the back of our old trusty Jeep (with a tarp down of course) and headed for Brenham, Texas to the South Central Texas Goat Club's May show.  Despite our late start, We made it in plenty of time. It had been ten years since I'd shown a goat so I was nervous, but it was a blast.

Since, all three of my girls are juniors, or goats that have never been bred, we had to wait until the end of the day for our turn to show. There was a lot of waiting, which meant I had plenty of time to watch and learn. I knew I missed showing, but now I realize how much. It is just exhilarating. I met so many new goat people, and got to connect with several I knew from years ago. I tasted my first goat milk, and got a free tub of delicious chevre. I can't stop eating it of course. I even planned some new purchases for next year's breeding season.
The Line-up

As for the actual show, I didn't have much hope for my girls, because they are so young. I was very surprised when my youngest, Sandra, placed third in her huge class of 21, judged by one of the most respected Nubian breeders in the US, Lynn Fleming of Lynnhaven. Lynn placed Valencia 7th in the class and Leda 14th in the class. I was very pleased with their placings and can't wait to see them progress as they gain maturity.

The other judge wasn't as big of a fan of my girls as Lynn was, but he did place Valencia 8th in her class of 21 as well. I feel like he may have been overwhelmed by the size of the class and he certainly didn't explain his placings as well as Lynn did. To each their own. I can't wait to show my girls to even more judges and see what everyone thinks. What an amazing time!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weaning Woes

Before you know it, it will be Sandra's turn to be weaned
Leda and Valencia are almost three months old, over forty pounds and eating alfalfa hay very well. To me, this means time to start weaning. At the most, they were drinking 60 ounces twice a day. I've been slowly bringing that number down and now they are both getting about half of that.

The first problem with weaning is that it makes me feel mean. I'm used to giving my babies whatever they want and now I'm telling them no. The "MAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA" noises as the barn are reaching a fever pitch. The second problem is that Sandra is on a lambar, meaning she has cooled milk available to her at all hours. Valencia and Leda were both on a lambar when I bought them, but I trained them to take a bottle instead.  Valencia was able to remember how a lambar is used, but Leda wasn't. Since Valencia is such a smarty-pants, I can't leave the lambar open to the whole pen. The biggest problem is that the twins take out their weaning frustrations on poor little Sandra. I had just put the three of them together with good results, and now I have to separate Sandra. Even though she had a bloodied horn bud the other day, she'd still prefer to be with her friends. I've managed to upset all three of the babies, the same week as the show.

Weaning is such a controversial topic in the dairy goat world. Some people will think I'm weaning early, some will think I'm weaning late. I've been told to base weaning on weight, how much food they're eating and more. With so much conflicting information, I'm kind of playing it by ear. I want my girls to develop a good rumen without losing condition. I'm encouraging them to eat more of their medicated feed and less milk. They've got the hay thing down for sure. I'll continue giving them milk until I'm sure they're going to be ok. Wish me luck in this crazy process.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Shave and a Hair Cut

Today was a very productive day. First, Chris and I headed up to my school to pack up most of my classroom. I'm a self-diagnosed children's book hoarder. The weight of my classroom library has reached 'husband has to help move it' status. As soon as we got home and unloaded it, I headed out to Tractor Supply to pick up some clippers for the goats. 
This was only my second ever visit to Tractor Supply and it did not go well. To say the smell was overwhelming is quite the understatement. I had my hands covering my mouth and nose so that I wouldn't faint. I don't have the words to describe how awful it was. The problem is that it was a smell unlike any smell I've ever encountered. It wasn't plant or animal based. It was some sort of chemical. Whatever the source, who would put that smell in their car?!  
I'm not a wimp when it comes to smells. I've spent a fair amount of time around diary goat bucks, it wasn't pleasant, but it wasn't more than I could handle. Once, my bulldog, Coli, got sprayed by a skunk.  I lived in an apartment. Imagine a full on skunk spray in 900 square feet. I even handled that. Tractor Supply is worse.
To make matters worse, the clippers were in a locked case. Luckily, I found an employee before my lungs imploded and I made it out alive. 

Clippers in tow, I headed out to the barn. I bathed the goats, let them dry, and started to clip them. Five hours later, I had successfully transfered some of the hair from two of my goats to myself. I glued most of it on with dirt and sweat. Seriously though, I think they look pretty good since I don't have a milking stand yet, and they are only babies and have never seen or even imagined a set of clippers. They were tied to the fence and scared to death, but we made it through. I'll finish Valencia and Leda and get started on Sandra tomorrow. Feast your eyes on my partially clipped show goats!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Farmish Videos

I know all my farmish followers will love to see my baby goats, (it is the indie rock I'm not so sure about.) Check out my cuties!

Gray Stables: Check Out Our Video!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

To celebrate all the wonderful moms out there, I'm posting a cute picture of me and my kids. 

The girls are getting big. Check out my the posts chronicling their growth over at

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday to you!

Morrissey turned 15 on April 21st. Next year she'll be driving! (once I buy a buggy! haha) I haven't addressed this officially on the blog, but I'm really starting to change my mind about selling Morrissey. She's still on the market, but it would have to be quite an offer for me to accept. Check out the photo taken on her birthday by my Brother-in-law Richard.

Dupree, our most sinister yet lovable pug, turned 9 on April 22nd. She is quite heavy right now, so we're going to hold off on her birthday picture. It never fails with that girl. Her weight yo-yos every year. With the goats, maybe I'm just being a bad dog mom right now.

My two new doelings were born. I have photos of them over at gray stables.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Summer Morrissey is a gorgeous blonde bombshell. I love the shine and the dapples. What a beauty!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Farmish Musings

I often find myself driving home from the barn looking at my arms and wondering "is that a bruise or a dirt smudge?" There is really a 50% chance of either. 

My doelings from TLC Farms and Brushy Creek Farms have now been born. I'll post an update with pics soon!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Ratapocolypse

This morning, I was doing my normal farmish thing, feeding baby goats from huge re-purposed beer bottles while wearing my very teachery work clothes. Suddenly, I heard a large animal scurrying across the metal roof of the barn. From the sound of it, I was pretty sure it was pug-sized. My 6 am brain wasn't sure what to do when I realized that it was headed down a pole and possibly into my goat's pen.

Luckily, it wasn't an evil raccoon, like I'd feared. It was just a rat. Yes, I've become farmish enough that rats being remotely near me isn't that big of deal. On 16 acres with that much pasture and a very open airy barn, rats are going to happen. I expected the rat to see me and make a quick exit. I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, the rat decided to run closer to me under the parked barn truck parked near me and jump up into the truck's mechanical bits.

Just when I thought things couldn't get any stranger, a second rat followed the first rat's exact footsteps. It turns out the two rats weren't friends. For the next several moments, all I heard were rat screams, metal clunking and scratches. It was so loud, Leda and Valencia even stopped eating to stare.

So that is a new experience I can add to my growing list of things I never thought would happen to me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I'll admit it, I've been avoiding my blog. Honestly, having Morrissey on the market doesn't put me in the blogging mood. Since the first prospective buyers, there hasn't been any interest. You'd think that this would be disheartening, but you'd be wrong. She is still on the market, but I'm really in no hurry to sell her. Selling a horse is just no fun. Even selling a mean horse who doesn't like people is hard. Morrissey is not mean and does like people, so it just makes it even harder.

For the first few days she was on the market, I kind of avoided working with her. I was trying to prepare myself emotionally, but it just made me feel worse. Instead, I decided to try ground driving with her. I've never even seen it done, but I decided it was worth a shot. I tied both ends of her lunge line to her halter and stood behind her. I don't know any driving cues, so I just said walk... and she did. I turned her and stopped her with my "reins" successfully. It was fun! She didn't like it when I flapped the reins gently against her. I think that may be punishment in driving language, or maybe she was just being her normal self.

I'd really love to try driving. I have a huge arena at my boarding stables, and another huge riding area that I could use as well. It seems like a lot of fun. My fear of riding is mostly about sitting on the horse, feeling the lurching movements and feeling like I'm out of control. Falling is also a huge aspect of my fear. It seems like those things wouldn't really be involved with driving.I'm not afraid of dealing with horses, in fact, I love being around them. I'm just not sure I can allow myself to make another huge investment just to find that my fear gets in the way again. I could take lessons, but again, that is a huge investment. So much to think about.

In goaty news, my doeling from TLC Farms was born. I'll post pictures and details as soon as I get them.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bitter Sweet

I decided to sell Morrissey. Her ads have been posted for a few days. I showed her to some potential buyers this morning. They were very nice. I'm not sure how they felt about her, it is hard to tell. It was very hard showing her to people, but I do feel confident that I'm making the right choice. It will be better for her to have owners who will ride and drive her. She seems happier when she is working.

I'm lucky I have these little sweeties to cheer me up. To hear more about Leda and Valencia check out my goat blog.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Deep Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot lately, and I'm considering selling Morrissey. Even thinking about this at all, has been really rough on me.  She is a really great horse, and I really enjoy spending time with her, but I have realized that I am not going to get over my fear of riding with her.

It all started a few days ago when I went out to catch Morrissey. She normally walks right up to me, but this time she tore around the pasture like I had the plague. Mike, the wonderful man who runs my boarding stable, saw that I was having trouble with her and offered to help me. He had his nephew, who is an experienced rider, ride Morrissey for about an hour. Half of that time, she was bucking or in some way testing him. Not maliciously, he never lost his seat, but bucking is bucking.

I find myself making excuses for her often and really I think the fault lies on me. Horses don't stay "kid friendly" sitting in a pasture and getting lunged occasionally. Having me as an owner isn't doing Morrissey any favors. I've also realized that kid friendly can be quite a misleading term. Mike's nephew is a kid, and also an experienced rider. Morrissey's former owner's small children had been raised around horses and seemed to do very well with her. The thing these kids have in common is confidence. Something I'm lacking.

Morrissey is not a horse for a beginner who lacks confidence. She is not a babysitter. She will challenge her rider. When she is ridden by someone who knows how and what to tell her, she will listen. She is a great horse for someone. I just know I'm not that someone.

Watching Mike's nephew ride my bucking bronc really made realize that I'm not going to ride her. I'm not even sure if I want to ride anymore. Trying to force myself hasn't been enjoyable, it has been stressful. The non-riding times have been the good times. Having the goats has made me realize that my farmish life can be easy and fun without pressure.

I could keep Morrissey as a pet, brush her and love her like I've been doing for six months, but financially it doesn't make sense. I haven't made up my mind for sure, but I will be thinking long and hard about what is right for both of us.

Friday, March 18, 2011

They Grow Up so Fast

This week has been busy busy busy. I don't know how many of you have experienced this, but having twin goats living in the bathroom means a lot of extra cleaning. I've never done more laundry in my life. I can't complain though, because I happen to own the sweetest goats that ever existed. Even my non-farmish husband is completely in love with the kids.  

I've taken them to the barn every day for the past three days. Tonight they won't be coming back. This will be their first overnight stay. I have to admit that I'm pretty nervous. I've always been quite the worrier, and this situation is no different. All week I've been modifying a former pig pen into a maximum security prison to protect my babies. The local dogs and coyotes are no match for my six foot high fences.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pony Keg

Morrissey is fat. She has always been a big girl, but she seems to be getting bigger. I'm really trying to focus on all of my animals' nutritional needs. Just because I have cookies and junk food on occasion doesn't mean I'll feed them that way too.

The pugs are all pretty fit and trim, Coli is underweight because of her Cushings disease. The goats are going to have every nutritional need they could ever even think of having met. But Morrissey is the one I can't seem to figure out. I already feed her practically nothing. She gets free choice pasture, two flakes of grass hay, 1 cup of rolled oats, minerals and water each day.

 I can't take her oats away or she'll throw a fit when the other horses get fed. I don't want to take her hay... that leaves pasture. I'm thinking of getting a grazing muzzle. Horse people out there, especially haflinger people. What are your thoughts?

This post is part of Farm Friends Friday! Check out all the other fun farm blogs!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Shedding Out

This is after 5 seconds of curry combing
In both my suburban life and my farmish life I spend a lot of my time dealing with fur. At home I have three pugs who shed off a basket ball sized amount of hair per week if not more. I seriously use a shop-vac to combat the weekly 'extra pug' they are so inclined to give us. At the barn, I have a woolly mammoth of a Haflinger that is now ridding herself of her winter coat, and what a coat it is. This means that I spend the majority of my time either using a lint roller, or covered in yellow and orange hair. 

Plenty of people would probably be embarrassed of this, but I don't mind. My babies are worth it! I've been spending a lot of extra time with the curry comb trying to free that sleek, shiny horse from her fuzzy prison. I bought Morrissey in October so this will be the first time I get to see her new look. I'm very excited. If only the pugs would stop shedding for the summer too!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Goaty Goodness

I bought another unexpected goat. Now I've doubled my original number planned for this year. Who could resist them though? I also want to let everyone know that I'll be blogging a lot of my goat related things over at Gray Stables. Feel free to follow!

Friday, March 4, 2011


photo via
It is official, I bought her! Now I just have to give her an official name. She is currently going by Flashdance, which is totally fitting. I wasn't planning on bottle feeding any goats until next year. My other two doelings will be raised until weaning by their breeders. Since she is from a dairy, they need the milk for cheese.  I'll be picking her up in the next couple of weeks and bottle feeding her myself. Here we go!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Suburbanish Weeks and Farmish Fridays

Photo via
The past couple of weeks have been somewhat lacking in the farmish department. I am a fourth grade english teacher, so I've been devoting most of my extra time to helping my students succeed on the writing portion of the  TAKS test. Thankfully, we are past that. Spring break is only a week away! It is time to get farmish!

Just because my life can never be too simple, I've gone and fallen in love with a doeling. I saw her picture on facebook and she is just too cute for words. The same farm that makes the best cheese I've ever had in my life also happens to make adorable goats. I've maxed out my farmish budget on the other two doeling reservations I have for this breeding season, so my husband is not too keen on the idea of adding another one. Morrissey's performance last week probably isn't helping.

To add to the difficulties, I'd have to pick this little treasure up right away and start bottle feeding her store bought cow's milk. She'd have to live at our house for a week or two. Our suburban house with suburban neighbors. I haven't quite convinced him yet, but I'll see what I can do.

In horse news, Morrissey is in season. Apparently she is one of those mares who gets witchy. She had a few other fun symptoms as well, but that will have to be another post.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A few steps forward...

My husband and I headed out to the barn today to continue working on my fear of riding. Everything was going pretty well. I was able to mount bareback, sit for a while and dismount without freaking out. Things took a bit of a bad turn when I convinced Chris to hop up. Morrissey was fine with me, but crow hopped a bit with Chris. Once she calmed down, I stupidly convinced him to try to take a few steps on her. She bucked for the first time ever and he came off. I got on her right after, so she wouldn't learn to buck to get out of work. I then worked her on the lunge line, and then mounted and dismounted again.  Chris wasn't hurt, but he was pretty annoyed. He isn't a huge fan of horses in the first place. I may have lost my barn buddy for a while. I'm upset with Morrissey for acting up, but I'm sure that this is nothing that Dot and I can't get through.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sitting Pretty

Despite the fact that I'm a complete chicken, I got on Morrissey bareback today. We didn't move and it was in the barn, but hey slow and steady wins the race.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dog Update

After posting the blog about my dogs fighting, I was lucky enough to find another blogger out there who has even more dogs than me. They have a pack of pugs and bulldogs just like I have, the major difference is that their pack gets along. I asked for some advice and they were happy to help.

Together we decided that my close bond with Dupree, and my lack of leadership at feeding time was causing the problems. I immediately adopted a new feeding plan and stopped giving Dupree free passes because of her cute facial expressions. Since that day there hasn't been a single fight. Coli is happy as can be and I'm sure Dupree with get over it eventually.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Spa Day

After what seems like months (or at least a couple of weeks) of freezing cold temperatures, it finally warmed up enough for me to bathe Morrissey yesterday. She is a shaggy beast right now, so the bath was pretty time consuming. She was not a huge fan of the process. Months ago, her fidgeting would have scared me to death, but it didn't phase me at all. I really love this wonderful level of comfort that she and I have developed. We really enjoy each other's company. She is such a sweet girl!

Morrissey inspecting her former mane
While I had her hair wet, I decided to trim her bridle path. I haven't bought clippers yet, so I used scissors. It was nerve wracking sitting there looking at her gorgeous mane and thinking about taking scissors to it. I'm happy with the end result though and it is much easier to tack her up without her thick mane in the way. I also think it makes her look much more sleek.

I used a sweat scraper on her for at least an hour trying to get her dry, but it wasn't happening. As soon as I put her into her paddock, she promptly rolled in the dirt. It is ok though, because when I checked on her today she looked great. I can't believe how soft and silky her mane looked. I can't wait to see my girl in her sleek summer coat.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Coli meets Morrissey

Today we took Coli to meet Morrissey. Despite the fact that Coli is not even the alpha at our house when the only things she is up against are pugs, she still decided she could take on 1100 lb Morrissey. Poor delusional Coli, I don't think Morrissey was worried.

In other news, my American Dairy Goat Association Herd Name has been made official.  My herd name is Gray Stables. All of the goats I breed with have this included in their names. Hopefully, one day Gray Stables will be synonymous with the very best nubian goats available in Texas!

Two of the possible goat mama's are due this month. The rest are due in April and May. I'll keep you updated when my kids are born! Of course I'll post pictures as well.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Memory Lane - Misty

Misty at her first show in 1998
With my new horse and new goats on the way, I've been thinking a lot about my past. This is the first installment of a short series about the animals that started this crazy journey. Fortunately, my mother found some old pictures that I can share with you.

Misty was my first goat. I wanted to show an animal in FFA, that wouldn't have to go to sale for butchering. There were two choices: cows or dairy goats. I chose goats. Goats had not been shown in my school's FFA for quite some time, if ever.  The teachers were not really excited about the idea of allowing me to raise them. Taking no for an answer was never in my nature, so I convinced 5 of my friends to show dairy goats with me and we were official. On my own I decided on a breed, and found local breeders.

Misty Tri-Club Show in 1999
We headed out to Kay Kloecker's farm and I fell instantly in love with one of the doelings. She was a single kid and much younger than the others. I immediately named her after Misty of Chincoteague and when she was finally weaned, I went and picked her up. Soon after, we started a fairly successful show career. Little Misty did pretty well at major shows Like The Houston Livestock Show, and the Ft Worth Stock Show. I was very proud and thoroughly enjoyed the showing process. 

Misty  Ft Worth Reserve Grand Nubian Junior Doe 200
When I was 18 years old and just starting college, my older brother was killed by a drunk driver. My family and I were so overwhelmed that I ended up giving Misty and my other goats away. I truly regretted doing so, only a few years later and tried to locate my beloved goats. I had no luck getting any of them back. I've spent the last 10 years wanting to continue my passion of raising and showing diary goats. I'm so happy to finally be in a place where I can!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Farmish and Coldish

I don't know how people handle actual winters.  In Houston, we don't really have winter, therefore we don't have winter infrastructure. Every few years we'll get a cold front, but this year is like nothing I've seen before. We didn't get snow here, but we did get ice. Even Morrissey's water keeps freezing over. I would have taken a picture of her 50 gallon, hay infused, water flavored slushie but my hand was too cold after breaking it up for her.

My suburban side is coming out, I feel like a frozen fish out of water. The more farmish people in my life are constantly reassuring me that chubby, shaggy, draft horses can handle this weather. They must be right because Morrissey looks thoroughly unimpressed by the whole ordeal. I promise I'll try to update with a photo, the next time I venture out to check on her. 

My goats are due this month. I can't wait to meet them! I feel for the goat farmers delivering in this weather. Hopefully, it will warm up in time for them! I joined a Farmish Link List! Check it out!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Dog Fights

I'm having dog issues. Dupree, my female pug has hated my female bulldog Coli since they met. 99.9% of the time they tolerate each other, but on occasion, usually when I'm alone with them both, she decides that Coli has committed some serious crime and should be punished.

I pull them off each other and separate them instantly they aren't seriously hurting each other, but it has to stop. I usually see the warning signs and try to prevent the fights, but it almost seems to escalate things. I think the problem is that they have been in a battle for dominance since they met, and it never gets sorted out. 

I have a strong suspicion that I'm the cause of all of this. Dupree is very bonded with me. I think I've been marked as her property. Coli is hesitant to come when I call. I think she's afraid of getting in trouble from Dupree. Both of them usually listen to my commands, but when they are about to fight, it is like I'm not there. They both ignore me. I've tried to "Cesar" them. For small misbehavior it works, but not for the fights. I don't really walk them. They are both older and have the typical smooshed-face dog illnesses. They don't seem to have excess energy. I have tried walking them together in the past to promote bonding, but it never made a difference.

I totally love my dogs but I'm starting to consider finding a new home for one of them. I've had Coli since she was a puppy, for 11 years now. I can't imagine not seeing her every day. Dupree is a pain, nobody who knew her would want to deal with her, and I love her to pieces. Anyone with any experience in multiple dog households please share!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Extra Sauce

Just a few more pics from today, enjoy my orange beauty...

Working It

Last week I got to go to the barn all of zero times between the weather and grades being due. To make up for it, Morrissey and I worked out Saturday and Sunday. Chris came along Sunday to document both of us chubby girls doing something active. 

First, we got in a lot of leading practice. She's doing really well with respecting my space, and following my cues. I am still having a lot of trouble with backing up. I shake the lead and she looks at me. I shake it more and she looks some more. I flap my elbows and chicken walk, she seems to want to rear. I can easily get her to back up, by pushing her chest or just applying backward pressure with the lead, but I'd rather do it with more distance between us. Morrissey is a good horse and I know she wants to do what I ask. That leads me to believe that I am asking incorrectly.  I've decided to just lay off on the shaking to back up thing until I can get Dot out to show me my mistake. Hopefully I can have her out in February.

Now that Morrissey respects me, the lunging is going really well. I suspected that she knew voice commands, and today this was confirmed. She walks when I say walk, she trots when I say trot. Canter didn't work, but lope did. Like many drafty horses, Morrissey is a reluctant loper. If I ask, I'm guaranteed to get some attitude. Being the chicken that I am, I rarely ask. Today I was feeling confident so I asked. She bucked, I continued to ask and she cantered quite a bit. I left feeling exhilarated! I love this pony so much!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Music to My Ears

 a terrible snapshot of my wonderful snapshot
One of the least farmish things about me is my taste in music. I wouldn't really call it suburban either, but it sure isn't your typical farm fare.  I listen to a lot of hip-hop, and the occasional pop song, but my true love is Indie Rock. As I've said before, I try to be open minded and tolerant. One of the harder things in this world for me to tolerate is Country music. I was raised on it, but 99% of it drives me insane.
Indie Rock is open minded in itself. The range of musical types encompassed by this title is vast.
One of my favorite bands is The Decemberists. They are wonderful. When the deluxe box edition of their latest album The King is Dead came in the mail recently, I was excited to see how farmish the whole thing was. The music is folksy, the album art features horses and weedy fields. I love it. It is the perfect soundtrack to my life right now. One of the features included in the deluxe box edition, was a Polaroid photo taken during the making of the album. I'm not quite sure what my photo depicts, but I love it none the less. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

What day is it???

Morrissey's mouth seems to be all healed up. I am still not sure what caused it. I'm just glad it is gone. She is such a goof. Worming her yesterday left us both covered in bright yellow worming paste. I'm just going to have to learn that I'll never leave the barn looking clean enough to go somewhere else. She has a warm cozy stall, but naturally she was standing in the rain when I showed up. A nuzzle-happy,  fuzzy Haflinger with a drenched winter coat means your shirt will end up smudged. I managed pretty well though. I was still able to head to my suburban grocery store after the barn trip, with minimal embarrassment.

My first Goat Club meeting was this weekend. Unfortunately,  I forgot what day it was and didn't go to the meeting. I feel like a fool, but when teachers aren't at work, they tend to forget what the date is... it can't be only me who has done this... right?!  I bought a bar of goat-milk soap from my local feed store and have been using it this week. The soap comes from TLC Farms, where one of my doelings is coming from. I honestly couldn't believe the difference in my skin. It feels smoother, softer and just better than it used to feel. I've only had to use lotion once since I started with the goat-milk soap. This is an abnormally cold winter for us and prior to the soap change, I was applying lotion at least two times a day. The lemon grass sent that I chose also stays on my skin for so long.  I have been converted. I can't wait until my does are in milk so I can start making soap for myself!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mouth Sores?!?

In this shot, you can see one by her nose.
A few days ago I noticed a little sore on Morrissey's lip. Today there were more. I have no idea what this could be. Does anyone have any ideas? It is on both sides of her mouth. They don't seem to be bothering her. Nothing in her diet has changed recently. The weather has gotten much colder, but I don't see how it could be related.

Today we worked on moving away from pressure and general ground manners. She was amazing! I've been meaning to work on how mouthy she is, but it is hard to tell her no. She constantly wants my hands in or near her mouth, but she never bites. She reminds me of a goat. She tried to bite the button off my jacket. When I told her no she let it go. Who knows what she is getting into in her pasture that is causing the sores. I've looked at all the plants in her pasture. They look the pretty normal... dead, but normal. Maybe it is something in her round bale? I'll have to check it out.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Squirrel Knows Why...

Who? you ask... Squirrel, she is my awesome class gerbil. She was originally named Marvolo, but my students voted to change her name. I have to admit, her new name fits her better.  What? you ask... She knows the reason that posts have been slow. How? you ask... Because she's seen me at school, hard at work. The week after vacation is always hardest for sure. Hopefully the weather and my workload will improve and I'll have more to post, until then look at Squirrel reading the board. 

Seriously though, gerbils are awesome pets. They are entertaining, affectionate, easy to care for, and independent. They aren't supposed to be kept alone, but Squirrel doesn't like other gerbils. She loves my husband, likes me and tolerates 85 children.