I feel as though I haven't done a very good job of keeping you all abreast of what has been happening here on the farm, dear reader. So today, I will give you the Reader's Digest Abridged Version, as my sweet friend Suzy-Q used to say. Many of you know we spent the last three weekends in Ohio for The Shaker Woods Festival. It was a great success. We met some wonderful people and connected with many new soap family members. However, in the background, we have been working diligently to take care of some long-neglected projects, take care of our animals, and plan for the future.
Let me begin by sharing the happenings with our herd of goats. Everyone who is making milk and the late little ones are here at the farm. My Nubian girls continue to improve with the new feed we are giving them. To date, everyone is healthy, happy, and flourishing. I have a new favorite baby besides Lester, our little Boer bottle baby. Her name is Shadow, and she is lovely. Shadow is black with grey and white spots. We have never had a little girl with this color combination before, and we are thrilled with her. She is quite possibly the most chill baby goat I have ever met. She is perfectly content to cuddle on my lap in the morning sun. When I pick her up, she always seems a bit surprised, like, "Oh, you got me. Okay, let's cuddle."
As for our yearlings and Boer goats at summer camp, all is well. The Bibbed Wonder did bring four of them home because they had the onset of hoof rot. This happens when the fields are wet, and their little feet don't have time to dry properly. Think of it like jungle rot in humans. If neglected, it can be detrimental to the goat's overall health. Eric brought them home so we can treat them daily until it is cleared up. The girls have responded well to the treatment and are 98% healed. We will keep them home for the remainder of the summer. Soon, it will be mating season, and the Boer girls will have their first romantic interlude with our Boer buckling, Oliver (aka Ollie, for short). Our Nubian girls will partner with Ace, our new Nubian buckling.
We have made the decision to retire my sweet girl, Red. We are unsure how old Red is, but after her battle with milk fever this spring, we have decided our girl can retire and take it easy for the remainder of her years. Keeping her away from the billy goats will take some strategic planning, but we have several pastures to utilize. We are also going to retire Red's daughter, Lily. Lil has had a pretty rough go of it since battling meningial worm. The weakness in her back legs worries me. Although she does well with day-to-day life, I fear pregnancy and, God forbid, a difficult birth will make things worse for her. She was supposed to retire last year, but "the little jip," as one bib-overall-wearing curmudgeon calls her, snuck in a romantic interlude with Ollie, we are guessing. She could not stand under the weight of Abu, so we are assuming it is little Ollie.
Speaking of Abu, he has found a new home and is being "pimped out" for stud service by his new owner. Abu was able to go with several of our yearlings to the same farm. The yearlings are not being bred this year, so the owner is allowing his friend to use him for stud service for this rutting season. Eric has seen Abu several times, and he is happy, healthy, and in good hands. He has quite the harem of ladies and plenty of pasture to roam. It is a good ending for my boy, Abu. That is a weight off my shoulders, and our pasture fields are once again safe, calm, and peaceful.
As for farm projects, I have been working outside and taking advantage of the nice weather. I painted my porch, which took forever. Between scraping, caulking, priming, and painting, it took me longer than expected. However, it is now complete and looks nice and fresh. I hung the original screen door on our front door. It, too, took time and TLC, but it looks lovely, and I love to hear the old-fashioned slap when it closes. Today, I am going to the hardware store to purchase lavender-colored paint for my front door. I must admit, this is the part I am most excited about. Thirty years ago, my dad had the door painted white by a friend who owned an autobody shop. The finish has stood up well, but it looks a little worse for the wear after thirty years, multiple dogs scratching to be let in, and a few dings and scrapes. I have been watching YouTube tutorials on painting doors, and I think I can handle this project with ease.
Also, part of my porch project is refreshing the decor. I am going to try my hand at painting waterproof floor clothes for the front porch. Every year, I buy new rugs for my front porch, and every year they are ruined by my dogs, the chickens, who poop on them, and my roller-blading child. I saw a tutorial on Pinterest and decided to try it. You take painter's canvas drop clothes, paint them in your desired pattern and colors, and then seal them with three coats of polyurethane. I have decided on a striped pattern, mainly because it is easy. Please keep your fingers crossed that it works. I will share pictures when it is done.
Yesterday, with the cool temperatures and cloudy skies, I finally tackled Jordan's blackberry patch by the barn. She no longer has any interest in picking blackberries, so I worked with a weed eater, chainsaw, and a saw on a stick to remove years of overgrowth and weeds. Once again, the old wagon that sits in this spot can be seen. I would like to replace the old purple marlin house in this area and plant some pink daylilies, hostas, and bleeding hearts. Aside from a few deep scratches from the thorns, all went well. I am pleased with the progress. Our old wagon needs a bit of love and attention. My hope is to have an Amishman replace the wheel and a few rotted boards. Otherwise, it should be good for another hundred years.
The Bibbed Wonder and I sat down last night and discussed our landscaping plan of attack. We agree that taking our yard section by section will be the best way to complete the project without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted. We decided to work on the area around the stone wall first and the outhouse. This year, the plan is to plant the evergreen groundcover, a dwarf red maple tree, candytuft hydrangeas, and spring bulbs. I will include purple perennials in the spring to add color and texture. The purple flowers will tie in with my lavender front door...insert clapping hands, dancing feet, and giggles. We discussed having a landscaping company do it for us, but I want to try my hand at gardening, planting, and planning. I have a very specific idea in my head and a strong desire to do this myself. I love this kind of work. It's good for the body, mind, and spirit.
In the meantime, I have to paint the steel fence around the barn, paint some of the trim that is peeling on the barn, and deep clean the milking parlor. I appreciate all we have to do, and it helps me fall into bed at night feeling exhausted but accomplished. I also appreciate the fact that while we have good, reliable people to assist us in the soap studio, I have a bit of time to complete projects that need to be done outside the soap studio. I am grateful that, at the moment, I am feeling great. I hate even to verbalize it because I am afraid I jinx it. However, I will take it and be happy for as long as it lasts.
Those are the happenings here on the farm, dear reader. I hope you have inspiring projects to keep you busy, exhausted, and feeling accomplished. On this beautiful summer day, stay safe, be smart, stay busy; it's good for you, and keep washing your hands.