In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animal Recount ((pictures now added))

          So, update on our animals. Many updates, actually. Let's start with the goats. I wanted goats so bad. Milk from our own goats sounded so homey and romantic. Then I ended up on bed rest with Iris. And suddenly milking goats didn't sound so fun. And then we moved in July and while we love our home up here on the mountains, fences are few and far between. This is good except that goats really shouldn't free range. At least not near homes. Goats free ranging equals goats on the deck. And goats on the hood of your car. And goat droppings everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Which is only exciting for the dogs, who eat them like they are milk duds. Don't misunderstand me now, we put up a pen for them. Free ranging goats were not our intention. But our goats thought they were above being penned in. We would pen them in, turn around to head back to the house and before we could get halfway there, the goats were at our sides. Right before Iris was born, we took them to get bred. They were being bred by the couple that we get our raw milk from. The plan was to leave them there a couple of months to ensure that breeding occurred. And after a couple months we had decided that life without goats really wasn't so bad. So we made a deal with the couple for them to keep the goats and for us not to pay for milk for a few months. Which worked perfectly. So no more goats for us. Maybe sometime again in the future, but not even the foreseeable future.

Who's that hillbilly with goats in the back of his truck?! Oh wait, that's my hillbilly.
        Next comes chickens. Chickens, chickens, chickens. Where do I start? We have had a weird winter with chickens. We lost one early on due to cold. Poor thing got smothered by the other chickens laying in a pile trying to keep warm. We lost one for undetermined reasons. We lost one right at the coop by a predator. At first it was a toss up between a dog and a bobcat. Seeing a bobcat twice, once on the property, once just down the road, made us really think it was a possibility. Until we lost a second one right at the coop. And Spencer and I tracked the predator through the freshly fallen snow. To the neighbor's house. Yea, it was their dog. Had a talk with the neighbors who were already aware of the problem (a dead chicken shows up on your porch and you don't have chickens means trouble. What I don't understand is why they didn't come to us first. Oh well.) Four chickens down leaves us with eleven. Did I mention we have a wandering chicken? She disappeared and we chalked her up as a goner. Fifteen days later she shows up. Just shows up! All is well and she hasn't wandered again. Yet. In March we got guineas. I had called back in September in response to an ad in the paper and had never heard back about them. I forgot all about them. In March we received a phone call from the gentleman. He had saved my message all of these months and had more guineas to sell. Five guineas joined the flock and provide us with entertainment and annoyance, sometimes simultaneously. In about two weeks, we will be getting our order of more fowl. Eight turkeys, six hens and a rooster. We'll see how long the rooster lasts, but hopefully we can keep him to breed and be a little more self-sustaining.
Chicken and rabbit house exterior

Chicken and rabbit house interior
        Now on to rabbits. When we moved here we had one little black female lionhead, Flower. We now have five rabbits. I already introduced you to Dobby, I believe it was back in September. She is an agouti lionhead cross. We also have Jack, our buck, who is a purebred Californian. He is very handsome. Our females are Jill, a Florida White, and Astrid, a New Zealand. I think. I forgot and am being too lazy to go check. Anyway, the ladies will be bred to Jack around the middle of the month which will hopefully lead to fresh rabbit meat in another four months.
Astrid and Jill getting sunshine and fresh grass
       Our kitties have stayed the same, with the addition of Figaro. He was a poor, starving fella when he showed up on the deck in late fall. I tried not to feed him, I really did. But after about a week of him staring in at us, I relented. He fits right in, so he's staying. Crookshanks (who's one now!) loves him. Hazel and Autumn aren't so sure about him, but he leaves them alone, even when they growl and hiss at him.
Thane and Figaro. This cat is so happy to have a home that he even puts up with Thane dragging him around.
       Our last subject is dogs. Jessie is almost thirteen now and getting deaf and slow. We love her so much and don't like thinking about the eventuality of her not being with us. Mollie will be twelve this summer and is as ornery as ever. She hears just fine, but ignores me almost as well as the kids do. Neither one of the girl dogs enjoy being with Ranger as he's such a bundle of energy. His tail is like a whip and stings like one when he whacks you with it. Which happens way too often. Poor Jessie's face is right at tail level and she is too slow to get away from him. So the girls have their own yard and rarely have to deal with him. Ranger is getting better at listening and once his energy has waned (after about twenty minutes of chaos) he is quite content to just lay by my side. We had adopted him from Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary and this spring we decided to become a foster family for them. Three puppies came into our home. After just a couple of days one of the females was adopted. The other female went back to the sanctuary when we went to Fort Collins and quickly found a forever home. The male stole our hearts and now lives with us permanently. His name is Abraham and he is about three and a half months old. Him and Ranger are becoming best buds. He loves the kids and follows them wherever they go.
Maycee, Ranger and Abraham


Mollie, up close and personal
        So to sum things up we have four dogs, four cats, five rabbits, five guineas and eleven chickens with more on the way. Wow.


  1. Wow indeed. :) No new info for me, but still enjoyed reading it & seeing all the pics. The one of Matt & the goats made me actually lol. :)