Sunday, April 27, 2014

The boys are in town.

It has been two weeks now that we have had a buck hanging out with my 3 does.  If you have never come across a male goat during the breeding season let me warn you that they stink!  If you have a sensitive nature maybe don't read the first paragraph.
They really are quite disgusting and I'm glad I'm not a goat.  Their mating ritual is fascinating but is really pretty gross with frequent urination, sniffing, snorting, pawing at the ground, biting and so on.  Fortunately we have borrowed this buck off a friend so in a month or so he will leave and take his smell with him.  It is so pungent I can smell him as I walk out the path to their paddock, and it lingers on you even if you have done your best not to touch him.  The interesting thing is that for about half the year they are completely different animals, lose the smell and the desire to urinate on anything that walks once the does are in kid!  It will be more that worth it though when we have some kids arrive in September.

"Spot" the boy!  Hoping Shadow gives my girls some spotty babies in spring.

We also had a ram arrive on loan from my sister and brother-in-law on April 17 - my birthday.  Pretty cool present and a sign that my priorities have changed since we have moved to the country.  Birthday presents have included decent gumboots the first year, a solar electric fence unit in the second year, and for the last couple of years we have used the services of one of my sisters old rams before they become dog tucker.  What a great way to go out!!!  This year we are hoping all 13 ewes will lamb, which is 2 more ewes that last year.  Our pet lamb from our first year, as well as 3 other two tooths, are out with the ram this year so it feels like we are making progress when are replacing the old ewes and building up our flock.  To be honest lambing around 12 ewes is probably enough at the moment.

Our three steers are growing and are cleaning up the rough grass the sheep have left behind.  We had a great debate about what to call them when they first arrived.  After much discussion we came up with Schnitzel von Steer (think Hairy Maclairy and Schnitzel von Krumm), Centre Steer (reference to the Land Rover) and Freddy Steer (Fred Astaire).  They are not pets, but with a 6 year old animals tend to get names.  Miss 6 is aware that we will sell two and one will end up in the freezer, and we have been through similar processes with our pigs Teddy and Salami, and an old ewe known as Mutton Ham! 

Freddy and Centre relaxing in the sun.
It has been quite an education for her as she learns where food comes from.  That was something we were hoping would come from living on a farmlet and that certainly has been the case.  While we have a long way to go on our journey to great self reliance/ self sufficiency/sustainability whatever term you use, we are increasingly providing more from our own property.

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