Meet Hank!

Kenny, Dolly, and Reba have been adjusting well. They have come to accept Curry as their boisterous, playful guardian and weathered thunderstorms (lots of them!) with courage. I did realize, after the zillionth storm, that I needed to move their shelter. It was not drying out between rains and I worried they would get sick, so my hubby and sons helped me relocate it to the other side of their pen. It was a good decision and there new south-facing location, plus a plywood platform on top of cinder blocks, has resulted in a nice, dry shelter even after the heaviest of rains.

Anywho, a couple of weeks ago, I got a text from the woman who sold our first three goats to us. She had a whethered male she needed to sell, and thought I might be interested since he and Kenny used to hang out together.

Me, texting my hubby: Honey, can I buy another goat?

Hubby: Do we have room?

Me: Yep, not a problem.

Hubby: That’s fine.

With which I jumped up and down, squealing to my kids, “We’re getting another goat!”

The next day, we brought home a sweet, blonde boy.

Meet Hank!

Yes, he is named after Hank Williams, Jr. 🙂
Look that that lovable face!

Hank is so sweet. He is a big eater and has learned to climb on top of the hay in the feeder to get his fair share! He was shy at first, but now realizes I come with treats so he warmed up quickly. I love to scratch his chin and give him a good belly rub. He has a very distinct, throaty bleat that makes him sound a little annoyed. Ha!

Adding him to the mix was interesting. He is bigger than the other three and Dolly, who was the original alpha and loved being in charge, promptly head-butted him in the side when he entered the pen. Apparently she wanted to make it clear that he wasn’t to try to usurp her authority. Even Kenny, our little guy, has given Hank a few solid head-butts when it’s meal time!

So, I felt a little bad because the other three basically formed a clique and made Hank work hard to join it. For the first 2 or 3 nights, they slept snuggled together while he slept alone. Poor guy.

And then there was Curry. He had finally stopped chasing the goats, but Hank’s arrival was more than he could resist and he regressed a bit. I caught him driving the goats behind their shelter and pulling on their tails with his wagging away, so back on the other side of the fence he went until he remembered his manners. He wasn’t trying to hurt them and obviously wanted to play, but they protested loudly! I can’t say I blame them. Thankfully, it only took a few days and now they are all buddies.

Everyone is getting along great, now. The goats sleep together in a warm, furry heap and Curry has learned to be gentle. Our little herd is complete and we are dreaming of what is next. I bought harnesses and plan to work with the goats so I can take them into the woods and let them clear out some of that underbrush. Maybe we will build a nice barn back there at some point and fence more acres in, but right now I’ll take any excuse to be outdoors in this glorious and unseasonable cool weather. If it means putting goats on leashes, I’m in!

Goats on leashes…now that should be interesting.

Meet the Goats!

It finally happened! After years of dreaming, months of scheming, and lots of patience from my husband as we prepared our land to become a mini-farm, we brought home three of the cutest goats you’ve ever seen!

We picked them up on Good Friday, April 2. It was such an exciting day! As we got them settled in their pen, it felt surreal. My daughter said, “Mom, does this mean we live on a farm?”

“Yes,” I said. “It sure does!”

It has been a true gift to watch my kids and their friends enjoy all that we are building here. Children who have never seen a farm animal reach out in wonder as a doeling or buckling eat out of their hand or nibble on their shoelaces. Adults have called me out of the blue because they want to come play, and neighbors’ kids show up with big smiles because they were just out back with the animals.

“If you build it, they will come,” right?

God has big plans for this little farm. Plans that stretch beyond milk, vegetables, eggs and soap. Creation declares the glory of God, and I am seeing it happen here, in this place surrounded by trees, water, and blue sky. Here, where the roosters crow in the distance as cattle noisily greet the dawn from across the road. Here, where animals teach us how to get along, cats and dogs playing together as the goats learn to trust their new protector and the barnswallows fly about just overhead. It seems metaphors are leaping out all around me these days, and I believe God will give me much to share with you. So, without further adieu, I would love to introduce you to the goats of Arundelle Green…

As if our goats weren’t enough to be excited about, work is well underway on our most incredible chicken coop! It is going to be a one-of-a-kind masterpiece that will surely be the backdrop of many portraits and picnics. It is nearing completion and our hens will come home shortly after. I will be back to share photos when it is finished.

Have a wonderful day! If you need me, I’ll be out back with the goats.

Blessings, from Arundelle Green.

Building Fences-because GOATS!

It’s a big day here at Arundelle Green. After months of dreaming and planning (and scheming…convincing my husband that goats = joy!) the truck arrived with wood and wire and four strong guys to make another permanent mark on the land:

fencing for the goats.

Over the weekend I hired a local handyman with a chainsaw to cut down a huge cedar stump that would have acted as a launchpad for the goats to escape over the fence. I had kicked around the idea of renting a chainsaw and doing it myself, but thought better of it after my kids’ eyes widened in horror at the thought! Good thing, too, because that stump was THICK and the cedar was so old it had hardened, making it difficult to cut.

At last the stump fell away, exposing hidden treasure. The wood was a beautiful red and the smell…heavenly. We are going to roll it into the middle of the pasture for the goats to climb on.

At three feet in diameter and about four feet long, this old stump will be a perfect climbing toy.

I put down a deposit yesterday for two beautiful doelings. One is a twin, just three weeks old. The other is a triplet who is just over a week old and almost didn’t make it because her mama’s milk was slow to come in.

But she did, and I asked my husband if it isn’t perfect that we would get the little bitty one who almost didn’t survive? Isn’t that what our place was destined for?

So, we are in major preparation mode. Besides the fence going up, I purchased the materials to build a simple run-in shelter and plan to build it next week. After that I will start gathering supplies…feed, emergency meds, etc. to ensure our doelings survive and thrive. I’m excited to have another excuse to play with wood and power tools and can’t wait to see our sweet goats grazing in their new pasture!

Right now the plan is to bring them to Arundelle Green on April 2. We will be freshly home from a trip to Dollywood (yay!) and ready to dive into life with our beautiful new girls! We even have names picked out…

but that’s another post. 🙂

Awaiting Arrival

I recently talked to a girl about some goats…

when I got off the phone I squealed in excitement. She has several females due in January and we are on the list for at least two!

It’s happening! At last!

Then I looked out the window toward the Shadow Wood and my heart raced fearfully just a little. After all, I have no idea what I am actually doing. What if I fail? I’ve only had dogs (and now cats) and, of course, have raised several children but ,lets be honest, nothing is as easy at it seems on YouTube or in those how-to books. (Again…I have children. I can assure you, after almost twenty-one years of motherhood, the parenting books LIE.)

So I did what any nervous wanna-be mini farmer would do. I made a cup of coffee and looked up cute videos of baby goats.

Because, y’all, baby goats.

My daughter with one of my brother’s babies back in July.

Before long I felt better. I remembered watching my nieces handle the animals on their farm. I reminded myself of how much laughter those sweet creatures induced. My youngest niece, at only six years old, is in her element among these gentle animals. I began to imagine goats grazing the land between Autumn House and the Shadow Wood and recalled another important fact–that five teenagers have survived my parenting. Five.

I’ve got this.

Then I thought, “Hmmm, maybe we should also get a miniature donkey.”

I might be crazy.