Thursday, December 23, 2010

On achieving, over-achieving, and under-achieving

As I have gotten older, I have realized that I am slowly becoming less of an over-achiever and more of an achiever. I don't think there is anything wrong with this change, necessarily. I believe it comes as part of getting older and wiser. By wiser, I mean that I have learned the value of economy and efficiency as I go about my daily tasks.

When I was younger, I was definitely an over-achiever. I used to get up early, go to bed late, get to class early, leave class later, volunteer for extra projects, do extra credit assignments, study more than enough to get A's, play sports, cook regular meals, go hiking, climb mountains, bike long distances, and do anything that anyone asked me to - even if it meant dropping what I was doing to do what they wanted. Even though I was often blessed with a great sense of accomplishment after doing all these things, I was also blessed with a great deal of stress and feeling of inadequacy when I couldn't get everything done that I wanted to or that I was expected to. I had a tendency to volunteer for every odd job or committee leadership position that no one else wanted. I also had a tendency to take over for people that already had the leadership positions because "they weren't doing it right". This unfortunately left me with very little time to focus on what I needed to get done and left me very stretched thin by it all.

I also found that in my quest to be an over-achiever, I often worked twice as hard as others, only to end up with the same result. Someone else would do just enough to get by and be rewarded with exactly the same thing as me. Due to this, over the years, I have discovered that over-achieving can sometimes be not what it is cracked up to be. While it can pay off, it mostly is punctuated with lots of extra steps and duplications. I found myself taking up slack that wasn't mine to take up and worrying about projects that weren't mine to worry about. People began to expect that I would clean up after them and I began to resent that fact. Also, I realized that some of my well-intentioned over-achieving was found to be annoying by the very people I was so bent on trying to take care of. Some people don't want extra help from a know-it-all, over-achiever. Thus I have slowly started to drop my over-achieving ways.

Now I am focused on doing primarily the tasks that are truly mine to do and the jobs that are my jobs. I am trying to lose the desire to do things because no one else will. If they won't do them, perhaps they don't need to be done? If no one else will volunteer, perhaps no one should? I am trying to became an achiever, plain and simple. I want to use my time in the most efficient and economical manner to get everything that I need to done.

Now, let me get one thing straight, by being just an achiever this does not mean that I am becoming an under-achiever. Under-achieving is when someone purposefully shirks their responsibilities. An under-achiever is a lazy person who believes that some over-achiever will come along and take responsibility for their shortcomings (I used to be that over-achiever!).

Achieving without over doing it or under doing it can be a wonderful thing. It allows you the time to focus on what tasks are truly important for your happiness, while allowing you the freedom to resist tasks that won't add to your personal happiness. This may sound selfish, but an achiever should always consider other people's needs and wants without compromising their own. An over-achiever would disregard their own needs and wants for the sake of others'. An under-achiever would disregard others' needs and wants for the sake of their own. It's a fine line to balance, but I believe it can be done.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

You know you live in the North Country when....

Time for everyone's favorite game: "You know you live in the North Country when...."

1. It's 20F and you remove a layer of clothing because "it isn't that cold out".

2. It hits 40F and everyone is wearing shorts.

3. It's sunny with clear blue skies and snowing.

4. It's -10F out and you think it could be worse, at least it isn't -20F.

5. It's -20F out and you finally put on your mittens because last time you froze your bare fingers to the door knob.

6. You're driving 55 mph in blinding snow and get passed by a Ford Focus.

7. Everyone passes the plow truck .... always, no matter where.

8. "A dusting" equals 3" of snow in 1/2 hour

9. The weatherman on TV says "and more snow in the mountains" and you know that means 6" - 12".

10. You automatically discount the predicted temperature on TV by -10F no matter what it says.

11. The snow you saw hit the ground in October is the same snow you see when it thaws in May.

12. It's okay to walk/drive/snowmobile on the ice of a frozen lake 24 hours after it was open water.

13. You actually can point to the "North Country" on a NYS map.

14. A hot date night in the winter is english muffin pizzas, a bottle of Jack, and Jeopardy.

15. You see more than two people walking through the mall with crampons on their shoes.

16. Winter is your favorite 8 months of the year!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Truths of Winter

I have come to realize over the years that there are several truths to winter in the North Country on a farm. One truth is that there is snow and cold. Another is that it will be dark 18 hours a day and snowing the other 6 hours. Here are some more truths of winter farming that I have discovered:

1. A complete thaw will come 2 days after you've cleaned the frozen poo off the chicken house floor with a pick-axe

2. The smelly buck goat will escape his winter enclosure just before you have to leave to go out to dinner but just after you have put on your nice clothes.

3. The "freeze-free" water hydrant will freeze solid only when you are gone from the farm and a neighbor is doing your chores.

4. You will decide it is time to rearrange the fencing only after there's 2 feet of snow on the ground.

5. The spot where you have been dumping the ice from the frozen water buckets is in the direct path of where you need to push a wheelbarrow after you have a 5' tall mountain of ice accumulated.

6. You will need more hay in the hayloft only after you decided you didn't need to plow the road to the barn anymore.

6a. You will need more hay in the hayloft only after you realized that your husband/plow truck driver has been piling the snow in front of the hayloft entrance for 2 months.

7. The one tool you will need will be the only tool you left in the pasture where you were working before there was 3 feet of snow on the ground.

8. You will feel bad for the goats and leave them in the barn only to find that they escaped their pens while you were at work and spent the entire day out in the snow anyway.

9. That new rabbit you have been eyeing will come up for sale just in time for 4 feet of snow to be deposited on the rabbit hutch that was clear of snow all winter.

That's all I can think of for now. I am sure as the winter continues on, I will find more.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bloggin' Away Again in Vermontville

I am back. I had taken the blog down for a bit as I pondered my role as a blogger. Since my blog is mostly just junk that I make up, I decided that there wasn't much harm in reinstating the ol' web log and beginning again. I started to miss it, actually. I started to miss having a place to post random thoughts and wanderings in a more contiguous format than Facebook or other social media outlets. While I did continue to maintain my alter-ego blog Lucy the Goat (, I found that I was denying myself a place to express feelings and other nonsense that came straight from me. Well, I am back and ready for more randomness. (I hope you are also ready).

Friday, September 17, 2010

It's Fall

It's fall even though fall doesn't officially start until next week. It's fall because it is cold and rainy out. It's fall because it is frosting in the mornings. It's fall because I have to wear a coat to do chores. It's fall because the apples are ready. It's fall because the goats are coming into heat and the buck is stinking. It's fall because the leaves are starting to change. It's fall because ..... it is!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm Back!

I am finally back in the land of the internet. I have spent the last 11 weeks on maternity leave and in the land of evil dial-up connection. Dial-up is so medival! It already took forever to use dial-up, but now with all the fancy "flash" websites, it's damn near impossible to get anything done! Alas, salvation is nigh! I am at work and on a cable connection. Whoohoo!

So, what has happened in the last 3 months you say? Well, first of all, I had a baby. She's a good little baby and we're pretty happy with her. She likes to eat and sleep (as I am told is the norm for babies). She also likes to go for walks in her stroller and in her baby pack ("infant carrier" is the official term).

Baby and me have been doing chores together for a few weeks now. The baby is much more happy with the whole "chores" idea now that she can see better. Before, she would cry because she didn't like being ignored while I milked the goats and she couldn't see well enough to be entertained one bit. But now, I can point her stroller towards the chickens and she is happily occupied by staring at their pretty colors and irratic movements. She also likes it when the goats peer over the top of the gate at her. She's a very alert baby and really likes looking around at everything that is going on.

I started work this week. It's back to the mouse production facility for me. In a way it is like I have been gone forever, and in a way it is like I never left. The baby is going to daycare. She seems to like it so far, except she won't take a nap there. She stays awake from the moment I drop her off until the moment I pick her up. I think there is so much to see and get used to that she just can't let herself go to sleep for fear she might miss something. Luckily she can be totally exhausted and not be very grumpy.

I like having a baby (I hesitate to say that I am a "parent" or "mom" because I still haven't gotten used to those titles). I was worried when I was pregnant that I was too selfish with my "me" time and that I would have a hard time with the baby because I wouldn't have any more "me" time. It's funny, I don't have that problem at all. That isn't to say that I have any "me" time, because I surely don't, but the thing is that I don't care. I now see everything I do as something that the baby might want to do with me. I have a hard time doing something by myself because I think that she would like to be with me and would enjoy all my activities. It's a funny thing.

Well, back to the grind. I should be reporting more often, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Farm Help

My new farm help arrived after 37 weeks. She's only 5 lbs, 14 oz and 20" long right now, so it will be a while before she pulls her own in the goat barn. For now I will start her on the slow program for getting ready to do chores.

Friday, May 21, 2010

More Goats

Sometimes I know better but can't help myself. This week I got a goat back that I had sold in the fall. She was a good goat from a great breeding and I am not sure why I sold her in the first place. When I found out she was going to be sold, I jumped on the chance to have her back. Now I have Cookie, a Nubian. She is a year old and from my Nubian doe. I put her in with the baby boys to live for now because I figured she would a) want company, b) not get beat up by the little boys, and c) not beat up the little boys. So far they are all getting along.
Welcome back Cookie!

Here's my dog, Billy. I couldn't resist posting this cute picture!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Farm Updates

I can't think of much to write about so I will just write about what is going on around the farm this week.

The two baby boy goats are growing like weeds! They are 5 weeks old now and doing really well. Both are eating lots of grain and hay, while still loving their 2 bottles of milk a day. On Saturday I cut a hole in their pen in the barn to make a door to the outside. On the outside of the barn I used my two old chicken pen panels that I had made 4 years ago to make a small kid goat pen. Now the boys can go in and out as they wish. The outdoor pen is only 8' X 8' but it's enough for them to get some fresh air. This outside pen should come in handy, no matter what animals use it.

The adult goats are doing well. I cleaned the barn on Sunday to get ready for Pepper Ann (the Nubian) to kid. She is due on the 15th. She will be the last goat to kid for the year. I am kind of enjoying having the kiddings spaced out by two months this year. It gives me enough time to truly enjoy the first set of kids, before the next set comes. Last year I had three kiddings in the same weekend and that was a little intense. I am not sure how I will space it next year. I will have to wait and see what breeding season brings and how I feel.

Pepper Ann will most likely go to a foster home for the summer. A friend of mine is interested in getting into milking goats. She has some Nigerian Dwarf goats lined up to buy this summer but none of them will be in milk. I offered Pepper to her for the summer since Pepper will be in milk, is a good goat to hand milk, and her absence will help me out with my busy summer. My friend has the option to purchase Pepper if she decides she wants to keep her. Pepper is a great goat and I wouldn't let her go to just anyone, but I feel confident that my friend would be a great home for her.

Speaking of Pepper, I am getting her daughter from last year back. I sold her to a neighbor and now he can't keep her. I am excited to have the opportunity to get her back because I have been kicking myself for selling both her and her sister. She comes from a great breeding of Pepper and a buck from an unrelated line. The buck was gorgeous and was a show Nubian, so I am not sure why exactly I sold both does and didn't keep one for myself. Another plus to getting this doe back is that she is a tricolor - black, white, caramel - and that will satisfy my new found hunger for a black goat in the herd.

This weekend I was visited by the "Loon Lake Chicken Caper" and now have 1/4 less hens than I did. Something spent most of Saturday night hauling off hens, one by one. It was my fault because I blanked on the fact that the chickens were loose and didn't put them away for the night. I can only assume that the caper came in the evening before all of the chickens had gone in for the night. I have 6 Polish chickens (which are mostly blind from their crested hats on their heads) and not a single one of them went missing. They usually go in very early for the night, so they must have gone in the barn before the caper came. Oh well... I am happy that most of my other hens are alive. Now I have room in the chicken house to do a hatch of eggs that I have been waiting to do.

Other than that, not much is going on around the farm. The blackflies hatched this weekend so I won't be spending near as much time outside doing farm projects.

Friday, April 9, 2010

"Organic, Free-Range, Grass-Fed, All Natural, Baloney!"

I am here to clear up a few of the definitions of the terms you see floating around the supermarket nowadays.

1. All Natural -- This term is the loosest defined of all the terms you can find today. It means nothing more than that this product might have originated from a plant, animal, or mineral. Anything can be labeled "all natural". High fructose corn syrup is technically "all natural" because it somewhere along the conveyor belt met a kernel of corn. Even though HFCS is a chemically altered and broken down semblance of it's former corn-based self, it can be labeled "all natural" because it originated from something that once grew out of the ground.

2. Grass Fed -- Here's a shining example of advertising bait-and-switch. This term means that at some point in its life, a meat animal was given the chance to eat some form of grass. This form can be actual grass in a pasture, or dried hay from a field, or haylage (a fermented hay product). The time limit as to when the animal is given the chance to meet grass is not defined. The animal could have been on grassy pasture all its life, or it could have been on grass for the first 2 months of its life (which by the way, doesn't mean it ate any of that grass seeing as most meat animals are not capable of fully digesting grass until they are 3 months old at the least). Also, the way in which the animal was exposed to the grass is not defined. The animal might have lived its life roaming the free range to eat grass as it felt necessary, or the animal might have lived its life in a 5'X8' stall with no fresh air, no sunlight, and wallowing it its own filth, only to meet it "grass fed" requirement in the form of a haylage mush that was thrown on the floor in front of it once a week. Or it lived in a feedlot at a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) with 10,000 other meat animals crammed into a muddy, fly-infested dry lot with its only exposure to grass when for the last two weeks of its life it was handed a flake or two of moldy hay a day that it didn't recognize and refused to eat. "Grass Fed" is not a statement on the well-being of the animal.

3. Pastured-Raised -- Again, another extremely loosely defined term with no specifications and no time limit. This can mean either the animal was on pasture all its life, or that it had access to pasture all its life, or that it had access to pasture for 3 days of its life. Some animals are raised out in the open with a shed to get out of the elements. These animals are free to roam around the pasture and eat what they feel like, as they choose. Some animals are raised primarily in barns but let out to pasture on occasion when the weather permits. Some animals are raised solely in barns with no windows or sunlight and are "pasture-raised" because a little door to a 5'X4' outside enclosure is opened for the last 2 weeks of their lives. They usually never venture outside because they don't know what the door is for and they are afraid to use it. Again, this term is not a statement on the animal's well-being or quality of life.

4. Cage Free -- This one always makes me laugh. "Cage free" is definitely not a statement on quality of life. It means that instead of being raised all its life in a 3'X3' cage with 6 other animals, this animal was raised in a 300'X300' warehouse with 60,000 other animals! There's still no access to fresh air, sunlight, grass, clean conditions. There's still no less antibiotics, medications, or hormones being used on these animals. There's still no lack of crowded conditions. It just simply means that these animals weren't raised in a cage.

5. Organic -- Ahh, the only term with any sort of weight behind it. This term is regulated by the FDA and USDA. It means that no artificial chemicals, medicines, hormones, or toxins where used on the plants and animals that are labeled "organic". The plants where grown using natural fertilizers and organic pesticides. The animals where raised using organic feed and no chemicals. Unfortunately, this term is also not a statement on the quality of life for the animals. An "organic" meat animal can still be raised in a CAFO, can still be treated poorly, and can still be allowed to wallow in their own feces --- just as long as they are fed organic grain, they are still "organic". "Organic" vegetables are grown in large monocultures, just like their conventional counter-parts. There's not a huge difference in terms of ecosystem impact between WalMart brand regular lettuce and Whole Foods brand organic lettuce. Also, organic food is still shipped the same distances as conventional food, sometimes even further due to the lack of organic farms. You aren't exactly saving the planet by buying organic.

My recommendation for anyone that wants to spend their money on meat, eggs, milk, and plants that are actually "all natural, grass fed, pasture-raised, cage free" and beneficial to the environment, they should find a local farmer, create a relationship with them, and meet what they are eating. Meet your meat! See where it lives, find out its name, see what it eats. Maybe even volunteer to feed it and care for it for a few days while the farmer is away. Or, even better -- get your own farm! Raise your own meat cows, milk your own goats, make cheese, garden! This way you can actually be fully assured about the quality of life of your food.

Get involved with your food!!!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Two Words -- Hair Band!!

"Every rose has its thorn,
Just like every cowboy sings a sad, sad song!!!"

Contest Results!

The winning name of the baby goat is :


This name is thanks to my brother, Tom, via Facebook. It is also the name of my family's favorite pizza place in Indiana -- Arni's.

Monday, March 29, 2010


I am having a "Name That Baby" contest this week. I need to name my Toggenburg baby buck that was born last Thursday. His brother's name is "Franky". Please write your name nomination in the Comments section of this blog. I will choose a winner randomly on Friday. The winner of the contest will recieve two bars of Rose's Goats - Goat Milk Soap.

Nominate your names today!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

The 2010 Kids Are Here!

Lucy had twin bucks last night at 10pm. She was kind enough to wait until I got home from yoga to start labor. Both boys are doing well! Lucy is looking great also!
Here's the two boys! They are living in the house at the moment seeing as it will be 0F out tonight.

I am taking suggestions for names for these guys. I think one will be Franky. I don't have a name for the other yet.

This is the guy that needs a name. Let's have a contest! Write in name suggestions to the "Comments" section of this blog. The winning name will be picked randomly from a hat. The winner of the name contest will receive two bars of "Rose's Goats: Goat Milk Soap". I will pick a winner next Friday. Let the naming begin!!!!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Farm Pictures!!

Here's Martha! She looks so cute in her winter fur!

This picture was taken a few weeks ago when we had snow. Now there is no snow, only mud. Lots and lots of mud......

This is Sissy-Boy the rooster. I had to give him away because my other roosters were picking on him. Even the hens were beating him up!

Demon Kitty is watching you!!!!

Here's all the chickens in the coop. Pretty birds!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

What I did this weekend!

Every year in Saranac Lake, NY there is a parade to honor the only thing that this town is reknown for ---- WINTER! The Saranac Lake Winter Carnival Parade is a tradition that dates back over 100 years. Once upon a time, people of the town got tired of sitting around in the snow and decided, "Heck! Let's party!". So the tradition was born. Winter Carnival is the culmination of 2 weeks worth of public drunkeness and ridiculous activities that only snow-crazed lunatics would dream up. Some of those activities include: snow volleyball, snow rugby, snowmobile races across a semi-frozen lake, and the building of the traditional ice palace. The parade is the icing on the cake of a loooong two weeks of activities.

Every year, my place of employment has a float in the Winter Carnival Parade. Somehow I got roped into being in charge of creating that float and coordinating the work done on it. The float must somehow reflect the spirit and theme of each Winter Carnival. This year's theme was "Adirondack Cowboys". The float committee that I head up decided to marry those two ideas by creating a bucking bull moose to be ridden by a nominee chosen by the other employees. There was a contest and employees got to nominate people to ride the moose and then they got to vote on the top three nominees. The winner got to ride the moose down Main Street the entire parade. People got really into voting and everyone had a good time.

Here is a picture of the float. I think it is worth 1000 words. Yeehaw!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let's Talk About It

There's a major problem in this country when it comes to communication about animal usage. It has become completely taboo to talk about animals as commodities and tools anymore. Usage of animals for human means is spoken in back rooms in hushed tones nowadays. To talk of selling or using or slaughtering or euthanizing an animal is to put your neck on the line. You never know who you might offend with talk like that.

The problem with not talking about practical use of animals for human means is that the uses for the animals become out of our control once we stop talking about them. If we do not talk about slaughtering animals for meat, then we lose all control we have over that part of the food industry. Now most meat animals are raised far away from public eyes. Most Americans never ever see where their meat comes from, how it is raised, and how it is processed. This is beyond completely taboo, it is borderline illegal right now. There's laws in Congress that may come to pass that will make it entirely illegal for pictures and video depicting CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) and large slaughterhouses to be seen by the public. If we cannot see what goes on inside there, then how will we ever be able to change it? If we shield it from ourselves and only see what the companies that run these places want us to see, how will we ever know the truth?

I think along with the "buy local" food movement, there should be a "grow and process local" food movement. If there was a slaughterhouse in every town, people would be more interested in the safe and clean operations of it and take a vested interest in the animals that where processed there. No longer would we be eating mystery meat from Monsanto that was processed God knows when by God knows who. Instead, we would be eating fresh meat from a farm down the road and processed in a local slaughterhouse run by people we know. Wouldn't that be a wonderful idea?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In yesterday's blog I posted the tax return information from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). The reason for this is to highlight that the HSUS is not officially affliated with any local animal shelters and humane societies. While very little of their overall budget does actually go toward care of dogs and cats, most of their millions that are donated annually go towards supporting their political agenda. Most of their political agenda is aimed towards stopping life-saving research involving laboratory animals.

This research is necessary to find cures and vaccines for fatal diseases. Case in point, tuberculosis (TB) is the leading killer of humans throughout the world. This disease is the final nail in the coffin of billions that are living with HIV and AIDS in poverty stricken countries. There is no vaccine for TB and no effective cure. This disease can lie dormant in your body for years before it takes its opportunity to infect you. Usually this opportunity comes when your immune system is already compromised, like from HIV. In most 1st world countries, TB is not a huge problem. This is due to proper public health education, better sanitation of drinking water and waste, and through adequate testing and quarantine. And yet, TB is the biggest killer in the world.

Currently there is research ongoing using laboratory animals to find a vaccine for TB. There is also research being conducted on the antibiotic-resistant strains of TB that have recently popped up around the world. This research is very close to finding a vaccine to protect all people from TB. This research would not be possible without the use of the humble laboratory mouse. Mice are used as research models for TB because they are easily reproduced, have quick generation times, have naturally short lifespans, are capable of genetic manipulation, and have immune systems that react to TB in the exact same way that a human's immune system does. The laboratory mouse is the perfect analog to the human. Without these mice, millions will continue to die fromTB and millions more will continue to get infected every day.

Wouldn't you rather use a mouse for research than watch millions of people die? The HSUS doesn't think so. They would like to stop animal testing in all research. By stopping the use of animals as research models, they would effectively terminate all research that is centered around infectious diseases. Disease research can not operate without a suitable animal model. There is no way around it. For more information on this topic and more information about the HSUS, please read "Animal Research Wars" by Michael Conn.

Here's my recommendation: If you would like to donate to the care of animals in shelters, donate to your LOCAL shelter. Local animal shelters are always looking for donations of money, animal feed, kitty litter, and volunteer time. Don't donate to the HSUS which uses most of its budget for political agendas and inflated salaries. Do donate to your local shelter which uses all of its budget to care for animals in your community.

While I do not support my local humane society's "no kill" policy, I do support my local humane society. The humane society was on call at 2am when my dog got hit by a car on the local highway. They waited until we could get there and take our dog home. It was raining and cold and they sat by the side of the road comforting my dog until I could get there. I will never forget that act of kindness by employees of the humane society. This was a service they didn't need to do but did so because of their heartfelt care for the animals of the community. I donate to them every year. I give them boxes of dog biscuits when I have too many for my two dogs to eat. I give them leftover kitty litter when I have extra. I also donate money when I have some to spare.

Please donate to your local animal shelter. Don't donate to the HSUS unless you are fully aware of their agenda.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)

From Americans For Medical Progress News Service Digest - 1/4/10

"A hat tip for the enterprise reporting by Center for Consumer Freedom in its analysis of the 2008 tax return submitted by the Humane Society of the United States. Among the troubling points CCF found in the HSUS report:

HSUS reported spending almost $20 million on "campaigns, legislation and litigation.

HSUS collected over $86 million in contributions and spent more than $24 million on fundraising.

HSUS paid 41 of its employees over $100,000 in 2008, including CEO Wayne Pacelle, who earned more than $250,000 in salary and benefits.

Nevertheless, the HSUS total grant allocation was less than $4.7 million, with nearly half of that going to a lobbying group responsible for California's Proposition 2 initiative. CCF calculates that the HSUS gave only a little more than $450,000 - just half of one percent of its total budget - in grants to organizations providing hands-on care to dogs and cats.

This report by Center for Consumer Freedom, and a link to the HSUS 2008 tax return, may be found at "