Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring Crazies

I'm in a frenzy to build a new goat shed by this weekend with rain predicted through Sunday and my husband away on a business trip. To make matters more interesting, the mosquitoes are just beginning to pop. Why do I feel like we've been here before. I have always had trouble heeding my own advice, from experience, of not to take on animals without the building and fencing already prepared, by yourself and with an infant on your back. We repeat our mistakes and failures in vicious cycles...that's my excuse, anyways. I've been ogling goat udders and lineages all week, trying to pick another buck for the two girls we have decided to keep from this season. I do not want them breeding with their "daddy" for obvious reasons, although goats do not suffer from the effects of inbreeding the way humans do. I'd like to improve our herd and the best way to do that is with an outstanding buck.

Our girls are fantastic to begin with, but everyone has a certain weakness and that's what we will try to improve with our new boy. Old Mountain Farm Ostara has great milking capacity with plump, easy-to-milk teats like her dam Anna Jarvis. Her udder attachment and length of lactation could be improved upon. Her daughters are incredibly productive milkers in their first season, so I can't wait to see what they will give after their second freshening. Our other doe line is great for completely different reasons. Trillium, like her dam, is a light milker with a deer-like physique and a calm, quiet and soothing disposition. She's passed her beauty and temperament reliably to her doe. I'm hoping that, like her dam, Trillium will also have a longer lactation than our other girls. So, I've been weighing my options and trying to decide between a buck with a champion milking dam and gentle personality or a more attractive buck whose dam has great udder attachment and is extremely vocal. I'm going with the quiet guy...we have neighbors. It also makes me think that personality is equally important in breeding, especially when selling to a pet market.

Back to building in the rain. I have two days left.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Morel Luck!

We were out in the woods again, spending a fantastic mosquito-free 70-degree day, to remove downed trees from our trails. It appears, the old aspen/poplar trees that filled our lot after the logging days have reached their mature age and are dropping quite regularly. This means we will soon have a stellar view of the river to the north, but the number of falling trees is a bit scary and has to be dealt with in some way. Novice chainsaw homeowners have arrived! My husband and I tag-teamed the kiddos and trees, with him stepping aside so I could wield the saw on Mother's Day. The gas fumes got to me after a bit and I yielded power. Having spent a few hours Saturday burning a huge pile of tree brush (our neighbors love us!), I didn't need my head swimming any more from asphyxiation. Just as I was finishing up, my 3 yr old was ambling down our long trail to bring me water when she spotted and picked our very first morel very much by accident.

I've spent the last two days of down time looking for more mushrooms, but have not had any luck. Wandering aimlessly about the woods with my eyes tired from focusing intently on the camouflage of leaves, I've a renewed appreciation for the efforts our forebears made to domesticate crops. Foraging for food would make for a difficult existence, indeed. This little treasure was sliced thin, fried in butter and divided three ways. Delicious and memorable!