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…
I understand that I am a goat. (well, sort of, I’m a special goat, but more on that later) Goats are livestock. We are virtually SLAVES to people and go where they tell us. Sometimes, the people are the slaves, and that’s usually the case around here, but… I digress. In this month’s news I have a disturbing announcement. My sister, MISS MAE has gone to live over in Elk Creek. I can’t believe it. Well, yes I can believe it, for several reasons:
This is not a 1000 acre farm. So that means that not everyone can be born and live here forever (like me). When babies are born, they grow up and move on to start herds for other fiber artists. It’s what we do. So, this year, a fiber farm over in Elk Creek needed a couple of does, to go with the buckling they got from us last year. We had four doelings born this year: Bluebell (a/k/a Sapphire)
and Hope’s little Hera:
Ruby and Sapphire are destined to stay here, replacement does (if you will) for Hope and Faith. So that left Venus and Hera. Hera, who is the daughter of Hope, is so TINY that Wench won’t let her go without her brother, Neptune. These two could start a new line of angora goats called miniatures, they are so small. We think it is because their momma, Hope, is rather elderly, and this is her last hurrah for the motherhood department. She’ll be moving to Pennsylvania next month to join her babies from previous years, Pinky and Gary, at the farm of our friend Charlotte, where she will live in the lap of luxury for her golden years.
ANYWAY, so that left us a new dilemma. Wench is pretty particular about where we go and how we live, and one doe on her own never leaves here… we are very family oriented so we have to go with a buddy. (bucks are the exception because they have one mission in life, and can stand alone, although a friend is nice) So Mae was it. She went with her daughter Venus to live in Elk Creek and start a new fiber farm over there. The folks that bought them are very nice, and they have four little girls to love my sister and niece, so, I’m ok with it, but I’ll miss them. So long, Miss Mae and Venus….. you are already missed:
Speaking of Hope, her two little monsters have discovered what cookies are. The problem is that they are so tiny they can still fit between the gate and the barn door, so, now they can come looking for cookies whenever they feel like it.
So Jupiter is now on his own, and hopefully he’ll be going to live on an alpaca farm over in Dobson, with Hera and Neptune. We’ll see. If not, the three of them will be for sale. Wench wants to keep Moondancer, and make him a wether (like ME) but she and builder are continuing to discuss this. Builder, you see, is rather opposed to castration (can you blame him?) but wench is trying to convince him that the fiber stays so nice for so long….. just look at my fleece. You don’t get much better than what I’ve got. just sayin.
In bunny news, we have four litters of french angoras now about 3 weeks old. Bronwen has five torts, Kerry Megan has seven whites, some pointed, some REW, Ultana has some torts, some brokens and one solid; and Mikimoto has five as well, one sable, one blue and three pointed. Up next is Julianna (yeah, I know, fat chance), Duncan’s Delanna and Clems Sophia; they get nestboxes on July 5th. Then we have Sparkle, Tolinka and miss Daisy on the July 11th nestbox date. So, we’ll see.
With any luck, my August report will be FILLED with rabbit pictures – babies! yay.
Until then, stay cool, and thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
got to make the mornin last? old song I seem to remember. A more appropriate theme for us, around here on the mountaintop. The people that is, not the goats. Goats have one speed. Their own. Unless there is food involved, then all bets are off.
Let’s see…………………It is time for the first of the month report. I contributed 20% toward a blend of fibers recently made into yarn (laceweight) which has been nicely received for it’s luxurious properties. This started a little something going on in wench’s head (not again) that there should be a fiber co-operative around here, where farmers could contribute toward a blend which would make a unique and local yarn.
We are working on a logo, business plan, etc. to make a fiber mill here a reality, along with the ten billion other projects we have. So, be on the lookout for some new announcements, probably this fall.
In the meantime, and as the full moon comes about again, we welcome new litters of bunnies. Clems Bronwen (lilac tort french angora) x AC Angus (black tort, french angora [and her son]) produced a litter of mostly torts, with a pearl or two in there on the 29th of May. This is line breeding at it’s height, so we’ll see what comes of these little ones. No two headed rabbits, don’t worry. There are seven all together. Momma Bronwen is pretty particular and very protective. She didn’t like the nestbox she was provided, so she made it clear and flipped the box over spilling the babies all over the wire. Wench zip tied the box to the cage, but that didn’t stop her, she chewed through the zippy and did it again. Once the kits were deposited in the nestbox she wanted, all was right with the world (according to Bron – what a diva).
On a sad note, Clems Lennox, American Chinchilla doe extraordinaire, delivered a healthy litter of six, a few not quite right and then she laid down and died right there. Len was a great doe, raising some satin angoras for aunt June a while back, and so her kits were farmed out – two to Amanda, two to Hesper and two to Bronwen. Won’t Bron be surprised when they come out of the nest. They are already twice the size of her own.
Speaking of babies, our goat babies are doing well, growing up and will soon get their first haircut.
In a day or so, wench is driving up to NY to see our staff photographer. She is going to be back on Saturday or Sunday, and then will go up again in a few weeks when she can stay a little longer.
In May, our enhanced fleece was displayed at the Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival and everyone there had a good time. It seems as Geronimo will be saying good bye this month, which will make me sad. Moondancer and Klondike will be put up for sale too. Wish we lived on a thousand acres so everyone who is born here never had to leave. sniff.
So, a mid-month report in June maybe, but until then – thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
Well, I promised a post after nationals was done, and so here it is. Summer is coming and the livin is supposed to get easy. Wench promised that after May was over she’d be around some, take it easy and rest a bit, but….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO now she’s made plans to drive to New York twice in one month! There is this issue with dental work needing to be done, which will require two appointments. Not one to let any grass grow under her feet (she doesn’t know what she’s missing, grass is pretty tasty) she is offering rabbit transports along her route, and delivering a rooster to family. The Clemens family has a thing for chickens (thus, whenever there is a family get together the conversation ALWAYS reverts to chickens in one form or another) and so, they have been known to do an in-family chicken swap type thing like you’d see at a tractor supply. Now that builder and wench are 800 miles from home, the chickens get to travel too. This guy is going to go live with the Doctors Hodson, and will have a pampered life if he behaves, and if not, well, who knows:
He is a polish rooster, who looks pretty cool, but, does not fit in with builders breeding schedule of pure bred black australops which hopefully will be available next spring from the farm. Since something wiped out our entire flock of egg layers, we are putting lots of stock into these 18 young pullets to start our egg business off in July.
So, Wench and Aunt June went to the Powhatan Festival of Fiber (2nd year) and set up their tent in the beautiful northern Virginia sunshine.
by the next day, it was drizziling; by 1 PM it was pouring, and by 3 PM they had closed down the show (note Aunt June’s purple raincoat). Sales were good in spite of the weather, so they will be going back next year, but, things learned at this show include: (1) a larger, more sturdy tent is needed (and has been acquired); (2) feet for the grids would be a good thing (it’s on builders list to do); (3) festival vending is HARD WORK (they need the exercise). Not to be discouraged, the worker bees (wench and aunt j) packed up the wet things and drove about an hour, checked into a hotel, had a couple of drinks and a nice dinner, and were good as new.
The following weekend, Angora Nationals took place in Ohio. Lucy and Ethel (wench and june) were on the road again, and caravanned to Ohio with Deb McCormick and the Heart Felt Hares. A good time was had by all, especially Ultana, who escaped from her locked cage and went ‘walkin after midnight’ just like the old song. No significant wins for the Mountain Top, but hey, we took the colored senior doe class last year, and so you can’t expect to win all the time, right? Speaking of last year, Julianna is bred again, so HOPEFULLY we’ll get an heir this time.
Next weekend, the traveling road show is going to Raleigh, NC to participate in the Got to Be NC food and wine festival, as a part of the rabbit exhibit (not food, just fancy) and to try to sell the shirt off my back. The weekend after that, it’s the Middle Tennesse Fiber Festival.
When shearing was done this spring, wench discovered that our little Carmella was apparently expecting. This was a surprise because she didn’t LOOK knocked up, just a little bit tubby, and considering the grain she eats, not unusual. WELL, we knew that Greta was ready when she was acting rather blatty and out of sorts, so wench kept her inside that day. Soon, she brought forth the cutest little blue and white doe kid with blue eyes. Carmella was out with the flock. About an hour later, wench looked out the window and say Carmella with something standing underneath her. VIOLA! a little red baby girl. These two are so close in age and size, they could almost be twins… so their names are RUBY and SAPPHIRE:
Welcome to the world little girls —
There are rumors going around that Geronimo may have found a new job. sigh. I always hate to lose them, but Willis is poised to take over so I guess it is inevitable. He did pretty good with these two cuties, so…. we’ll see for next year.
Well, that’s about all the news from the mountain top. Thanks for reading Frankly speaking!
For my many devoted fans, I must address the craziness currently being spewed all over the internet – it is a timely message with so many events going on this weekend – the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival – (I don’t get it, why don’t they call it the GOAT festival, hello?) Angora Nationals in Ohio – the other angoras, bunny types, not goats, and of course May Day, also known as the Irish Beltaine, Fire Festival – and wench and builders anniversary….. anyway, it has come to my attention that there is a group of crazies putting out that shearing is inhumane.
Well, let me tell ya….. get your facts from the SOURCE. Me. Frankie the Goat. The Authority. I have fleece, people don’t. Does getting a haircut hurt people? NOOOOOO, well it’s the same thing for us. Twice a year, it is necessary and good for us to get sheared. We like being naked and it’s like having a entire new flerd to play with – because we look so totally different!
Each of us has a different fleece. My fleece is (of course) particularly fine and shiney because I’m so awesome, but like Willis’ fleece is so dense it weighs about twice what mine does, even though he is about 1/4 my size. a real midget.
I let wench know when it’s time. I jump up on the shearing stand and wait. Sometimes it takes them a day or so to get to me, like they have anything else to do, but, when I say SHEAR they say YES SIR. hahahah. I know exactly what to do and am a very good boy. I stretch out my neck and bow my head, all those things to make it go smoothly. Some of the youngins jump around and act crazy which can lead to cuts or scrapes, although builder is pretty good with the clippers and wench holds us so we aren’t scared.
Wench and builder aren’t as young as they used to be, so they shear about 4 goats a day which is all they can handle. but eventually they git r’ done. (did I just say that, oi vey!)
In any event….. lots of news to report, but it’ll have to wait – gotta get wench out the door for angora nationals. I promise… pictures next week of new babies!
Good morning and Happy first day of the month! April fools day is a great day for several reasons – the best of which is Spring has pretty much arrived here in North Carolina – oh, we may have a chilly day here and there – we had a couple of 30 degree nights recently, but, for the most part – this is it, winter is over! Soon our coats will come off (spring shearing) and the grass will green up and grow, all that happy stuff. I’m looking forward to it.
Spring also brings the show season for the bunnies. As I previously reported, Bronwen went to Hickory in January and took a Best in Show. This year, wench took some rabbits down to the Dalton, GA show – Mutiara went and did very well. She is one of our more elderly does, being almost 5 years old, but still lovely in her show coat:
She didn’t want to go to more shows this season; she is already granded, so while it’s fun to travel once in a while, the grueling road show of the spring season is better left to the younger buns, so Mutiara will stay home and keep the rest of the buns in line while the youngsters go to the shows. At Greensboro, here’s a photo of Windchaser’s Daisy, who earned her first “leg” toward her grand championship there. In this shot, she is chatting with her neighbor, Windchaser’s Peppermint Patty. (owned by Aunt June) Seems the girls discovered they both were born at Windchaser Angoras! what a small world. This weekend, Patty’s brother Schroeder will be coming to live here.
Next up, Shelby, NC for the Gaston County Triple show. This is just a day trip. Here, DJ’s Toblerone will get a try at the Satin Angora table, see if he’s ready for Nationals. The pointed satin does, Tolinka and Sparkle are arguing about who will go to this show – with all these breeds to show, choices have to be made – so two french, two satins and two giants are all the spaces available. Well, in addition to the American Chins for Shelby.
After that, Powhatan’s Festival of Fiber near Richmond will be April 25th, but no bunnies are going to that. Angora Nationals are in Ohio on May 1st, then Got to be NC festival on May 15 through 17; then Middle Tennessee Fiber Festival at the end of May. phew! I don’t expect to see too much of wench in May.
These Satin Angoras may be for sale at Middle Tennessee. Two are already spoken for, and of course wench will decide who stays here, we’re thinking a chin will need to stay:
Probably around mid-May there will be 11 angoras bred. This will take most of the adults out of the show lineup for fall. It may be that bucks are the only ones getting shown for the fall season. We are REALLY hoping Julianna decides to have some babies.
But ENOUGH about rabbits. Lets talk serious here – GOATS are so much more important. We said so long to an old friend this month – Faith – went to live with Tim and Joyce down on Route 18. She was a little confused, and I’m sure she didn’t understand, but it is for her own good, even though we miss her terribly (she could be cranky) there will be no more babies for Faithy. She has a big pasture now and two boyfriends who can do no harm (they’re fixed), and wench can catch a glimpse of her whenever she goes to Sparta.
Here are some random snapshots of the flerd for your enjoyment:
and of course, the baby shots:
These photos are only the random shots taken by wench throughout the month. We have a nice collection done by the staff phtographer (Dan of Forty6 Photography) but AS USUAL, wench is technically-challenged and can’t figure out how to get them onto this page. sigh. One of these days she might figure it out. Until then, you’ll have to be satisfied with my regular beautiful face, because let’s face it … there is no bad picture of frankie.
Mother nature has a warped sense of humor. We retired to North Carolina because the weather was more suitable to goats – or at least that’s what they promised… and we have been cooped up in the barn for more than two days at a time this winter due to cold or snow or wet or just yuk. ENOUGH. I’m glad I don’t live in Boston, but still.
I suppose I shouldn’t complain. We have our hay delivered and clean water and grain twice a day. Now, if we can get mother nature trained as well as we’ve trained that wench…
In other news, all the babies are doing well. Neptune and Hera are slow growing, but then Hope, their momma, is really working hard to raise them right.
This is the last set of babies for Hope… she is retiring this year, and will join her kids Pinky and Gary up in Pennsylvania to live her life out in luxury. Faith will be moving down the road to this really cool place that has goats on the roof of the shed. She met her new parents, Tim and Joyce, the other day and really likes them, so let’s hope she likes her new brothers, too. There are two other goats there, both wethers, so she can be the queen.
We were glad to see Sarah and the kids over the weekend, it’s always such a treat when they visit…
Amelia really loves us, and even loves the baby chicks – who, by the way, were living in the people barn due to the cold, but now are in the garage, getting ready to transition into the chicken coop probably the first part of May…
Wench is getting ready to go to Dalton, GA for a big rabbit show. This will be Daisy’s debut show and Mutiara’s last show. The weather (again) has not been too cooperative for growing angora coats, so Mutiara has the prettiest coat up there. She will be the french ambassador, with Daisy representing the giants and Sparkle the Satin angoras. Apollo is going as the only Satin satin, and then there is the trio of American Chins: Zelda, Hey Jude and Lady Madonna. Wench will get opinions on Jude and Madonna, and see if they stay in the show string or if they retire early. Funny thing with those American Chins…. they develop slowly, so a not so great junior could be a spectacular intermediate or senior. Just look at Zelda… she was about first off the table at convention and now she’s doing just fine.
Looks like today’s weather will keep us in the barn again today. I know that wench has some torture in store for us – I saw the hoof trimmers out the other day. always something.
Well, that’s the report ! Three months in a row, and I’m in the first week of the month!! who says you can’t teach an old goat new tricks? social media? piece of cake! thanks for reading Frankly speaking…. til next time