Saturday, February 28, 2009

We laughed. We cried. We ate a lot of pork.

More drama on the farm. . .

It is now a completely proven fact that I have no idea how to tell when an animal is about to give birth. Part of the problem is that we let our boys run freely with our girls, and nature takes its course. That often leaves me guessing at when breeding occurred. Changing this system is under discussion, but right now we are not really set up to keep the boys separate from the girls and from each other.  So, it is a guessing game. 

So far this season, I've had two that I've put in the nursery pen way before they've needed to be, and counting this morning, I've had two that took me by surprise. I should get the last one right though. We have one goat left to kid, and I know when she was bred. One out of five ain't bad? Geesh!

I've been watching Mini Ewe (our yearling) for a couple of weeks now. In the last couple days her udder had gotten a little larger, but was still small. Her back side was slightly swollen, but no more so than it has been for a couple weeks. There was no discharge. 

This morning Tim and I went out to feed the animals. It was the normal craziness of trying to walk through slick as snot mud on sloping ground to separate the goats, sheep, and donkey to their respective feeders while they all crowd around you begging for their feed. After they all got settled I heard a "Maaaa" that I didn't recognize. A quick glance toward the sheep revealed that all expected animals were accounted for. "Maaaa." 

Where was that coming from? Following the sound to the goat shed, "Maaaa," and there underneath the building I could see four long black legs attached to the mouth making that racket. A single lamb, that part I did expect. It's a ram. He and Mini are doing great, and are now in the nursery.  

Also today the big ram came back home. He went to service a few girls at another farm late last fall. In exchange, he stayed there over the winter. It was a good deal for the farmer. He had been paying what I think is a ridiculous price for stud service. It was a good deal for us. We did not have to feed him all winter, but more importantly, I didn't have to deal with him for several months. 

This ram does not have a name, but I refer to him as Butthead. He is huge, and he likes to butt. He has sent many of us flying down the pasture. He hasn't exactly hurt us, unless you count our pride that is, but you always have to be on your guard with him. 

In addition, he fights with all the other male animals. He has gotten beaten up by our boar. He and our buck goat would fight to the death if we left them together, and we suspect that he had a run in with a buck deer last year also. No, I wasn't real thrilled about him coming home, but he does produce nice lambs. 

All this drama happened before nine-thirty this morning. 

Afterward Kellen and I rushed out of here to make a 10:00 fair goat meeting. While we were gone, Mamaw and Ashley flipped the four wheeler while looking in the pasture for a cow that recently miscarried. Ashley has a little bruising, and I think they are both a bit sore, but no major injuries. 

Since I also flipped the darn thing last summer, (did I neglect to post that? hmm....) the men folk here have decreed that the women folk here are no longer allowed to drive it. Honestly, I have no desire too unless I'm on flat ground, and there is precious little of that here. 

The rest of the day was rather uneventful. Papaw and Tim worked on the pig barn. Mamaw took all the kids except Vivian to the movies. I worked on some things in the house. Oh, we did eat a lot of pork.

Though I recently stated elsewhere that we needed to cut back on the consumption of our homegrown pork, I realized afterwards that I have quite a bit of pork already defrosted in the refrigerator. Now, we have to use that up don't we? Wouldn't want it to go to waste now would we? Mmmmm. . . sausage gravy, biscuits and fried potatoes for lunch. Eggs, bacon and toast for dinner. 

Just another day on the farm. 


  1. Congrats on the new lamb! Glad nobody was hurt when the four wheeler flipped over.

  2. Sounds scrummy, can I come for dinner, LOL. Glad no one was hurt. Margaret

  3. Just wanted to stop by and say thank you for your helpful comments on my chicken post! I think we are about to a final list! No, we won't be getting any roosters. We are more interested in the eggs. If we do get one someday it won't be a RIR though, I have heard too many bad stories about them! Maybe a buff Orpington, I haven't heard any stories of them being mean roosters.

  4. I have to disagree with the women folk driving the 4-wheeler! I think I did a pretty good job :)

  5. What a day!! I'm so glad noone got hurt on the flipped 4-wheeler. We've got one, but so far noone's done that yet.
    We have a similar arrangement with bulls for breeding like what you described with your ram. We've borrowed a bull from another farm to breed our cows with no money changing hands, which is very nice. This farmer was just glad to have 1 less animal to feed. LOL
    Congrats on the new lamb! Holly

  6. Every time I read one of these posts I feel incredibly lazy. Here I was thinking I was being productive getting a load of laundry folded and another started before breakfast. Glad no one was hurt. But I don't think you should be banned from the 4-wheeler!