Sunday, October 20, 2013

More toxic plants and Cream of the Crop

Now that I have a moment, I'd like to post a better picture of toxic Perilla Mint.  It is starting to lose its leaves in my neck of the woods, but this is what it looks like in late summer.  If you pull it up or mow it, you'll know it by its pungent, minty odor.  It almost smells nice, but not quite.
Perilla Mint - toxic plant

I need to post some good pictures of wild cherry leaves and the distinctive bark on the wild cherry trees, but most folks have a pretty good idea what that looks like. 
A surprise this August.  This should be the driveway.

A close-up of the wild cherry leaves.

I wish I could find any good information about how long wild cherry leaves remain toxic after they begin to wilt.  The cyanide apparently dissipates, but how do you know when it is safe?  This particular tree was chopped up and the leaves were brown within the typical week, but we found that the cherry trees we cut in the top pasture stayed green nearly three weeks after they were cut and on the ground.  It was insane.  I wanted to get goats moved in, but was afraid to do it as long as there was any green in the leaves - and these were quite green.  When we investigated to see if somehow they were still attached by a small bit, we found that the trunks were far away from the stumps, but when we scratched the bark, the green layer just inside the bark (is it cambium or am I confusing it with a geologic era?) was still green and juicy at the two week mark.  Could there have been so much moisture this summer that it preserved them like cut flowers in water?  Who knows.  I finally bit the bullet one day when I had the kids at the farm, and the four of us, two buckets of feed, and the gator herded Boomer's does up the hill and into the fresh field.  Nobody perished, so I apparently waited long enough.
My summer and weekend help, on a break.

I have some tall flowering weeds in one field that I have no idea what are.  They are about five feet tall in huge clumps with broad leaves, and they have a showy yellow flower.  The goats won't eat them, so I need to find out how to get rid of them.
Does and hay in front of the unidentified yellow flowering weed.
On a more interesting note, the typical quarantine pens made of goat panels that we use for new does are containing the ones purchased at both sales Chuck attended quite nicely.  Nobody has attempted to escape (or at least, nobody has succeeded), and the does are settling in fine.  There are bred does in this second group, so they will likely stay in quarantine quite a while, but it will depend on how much fresh ground we have to slide them around on.  I like to use these moving pens because they are on clean digs every few days and they have fresh forage all the time, but it is harder for Chuck to pull off since his farm time is divided with his work time.
Two of the CofC does, in a pen Chuck is sliding down an empty fenceline.

Now that Cream of the Crop is over, I am not sure Chuck is going to be allowed to go to the goat sales without me.  He apparently got frustrated when a woman bid on every goat he wanted, and she would just put up her number and hold it up until she got the goat.  She got Aggie's sister this way, and I think maybe  the doeling named Anna Leigh that Annalee wanted for purely sentimental reasons.  After all, you don't find a goat with a name like yours every day, especially when you have a bit of an unusual name.  Now, there is a male parent koi at a koi breeder in New Jersey named Chuck that we had owned for a bit, but that is another story.

This Anna Leigh was purely a coincidence, and our Annalee was disappointed that she did not get her goat.  She also had wanted us to buy Aggie's sister, and since we like Aggie, how she mothers, and what she produces, we planned to bid on her.  Aggie (GHK Iron Agate) was a triplet, and we had bought her and one solid black sister (who we found dead in a field without good shade on a day the heat index topped 110 degrees).  The third triplet went elsewhere, so when we saw her for sale, we thought, "How wonderful - we can reunite the sisters!" 

That thought didn't last long, because Aggie's triplet sister was the high sale goat at this year's Cream of the Crop, selling for $3,700 bred.  Yikes.  Well, I guess it can't be a bad thing to have your doe's sister be a high selling goat - unless you wanted to buy her yourself, of course.

Chuck's frustration turned into determination to get at least one of the does he had driven there to buy.  He did so, but when I saw what he had paid, I nearly had an apoplexy.  She is confirmed bred with twins, but my rule of thumb is not to pay more for a doe than I think she will return with a set of twins in our market.  Our local market is still ruled by a relatively depressed economy, so we tend to have our goats priced accordingly.  We don't have the basic free time to haul does to sales (and even in a normal year, we tend to sell out of doelings), so we just price them to get them out there.  They need to be producing for people in our climate.  That, for me, is the true test of our doelings.  If they can get out there and produce for the typical goat keeper in our area without much trouble or intervention, I'm happy.  Our climate is a challenge.  We have hot, humid summers, but also can have plenty of ice and sleet and the occasional snow in the winter.   We have huge temperature swings in spring and fall.  We have droughty times. and saturated times.  This year was the latter - the tobacco guys said their wheat was a loss because it all sprouted, the soybeans had a fungus, and they said the tobacco "went to lace" when cured.  This was a very difficult year all around in these parts.

CofC does.  Chuck was in a lot of trouble over the big white one.

There were a couple of Marshmallow granddaughters in this sale - one of which we particularly would like to have purchased because she was bred and she had the body type we are after.  We think so much of Marshmallow.  Part of me hopes she begins to only have singles soon, because she is going to be an eleven year old this upcoming Spring, but I sure hope she has a doeling we can keep.  Unfortunately, someone else was even more enchanted with Marshmallow's granddaughter, because she shot right out of our price range. 

The two does that Chuck was able to land were also more than I wanted to spend, but hey.  They are a brown and white doeling that is very closely related to our Puddin' doe (who always does a great job) and also has CCR Ms Moneybag as a maternal grandmother.  With that particular cross, I don't see how she cannot develop a body style similar to Puddin'.  Chuck also picked up a red Rusty daughter to cross back on the Ace line and the Shaw line.  We'll see how it all worked out in a couple of years.  His big splurge was the white doe.  She is a Raiz'N'Kane daughter out of a Boulder Hill's S77 daughter.  Our Jesse is a BH S77 daughter and always has good kids, so we hope this new doe does the same.  She better, or Chuck will hear about it.  We need a new slogan, I think.  Goat friends, don't let Chuck bid frustrated at the goat sales.
The new girls.  Two are confirmed bred, one is exposed.  Fingers crossed.

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