Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hmm, Feed Trough?

We've only had one rain this summer and the paddocks are pretty near eaten bare, so it looks like we might have to start supplementing with hay soon.  The vet told us that the goats get worms from eating stuff off of the ground because when it gets so dry and the grass isn't growing, instead of grazing off the tips of the grass, they have to graze down to the ground.  We're supposed to keep their feed up off the dirt to minimize the ingestion of worms.  The problem is, we have no feeders to put hay in out in the fields.

The above picture is one of Tom's solutions.  I know it used to be a feed trough.  It's one of the things that Tom found abandoned out in one of the pastures, but the plastic liner is long gone.

Tom has a vision for it and, to be fair, it is not finished, but I'm not seeing it.


Well, our foray into raising Boer goats was pretty much a fail.  We were warned in the beginning that goats have a problem with intestinal parasites in east Texas.  I think what we are finding out it that BOER goats have a problem with intestinal parasites in east Texas.  I don't know why they are so popular here - Boers and Boer crosses everywhere.  They can be seen out in numerous fields as one drives along and that is the goat of choice for FFA students to show.

We bought three fullblood Boers last year and we traded our spring Nubian doeling for a fullblood boer doeling this spring.  So we had four fullbloods and three of them died from worms.  Buttercup, the only surviving fullblood, is doing well.  I'm not sure why she has survived unless it's because she kidded back in December so her system wasn't stressed this spring and summer.

Someone told us the other day that if you cross a Boer with just about any other goat, they will have a much better chance of resisting death by worms.  So far, we have found that to be true (knock on wood).  Pansy is a Boer cross (we don't know what with) and she has been fine.  All of the babies that are either fullblood Nubians or Nubian/Boer crosses are also thriving.  Our fullblood Nubians, Hyacinth and Daisy, seem to be unaffected by worms so far.

Even though our intention was to raise Boer/Nubian crosses, we can't keep our Boer nannies alive, so we are officially out of the Boer business.  We're going to try Kikos, which are a meat goat from New Zealand.  They are supposed to be very hardy and parasite resistant. 

We went to see some yesterday.  They look rather scrawny compared to the Boer.

But we bought two doelings, brought them home, and are hoping for the best.

We put them in with Buttercup, the surviving Boer, and her little herd of orphaned girls.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Indulge Me for a Grandmotherly Moment, Please

Birthday Boy Liam.
I mean, really, how could I resist showing off that sweet face?

Intent on birthday presents with his daddy.

Something is hilarious in his one year old world.

Peeking mischievously over my shoulder at Pops.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Shuffling Livestock

The drought is bad in east Texas.  The only rain we've had this season is on June 21st when we got about four inches in 24 hours.  That is long gone now, the fields are drying up and the pond is lower than I've ever seen it.  So, we're trying to manage our livestock in a way that we don't have to supplement their grazing (other than the little bit of sweetfeed I give them each morning just to keep them in a routine and tame).

We let a friend whose fields are grazed down to nubs, bring over three of his cows to graze the pasture around our pond.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I'm wondering if we're going to need that area for our own livestock.  When I went to look at it, I found it eaten nearly bare except for some tall weeds the cows won't eat.

In addition to the exceptionally dry conditions and suffering grass/hay, we have at least one paddock that is infested with worms that have killed three of our Boer goats.  The vet told us not to put any other animals in that paddock for six weeks.

So, the time has seriously come to try to get the goats out into our small woodland areas to browse.  After wracking my brain for days on a way to position them so that they'd have protection from predators and protection for the donkeys that are supposed to be protecting them, I finally came up with a plan, which Tom and I implemented today.

I decided that we needed to divide and conquer.  Separating Kip and Henry was necessary to keep them from forming an alliance and attacking our spring crop of wethers that we wanted to put in the pasture with Billy.  Because Henry has a milder dispostion, we decided that he would stay in the pasture with the little boys and Kip would move.  Kip was a good boy when I slipped the halter on him and led him over to the pasture with Buffy and Hilde.  Hilde is his mother, but she's acting like she never met him.

Then I led the boys to Billy and Henry's pasture with Tom herding from behind.  Billy seems glad for the company.  Henry did a little chasing, but seems to have settled down.  Billy did some grunting and huffing, so maybe he was telling Henry that chasing wasn't allowed.  This is the pasture with access to the hay field and woodlands.  Billy hasn't ventured into the woods even after weeks of having access to it.  I'm hoping that he'll start wandering over there now that he has some pals to go with him.

We moved Buttercup and all the orphaned babies into Buffy and Hilde's pasture after moving the donkeys over one.  Buttercup had to be drug by the horns and eventually all the babies followed.

The Nubians and Pansy are in the smallest pasture drying out.  I can't believe that after a week their udders are still fat with milk.  But they can't stay there for much longer because the grass is being eaten up fast.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Experimenting With Beets

I grew beets in the garden this year.  I don't really like beets, but they were included in the bucket of heirloom seeds that I ordered and I had room in the garden, so I planted them.  They grew well and no pests bothered them.

So, what to do with beets that I don't care for?  I searched the internet for recipes and came across a soup on http://www.allrecipes.com/ that sounded decent.  I like soup and it looked easy, so here it is, altered a bit to fit my taste:

The recipe called for six medium beets.  I'm not exactly sure what "medium" is, but I figured that my assortment of different sizes would add up to six medium ones, so I peeled them all.

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
6 medium beets, peeled and chopped
2 cups (or more) beef bullion
salt and ground pepper
heavy cream

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Stir in onions and garlic; cook until soft but not browned, about five minutes.

Stir in beets and cook for one minute.

Stir in beef bullion; season with salt and pepper; bring to a boil; cover; and simmer until beets are tender.  It took about 35 minutes for the beets to become tender.

Puree beet mixture in a blender or food processor and return to pot.  At this point, I thought the mixture was too thick to be called soup, so I added about one and a half cups more of beef bullion.  Correct the seasonings and heat thoroughly.

Serve in bowl with a swirl of heavy cream.

This actually was pretty good.  It kind of tasted like a cauliflower/leek soup that I make and love except that the beets added a bit of sweet flavor to it.

And it's lovely to look at.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Racoon Ragdolls

I heard Harry barking out back the other night.  Then that morning, while walking the path to the barn, I noticed Harry looking up in a tree, so I looked, too.  There were four or five baby racoons sleeping in the branches. 

This isn't a good picture, but that's really what they looked like - a hairy wad.  I never would have seen them if I hadn't looked really hard.  I thought at first that it was one large racoon and one baby up on a higher branch, but when I came back and looked later, they had spread out.  There was no mother, so these are probably the babies of the racoon that was killed a few days ago.

This is the baby that was in a higher branch.  After they all spread out, their little heads and limbs were just dangling from the branches and it looked like someone had tossed a handful of rag dolls up into the tree, snagging them on the branches.

So cute, but probably future trouble.

They were gone by 10:30 that morning, but they must have climbed from branch to branch to other trees.  I know they didn't come down because Harry stood guard at the base of the tree all morning.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Voodoo Doctor

Those of you who know Tom, know that he has always suffered from allergies.  Sneezing, nose blowing, and throat clearing is a way of life for him, in addition to waking up in the middle of the night with an earache due to plugged up sinuses.  He had been tested for allergies in our early years of marriage and found to be allergic mainly to molds, so he went through a regimen of allergy shots (which I administered, much to my chagrin).  His allergist pronounced him "cured", but I didn't see any change in the nose-blowing category.  Then he had surgery for a "deviated septum" in his nose.  The doctor claimed that he'd be able to breath much easier after that.  Still,  no change as far as I could detect.

So, we have these friends, sisters, that are into holistic medicine.  They have a doctor that they've gone to for years, but their husbands are skeptics.   Both husbands have allergy problems, so, out of desperation, one of the husbands decided to go to this doctor.  She did her thing, whatever that was, then stuck what he described as a bundle of dirt into his sock against his leg.  He was to wear it for at least three hours, then he could take it out.  And he did that.  And he says he is cured.

It was cheap, so Tom decided that if it worked for our friend, it was worth a try.  So he went yesterday.

The doctor put some sort of hood over his head so that he could breath something in to try to dry out his sinuses.  She touched some sort of electrodes to his skin and pronounced him to be allergic to molds and some grasses.  She said that he was much more inflamed than our friend, so it would take longer for him to get better.
Then she put the "dirt pack" in his sock...on both legs, told him to wear it for at least three hours, and gave him a bottle of slippery elm herbal supplement to be put into his water and drank.

I was expecting at least a tidy little surgical looking pack of dirt strapped or taped to Tom's legs, but this is what it looked like when he took his sock off...a wadded up Kleenex.

And this is what was inside that wadded up tissue.  You might have to click on the picture to see it better, but there were bits and pieces of various plants and what appeared to be some mold.  Hilarious.

So, in a couple of weeks, we'll see if voodoo medicine really works.