Friday, February 18, 2011

Horses to Goats to cougars to Nannyland

My kids all love animals in their own ways, that isn't to say they always make the right choices for their circumstances. That is why I have seven dogs, 5 cats, more hand-me-downs than not.  My son was sure he needed two horse, not really, so who ended up with them long term. They were expensive to feed and Poppie could no longer even ride one, if he wanted to, so we decided that we needed to give them away, I know they are expensive and we should have sold them, but feed is more expensive long term so we were glad someone else was feeding them and not us. We told the girls we would get them goats to replace the loss in their lives. We bought a little half pygmy and half dairy goat and her baby. They were wonderful replacements, ate less and delightful to interact with and they couldn't hurt you if they stepped on you. We got them in June of 2009.   August of 2009 Poppie came into the house with a devastated look on his face and asked me to come outside, with out the girls, a cougar had come in the night and killed Mama and Butterfly. He had gotten so attached he cried at their loss, The FWP officer came, it was so hot the dogs could not pick up a scent to track the cougar. My neighbor lost three goats over the next two months as well. Someone heard we lost the goats and gave us a pregnant female and a little buck. Poppie had almost not let me take them as his loss of the two earlier had been so hard on him, but we whined and he gave in.  We had them about a month and a half when the cougar killed the female, again the FWP officer came, the little buck was terrified as he was so stinky the cougar didn't want him but he had witnessed it all. She had been carrying twins, they tried to trap the cougar no luck. We saw a Tom, a female with twin yearling kittens but no luck getting them.  My neighbor, that had lost goats, gave us two little females and all winter they were fine. So we believed the cougars were gone.

The goats were a joy to have and we decided that instead of the pet goats we would like to have milking goats. I also had heard of meat goats so started looking to buy some of each. We got our first boer goats in the spring of 2010, a big registered boer female, Rosie, a female boer, Cleo, a big boer buck, Caesar, Cleo had a set of twin bucklings about a month old when we got her. We decided then and there that we needed a naming plan, the food animals on our little hobby farm would hence forth have food names, it didn't mater what, as longs as it was food, the bucklings became withers and they were Carrots and Beets. The lady I had bought the goats from had given us some little bucklings to make into withers so we also had, Kohlrabi, Stew, Cream Corn and Licorice. Our momma goats are flowers or Great woman from history, and our bucks are Great men from history. I had also agreed to take three peacocks to warn of the cougars presence if they came back, very loud animal and a good alarm system at anything that makes a different sound.

Mokie and Son (her husband) got goats at the same time, they live next door so together we have 2 1/2 acres. They ended up with a little herd of about 6 average and we have a herd that averages 11. We grew to love our goats daily, mind you at this point we had never tried goats milk or goats meat so, we sort of had the cart before the goat, so to speak.

April 2010, Mokie's first doe had triplets, two little buckling and a doe. My little pygmy, that the neighbor had given me as a pet, had been pregnant with triplets, I tried to save them but they were two big and in the end I lost all of them, I nearly quit on the goats right then and there. My family and friends comforted me advising that the reality of farming is that animals die, it is a life and death cycle, you can't enjoy the birthing and growing without being prepared of the dying. I dug her grave by hand and buried her myself, tears streaming down my face. I only remembered later that I had had Mokies ring on my hand, as she had given it to me to safe keep when we were trying to pull babies, it was buried and stayed with Tink and her babies in her grave. Second ring I lost that week as I had been helping Poppie make a pig pen and when I was pounding stakes in the logs had lost my gold band in the dirt and couldn't find it.

We enjoyed the births that came latter through the spring, Rosie had twins in August and was the last of the girls to do so. The Cougar killed all but one of my neighbors goats in August, the Fwp officer came and finally got the Cougar but we had called the media before they really did take it seriously, both the male and the female were taken in the end. So hopefully we will not have anymore trouble with cougars....  Nannyland was born and a reality of our lives.

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