Escape Artists

The goats have arrived!!  Even though we were excited to get them, all we can do right now is shake our heads in frustration and misery.  What were we thinking?!?!

Ok, ok, it’s not that bad…let me tell you the story.

They arrived May 21st in the back of a mini-van and I was beyond excited.  Torran had just arrived home from Germany a few hours prior, so his physical enthusiasm was a little less, but I could see the excitement in his eyes.  We promptly carried the girls to their pen in the barn and the boys to their pen outside.  While Torran was barricading the outside door from the girl pen to their pasture, I was taking care of payment and getting more feeding instructions.  The ladies we bought the goats from were going to another goat farm in the next city so I asked to go with.  Torran said he’d be fine with the goats, but to hurry back.

 

Kitty, the shy, reserved one.
Kitty, the shy, reserved one.
The baby. We need a name for her still. Any suggestions?
The baby. We need a name for her still. Any suggestions?

Fast forward to getting home and I find Torran outside the boy pen and he tells me the little black and white buck was able to squeeze out of the pen but then just stood there crying to be let back in.  However, when Torran went near him he would run.  (He also mentioned the neighbor was in his field in his truck at that point and Torran was sure he was laughing at the shenanigans going on at our house!  Hey, I never said we really know what we’re doing on this journey.)  I don’t remember how he got the little guy back in the pen, but he did.  So at this point we know we’ll have to put them in the extra chicken coop in the barn while we fix the fence.  Have you ever watched someone try to catch a chicken?  Now imagine that, but with an eight week old baby goat.  Fast little suckers.  We ended up using a big piece of plywood to back them into a corner and then grabbing them.  It sounds easy, but there was a lot of swearing going on.  A LOT.

The boys. Both are about three months old. They need names still too!
The boys. Both are about three months old. They need names still too!

So the boys are now in the barn, secure in their temporary pen and we were looking at the fence trying to decide how to fix it.  I then went back to the barn for something and who do I see peering out the crack in the door?  Sophie, the two-year old female.  Apparently she’s a jumper.  Sure enough, we put her back in her pen (she’s leash trained and very friendly thank goodness) and went outside to peek in the window.  No more than thirty seconds later she’s out again.  Ugh.

Sophie, the escape artist.
Sophie, the escape artist.

Our focus then switched to the girl’s pen.  We added some 2×4’s to the fence to make it taller and that seemed to solve the problem.  It wasn’t very pretty, but at least we could go to bed knowing they were safe.

Torran ended up redoing the girls pen the next week (thank goodness he was on vacation) and it turned out great.  We only needed to do one adjustment because Sophie was still able to jump the new gate.

The girl's improved pen.
The girl’s improved pen.

Then our focus returned to the boys fence.  After inspecting it more, we realized it was all rotted and needed to be completely redone.  So that’s where we are four weeks later.  The outdoor pen is nearing completion and we are cursing less and less at the “damn goats.”

 

Original goat pen.
Original goat pen.
Bye-bye old fence!
Bye-bye old fence!
Digging one of 29 holes.
Digging one of 29 holes.
Progress!
Progress!
Almost done...
Almost done…
All the wood is done, now to attach the actual fencing.
All the wood is done, now to attach the actual fencing.

This whole experience was enough to tell each other NO MORE ANIMALS, we have enough to do as it is.  Well, apparently, we weren’t done adding to the farm family…

 

 

Weeds. Weeds everywhere…But We’ve Goat a Solution!

The one bad thing about having a farm is the weeds.  THEY.  ARE.  EVERYWHERE.  This year though we’re prepared to fight the battle instead of just acquiesce to it.

We’ve been outside pulling dead weeds from the driveway, by the barn, by the she-shed, by, and in, the goat and pig pens for a couple of weeks now.  We haven’t even started on the landscaped beds and I’m already sick of pulling weeds!  The one good thing to pulling dead weeds?  Fire.

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I think it took us an hour to burn all the weeds we pulled that day.  I wanted to throw them in a big pile and watch it all go up at once.  However, my calmer, more logical husband said we should do it little by little.  So we did.  Until I kept throwing more and more on it and he yelled at me.  🙂  *shoulder shrug*  What can I say?!  I like bonfires.

Anyway, this year we have a plan to deal with the weeds…GOATS! That’s right folks, we are getting some Nigerian Dwarf goats.  We don’t know how many (I’d like a small herd, but again, husband is much more level-headed and logical) or the boy to girl ratio, or if we want to eventually have babies, but we know we want them!

In my search for baby goats, I was referred to ERSA Acres.  The owners were nice enough to let me come and visit and I was instantly hooked!  Goat heaven!  I was even invited to come back later that day to see one of the mothers give birth.  I thought I would watch, but I was able to help towel off the second born kid.

Photo courtesy of ERSA Acres.
Photo courtesy of ERSA Acres.
IMG_3043
Photo by Amy McCarthy

We have eight weeks to decide how many we want and what gender we want.  Then we also have to decide what color to get – I’m partial to more white; Torran doesn’t care as long as it’s healthy.  That will be a hard decision because when I see them I want them all!  (UPDATE 4/10/16 – we are getting three girls and two boys!  I cannot wait until the beginning of June to welcome them home!)

We have to get all the goat related items for the barn, clean out their indoor pen and check over the fence to make sure they don’t escape since goats are little escape artists.  Oh, and I have to buy them animal crackers.  Apparently they like animal crackers.  So donations of animal crackers are welcome if anyone comes to visit.  Wink, wink family.  🙂

I can hardly wait…T minus eight weeks to go!