Friday, January 25, 2008

No picture, please

There is not, and should not be, a photograph for today's post. It was cold again today, so we decided on another "off-season" task: caprine pedicures.

For those unaquainted with nasty, overgrown goat's feet, let me tell you this. Yech, yech, and yech. Worse than your worst imaginings. Remember, these guys trot around in mud and manure pretty much all the time. Their hooves, like fingernails, grow constantly. And therefore need trimming at least twice a year. I do the Pygoras on our farm every time I shear them. (About every 6 months) I won't even venture a guess when the last time these diary goats were trimmed...but, back to the facts. Both the inner and outer walls of the hoof must be trimmed, any gunk present scraped away, and even the pad trimmed down if it is not flat. You go until you see pink tint in the hoof, then stop before you draw blood.

And although I have done this chore myself for several years, and read plenty of "how-to's", the essence of the job was revealed to me when my boss explained, "trim the hoof parallel to the hair line" for the best shaping. And, "keep the sole FLAT." It was just one of those "light-bulb" moments, when all that I had read and sort of understood just fell away, and the clarity and simplicity of her instruction hit home. Not to mention I had to repeat those instructions to myself 120 times. Yep. I trimmed 120 goat feet at work today.

So, instead of the photo of gnarly hooves, grimy hands, toe funk, nail trimmings, and the occasional pile of poo, I leave you with this:

Sunday, one of the barn kitties, was napping across the warm back of Purple Collar. (Not an incredibly interesting name, but these are production animals, and not pets...) She sat up for the photo - sorry for the alien eyes, but you get the idea.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

What I Did At Work Today

(Froze my freaking butt off!) OK, really. It is winter, and we are not milking, therefore there is no cheese to make. So what is a "farmer" to do?

There is a pasture across the road from the main farm that is long overdue for a mowing/clean-up/conditioning, so we are planning to run a Mowing Menagerie there this Spring, and eat up all the rose bushes, bramble, young trees, and other stuff cluttering the view. To get ready, we need to remove decades-old barbed wire in dire dis-repair, rotten old fence posts with various hardware, garbage etc. and make it safe for the critters.

Today was our second day of clean-up: clip the run of wire between fallen posts, pull the strand free from the bracken and honeysuckle, fold it up to a portable size, and into the farm pick-up. Save all the loose nails, staples and bits for the bucket, and on to the next strand. Pile all fallen or broken off posts for pick-up later, and keep your eyes peeled for plastic fence posts, old electric wire, beer bottles, oil cans, and shotgun shells. (Annoying red plastic does not belong in a hurts the eyes) Sounds easy enough, but remember, the fence is in an area that looks much like this:

But without most of the pretty snow...

And I am unclear why exactly they say witches' gazongas are so cold, but I was definitely as cold as them today - the windchill was -5 F for most of the day. Except when it was -6 F. Brrrr.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Wow...who knew?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Her Most Serene Highness Lady Melanie the Talkative of Tempting St Mary
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I discovered this with a little help from Lauren and Beth and RevJen. Now, who do we think the Tempting St. Mary is...would that be Mary Magdalene? Interesting company, to say the least.

However, if I am to live up to my title, I surely must post more...