Herding instincts, birthday joy and milking goats…
It’s been 25 days since me and Nathan have watched TV. The one thing about farm life that differs from what we were doing before is, we are working LESS hours but we are working HARDER… Not so hard that you want to fall over and die, just hard as in each part of the body actually gets utilized. That means at the end of the day we can both lay down and fall asleep right away. We don’t need to unwind in front of the TV each night, our mental exhaustion is greatly reduced with the job and life change. Though, I’m still kind of mentally exhausted when it comes to trying to wrangle the kids 😛 Oh, and my sciatica hip & back issues are improved now that I’m being more active.
Next week we are planning to bring a dairy goat home, plus her mating partner! The ordeal of trekking back to Evansville for house upkeep and to pickup our milk has been taking it’s toll, big time. The kids don’t enjoy being cooped up in a car all day and we lose too much time during the travel that we could be putting to good use around the house and farm. The number of leaving-the-farm-errands MUST be reduced… So I’m taking up goat milking next week. Wish me luck.
I’m intimidated and anxious about the mater of fencing for the goat. I know they can be difficult and sometimes a downright headache. I’m hoping we get lucky or can manage it because we NEED the milking to take place here on the farm for the sake of simplicity. This weekend, better known as Goat Prep 2014 will be our last shot at getting ready before the goats arrive.
We also processed the first of the 40 Red Ranger chickens this week. I’ve been caring for to 40 Red Rangers here on Tanglefoot Ranch, they are meat birds for a farm project. One of them got a hurt leg in a chicken tractor moving ordeal and was just too far gone to mend. To be humane, Nathan ended the suffering and surprisingly Everly was his helper. Eventually the girls will see slaughter from start to finish but we haven’t been pushing them, rather I’ve been trying to shield them, Adalyn specifically.
The other night when Nathan went out to start the slaughter process Everly noticed he had left right away and wanted to go out with him. I warned her about what she might see and she was eager to go and watch “cause I’ve never seen it done before” she commented. Then she went out and took part in it ALL. Her favorite part was when the organs came out and we got to identify and discuss the workings of the digestive system. I cringed a little when she came back inside to ask me if I’ve ever seen “a chicken’s face cut off”. She was referring to it being bled out and then beheaded for plucking. LOL. She took it like a champ, it’s a good thing too because slaughter day is on the horizon for all the other meat birds. Our plucker and kill cones are being engineered right now by the men of Tanglefoot Ranch.
Oh, speaking of Everly… She just had her fifth birthday! A few friends made the trip out to Tanglefoot to help us celebrate. She had a Hello Kitty cake, got her own puppy (a working dog. Red Heeler/ Border Collie breed named Snowball) had friends over to play with, it was a great day for her. So great that she zonked out in the middle of our nightly story time. Look how big she is!
We’ve been working on herding dog training for her new puppy. Snowball has strong herding instincts and has already taken to rounding up the turkeys, chickens and even the girls. This scares them and can result in unwanted bites or scratches when puppy enthusiasm combines with herding needs not being met. We have lots of work ahead of us with her but I think she’ll also be a great addition to the family. She’s already bringing out the best in our existing dog, Dixie. Dixie seems to love being a leader and she loves the freedom and space she now has to roam here on the farm.
I bet when the goats arrive Snowball will get enough herding work to keep her busy ;P