Saturday, May 30, 2009

Country Mile

Joe and I are finishing up at the ranch today, were giving everything a good cleaning and organizing so it will be nice and fresh when Lauren arrives. Joe will be out here for one more day before he begins his summer term at A&M Corpus Christi. 
Yesterday, we took the doelings to the vet for thier debudding. So far there's been no problems, and they are acting compeletly normal. 
While we were here Joe also pulled a super off the hives, that had about 50 pounds of honey on it. He replaced that super, and added another to a hive which didn't have one.
I wanted to be really eloquent in this post, to honor the amazing week we had. But I'll just leave that to the band Camera Obscura.
see you soon!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


hey this is Ariel.
Joe and I took over at the ranch on sunday. Our friend Torrin from Austin met us out here. Torrin has been working on an organic farm in Buda, he just recently relocated to San Antonio, and is going to be helping us at the ranch.
The first thing I did on sunday night was open up Lauren's excellent cookbook Roasting by Barbara Kafka. I have had Lauren's roast chicken in the past and I was really excited to try it myself. We used Lauren's rooster. Joe, Torrin and I all chased it around the yard and finally got it. When we roasted the chicken I threw in some zucchini and onion from the garden. It was one of the best meals I'd have all week.
Were all now looking forward to eating the rooster from our flock out in the front pasture. We made plans to fatten it up beforehand.
Early Tuesday morning Joe and I had to leave, so I could work in the restaurant Tuesday and Wednesday. Torrin stayed behind to look after the animals.
While we were gone Nathan, co-owner of the pasture chickens, and Heidi came up for the day. They had an LT beef chuck stew, and Heidi got to see the ranch for the first time.
Wednesday night Joe and I headed back out to the ranch with our friend Jon.  When we arrived we decided to visit the cows in the pasture, one was acting strangely and separating itself from the herd. shortly after it calfed! 
Now it's Thursday morning. Jon, Torrin, and I started off the day with an omelet courtesy of the chickens. Then me and Jon cleaned out the dairy barn and threw fresh hay down for the goats. Then I gave Greta, Shadow, and Joe and I's dog Savannah a good brushing.
It's been a relaxing week of feeding Princess, watching the doelings and Bubba Gruff climb trees like crazy and eating good food. 
Lauren if your reading this: hope your having a great time!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Wow, its Friday already?!

The week has flown by! We've had so much fun! Its mostly been all of us being lazy and lying around and/or eating! We've still had tremendous troubles keeping the goats out of the chicken feed! They are sneaky creatures! Unfortunately, I think Spice has gained some weight, unless she's just bigger than Ginger. So, the "snacks" we provide to motivate feeding Princess have become smaller! On a good note, a little one raisin bribe after the feeding is done seems to be working! Tonight while on the milkstand Spice let Princess feed a few minutes without getting fussy! We're making progress.
Wednesday was fish day. We went to the DeWitt coop and picked up the fishies! There was a really long line, but fortunately it was in the shade and we got to meet some really interesting people! But 2 hours later, we were stocking the tank with bass, blue gill, and minnows! Josh went back to check on them later in the afternoon and saw a snake where we deposited them (they didn't all make it), so the snake was cleaning up the leftovers.
We had a great Friday! Josh made a brisket (yes, its LT Beef) and we LOVED it, one of the best briskets we've ever had. It was our first smoking (we usually rely on the parents to cook it!) and it turned out great. While out in the yard today we saw a snake. The goats and chickens in the vicinity all leaped about 3 feet in the air! Josh went to inspect, very carefully, and it stayed very still. Using the LT Beef encyclopedia collection, we were able to identify it as a Texas rat snake. Once content with its surroundings (and we were content it wasn't any real threat), the snake climbed the tree! Yes, climbed! It was amazing to watch. One potentially unfortunate thing is that the tree he climbed is one we think might house a family of whistling ducks. Hopefully they moved out, or weren't eggs unattended!
The weather has warmed up again (back to the 90's), so we weren't as active outdoors today. Although I did plant a lemon tree and the goats and I ran around a bit in the front pastures near the chickens. Speaking of, Joseph has at least one rooster and he's a cutie. This morning he attempted to crow--it was quite a cacophony, but a cute effort nonetheless. We are also staying busy spoiling the mutts--Shadow loves a good brushing and Greta loves to chase her rope toy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Worming the Kids, etc.

Today was a good day, eventful, but good. After a good morning of fun, Bubba's horn buds bled (he was recently disbudded). Josh and I cleaned him up and treated him with antiseptic and we're keeping an eye on them. We think they must be itchy because he keeps scratching them. If he bleeds again, I'll call the vet and see about getting a cone!
The big event of the day was worming the kids. I started out with one yummy treat ball of delight, but none of the kids even looked at it. I made them all taste it and, nope, nothing. I was however, followed everywhere by Ginger the hungry goat! Since the treat balls didn't work, I went to work on the drenching. Mixed up just enough water to put the mixture in the syringe. Worked good, except for when the herbs clogged the syringe! This was only after I had spent a good 30 minutes trying to figure out how to put the nozzle on the luck I think a piece is missing. Poor Princess had to endure so much as my guinea pig! So I decided to milk the goats and bottle feed this mixture to the babes.
Milking went OK--Spice was a little low on goods, or was more difficult to milk, so I went on to Ginger. She had a lot of milk, so I borrowed some for all the babes. I was able to find a glass bottle in the house which fit the nipple, and mixed the herbs with the milk. I tried out poor Princess again, but she just wouldn't have it. So I worked on Bubba and Rainbow, who were very reluctant, but it went down with great ease. Later on in the day I retried Princess--still very reluctant, but I think I managed to get a good part of it down. I was wearing some of it too...and did I mention Ginger loves the stuff! She found great interest in my clothes and all of the babies mouths. Despite the wrestling, the kids are wormed!
This morning I rinsed out the pasture chickens' water, so early afternoon Josh and I went to check to make sure it was filling properly, when we noticed that the new bull calf was on the wrong side of the fence--in the North windmill pasture, while mommy was in the South! Fortunately it was by the gate and after a good 30 minutes of scheming we got him through the gate back to his herd. The big bull didn't appreciate Josh's presence one bit!
Greta was in her predator state today and Ginger was in her gluttonous state, so it was basically a day of babysitting. "Greta don't get too excited, Ginger don't eat the chicken feed, Greta calm down, Ginger don't eat the catfood, good girl Greta, Ginger don't eat Greta's food!" All in a day's work.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rain and Cool Weather!

Saturday was the first day Josh and I watched the ranch. It rained most of the day (yay), so we all stayed indoors enjoying the cool weather (low 70s!).
Nothing too eventful, except Greta attacked Shadow, causing his neck to bleed a bit. Also, one of Joesph's chickens escaped their pasture sometime after the rain, but was easily returned. Everything is fine now!

Today, Sunday, the weather is absolutely beautiful! We (all of us: the goats, chickens, dogs, and humans) are really enjoying it!

It is so peaceful out here and we are really catching up on some much needed relaxing!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Calves, Goats and Buen Viaje

Tom and I will be visiting Tony & Yvonne for a week in Amsterdam.  Tony was an exchange student at Tom's high school and Tom spent a summer in The Netherlands with Tony's family after high school.  Natalie and Josh will be running things for a week and then Joseph and Ariel will take over.

I disbudded Bubba Gruff; the doelings will be disbudded by the vet next week.  I have mainly been getting ready for this trip but have made a couple of quick videos.

Here are two new calves; one from a heifer and one from a 3-year-old:

And of course I can't resist another goat video:

I may blog some from Europe and Natalie & Josh, Ariel & Joseph are welcome to post ranch updates.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Fun with the Goat Kids!

The Goat Kids are a week old now and finally being allowed out to roam.  Natalie and Josh from San Antonio came to visit this weekend.   Natalie has experience with goats and she encouraged me to let the kids play outside.  Here are the results of her advice!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bubba Gruff & other goat news

We had two doelings born Saturday, May 2, and a buckling born Monday, May 4.  The doelings were born without problem while the buckling needed some human help to come into this world.  His dam, Ginger, is smaller than Spice yet the buckling, Bubba Gruff, was about the size of the two doelings combined.

I slept  in the bunk house next to the goats Sunday night but now the initial anxiety and excitement over the first kidding are over.  I was hoping for a buck from each doe so I could keep them and use them for later breedings and freshenings.  The two doelings are for sale and would make good family dairy goats.  All these goats are from excellent dairy lines but I don't want to go into the breeding business so I am not registering the animals or selling them for top dollar.  I want my two does, Ginger and Spice, for our family dairy needs and they need to have babies every year or so only to keep them in milk.

We will see about getting Bubba Gruff a companion as I would like to keep two high quality bucklings.  All the babies are now "kidding around," with their hops and climbs and reverse directions.  Very cute to watch.

C'mon Bubba, we're waiting!
And waiting!
Finally Bubba arrived, after much inconvenience to his mother, Ginger but he was worth waiting for!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Brush Mott & Circus dog

Heifer's New Calf

About noon I saw No 16 hiding out in the only brush mott we have in
this pasture. Figured she'd calved and was hiding it, as all new
mamas want to do. When I checked there was no calf, so she waited and
went & "hid"by the only big oak in this pasture.

She moved around some more and finally I see her water break. I am
out in my truck now to make sure the calf is presenting properly, but
since I've been followed by 2 goats & 2 dogs, I can't get too close as
she'll be more upset. Usually these mamas can tolerate a truck, but
not someone on foot or a circus like I've got.

So, I'm back to my binoculars. I'll give her another 15 minutes
before I go confine the dogs & goats. If she doesn't progress quickly
I'll have to tie her to the truck and try to help.

Eventually, at 5 p.m. No. 16 ended up at the vets to have her calf pulled.  I figured the calf would be dead by then, but a live heifer was delivered.  We brought the calf and mamma home and kept them in the pens overnight, where the mom and baby bonded.  The calf is up and around and both mom and baby are doing well, headed out to the pasture.

Fortunately, my sister Lynn arrived in time to see the last of the rodeo.  Mamma cow got pretty out of sorts near the end and didn't go willingly to the pens or the vet.  But, in the end we had a good outcome.