Well, as usual, I have gotten behind on the blog... and the farm... and cleaning up the house... you get the idea.
At least the weather has decided to be kind and gentle as opposed to the brutal heat and drought we had over the summer. The pastures looked so bad, we thought the only thing that had survived was cockleburs, nettle, and a little alfalfa. Now that it has turned off a little cooler and we have finally, finally had some good long soaking rains, I am pleasantly surprised with the condition of the pastures. The alfalfa did survive (along with the aforementioned weeds) but so did the grasses. We see turnips growing, and some of the chicory, and the clover. There is a good, diverse blend of things growing in the pastures and in the top field especially, there are not as many areas as I had thought of bare dirt. I see decomposing matter and we even had a dung beetle on the farm. It's kinda sad when you get excited about dung beetles - but we are hoping the dung beetle means the dirt is becoming soil and turf.
Chuck went to help some friends of ours at one of the top American koi farms this weekend, so I was on goat duty. I snapped a few pictures of the doe fields. I am getting ready to move Boomer down into the bottom field with these does, minus a couple of his daughters that I need to pull out, but am not sure where to put. It was really a beautiful morning - crisp, and cool. One of the does I have in with the eight month old buck we are calling "G" was shivering in the shade. We have given him a few does to test breed, as he has grown crazy fast and is a thick, heavy duty buck, if not the most stylish. He is pictured below, with my favorite Purebred doe, 34, and her daughter Ginger. At least, 34 is Purebred to the AKGA. When we had her IKGA registered as well she came back as a percentage doe because she is a mere 93% kiko. Once again, I realize the market for NZ is larger, and I am reading more and more about producers who are going NZ only, but the actual statistical difference when you get to those percentages is pretty much insignificant. I really scratch my head when folks are okay with a 97% goat, but not a 94% one. I understand the practical marketing side of this - the percentages have to add up or you end up with a doe like 34, who is "only" a percentage to the IKGA. But when I really look at the goat, and what she has done for me over the past couple years, I value her even more. She has given me two sets of twins in her young life, and has been an exemplary mother. She held her weight all season, did not have to be dewormed, has good feet we've never had to trim, and gave me a nice daughter who was a good first time mother this year. She has a great udder, to boot. Can't complain about that. Here is a picture of 34, Ginger, and "G" - who is by Goat Hill's Cherokee Fiddler and out of a Turbo/Loverboy cross doe. The drop in temperature we've just had brought the "horse person" out in me - hence, the pile of grass hay! They are in one of our moving pens. We have four goat panels fastened together in a square and Chuck (who has considerably more upper body strength than I do) moves the pens daily or every other day to try to utilize the unused area of wild growing grasses and lespedeza that cover the areas around the fields. He gets under the shed in each pen and slides it, too, and it is pretty surreal to watch a shed go moving across an area, when you're watching it from the back. He gets under them and lifts them like a turtle shell on his back.
As an aside - this is a picture of a showa (red, white, and black koi) from up at Quality Koi. She had some pec fin damage last year so Chuck was able to buy her at a bargain price. She grew out for a year in the mud ponds in New Jersey, and just came out. She is certainly not the farm's best work, but shows the quality of the koi they produce. We are lucky to be friendly with two great koi breeders - Mat McCann of Quality Koi and Brady Brandwood of Lotus Land Koi farm. If you are a fan of "living works of art" but you prefer to buy American - check out both of these farms. This is a big girl. I believe Chuck's text said she came out at 74 cm.