Mike read the most tell-tale sign of when a goat is due to kid is when the tendons on either side of the tail disappear. Scarlet was huge and looking so uncomfortable so we were checking her tendons daily. Really simple check just put your thumb on one side of her spine at just above the start of her tail and your first finger on the other side, there they are. In the last few days I could feel the tendons feeling thinner and more string-like until Sunday; they were gone. Mike checked. I checked. They were gone.

We moved her into the barn and blocked the boys out, then started checking on her every few hours. She should have kids within 24 hours. Mike and I took turns running out to the barn there was nothing going on at the last check before we went to bed. It was decided we should check on her during the night as well. I don’t know if I would call it luck, but my migraine medicine wore off in the middle of the night so I was up without an alarm to alert the kids.

It was a slow, dark walk to the barn. Everything was still. There was no wind, the frogs were silent. It was nice. Scarlet was a bit annoyed when I woke her with the creaking of the barn door. She had nothing going on. Which was just fine with me at that point.

The next morning Mike did the chores and came in to report she still had nothing going on. That was okay but making us a little nervous. According to our reading she should be having her kids at any time now and we were both going to be at work for the day. The cows I don’t worry as much about they do their thing without help. It’s not their first time in the pen and they know to get their babies up and eating. This is Scarlet’s first and we wanted to make sure it went well for everybody. At the same time there is nothing to do but wait and pray.

Mike left as usual. I got the kids ready and we were soon to go as well. I stopped by the barn on our way out just for one last check. It was really odd, the barnyard was quiet. All the animals were looking at the barn. I should have taken a picture because it was really weird. I opened the barn door and all I heard was a tiny goat voice otherwise silence.

Scarlet had one baby on the ground and slightly cleaned up and had a second sack hanging from her. I knew what that was. The cows have the same thing- pre baby comes a sack of clear liquid, then baby. I sent out a poorly typed text to my boss and daycare that Scarlet was having babies and I would be late.

It was my turn to make a call from the barn. I called Mike and told him what was going on, then practically hung up on him to take a video. I was just in time. Once the second one was out I got the little boy out of the car and he came in to see the new goats.

Somewhere in there I had managed to run to the house and get a couple old towels. I dried off the oldest one as best I could. A boy. That’s when Mike arrived. He got the little Miss out of the car while I cleaned off the second one. A girl.We were all excited.

I put down some fresh straw and Mike moved a heat lamp. It has been pretty cool and rainy. The little boy started to get worried he was going to miss lunch at daycare and wanted to get going (it was about 9:30). He climbed back into the car to impatiently wait.

Both kids were dry and walking with wobbly knees. Once we saw them both start to eat we closed up the barn and left them to settle in.

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Family Wheat Planting

It took more days than I had hoped but all of the grain to be planted for the season is in the ground. You see when you plant by hand it takes a few extra hours. When you add children to the task those extra hours get spread out over extra days. Little by little we got it done though.

The original wheat field was planted first. I used a small handheld broadcaster. Mike followed me with a fifty pound bag of seed, refilling my seeder every pass, all the while asking “Are you walking in a straight line? It doesn’t look like it.” (sigh) Once I had it all seeded he used took the drag, the four-wheeler and one kid riding at a time they smoothed the whole thing.

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Hive on the Hill

Every spring our flowering crab trees come alive. The sweet smelling blooms hang heavy with bees. You can hear them busily working from the other end of the barn. This year we are hosting our first hive. I can’t tell you how excited we are. I’ve been doing a lot of reading and decided to use essential oils in our hive instead of the recommended medication and chemical treatments. As I understand it, beekeeping is all trial and error so using the oils is where I’m starting.

Essential Oils In or Around Our Hive To-Date
Lemongrass (aff. link)
Wintergreen (aff. link)
Tea Tree (aff. link)
Lavender (aff. link)
Cinnamon (aff. link)

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Vanilla Honey Crème Brulee

It seems like a long time ago I was anxiously waiting for fresh duck eggs for pastries and desserts. After that and before the fox I was able to gather eggs for the kitchen and some for hatching. I wasn’t sure if there would be a noticeable difference when using duck eggs verses chicken eggs. There is. I can see why some pastry chefs search out duck eggs. They add a subtle richness that isn’t there with chicken eggs.

I tried the eggs in different breads, challah and brioche both lent themselves quite nicely to the change. The recipe that exposed the richness of the change in egg was my Vanilla Honey Crème Brulee.

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The Cows are Out

“Hey, so, ah, the cows somehow got the red gate off the hinge and everybody is in the corral. G.W. is trying to breed Lucy already.” That’s right, another one of Mike’s famous calls from the barn.

All afternoon the rain has been off and on; the “on” in the form of heavy, soaking down pours and some hail at one point. We had planned to put some dehorning paste on Margo tonight. Her horns are just barely little bumps, but big enough that we can tell she will have horns. It’s best we take care of them now before they attach to her skull and she gets any stronger. She’s got a lot of might in that little frame.

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