hay there, stranger

Hello dears, until the Yule post, it had been a hot minute since I’d written here. My brain is bursting with updates I want to share with you and so I’m starting the process of jotting down what I’ve been up to in batches, in no particular order. Most of these will be goat-oriented (not sorry), but I’ll give it a solid try to present on other topics 🙂 anyway:

KITTEN!

In May, we welcomed Miss Daisy Mae to the Hillstead. A family member’s cat had kittens on St. Patrick’s Day and we are so grateful to have gotten one. Daisy is an affectionate, daring, funny, very active kotka- and she is one heck of a huntress. She and Neil keep the vermin population pretty in check around the house. They’re about the same size now and sometimes we have a hard time distinguishing them when they’re bounding through the fields.

GOATS!

At present, we have a herd of six goats: three mini alpines, two Nigerian dwarves, and one Nubian. We added two young Nigerian dwarf wethers to our herd in November: Bernie and Blaze! They are so soft and sweet. Both fellas are still warming up to the Hillstead Humans, and it’s lovely experiencing that gradual trust building up.

Bernie (white left) and Blaze (brown right) experiencing their very first snowfall ❄️

And then we have Nanny! Yes, our neighbor’s Nanny :). She loves being part of a herd again and spends most of her time with our goats in the pastures. At the end of the day, her laments over having to turn in for the night alone in her own shelter became increasingly heartbreaking, so she’s shacking up with our guys in our barn. Nanny never had her own kids, it’s awfully sweet to see her mothering Bernie and Blaze.

Some of the kids fall 2021

In much less happy goat news, we had to say goodbye to Spotswa our Nigerian dwarf earlier this month. The little guy ate a nylon hair tie off the end of my braid one day, which we believe caused an obstruction/infection and made him very sick, and we had to put him down a week later. We will always cherish memories of Spotty frolicking through the pasture, nuzzling with Charlie and giving kisses, and how he was constantly at the sides of his favorite humans eager for scritches behind the ears or apple slices. We miss him dearly.

Daisy and I nursed Spotty as best as we could with our cuddles (and broad spectrum antibiotics, electrolytes, and Epsom salts)

CHICKENS!

Over the summer, we tried out a mobile coop design to see how our chickens would do free ranging in the pasture and then returning to the mobile home at night. They all seemed to enjoy their living situation enough, but unfortunately the local weasel population enjoyed it even more. Within a couple weeks, we went from 15 to 2 chickens. So, back to the old coop and drawing board on that one.

Now, we have 5 month old rhode island reds, olive eggers, mystic marans, ameraucanas and Ghostie. We bought the new ladies as day old chicks from a local hatchery in mid-August. We’re looking forward to fresh eggs again later this winter or early spring!

Day old floofs 8/17/21
4 months old 12/22/21

HAY!

With the changing of seasons comes the change in feed needs for all Hillsteaders, whether they be ruminants, mammals, or mini dinosaurs. The hoofed dudes don’t have the browsing banquet they mostly subside upon in the pastures in front of the house during the cold months. So that means having lots of hay on hand to satisfy our hungry goaties. Thanks to Facebook marketplace, we found a local farmer who sold us 20 bales of hay and kindly tracked down another 20 bales of straw (more on that in another post) from a neighbor which he delivered to us in his giant horse trailer. I marveled at his driving skills and he maneuvered a lot of machine all over pasture 1. After Zack and the hayguy unloaded all the hay by the barn, Zack and I got to the task of loading the hay bales into our barn’s hayloft for safe and dry keeping. This chorin’ made me feel like a legit farmer, and I get a thrill every time I ascend the ladder to access the loft to toss down a new bale for the goats (it also probably has something to do with my slight fear of heights).

Hay delivery
In the hay loft, ‘tis a dusty place

That’s all for now. It’s a vigorous cycle of new life, problem solving, caregiving, death, and all that blood sweat and tears stuff. I’m here for it all.

Coming soon: 2021 garden review and lessons learned, things we’ve been making, and good times in the snow. Take good care, please ♥️

About Sarah

Pronouns: she/hers. Hillsteader, mom to a human and many animals and plants, partner, researcher, empath.
This entry was posted in A Sarah Brain Dump Update and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to hay there, stranger

  1. Maggi Davidson says:

    Blaze may not be Nanny’s baby, but the resemblance is uncanny – if that’s Blaze cuddling up to your “baby”. I am awed by how much you all are doing!

    • Sarah says:

      Ah, that was Spotswa cuddling up to Charlie. We miss that sweet little guy. He looked so much like Nanny! Blaze is small and brown with horns and Bernie is white and small with horns.

  2. Madonna J Zelazny says:

    I enjoy reading your adventures of farm life! Loved the picture of Charlie and the goats. Such a big smile on his face.❤

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