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The Aftermath of a Snowstorm on a Farm

By | Blog, Goats | One Comment

The day after Snowmageddon, and we survived even the aftermath of a snowstorm on the farm. I measured 26 inches of snow last night before I went to bed.  That could have included some in drifts, but not much. Besides the snow packs, right?

The goats are all safe and warm although they will not go out of the barn. The chicken coop and run is still intact Goats Don't Like The Snowalthough the girls will not venture out more than about 3 feet out of the coop. Ethel and Lucy are slowly but surely making a path around the perimeter of the goat enclosure so they can do their job of supervising their domain, and we did not lose power.  We wait for the man to plow the 1/4 mile drive, and we think back on the last 2 days with joy in our hearts and the memory of a couple of adventures.

The Shoveling Begins

Shoveling, The Biggest Aftermath of a Snowstorm on a FarmYesterday began with a long shoveling trip to the barn.  By morning, we had around 14 inches of snow on the ground and thought it would save us some energy in the long run to shovel the way.  So 30 minutes later, we arrived at the barn, worn out but glad to see that everyone was fine.  Next, Derek and I (Kathy) decided to make our way to Grandma’s house to remove the snow from a part of her roof that is flat so that the additional accumulation of the day would not cause any type of collapse, so across the field we shoveled.

Derek wanted to grab his snowboard out of his car parked near her house so he could try snow boarding over a pile of snow on our small hill, and we figured it would be easier getting back if we shoveled that way too.  45 minutes later, we arrived at out destination, worn out and a bit shaky from all of the work that we were not used to.

The First Slopes in Crozet

Not The Right Slopes Here in CrozetSnowboarding on the FarmWhen we got back home, we tried to pack down the snow for Derek to “jump” over.  He gave it a try but after a bit, decided that the snow was too dry and the hill not steep enough to get up the speed he needed.   So FAIL.  Oh well.

Lucy Makes A Break For It

The last and biggest adventure of the day was at 4:00.  We went down to the barn to take care of the animals.  At this point the accumulation for the day was in the area of 25 inches,  and I was exhausted.  To feed Ethel and Lucy, we usually put their food in a small area that is isolated from the goats so the goats don’t eat it, but this area was unreachable without shoveling some very deep snow, so in my wisdom, I decided to feed them inside the barn in the milking stall.  Only they had NEVER, EVER done this before.

I fought with them to get them into the stall, and finally had success, when Lucy totally freaked out, clearly telling me in the only way she could that this was totally unacceptable: she used her nose to pry open the barn door and escape.  Out into the wonderful world of snow she ran, and of course, I was not happy with her, and she knew it.  I called, and called. But she knew with all of her being that I was unhappy and I was not going to be fun to return to, so she would not come.

The good news is that other than a few steps at a time, she would not venture off the paths that we had made around the house.  I had to holler up to the house to get Bob out to help, and then Oma (Kathy’s mom) got involved when Lucy showed up at her door (the basement door to the house).  All ended well when Bob knelt down looking all happy and welcoming, and Lucy ran right up to him wagging her tail.  By the time she got back to the barn, she simply would not eat, and we had to end up shoveling out their feeding area anyway so she could get to her special eating spot.  Not my best idea of all time. . . .

Waiting for the Plow

The Aftermath of a Snowstorm on a FarmWaiting for the PlowNow, Snowmageddon is over, and we wait for Mr.Black to arrive with his trusty snow plow
to get us out of our little corner of the world yet again.

What was your snow experience like? Did you have any adventures? 

A Day in the Life of Goat Milk Soap Makers

By | Blog, Goats, soap | One Comment

That’s right, we have THE life.  I never imagined we would have the life that I have right now.  About 15 years ago, we were building our house and enjoying life in a beautiful spot while raising our family.  We were taking our kids to a multitude of children activities and loving raising a family.  As I reflect, we had a wonderful life then too, but as our children left home, we had to find a new life and new activities to do together, to learn to enjoy a new kind of family life.  Life as a couple with grown children.  As we looked at what we wanted to do, of course raising a few chickens seemed nice, and then, raising a few goats seemed nice.  Now, a day in our life with animals seems really, really nice.IMG_4335

This morning, I woke up, and even though we have no hot water (not to be fixed for 4 more days 🙁  Oh well!) showered in cold water, and sat down for a lovely cup of coffee.  We went out to care for the animals for the morning and got a lovely greeting from Lucy.
IMG_4321

The goats really enjoyed their morning grain and their morning hay and then marched single file up to the field to eat a bit more.  It was a really pretty morning and following them up to the field seemed like a great idea, so we sat out with them enjoying the sunshine and what just might be one of the last warmish days of the fall.IMG_4359

After running some farm-like errands–taking the lawn tractor to be repaired, stopping by Costco for some olive oil with which we will make soap, and dropping by the rental place to fill the propane tank for son Derek–we returned home for a bit of rest before the afternoon chores.IMG_4374

In the  afternoon, I made soap, and Bob shoveled out the barn.  Then, after dinner, we settled in for an evening movie.  I  sewed on a quilt that I am working on, and at the end of the day, I will enjoy sleep on my comfy pillow.  It is the type of day that makes me feel like I  accomplished something.  I feel tired at the end of the day and look back on the day, realizing how very blessed I am to have the wonderful, fulfilling life that I have.

Thanks God, for this amazing day!!!

 

Don’t forget to stop by our shop and place your order of goat milk soap for the holidays.  Our soap makes a great stocking stuffer, a wonderful teacher’s gift, and a lovely component of a gift basket.  

Journey through the Rear View – Mini Nubian Goat Deliveries

By | Blog, Goats | One Comment

After our decision to obtain a doe from Green Gables Mini Nubians in Wisconsin, we anxiously awaited the spring 2012 due date.  As we waited, we were contacted by a number of other people on the East Coast who wondered if we could transport  their new mini nubian goats back from Wisconsin.  These people would meet us at various locations on our way back to Virginia and pick up their goats from us.

After some map review, we realized that we could help transport 17 kids in the bed of our truck. In an 8-footbed with a camper top, we could provide a safe and secure trip back.  Some of the goats would be dropped off on the way home,  and 8 would be left by the time for people from South Carolina and Florida to pick up at our farm.  Our excitement grew as we neared our May pick up date.  I arranged to scoop our daughter Stephanie up in Kentucky on the way to Wisconsin and would drop her off again on the way home. That way we would have some great father-daughter time on the trip.

Father and Daughter

Father and Daughter

Two large dog crates. A bed full of straw. A few changes of clothing for the trip tucked in the cab. All of the goat supplies safely stowed. Off we went in our F150.

The trip to Wisconsin was uneventful, although long.  We stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast along the way and really enjoyed some great conversation.

On arrival at Eliya’s farm, we were greeted by a warm and loving family that clearly cared for their animals and each other.  We loaded up 17 goats and a cooler full of goat’s milk for the trip home (all of the goats were still being bottle fed 2-3 times per day) and off we went toward home

About an hour into the trip, on an interstate in Wisconsin, our daughter let out a shout to inform me that the camper top had just blown off.  A quick glance in the rearview confirmed her statement.  I had visions in my head of goats going every which direction.

After pulling to the side of the road, I jumped into the back of the truck.  Much to my amazement, all 17 kids were safely hunkered down in the straw.  None of the kids had jumped out or been injured in any way.  Wow!!

Stephanie exclaimed “Why did we have to come to stupid Wisconsin to get these stupid goats”  Clearly she just did not understand our yearning for the best goats in all of the world (lofty goals?).

The camper top was destroyed, but all of the goats, the stuff, and we were all in one piece, so needless to say, after the very kind state trooper told us that we were free to go with no citation and noted that there was a Walmart 5 miles ahead, we were ready to roll and sort out a solution to our very goaty challenge.

We put 9 of the little goat kids in the two dog rates and piled the remaining 8 goats in the truck cab for the trip to the Walmart.  I am sure we must have made quite the sight. You can imagine the looks that we got from the cars passing with all those kids in the cab.

At Walmart, we purchased 2 more dog crates, arranged the hay in the crates, and packed everything snug as a bug in a rug, and took off for the rest of the trip. We met goat buyers along the way, dropping off kids and meeting some very nice people.  We did enjoy a stay at another bed and breakfast, and then I dropped Stephanie off at her home and returned to Virginia.

What a journey….. And Journey sure is a beautiful doe.  She was certainly worth an exciting trip to get her.

Later that summer, we found out that Journey was the last doe kid born to her mother, Echo Hills Molly O’Malley, who was a favorite at Green Gables.  We are honored to have Journey and are so pleased at the 8 pounds of milk a day that she produces at her peak of production.  She is an amazingly long doe who passes all of her wonderful qualities on to her kids, and she’s a foundational part of our mini nubian goat herd.

Journey as a 6 month old dueling

Journey as a 6-monthold doeling

It is great to look forward to life ahead, to dream and make plans.  But a glance through the rearview can be good also, and I am thankful as I look back on Journeys eventful trip home, for God’s protection and provision along the way.  I am thankful too for Eliya Elmquist for selling us such a wonderful doe and to my family.  I am also so thankful for this trip and for Stephanie’s sharing the journey.

Never say goat farming isn’t an adventure.

The Pogo Era – Our First Mini Nubian Buck

By | Blog, Goats | One Comment

Chapter 2 of the story of Wynott Farm and the goat acquisition. (For chapter one, read here.)

Having found a cornerstone to our foundation in Esther of Sol Orr Farm in 2011, we began our search for a buck for breeding.  We wanted to breed our Mini Nubian goats with great quality and with temperaments that would make the kids be great pets or companion animals as well as excellent specimens of the breed in appearance and milk production.  Our research up to this point also showed us that it was equally important to evaluate potential contributing herds for diseases common to goats such as C.A.E, C.L. and Johnes disease because these diseases, once in your herd, can be devastating.

Our friend Marybeth Bellah, owner of Monte Bella Mini Nubians, was a great example of a breeder who took care to test her herd for the worst of the goat diseases and then cared for her small herd as pets as well as providers of wonderful milk.  She had had a darling, very friendly, black-spotted buckling (baby boy goat) who was born in the spring of 2011 and named Pogo.We decided that Pogo would make a perfect addition to our growing herd.  He was a second generation buck.  This means that both of his parents were Mini Nubians, not pure bred Nubians or Nigerian Dwarfs, but that at least one of his parents were the offspring of an original cross of the breeds.  He had a wonderful temperament, a lovely top line, and drop ears (although they were not fully pendulous as later generations can be).  He made some very nice improvements to our herd.

Head shot of Bob and Pogo

Head shot of Bob and Pogo

Soon after we brought Pogo home to our herd, we realized that we needed to continue to build on the quality of our goats.  As mentioned in a previous post, we found homes for our starter goats and began our breeding program.

We spent lots of time with them as Pogo and Esther grew. We enjoyed “walks” in the field or woods where our companion goats could enjoy the browse near their enclosure, and soon we realized that we would need to separate them until we were ready for fall breeding.

We were quite pleased with the first cross of Pogo and Esther, which produced Celeste.  Because she was raised on our farm, she was handled a lot, and although she was raised by Esther and not a bottle, she was very friendly and never ran from us or shied from our touch.  What a welcome change from those first goats.  Instead of two of us fighting for a few cups of milk coaxed from the teat of a cranky, kicky goat, one of us could milk Esther with a very simple procedure. Milking became a time of quiet, calm with our beloved animals.

About this time we decided that it was time to look for another doe.  We found a wonderful, well-respected breeder of Mini Nubians in Wisconsin named Eliya Elmquist, owner of Green Gables Mini Nubians. We got on her waiting list for doelings (girl goat kids) and waited until the spring for our next addition.  Journey came home to our farm in May of 2012 after a very eventful trip from Wisconsin. . .

Stay tuned for that story in Chapter 3 next week . . .

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Our Foray into Mini Nubian Goats

By | Blog, Goats | One Comment

Anyone who has goats has to be a little crazy. When my wife, Kathy, suggested that I should get some dairy goats, I remember saying, “Why in the world would I want to have goats? That’s nuts.” So, I dismissed the idea and forgot about it for about 8 months. Then, one day, I thought, “Maybe I should look into getting some goats. It could be fun.”

After weeks of researching various goat breeds, we decided to get mini nubians. Then, the search was on to find these milk-producing, small-sized beauties. The mini nubian breed was begun by a group of people who loved the breed character of nubian goats but were wanting a smaller version, maybe 5 to 6 inches shorter in height and about 30-50 pounds lighter.  To accomplish this task, breeders crossed Nubian goats with Nigerian Dwarf goats.  The breed is less than 25 years old.

We knew nothing about goats and didn’t do much research about the specific goats we found, and we paid for that. We found seven mini nubians, all from the same farm for $300. There’s usually a catch to getting a deal that good.

Our Foray into Mini Nubian Goats

Esther on the Milk Stand

After weeks of chasing and luring the goats to the barn and lifting the rear legs of the does during milking to keep them from kicking the bucket or stepping in it, it was clear that the goats had been neglected, were a real handful and that it would require a long time to bring about change in their behavior and trust of us. We decided to look for a young doeling, one that looked well constructed and pretty so that we could train her from a young age. We found this doeling, who we named Esther, from Renee Orr’s of  Sol Orr farm in Culpeper.  We bottle fed her and from a very young age, she knew that people were to be trusted.

By Esther’s second freshening (second time of having kids), we were happy to have a doe that was so sweet, calm, affectionate, and would stand quietly and still while being milked. During that time, we also found a wonderful 2nd generation buckling who we named Pogo. We bred Pogo to Esther and kept a doeling from her named Celeste. Esther and Celeste were both doing great.

Over time we began finding homes for the first does we had purchased who were really difficult to manage, at least by us, though they were behaving far better than when we first brought them home. So by this time, we had invested a year or two of our time into learning more and more about raising goats and about the mini nubian breed.  To say we’ve learned a lot would be an understatement.

In our next blog, we’ll share more about Pogo. He was and still is an awesome buck. He’s with a wonderful farm in Roanoke now and helping to improve their new herd of mini nubians. Until then….

 

Come see us at the Charlottesville City Market. Our amazing Wynott Goat Milk Soaps are sold there and at these fine stores: Whole Foods, Foods of All Nations, Rebecca’s Natural Foods, Integral Yoga, The Virginia Shops , Parkway Pharmacy, the newly-established Crozet Artison Depot, Michie Tavern, The Cheese Shop in Stuarts Draft, Cranberry’s Grocery in Staunton, and Grandma’s Pantry in the New Heritage Farmer’s Market in Harrisonburg. If you are near Lexington, VA, you can stop in at Virginia Born & Bred or Cool Springs Organics Grocery, and you’ll find Wynott Goat Milk Soaps there as well.

How We Got Into Goat Milk Soap

By | Blog, soap | One Comment

Welcome to the Wynott Farm BlogTo blog, to blog, to blog.  Ah, an opportunity to share all that goes on here at Wynott Farm.

Introductions are in order. Then we can start to share our heart about all that goes on here.  Bob is an underwriter at a major insurance company, and Kathy is a nurse at a local family doctor’s office.  We have 3 wonderful adult children, 1 extraordinary grandson, 5 dogs, 14 chickens, and last but certainly not least, 6 mini nubian dairy goats.  We live near extended family and would not have it any other way.  We work hard and play hard, and as our previous buck told us one day, we are happy folks with happy goats.

One day, after milking our goats and looking in the fridge at the 3 gallons of milk in there, Bob said,”Let’s try making soap,” and that is where Wynott began.  We made our first batch of goat milk soap after doing lots of research on what makes a good soap and coming up with a recipe that seemed to have all of the qualities that we wanted.  We used it and gave it away to friends; then, we made some more tweaks to the recipe and made some more.  We found that, really, it was quite fun to make and a very nice product.

One Saturday, I said to Bob “Why don’t you try selling some at the local community market?” Bob thought it would be a good idea, so one fall Saturday, with 60 bars in hand he went to the market to sell soap.  We both thought that if we sold 5 bars, we would count the day a success and would try it again.  So when we sold 9 bars, we could hardly believe it.  A success it was, and we have grown from there.  We continued to make soap,and tried to come up with new scents.  We moved after a few months to a larger community market called the Charlottesville City Market and continued to do well.  We have been absolutely thrilled with the reception our soap has received and can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Bob is the marketer of the business.  Indeed, one day when he came home from work with a new store interested in selling the soap, my comment to him was “Can you not keep your mouth shut?” He just loves talking about soap; he can’t help himself.  The City Market is one of his favorite places to be, and he loves the people he meets there.  While Bob is the marketer, I am the head of the production department.  I make and wrap soap, always working on making sure that our recipe continues to have the qualities we desire and that the scents are just perfect.  I keep track of inventory and fill orders.  (If you’re interested in buying some soap, check out our online shop.)

So that is us, in a nutshell. We both look forward to sharing more about life here at Wynott and about our wonderful animals. Thanks for joining us on this adventure we call life.

We’d love to hear from you too. Tell us your perspectives on Wynott Goat Milk Soaps.  We love hearing stories about how our friends, family and customers love our product or thoughts about how we can improve our soaps or make new offerings. 

 

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