Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lawn Boers


Can you find our new helpers?

Last year, when we first got our riding lawn mower, it was one of the chores we really loved. After all, this was our first Lawn since becoming Adults, and for some reason riding around on a lawn tractor felt Adult and Amurican. It was fun to put on flip flops and a sun hat, open a soda or a beer, and cruise around the yard, accomplishing something while sitting.

As the summer wore on, the novelty wore off. We had More Important Projects to focus on. The garden quickly ate up all my "free" farm time, and a series of big projects -- building the pasture fence, nursing a sick piggo back to butchering weight, buying and rehabbing a tractor, canning, brewing, dealing with the oddness of the barn well, building shelving and organizing the barn, chasing turkeys and unsuccessfully trying to police ducks and geese -- made the prospect of parking oneself on a mower for a couple hours on a nice day seem fairly absurd.


How about now?

The weather this spring was the final nail in the coffin. I mentioned last week that we were growing slowly frustrated with our waterlogged hill that made plowing, planting and mowing impossible. A couple of times I ruefully thought that if we had an ox, or a mule team, or a draft horse, we could manage to move a plow through the garden.


And so it was natural that we now find ourselves with two munchy little helpers, Goat with No Ears and Goat with Giant Ears. We named them after two totally normal goats in an "Animal Freak Show" that the Big Man and I paid $1 to visit a few summers ago. Goat with No Ears actually has tiny ears, being a cross between a no-eared breed (LaMancha) and a normal-eared breed (Boer). Goat with Giant Ears basically just has normal ears.


There they are!!!


Goat with No Ears is very sweet, although he seems a bit frail for my liking. Goat with Giant Ears is stubborn. He never wants to walk with you on his leash from the barn stall to the lawn, or from the lawn to the stall, instead preferring to lay spread eagled on the ground and be dragged. They really like each other, and even though Goat with No Ears is much smaller and has a smokers cough, Goat with Giant Ears always hides behind him (see above) and bleats plaintively whenever he is out of sight. Goat with No Ears is perfectly happy being patted on the head and rubbed on the nose, while Goat with Giant ears leaps 5 feet in a random direction if you get near him (although, to give credit where credit is due, I did accidentally un-clip Goat with Giant Ears when he was in the lawn (a totally understandable mistake!!!), and the Big Man was somehow able to sneak up behind him and grab him by the leg as he tried to leap away. Thank GOD our grass was so long. Like the savanna.)


They are really a bit small to keep up with the grass…but they will grow, and in Busy Season as we are, we'll take all the help we can get.



The Grandma Lois Memorial Garden Season is off to a good start with a bumper crop of lilacs.


More posting soon – this is an extra busy weekend here at the farm, and I'm behind on posts anyway, so they will be often but brief this coming week or two. Goings on include the garden, which is going in thanks to an intricate system of drainage trenches that a frustrated and panicky me hacked out of the earth yesterday, the piglets, who have unlearned the electric fence due to a long power outage last week, leading us to spend hours variously amused and frustrated chasing them about the pasture, sometimes during severe thunderstorms, some funny-nosed and quiet creatures that we've acquired, and a sick chicken that we've placed in solitary confinement for Rest and Observation. Details coming soon.

3 comments:

  1. Nick,
    We FEEL your pain! Can't get on wet pastures to mow, make hay, even cut lawn. A flock of 19 does and 27 kids isn't making a DENT in ours. LOVE your goats! I crossed a Saanan with a Boer one year and got THE Ugliest Ears EVER (straight OUT); your Giant Eared Goat looks like my old Toggenburg. Bet they will settle down soon. Goats don't "relocate" easily, but once "at home," my experience is they are quite tame - but they NEVER like leads! Yet will learn to FOLLOW you. Of course a little grain in a bucket is best way to "train."
    Good luck with it all...which is too much! What a "season"???!!!!!!!!
    Kate @ Dharma Farm (Gambier)

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  2. Is it too much to hope for some video from the serengeti goat hunt...

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  3. Sigh. I really, really wish that there was a video. Unfortunately, I was in a fairly high setting of panic mode, and it was all I could do to hiss through my teeth "I lossst the goattttt" while trying to lure Giant Ears closer with a piece of grass (I know. Desperate.) as Nick squiggled through the grass behind him. Did I mention that goats have 340 degrees of vision? You must believe me that both of their expressions, as Nick grabbed a leg just as the goat realized what was going on and leaped in a wild-eyed panic, were amazing.

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