A Dairy Goat Lease (Part 2)

These goats went back home today

These goats went back home today

Well, we have had two leased goats for over a month now. I just thought that you would like to know how it went.

The  one goat was a first freshener who gave me almost a gallon of milk  everyday. The second was a doeling. My hope was that she would grow up on the property and become accustomed to our ways.

The results. Unfortunately these two goats cried most of the day. They are Nubians; so their cries were very loud and mournful. My husband complained, several of my neighbors complained, and though I was in denial for a while-I too found myself complaining. I spoke with the owner of the goats today and she was very gracious about taking them back home to her lovely farm; their original home.  I am sure that they are much happier.

I see many advertisements for people who are in search of an adult doe in milk. I would not recommend it. She may seem just fine when you go to see her, but when you take her away from her home and friends, she is likely to mourn the loss of her friends. I have heard it said that some goats will cry for months after leaving their friends.

I would recommend however, buying two kids from the same farm. They will comfort each other and eventually grow accustomed to your farm. Then, after they have kids of their own, they will be lovely milkers.

I am grateful to my friend for giving me the opportunity to see if I could indeed make this work out. I had considered leasing goats out myself someday. I now believe that it is not a good idea.

I have told Steve that when a project is no longer fun, then I will stop doing it.

Well, tonight when I went outside, I was greeted by my quiet Elsa and Bambi. I actually found myself singing while I did my chores for the first time in a few weeks.

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Feeding those that I love

Who knows were they came from.

Who knows were they came from.

I admit it. I love to feed my friends and family.

I have been a recipe hoarder since I was 12. I would clip and paste and write recipes out on 5X6 cards and keep them on the top of my closet. Why? Here is why.

Let me use a friend of mine to illustrate. Let’s call her Mrs. V. She told me that her mother used to make her favorite meal for her birthday.  It was a pot roast with potatoes and gravy and  chocolate cake for dessert.

So for her birthday I used my very favorite recipes of all of the above. I anticipated Mrs. V’s pleasure and truly looked forward to presenting her with her birthday meal.

She did not disappoint me. When she and Mr V sat down at the table, her eyes lit up like a child at Christmas. She ooooo’d and awww’d. But what really got me was that with each bite she took, her eyes rolled back in her head and she moaned with delight.

Needless to say– I loved it. I mentioned that I felt like I needed a cigarette after watching her ecstasy over her birthday meal. I love to feed that  dear lady. She knows just how to show her appreciation.

That is one of the things that I love to do. I love to look through recipes and  spend the day making magical dishes that illicit that kind of response from those that I love.

I have another friend with a birthday coming up. Her favorite food combo is lemon and raspberries. Quite refreshing for this time of year. I have combined and changed some recipes and came up with a special something in her honor.

I will make it to serve on her birthday and report back. At that time, I will share the recipe with you.

Please remember, I do not know where my recipes originally came from. So if I post it and it looks familiar to you, please do not hate me. Just make it and moan along with us.

 

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Turning a City Boy into a Farmer

You all know Steve. When I first met him, his concern centered around keeping his pool maintained and his front lawn green. He loved to tinker in the garage and go yardsaling every Saturday.

When I told him that I wanted to bring my little backyard farm in the city to his backyard in the HOA. He said “No”. At first I thought that he was serious. Then I got him figured out.

So after turning his HOA backyard into a little farm with 800 sq feet of veggie gardens, two Nigerian goats, a breeding trio of rabbits, and an aquaponics tank; he realized that I was serious.

You know the story- after several years of doing this; a “friend” turned me in to the city. I cried, then I got mad and then went political. Steve finally came to the rescue and told me that we could sell our two houses and buy a home on acreage. So we did.

In the beginning, Steve would only eat the eggs and milk. He did say that they were the best that he had ever tasted. He did not want to know how the meat got into the fridge and would only eat it, if we did not talk about where it came from. Again, he said that it was the best chicken, rabbit, or duck that he had ever tasted.

At first he planted shade trees, now he brings home fruit trees and berry bushes.

Now, he helps me put the chickens to bed at night and moves the goat grazing pen to a new area every week. He is also planning on borrowing a tractor to berm up the field. He says that he wants to plant organic alfalfa and organic corn. Hot dog! I also heard him telling a friend that grass fed eggs, milk and meat are the best tasting.

Now just so you know, I love him the way that I found him. He was a generous city boy who had been trained  (for years) that in order to please a woman; you needed to buy her jewelry.

But I must say that I find the transformation (mid-life crisis?) very sexy!

Your happy friend,

Donna

 

 

 

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Fee Fi Fo Figs

Last fall Steve planted a couple of different kinds of fig trees on the property. One of them got frost bit during our hard freeze. But it came back and is more like a bush. I think that I will keep it small.

I like to name the trees. May I introduce you to “Freddie the fig tree”. Figs love the desert heat and July is the time to pick them. One mature tree will give such an ABUNDANT amount of figs that you can certainly share them.

I will make a sack out of wedding tulle to put over the tree to keep the birds off. Figs are sticky and any that fall will draw ants. So once the tree is mature, I will put a little pen under it to keep chickens in. They will  have shade, and will be more than happy to keep the rotten figs cleaned up for us.

We love to eat the figs with goat cheese. I enjoy canning them too. I just freeze them during the ABUNDANT season and then pick a day to can them.

One thing that I must warn you about. I have gone gleaning from other friends fig trees and have learned this the hard way. Even though it is hot, you need to wear gloves, and long sleeves when you pick figs. The leaves are fuzzy and the fuzz is prickery. If you are not protected you will come away itching and stinging.

What in the world made Adam and Eve pick the fig leaf for a covering? I would have used something more tropical like an elephant ear leaf.

Anyway, God had a better plan after all.

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Getting along with the bees.

Having animals on the farm is like learning to get along in a new work place. We are all different and rather than just shut someone out, it is usually better to attempt to work things out. I very rarely close a door unless a terrible breech occurs.

What does that have to do with bees? You will see by the end of this post.

I jump into most new projects head-on. Sometimes I do not even think it through. Other times, I over think. Steve usually says “no” to any new idea that I have, but he rolls his eyes while he is shaking his head. Because he knows that I am bound to at least head in that direction once I feel comfortable.

When I started considering bees. I heard him say “No”. but I got over it.

I was afraid to try it on my own. So I have a friend who is a beekeeper. I told him my sad tale. He told me that he would teach me. He would put a couple of hives on my property, and come and check them every two weeks. I can suit up and go out there with him and he would show me the ropes. My trees and gardens will get pollinated and his bees will have food to make honey.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago.

You see, the mosquitos and spiders all love my blood type. I am like that girl in the vampire book, Bella? She just happens to have a rare type of blood that drives all the vampires crazy!

That is me with the bugs. So I started using lavender oil in the coconut oil that I shave my legs with. Tada! No more spider bites.  But the mosquitoes were still biting my arms. So I started using lavender in my body products.

No more mosquito bites and I loved the smell. So I started using it in my face lotion and shampoo and conditioner. Sheesh! (Visions of spreading lavender blossom all over the bathroom.)

Well, now I started noticing the bees were just loving my hair. No problem. I could hear the curious sounding buzzing, they were not gonna hurt me. Well-the other day I was out in the pasture with the hose and bent over. When I stood up, I accidently bonked the curious bee that was buzzing my hair. He got tangled up-and I heard the sweet curious buzz turn into an angry buzz. He landed and stung. I swatted and killed before I even thought about what I was doing. All of a sudden I heard the angry buzz of his calvary coming to get me. I started to feel panic welling up inside. Then a thought came- so I followed it.

I put my thumb on the hose and turned it skyward, and the water came down like a protective umbrella. I just stood there like that for about 5 minutes. It was actually a very spiritual 5 minutes. I felt that the thought was a gift from above, and I was feeling incredibly thankful for it. I watched as the bees lost interest and left.

So I got stung, big deal. Now I know that I am not allergic to bees. Will I have the hives taken away? Not right now. But I have stopped putting lavender in my face and hair products. Since doing that, I have not had any more “Encounters of the Bee Kind”.

The bees are still an experiment. We will see how it all goes.

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A Dairy Goat Lease (Part1)

These are the goats that I am renting.

These are the goats that I am renting.

A land flowing in milk and…

No honey yet. But the bees boxes are on the property, and the bees are working hard.

But this post is about milk.

Bambi is my Nigerian goat. She is giving us 4 cups in the morning and she is still feeding her baby.

Elsa give 8 cups per day. Not very good for a Nubian, but she is a very nice girl.

With 12 cups of milk per day, I am making chevre, ricotta, feta and cheddar. Eventually I hope to make Brie.

You read the story about Bella, and why she no longer lives here. But everything usually works out.

Here is something new and fun. I have a friend who raises very high quality Nubians. I was telling her my Bella story. She told me that she has too many goats and one in particular that she really did not want to sell. So she offered to “Lease” me a goat. Here is what a goat lease is. I take the goat and care for it as though it were mine. Forever. She keeps the papers. I care for the goat, I get to keep the milk. When breeding time comes, she provides the buck. She gets any doelings that are born.

I had entered into an arrangement like that a few years ago, but the owner decided that she did not want to go through with it after all, and the goats ended up going back home.

Well, I thought that was a win-win. I do not care about researching goat genes, showing or selling kids. I just want milk.

So my friend and I worked out a deal for me to take a Fawn and her two month old daughter. They will replace Bella and her daughter. Fawn had twin girls and my friend kept one of them.

I will name the daughter Faline. Bringing her daughter with her will help Fawn to settle in quickly. When the time comes to wean, I should have a gallon and a half per day to work with.

Faline will grow up here and get used to us all and when the time comes, she will be  bred, kid and become one of the milk producers on our farm.

 

 

 

Posted in Abundance, bees, cheese making, Faline, Fawn, goat cheese, goat milk, Goats, honey, ice cream, Raw Milk, raw milk yogurt, Real Food | Leave a comment

Juicing Cucumbers

Who needs an Icee. Just pull this out of the freezer and slurp while it thaws.

Who needs an Icee. Just pull this out of the freezer and slurp while it thaws.

I told a friend that I had about 25 cucumbers to juice. I have not had time lately to pick my nose lately- let alone pickle some cucumbers. Besides cold cucumber juice is so refreshing on a hot day. This last weekend we had 118-120 degree days, and chores just do not just do themselves.

Her reply was; “I did not see any cucumbers in your garden this year”. That was my seg-way in to tell her this story.

A few years ago, a friend of mine was struggling to grow a garden here in the Arizona desert. She is from a far away land where there is one growing season, but during that season everything pretty much grows itself.  I made some suggestions and pointed her in some good directions. I cannot say that I taught her to garden. She already was a gardener. But now she has a big beautiful garden of her very own in the desert.

Over the years, we have shared back and forth. Sometimes I share from my abundance, sometimes she shares from hers. We also motivate each other by sharing ideas. We never keep track, because we both love the sharing even more than the receiving.

This year because of nursing school, my mom’s health, and building the new goat barn; I let my garden go. I am pretty embarrassed to admit that I did not plant corn, cucumbers, green beans, melons, squash, eggplant or okra. Don’t you worry though-next year there will be plenty.

So when my friend called and asked if I would like some cucumbers- I said “Yes, please” Then  I got out my juicer.

This is a Slurpee for my chickens.

This is a Slurpee for my chickens.

 

I was visiting another friend, and saw all the beautiful okra that she had just harvested. I could not help but admire the beautiful abundance that she had. She said “Take some, please”. That night Steve got his favorite roasted okra for dinner.

My point? Just start sharing with an open heart-expecting nothing in return. There is magic in that. It all comes back over and over again, and you get to turn some of the loveliest people into your friends.

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