Riding the waves

I got pissed off yesterday about something really stupid … something that almost made me take this journal down, but I got over it.  I got home last night took care of my animals, spoke to a good friend on the phone, answered some e-mail and after a while I realized that I wasn’t obsessing over what had pissed me off earlier.  That’s a good thing for me.  I tend to obsesses over things.  I worry too much about what other people think of me.

Then I thought this morning, could I (should I) try to patch things up with various individuals?  Maybe (big maybe) there would perhaps be some benefit in my doing so, but in the grand scheme of things, if I was going to die in a month, would I want to spend time with these people before I died?  No.  What they could offer me is extremely minimal and I really don’t care for them so why bother?  It’s all about saving face and that’s something most humans want to do.  It’s uncomfortable being ostracized; but it would be equally, if not more so, uncomfortable for me to be what I would need to be in order to fit in with this crowd.

I’ve always been the type of person who just does things on her own.  I have several really good friends that I can count on to help me out if I need help, but in general, I am a creative survivor.  I figure out what I need to do to get things done.

I talked at length with Marcus this morning.  It’s been a long time since he’s been willing to spend more than ten minutes on the phone with me.  We talked almost the whole way in to work which was close to an hour.  We talked about livestock primarily; mostly cows.  Marcus bought two bottle calves and he’s been feeding them powdered milk replacer.  He is thinking about buying some more and raising them the same way.  I told him I was getting a dairy goat and he asked what I was going to do with the milk … drink I told him … silly!  I think he was impressed that I was undertaking this venture.  So, we talked about that for a while, then about ducks and sheep and chickens and hay and corn and so on.

Wally and I actually talked about bottle calves this morning as well.  You can usually buy bottle calves for under $30 a piece.  “Bottle calves” are calves from dairy farms who have been taken off their mothers within days of their birth; hopefully, they will have been allowed to nurse for a few days so they are able to get some colostrum, but some are taken off the day they are born.  Powdered milk replacer costs just under $60/bag and it takes at least one bag to raise one calf as well as grain, hay, etc.  Some people raise them on goat milk, which seems to be a more viable alternative, but you pretty much need two good milking does to raise one calf.  Taking a calf off its mother as soon as it is born is something that I have issue with, however.  Apparently if you have two or more calves, you need to keep them separate because they suck off each other.  The poor animals are missing out on a lot not having their mothers.  They don’t learn proper bovine behavior or what plants to avoid.  When my goat has her kids, I will not take her kids off her, I’ll share the milk with them.  Most dairy goat farms take the kids off their mothers and bottle feed them. 

I need to think about buying bottle calves because it may be a way for me to get some calves for less money, but it also seems to me that I would be better off buying calves who have been raised off their mothers.  Then again, pound for pound and for ease in raising and butchering them, I’ll probably better off sticking with goats and sheep for meat.

If Wally is able to take the time Saturday afternoon, we’ll load up Marcus’ goats and sheep and bring them back to his house and we’ll go and get my dairy goat and two more wethers.  Gel and I separated the goats from the sheep this morning.  It wasn’t quite so easy as it was yesterday.  I had to let the whole group out of the ElectroNet and then wait for the goats to drop off the back of the group of sheep then split them.  The sheep seemed to know that the goats were going to get grain because as soon as I separated the goats and started to bring them up to the fenced-in area, the sheep started following as well.  I left the goats up in the duck pasture today.  They were interested in clearing the fence line, which needs to be done.  I left them with some alfalfa forage and goat minerals as well.

Last night I did some shaping work with Fern.  She’s a bright dog, but her confidence has been damaged.  I need to work hard to get that back.  Because I got tied up in the house grinding rabbits and talking on the phone, I lost track of time and before I knew it, it was pitch dark outside and the goats and sheep were still out.  I grabbed a flashlight and Gel and we went out to round them up.  Gel hasn’t had to locate stock in the dark for quite a few months now so it took him a few minutes to find them.  Meanwhile, I was all but getting carried away by mosquitoes while I manned the gate.

Kitty and Rose continue to do well in their guard dog duties.  They barked a few times last night, but not enough that I felt like I needed to go out to see what was making them bark.  I hope my dairy goat doesn’t give them too much trouble.  She’s got quite a set of horns on her.  I’ll probably leave everyone in the fenced-in area for a few days so I don’t risk goats tangled up in ElectroNet.  It took the first group of wethers a few days to relax around Kitty and Rose.

3 Replies to “Riding the waves”

  1. Goats are so much easier to handle than cows. You can actually put a goat in the back part of an SUV if you need to get it to the vet in a hurry. Goats also eat much less than cows–a big consideration in winter when you have to feed hay. As long as you disbud the goat babies and hand raise them from an early age, they will be like puppy dogs and love you intensely.

    cheers, Virginia

  2. Well, I don’t think I want them like puppy dogs if I’m ultimately going to butcher them. (-:

    I think goats and sheep are probably easier on the environment than cattle. Something else to consider.

    Yes, I will disbud any babies that are born at my place. Those horns are dangerous!

  3. I hope you never take this down. I enjoy it. It always ticks me off to no end when people who insist on being buttheads ruin a good thing for those who behave themselves!

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