City Girl Goes Country

A glimpse into my life as I transform from a city girl into a goat farmers wife!

Spring/Summer 2014

Another crazy year of running around chasing our tail!  It seems as though 5 new projects pop up for every 1 project we get completed!  I suppose that is farm life!  Kidding was great this year with the Spanish herd, we bred 64 does to our Weinheimer buck and had numerous quads and triplets!  Our Fullblood Savanna does should be starting kidding any day now and then our Spanish/Savanna Cross does are bred for early November kidding which we will be doing in our NEW goat shed!  Should we ever break ground on it! LOL! We are hoping to break ground in the next few weeks to get going on the project.  Once we get it completed we will have all of our goats on our property for the winter and the new design will really cut down on the time chores take!

This summer we have officially gotten a start on our Prescriptive Grazing business.  It is something we have wanted to get involved in for several years and have done some small projects for friends near home but now we are officially ready to be for hire!  We were lucky to land a bid with the Iowa DNR to test out Prescriptive Grazing as a technique for managing some of their brush areas.  We dropped the goats off on July 7th and are anxious to see the end result in a few weeks!  Check back for pictures!

Our miniature donkey herd is going to be growing next Spring also!  We bred 2 of our mini Jennies to a mini Jack this Spring and can’t wait for the arrival of the new mini’s!  Our mini jenny, Molly, that was born last summer is growing like a weed and starting to lose her fluffy coat, she is adorable but we need to spend some time working with her so she is less spooked by humans.  The other 3 Jennies can’t get enough of our attention but Molly is very timid yet.

We have also added a new puppy to our family!  Jax is a black lab mix that was just shy of a year old when we took him in.  He has been a blast this Spring and Summer!  It took a while for him to get accustom to the goats but he is starting to calm down around them now.  He loves to ride in the tractor with Dustin and is constantly cracking us up with his goofy personality.  He loves to swim and jumps in every puddle, pond, creek, lake, river or water bucket he can get his paws on!

Hope all is well for everyone else out there!! Take care!

Here are some of the Spanish Kids playing out in pasture!  Too cute!

Jax is exhausted from baling hay! LOL

Jax thinks this is his golf cart and wants to ride everywhere!

Peyton came out to check on the Kids :)

Mom out playing with the mini Jennies!  They love to snuggle!

Jax “helping” Dustin work on the brush mower! LOL

One load of small squares to bring in

Jax enjoying the trout stream at Ensign Hollow!

Setting up for the prescriptive grazing project at Ensign Hollow

Lola and Molly grazing along side the goats at Ensign Hollow

Jax is driving tractor now!

Our scarecrow :)

Posted 170 weeks ago

Summer 2013 - North Carolina

Well it looks like I skipped summer all together so here is a quick recap!

In May Dustin and I had the privilege of traveling to North Carolina to visit Triple T Farm and picked up 6 fullblood Savanna does and 1 fullblood Buck from them.  Tim and Teresa were amazing hosts and have a lovely herd!  We would highly recommend them for goats or for livestock guardian dogs. 

It was another one of our whirlwind trips where Dustin drove all night from Delhi to Asheville, NC!  We got into town at 6am, checked into our hotel and slept! LOL  After a delicious Waffle House southern breakfast we headed to the Biltmore Estate.  I was there about 20 years ago (ugh I’m old) and it was amazing but to see all of the growth since then. 

The following day we drove to Columbia, South Carolina where we were able to spend some time with Dustin’s cousin Shawn. We ended our day in Wilmington, NC on the River Walk.  Drive across the state was AMAZING! The beauty is astounding! Dustin was in heaven with the fresh seafood and military history surrounding us!

A visit to the aquarium, beach and Fort Fisher historical site and we were off to Yadkinville to meet our new goats!

It was a great kickoff to our summer! More on our summer coming soon, including Ireland pics and details!

Posted 207 weeks ago

The goats coming in for the night! Love them!

Posted 207 weeks ago
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou
Posted 207 weeks ago
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Posted 207 weeks ago
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Posted 233 weeks ago

Moving forward

I’ve been a terrible blogger!  Seriously, it’s been a long year full of absolute chaos and change and as I feel like things are starting to move closer to a more normal level of chaos, I’d like to start blogging again.

Last year was packed full of planned events and unplanned events.  It was a year of growth and loss, both of which created memories I won’t soon forget. 

I survived another year of farm life! LOL We have continued to grow our herd with the purchase of another Purebred Savanna buck, 17 more Spanish does and 3 miniature Donkeys!   We have just started our 2013 kidding season and are excited to see our first crop of 75% Savanna kids.  We ended up small square baling somewhere around 900+ bales with the help of our friends and family and harvested our first corn crop.  Anxious to see how our hay field turns out in it’s second year.

I’m officially a Wall!  It still takes some getting use to signing Jennifer Wall, but I’m loving married life.  Wedding planning was fun but the wedding itself was by far the best part!  Thank you to all of our friends and family for your love and support.  We had so much fun and the day went by so fast it was like a dream. 

We lost our beloved Morgan last fall after a series of surgeries.  He was Dustin’s best friend and one of the most amazing animals I have ever known.  He is truly irreplaceable and is missed dearly.

It’s taken nearly a year but our house is ALMOST complete!  We have been moved in since January and I love it.  I love that Dustin and I, my family and our friends built this home.  It has been a stressful process and we have learned a lot about home building!  Dustin still has some hair left so I think we are doing ok :)  We still have trim work, tin work in the garage, tiling the jacuzzi tub and landscaping to finish up but when I think about the fact that a year ago there was a completely different house standing where ours is now, I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment! My advice to anyone thinking about building their own house, HIRE IT DONE!! LOL!  Pictures to come soon. 

Posted 233 weeks ago

I'm still a girl!

Rant…can ANYONE make a nail polish that can withstand one weekend of dishes and farming?  I’ve tried all sorts of brands and “long lasting”, “no chip,” polishes and yet here I am with the most raggedy looking nails you’ve ever seen! 

A little hard work is good for ya but apparently not for the nails!  Last week I thought I was in luck.  The new craze of Gel polishes has finally hit the mainstream drugstores and I came across a gel polish that didn’t require a UV light kit so I thought I’d give it a try!  $18 for the smallest bottle of polish I’ve ever seen and I was feeling pretty hopeful that I’d finally be able to show up to work on Monday with nice nails!

I painted my nails Wednesday night, got home Thursday and did Dustin’s dishes from the week (can’t wait until the house is done so I can have a dishwasher again!) and not 10 minutes later the first chunk falls off!  SERIOUSLY!!!  The box boasts “14 day wear”, yet I wear it for 48 hours and have ragged looking nails!  Over the weekend it progressively got worse.  By Monday there were only a few nails with polish left!

So tonight I’m picking up the new chick flick “The Vow” so I can torture Dustin into watching it with me this weekend and I come across the new nail strips.  What the heck, I’m getting desperate for a solution and nice looking nails so I’ll give anything a try at this point.

I get back to the hotel (aka Home in Chicagoland) and grab my nail polish remover to take the remaining spots off.  The stuff WILL NOT come off!! So now I’m irritated and grab the butter knife from the drawer!  20 minutes of scraping and I finally get the remnants of the gel polish off! Sure the stuff won’t stay on when you want it on and won’t come off when you want it off! Go figure!

The strips are easy to use but I have some serious doubts that these will last more than a day.  I could be wrong but we will see! For now they are a fun sparkly gold!

Anyone that knows any secret nail polishes that can handle farming and dishes, send them my way!!  :)

Posted 283 weeks ago

Is the grass greener on the other side?

Is the grass always greener on the other side?  If you are a goat it sure seems like it!  This weekend we worked on fencing.  Now this is a topic that I’ve known nothing about until this past year. All of the different options, the challenges that goats present when it comes to fencing and the pricing!  WOW is fencing expensive!! 

This year we are trying several different fencing options.  In the past we have used cattle panels, goat panels, woven wire and hot wires.  This year we have decided to add electric netting and chain link into the mix and see what comes of it. 

The problems I’ve seen with fencing mostly stems from our goats horns.  If the panel has an opening that is big enough that they can stick their head in, they will!  The problem comes in when they try to remove their head.  The horns get caught and then you have a very frantic goat trying to get unstuck.  Unfortunately if you aren’t around to let them free their back legs will end up giving out and they will hang themselves in the fence.  So in my book, this is reason enough to stop using any panels that have openings large enough to fit their heads in.

Between our pasture and our rye field we have been using 3 hot wires.  Theoretically the goats will either sense that the wires or hot or they will get a little jolt when they try to move through the wires.  Thursday night I’m walking over to get in the truck and turn my head only to see a small pack of goats strolling through the backyard of the farm house!  Luckily they hadn’t been there long and we were able to round them up and get them back in the pasture!

Friday it was more of the same but this time they were out in the rye field having a little snack!  I grabbed a bucket of grain and went down into the pasture.  As soon as the goats noticed that I had grain they wanted back into the pasture from the rye field.  Slowly they all started moving to one spot along the fence and just like school children lined up single file and ducked under the wires so that they were lightly grazing their backs against the wire and therefore not getting a jolt of electricity. After reviewing the situation it looks as though the goats have rubbed a spot down in the ground just far enough that they can crawl right under the wire!  Fencing fail! 

The goat panels are nice.  They are small squares so that they can’t get their heads caught and they are heavy duty.  With heavy duty comes HEAVY!  Last year I was taking down some panels to move them and “thought” I was tough enough to lift the 16ft long panel over my head and carry it!  Luckily my soon to be mother-in-law was pulling in the driveway just in time for her to see me wither to the ground pinned down by the weight of the panel! LOL It had to have been hilarious to see!  Luckily Dustin wasn’t around to see that or the teasing would have never ended!

The electric netting is interesting and surprisingly reasonably priced.  It isn’t something that I would want to use for any permanent fencing but I think it will be handy for places where we are moving pasture paddocks around.  We ordered our first bit of it a few weeks ago and set it up in one of our pastures this past weekend.  We will see if it keeps the goats out of the rye field! We could be spending a lot more money at Premiere One Supply if it works well!

On the other end of the spectrum I decided I’d like to try chain link.  It isn’t something I’ve seen for farming use much (not that I’ve been on a lot of farms) but I think it could be a good permanent fencing solution for our new goat yards.  Pricing wise it is much more manageable then goat panels.  The expensive parts are the poles and accessories which we won’t be using.  The goats won’t be able to get stuck in it and using 6ft tall fence around the borders will help prevent predators from getting in!  

So now you know what little I know about fencing!  LOL These are the things that keep me up at night these days!

Posted 285 weeks ago
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Posted 287 weeks ago
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