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Farm Chores And A Box of Tissues An Hour

By | Goats, soap | No Comments

The Snow Plus Colds Make Farm Chores A ChallengeWe made it through Snowmageddon, dug out our cars, got back to work, and proceeded to get the cold of the century.  Well, that’s a slight exaggeration, but Bob came down with a cold on Wednesday, and Kathy followed close by on Friday.  By Saturday, poor, poor pitiful us, Tea And Hone Made the Farm Chores Possiblesniffling, and coughing and sneezing to beat the band.

Have you ever had your nose feeling so tickly that your eyes water constantly, and you were just begging to sneeze for the momentary relief it provided?  Have you ever gone through an entire box of tissues in an hour, and 2 boxes of vitamins in a day?  Have you ever used 5 jars of Vapo rub and drank 12 boxes of lemon tea with honey in a weekend? That is us.  Don’t get us wrong, we have had our share of colds but Snowmageddon, followed by Coldmageddon. Let’s be real!

The Farm Chores Must Go On

Yes, we are feeling slightly under the weather, but the animals still must eat, and the soap still must be made.  So we hauled water to the animals and fed them lots of yummy hay and enjoyed watching them enjoy the sunlight.  We made 2 batches of soap and did our share of resting.  We are almost restocked after the very busy holiday season we had in 2015 and are busy working on new soaps.  And we cling to the fact that 7-10 from now, all will be right with the world again . . . as long as there is no more snow.

And we sing our favorite song of this season, “OOOOHHHHH Spring Time, that’s the time that I like, every day and every night.  Ohhhh Spring Time, that’s when the birds do sing……”

Fellow farmers, how do you manage being sick and still getting the chores done? Any tips to share? 

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? 

Snowmageddon at Wynott Farm

By | Goats, Uncategorized | No Comments

When there is a prediction for 24-36 inches of snow on the small but sturdy Wynott Farm, what is a person to do but PREPARE?

Snow Prep at Wynott FarmThe Wynott Farm goats, all together for warmth during the blizzardOn Thursday afternoon, as we approached the beginning of what was predicted to be a record breaking storm. I reviewed the checklist of things I did not want to forget to do to prepare the animals and their housing.  As an animal owner, it is our responsibility to do everything that we can to keep our animals safe and warm.  Of course, sometimes the unavoidable happens, and an animal wanders out away from the rest of the herd and can’t find the way back, or (as my friend Maryann can attest) a weasel decides to attack the chickens the night of a major storm and the poor dears freeze to death out of fear of going into their coop.  But we do what we can.

Thursday’s Checklist for Wynott Farm

  • Fill up the water trough and disconnect the hose so the plow can get through without tearing it up. — Done.
  • Carry 14 bales of hay to the barn so that we will have plenty when we can’t get the gator there for 2 weeks. — Done.
  • Reinforce the overhang in the chicken run so the snow doesn’t tear down the entire run. —
  • Get extra animal food. — Done.
  • Move the 2 goats from the small pen to the large one so all 7 goats can keep each other warm. — Done.
  • Get extra gas for the generator. — Done.
  • Move snow shovels to the porch so we can start to shovel after the snow. — Done.
  • Make sure we have plenty of propane in the tank for a couple of weeks. — Done.
  • Move the cars to the front part of the road so we can get out of our icy drive. — Done.
  • Last but certainly not least, go to the grocery store, and buy coffee and milk and bread.  What else would a Virginian do when snow is coming? — Done.

So ready we were.  But all of the preparation did not calm my nervous heart as I anticipated this huge storm and the potential for power outages and days closed into the house. . . . But we were ready.

Tomorrow, stop by to hear about the beauty of the snow and the adventures of the day here at Wynott Farm over the weekend. . .

Christmas Thankfulness

By | Goats | No Comments

As we near Christmas, we here at Wynott Farm are so thankful for this time of year.  Yet, during this very happy and exciting season, we are having quite a time with a significant illness in our extended family. Thus, we have been unable to find the opportunity to write a post this weekend.

So instead, enjoy these pictures of our beautiful goats and tell us about your favorite holiday traditions in the comments.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!!

Christmas Thankfulnses

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Charlottesville City Market

By | Goats, soap, Uncategorized | No Comments

For the third year in a row, we are gearing up to sell our goat milk soap at the Charlottesville City Market’s Holiday Market.  It is a wonderful time of year.  Goat Milk Soap at Charlottesville City MarketThe City Market has lots of vendors–food, jewelry and holiday craft vendors as well as the produce and market vendors that are there all year long.  The air is crisp, and people are gearing up for shopping for Christmas and other winter holidays.  We, as usual, are up at the crack of dawn, getting the car packed up and ready to set up for a start time at the market of 8:00am.

Bob usually staffs the booth at the market, so you will most likely see him there talking about the wonderful benefits of goat milk soap for your skin and sharing about the ingredients and why the essential oils that we use are so much better for your skin than the chemical fragrance oils that some soap makers use.  He will also be happy to tell you about the personalities of the wonderful goats that produce the milk for our soaps or about the due dates of each of our does as we wait for them to grow babies.

Bob’s Charlottesville City Market Day Ritual

cortadoAt 5;00 AM, Bob gets up to enjoy his rich, deep, tasty cup of coffee.  His coffee drink of choice is a Cortado, which is equal parts espresso and steamed milk.  He likes a bit of syrup for flavor and then sits down for some music before starting his day.  This is a special time in the mornings that really helps him get charged up for the market and the business of his Saturdays.   He leaves our house for the market at 6:15, gets to Charlottesville City Market, and sets up the booth.  He sets out a few bars of goat milk soap of each scent, sets out our shaving soap and sets, and then decorates. Then, he is ready to go for the day.  That is when he goes around and visits with the other vendors before all of shoppers start to arrive.

Bob’s Meet and Greet

If you only knew Bob 30 years ago, you would wonder if he is the same guy.   He used to be a bit of an introvert, and he was definitely not one to go looking for people to speak to, but now, the City Market is truly one of his favorite times of the week.  He simply loves to visit with the other vendors and customers as well.  You will find that his face is almost always smiling, and he will talk to anyone  about anything. Just get him started and see……

See you at the Charlottesville City Market every Saturday between now and Christmas from 8:00am  to 1:00pm at 100 Water Street at the top row of the market furthest from Market Street. 

Drying Off the Does: Winter Goat Prep

By | Goats | One Comment

Well, that time has arrived again.  The time to work on drying off our does in preparation for winter.  Many goat owners keep their does in milk until about 2 months before they are due to kid in the spring. It is safe to do so as long as they are having their nutritional needs met with feed, hay, and appropriate mineral supplementation.

We, however, do not like milking in the cold of the winter.  We are milking wimps.

20151115_190754In the cold of the winter, we would prefer to enjoy the warmth of the fire in the fireplace (ok, so it is a propane fire place, but it is fire and it is warm so why quibble over the facts) in the evenings and decrease the stress on the bodies of our faithful does during the most miserable time of year for them.  So around this time of year, we start working on drying them off.

20151115_163205Our wonderful does  continue to produce milk as long as we ask it of them.  And if we are late for a milking, or if we were to miss one milking, they start to get quite uncomfortable.  So as we start to work on drying them off, we decrease the amount of grain that we give them by feeding them just once a day instead of twice a day for about a week.  Then since we already transitioned to once a day milking in the end of the summer, we now decrease to milking once every 36 hours.  We made this transition this weekend, and those poor girls were really uncomfortable yesterday.  Twice today, they have gone running for the barn thinking that for sure it MUST be time to be milked, only to be thwarted yet again.  This evening, our work will be in coaxing that first bit of milk out of a very tight udder and teat.

As God designed, after a few days of these 36 hour gaps between milking, the milk supply will drop just a bit, and they will not be nearly so uncomfortable.  Then, we will go to every 48 hour milkings.  The ladies will again be a bit uncomfy, but again, after a week or so, they will adjust, and again we will increase the amount of time between milking.  Finally, we will only milk when they seem to be full, and after about 3-4 weeks of this process, their bodies will shut off the message to make milk, and they will be ready for winter.IMG_20140317_091058_195

This is all a process that I dread in some ways.  We must watch closely for any sign of complications during this process, and even though we have never had any problems, I know that mastitis is always a possibility as are clogged milk ducts.  We also must make sure that we are meeting our does nutritional needs without making them chubby.  So we watch, and wait, and keep an eye on their body condition, and love on them, and enjoy them as usual.

In the mean time, our milk supply is in wonderful shape.  We have two freezers absolutely chock full of goat milk that is just waiting for soap making.

Now, we wait for spring, for new kids to arrive, and for the yearly cycle of the dairy goat owner to start again.

Addendum: Apparently the ladies are ready to dry off, too.  They were none too full tonight after 36 hours.  The decrease in food must be doing its job.  Perhaps this won’t take too long after all.  Good thing for this wimpy milker because cold weather is coming.

 

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.
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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.

Lovely Fall at Wynott Farm

By | Goats, soap | No Comments

Today was a lovely fall day here at Wynott Farm.  The weather was a lovely, crisp 60 degrees.  The leaves are falling, but there are still enough on the branches with beautiful colors to give a warm glow to the area.  The chickens are out pecking at the ground getting the last of the worms and grubs before the first frost sets in, and the fall flowers are in full bloom.  I just love this time of year.IMG_4095

Apparently, so do Bramble and Bianca as was evidenced by their amorous behavior through the fence.  The blubbering and tongue wagging that Bramble was displaying was just wonderful, and Bianca responded with a lovely flick of her little tail.  Need I say more.

Looks like kids are set to arrive in the middle of March, everyone.  Something to look forward to during the short, dark, cold days of winter.  We always like to plan on kids during March and April.  That allows the weather to warm just a bit before we wait with the does in the barn as they labor (we really like to attend every birth if at all possible), but it is still cool enough that the kids seem to avoid some of the worm and coccidia problems that seem to arrive with the really warm weather.IMG_4058

We will have 5 does due to kid next spring.  Take a look at our goat breeding plan if you are interested in seeing more. It will give you an idea of who we plan to breed to whom and when they should be due to kid if all works according to plan.

So today, as the fall days grow shorter, and the nights get cooler (do you believe 30’s last night?) we enjoy these last days of time outside.  We watch the chickens in the yard, we enjoy the sounds of amorous goats and lawn mowers clipping those last tall blades of grass, and we look forward to spring…….(Can you tell that I would like to just skip by winter? But more about that another day.)

We are ramping up for holiday goat milk soap orders, and we’d love to get your order for holiday stocking stuffers.  Stop by the shop and get your shopping underway with us.

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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