I know I’ve been lax – no posting in March, but I do have an excuse. It’s not a good excuse but it’s the best I’ve got…. the weather has been crazy! El Nino or whatever it is, one day it’s freezing and the next day it’s balmy. What’s a goat to do? Complain – it’s what I do best.
So, since my last post, there have been some changes – wench bought a big horse trailer, a Brenderup (that is the brand) which is a danish designed cadillac of trailers. I suppose if we go to SAFF this year, (the goats, that is) this will be the conveyance. It was purchased for the main reason of transporting rabbits to the processing plant. We try not to talk about that side of the business… but it is booming and wench has been pretty busy with it all. So, here’s the new ride:
Pretty cool, eh?
There’s a new logo for the meat side of the business, too… and thanks to a grant from the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Program, this logo will be affixed to all our printed media for Mountain Top Farms (not to be confused with Mountain Top Fibers, of which I AM the CHIEF, make no mistake) anyway – here’s the logo:
of course it’s sideways because the wench can’t figure out how to turn it around on the computer. oi vey, what am I going to do with her?
Anyway, moving on….. as you all know, Daisy is our giant angora ambassador around here. Yes, we have Glitter and Schroeder too, but sometimes one bunny just emerges as the personality. Anyway, Miss Daisy
does have some exciting news….. a litter of her very own!
five little giants born on April 11th. Daisy is good enough to take on one french angora kit that was born to Delanna – her litter didn’t make it, so one little lilac kit will be raised in the land of giants…. I suppose it’s name will need to be Gulliver because he/she has traveled to the land of giants. (yeah, I know, I’m weird)
Anyway, in GOAT news (the important stuff) we are patiently waiting for shearing day. Neptune is looking a little fuzzy he just looks like a Neptune, doesn’t he? Well, after shearing he’ll be Neptune the Neutered. poor guy. Our two bucklings from last year, Jupiter and Moondancer, went to live in Tennesee with a nice couple with some kids, so lots of treats in their future; so now we have two little bucklings – Warbucks and little Blue (as of yet, no permanent name… got any ideas?) and two little doelings – Laud and Taylor. All of this year’s babies will be available to new homes after their first shearing in the fall. Warbucks loves his momma Annie… and cries if she is out of sight for a minute. silly boy. Annie does not seem as attached as him.
New yarns from our fibers have been received from Blue Mountain Farm and Fiber Mill, and as usual, they are beautifully spun. Now being washed, they will soon be available. The natural gray is 41% kid, 22% bunny, 27% merino and 10% silk. The natural white is similar. I’ll get some good photos and put up another post just about the yarn. Nigel’s fleeces were sent off to the mill this weekend, and he will be a light worsted yarn, suitable for hats or sweaters. Along with Nigel’s fleece 12 lbs. of english angora were sent to be made into a high percentage angora yarn, so that will be available this fall.
Be looking for wench and Aunt June at these upcoming events: Powhatan’s Festival of Fiber (our 3rd year in a row!) on April 30th; Got to be NC Food and Wine festival on May 20 through 22nd and in between, lots of rabbit shows until June 11th when the last show of this season takes place in Shelby, NC. On May 27, wench and Aunt June are going to Wooster, Ohio, to the fiber festival up there – to check it out and see if next year they want to be a vendor. Big quad rabbit show there… Wool -a- Rama is always fun.
Well, in the meantime, we are hanging out on the mountain… growing our fleece and waiting for the shearing team (as usual)
and as usual, thanks for reading, Frankly speaking!
Good morning. Our lovely Greta has brought forth a new baby. This should be the height of our kidding season, but things appear to be a little off kilter this year.
Gracie surprised us very early (like in September) with a little girl, but Gracie had no milk and her little one didn’t make it. Then in October, Annie brought us Warbucks. Now, in a normal time frame, Greta gives us Taylor.
We have Carmella still to go. Last year, Greta and Carm gave birth within hours of each other, and way late, too, like in May! So now, because “breeding season” is supposedly October through January (apparently no one got the memo) Annie could be pregnant again, and I’m pretty sure Gracie is, too. The little girls, Bluebelle, Ruby and Hera, are too young for that stuff. (we hope) We really need to separate the boys from the girls, and control when breeding occurs, but, with so many projects on our plate around here, we really have no room to do that – and so, nature takes its course.
We have a few more fiber rabbits now, too. Windchaser’s Glitter – a black giant came home with wench after PaSRBA. She had a date with Schroeder this past weekend, so we’ll hope for some babies there. Bella Luna, a white giant doe, will also be getting together with Schroeder in the next month or so, as will miss Daisy. One more giant, born here, Clems Jubilee will need to grow up a little before she thinks about babies. She’s only a baby herself, but she sure is cute!
Until it is time for her to be a momma herself, she will go to shows whenever there is an exhibition class.
Also joining us from PaSRBA is Windchaser’s Shauna (daughter of buttons) and HH Orion, Satin angoras of the agouti variety. Razzle Dazzle and Sophia are looking good, and will be traveling to Georgia to the show next weekend to see if they can finish up their Grand Champion certificates. Sisters. Always the competition. Each has two legs, and needs one more,… we’ll see who comes out the winner. With five shows, maybe they will each finish! Wouldn’t that be great!
I know I promised a report after PaSRBA, and here it is: we did nothing. No one was more surprised than Mikimoto
Yeah, she’s a bit of a diva. We’re seeing if she’ll hold her coat until April for the North Carolina convention, but it’s not very likely. She will be getting together with D’Artagnan this spring, to make babies. Also on the drawing board, breeding wise – Bronwen plus Tortellini (this happened over the weekend) and Sheena plus Orion (also this past weekend). We’ll wait 30 days and see if litters emerge, and then up next will be Daisy x Schroeder, (Giant) Davina x Buttons, (Satin) and then either Deandra or Colleen x Angus (French) We will hopefully have lots of babies this spring and summer, ready for fall shows and fiber festivals. Wench has a lot of work to do to get ready for SAFF. I still haven’t decided if we’ll take/send goats.
In the meantime, we are growing our fleece and waiting for spring. It’s been dripping and snowing and all kinds of weather here recently, but that’s ok. We have a nice warm barn and lots of hay and grain.
Our fleece from the fall is off at Blue Mountain being made into fingering weight yarn, so be looking for that the Powhatan Festival of Fiber. One variety will be white, the other black. Once Carmella is sheared in March, we can send off the oatmeal. This year the blend is 20% wool, 35% kidmohair 35% angora and 10% silk. FABULOUS drape. I think that Nigel’s fleece this year will be added to last years, adding a little mohair (like maybe 20%) and made into a worsted weight yarn for making of hats, etc.
Well, I seem to be rambling, so I’ll say so long for now. I’ve been asked to write an article for the local fiber newsletter, so I best be thinking about that. Thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
So, It’s been a while since I’ve published a blog post. In case you forgot about me, here is my pretty face This photo was taken during my favorite activity – getting scratched.
So, about the not being perfect part….. I planned to post once a month in 2015 in order to keep y’all updated about the farm, but I got distracted this fall – my wench went through some medical challenges and we were rather pre-occupied. However, all is well now, so it’s back to business as usual.
Our flerd continues to grow and evolve, and we have recently begun experimenting with new yarns. The new blend for 2015 was….. 35% kid mohair, 35% angora rabbit, 20% merino and 10% silk. This was a limited run, (which we plan to recreate) and is available on line at our partners over in Yarnthology dot com. They are also carrying the 2014 blend we did of angora/mohair/merino. That blend is almost gone, but there are a few skeins left here which wench will use to make things for the 2016 fall craft shows, and a few are over at Purl’s Yarn Emporium in Asheville for you locals.
We are still hoping for more fiber opportunities – maybe a mill, maybe some cooperative yarns with other farmers, etc., and of course baby goats will be coming in the spring (watch our facebook page for updates there). Speaking of baby goats, today is the birthday for Neptune and Hera. They were born a year ago.
That was then: and this is now:
They are spoiled, I’ll tell ya. (like the rest of us).
In other news, we have begun to build our rabbit (meat) business, so that’s another reason why I’ve been scarce. They are serving our rabbit in some of the nicest restaurants in North Carolina and Virginia, and this keeps wench on the road quite a bit. It’s ok. Sometimes she still finds time to participate in my favorite activity…
Smidge is beginning to fill out a little (no, she is not getting pudgy) and is becoming a beautiful cat. She surveys her kingdom and keeps the mice at bay, all while consuming a can or two of fancy feast daily and all the dry kibble she can eat. Who has it better than her? She also has us and rockstar to play with all day long.
Speaking of rockstar, he has become quite the fixture around here. He knows his way around pretty good, and goes out any door that’s open, hanging out with us in the pasture, out by the sawmill, up on the 2nd floor where all the does live, etc. We are careful to make sure he is in the barn every night and secured behind closed doors, due to the owl population around here, but he has food and water and his hay cup stationed in various places around the barn. (he’s not spoiled either)
So in a couple of weeks, wench will travel to PaSRBA for a rabbit show and I will post any good results after that. I have to get more photos of the bunnies, as we now have our first Giant Angora baby, Clems Jubilee. She is still in with her momma, and hopefully will become a brood doe (she’s not showable now because she is black, and only whites are showable in Giants that sounds rather racist, doesn’t it?) and also travel some for exhibition. The spring breedings are being planned .
Oh, and wench is going to be the “rabbit superintendent” at SAFF this year, so be on the lookout for more information about that. Like she doesn’t have enough to do, but the angora rabbit breeds will be displayed in force at SAFF in 2016. yay! I’ll probably send a few of our goats, too, for the show. How FUN!
Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
Ok, so, as you know, I’m a goat. A special goat to be sure, but still, as a goat, I’m limited as to my options with regard to world politics and economic impact studies, etc. My world pretty much revolves around a couple of people, a bunch of goats and rabbits, and food. I appreciate that I live in a beautiful world in a nice safe barn with lots of good food and people that love me. I understand that there are starving goats in Biafra (or that’s what they tell me when I don’t want to eat my dinner, which hardly ever happens) but good news is good news, and I just heard some.
I heard that North Carolina, where we live, has just legalized industrial hemp. Now, I’m not too sure what that is, but I’m pretty sure this is good for North Carolina and for small farmers. Big hemp farms are not expected to spring up every place, but the hemp folks are interested in small farms and farmers. We like small farms and farmers. I wonder if the hemp plant is good for goats to eat? Do you think it would make our fleece even lovelier? (hard to imagine) I know that hemp is used to make cloth, which means some of the industrial mills might be coming back. HOW EXCITING. We really want a fiber mill in the neighborhood, so we can promote locale yarns and fibers, and this might just be a stepping stone.
So that’s just a little snippet of my opinion for this post. In the news department, little Warbucks is doing great, bouncing all over being a cutie patootie, but it’s been raining so we don’t let him outside to play. We heard of the passing of our old friend Faith, and we are sad about that. She was a great goat and we’ve missed her since she went to live at the Mansfields house. Now Faith and Hope are together again, in goat heaven. They gave us our start and we are grateful.
This is not the best photo of faith that we have, but as USUAL, my technically-challenged wench can’t find the right photo. I don’t know what to do about her…. she needs help.
Lots of new stuff on the horizon… be looking for an announcement soon regarding retailing of our yarns – which is pretty exciting stuff. Also, wench is looking into a trailer for us so maybe we could go to shows…. I hear SAFF is quite improved and expanding, so we might have to send representatives in future years. Of course the most use of the trailer will be for the meat rabbit side of the business, which also is exploding and growing by leaps and bounds. That’s one reason I’ve been rather quiet on this blog of late – it’s hard to pin down that wench and get her to do any typing. My hooves do not do well on a keyboard, and I am reduced to dictation. She doesn’t do that well. It’s a throwback to her former career. Speaking of which, that OTHER Frank had a birthday the other day, and wench was happy to catch up on the phone with the Judge. Makes her thankful for her former career and her new career. She tries not to compare the Frankies in her life, but sometimes, especially around November 1st, it just can’t be helped.
Thanks for reading, Frankly speaking…. I’ll try to keep you updated if I can catch that wench and make her do my work!
Hey everyone, Frankie here, reporting from INSIDE the barn where I’ve been for the past week, with just one day outside and maybe a few hours here and there, seeing some daylight. The rains we have been experiencing I guess are miniscule in comparison to what might be coming, compliments of Hurricane Joaquin. Wench was supposed to be selling the shirt off my back at the Floyd Art Festival this weekend, but it has been cancelled due to the threat of flood.
So, here we are, being amused by the antics of Smidge and Rockstar. I must say these two really play nice together.
In any event… once we are treated to the Rockstar/Smidge show, we settle down to munch on hay and grow our fleece. Which, I hear tell will be coming off soon. Wench has a new hot water tank, so she plans to wash the fleeces herself before they go off to the mill.
Neptune and Hera are missing their mom (Hope) but their level of cute just doesn’t quit, and wench has been sneaking them extra cookies every morning.
So, not a lot going on right now, except……. if you write a draft of your blog post, and then leave it for 19 days, a lot happens in that time frame. My secretary (wench) does not take direction very well (as the previous frank will tell you, but he’s retired now, so we don’t hear from him much… ah-hem) and so, trying to get her to publish a blog posting is like pulling teeth. but I digress
In the past 19 days, the weather has straightened up, with the rain anyway, but it got COLD brrr.rrr.rr! So, of course, what happens when it gets really really cold around here? Of course the shearing team kicks it into high gear and off comes our coats!
I did ok, actually it was relief to get all that hair off of me, but the smaller does, like Carmella and Gracie were shivering! It’s nice out now, even reaching up to 65 or 70 during the day, so no worries, we will be fine.
Also, Annie had a little one. A baby boy (her third boy in three years) and we are trying to figure out a name. Spot and star have been thrown out there, but we are looking for something a little more original. Like how much more original can FRANK get? hello? Pictures will be forthcoming on the facebook page of the new little guy.
Didn’t want to keep you hanging out there… it’s been about 7 weeks since my last post and I hate falling behind. When wench was more active as a Mary Kay consultant, she would make this list daily called “the six most important things to do today” which kept her on track. We need to reinstitute this list making idea. The first thing on the list every single day will be…………………….feed your goat!
till next time!
Autumn always signals change. Back to school for the kids, a fresh start. Two of our kids got a change this fall, too. Neptune and Hera lost their momma, Hope. Hope was at least 14 years old, which is like 115 for a person, and she was having trouble getting around lately. The summer wasn’t easy on her. Saturday night, she needed help getting into the barn. By Sunday morning she was down and unable to get up. Wench did everything she could, but by Wednesday it was evident there was no help for her. After consulting with the folks at Twin Oaks Veterinary Hospital, the decision was made and Hope crossed over that rainbow bridge. Now she is no longer in pain.
this is one of my favorite photos of Hope. She came to us back in the day when we lived in New York, and we later found out she was born here, in North Carolina, so she returned to her homeland. She gave us Pinky and Gary and a few other wonderful kids, and Neptune and Hera will of course stay on here. Neptune will be wethered (like me!) to maintain his wonderfully sweet personality, just like his momma. They are still on the small side, side effects of being born to an elderly mom.
In other news, the first floor of the barn has a new resident. Stevens’ Rockstar, the American Chinchilla buck, has been liberated from his cage and now has the run of the barn. He has been hanging out with Smidge and with us, and having a really good time. There is a photo, but of course my techno-phobe wench is unable to access it (I don’t know what I’m going to do with her, really)
Builder, doing what he does best, is installing a hot water tank (albeit a small one) in the barn. That’ll be nice for winter… and a bigger hotter water tank in the garage, so wench can wash our fleeces before sending them off for making into yarn. My fleece was first (of course) and it came out really nice.
This is just a snipet of what’s been going on around here. I’ll post more later, but want to keep the “Hope Post” short for today. I promise – maybe wench will figure out that camera after all. Thanks for reading, Frankly speaking!
Autumn is supposed to be all about change – school starts, a fresh new world is promised for spring as the earth goes to sleep for the winter. We’ve had a lot of changes here on the farm in July, and I’m having a little difficulty reporting them all – I hate to sound negative or be the bearer of bad news. So, we’ll get it over with quickly and then move on.
In July we lost our treasured bunnies Layla and Julianna. Mother and daughter, this team really put our rabbitry on the map. Julianna took best colored senior doe at Nationals in Iowa in 2013 which is huge for us; plus a best in show, etc., and was trying to have a litter when she passed away. Wench was pretty devastated. Just a couple of weeks later, her momma, Layla, laid down and died, for no apparent reason other than she was about 5 years old or better. Layla was the foundation of our french angora herd, and the mother or grandmother of most all our grand champions.
Also in July, wench came to the difficult decision to not send Hope up to Pennsylvania. Hope is becoming more frail as the weeks go by, and she is unlikely to make the trip north with ease. For this reason, her twin kids, Neptune and Hera will most likely stay here, to comfort her as we think the end is near. She moves slowly and can’t keep up with the herd. It is a beautiful thing to see her babies (especially Neptune) stay by his momma to make sure she’s ok. Quality of life is still good, she eats and enjoys her family, but you can see she is an ancient goat.
Everyone ages, and our Hunter is having difficulty with his eyesight. He’ll be going to the vet this week to determine if something can be done to help him, but his cataracts may have gotten the best of him for now, as he bumps into things and is being careful to stay in familiar places. It’s hard to watch, but we are hopeful there is a supplement or something to help him.
In happier news, our litters of bunnies continue to be cute and grow up; trying to adjust to being groomed regularly and all that – it’s looking like three bucks and four does for the KerryMegan/Aramis pointed litter (one buck is REW); two bucks and three does for the Mikimoto/D;Artangnan litter; three bucks and four does for the Ultana/Casse Noir litter; and three bucks and two does for the Bronwen/Angus litter. We now have another litter, Duncan’s Delanna x Clems Aramis. Delanna is a seal doe and Aramis is, of course, pointed. We expected to get really dark pointed babies, but instead got two sables and three seals. It’s ok. We like those colors, too.
so, if you are in need of a french angora, these should be ready for new homes in a few weeks. We won’t let them go before 12 weeks, so get in touch with wench or see her at a show, and we’ll hook you up!
In other news, the chickens are all grown up now and are beginning to lay eggs. Pullet eggs are pretty small, but every day we get bigger ones. Not everyone is laying yet, but they are on their way. One day we’ll get 9 eggs, the next 12 or 13… our two roosters are keeping a good eye on the girls.
As you know, builder has been working on a new pasture for us. This one is rather depleted:
however, it is down the driveway and across the access road, which, for goats, can be a challenge when there is no bridge to cross. (wench tried to convince builder to make a bridge, but he wasn’t falling for that – although it might be fun). Anyway, some of the flerd didn’t get the memo, and besides there was great grass on the way to the new place, so we had to try it!
we will make quick work of the areas around the barn and then be on to the new place… yummy. We appreciate the variety in our diet. Speaking of variety in our diet, wench came home from the store the other day with three cases of swiss chard, which was not restaurant quality any longer, but goat quality for sure. Me and Geronimo made pigs of ourselves. oink oink
(Willis tries to get in there, too, but he just isn’t big enough sometimes).
We were glad to see the staff photog this month, Dan and his family came down for a little vacation. We like it when Dan comes for several reasons – #1 being that it keeps wench out of our hair for a few days. She’s busy with them and so takes care of us but doesn’t bug us much. Of course one day we had to stay in the barn while they all went off to Asheville for the day. I heard they had fun talking to some of the brass farm animals in Pack Square – how silly!
Hailey, who is the same age as me, is my new girlfriend. She fed me animal crackers, and told wench I could have as many as I wanted. That’s because I’m the boss. and we don’t let anyone forget that fact.
thanks for reading Frankly speaking. I have more to tell you, but I’ll save it for later…