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Frankly speaking…………………..lion or lamb… you decide

peek a boo!

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…

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Willis is a happy boy

Geronimo enjoying his full hay rack

Geronimo enjoying his full hay rack

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.

hey, gimme a boost ma!

hey, gimme a boost ma!

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.

Moondancer

Moondancer

peek a boo!

peek a boo!

We were glad to see Sarah and the kids over the weekend, it’s always such a treat when they visit…

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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…

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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

SWAK!

SWAK!

Frankly speaking…….a rose by any other name

Hi everyone!  Well, here it is the first of the month and AS PROMISED, a new post.  New Years resolutions being what they are (a joke) and all, I can handle it!  Let’s see….. what happened since last time?  Oh, we have babies!

Mae’s babies, Jupiter and Venus are growing like weeds, out with the flerd every day and fitting in.  Little Venus has a set of lungs, let me tellya, and hollers for her grain just like the rest of us.

Venus and Jupiter

Hope’s babies, Neptune and Hera, are very frisky.  They went outside yesterday for the entire day for the first time and were pooped when they came back in, but they’ve started nibbling on grain, too.

Neptune and Hera

Neptune and Hera

Gracie’s baby, Moondance, is the newest addition.  He was waiting for wench to get back from Virginia before he made his debut.  He’s doing well and Gracie is a good momma.

January 2015 153

Wench was in Virginia visiting with Aunt Patty and Uncle Gary and family, and then visited with Melanie and Joe Hultman, where she brought home the newest addition to the farm (well, the second newest, if you count goats and rabbits in the same census.  I usually don’t, just because).  Windchaser’s Daisy is a giant angora doe and she is fitting right in!

January 2015 144

where am I?

where am I?

Giant angoras produce a giant amount of wool, which comes in three different ways, which was explained to me by wench one day, but I was hardly paying attention and falling asleep (she does this to me a LOT)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAanyway.  So, Daisy (the bunny) had a name (which is Daisy) when she came here.  Daisy is a fine name, but we already have a Daisy.  She is a sheep.

Daisy on the right Nigel on the left (clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right... here I am, you know the rest) Nigel kinda looks like a clown, eh?

Daisy on the right
Nigel on the left
(clowns to the left of me, jokers on the right… here I am, you know the rest) Nigel kinda looks like a clown, eh?

so, now we will have to differentiate between Daisy the BUNNY and Daisy the SHEEP.  Owell.  She better never bring home a rabbit named Frank. That’s all I know.

So, that’s what’s been happening around here this month.  Oh, yeah, Clems Bronwen took BEST IN SHOW at the Hickory New Year’s Show.  She was quite full of herself.  She sent her two daughters, Mikimoto and Barouque to Mocksville to that show, and Mikimoto got her 3rd leg, so she can retire now.

Mikimoto on the left, Baroque on the right

Mikimoto on the left, Baroque on the right

Bronwen and Julianna are going to PaSRBA next weekend, with Sparkle and Flash, the pointed satin angoras, and Miranda and Zelda, the American Chins.  Good thing for Gracie and Moondance their big day was this week, or wench would have had to stay home.

That’s all the news so far – I’ll see you again on the first of March!  till then – thanks for reading Frankly Speaking!

hey mom, how about a ride?

hey mom, how about a ride?

Frankly speaking ….. it’s a new year …. new leaf?

So, I know I’ve made excuses before – about my lack of communication on a regular basis, so I’ll make no excuses this time.  Let’s just say that I’ve been a slacker and call it a day.  It is 2015 and I’m turning over a new leaf.  I will try to report more regularly, if I can get wench to settle down and take direction from me (she’s a tad difficult in that department).

Since my last report, which seems 100 years ago, I can say there has been some news… let’s see….. oh, yeah, wench went to Texas to the 2014 ARBA National convention.  Our team did ok.  The boys, Manoah and Mr. Red were both disqualified because their nerves got to them and they lost weight on the trip, so, lesson learned:  only take the tubby rabbits on a long road trip.  By the time you get there, their weight should be perfect.  Not so much for wench.  Even though she’s tubby to start with, she doesn’t lose an ounce.

Clems Tolinka took 2nd place in the White Satin Angora doe class, and Clems Ember took 2nd place in the Colored Senior buck class.   Ember is a nice buck.  His dad is Smokey Lonesome, previously of this farm, but his mom is unpedigreed.  She is pure-bred french angora, but the paperwork never made its way here, so, his lineage is in question.  It’s ok, we love him anyway.

At the New Years rabbit show, Clems Bronwen took Best in Show, so wench was pretty happy with that.  IMG_0521  We have to work so hard to make that wench happy.  gawd. we should get extra grain for that.

On the goat front, last year’s kids have all gone to new homes, except Willis, who will stay on and become herd sire next year.  Geronimo will soon be looking for a new job I fear.  Valentine and Brooks left this week.

Brooks

Brooks

Valentine

Carmella continues to grow and be beautiful and is fitting in just great with the flerd.

Carmella

In other bunny news, Julianna was bred (again) and on day 35 – way overdue – wench found her to be in labor.  She took Julianna to the house and deposited her in the bathtub with nest box available.

Julianna

Julianna will go to the vet this morning to make sure her one baby is all there is (he didn’t make it) and perhaps she’ll do some more shows this winter and try again in the spring. sigh. always sad when we lose one.

We lost a goat baby this winter, too.  Faith brought forth Mars, and then she didn’t have any milk.  He lived two days before anyone figured out that Faith is over the whole motherhood thing.  She will be retiring this year and may be going to live in Pennsylvania with her neice and nephew, Gary and Pinky.  She can still make fleece but shouldn’t be making babies anymore.

On a happier note, my sister Mae had twins.  Cutie patooties Venus and Jupiter:

Venus and Jupiter

On the Smidge front, she continues to grow (two cans of fancy feast DAILY plus 8 to 10 oz of kitten chow and all the mice you can eat) and terrorize the barn.  She thinks the dog’s tail is her personal cat toy

IMG_0507 and she sneaks around outside and is just generally a bundle of energy!  She makes me tired the way she plays all day.

what's going on in there?

what’s going on in there?

We, on the other hand, are happy to sun bathe and eat most of the day, growing fleece and hanging out.

a flerd at rest tends to stay at rest

a flerd at rest tends to stay at rest

but of course, you DO have to investigate in case a tourist is about and they have cookies

IMG_0496

So anywho,  I promise to try to do better.  I’d like get an intern around here – someone to do the social media and keep me in touch with the outside world – sometimes I feel like a cloistered monk – and wench gets busy and won’t take dictation when I get the creative juice flowing (a trick I understand she used to pull all the time with that other Frank).  ahhh.  a goat can only do so much.

I digress – in any event – have a great start to your new year, and be looking for a post from me at least once a month… and thanks for reading Frankly speaking!

Frankly speaking……………………good news, bad news

Just a quick note, I’m very busy these days getting ready to send Wench and the team to Texas.  They are going to Fort Worth on Wednesday to attend the 91st Annual American Rabbit Breeders Convention.

On the show team this year….. Mr. Red, a red satin buck who has been busy munching his frosted mini wheats and is now up to weight.  Clems Manoah, sr. American Chinchilla buck, also doing the mini wheat things – it is a well known fact around here that the MALEs have a hard time maintaining their weight (this goes for the people as well as the animals) and the females have the opposite problem.  Clems Miranda was going to go to convention (she is an American Chin junior doe) but she topped the scales at 10 lb. (1 lb over the max for a junior) so she’s staying home and another junior is going in her place.  We are sending three select American Chin does for sale there.

On the angora front, OS Kastanje is attending, a senior copper Satin Angora doe, who is looking just lovely.  Clems Tolinka, a pointed white sr. satin angora doe is also going.  On the french side, it’s a toss up.  Either Clems Ember (who is entered) is going if his coat doesn’t fall off, or Avillons’s Casse Noir will take his place if Ember’s coat blows in the next day or so.  Both of these boys are sons of Smokey Lonesome.

So, anyway, good news/bad news department.  Wench went to the Southeastern Animal Fiber Fair yesterday.  She attended most of the goat show.  They have a wether class.  Guess who might be going to SAFF next year?  oi vey.  Just give me the ribbon.  You know I’ve already won.

untitled shoot-041-2

I am a legend in my own mind. Thanks for reading Frankly Speaking.  I’ll post pictures and a big update after wench gets back with her report.

Frankly speaking… just call me a one armed paper hanger

Seems to me that the word “busy” is a relative term.  Some folks are busy when they have to go to the dentist and the grocery store all in the same day.  Some just take on too much.  A lot of this can be blamed on always trying to please everyone.  I’m glad that I have the job I do and just get to tell people what to do to best serve me.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m busy, for sure, but nothing compared to my human caretakers.  holy mackeral.

As previously reported, builder has taken a part time job at Lowes.  This cuts into his building time.  A LOT.  So the progress on my suite of stalls has been slow. Good thing we live in the south, because it’s not an urgent issue to get in before the big snows, because, well… we don’t have many of those.  In any event, it’s coming along and will be lovely I’m sure and  I’ll post a picture when it is done.

Wench on the other hand, has been working toward building the business, selling breeding stock, contacting the yarn shops, doing farmers markets and craft fairs, and getting ready to go to Texas for the ARBA convention at the end of October.  I see her breeze through the barn a couple of times a day, bringing hay, feed and water, (thus the name Wench) but she doesn’t spend the time sitting and stroking my cheek and giving me the admiration I so deserve because she is just too busy.  She is not complaining, I am.

I’m hoping we can get a little more on line presence so maybe she can stay home and take care of me better.  Oh, the basics are met – and exceeded – food, clothing, shelter, but the admiration is lacking a little.    ok, enough complaining

In other news, Smidge continues to grow, always getting in the way – she got stepped on yesterday and has a swollen foot.  We’re keeping an eye on it, though to make sure it isn’t broken.  She should stay up on her perch and not get in the way, ya know?

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The babies continue to grow, now weaned fully from their mommas, our does are enjoying the peace and quiet, and the babes are bonding.  Here is a butt shot for your entertainment:

051 in case you aren’t sure, that’s Carm on the left, then Willis, Brooks and Valentine.  That Brooks is getting to be a big boy.  He may be going to live in Grassy Creek, but if not, then he will be up for sale.

 

Speaking of sales, look for our products for the last time at Fiber Day in October (17th) at the Independence Farmers Market.  After that we will be participating in the on line market.  Our yarns are available locally at Unwound in Blowing Rock, NC, Purl’s Emporium in Asheville, NC, the Wooly Jumper in Floyd, VA as well as here at the farm.  You can always shoot an email to wench (deb@mountaintopfibers.com) to see what’s available.  Our lovely fingering weight yarn made from mohair and angora with added merino, is a big hit with weavers and knitters alike.

This weekend coming up, wench will be at the Floyd Art show with some of our stuff.  Stop on by and say hey.

So friends, the people in my life can continue to be so busy busy busy… me too.  I’ll be busy doing what I do best:

061laying in the sunshine on our little mountain, growing my fleece for your enjoyment.  Till next time!  kiss kiss.

 

Frankly speaking……. updates abound

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

I'm really not that scarey

I’m really not that scarey

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!

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Til next time… thanks for reading Frankly speaking!

 

 

Frankly speaking……. a new goat ambulance and other news

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

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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

untitled shoot-041-2many thanks to Dan of Forty6 Photography for this publicity shot.  I really am quite handsome, don’t you think?

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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