We have finally finagled a way for us to go on vacation for a few days this year. It took weeks to figure out how we could do it, since we have to cater to the needs of all our animals.
Meg, our milk cow, will be going away for breeding in a few days, which means that we have to dry her up. It’s a very sad process, because we love her milk and we won’t get any more until next June. We milked her Monday evening and will be doing it on Thursday morning or evening, depending on how full her udder is. She is doing fine with not being milked, as long as we feed her copious amounts of hay. Cows love eating.
We are separating Morisot, the baby goat, from her mother, Widget, at night and then we milk Widge in the morning and let Morisot out. Widget is giving about three cups a day, which is pretty good for a Nigerian Dwarf goat with a baby.
Morisot’s horns are getting to be about an inch long and she enjoys butting people’s arms and legs with them. We keep telling her no, because when her horns are five inches long, that will not be very pleasant, as you can imagine.
The sweet little bantams that I’ve been raising for my friend are going back to her soon. They are very friendly and amusing to have around and I’m considering asking her if I can give her $20 for them, but we really don’t have anywhere to put them and our big rooster has taken a disliking to pipsqueak upstarts in his job field.
Marvin, the head bantam rooster, had a standoff with one of the big hens the other day, which was hilarious. She is one of our largest hens, at about 10 times his size. Marvin put his wing down and did his mating dance around her. Deciding that she would not take sass from a little pint sized rooster, she put HER wing down and did the rooster’s dance around him. Needless to say, he strutted off to go woo his brothers.
A few days ago, I tore out our peas, since it’s getting too hot for them and they had powdery mildew for some reason, and last night I took out the pea poles. It was very satisfying. Then I pulled all the weeds (well, not ALL the weeds, there are always more), cut the roots off and put them in a big bucket for Meg. We do that with most of our weeds, because the animals love them. We call them salads.
Actually, it’s a circle. We take the cow manure and put it on the garden. Then the weed seeds in the manure sprout and we pull them and give them to the animals, who in turn give us more manure for the garden.
The chickens really love the cow and goat manure as well. Whenever the cow sticks her tail out in preparation to poop, the chickens come running and look up (“manna from heaven” as my mom said) and immediately start to scratch it up, looking for bits of grain and seeds. The goat poop, which is little “nanny berries,” is like a little gift. The chickens follow the goats around just waiting for it and then break each one open to see if there’s some tasty something inside.
Another really hilarious thing happened, which was this: I had an old piece of roast beef in a container that I took out to give to the chickens. I gave it to them and a chicken picked it up and carried it away with a horde of other chickens running along behind, trying to intercept it. Then I saw that one hen, Clio had a hold of another something and there was a chicken screaming and I saw Thia, who has a very floppy comb, had fallen down on the ground. I finally realized that Thia was the one screaming and the nice piece of meat that Clio had, was in fact, Thia’s comb. Clio didn’t see the actual bit of meat and instead thought “I want that bright red juicy piece” and clamped her beak onto the prize and refused to let go of it (and apparently realize) that it was her sister’s comb! I felt really bad for Thia, whose comb must have hurt a lot.
While on the subject of funny animal stories, I’ll tell you this one that got a group of adult friends that I was giving a tour of the farm to, laughing like crazy:
Our dog is deathly afraid of goats. She will walk out the back door; see the goats and then back herself into the breezeway again.
Our goat, Molly, has head-butted her numerous times, so she thinks the whole caprine species is out to get her. My dad decided to take her out into the back yard to introduce her to Widget and Morisot, because they are really sweet and there’s no reason for a 60 pound dog to be afraid of a Nigerian Dwarf goat and her tiny baby.
So he drags the dog out and shows her to Morisot and Widget. The dog cowers and flinches away from them thinking “something is going to happen. They are going to hurt me.” Finally, she is like “please let me go back. I want to be done with this” so she turns around and begins to slink back towards the house. Then…WHAM! Widget head-butts her retreating back-end and our dog puts her tail between her legs and runs to the house thinking “I knew it!”
As my mom would say, “never a dull moment around here.”