Well, where has the summer gone? Seems like yesterday we were welcoming the new kids on the block – Valentine, Jett, Garbo, Willis, Brooks and Dunn….. and now, we are saying goodbye.
This week, Dunn went to live over at Critter Capers by Raleigh, to be a herd sire. We are sad to see him go, but the cruel facts are that we can’t keep everyone…. also, Jett and June are going to live in Pipers Gap near Galax, tomorrow. I can’t imagine my poor sister Annie when she has to say goodbye. On Wednesday, Garbo is going to Tennessee, and then Caramella will be coming home to the mountain. I promise pictures of her when she arrives. Brooks will be going to live in Grassy Creek soon, and Valentine and Willis are staying here. So, with the addition of Caramella, we’ll be up two goats. I’m afraid next year it will be time for Geronimo to find a new job, and for Willis to become our daddy.
Speaking of pictures, you may have noticed that my posts of late (which, I admit have been few) are lacking in the photo department. Well, wench got a new phone (an iphone) and she is having a bit of trouble transferring the pictures to the computer. I swear…. nevermind. So last week, Dan from Forty6 Photography came to stay a while and he tried to help out the old feeble techno-phobe, but I’m not sure it worked too well. We did get a few older pics off the phone, so I can introduce you, at least, to our new member of the farm:
We actually got a mountain lion: heeeeeerrreee’s SMIDGE
It’s Hunter s fault… he found her in the woods and she followed him home. She was covered in fleas and her eyes were all goop-y and infected, etc. so wench took her to the vet and got her fixed right up, and now she is queen of the barn. Only about 1-1/2 lbs., she is gonna be a smidgen of a cat, (thus the name) and she tears up and down the three flights of stairs all day long. She even tries to play with us, and seeing as we are afraid of mountain lions, it is rather un-nerving.
Anyway, wench is going to New York next week and hopefully we will have a new bunch of photos to share courtesy of our staff photographer, Dan, once his editing magic is done. He took my portrait, which shows the beautiful carolina blue sky, and the angle is so perfect, my fleece doesn’t even make me look fat!
Til next time… thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
Well fans, it’s been a busy summer around the mountain. If you follow the wench on facebook, then you know that she recently traded in the CR-v for a new Honda Pilot. The reason for this is two fold. First, that wench is a spoiled brat and needs a new vehicle every few years (but i love her just the same) and second, the a/c on the CR-v was shot which would require a hefty repair bill, and the folks at Flow Honda in Winston Salem were so nice, they decided to give her a new car for less money, so it was kind of a no brainer. Besides, you can fit more rabbits in a Pilot than you can a CR-v, so it was practical for the farm.
What I didn’t count on, though, was that this would also be used as a GOAT AMBULANCE and so soon! The Hondas in this family are accustomed to transporting goats, especially when new (remember when wench got the blue CR-v and the very next day drove Abe (our rent a billy) back to Rome in the back seat? the lady at the McDonald’s drive through wanted to give the doggie a bone, until she found out it was a goat!) hahah anywho, I digress.
This time, it was me. I suppose it was time for my visit to the Twin Oaks Veterinary Hospital anyway, but, this is slightly embarassing…….. I was uncomfortable in my private area, and I told wench about it on Wednesday (two weeks ago). The situation did not improve overnight, so, I hung around the barn, asking her to DO SOMETHING to help me out, and so I finally got on the shearing stand and she took a closer look. My sheath was swollen and it HURT. Off I go in the goat ambulance
At Twin Oaks, they took my temperature, shaved me (down there) and then I got weighed (152.3 lbs… my svelte self) I got a shot of antibiotic and one to take home and a dose of antibiotic (down there) and one to take home. I’m glad to report I am now good as new and it seems the protein in my grain was a bit much, so now I’m on a lower protein grain. It’s ok, I don’t want to go through THAT again. If we hadn’t taken care of it so quickly, it could lead to PIZZLE ROT and we don’t want that!!!!!! Makes me shudder just thinking about it.
In other news, be looking for my article in American Livestock Magazine in October (their fiber issue) where I explain the differences between mohair and angora, and give a little education to those who may not know. The best part of the article, of course, if the “about the author” at the end, which features this photo of ME
Now that I’ll be “published” it will give me the confidence to continue my writing plan… more on that to come.
I am thinking of sending wench to the Rural Retreat farmers market. This is held on Wednesday afternoons, so it will depend on builder’s work schedule (which he now has reduced to 3 days a week). Exposure is good. You can find our eggs (well, not the goat eggs, the chicken eggs) at Becca’s Backwoods Bean in Sparta, NC and of course you can see us each month at the Independence Farmers Market and as an on line presence in the off season.
Well, time to get to work. Thanks for reading Frankly speaking! stay tuned for updated baby pictures!
I suppose I could make up an excuse for my elusive-ness lately, but I won’t… you know me, tell it like it is. The fact is, I’ve been busy! Directing the goings-on of this place is a full time job for a goat. So, since it has been like five whole weeks since my last post, here’s what happening:
Builder took an off-the-farm job at Lowes. It’s a good fit for him (IMO) because of the whole builder thing, but apparently they don’t hire part time help right away. First you have to do your time as a temporary seasonal worker (which is 39 hours a week) until they see if you are worth putting on their part time staff (which is what he wanted, just a little something to keep busier). So, anyway, he’s away from the farm now for 39 or more hours a week, at least for now until he finds out if they’ll keep him on for the job he wanted which should be by the end of summer.
Wench’s activities off the farm have been restricted due to builder’s new schedule. This is not a bad thing. She can be a bit of a gadabout, you know. There were several things already planned before this all took place, so yes, she did the Powhatan Festival of Fiber (two days gone) and the Middle Tennessee Fiber Fair (three days gone) to sell the shirt off my back, and guess what? She did GREAT. Our yarns and fibers were warmly received and I’m becoming a celebrity, which is only right. Here’s the set up:
Of course the set up changes with each show because wench gets another bright idea and changes things around. But, as you can see, it is colorful and showcases ME, FRANKIE because I am important. Oh, and I started making hand creme too. That’s fun.
Around the farm, it’s been pretty quiet. The babies are growing up, eating like piglets… see?
They are learning to be goats. Wench brings our grain each morning and each evening, to our separate stalls, (I get fed first, of course) and then each baby goat knows to leave their momma’s stall and come out to the middle common area, where they all chow down together because, well, if they go live somewhere else, they will have to know how to fight for their food. Not every place is like here where each goat is given their own space like we were horses or something (can you tell that wench grew up with horses? at least she doesn’t try to ride us) In the morning, if it’s nice out – and it always is here in North Carolina – we take our hay outside. In the evening, when we come into the barn, our hay is waiting for us in our stalls. We have it pretty good here on the mountain top.
In bunny news, Kastanje and Ted had a litter of 9 and they are now weaned and ready for new homes. Kastanje might be going to Texas for convention in October… Ruby and Ted had a litter of 6; Bellatrix and Ted had a litter of 6. (Ted was a busy boy before he went to live in Virginia). The planned breedings for this summer/fall include Julianna to Geordie (a buck from our barn now living with Aunt June) Bronwen to JT’s Data (Aunt June’s buck, home grown grand champion tort) Kerry Megan to Dexter – who, was suffering a bout with sterility, but we’re gonna try him again now that we are on the third floor of the barn. And of course the chins are popping out all over, having big litters, taking on foster kids, etc. it’s a busy place around here.
That’s about all the news. We have the Independence Farmers Market each month – the next one is June 20th. We’ll be there probably with bunnies for showing and fibers and yarns for sale. In the meantime, we’ll continue to grow our fleeces for your enjoyment, and, if I can work that wench any harder, I’ll try to get her to put the yarns on line, but she’s kinda slow, in more ways than one if you know what I mean. From all the clowns up here on the mountain, thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
Hey fans and friends………………. if you are in the Williamsburg VA area, take a lookie! the Powhatan Festival of Fiber will commence on April 26th and Mountain Top Fibers will be there in Booth 67!
This is our first MAJOR fiber fest and wench has been busy all week getting ready – my job was done when my coat came off, so I’ve been chill-a-xin and tellin wench what to do (she rarely takes good direction, much like when she worked for that other Frank) in any event… we are excited to see how our products are received. Aunt June is helping out wench to try to keep her straight (good luck with that) and so look for them in Powhatan!
In other news, builder took Hunter for a hike yesterday and stumbled upon a den of coyotes! Hunter was ready to say hello to the nice doggies, but builder was able to get him to follow him while he ran away. A well trained dog is a wonderful thing. Later, builder and one of the neighbors went back to the area on 4 wheelers looking to see if they could see anything, and perhaps remove the predators, but they were not showing themselves. Of course Hunter was safely locked in the people barn (also known as the house). Goats are safely in their stalls every evening about 6 PM, when coyotes are more likely to hunt, and that’s a good thing… we’ve heard them at night, but never seen them before, so a watchful eye will be kept.
All of the angoras are now residing on the 3rd floor of the barn, also known as the Angora Penthouse. Queen Julianna has the prime spot, as befits her station in life, and can view the sunrise over the mountain each morning. We have four litters in the nestbox, three satin angora and one french, and three does bred (hopefully). If you are looking for a french or satin of particular color or parentage, be sure to get in touch.
When wench goes to Powhatan, she is hoping to obtain a red satin buck for pairing with our girl Glimmer. Glimmer is coming of age now, so she is looking forward to meeting Mr. Red. I’ll post pictures when he arrives.
Sorry this post is sans photos, I’ll be sure to get some shots of the booth at Powhatan and give a full report upon wench’s return.
That’s all for now – thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
In those famous words of the great Marilyn Monroe (I think), I posed for a picture with a gentleman who came to the Mountain Top to film a portion of a Heifer International documentary about local food. He was very nice, and fed me cookies, which always makes me love someone:
His name is Steven Bailey and he came to interview my wench and builder about their role in supplying food to the local area. I know it’s not something we talk about openly in the barn, but, the American Chinchillas are primarily a meat breed of rabbit. I suppose you have to be good at something, and they don’t have fiber, so meat it is. I will be addressing this phenomenon in my first book to be released later this year aimed at children, and telling it like it is: your corn doesn’t grow in a can. We are in the research stage right now, so be looking for that probably around Christmastime.
When the film is ready, I’ll let you know and you can look for me and my new buddy Steven
We’ve been busy here – having babies and watching them grow. The last of this year’s babies was born just this morning to Hope. As of yet, he doesn’t have a name, and either does Faith’s baby. Wench has been wracking her brain to come up with some suitable names, but we’ve had SO MANY BOYS born this year, her brain stopped coming up with cute names. (doesn’t take much for her brain to stop in any event…)(did I say that out loud?)
I’m sure if you follow us on facebook you’ve seen the pictures, but I’ll recap: Jett and Valentine:
and finally, the one kidd who stands out from the crowd this year: (although each kidd has its strong points and is very handsome and/or beautiful just because they are from this flerd and they are baby goats) Garbo:
I am really hoping someone wants Garbo for a herdsire, because he is just built beautifully.
In other news: The rabbits are movin on up to the porch, and seem to be pretty happy up there!
they get the view of the mountains and the cool mountain breeze blowing their way. When it’s cold (like it has been these past few days) and windy, wench covers the ends of the cages so there is no draft. Once the windows are in, this won’t be necessary, but for now…
and so with those pesky rabbits leaving the downstairs, builder is making our stalls over on the other side:
each stall will be 4 x 8 which is considerably bigger than our current accommodations.
More and more happens around here every day, it’s getting hard to keep up. Wench is taking a few of the girls and going to the North Carolina Rabbit Breeders convention this weekend. Eva the Diva, Julianna, Bellatrix, Janis Joplin, Manoah and Glimmer will be going to the shows, and Atticus will be moving on to a new home as will Leviticus, and the pair of sport rabbits sired by Brandon, the Californian who lives in West Virginia. He’s going back to his house after having spent six months with us in our meat program. Thanks Brandon!
Well, that’s it for this edition of Frankly speaking. I’ll keep in touch, and hopefully next time I’ll be posting some of the exciting yarns that just came back from Gurdy Run Woolen Mill. They are pretty nice! but then, they came from my fleece. so, what. did. you. expect?
So I promised some pictures of the progress on the barn, etc., and as promised… here ya go
First, a bonus profile of me, in all of my glory
So today is pretty nice out and the gang got out to enjoy the snow (NOT)
So the builder was working inside, stringing lights in the second floor rabbit barn
Do you see that little shiny piece hanging off the left hand side? That is the manure shoot for the 2nd floor. There is one for the 3rd floor too; and big black pipe to be attached. This will allow the manure to slide down beside the barn where builder can scoop it up with the tractor and then distribute it where it needs to go. My suite will be on the other side of that wall. Nigel, Geronimo, Daisy and myself will share an area, and the does and babies will all go inside where it’s warmer.
Speaking of babies, my lovely sister, Mae:
Where, you ask, has Frankie been? My last post was around Christmastime, and it is SO unlike me to be un-opinionated or quiet or not OUT there spewing my goatiness to all my fans. Well, I’ll tell you:
1) It is winter. A time for reflection and rest, to gather steam for spring and plan the garden, etc. This year, we have had winter. Call it global warming, climate change, what-ever………… it is usually 60 and sunny here by February but this year we actually have been locked up in the barn a few days due to inclement weather. I go a little stir crazy, so, I was just hanging out banging my head on the stall door (it’s a goat thing) and builder got annoyed. He threw me outside in the snow so I could cool off. NOT FUNNY BUILDER. It was cold, and so deep, it came right up to my belleh. ugh.
2) It is winter. Builder has been unable to build in the cold, so our barn is a little behind schedule. Oh, he’s closing in on it, but the fun stuff, the moving of the goats, rabbits and reconfiguring of space has been delayed. When there is a nice day, he is hard at work, putting up siding, etc., but most of the time these days I hear he has been in the garage building rabbit cages. Some of our cages have been in use since before I was born, so new ones are necessary.
3) It is winter. Wench has been scheming. Moving cages and stalls in her brain, coming up with new marketing strategies, trying to do things she has not been trained for… like for example – we have a need to expand this blog and add more pages, one for each breed of rabbit, etc., and an e-commerce store for our products, and wench is not an internet sensation by any means. So, she flounders around trying this and that, when what she should do is… oh, never mind. I always complain about her but really, she’s trying so you can’t fault her for that. She’ll get it right one day.
In the meantime, there is news to report, although not many pictures. I really need to get the photo department on the ball, and I promise, there will be a photo array of all the progress SOON. Yesterday, we met Glimmer. She is a 4 month old copper (standard) Satin doe (rabbit). She traveled from Ohio to be here with us, and she will go to the North Carolina state rabbit convention next month to get some experience in the show ring. Once she is old enough to have babies, she will join the satin angora program or the meat program, or both, OR, if we can find her a suitable mate, perhaps she’ll start her own program.
The day before yesterday, we met Valentine! isn’t she sweet? She is the daughter of Miss Mae and Geronimo. She reminds me of Annie when she was a baby, but now, Annie is ready to bring forth her own baby. In any event, Valentine spent her first night in the house with wench and builder because she didn’t quite get the whole nursing thing, but now she’s fine and her and her momma are bonding.
There needs to be photos to go with the changes that have been made, so I’ll get the publicity department on that right away and get a new post put together today or tomorrow, I promise.
Thanks for waiting for this issue of Frankly speaking………………………… I’ll be back