Thursday, May 29, 2008

Family Portrait

Becky's new horse, Ava, has adjusted well to life on the farm. Of course, all of "the boys" are ga-ga over her! Becky asked me to get a family portrait of her 3 horses. After snapping about 35 pictures, we finally had one where everybody is looking in the same direction. Ava is on the left with Fagner in the center and Duffy on the right. Duffy looks so small next to the other is hard to believe he is the alpha horse. But then, age has it's privilege!
You might wonder how we got all three of them to stand so well....they were actually on lead ropes with Becky standing off to the side.....Ahh, the wonder of Photoshop!! That was quite a fun project. Here is the original photo.....

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Baby Goat With an Attitude

Monday between weeding the strawberry patch and mowing the orchard, I decided to take a little break and sit with the Nigerian dwarf babies. I sat down in the middle of them and just had to laugh. They behave much like a group of un-supervised three year olds. They push and shove and vie for attention. So, the entire time I was sitting on the ground, I had at least three goats in my lap, and two trying to climb up onto my shoulders from behind. For some reason, they all have a fascination with trying to eat my hair (my shoelaces, my sleeves, the camera, etc.) The most brazen of all these little kids is Spider. In this video, it is obvious that he wants something....however, I never did figure out what that was.
Watch.........And make sure your sound is turned up nice and loud.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tawdry Audrey

This is Tawdry Audrey. She is one of Ash's tricolor twins. Her brother is almost identical with the exception of just a little less white on his face. Audrey has a special talent. Like all little goaties, she likes to try to jump up on things. Audrey, however, has learned to stand on top of her Mamma's back and balance herself there. It is going to take a bit of camera patience and being at the right place at the right time with camera ready to capture that shot. (I will certainly try!)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Our Kids Are Growing Up!

Sadly, we all know that babies don't stay babies forever. This is the most recent photo of one of our favorite kids, Forrest. Forrest has been featured quite a bit here due to the fact that he was the first born. Know, he is as tall as O'Malley and as you can see, his horns have really begun to grow. Every day he is looking more and more like a buck. He may look older, but his behavior remains child-like. He still prefers to jump into your lap...which is becoming a bit more hazardous due to those tough little horns. His brother Bubba will soon be adopted by a new loving family. Myrtle's black and white twins, who we affectionately call "Little Sister" and "Little Brother" have also been spoken for. Adoption day will be sad for us, but like all parents, we will smile and give each of them a little push into their new lives....knowing that they are ready to go out into the world.

As for our six Dwarf Nigerian babies...well they will not be leaving the nest. It seems that adoptive parents only want goaties that have been dis-budded (horns removed). We have decided that because of the cruelty factor, we are not removing any of our babies horns. This is an extremely painful procedure for goats to endure, and in order to give them enough numbing medicine to make it tolerable, then the numbing medicine is at a toxic level for them. It is just not worth the risk. As we are used to all of our goats having their horns, we do not mind keeping these six adorable kids. They are all so very friendly, affectionate and comical and will be a great addition to Bee Haven Acres. Although perhaps we should change our name. Goat Haven Acres??

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Many Wonders of Spring

It seems there is never a shortage of photograph worthy happenings on the farm. Life seems to burst forth at an unbelievable rate in Spring. The strawberry plants have once again shaken off their wintry wilt and are alive with blossoms. The bees are busily pollinating their blooms. In a few short weeks, each of these flowers will be replaced by a juicy delicious berry!
The guinea hens have paired off with the intent of raising their broods. I uncovered this nest of guinea eggs yesterday while mowing one of our hay fields. We were preparing a plot of land for fencing and a housing area for more goats. Sadly, I believe this nest will be sacrificed in the meantime. As no one is keeping these eggs warm, they will most likely be eaten by a possum, fox or raccoon.

Catastrophic Caterpillars

It seems that farm life is a constant struggle to live harmoniously with nature while still being able to provide for our needs. Each Spring brings the gift of new life and the challenge of keeping that new life from consuming our land. The local wildlife is procreating and with that comes the task of teaching their young to hunt. And, once again our ducks and chickens are at risk of becoming prey. Millions of gypsy moth caterpillars are erupting from their tent-like nurseries in the trees and setting out to eat their way into adulthood...consuming every green leaf in their path.


This poses a bit of a problem for our blueberry and fruit tree orchards. Our only defense is to manually remove the caterpillars, burn their nests, and spray our trees with BT (a harmless, organic bacterium).

I can remember the excitement I felt as a child when I would find a caterpillar. They seemed like such furry, friendly creatures. I would keep a few in a jar and feed them leaves, hoping to one day see their metamorphosis. I only wish I could still look at them with the same sense of wonder!

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Taste of Spring

Last year we planted at least 30 asparagas roots. They all came up and we had lovely fern-like plants in one corner of our garden. Being that they were so new, we restrained from eating any of their tender them adequate time to establish themselves and healthy plants. This year, however, we have been treated to a short feast of the freshest, greenest, sweetest, most tender asparagas shoots stalks that I have ever tasted. Again we must restrain ourselves. We are limiting our consumption to two weeks of cutting to again give our young plants adequate time to strongly mature. Next year will be a whole new chapter. I am hoping that we will be up to our necks in asparagas next Spring. I can hardly wait to make homemade cream of asparagas soup and eat it fresh until I just about explode! What we are unable to consume, we will freeze. But til then we will have to be satisfied with just a taste of things to come.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Drying Up........Slowly

Ok, if you think that the black, shiny, rubbery object on the ground beside Jill is a water balloon, you are udderly wrong! Poor Jill is in the process of drying up her milk. As you can see, it is not going so well. Forrest and Bubba are officially weaned and have been separated from their mother. Meanwhile, Jill is alone with Jack, on reduced rations and passing the time away waiting for her girlish figure to return. I am sure that those of you who have enjoyed the experience of "milk production" will attest to the fact that carrying around a set of full jugs is no fun!

Meanwhile, Forrest and Bubba are as tall now as O'Malley and their horns are growing by the day. They are on their way towards being very handsome bucks...little do they know that castration lies around the corner for them. They will be much more pleasant as companions animals with the elimination of testosterone. Not only will it keep their disposition less aggressive, but it will also keep their smell much more pleasant. Forrest continues his antics and still considers himself a lap-goat. We are soon going to need very large laps to accomodate him.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Welcome Ava

Yesterday (April 30th) marked the arrival of Becky's new horse, Ava. Ava came from Rutgers University Young Horse Teaching and Research Program She is an 11 month old Thoroughbred/Percheron Filly.

The Bee Haven Acres Boys were quite excited to finally have a girl in their midst!


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