Rue loves to follow me and get kisses.
Rue loves to follow me and get kisses.
Veggie scraps for the boys as a treat.
Moving out into the snowy paddock
Juggling a full load of bread for the school, and prepping sticky buns, and making cake for snack, was interesting and rewarding when everything went well. That day’s snack cake was an oatmeal cake with a caramel drizzle. This time the caramel didn’t turn out the way I wanted, and I think its because there wasn’t enough butter, and I also forgot to put the agave syrup in it.
The sticky buns turned out great, the sticky part was a combination of one part white sugar, one part brown sugar, butter, and agave syrup. It was put in the bottom of a deep pan with the buns packed in tight. There is nothing better them a warm sticky bun.
The winter is here and Jack Frost has come with it. Buying coats for two growing boys is out of the picture with my student budget, so I made some. Easy books like The Backyard Goat, by Sue Weaver and How to Raise Goats, by Carol A. Amundson, have some notes on jacket making. Upside down children’s sweaters are great when you button them up the back. For my coats, I used a wool flannel skirt that I bought at a thrift store for a dollar. I cut it up and made some coats for my little guys, and the wool helps keep them warmer and waterproofed.
Northern Vermont has fast-changing and sometimes unpredictable weather. There have been some flurries here and there, but this week the real snow hit and blanketed the ground. So of course I took the goats out to see how they would react. Since the last post about housing, they have moved from the tennis courts to the barn were it’s warmer and they are closer to the food and water supply. Walks are even more important now because they don’t have access to the outside all the time anymore.
They didn’t really react much to the snow. Rue was a little hesitant at first – granted he absolutely hates water. Mostly, they seemed to be confused that there was no grass to eat. The first real snow outing was cut short because of the cold wind, but hopefuly it will get sunny enough for them to go out and play.
Rue and Odin are officially weaned off milk. I’ll miss waking up extra early to get their bottles ready. There’s nothing like carrying a bottle of warm milk on a cold morning.
Now they’re getting a handful of grain for breakfast every morning. I also put a crushed up clove of garlic in with their food. Garlic is great for just about everything, for goats and humans, and you can never have too much. They also have access to a hay bag with first-cut hay.
I tie them up on opposite sides of their stall so they don’t eat each other’s food. It’s good to keep that consistent. I’m hoping that sooner or later they will get into the routine and go to their designated spots. Along with the hay bag, Odin and Rue also have free access to loose mineral salts and two troughs of water. I’ve read and been advised by a friend, that it’s better to give goats more than one source of water, just in case one gets poop in it, that way, they don’t go thirsty.
Farmer-rigged is a great saying that I heard this past fall, and I’ve been using it ever since. That’s what I did with Odin and Rue when I began teaching them to pull. I started with dog harnesses, tying them together side by side so they could get used to walking that way. But it wasn’t long till they got too big (fat) to fit into the harnesses. So I looked online for real goat harnesses, and I decided it wasn’t worth it, the baby goats were too small to fit into a full size ajustable one, and growing so fast that they would soon outgrow the smaller harness. But, no worries for the internet and helpful blogs are here!! Along my journey, I read on a blog that a woman used an upside down horse halter as a harness for light loads (her goats were small). So I took a trip to the inner sanctum of the barn in my school and dug around in bins full of random tack. Not only did I find a halter that would work, I also found an adjustable goat harness in pretty good shape. This is why I love my school…people just leave things and forget about them, then younger generations can use them.
So back to farmer rigging. I had my horse halter harness, now I just needed a cart. Cue a random pair of attached bicycle wheels, and gardening posts. First thing to know about fabricating anything on a farm – baler twine is your best friend. I used it to tie the posts onto the wheel pole and attach it to the harness. I only had one, so Rue and Odin had to take turns. It went pretty well, the cart needs some work and its still a little too heavy for them. I think that for now, its just for short pulling sessions in front of the barn.
Rue ready to go!