2 August, 2012

Blogging two days in a row?!

I know, it’s like hell has frozen over or something.

Today, I get to go pick up Ambrosia! I am excited, especially since May managed to give herself an abscess biting the inside of her cheek and it didn’t respond to antibiotics, which means I am going to have to call the vet out to drain it. She’ll be under enough stress without having to produce tons of delicious milk, so I’ll be drying her off earlier than intended. Luckily Ambrosia is already in milk, so we will not be forced to go back to buying cow milk from the grocery store. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with cow milk, just that when you’re used to drinking raw milk with about twice the butterfat content of whole pasteurized/homogenized cow milk from the store, well, the store milk tastes kind of bland.

Actually it tastes like slimy water.

Ahem.

In other news, because I know I have tea drinkers out there reading and because I like to ruin your budget by presenting you with the coolest stuff I can find, let me point you to my friend Summer’s tea sale. You should probably also be reading her blog, because holy crap does that lady do some amazing things with food that is gluten-free and tailored for a range of other food allergies. I wish she lived next door, because I’d totally be providing her with milk and eggs and veggies if she would just, y’know, share her leftovers. At any rate, check out her teas!

1 August, 2012

News Round Up

I know, lazy blogger again. I blame the weather, which has been storming a lot, which always ups my pain levels.

Anyway.

Josie and First (now Fiona) have gone off to a new home! I struggled over whether to sell Josie as she is a sweetheart with people, but the fact remains that she’s aggressive with smaller goats, and with Annabelle and Esk due to give birth in September I’m about to have a large passle of small goats around. So anyway, a friend of a friend was looking for goats, and thus off Josie went with Fiona in tow.

Speaking of Annabelle, she is HUGE. Given the changes to her back end, I’m not expecting her to go far past her earliest due date of August 26th. Tiny goats ahoy! Esk may be up to a month later, she’s not showing the same signs of impending goatlings but lagging behind her sister. I’m OK with that.

I have an actual two-stall barn being delivered at some point in the next month. Yee haw! I am kind of hoping it gets here before Annabelle gives birth, because it would make life ever so much easier. At any rate, one 10′ x 10′ stall will be the Goat Ladies’ Boudoir, the other will be for milking, kidding, and feed storage. There may be a Barn Painting Party involved. Mostly because I am kind of inclined to throw a party.

Soon I’ll be bringing home a new doe from Pun Kids Farm, Love-R-Goats Ambrosia (scroll down on this page to see her). She’s a lovely La Mancha doe who will provide me with a full-size milker to back May up. I was over at Pun Kids a couple weeks ago to learn how to give a goat a show clip, and Ambrosia relentlessly sucked up to me — nibbling delicately at my fingers, asking for love, and otherwise being utterly charming. Who was I to say no when I heard she was for sale? We were already in love! Anyway, I am excited to add such a lovely doe, and looking forward to feeding her cookies for years to come.

I also managed to convince Pun Kids to take the bearded silkies, since we’re re-organizing the flock to be more self-sufficient and let us face it, while bearded silkies are totally adorable floof balls, they are not exactly what you want for a flock that free-ranges to keep the bugs down. To be honest, I seriously need to cut down the number of bantams in general, which means getting pics of the actual pairs for sale (we have several pairs of bantam Sumatras along with Old English Game Bantams!) and updating the For Sale page now that the bearded silkies and the goats are off it.

School starts in 3 weeks, my last semester at the local community college to finish up my general education requirements, and then I need to figure out what the hell I’m doing in terms of a bachelor’s degree. I have no idea. On the other hand, I came up to BrooksfieldSchool.org site the other day, and I think I figured where my kids are going to assist next year.

I have a big blue truck. I am in love with it. Daniel keeps having to stop me from finding random things to throw in the bed and haul around. Look!
An enormous dark blue pick up truck with a full-size, four-door cab and an 8 foot long bed.  IT HAS LIGHTS ON TOP YOU GUYS. Also it is approximately twice as long as either Honda CRV which was previously the biggest thing I've driven.
It has a diesel engine so it actually gets 22mpg which is not bad for a freakin ginormous truck. It can haul a LITERAL TON OF STUFF in the bed. Like, I can put 2,000 pounds of ANYTHING in there. ANYTHING I WANT.

Ahem. So there’s my life lately — how are you?

26 July, 2012

Goat-powered Drawing!

The videos of the drawing are uploading! It may take a while given my satellite intertubes, so look for videos/transcripts and the final announcement of winners this evening! Yes, winners plural — I was having so much fun making the goats pick a name that I had them pick two people. I tried to make the chickens pick a winner, but they refused. Chickens feel that if there is any giveaway going on, it should be food, to chickens.

Watch this space!

24 July, 2012

Eat Like The Nobility: Memories of J

So Miss May gives us about 3 quarts of milk a day. This maybe doesn’t sound like a lot if your house features several kids who like milk, but for two adults it’s more than plenty. This leads to me getting creative with the milk, because with such a surplus there’s no harm in experimenting, and it won’t go to waste — if nothing else, we can compost it and use it to grow nommy vegetables.

My latest Dairy Experiment had people looking at me funny when I brought it up, but when they actually tasted it they were forced to agree that it was pretty divine. It reminds me of my friend J, not only because she took me out for ice cream when I visited her, but because she has this perfect voice when she wants to: low, smooth, and soothing. I am pretty sure that J could convince me that it’s perfectly fine for rabid weasels to gnaw my leg off, because that’s what kind of voice it is. She can turn this amazing vocal apparatus on and off at the drop of a hat, going from “don’t mind those rabid weasels” to expressively joking about how the rabid weasels are coming for you. Actually generally she’s just a pretty amazing person. But her Don’t Mind The Weasels voice reminds me of chocolate. Also, she knows where to find the best ice cream ever.

You’ll need an ice cream maker and:

3c fresh experimental goat cheese, made from two gallons of fresh goat milk and 1 packet fromage blanc starter & 1 packet chevre starter. If you can’t get this, you can substitute cream cheese.
2c or so fresh goat milk. If you don’t have your own goat, you may substitute half and half from the store. Or heavy cream. Ice cream is NOT the time to worry about your cholesterol levels, ok?
3/4c white cane sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
1c cocoa

Mix the 3c of cheese with milk until you get a smooth, kinda but not really liquidy texture. I tried doing this in my blender. My blender now hates me. Unless you have a heavy-duty blender, you should do this in a bowl with a spatula, instead. Once you have a nice smooth kinda but not really liquidy texture from your dairy products, go ahead and fold in the sugar, vanilla, and cocoa. Mix well. Adjust the texture one last time with any last-minute additions of liquid milk.

Then stuff as much of the mixture as will fit into your ice cream maker, and leave it there until it becomes a delicious smooth creamy chocolatey amazing frozen treat. While you’re waiting, eat the leftovers that didn’t fit in the ice cream maker with a spoon, or possibly use them to ice some cupcakes if you happen to have any naked cupcakes sitting around.

Wait for the heat index to climb into triple digits, break out your amazing treat, and enjoy. I suggest having it for dinner, because that’s the kind of carefree life I lead, what with not having children to raise.

PS — TomorrowThursday the goats will make the call on the Soap Giveaway. Did you tell me which soap of Kate’s you’d like to try, yet? You have 2036 hours to get your entry in! (Edited because I realize I’d said the goats would pick on the 26th, leaving entries open through the 25th)

22 July, 2012

Answering Googled Questions

I love googled questions that lead people to my site. I swear, I did not make this one up.

“may I take your hat and goat”

No. You may not. I love all my hats. And there will be no goatnapping, but I do have two for sale right now, so please feel free to buy a goat.

20 June, 2012

Dairy Goat Profile: Josie

A close-up shot of Josie's face as she stares up at the camera, doubtless considering whether or not she can eat it.

Josie is a grade dairy doe, meaning no one has kept her pedigree. There’s at least some Oberhasli in there, as no other breed has that distinctive coat of rich bay with black trimmings, but she lacks the black belly of a purebred Oberhasli. She is the enforcer of the herd, out to headbutt the world, or at least that portion of the world which is other goats who annoy her. She even tried it once on Miss May, shortly after we brought May home. Just once, though, as May put her massive head down to meet Josie’s incoming rush and Josie bounced off her like a ball off a brick wall.

Josie is also the mother of the first pair of goatlings born here at the Manor, proudly giving me twin doelings at her first birth (and mine!). She’s now being trained to be milked, which is a slow process requiring much patience on all sides. Evidently it’s weird to have someone milk you. I really can’t fault Josie for feeling that way, either, since I am pretty sure that if someone tried to milk me I’d do more than give them a vicious side-eye.

But I digress. Elegant, stubborn, and determined, Josie is an excellent paragon of goatliness. She even managed to teleport out of her Executive Kidding Suite at one point, to the great mistification of all human beings. But her life could be improved by an endless supply of fresh pine tops and also her own personal servant to follow her around fanning her. Tragically, she must climb trees to get her own pine tops (which are only available in spring anyway), and depends on the vagaries of weather for a fresh breeze. Your awareness will surely make the pine trees change their growing habits, and also convince someone to show up and fan her.

19 June, 2012

Dairy Goat Profile: Esk

A photo from my POV that shows Esk, a tiny Nigerian Dwarf Goat who is white with orange spots, standing on her back legs with her front hooves on my hips and a mouthful of my t-shirt.

Few people realize that Nigerian Dwarf Goats serve a purpose besides being tiny and adorable. As you can see from this picture of Esk, they are also tiny hooved terrorists waiting to wreak havoc on unsuspecting bipeds. It is rare to get a picture of Esk that does not involve her having a mouthful of someone’s hair or clothing.

Esk is almost a year old, and is one of the first two dairy goats I brought home. While their tiny teats are hard to milk, the milk they give ranges up to 10% butterfat. Compare that to the paltry 3.25% butterfat of whole cow milk you buy at the store! And while they only give a couple quarts a day, that’s more than sufficient for a household of two humans. But most people just write Nigerian Dwarf Goats off as adorable little bundles of terror and fail to give them sufficient credit for producing delicious milk that is just asking to be made into amazing cheeses and frozen dairy snacks. This makes Esk sad.

Of course, Esk’s life is not all grain and roses (goats love to eat roses). She would like to be a lap goat, but her inability to control herself when it comes to tasty, tasty human clothing and hair means that she is exiled from being cuddled more often than not, and has to settle for having her face, neck, and body vigorously scritched. Your awareness of the plight of dairy goats like Esk will help her receive Self Control Therapy, so she can learn to avoid trying to eat people and thus get more lap time.

18 June, 2012

Dairy Goat Profile: Miss May

A profile portrait of Miss May, a golden brown goat with long, drooping ears and stripes running from the corners of her eyes to her nose.

Let me introduce you to Miss May, formerly of Money Pit Acres. She is a treasure among dairy goats and I could not have asked for a more perfect goat for my first milker. Miss May is patient, kind, and at 130 pounds she is easily twice the size of Josie, who is the next-largest goat in the herd. But Miss May uses her powers only for good, keeping the herd in good order and discipline.

Unfortunately, like 95% of dairy goats worldwide, May suffers from a serious lack of cookies, a problem that most people are unaware of. People assume goats will eat just anything, which is actually deeply untrue. Goats are weirdly picky eaters, and cookies are one of their favorite snacks, as long as the cookies are the right flavor and texture. Miss May gets goat cookies twice a day at milking time, but she would love to be able to also have a noon snack of cookies.

Miss May also has difficulties communicating, since she cannot speak. Instead, she must bellow mightily at people to indicate her displeasure with the lack of cookies and neck massages. If her neck is not being sufficiently massaged, she sometimes has no choice but to nip the person who is failing in their duty to massage her neck.

Gentle readers, it is a hard life being a dairy goat like Miss May, but together we can change that. Your awareness will help make a better life for dairy goats everywhere!

17 June, 2012

Dairy Goat Awareness Week kicks off!

A close-up shot of Esk's face, white with orange patches over her eyes and an adorable pink nose.  At the top a caption asks Are You Aware of Dairy Goats? and at the bottom it says Dairy Goat Awareness Week June 17-23, Manor of Mixed Blessings.

That’s right, gentle readers, today is the first day of Dairy Goat Awareness Week, sponsored by the American Dairy Goat Association. Instead of my usual lazy posting every other day, this week I shall feature a different resident dairy goat every day, with a picture or two and a profile of her sparkling personality!

During this week, I’ll also be releasing Dairy Goat Awareness items in the Manor of Mixed Blessings Zazzle store, so that you can share your Dairy Goat Awareness with friends and family! For example, the image above is available on a t-shirt, as well as other products that have nothing to do with goats except that I’ve slapped a picture on them! Together, we can make a difference in the lives of dairy goats.

11 June, 2012

Life goes on

It’s still sad times here at the Manor. I keep thinking I need to check on Aida and give her meds or food or fresh water and of course, I don’t. Wherever she is gone, she definitely does not need me to pill her anymore. The other critters don’t miss her much, since she went out of her way to not interact with them unless it was to yell angry Siamese curses at them, but the people sure do.

But life goes on, as the title says. Tomorrow the eggs in the incubator go on lockdown, with hatch scheduled to start the 15th. I’m hoping for a good hatch out of these eggs, they are my beautiful Feltner line Pumpkin Hulseys. The little brooder is currently full of Old English Game Bantams who will need to be moved to the big brooder, which will be set up in the shed, in order to make space for the new little guys.

Josie’s babies are growing like little quadrupedal leaping weeds, getting braver and more ambitious in their shenanigans by the moment. Miss May, my gentle giant of a Nubian, is an excellent Auntie who tolerates their hijinks right until they decide it would be a good idea to nurse from her capacious udder, at which point she sends them off with a lazy swing of her massive head. Esk and Annabelle, on the other hand, seem to be more intrigued by the notion that here are two goats smaller than them that they can pick on. The babies are too fast for them though, especially now that Esk and Annabelle (Annabelle especially) are beginning to get heavy with pregnancy. Annabelle, in fact, is getting huge with still half her pregnancy to go.

In other news, I need to pick out what classes I’m taking next semester and register for them so I can finally graduate with my Associate’s, which I shall then follow up by getting a bachelor’s degree. In, um, something. Maybe history. Maybe English. I have not yet decided.

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