Saturday, March 28, 2009

Feet and Fiber

Nicolas: trimmed hooves today-then he puncture one on a stick.

Gen, Daph, Obiwan, Derek, and Moonie were combed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We combed at the farm today. Willow started off on Sandja-an older grey doe that came to the farm skittish and skin and bones last year. She was very quiet to comb, so I put Willow on her and went to work on Nasrim.

Nasrim is another grey doe, with fluffy light cashmere that acts like a chaff magnet. Her fiber was full of shavings and hay chaff, although I did my best to clean her up first.

Sanja started giving Willow a hard time, so I swapped as Nasrim was being very sweet.

Then we went down back and P caught Galli, a wether, for us. I had actually never combed Galli. I thought he was going to be trouble, but he was very sweet for both of us. Even on his long-fringed guard hair on his back legs-he stood stock still. Then I remembered that K always combed Galli and I knew why! LOL. He was a fast easy comb-a clean bag of fiber in short time.

Then we went with P over to the big bucks, since the boys were repairing the buckling fence.

I set Willow up with Chrissie and started in on Leif. They were both very good. The only time Leif got jumpy was when P tried to hold him. I want to get a picture of Willow combing Chrissie. They are adorable together.

Willow has developed quite a fan following with the bucks. Today we went in to clean, and Prince, Hjalmar,Duke, and Chrissie stood in front of her in admiration while she chatted to them. Then she called Homer over, and he came running over to rub his head on her.

I was beat at the end. I worked hard and combed and combed. I hope it rains tomorrow so I can sleep in!! :D

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Just a quick note on Hooves

Obiwan front and back-long toes high arches

Anaken front back one spot hoof and heel

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What a week

Worked Sunday and Monday at the farm. I don't even have the energy to try and recall which goats we combed. Rest assured, when I laid down for a nap yesterday I saw cashmere with my eyes closed. LOL.

No one else wants to comb! Boss gave the boys a a chance to comb a buck or scrape wet hay and manure and they chose scraping.

I am taking today and tomorrow off. Maybe Thursday too, since the rain that caused me to call off for tomorrow might hold off until Thurs. LOL. Can't comb a wet goat.

The highlight of the last two days was an incident with the buck, Prince. He has taken a shine to Willow. He has an enormous rack of horns and stands pretty tall. He has bright blue eyes and is a brown color with light points-sort of like a red doberman pinscher.

We were combing Chriss and Prince came running over and decided he wanted some of that hay. I tried to scare him off without luck, so I decided to comb him. That usually drives them off. Prince forgot himself for a moment and starting rubbing his cheek on my hip while I vigorously brushed his back. Then he realized, and leapt away. He rose to his back legs, and I thought he was going to pretend butt me, but instead he did several 360 turns mid air, twisting his massive rack of horns, and bounded off. Willow and I laughed and laughed. I have never seen a full grown buck act like a little kid.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Black capped chickadee


This chickadee hit the second floor window and was so stunned that we ended up bringing it inside and putting it into a box with a metal rack over it. Not too long afterward, it was clinging to the rack peering about the kitchen. We let it go outside, and it flew off with a "cheep!"

Poor thing. :(

Day off

Today the weather is yuck. Snow, sleet, then rain and wind. Spring is coming! I wish that I had some maples tapped-I bet the sap is running today!

Worked the last two days at the farm, and my arms are tired! Yesterday I combed Sandhja, an older silver doe. She is very skittish, but she was very well behaved for combing. She wasn't releasing much cashmere, though.

Willow worked on little Bella again. Then I moved over to Bella's mother, Buffy. Buffy is a nice goat, except when you try and comb her.; She would really like to get me with her horns! So I was hanging on one horn trying to comb with the other and pin her against the wall with my leg at the same time.

P. was trying to trim one of the Fjord mare's manes without much luck. She had her hands full as well. So she came over and held Buffy while I brushed Buffy quick and hard. She was really a mess and I got quite a lot of cashmere off her in a short time. She kept jumping even with P holding her.

Then I went over and worked on Bella. I got a lot of cashmere off of her too. The farrier showed up to trim and re-shoe the horses. They have winter shoes on the front. Finally I was through with the three does, and Boss asked if I wanted to go to Prescott to work on Chrissie, so we did.

Chris was a handful. I find it difficult to comb over at Prescott because it seems the sun is always in my eyes there. I don't dare squat to comb a bouncing buck with their great horns, so I lean over, which kills my back. Still, I got quite a lot of cashmere off of him. Boss had two boys with her, so they were done in short time and she was ready to leave.

There is a farm rule that one person may not be alone with the bucks, so I had to leave too. Boss gave us the option of going back to the farm, but since there was only 45 minutes left, and my back was killing me, I decided just to go home early.

It was suppertime when I found out that she had called my old cellphone shortly afterward. I had borrowed the phone from a friend in the past, but have since leased my own phone, which Boss didn't know. So my friend told me that the farm had called earlier in the day.

I called Boss and left a message explaining what had happened. I imagine with my history she was worried I was in a temper and quit. LOL. Really, I was totally fine with leaving early. I never feel like going back to the farm after the bucks. They are a real workout and hard to deal with, and I just don't have that much energy anymore. Showing my age, I guess. ;)

Saturday, March 7, 2009


Cashmere combing season

The Farm Boss followed up an earlier e-mail with a phone call this week about combing. Clever lady, she called when the power was out and I was unable to screen my calls. Ha.

The saplings and I had already discussed what the modus operandi would be if I should have to go back to the farm. But I told Boss when she called that I would have to discuss it with them and would call her back later that day. The saplings were gung ho with the plan-it was myself who had reservations, so I delayed calling Boss back until this am. Today was to be the warmest of the week, and I told myself if I awoke without the alarm clock I would ring her at 7.

Dang my internal clock! I awoke bright and early, and rolled over and caught another hour of sleep-still plenty of time to ring her-so I did and agreed to work this am.

Since I am homeschooling this year, Boss offerred both kids could come with me, but we had agreed that the Firebird would stay home working on schoolwork, and the Willow would come with me. The Firebird is the strong man on chores, but doesn't comb. Willow is fully versed on animal talk and loves to comb.

The Firebird, true to his middle name, is also a nightowl, so I expected him to sleep in as usual. Nope, he rolled downstairs just as I was finishing our own goat chores and was readying to leave.

That saved leaving a note, so I gave him instructions and the Willow and I headed out. Four dirt roads and two stretches of tar, and we arrived at the farm. The old Great Pyranees, Balloo, came right up to me wagging his tail, and the ancient wether, Ali Goatee, right behind. Much to Ali Goatee's delight, I gave him the last bit of raisin bread toast I had in my hand. He wasn't letting me out of his sight for the next two hours!

Willow tucked right in on combing with me on Sugreca. I thought we would start with the worst, since Sugreca was a nightmare for me last year, climbing the walls on her chain, and P told me that she was bad for the boys already this year. Willow pre-empted me, and went up to Sugreca and spoke softly and caressed her cheeks, and that goat was very easy to comb!

After a bit, we gave Sugreca a break and I picked one of two yearlings, Buffy's girl, Bella. I thought she would be wild, and again Willow wove her magic to such a degree that I left her solo with Bella and went back to work on Sugreca.

Willow worked right along, and eventually Boss moved in with Lois from the next stall. Willow couldn't wait to show Boss how much cashmere she had combed off Bella and Boss checked it out. Willow later confided in me that she thought Boss was pleased how nicely combed the cashmere was, and not all balled up. We have been working on her technique at home.

There was a couple of hay deliveries, and I released Sugreca and started in on Beatrice. Willow hunted down her lunchbag with her hot cocoa out of the tack room, and then was promptly confronted by the pig, Laverne, in the aisleway. Well, that was pretty funny, I guess. Laverne is a really rare breed of pig-Boss couldn't find her a replacement mate-she is old and black colored. I used to give her treats like leftover sandwich crusts.

Well, Laverne stood in front of Willow sniffing that lunchpack and Willow's pockets and was snorting and gurgling...(actually I wondered if she might eat Willow-hahaha) Finally, Willow made her way byLaverne and into our stall and then Ali Goatee thought hot cocoa sounded Willow went back to the tack room with the Old farm dog and a farm cat for company.

Boss and I caught up with who was gone-Uud, Sheba, Daisy-old does recently gone to slaughter, and all old friends to me. Bucks-Gingerman found dead a few months ago, Nishak gone to slaughter, Hjalmar off for breeding.

Boss did have a buck lined up for combing-Mauro. So we headed over to Prescott and I had a chance to see my old buck friends. Some seemed to remember me. Leif, Chrissie, of course, Duke, Prince. Chrissie took such a shine to Willow he kept rubbing his face on her stomach while she kept her hands firmaly in her pockets. LOL. Bucks have an ODOR.

I give in and give them neck and cheek scratches. Awww.

Willow and I helped clean, and I helped collar, and then Willow helped put all their dishes out-feeding time at the zoo-what kid wouldn't want to help? Then, she helped pick up all the dishes, calling all the bucks by name already. I think R was glad of the help today.

Willow did complain a bit at the end-Boss referred to it today as the "bitter end" with the bucks being last on the list, and we were late getting there. Willow said Mauro was being difficult and she had to hold his head to comb behind his horns. What she didn't realize is that he was being good for a buck! Sometimes one person has to jam one of their horns into the fence and then hang onto their head and the second person combs or does hooves...

Right at the end, R came up to watch and Mauro butted him hard right in the kneecap! I guess he had to take it out on someone!!

All in all we had a fun morning. I was paid very well, with the expectation that I will tip Willow out for her terrific assistence. We all need the cash (she is saving for a new bike) so hopefully we will have a few more mornings of work ahead of us.

This week the weather just didn't cooperate for combing at the farm. I spent one late morning combing my own goats this week, when the sun had warmed things up enough to work without gloves.

The temps were supposed to be in the 40's today, so Boss agreed for Willow and I to go in to comb. Two nights this week I have slept poorly, waking up every hour on the hour after midnight. Just long enough to roll over and check the time, but still, disturbed rest. Well, last night was the second night.

So, I am exhausted! We started off with little Beatrice again, and then moved up to the bucklings on the hill. I just love the bucklings! They are so cute! We combed Ursula's boy, and then I moved in on Bonnie's boy, whom Boss was combing, but she stepped away for a minute and I took him over.

Then we came down off the hill, and still the weekend boys were not ready to go to Prescott, so we combed a wether, Carlos. He was losing guard hair, so we didn't get much cashmere off of him. I was getting hungry and tired and needed some coffee and a smoke so I chatted quite a bit with P, who had also come in to comb. I kept looking out, waiting for the cue to go to the big bucks. Finally we left after 11. :(

I thought Willow and I were going to work on Chrissie, but when we arrived, Boss said Leif looked worse. Ugh. Leif got me in the eye socket with a horn tip last year. One of his horns is broken off quite short, but the other one really sticks out there. Everytime he flipped around to that side, I put a hand on the tip of his horn so I knew where it was. That made slow combing, since I need that hand to hold up the guard hair to get the cashmere beneath.

Whent he boys were finished, I agreed to give Boss a lift back to the farm so she could hold Leif in the meantime. She hung onto his horns, but had some trouble holding him still.

We got quite a bit of nice cashmere off him in a short time. His long wirey guard hair is very sticky, so I was using a lot of force with the slicker to tease the cashmere out. And after working on two bucklings, my arms are tired!!!

We found out today that Ali Goatee was put down this week! :(( He was quite old and Boss found him down back unable to rise, and had one of the boys father's come over and shoot him. Willow was near tears at the news. We enjoyed hanging out with Ali Goatee last week.

The sun is really melting a lot of snow out there right now. I should be out combing my own goats, but I am wiped! Peko is sleeping on my bed in the sun, and I think I might join him for a siesta.