Wednesday, December 22, 2010

More Puppy Pics

The puppies are growing by leaps and bounds. As of a week ago we have assigned a few puppies to groups of goats and/or sheep for them to work with regarding their livestock guardian puppy skills. Even at this age they position themselves BETWEEN the livestock and the "intruder" ( who in this case is the person taking the photo ). They are not behind the animals but in front.
Folks always ask us if we need to train the puppies to guard. The answer is plain to see here - they will position themselves and guard instinctively despite their current small size. What needs to be learned is interspecies socialization -- how to interact with people, how they are to behave around the animals they are guarding. Puppies LOVE to play and it is difficult for them to understand that the sheep and goats do not want to play along. We have found it beneficial to have a couple of puppies together in one pasture. They play with each other and do not try to get the livestock to participate. The real trick is to intervene immediately when negative behaviors, such as chasing, are demonstrated so those behaviors do not become routine.
Regardless of "training" it is essential that a would be Maremma owner understand that these pups will not be responsible adults until somewhere between 18 and 24 months of age !

78 Days 'Til Spring !

Monday, November 22, 2010

All Good Things Must.......Continue !

This Sunday past and the Sunday before Buckwheat Bridge Angoras was invited to participate in the Rhinebeck Farmer's Market. A couple months ago Cheryl, the market's manager, asked if we would like to "fill in" for one of the fruit vendors who, at this time of year, really did not have much produce to bring to the market. We jumped at the chance to attend this wonderful market!
The market bustled this weekend with shoppers eager to select the perfect accompaniments to their Thanksgiving feast. It was great to be in the midst of fresh greens and root vegetables sure to depart their savory aromas in homes this Thursday.
We met a bunch of great folks, sold some socks and a couple of hats, and reconnected with a few old friends.
Sadly, this was the last day for the outdoor farmer's market in Rhinebeck for 2010. Happily the market will continue through the winter INDOORS at the Rhinebeck town hall on ....appropriately .......Market Street ! The indoor market begins on Sunday the 5th of December and runs through April 24th - every OTHER Sunday. Stop by and buy Local !

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Windmill - Another Perspective

So, as we mentioned the other day - we have this windmill. Here it is on the perimeter of one of our pastures. These boys really do not seems too taken with the thing, They are much more interested in the photographer standing right next to their feed troughs.
People have asked us if the windmill is loud. I can assure you it is not. If the wind is blowing with enough force to cause the turbine to generate electricity all you hear is the sound of the wind - no turbine noise at all.
When the idea of the windmill being erected on our farm was brought into the public domain - which was only necessitated by the local zoning rules restricting the height of the windmill to 100 feet - by our application for an area variance, some neighbors closed ranks, passed a petition, contacted newspapers and government offices and did most everything they could think of to stymie the effort. A number of those neighbors have since stated that " it's not nearly as bad as we thought" and "it's not that big". Not a resounding endorsement but none-the-less possibly an acknowledgment that maybe they really had not gathered all the info necessary to evaluate the project before establishing a stance "against". It's important to mention this because ...unless more of us take a serious look at "alternatives" we may find ourselves in quite a mess here on planet Earth in a few year's time. And that's about as political as I intend to get.
Buckwheat Bridge Angoras is now, most likely, the only farm in the USA that grows and processes all it's own animal fiber using exclusively solar and wind produced alternative energy. I think that goat just might be smiling !

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Puppies as Promised

We are pleased to introduce you to our first litter of Maremmas in quite a while - about 5 years.
There are 4 female and 5 male pups. This photo is from about two weeks ago prior to eyes opening - so they are all in one place. Kind of a "pile 'o pups". Now they are up and about keeping their mother mighty busy keeping track of them all.

Monday, November 8, 2010


After a long and arduous process ( almost 4 years if you can believe it !) Buckwheat Bridge Angoras wind generator was installed in mid-September. The installation took about a week once the foundation was in place. With a tower of 100 ft in height and a blade length of 40 feet, the turbine rests at just about 120 feet above ground level. We are grateful to have this project completed and now that I have finally recovered my password for access to this blog, I'll be updating shortly with what's new around here.
Coming up next : A new litter of Maremma pups whelped 10/9/10. They are just four weeks old and "on the move". Pictures coming soon !

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Last Year's Havest

We finished up planting the garden the other day. In the ground are some tried and true performers - basil, jalapenos, cabbage and tomatoes. One more try with the tomatoes. The tomato blight of 2009 hit our garden head on. More than 90 tomato plants lost. We've planted a number of varieties of tomatoes this year including sauce tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and heirlooms. The heirlooms were a gift from our friend Mike Kokas at Upstate Farms. Mike and his wife Jan are the owners of a beautiful organic farm in Columbia County. They also do CSA shares and make three trips weekly to Manhattan to deliver wonderful produce to shareholders.
Some new "customers" in the garden this year are Culantro and Stevia. We'll see how they like our location.

While we wait for our garden to grow, take a look at what we did harvest last year.

Gerkin Cucumbers

Lots of green and yellow summer squash

Some of the most beautiful Basil in the county !

Sunday, June 20, 2010

It's Show Time

So here it is June 20th and we are getting ready to load up the show gang and head down to the Great Frederick Fairgrounds in Maryland for the - group formally known as V.A.G.M.A. - E.A.G.M.A. ( Eastern Angora Goat and Mohair Association ) Annual Angora Goat Show and Sale. The Show is next Saturday and Sunday June 26th and 27th. White goats will show Saturday. The Colored Angora Goat Breeders Association NATIONAL Show will be held on Sunday. We show AAGBA registered white goats.
One thing that is really nice for us about the EAGMA Show is that we are NOT retail vendors. No product to haul. Just pack the goats and go...... right ! Just that easy.
We'll be looking forward to seeing all the goats and their people and spending the weekend catching up with all the latest in "goat". Thirteen of the Buckwheat flock will be showing. Hopefully that'll be a "lucky" 13.
We did a dry run to the vet's and back with all 13 on board for a health check and interstate transport papers. Came home, cleaned the trailer ( power-washer, yeah !) and loaded some clean bedding. All that remains is to round up the feed and water buckets, sort through the travel medicinals, and wait until Friday to head south. I hear the forecast is for a hot and sticky week in Maryland. With any luck that'll clear out for the show. We'll post how the goats placed when we return. Maybe we'll see you there as well ?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Three on a Match

And the first kids of the year are triplets !
Hey it's a boy, and then another boy and then another boy.
1 in 8 odds of that happening.
The "new kids" arrived on Thursday the 18th.

26 days 'til spring.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Any Day Now

Well, the nannies have been shared for about a week now and the first of our kids is due anytime. Today is a snowy day but not too cold. Nannies seem quite comfortable in the barn.
It's Mardi Gras in NOLA, it's one day to kidding and 34 days 'til spring.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

What Time Is It ?

It's Kidding Time ( almost ) !

The first of this year's kid crop is due to start arriving on Feb. 17th. We've spent the past 2 months processing fiber - lots of fiber. Now that we are just about finished with the 2009 clip of mohair and wool, we'll be shearing the nannies next week and we'll start right in with 2010.
It seems that there really isn't a time when there isn't some fiber to process.
But what we're really doing now is getting ready for baby goats and a bit later lambs ( due April 1st ). Here's what we do to get ready :

-Clean the barn and kidding stalls
-Partition the barn into living areas - we house like sized nannies together to avoid un-sportsman like conduct ( translation - slamming ).
-Check and make sure we have enough buckets for each pen ( food and water )
-Test the heat lamps - our heat lamps are held up by chains and have bulb guards.
-Make sure we have plenty of towels for drying
-Blow dryer ( just like the ones used for drying hair ) - for drying kids fast
-Selenium shots - BoSe - each kid gets 1/4cc - we're in a low selenium area.
-CDT - each kid gets 1cc
-Nutri-drench - each kid gets a couple of squirts
-Ear notch tool - we notch instead of tag kids - tags sometimes rip ears or fall out. We prefer to notch. To see a sample ear notch diagram visit the AAGBA website.
-Feeding tube - in case of chilled kids and a container for the milk from the nanny.
-Prichard Teats - in case we need to supplement nursing kids or for bottle babies
-A couple of plastic soda bottles for the teats ( but no Coca Cola bottles as the threads on the bottle's neck have been changed and no longer accommodate the Pritchard Teats. )
-Worming paste for the nannies - after the stress of kidding we generally evaluate nannies and worm if needed. Stress can cause a decreased resistance to parasites.
-Something on hand for scours - we use a pepto-bismol like liquid.
-Shear the nannies - keeps the fleece clean and gives the kids a nice mohair-free udder to latch onto. After shearing the nannies stay in the barn until mid-March.
-Put the radio in the barn and tune to WAMC - our local Public Radio Station ( this is a plug for the station. Their fund drive starts in a few days. )
-Wait for the kidding to begin.

18 days 'til baby goats
51 days 'til spring

Summer Sheep