Sunday, December 10, 2017

Dreaming...

Okay, so I have no desire to uproot my entire life and move out west, but I have to say that these pictures really speak to something deep within my soul...I'll have to at least visit the west someday, that's for sure.  

(Photos from realtor.com)

39769 Bunn Way, Bonanza, OR 97623
Bonanza, OR

Tract 8 San Antonio River Rnch, Antonito, CO 81120
Antonito, CO

39769 Bunn Way, Bonanza, OR 97623
Bonanza, OR

3416 Arrow Dr, Cascade, MT 59421
Cascade, MT

5005 Ridge Crest Rd, Helena, MT 59602
Helena, MT

6202 Mc Gee Ln, Helena, MT 59602
Helena, MT

4 Sand Hill Ln, Cora, WY 82925
Cora, WY

33836 Canyon View Dr, Saint Ignatius, MT 59865
Saint Ignatius, MT

Bear Canyon Dr, Bayfield, CO 81122
Bayfield, CO

1393 Oneil Dr, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147
Pagosa Springs, CO

Blk 1 Lot 10, Chama, NM 87520
Chama, NM

51 Lightning Ridge Ln, Cascade, MT 59421
Cascade, MT

Monday, December 4, 2017

Thane and the Three Little Goats

I took Thane on a loooooong drive down to Charlton, MA today for another herding instinct test.  With pit stops, it was just under four hours each way.  Herding instructors are hard to find around here!!  I found a good one, though.  Carol Donnelly teaches at Balgrae Dog Training, and she was great to work with...she really took the time to explain the reasons for different things, which was very helpful to me as a newbie.

Thane and I arrived a little before Carol, so we wandered around and enjoyed looking at the animals.  They have sheep, three goats, and a whole passel of ducks.  

The sheep were quite curious...and a little suspicious.  Maybe they know that when they see a dog, it means their peaceful afternoon of grazing is about to be interrupted.  :P  


Thane was intrigued by the sheep.  I wonder if he remembers meeting other sheep months ago?


Lol, this goat is clearly the "herd queen":


I love this ewe's expression:


After Carol arrived, she used her adorable little Corgi - who just so happens to be a herding champion! - to separate the goats from the sheep.  The goats were put into a round pen, and then Thane got to do his thing...and he did really good!  

Here's the video....hopefully it's not too bumpy.  Lol, I tried not to talk, because I hate the sound of my voice on camera, but I did laugh a couple times...oh well. 


Anyway...it was a very long but very good day.  I'm grateful that God gave us excellent weather and safety on the roads, and that neither of us got run over by any sheep!  :D  

Happy Monday, everyone!!



Sunday, November 26, 2017

Weighing Pros and Cons

So I went and looked at a house this past Wednesday...and then I went and looked at it again today with a contractor friend (thanks, Scott!!).

I'm weighing the pros and cons of making an offer.  Scott says I'd probably have to pick between repairs and fencing/animals the first year or two.

I really like the house itself...but it needs a lot of work and only comes with 5.5 acres - about half of which is a pond and some marshy area.


Some of the cons:

-I'd have to pay Maine income tax (yep, no income tax in NH!)
-I'd have a 30-minute drive to work/church (currently walk, lol)
-Th house would need a new roof before too long
-I'd have to get flood insurance (the river is right across the road)
-Not nearly as much acreage as I want
-Upstairs needs carpet or flooring (stripped to the sub-floor right now)
-Upstairs has no heat, lol
-I'd need to look up whether the "wetlands" out back limit what I could do with the property, as wetlands and bodies of water are sometimes protected
-Only one bathroom...unless you count the attached two-seater outhouse!!  :P

Some of the pros:

-I really like the layout of the house, especially the first floor
-I really like the antique style of the house - the dining room has a crystal chandelier and a tin ceiling!!
-The drive, though a bit long, is at least a very pretty drive
-Limited acreage limits the number of animals I can have, lol...might be a good thing.  ;P
-Washer and dryer included
-Fairly low property taxes
-There are cows next door!!!  :D
-Nice big kitchen
-Nice big barn (though it'll need some work)
-I would have ridiculously huge, amazing trees on my property!!  I'm not kidding - Scott is 6'7"!


So yeah.

I have no idea.  I'm about 78% leaning toward passing on this one, and waiting for something else.  I'm working on praying and trusting that God will make it clear whether this is the right house for me.  Maybe talking to the mortgage guy will clear that up in a hurry, lol.  :P  

Anyway...I hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday!!  :)  


Monday, November 20, 2017

Thea at 3.5 Weeks

It's amazing how fast little Thea and her littermates are growing up!  It's only about 6 weeks now until I'll make the trek down to South Carolina to pick her up.  Helen, her breeder, says that Thea is calm, friendly, and people-oriented so far - exactly what I wanted!  

Anyone else ready to add a puppy to your family?  Thea's tri-colored sister is available!

Enjoy a few puppy pictures; photo credit goes to Helen Holbrook.  

Image may contain: dog and indoor
Helen's keeper pup, a sable female.

Image may contain: dog
Thea in the middle, available tri girl on the right.

Thea on the left, showing how light she is compared to her brother.

Anyway...Thane is moaning in his crate right now - a clear sign that he wants some attention, so I'd better play with him for a few minutes.  

I hope everyone is having a great start to their week!!  :)

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What's Been Going On

Sorry I haven't blogged much lately...I feel kind of like a lot has been going on...but at the same time, I also feel like nothing has been going on.

I drove to Moultonborough, NH this morning and met a nice lady who sold me a pair of hand carders for wool.  She was kind enough to drive 45 minutes to meet me, and even refused a few extra dollars for her trouble.  

I've met several nice people through Craigslist so far - Wayne at Paradise Farm, who sold me the fleeces and some goat milk...Linda and Gordon, who needed help shearing alpacas...and today, Ann.  I know you have to be careful on Craigslist, but it's proving to be a very good resource so far.  

Not much else is new...I talked to the mortgage guy, and the physical manifestation of Butterscotch Farm may take until at least the spring to come into being.  I can't afford much house, and the first-time homebuyer programs limit the acreage quite a bit too...and people are starting to take houses off the market for the winter.  I keep looking at the houses for sale, then getting frustrated...and then I have to remind myself that if God wants me to have my own place, He'll direct me to the perfect house...in HIS timing.

Anyway.

Thane and I still loop through at least a little corner of the woods almost every day.  Today I brought the big camera along and got a few decent pictures.  

  








I hope everyone has a great weekend!!  

Monday, October 30, 2017

Washing the Fleece

I know a lot of people dread Mondays, but Sundays and Mondays are my days off from work, so I generally look forward to the start of the week.  Sundays are a mix of church and rest, and Mondays are the one day that I can have all day to get stuff done!

Of course...I often end up lazing away parts of the day...but oh well.  I usually get a few things done too, so I figure it evens out.  :P  

Today, I walked the dog (in the rain!), went with Dad and my older sister to look at the flooded Saco river, helped pile some firewood, ran some errands, and washed some fleece.  And swept and mopped the kitchen floor, because Thane + rain = muddy paw prints everywhere!!

(Here's the river...if I'm reading the data correctly, it peaked at about 4.5 feet above Flood Stage!!)


So anyway...while I was stacking firewood on the porch, I had to move a bunch of bags of my fleece...and I thought, "Wow, I really need to start processing this stuff!"  So I went and bought some buckets and some dish detergent and pulled off one small section of fleece to wash.  (Ignore the Collie nose...)


I probably did things all wrong...for example, I read later that you're not supposed to make the water sudsy...you're supposed to add the soap after you fill the bucket with water...oops.  


I also discovered why most of the articles recommend rubber gloves - that water is hot!  But possibly not hot enough...apparently, to dissolve the lanolin in the wool (which, if it's left behind, will make the wool sticky when it dries), you need temperatures of at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit...and 140-160 is even better!  Yikes!

Anyway....you gently dunk the wool in the soapy water (moving it around too much might make it felt, ie., turn into a solid, unusable mass) and leave it there for a half hour or forty-five minutes.  You can soak it in soapy water a couple times if it's really dirty, and then you put it into hot, clean water to soak again.  You can actually do all of this in your top-load washer, as long as you don't let it go to the agitator setting!


You have to keep moving it into clean water until the water runs clear...which took a while with this batch, because this was waste wool that I probably should have tossed, but saved in a rare fit of thriftiness.  We shall see if it's worth the effort, or if I should take up composting and add it to the pile...

It's drying now...I'll let you know how it goes.  :P  

Happy Monday!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Holbrook's Thea

Exciting news!!!

Butterscotch Farm's newest puppy was finally born yesterday morning!  Meet Holbrook's Thea:


In a few weeks, this shapeless little pup will probably look a lot like this ( <3 <3 <3 ): 


And I have high hopes that she'll grow up to look a lot like her mom, Bonnie:


I'm planning on driving from NH all the way down to SC the first week of January to pick Thea up...anyone else along the East Coast want a Bonnie pup?  Thea's two brothers are still available!  :D

Anyway...I'm sure I'll be bombarding you with photos...for now, here are just a couple more: 






*All photo credits go to Helen Holbrook.

Friday, October 13, 2017

A Short, Random Story About Some Random Apples

We picked our apples more than a week and a half ago...and our first batch of applesauce burned, and was rather thick and almost dry in consistency.  The apples were okay to eat, but again, a little dry, very firm, and a bit tart.  I attributed it to the dry second half of our summer.

But then, after the apples had sat around for a few days, I grabbed one to eat - and it was delicious!  It was softer, and the perfect mix of sweet and tart!  The next couple batches of applesauce turned out much better, too.


I guess apples are one of those things that improve if you can just wait a little while!  

Anyway...anyone want to come over for some homemade applesauce?  :)

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Breed Profile #7: Nubian Goats

It's occurred to me recently that not only am I behind on general blog posts, but I'm also behind on my breed profiles!  Lol, I really hope these aren't too boring...they're mostly meant to be my way of keeping track of the various farm animals I've met, researching them, and deciding whether they might be a good breed to raise on my little farm someday.  But I hope they're moderately interesting to read.

So...about Nubian goats, which are apparently America's most popular goat breed!

I visited some Nubian goats way back when, the same day I bought a ridiculous amount of Romney fleece at Paradise Farm in Southern NH.  I even bought some of their milk - it was great!  No "goaty" flavor at all; I couldn't tell the difference from the cow's milk I got from the grocery store.


As I was researching Nubians today, I learned one new thing right away - outside America, they're known as the Anglo-Nubian.  Another interesting tidbit is that their name comes from Nubia, Africa, but a far greater influence on the breed came from goats imported from India.  These African and Indian goats were bred to native British goats, and by the late 1800's, the Anglo-Nubian breed was consistent enough to form a breed registry in Great Britain.  Sometime after that, some Anglo-Nubians made their way to America, and the breed registry there began in the early 1900's.  The Americans pretty quickly dropped the "Anglo" off the front of the name, thus ending up with just "Nubian."  Why?  Who knows!  Maybe someone was lazy, and it just caught on.  :P


When I started researching Nubians this morning, I thought that they were on the higher end of milk production, but actually, they're not.  They're fairly good producers, but what makes them valuable as a dairy animal is the high butterfat content of their milk (4-5%), as well as the fact that their breeding cycle can enable them to produce milk all year long.  Interestingly, they're also valued for their meat and their hides.  


They're a fairly large goat, with the females weighing at least 135 pounds and the males at least 175 pounds.  They can be any color, and are known for a Roman nose and a rather noble appearance.  They also have ridiculously cool ears - check out the baby below: 


So...will there be Nubians on Butterscotch Farm someday?  I honestly don't know.  I can definitely see some pros and cons...I need to decide if I want a full-size dairy goat, or something a little bit smaller, like Oberhaslis.  As a popular goat, Nubians may be a bit easier to find...but having a more unique breed definitely appeals to some part of me.  

So, I guess I'll stick Nubians on the "Maybe" list for now.  Ultimately, it's not so much a matter of what I decide, but of figuring out what God's will is...and I'm confident that if He wants me to have goats, they'll be the perfect ones for me and my situation.  :)


Sources:





Monday, September 25, 2017

The Little Plum Tree that Could

Fruits and veggies have done pretty well this year, despite my highly neglectful gardening style.  ;P  Tomatoes have come into their own:


Apples are about ready to be picked: 


And we've got plums!


Italian Prune Plums, to be specific, which is why they're so small.  This is the whole crop, except for a few that fell on the ground.  It's a pretty impressive crop, though, when you consider what the poor Plum tree has gone through - first, it was planted in a dry, sandy New Hampshire yard.  Second, I planted it right at the edge of the driveway, so it always ends up buried by the end of the snow plowing season.  Third, it has actually been run into by the plow truck before!!  Fourth, it got some sort of fungal growth the past couple years, so I had to prune off a few of its meager branches.

But it keeps on growing plums...go, little tree, go!!


Thursday, September 21, 2017

14 Months

It occurred to me at some point today that Thane is now 14 months old.  


He's continuing to mature...and he's come SO far!  He's gradually turning into a really great dog.  At this point, he's just got a couple annoying habits that I didn't correct enough when he was younger...I'm going to try to crack down on those before Puppy #2 comes along in a few months.

He's still a goofball most of the time, though.  I tossed a pine cone to try to get him into better lighting for some photos...well, here are the results:

Pounce!

Dash!

Twist!

His energy level isn't super high, but I think that if I worked on his stamina, he could go all day...and he'd probably LOVE activities like agility, herding, maybe lure coursing....maybe I'll try something with him sometime...though I ought to work on some "focus" training first - he can have rather selective hearing at times.  ;P


Aaaand...we got one nice pose: