Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Farm Update! 2016

 Blogger has been giving me grief about uploading pictures to blog posts lately, so I haven't posted any updated pictures in a while. If you are wondering where the "Lucy The Goat" blog went (the blog written from the point of view of my goat, Lucy), the inability to post photos easily spelled death for it. I ain't got time to fight with those shenanigans! If you want to keep up with Lucy, please find her on Facebook (She's under "Lucy the Goat", not "Lucy the Adventure Goat" or "The Life of Lucy the Goat", those are different goats named Lucy with Facebook pages -- which means it is totally a thing to have a Facebook page dedicated to a goat... totally a thing!).

So here is the farm update for April 2016: No goat babies yet but all the female goats on the place are pregnant. I don't normally have such late kids (they aren't due until mid-May) but my buck that I had procured to be the herd sire for the year was unfortunately shooting mostly blanks. I thought I was so smart to get a buckling in the early summer to use for breeding. I traded one of last year's doe kids for him. I drove 6 hours to get him. I brought him home and raised him for 4 months. Then when all my girls came into heat, I put each one in with him. He acted like a buck, he looked like a buck, he SMELLED like a buck, but he didn't get the girls pregnant like a buck! All my girls came back into heat repeatedly, regardless of his enthusiastic attention. By the second missed heat, I went into panic mode and put him on Craigslist as a freebie dumper goat. I called my good friend who always has a pile of high quality bucks and begged to borrow one for a few weeks. Luckily someone from Craigslist took pity on my buck and wanted him. There was one frenzied Saturday in December where I threw my bogus buck in my VW station wagon and drove him one hour to his new home and then continued 15 more minutes further down the road to pick up my friend's buck and bring him back to my house. Luckily both bucks didn't pee or poop in the car, but both of them did spend a considerable amount of time rubbing their stinking faces into the roof of my car (which was the only part of the car that wasn't encased in protective plastic!). Suffice to say, my car reeked like male goat for a while. Sigh...

Alice says "HELLO!". She says a lot of things. She never shuts up. It's becoming a problem. I have gotten rid of less annoying goats for more minor offenses. She might wind up on the short list of animals that need to find new homes. If she wasn't the Sundgau Alpine that I always wanted (and paid a lot of money to get!), I would have gotten rid of her already.

Daisy is much more subdued than Alice, but she's got her issues too. She's not very loud but she can be large and pushy. I have been working on her collar-training skills. Being a dam-raised kid really made her a lot less friendly than she could be. Luckily she is gorgeous and a great producer, so I can forgive her less than stellar manners.

Figaro is still the farm mascot. He's so quiet and not a bother to care for at all, so I really enjoy having this fluff-ball on my farm. His only bad habit is that he hates being shorn and has developed the habit of biting the shit out of the shearer. It's not pretty and can be painful! This year I am on the ball so when I mailed out my clipper blades to get sharpened, I also ordered an "anti-biting" muzzle from I have been putting it on him for short periods of time to get him used to it before I attempt to shear him this spring. Hopefully the muzzle helps and I don't get bit and he gets shorn.

Lucy is pregnant this year. I wasn't going to bother breeding her anymore but by the time I got my buck situation figured out, I decided that since it was such a hassle to get a FERTILE buck this year that I will just breed every stinking doe on the place. I really need her kids and milk like a hole in the head this year, but it's always such a joy to see what kind of kids she'll have. I sold her daughter, Fiona last year because she didn't produce like I had hoped. I am still wishing to get one good doe kid out of Lucy to continue her line on the farm. Lucy is such a calm and docile goat that I would really love to support more of her genetics in the rest of the herd. Even is she has bucks this year, I could always cross them to the other does and maybe get a good combo doeling out of next year's kids. I am going to try "renting" out Lucy this year. Since I really don't need the extra milk and since she is CAE positive, I am going to let another farm borrow her for their milk supply. They have two goats but those goats are young and not bred this year. They really want fresh milk and want to try out the whole milking gig before breeding their girls. Lucy will spend the summer with them. Her CAE issue shouldn't be a problem since I will retain her kids and bottle feed them with Daisy or Alice's milk, and since the other farm's goats are not drinking milk or producing milk too. Casual transference of CAE is difficult so there's not much risk to the other goats. The other farm can return Lucy whenever they want to. It's a trial-run deal, so we'll figure it out as we go.

The chickens are good. I have two roosters right now (This is the first sign of psychosis, I swear!). One rooster is a large, beautiful Buff Brahma. My friend at work brought him all the way from her parents' house in Massachusetts for me. I love having a nice big rooster to watch over my hens. The other rooster is a Buff Polish rooster that a different friend from work gave me. She gave me a trio of Polish chicks last summer and one of them was a rooster. I am always skeptical about Polish roosters because 90% turn out to be assholes. Luckily, this guy has passed the 1 year old mark without becoming an asshole. I kept him to see if I could get some fertile Polish eggs out of him. I have 5 Polish hens and 4 of them are still laying eggs (the non-layer is about 8 years old and probably hasn't laid an egg in 4 of those years but she's pretty, so she gets to stay). Polish hens are my favorite. As a kid, I always had a Polish hen for a pet. Their outlandish top-knots give them tunnel vision so even the most clumsy 7 year-old kid (me) can sneak up on them to catch them. I used to love carrying my hens around and playing with them. Unfortunately good Polish chicks can be hard to find, so I decided to set up a breeding pen of my chickens a few weeks ago to see if I can hatch any of the eggs. I have 11 Polish eggs in an incubator at a local elementary school right now. In a few days, they will be candled and I'll see if any of them started. Here's hoping!

K.C. the barn cat turns 9 years old this year. He got kicked out of the garage, permanently, this winter. I originally let him stay in the garage only during the winter a few years ago. The first year he only stayed in when it was very cold out. The second year he barely left the garage at all, even during the summer! This past year he was garage-bound and actually starting to go a little nuts from the self-imposed confinement. I couldn't go in the garage without him getting underfoot and screaming at me to feed him. He would climb up your legs to get attention and jump on you whenever you bent over to do work. My husband finally got frustrated enough (I was surprised he lasted as long as he did) that he made a NO CATS ALLOWED rule in the garage. We kicked the cat out and put his food and litter box back in the barn. The first few weeks were rough but now he is content to snuggle with the goats and stay at the barn. He's even lost a little weight from his more active lifestyle. The vet was not impressed with his fatness due to slothful garage living when I took him for a check-up a few months ago. Now she should be happy because he's starting to look svelt again.

The dogs are still alive and kicking! Bill is 11 years old and Jill is 14! Jill can't see or hear very well anymore. She has some arthritis in her back legs but can still get around okay. She's not incontinent but we do have to be sure to take her outside when she goes to the door because she can't hold it anymore. Billy is pretty healthy. He's got some fatty tumors but the vet didn't seem too worried. For an 11 year old dog, he's in good shape. He could stand to loose a little weight, but then again, can't we all??

That's it for the farm update!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Diary of a Diet: Part 4

7am Day 12: "Is it Day 11 or Day 12? All the days are running together. I am used to eating the different food. I can't remember the taste of bread or ice cream."
3pm Day 12: "I can totally remember the taste of ice cream!! I want it in my face right now!!"
10pm Day 12: "I am having cravings for foods I don't even like. I don't really like cheesecake but, boy, I would stab a kitten for a piece now. Even just plain, burnt cheesecake from Aunt Tilda."

7am Day 13: "I am rocking this! I am so comfortable with eating only the good foods, I could do this forever! I feel so much thinner and healthier."
3pm Day 13: "I wonder how much weight I have lost? I know I shouldn't look at the scale because this is about eating healthy and not a number on a scale. But it would be very encouraging for the next few days if I saw the real results. No! I won't break down. I won't step on the scale. Scales are evil!!"
10pm Day 13: "I stepped on the scale...Wah!!!! I only lost four ponds!!! Ack! All this frigging work for only four stupid pounds. I have taken poops bigger than that!!"

7am Day 14: "Ok. Four pounds is okay. It's four less than I was carrying. This is okay. I will keep working on this diet. I can't give up now."
3pm Day 14: "Ugh! I am so tired of this diet! I never want to eat another piece of kale again! I just don't want to work so hard anymore! I just want to buy a pizza and a bottle of soda, not slow-roast a brisket and then mash cauliflower and make a lemon walnut emulsion."
10pm Day 14: "This diet is awesome! I feel great! Yay!"

Monday, January 4, 2016

The Diary of a Diet: Part 3

7am Day 9: “TIGER BLOOD! Grrr! I have tiger blood! I jumped out of bed at 5am ready to take on the world. I have already done 30 minutes of yoga, made lunch for the whole family, prepped tonight’s dinner and put it in the crock pot to cook. I did three loads of laundry and all the dishes. I feel like a rock star!”
3pm Day 9: “This is awesome! I feel amazing! I had a handful of almonds and a cup of coffee today and I am not even hungry at all. I am going to do this diet FOREVER! TIGER BLOOD! Grrrr!”
10pm Day 9: “I am still going strong! I did one hour of cardio, all the grocery shopping, helped the kids with homework, prepped meals for the entire week, vacuumed the house, took the dogs for a walk, and made cupcakes for my work for tomorrow. I didn’t even try a cupcake! I don’t need it! I don’t want it! Now I am going to sit down with my glass of water with lemon in it and a cup of chia pudding, and relax for a few minutes.”

7am Day 10: “KILL ALL HUMANS!”
3pm Day 10: “I am so tired. I can barely move. I want to eat all the things!”
10pm Day 10: “This diet sucks so hard!”

7am Day 11: “I have been doing this diet for a week and a half. I am in too deep to quit. I won’t quit. I won’t quit.”
3pm Day 11: “I should quit. This is hard. All I want is a cupcake! I should totally quit”
10pm Day 11: “I didn’t quit but I want to. I just want to be done. So what if I am fat and grouchy for the rest of my life?? Who cares??”

To be continued....

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Dairy of a Diet: Part 2

7am Day 5: "Ok. I am doing ok. I am a little tired of eggs for breakfast but I am ok."
3pm Day 5: "This is easy. I am getting the hang of this. Tonight I will be making vegetable pizza with a cauliflower and almond meal crust and faux cheese using yeast and coconut milk. It's going to be awesome!"
10pm Day 5: "I am so tired!! It took five hours to make dinner. I had to make everything from scratch and it was so hard! And I am starving! The 'pizza' had zero carbs and zero flavor!"

7am Day 6: "Eggs again... yay..."
3pm Day 6: "Oohh! I found a recipe for chocolate pudding using organic cacao and avocados. It looks delish! And it has no added sugar, only pureed dates."
10pm Day 6: "Get your mother &®£|<€ avocados out of my mother [>®{|> pudding!!"

7am Day 7: "Oh god! I hate eggs! Or as I call them 'self-contained snot wads'."
3 pm Day 7: "I am going out to dinner with friends tonight. I have googled the restaurant menu and picked out a healthy meal. I will have to bring my own dressing and make sure they don't use butter in the broiled haddock and ask for steamed veggies on the side instead of the pasta, but that should be no problem."
10 pm Day 7: "Screw it. I ordered the meatball sub with mozzarella sticks for an appetizer and had a brownie sundae for dessert. I mean, how often do I really go out to dinner anyway? This was a special treat."

7am Day 8: "Ow! My stomach hurts so much! I can't believe I ate that much garbage last night! I will not be doing that ever again!"
3 pm Day 8: "I am going out to dinner again. I am prepared and ready this time. I will eat healthy!"
10 pm Day 8: "I totally had the sub again..."

To be continued.

Friday, January 1, 2016

The Diary of a Diet

10pm the night before starting a diet: "I am sick and tired of being fat and lazy! This is it! I am going to start tomorrow. No more eating junk! Only fruit, vegetables, and meat from now on! Maybe I'll even run a marathon. If I start training tomorrow, I will be ready. This is it! I will DO this!"

7am Day 1: "Ugh. Do I really have to do this? There's no healthy food in this house. Ok. Only walnuts and coffee for food today."
3pm Day 1: "Time to shop. God, I'm starving! I will only buy healthy food. I WILL only buy healthy food. Oh, look! Cookies!" Nom...nom...nom...
10pm Day 1: "Well, that was a little rough. I have the groceries now so tomorrow will be better. I won't start training for the marathon until I get my eating on track."

7am Day 2: "This isn't too hard. I can do this."
3 pm Day 2: "Still going strong. Oh, look! Cookies!" Nom...nom...nom...
10pm Day 2: "The cookies are gone so now there's no more excuses."

7am Day3: "Ugh! Why am I doing this??! I am not really that fat, right? I would rather die fat and happy than skinny and starving!"
3pm Day 3: "I am sooo hungry but I just ate three pounds of carrot sticks and five apples! This hunger isn't real, this hunger isn't REAL! It's my sugar dragon. I will slay the dragon! Oh, look! Cookies!" Nom...nom...nom...
10pm Day 3: "I would sell my baby for a bag of Oreos! Instead I am shoving raisins and almonds in my mouth like a chipmunk prepping for winter."

7am Day 4: "I am over the hump. It should be smooth sailing from now on."
3pm Day 4: "Why does this parking lot smell like frosting?! I am hallucinating! Oh, look! Cookies!" Nom..nom...nom...
10pm Day 4: "I still smell frosting... I still smell frosting..."

To be continued.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

It's that time of year again!!!

Oh boy, you're going to want to quit reading this right now. The reason for that would be because it is almost January and that means.....   Time for the January Whole30!! So I will be boring the life out of this blog for the next while with cranky posts about not being able to eat sugar or dairy or alcohol.

I am hoping it won't be so bad because I have retained a few habits from last year's Whole30. I still drink black coffee, I still don't hardly eat legumes, I still attempt to avoid cheese and other dairy, and I still attempt to avoid needless grains. I have recently fallen completely off the wagon because Thanksgiving and Christmas. I didn't even bother pretending to limit anything I shoved in my mouth since Turkey Day. Of course I have paid for that immensely by feeling like crap, being super tired, not being able to poop, feeling totally achy, and getting raging neck pimples.

Who am I fooling? It will totally be so bad!! The hardest part is that I am an expert at rationalizing terrible food choices. I can convince myself to eat some pretty awful stuff. I once ate a serving of moldy pancakes because I rationalized that I didn't want to make my date feel bad by refusing to eat them. Moldy. Pancakes...! The worst part is this wasn't an isolated episode. I have also eaten moldy bread pudding. Again, I didn't want to make a fuss, so I ate it. Ack!!

This year's Whole30 will concentrate on not rationalizing poor food choices. I want to focus on good food that is good for me.

New this year -- I might train for a half marathon. There's one coming up in May and it's not one of those obnoxious Color Runs or Spartan Races or Mudders. It's just a plain half marathon. It isn't even combined with a full marathon. It's just straight up 13 miles of running. Granted I haven't even walked 13 miles since 2003, but whatevs. I got time to start working on it. I do need something to do that is active. I can't really keep blaming my slothfulness on my kid since she is five and fully capable of either running with mommy or staying home with daddy without as much fuss as a younger kid would cause.

So I guess these are New Year's resolutions? We'll see. We shall see...

Thursday, December 17, 2015

30 Ways Being A Working Mom Is Awesome

1. You see your kid less than daycare sees them.
2. After working all day, you get to come home and cook and clean and do homework and take out the garbage and clean and do laundry and do the dishes and give bathes and clean.
3. You get to spend all day with people based on circumstances, not choice.
4. You can't quit because money or health insurance or retirement funds or money.
5. Your kid asks every morning if you have to go to work again.
6. You probably don't use your vacation days for vacation because puking kids aren't allowed in school and mom is the one who has to stay home to take care of them.
7. If you do use vacation days for a real vacation, it's not very relaxing because you have to pack your clothes and the kid's clothes and all the toiletries and make the plane reservations and make sure the hotel has strollers you can borrow and don't forget the sunscreen or the goggles or the sand toys or the snacks.
8. Your sick days are actually used when you are sick because your kid brought home the creeping crud from school.
9. Being home from work sick doesn't mean rest and recuperation, it means just a normal day with more puking and tissues.
10. Errands after work don't run themselves and usually include a cranky kid fresh from daycare.
11. Holidays are not relaxing because they are predetermined a year in advance as to which relatives you are dragging your kid to.
12. That is, if you don't have to work during the holidays.
13. You work more than non-parents because you know from first hand experience that projects won't do themselves.
14. You get the joyous designation of "office mommy" which just means you know how to clean up after people.
15. Just like your kid who knows you will get them the red cup after you already filled the blue one, your boss knows you won't say no to most requests.
16. Most office disputes are taken care of by you because if you can handled a cranky toddler, you can handle Ted from IT.
17. You never get a full lunch break to actually enjoy lunch because the Post Office and the bank and the eye doctor and the veterinarian all close at exactly 5pm so get your butt over there between 12pm and 1pm or else.
18. Lunch consists of leftovers or whatever your kid wouldn't eat the night before.
19. When packing lunch, you have to leap up from the dinner table and immediately put a portion of dinner in a lunch container and hide it behind the cabbage or else someone in your family will eat it before you get a chance.
20. Dinner consists of McDonald's drive thru more than you care to admit.
21. You occasionally leave work early and take a nap in your car because it's not time to pick the kids up yet but you just can't sit at work any longer.
22. All the men you work with make more money than you.
23. All the men you work with get promoted faster than you.
24. Maternity leave has a stigma attached.
25. Your husband makes more money than you and doesn't have to cook and clean when he gets home. Every. Damn. Day.
26. Your kids only vet to see tired, stressed mom and not the mom you want to be.
27. Your husband only gets to see tired, stressed mom and not the wife you wanted to be.
28. If you have almost no time for your family, you have absolutely no time for friends.
29. Weekends are not relaxing because your too busy doing all the crap you neglected during the week.
30. Nothing. Nothing is awesome about being a working mom.