another day in the books

We had farm visitors today!  A soap customer and a nurse I used to work with came with their sweet kiddos to check out the baby goats and pick some soap.  Of course, the baby kitties were a hit too.  Even the chickens drew their attention.

I enjoy sharing the pleasure of having a little farm with others.  I never would have thought I’d get to do that!

Today was day 1 of 4 off work.  I worked three days in a row and that’s enough to tucker a girl out!

Today was a rest and visit day.  Tomorrow is a Goats Make Soap Co. business day and another disbudding day.  We have a set of twin bucklings that need to be disbudded.  I’m not looking forward to it at all, but it has to be done.

Goats Make Soap Co. may soon have soap on the shelf of a store in Madrid, Spain!  We received a request from a merchant in Madrid who would like to stock our soaps in their little store.  So exciting!

Ryland had band practice this evening and Connor baseball.  Saturday and Sunday will be a tournament weekend for Connor in Gilbert.  And then another 12 hour shift at the hospital for me.  Mother’s Day is coming, then Nurse’s week, then another doe is due to kid, and then school is out for summer!

The days fill up and go by so fast.  When I get a chance to stop and survey, a week or two has passed and before I know it it’s a new season and I have two sons fast becoming men entering their 7th and 8th grade years.


So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Return, O Lord! How long? Have pity on your servants! Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us, and for as many years as we have seen evil. Let your work be shown to your servants, and your glorious power to their children. Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!  – Psalm 90:12-17


Milk, eggs, and Providence-dependence.

It’s beautiful outside right now. The stars are easily seen out here in the desert away from the city lights.  It hasn’t gotten so hot yet that even when the sun goes down the heat radiates from the baked ground and you find no cool breeze anywhere except next to the air conditioning vent in the house.  It’s still really nice in the mornings too when I get up to milk Darla.

Have I said how much I’m enjoying having dairy goats?  Having laying hens is definitely a close runner up on my enjoyment meter.  There’s just something very satisfying about getting milk and eggs from my own back yard every morning.

Today I trimmed hooves on both my buck and doe.  The buck is getting very big.  Trying to wrestle a 250 pound goat onto a milk stand so you can trim his hooves is definitely a two person job.  Thank goodness I have good neighbors and one who always seems to show up just when I need a hand.  Said neighbor and his wife also trimmed their pecan trees today and gave me all their clippings so I could give my goats what sends them into instant nirvana:  browse.

 Duke and Danny digging into Salt Cedar Shrub
Darla and her girls, Daylight and Daisy (now 9 weeks old) enjoying the shrub too.

Goats aren’t grazers.  They’re browsers.  They don’t like to eat with their heads down, rather, they’re designed to reach up into tree branches.  Besides their alfalfa pellets, hay, fresh water, free choice minerals and grain feed (which only goes to my does), I like to give them three or four branches with leaves daily to nibble on.  I weave them in the fencing on their pens so that they get the more natural method of browsing they enjoy.  The pecan tree branches and leaves were a hit!  They also like salt cedar scrub bushes, pine branches, dandelion weeds and rose bush trimmings.  I haven’t found anyone to donate rose bush trimmings yet but I did notice a house in the neighborhood the other day who has a plethora of rose bushes in her yard.  I think I’ll have to stop and introduce myself soon.

Getting to know my farm animals, observing their behaviors, reading about their needs has opened up an entire world to me.  I don’t look at any plant the same anymore and my compost pile is getting perfected.  Chickens love compost piles!  It’s a total win, win.  They turn the compost for me with all their scratching a burrowing and they get the nutrients their egg-producing bodies need.  And I get more fresh eggs.

I created a very make-shift, temporary hen house for my chickens over the past week using pallets, bale twine, bungee cords and shade cloth.  The Clampetts would be proud.  Today I put together a perch for the hens to roost on at night.  They had been sleeping in the “coop” that came with them, which also served as their nesting box.  But this makes for a messy clean-up every morning, plus,  I read that hens tend to sleep better and be happier if they can get about 36 inches off the ground onto a perch to sleep at night.  For the last two nights I’ve had to go out there and put them on the perch myself as they keep wanting to go to the nesting box to sleep.  Tonight they stayed, all except one hen, on the perch.  It made me happy.

I’m looking forward to planting a garden next, but since summer is upon us and we don’t have the property ready for gardening a plot yet, it’ll have to wait till fall.

I guess we’re on our way to being a little homestead, which is right up my alley.  I was thinking the other day about why I like doing this so much.  Am I just looking to be more self-sufficient?  Am I trying to free myself and my family from factory farm food products and Walmart?  In part yes, I guess.  But rather than striving for self-sufficiency I think what I’m really experiencing is the joy of Providence-dependency.

Every morning when I milk my doe and collect eggs from my hens, I am putting myself and my family in the position of being more aware of our dependence upon the One who created dairy goats and milk and laying hens.  Of course, I’m no more dependent upon God when I milk my own goat and collect my own eggs than I am when I pick up a jug and a dozen at Walmart.  He provides that milk and those eggs too.  You don’t have to have a homestead or a farm to be aware of your dependence upon God for your food. Doing the morning on the farm routine around here, is just making me more aware of that dependence.  As are my kids.  And that’s a good thing.

The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season. You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing. The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works. – Psalm 145:15-17