Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Note From the Farmer

Baby Belle died this afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who read her blog and to everyone who wrote publicly and privately sending her good wishes and good thoughts.

I knew we would miss her right away. I did not know how much.

Oh, Baby Belle.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Betsy is still Betsy.

Some goats grow up and when they get big they get a new personality. Lucy for example was a fun-loving tot in her youth, but now she is a milker she has turned ruthless and scheming. She wants to move up the milker ladder and become top milker someday. This is a lost cause, because no one will ever unseat the Brandy family here. There is a reason we call them The Sopranos.

Lucy, if you are reading this, remember: Never go against The Family.

But Betsy is still Betsy. She doesn't care about being top milker. She just wants more food.

That would be her platform if she were running for governor. MORE FOOD NOW.

This has always been her policy, since she was a tiny bottle baby. And that is why she comes running at a hard canter every time the farmer calls out "Betsy!"

It might mean food, if she gets there first. It might mean MORE FOOD NOW.

When we see the herd coming around the greenhouse turn into the barnyard, Betsy is always in front or closing fast (if she got a bad start), running with her head up and a far-off Nubian gleam in her eye.

If the farmer wants Winnie, the farmer calls Winnie. If the farmer wants Tangy, the farmer calls Tangy. But if the farmer wants everybody, the farmer just calls Betsy.

Because when the rest of the herd sees Betsy running, they don't ask any questions. They just turn and run.

It might mean MORE FOOD NOW.

The Pasteurizer


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Newsletter

Well, the farm newsletter has been done for a while but we are having some problems getting the mailing list to send out properly. So anyway for now you can just read it here and we will try to get the list fixed for next time.

Oy. It's always something. It's never nothing.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fool Me Twice

Well, the farmer had to go and pick up hay in the field, and Betsy used the opportunity to kid. She had a gigantic single buck kid (again) in the peace and quiet of a private kidding stall.

His name is Bubbles, but he acts like he doesn't know who you are talking to when you say, "hello, Bubbles." That's a bit odd.

Anyway, this year the score in the Stealth Kidding Campaign is Betsy family 2, Farmer 1.

Speaking of hay it is almost time to bring the hay in, probably in a week or so. Because of the freakishly hot weather and the ample spring rain, the hay is weeks ahead of schedule, and it is looking very beautiful.

Many people probably would love a chance to swelter in the hot sun bucking hay. My goodness it is a fantastic workout, I love to watch them doing it from under a nice shady tree. If you are ambulatory or even reasonably ambulatory you are welcome to help The Farmer bring in hundreds of bales from the field when the time comes.

No, seriously, don't be shy. Just send us your email and we will let you know when and where to come.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fool Me Once

Xie Xie was not able to fool the farmer. She delivered a set of twins in plain sight. They are both mini-Manchas, and both blue-eyed. As far as the "mini" part goes, we are not so sure they got that memo.

Both of them are butterballs and if anything they weigh more than Big Orange's Lamancha kids. One of them, the boy, is a terrible whiner. He cries just like a little baby. All day long.

Where is the milk? Waa waa waa. Why is it in a bottle? Waa waa waa. Shouldn't it be on tap? Waa waa waa. Is someone stepping on me? Waa waa waa.

He has already cried more in one day than I ever cried in my whole life.

So the trifecta is out, but Betsy still has a chance at a stealth kidding.

You're Getting Verrrry Sleepy...

The Betsy family excels in stealth kidding, as you know. Apparently this is done partly by ESP. Betsy and her daughter Big Orange were in the pre-kidding stall for several days doing nothing. Then Monday morning as the farmer was getting ready to feed the fat girls down below, a series of telepathic messages arrived in the farmer's head.

"They are so fat," the first message said. "Why don't you feed them later."

But the farmer already had the buckets out and proceeded to ignore this suggestion. A second message arrived, this one in all caps: "WOULDN'T IT BE NICE TO HAVE A BREAKFAST OMELET WITH THOSE FRESH EGGS YOU GOT YESTERDAY."

How odd, the farmer thought. I really do not usually eat breakfast. But by this time the farmer was under Betsy Family mind control, and went inside to make an omelet, leaving the feed buckets in the barn, and forgetting to check on the pregnant ladies, who were quiet as two mice in their stall. That should have been a tipoff right there.

Twenty minutes later the farmer came out and instead of two girls in the Betsy/Orange pre-kidding stall, there were three, one of them pale orange and quite small but very angry. Shortly, a large dark sidekick arrived to go with the tiny, furious little bumblebee.

This marks the third year in a row that the Betsy family has snuck in at least one unattended kidding. Last year they had two. And since Betsy and Xie Xie are still pregnant, this year they have a chance to go for the trifecta.

Anyway, Big Orange had twin does. One is very pretty. The other is very very pretty. Don't worry, you don't have to do anything. We will use up any leftover Z names on them.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Science Fair

Well the Farmer went around and around and around and the final two name contenders for Pinky are Zedoary - which is a kind of ginger - and the late inning surprise name Zapricot - which is Apricot, with a Z in front of it. So those are the final two choices left from all the many name suggestions.

And if it can't be decided by next Monday we are going to flip a coin. Who cares anyway we are just going to call her Pinky.

Little Pinky is not getting any smarter, either. Even after the head-bashing episode she still runs into things for no apparent reason. Or as the farmer used to say when trying for the umpteenth time to teach Pinky's great-grandmother Stacy to jump on the milkstand, "she is not going to win the Science Fair."

On the other hand my daughter Hannah Belle has finally been able to teach the farmer that she doesn't want her kids in the barn. She was coming up three times a day to feed them but when the farmer had the stall door open for cleaning the other day, Hannah Belle swooped in out of the blue and gave Inky and Shaq the high sign and the whole family skedaddled.

Now everyone is happy and Hannah Belle doesn't have to trudge up to the barn all day long, which was very tiresome for her.

In other news it can now be announced with certainty that both of my other daughters - Belle Pepper and Blue Umbrella - are going to kid in July. These will be the first kids from our new buck, the debonair and handsome but not particularly manly Cowboy.

There was some doubt about whether Cowboy, being just a wide-eyed teenager at the time, had been able to perform his buckly duties last winter. But it appears that the girls were able to educate him. Blue Umbrella in particular is an excellent teacher, like Hannah Belle, even though some of her pupils, as mentioned previously, are not going to win the Science Fair.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Summer Days

It isn't summer but it feels like summer. One crazy guy down the road is already cutting hay.

We are counting the days waiting for the pasteurizer to arrive. Only we don't know how many days it's going to be, so why are we counting the days? We think it will be here in about two weeks.

Hannah Belle is very fond of her two sons Inky and Shaq, but she finds it quite boring hanging around the barn with them all day. They don't really do anything besides twitter and hop around like little birds, and Hannah Belle prefers directed activities, ideally of the sort that culminate in the acquisition of tasty food products - grain, peanuts, sweet canary grass in the meadow, red licorice, et cetera.

So she goes up to the barn three times a day, lets Inky and Shaq drink all the milk they want for about three minutes, then returns to her monomaniacal foraging, sunbathing, and intellectually superior ruminating.

The Betsy Family is almost ready to kid, all three of them. Betsy herself is quite huge, but so is Big orange, and so is Xie Xie, who is even prettier than she was last year. Betsy went on the milk bench for the first time today, and then she got trapped in the exit area because she couldn't figure out how to push open the gate.


Dios Mio.