Shuffling Life and Animals Around

After the drakes went wild this spring along with the roosters we found most of them new homes and breathed a sigh of relief, but then Oliver our cat brought us this little gift:


Some people told us to just put it somewhere in the woods to die, but I couldn’t–knowing kitty was lurking. Actually it was our dog Nala who I first spotted with the duckling (about a day old at the time) in her mouth with a guilty look. She dropped it and I scooped it up.

After a day or two experimenting with duck language the little thing began to talk to me–and still does. It likes to be cuddled too. I’ll release it once it gets it’s feathers (if it wants to leave).

Our one goat has a staph infection and can’t nurse her baby until the round of penicillin ends. Here’s a fuzzy pic of her baby. It almost looks like a painting to me:


Speaking of blur, life has been speeding along. Our foster girl is talking about being adopted a lot (a good thing since that’s the plan). Hippotherapy has been a great thing for her. Her PTSD behaviors have diminished greatly. I just love going to be with the horses:


There’s tons of weeding to be done but it’s too hot and I need a break from the farm work and kid work  for today so I’ll just enjoy the flowers and pretend not to see the weeds.

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Loss, Loss, Gain

Some go down the road and we never meet again.
Some go down the road and we never meet again.

While there are many opportunities for pretty pictures and falling in love out here in the country, some seasons wreak havoc on your heart. Here’s a story with a happy ending for a change. People told us having goats would be hard. They told us it wasn’t the mucking the barn or morning milkings with frozen fingers, but the way they make you love them. When Daphne, a sweet, quiet doe with soulful eyes decided I was her baby she cemented my complete adoration of her. And then she died.

After the initial mourning process (you’re not supposed to feel if you’re a “real” farmer) my husband and I took stock. It became clear that there was no way I was going to eat the baby boys my actual children named. The idea was we’d slaughter them in the spring.  Instead my husband–who has a pretty big heart and secretly knew all along I was never going to be alright with the slaughter suggested I just find the two little guys homes as pets on Craigslist. (Hurray!)  I wondered if it would be a hard thing to do. It wasn’t. People came out of the woodwork competing with each other, trying to convince me that the babies would be well cared for and I was pretty sure they were telling the truth (I now understand why dog breeders act so snobby when you want to buy one of their pups–I almost turned down one couple because the guy didn’t seem friendly).

I was happy/sad to see the boys go especially when Holden gave me a nose rub before being packed into a pick-up truck. But we still had a possible problem. Our barn is small and because I wanted to save a boy and my husband had taken in a beautiful retired doe we had too many big animals and we happened to love them.

My husband's Sunshine
My husband’s Sunshine

I kept forgetting to take my ad off Craigslist and my husband kept asking if I wanted to keep disappointing people. Anyway, when I got the email from a girl needing a companion goat for an old horse mourning the loss of her horse best friend, I responded to her inquiry mentioning that while we no longer had the babies we did have Mikey, a big boy . . .

How could I say no?
How could I say no?

Cathy and her boyfriend drove two hours each way to find a friend for a horse! Okay. So I KNEW Mikey would have a great new home!

The next morning I mentioned to my husband that Sunshine seemed depressed without Mikey. My husband said, “Hmm.”

Then came this email from Cathy:

Hi, Mikey is so lonely he cries all day long. Any way you wanna get
 rid of another goat? Haha looks like Mikey will be getting a friend.

I replied:

Poor Mikey–and poor you. I know how that crying can be. Ugh. So
Mikey is not usually one of our noisy goats but when they get stressed
 they cry. Hmm. We do actually have Sunshine (an older doe who can no longer breed). She
 happens to be Mikey’s best friend. I was just telling my husband that
 she seems a little sad without him–but she’s not too noisy about it.

Immediate response from Cathy:

Mikey is a great goat, we are all in love with him! He helps with
 chores ( by being in the way, but he’s to cute so it’s okay) My horse
loves him and he loves her. But he cries when we leave and at night
 when he is locked in his stall alone, even though the horses are
 directly next to him. We just want Mikey to be happy too, It kills me
 hearing him cry! So we were thinking maybe he is missing his friends,
 even with new friends. This weekend we are joining the pastures so
 Mikey and Passion( my horse) can be together so we are hoping that
 helps. But if it doesn’t we would love to take Sunshine! ( I have a
 second horse named Sunshine also) haha. I will let you know if the
 pasture doesn’t help, because I would hate for him to always be stressed out! I wouldn’t mind having two at all, I fell in love with him so fast.

And a little while later:

Hi, I know this is such short notice, but could I come get Sunshine after school tomorrow? Mikey is soo sad and we want him to have his own friend too. I feel bad making him go even another night.

At this point I was in love with Cathy. I said:

You and your boyfriend make an adorable couple. Okay, so it sounds
 like I’ll be seeing the two of you tomorrow. Have a great day!

Sunshine relaxing in the back of Cathy's car.
Sunshine relaxing in the back of Cathy’s car.

Sometimes people do that thing–you know–make you feel happy to be alive again. We got this email the night Sunshine was reunited with Mikey:

It’s already a perfect story, they love each other. They cuddled up
 and went right to sleep! I can’t thank you enough for these two love
 bugs! I will send pictures tomorrow.

Cathy with her new best friends.
Cathy with her new best friends.


What to do with too much Chinese (Napa) Cabbage


This is one thing you could do: throw your hands up in the air and take a nap.

For whatever reason our garden grows enormous Chinese Cabbage. We grow tiny carrots and so-so radishes but cabbage loves us.


The ducks decided they loved it as well so we lost a little (along with quite a lot of snap peas) but ducks are funny so we share.

We found a sort of unhealthy salad last year and I nearly burnt the house down cooking it so this year my husband decided to improve his kimchi–a Korean fermented cabbage relish sort of thing that’s supposed to prevent cancer and detox the system. He tried doing it last year and the first time he forgot to rinse off the salt so it was REALLY salty. The second time he rinsed the salt but went crazy with the Korean red peppers. We tried diluting it by making a gross soup out of it and froze it–not wanting to admit how disgusting it was until later. Even the dogs turned their noses up not caring about the health benefits one bit! There’s a pile of kimchi doing something in our refrigerator as I write this but I avoid it, waiting instead for the fall crop of cabbage for unhealthy salads.