It's been such grey, damp weather lately that I found it necessary to go outside for the sun break this afternoon, though I wasn't able to be out there long due to work commitments. The Nigerian kids are now 3 and 4 months old. I'm really happy with the few I've kept this year. Here, I will present them from youngest to oldest.
Twilight is out of Tupence Magnum Opus and Tahoma Almond Joy. She is quite stunning, but she is wild as the hills. I like her wedge shape and how balanced she is. Jodi McDowell showed me how to check for future teat placement, and Twilight has very nice prospects. She has exactly her sire Magnum's stance; it's uncanny how alike they are.
Violet is a little darling. She is tiny and has a playful personality. I've been thinking about selling her, but I'd like to keep her long enough to keep her mom Virelai in milk until linear appraisal at the end of summer. She is out of Tupence Magnum Opus and Goat Mountain View Virelai.
Vidyha is out of Blythmoor Payday and Goat Mountain View Hailey. She is named after a friend of mine from Chennai whom I used to work with. Nobody was interested in buying her because she is plain brown. What a bunch of idiots: this charming doeling is long, straight, wide, and out of my best milker. And, she is polled as well! I love this doe for her tender personality; she always wants a hug from me before bedding down each night. You can see she got her blaze and white bracelet from PayDay. In the first picture, you can see her mom walking away in the background; notice the wide stance and lovely udder! In the second picture, she is laughing with joy over her victory climbing the tree. Vidhya is always happy.
Mansa is out of Blythmoor PayDay and Tahoma Mikado. She has a very regal air about her--ladylike and serene. I love how nicely blended she is, her strong chest and brisket, and her refined head. I also like how fast she's grown. Right now, she is actually a bit on the heavy side from being given the opportunity to stay nursing: Mikado's butterfat measured 8%, with over 4% protein as well, on this month's milk test, so you know Mansa is getting tons of nutrition! Mansa is named after my upper manager at TNQ in Chennai. Mansa also has a bracelet on her leg courtesy of her dad PayDay.
Aru, named after my manager at TNQ, is Mansa's brother. I really wanted to keep him as a buck, but I did not feel I could find him a good home. I had a very bad experience selling Ice Storm and Oasis Storm to a home where they were allowed to starve to death. It is hard to find good homes for bucks. So, I castrated Aru, and he is going to a pet home next month. You can see from the pictures how handsome he is. Arumugam has PayDay's full blaze.
Here are some pictures of some of the other goats...
Maggie is out of MR MacLibbyHeart (Mac) and Goat Mountain View Lyric. She is one of my son's favorite goats because she is relentlessly friendly. She has a super cute personality to match her cute face. If there is mischief in the barn, Maggie will likely be in the middle of it, with Violet next in line. Maggie will be a yearling next month.
Hopeful is out of MR Mac and Goat Mountain View Hailey. I really like this doeling and have ever since she was born. I think she was the nicest kid born last year. She is long, straight, wide, with a lovely neck and head, and polled. Gee, sounds a lot like Vidhya! They are both out of Hailey, my best milker. Hopeful will also be a yearling next month. She and Maggie are best friends, as you can see.
I wanted to get a couple pictures of Tahoma Almond Joy, now 2 years old, so Joan can see how nicely she's matured. I'm really happy with this doe. Well, I do wish she was not so wild, but with time, I am making progress in taming her. She is Twilight's mom, so you can see where Twilight gets her lovely wedge shape. Almond Joy was pretty busy eating, so I gave up on trying to get her to look at the camera. It takes a lot of nutrition to nurse a 3-month-old doeling. Almond Joy should get her milk star on test this year--yep, as a first freshener with a singlet.
Chanson is the result of me taking Goat Mountain View Oasis Storm to my friend Joan's house and asking her to pick the perfect mate for him, which was Tahoma Mikado. The result of the match is a gorgeous doe, now 2 years old and a first freshener. Chanson has really surprised me on milk test, doing better than her mom. She should get her milk star this year as well. I am absolutely smitten with this doe. She is refined, balanced, well-blended, with a great brisket and open ribbing, as well as a beautiful head. She is a bit overconditioned here, as she gained her condition back much faster than my other does. I am now weaning everyone off the Chaffhaye and lessening their daily grain, so they will be in top shape for linear appraisal at the end of summer.
Mikado, Chanson, and Virelai grazing
While the does were out in pasture, the bucks were in their yard. The boys get to graze in the morning, the girls in the afternoon--and no mingling! Mac gets the pallet as he is the most senior buck at 3 years old. Goats consider even a couple inches of height to be significant in the pecking order, so only Mac gets to sleep higher. PayDay has the white blaze. Magnum Opus is the smaller black buck with brown and white, snuggled with PayDay. Both PayDay and Magmun are yearlings. Goat Mountain View Dust Storm (Dusty) is the light buckskin buck. Dusty is Virelai's brother and is polled. I plan to use him extensively for breeding next year. Dusty has the wonderful wide, flat rear with nicely angulated and straight-forward-facing rear legs like his father Oasis Storm. He is 2 years old. I shaved the sides of all the bucks a couple weeks ago to give them some relief from itchy winter coats. But, as it is still quite cold here and often gray and wet, I left the hair on their dorsal and chest, leaving them looking a bit like wildebeests!
Wait, those aren't goats!
While I was outside, I took a couple pictures of our pet bunnies: Ruby and Swift. They enjoy grazing alongside the does.
I tried to get the does to go out to pasture so I would have lovely green grass in the background, but they saw the sky and refused. Goats hate to get wet. They came out this far from the gate and then raced back into the barn.
Brothers Ezra and Nehemiah out of Blythmoor PayDay X Limerick. Limerick always has beautiful kids.
Tiny baby Violet is the most adorable kid, and she's got a cute personality to match. (out of Tuppence Magnum Opus X Virelai) She might be polled; no horn buds yet at 2 weeks old.
It's a lot of fun to take pictures of Violet. Even though she is teeny, tiny, she has a personality as big as the sky.
This is Violet's mom, Virelai. (out of Oasis Storm X Poem) She is polled and also quite small. (Hailey and Violet are behind Virelai. Virelai is exceptionally mellow and sweet.
Violet is best friends with Twilight (black and white doeling out of Tuppence Magnum Opus and Tahoma Almond Joy). Both Tahoma Almond Joy and Virelai were first fresheners, so they got to stay together for the first two weeks in the large nursery pen. Their babies act like sisters. Twilight is the shy one, but she has lovely conformation. I expect her to be a knockout after she matures.
Chanson is my pretty girl, and she has the LA score to prove it. But, I think you can see for yourself. (out of Oasis Storm X Tahoma Mikado)
This is Mansa. (out of Blythmoor PayDay X Tahoma Mikado) She is Aru's sister. I believe she will be stunning as she matures. She has a very sweet personality to match. Most of PayDay's kids have that white bracelet on their leg. Mansa is named after my supervisor at TNQ in Chennai.
This is Vidhya. None of the customers wanted her because she wasn't a flashy color. So, I'm keeping her. She is polled. Vidhya is super sweet, a real snuggler, and a bit shy with strangers. She is out of Hailey, who is my superstar in the herd for milk production and butterfat. So, I believe she has a bright future in the hoof prints of her mom.
Here is the doe herd, afraid to come out of the barn lest a drop of rain land on any of them. Front Left: Mansa and Ice Cream; Center L-R: Chanson, Aru, Tahoma Mikado, Hailey, Poem (screaming at me for attention), Muru, and Vidhya; Magnificent (Maggie) is resting on top of the manger; Limerick is peeking out from the sleeping area in back with her bucklings. You don't see Hopeful in the picture because she has climbed up on my shoulders as I try to get the picture!
MR Blue MacLibbyHeart (Mac) is our senior buck at 3 years old. He sired all the kids last year; we retained Hopeful and Maggie. He's really quite something. Mac is my younger son's number one favorite goat.
Our second most senior buck is of my own breeding: Goat Mountain View Dusty Storm (Dusty). (out of Goat Mountain View Oasis Storm X Goat Mountain View Poem) He is polled and has magnificent width through his rump and hocks. He's also very sweet and gentle. Dusty is the grandson of Goat Mountain View Xlnt Storm, and we are grateful to keep this magnificent line going through him.
Blythmoor PayDay, who just turned a year old last month, sired most of this year's kids. He is just stunning, and he appraised quite well as young stock last June. He was a bit too busy trying to get enough grass before the rain hit hard, so I didn't get very good pictures of him. He throws his coloring and markings, as seen in his kids; it will be exciting to see if he also throws his awesome conformation and his mom's superior udder (SGCH Blythmoor HM Almond Joy 3*M).
The youngest buck is 10-month-old Tuppence Magnum Opus. He's still a baby, but he's already got kids on the ground: Violet and Twilight. He comes from one of the finest Nigerian Dwarf herds in the nation, whose breeder is Penny Tyler. I am very grateful for Penny's generous gift of Magnum.
It's been a long, wet winter in the Seattle area. In fact, it's been the wettest winter in recorded history. Fortunately, the mama goats and their young kids have been content to stay in their barn and lounging yard thus far. Today, we had a nice sun break (this is Pacific Northwest terminology for a time when the sun briefly comes out from hiding behind our persistent cloud cover). When we do get a sun break, we all rush outside to enjoy it. Hailey's kids (Murugaraj, Vidhya, and Ice Cream) are too small to go out yet, as they could easily get picked up by a bald eagle. And, Vivek has a tummy ache. So, those babies stayed inside the barn by the heat lamp. All the other kids and their moms had a wonderful time romping and chomping on green grass. Here are some pictures. (Note: I took these with a Sigma DC 18-125 on my Pentax K-10.)
I'd like to point out that my greatest desire in life is to be able to move through life with grace. My mom made a point of always being kind to others, no matter how testy the situation. It takes a lot of grace to pull this off, to hold one's tongue, to take the high road. You may not have considered this, but taking care of your physical health will boost your ability to be mentally and spiritually sound as well. A very important daily habit to ensure good health is to read your Bible each day. I read mine at night, as this gives me great peace for a restful night's sleep. Sleep is so very important. Here are my favorite Bibles:
Once a year
Twice a year
Once a month
Eat well; eat local
I hope you have gotten some good ideas from my blog post. I am not perfect by any means. I am always learning. And, I have a terrible love for sugary treats. I do my best to be good, staying away from yummy chocolates, donuts, cakes, and other such enticing desserts. But, I am not always successful. I could do well to lose a few pounds. At any rate, this protocol has kept me healthy and working long and hard each day. I rarely get sick. I can't even remember the last time I've had a cold or flu. If I do feel that scratch in the back of my throat, I take a dose of Sambucus (Subscribe&Save) and a cup of Stash's Meyer Lemon tea with a spoonful of Wakera raw raspberry honey in it. For more information on nutrition, check out Natural News.
It has come to the time of year that I start to see posts on the Facebook goat groups of newer breeders looking for advice on kidding preparations. I don't dare comment on the posts because there are always a group of "been there just long enough" folks who respond with vitriol to my suggestions. (Don't these folks have day jobs?!) These are the muddled through it a couple of times folk who are convinced they know it all. This is my twelfth kidding season, and I have real-life experience in the field of veterinary technology. I also cut my goat-herder teeth under the mentorship of Sue Reith and Colleen La Marsh, with more recent advice from Penny Tyler and Joan Hicks. So, I do get offended when these just-past-newbie folks start their hate speech as if I just fell off the apple cart. But, I do want to help those who are sincerely looking for advice. This blog post is my answer.
Here's your routine disclaimer: This protocol has worked for me over the years. I don't lose mamas nor kids, and the kids grow fast (to the point that some buyers have been a bit concerned over how much bigger my kids are than others...trust me, they all even out by a year old). Please consult with your vet and your local farm agent before deciding firmly on any protocol. I would like you to pay particular attention to the specific nutritional needs in your geographic area. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where our soils are notoriously deficient in copper and selenium. So, I have to supplement accordingly.
One month before kidding
One week before kidding
What if things don't go right?
The day after kidding
Other items on your to do list
The purpose of today's blog post is to highlight an editing product that I enjoy using: PerfectIt Pro by Intelligent Editing. In a recent bit of correspondence that I had with the CEO of Intelligent Editing, Daniel Heuman wrote, "We're a small company too. So if you like the product, please do tell other editors." It seems most useful to describe how I incorporate this product into my workflow, so one does not get the impression that it is the sum of my endeavor. PerfectIt is a tool that I use as one of the many steps in my daily work. I am happy to promote it in the interest of helping another small company thrive in today's marketplace.
I have established my own copyediting groove that works quite well for me. I thoroughly enjoy my work and feel I am able to edit with consistency and accuracy using my humble method. I imagine your method may not be so very different. But, styles will necessarily differ according to our individual personalities and the content of our texts. I copyedit academic books in the genres of science, technology, and medicine (mostly to be published by Elsevier, though I also do a bit of work for small clients such as ICNC). My specialty is language editing, and the bulk of my work is written by authors for whom English is a second language.
1. The high-altitude flyover
When I first open a new document in Word, I immediately turn on Track Changes and save the document. (Note: I use Word 2016.) During my flyover, I keep the document in All Markup mode.
Next, I open the Navigation Pane by clicking in the lower-left corner of Word, and I select Headings. I read through all the headings, checking for proper hierarchy, spelling, and application of the appropriate heading style (ie, sentence or title case).
Satisfied with the headings, I return to the top of the document and start skimming through the content. I am looking for style items and obvious misspellings (highlighted by the wavy red underline). I focus on things like hyphenation, matching parenthesis and quotation marks (as well as the quotes being the correct format for either US or UK style), capitalization of terms, number usage, proper citation numbering, and bullet item punctuation. At this stage, I don't worry too much about finding each and every error, as you will see why later.
While I skim through the document, I pay attention to any queries that have been left for me to address.
Then, I return to the top of the document and do my search and replace operations. Common replacements include items such as Figure to Fig., i.e. to ie, and e.g. to eg. Sometimes, there are also specific replacements that the project manager has indicated in the style sheet. I never do a global search and replace, instead choosing to look at each occurrence and voluntarily replacing the text. The reason for this is the unhappy opportunity to accidentally replace text in the references, which should not be haphazardly mangled. References are sacred!
2. Run PerfectIt Pro
Now, I place the text into No Markup mode and run PerfectIt.
Here is where the magic of this wonderful program becomes apparent. You can set up your own style sheet. I follow Elsevier house style, with support from CMOS and AMA. There are also individual style points for each book. I can easily tell PerfectIt how I want the program to suggest corrections.
As I run PerfectIt, the program will cycle through different categories of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, style, etc., and ask me in each case that it finds a group of like disparities how I would like to handle them. This is why I don't worry too much about catching every style error in my flyover. I basically just want to establish a guideline of what I want in terms of style. When PerfectIt scans the text, the program will find inconsistencies between the author's original usage and my edits. PerfectIt will pop up a box that essentially says, "Human, how would you like to remedy this lack of consistency?" Options for repair are presented, and I have the opportunity to see each and every occurrence of the discrepancy highlighted in the text. I simply choose an option and click Fix.
Another nice feature of PerfectIt is that I can quickly toggle between US and UK spelling before running the scan. I flip back and forth between the two styles on a daily basis, often even throughout the day. Most of the books I work on are written by numerous authors from around the world. Elsevier keeps the style of English for each chapter to match that of the particular authors of that chapter. I applaud this decision as it helps to preserve the author's voice, which should be paramount to every copyeditor.
3. The snail's pace through each and every word
Now, it is finally time to read my document. I keep the document in No Markup mode, and I use the Ctrl key + the scroll wheel on my mouse to greatly enlarge the text. I use a 24-inch monitor, yet I still ramp up that text size to almost obscene proportions. There is a reason to my madness. First, I want to ensure I see everything, including any little bit of stray punctuation, even if it has been formatted into subscript italic (I've seen it!). Also, I find that changing the size of the text helps me view the document in a fresh way.
As I read through the document, I use a handful of reference materials on a regular basis:
Here is a view of my customized ribbon in Word. I don't need many choices from the top menu. You can also see that I hide the menu choices below the tabs. The main keys I use on the keyboard are Backspace and the comma. And, I have set up the following keyboard shortcuts that I use liberally: Alt + n for n-dash and Alt + m for m-dash. I also make good use of the popup menu invoked by double-clicking on words in MS Word.
4. Take a step back and enjoy the scenery
I return to the top of my document, still in No Markup mode. I now use the Ctrl key + the mouse scroll wheel to dial the text back down to an average size. I read through the document again, but with a different purpose. Often, when concentrating on grammar and punctuation issues in Step 3, I can miss catching the flow of the text overall. I want to ensure my author's work really shines. So, I take a step back in my approach to the text, reading it with a freer pace: a canter rather than a trot. I make every effort to edit the text in such a way that it flows freely and sensibly, so the author's meaning is most accurately, and pleasantly, presented.
During the second reading, I also make sure I have not introduced any errors into the text during my earlier edits. It is the cardinal sin of copyediting to introduce mistakes into the author's work.
5. ESL author? Play it again, Sam
Some of the best talent in the fields of science, medicine, and technology comes from countries other than the United States, Canada, or Great Britain. These authors are brilliant in their field, and they write well in their own language. But, my job as a language editor is to transform the text into something that resembles that written by a native English-speaking author. So, I often have to read through the document a third time to ensure the text reads well and properly conveys the author's meaning.
6. The Itsy Bitsy Spider
My document is now quite lovely, and I am very pleased. I've worked hard for my author. But, I'm not done yet. I now go back up through the document backward. I have the mode set to All Markup so I can double-check my queries to the author as I go. (I use the Insert Comment feature in Track Changes for queries.) Hopefully, it is obvious to you that I am not reading the document on this pass. I am looking for patterns.
Patterns happen to be my forte. I would like to mention here that I was the first person to discover evidence of detachment faulting on Mount Barrow in California. Why? I noticed a rock that had a pattern different than what one would expect to see based on the current theory of faulting for that landform: a mylonite! I wonder how many geologists walked right past that rock on the trail before me. My genius with patterns is also why I worked as a cartographer and Geographic Information System analyst for most of my career.
So, I look for patterns. The English language is beautiful, not only in how it sounds when read, but also how it appears on paper (or large digital monitor). The rhythm of the sentence, its punctuation, the formatting of the math equations ... there is a beautiful pattern to all of it. (This is one of the reasons why I adore the Oxford comma.) Where the pattern strays is where an error lurks.
Now, it's time to save that document and upload it to the server! Ah, how can it already be 2 a.m.?
Note: It is likely that you will ask if I have tried other editing software products.
Yes, I have. I first chose Grammarly. I would like to say that I really love Grammarly's grammar checking app for online applications. But, I can't currently use it because it is not compatible with my current browser (a Firefox product on Windows 10). I did purchase the software plug-in for Word a couple years ago. It was nice, but I had a lot of issues with it glitching on me. It caused Word to freeze often. And, I did not prefer the inline pull-outs for errors. I guess if you choose to look at Grammarly's suggestions as you read, that would be a benefit. But, I don't want to be distracted by someone else's suggested edits (and all the colored underlines) while I carefully read through the document. PerfectIt is superior in my opinion because it treats the repairs as a separate step and because it groups errors by type. Also, Grammarly is probably better suited to writers rather than editors. I say this because of Grammarly's contextual spelling, vocabulary enhancement, and similar features. I have this information in my head. What I really need is a program that helps me to follow the style sheet for each book. That said, I do follow Grammarly on Facebook and thoroughly enjoy their entertaining posts.
How about using Word's spell and grammar check? Oh, please, don't even suggest it. I shall not comment further on that, except to say that I actually disable most all of Word's proofing and auto-correct options. Shall I give you an example why? Yesterday I was editing the following bit of text from "coccus (plural cocci)" to "coccus (pl. cocci)." If I would have left Word's default options intact, Word would have automatically capitalized Cocci (as is appears after a period). This, of course, breaks the cardinal rule of copyediting: do not introduce any error into your author's work!
I had also purchased a product from Whitesmoke at one time. I don't see the particular product displayed on their current website, so they either discontinued it or renamed it. I was never able to get it running properly. Word crashed each time I tried to launch it. It also did some nasty things to the document text while running (or attempting to run). I went back and forth with their technical support to no avail. So, I asked for a refund and never looked back.
Attention ACES members: You can receive a discount on PerfectIt Pro with your ACES membership.
Here I am, ready to milk my Nigerian Dwarf goats this morning. This is a picture of my new Ultimate EZ Milker that I just purchased this past spring. I've been using the hand-held Udderly EZ Milker for 8 years. I'm a big fan of the EZ Milker as I have a lot of pain in my joints, which is exacerbated by milking tiny Nigerian teats. I usually only milk one doe a year for my family's table milk and for making soap, as that has been enough to satisfy our needs. Historically, I've always milked Limerick. Last year, I gave Limerick the year off and milked her granddaughter Poem instead. But, this year I chose to go on DHIR Milk Test and was expecting to be milking 6 does twice a day, so I upgraded to the electric Ultimate EZ Milker.
(p.s. The Ultimate EZ Milker will SOON have a portable solar unit to power the milker!)
I recently saw a post on one of the Facebook groups for Nigerian breeders that asked how folks got their milking systems to the barn each morning. I saw pictures of wagons, carts, and such. Goodness sakes, that would be quite a lot of overkill for Nigerians. If we were blessed with living on flat land, I might be able to swing something like that. But, we live on a hillside, so I have to navigate two sets of stairs between the house and barn. I am very grateful for the handy canvas bag for my Ultimate EZ Milker (picked out by Buck Wheeler's insightful wife Karen). I just loop the handles over one arm and carry my little stainless-steel bucket full of collection bottles in the other hand--easy as pie and very lightweight (which is a huge blessing as I am in the most pain early in the morning).
Here, you see Goat Mountain View Limerick during her milking. (Don't ask me why my does squat while being milked, just their weird thing.) It only takes a minute or two to fill the bottles, so I had to snap the photos quickly! She is only a couple weeks fresh here, so I am still able to (just barely) use the 8-oz bottles, filling them to the rim. I pop a lambar nipple on top, and I am ready to feed kids.
As you can see, Limerick is relaxed and content. The Ultimate EZ fills those bottles so quickly, that even my "Hoover" cannot finish her grain before she is done being milked. So, I use the extra time to dump, bleach, scrub, and re-fill all four water buckets while she finishes her breakfast.
There have been some folks on the Facebook group spreading the rumor that the EZ Milkers cause "hickeys" on the goats' teats, ruin their udders, and give them mastitis. That has certainly not been the case on my farm. It concerns me what kind of psi breeders are cranking up to cause such issues. There is a very visible mark on the psi gauge to not exceed 11 psi for goats. I usually have mine set at 10 psi. On the hand-held milker, you only need to pump until the milk flows. Use the smallest collection bottle available that will hold the amount of milk produced from your goat, and you will have faster milk collection that doesn't need much suction.
Here are Limerick's teats. Tell me, do those look bruised and damaged? Nope. I've used the Udderly EZ Milker on Limerick for 6 years and the Ultimate on her this year. She's never had a case of mastitis. (Limerick is a gold doe with spots, so those are freckles, not injuries.)
Another option is to just milk one teat at a time. Buck Wheeler told me that Mary Jane Butters does this so she has more time to relax in the barn. I absolutely understand! Milking is one of my few moments of down-time during the day as I work as a copyeditor, teach homeschool, run the farm, handcraft goats milk soap, and also do all the normal things a housewife/mom does during the day.
For those folks in the Pacific Northwest who have believed the story that anything that is not a pulsating system is bad for the goats, please do some independent thinking on this point. I told Buck that I used a breast pump just fine on myself with no ill effects, and I was a very milky mama. OK, maybe TMI, but that is an important part of the story. If someone would have tried to stick a pulsating claw on me, I would have slapped them! Ha, ha. Really, think about: if Buck's system hurt the teats and udders of milkers, would someone like Mary Jane Butters be using it on her $6,000 mini-Jersey heifers? Try placing the inflation on your own hand and see what the suction feels like. It is very gentle. Think about the amount of suction you use to suck the chocolate cake batter off the tip of your finger (who bakes a cake without tasting?). That is what the suction feels like.
Here is Hailey being milked one side at a time. I'm using my favorite collection bottle on her: the 18-oz bottle. Thank you so very much, Buck, for the recent gift of more bottles!
I do bring the collection bottles back into the house so I can add a spoonful of yogurt to each bottle. My friend Penny Tyler just recommended this to me, so it is my first year adding yogurt to the bottles. The babies like it, and they are all thriving. I prefer using the EZ Milker collection bottles because the opening is big enough that I can easily spoon a bit of yogurt into the top. But, for my really young Nigerians, I use a Pritchard nipple. So, I have to use a smaller necked bottle, and therefore the assistance of a funnel to get the milk and yogurt inside.
Here are the bottles ready to load back into my bucket to take to the nursery.
My 3-year-old Nigerian Dwarf named Poem will be kidding tonight or tomorrow. Here are her pre-kidding photos. I just love this doe!
And, for some fun, here are the babies after getting their bottles. Well, Tuppence Magnum Opus was not so happy when the milk ran out; silly baby!
Yeah, they all look calm here--little angels. But when they hit those bottles, it's a completely different story! Now that they have full tummies, they are all going to curl up in a Pile O'Babies and nap.
One of the best parts of the Ultimate EZ Milker is the cleanup. Here is what I just had to wash after my morning milking and kid feeding. Yeah, seriously--that's it! I feel sorry for the folks who have to have a dedicated utility sink for washing out collection jugs, claws, and milk lines. I can see that if you have a cow, or maybe a herd of 20 standard-sized dairy goats. But, for a handful of Nigerians, this is all that is really needed. And, you will only pay a quarter of the price of a regular milking system.
Well, time to get back to work copyediting. I am currently working on Amazonite: Mineralogy, Crystalchemistry and Typomorphism by Ostrooumov. Later, I'll make some goat milk soap. I think I want to make another batch for my twin nephews' birthday. They are going off to college in the fall. I'm going to make sure those boys are scrubbed clean and smelling sweet, so they meet some nice girls <wink>.
Buck, you need to tell me which scents you and Karen like so I can send you a couple sample bars! Pick from here: http://www.editormelinda.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html
Folks, please ensure you read the comments below, as there is more good information there. (Things I didn't think about when quickly writing this post!)
Update: 9 pm -- Poem just gave birth to twins: a doeling that will be retained named Trinity and a wether for a 4H family that they are naming Mario. Trinity is a light buckskin (Poem has a light buckskin doeling every year, e.g., see Virelai) and Mario is a tri-color buckskin with roaned cape. He is a big boy too!
Folks sometimes ask me which curriculum I use. They assume I buy a package deal from one of the big book sellers. I prefer to pick and choose from many of those big book sellers, in addition to using some resources that might not be as well known. It is great to be able to tailor the curriculum to each child's specific strengths and needs. But, it does take a bit more effort in gathering all the materials together, especially in finding them at a good price.
I had quite a lot of things left over for fourth grade from my older son. So, this saved me quite a lot. I still did a lot of customizing though. My fourth-grade son is very strong in math, critical thinking, and reading. He has a lot of trouble with handwriting and dreads creative writing. Well, at least he hates creative writing when it's a school assignment. He will write lots of stories in his free time, so I went with that this year. In the vein of Charlotte Mason, it's fine to leave the things that cause tears until the child is a bit older. This is why we stopped cursive writing after a month. We'll pick that back up again next year.
These were all great materials. DS got halfway through the next year of math with the TT Math 5, so he will finish that next year. He also completed Math Analogies II and Balance Benders Beginning. Those were consumables so were already recycled a couple months ago. When he finished those, I bought The Basics of Critical Thinking, which he will finish next year.
These are all great materials as well. They will all be for sale in a week. Only parts of the first chapter in the notebooking journal were completed. DS did not enjoy the journal. We read the astronomy book together--Charlotte Mason style. He enjoyed that, and I learned a lot as well!
I had planned to use Intermediate Language Lessons, but DS hated it. So, I scrambled and ordered the A Beka Language A, which was also a hit with my older son. I had the readers left over from my older son. The bindings are getting pretty worn on them. He also read lots of books from the library, all three of the Warriors series, as well as the Dawn of the Clans books, and listened to many classics on audiobook, courtesy of Kitsap Regional Library.
Most of these books were consumables, so will be recycled. But, I will be selling all the A Beka readers (right side), the Intermediate Language Lessons, Editor in Chief, and Reading Detective.
History was great this year because DS is a wonderful reader. He made it through the first seven books of the History of US series. I love to have the boys read biographies as well. I had a fancy custom reading list of books from the library for my older son when he did fourth grade. But, this year was busy for me, so I was grateful to lean on the Benge's for biographies. And, we used good ole dependable A Beka for our history spine text and geography. I also had him do the Modern Curriculum Press Maps, Charts, and Graphs. I think it was Level C. The cover has since torn off and gotten lost.
We are keeping the History of US series to finish it later. But, the Benge biographies are for sale. See which titles are available below.
I am also selling this set of GeoPuzzles. It turns out that DS is not a fan of puzzles, so he only did each one a couple of times. They are like new. Each state/country is its own puzzle piece.
We finished the first Apologia worldview book: Who is God? DS said he really liked that book and found it very helpful. I had read it to him, with Charlotte Mason-style narration. So, I bought the second in the series: Who am I? We will finish that one next year, and I expect I'll be buying the third volume mid-year. I really recommend this worldview series. I gave the first volume to a friend.
My son did not like the Memoria Press Christian Studies IV, so that is for sale. Only one lesson has been completed in it.
The Switched-On Schoolhouse Bible 3 is also for sale.
We are keeping the Egermeier's because that book is a gem. I hope to read that to grandchildren some day!
The Benge biographies are for sale. They are excellent. I read those to him so I could hear them too! See them below.
DS loved the A Beka music (which is a consumable) and has asked to continue with Theory II next year (do you have one to sell me?). I asked him if he wanted to start taking piano lessons with Debbie Valenta like his big brother, but he says he wants to concentrate on the flutaphone for another year. Yes, he was very serious about his flutaphone. God bless little boys who are content with staying little boys for a while.
The Rosetta Stone was not a hit. DS found it confusing. It is for sale and includes everything except the headphones and free 3-month online subscription.
Both the art and the health books are for sale. The health book is a consumable, but we did it orally. So, it is still like new.
Wow, is this year really almost over? This was an amazing year. I worked in the evenings as a copyeditor and was running outside on breaks to do farm chores during the day, so school had to run smoothly. And, it did!
We just did our annual academic testing that is required under law for the state of Washington. I chose the Terra Nova again this year. I haven't gotten the results back yet. But, I did snoop through the boys' answers. I got a good idea how they did by comparing what they wrote down to what I would have chosen as the answer. I actually had tears in my eyes when I saw that DS got 100% in language mechanics. Do you know what that means? Editor Melinda can someday become Editor Melinda and Son!
No homeschool today in honor of our fallen veterans of war. So, I had a bit of time to play with my old Pentax this morning. I was using my kit lens, which is a very nice lens for being the freebie given away with the camera. It actually came with my very old Pentax istDL, but I am using it on my Pentax K10. It's a 18-55 mm SMC DA. I love the color that I get with Pentax, and this kit lens is auto-focus, which is always nice for a relaxing morning with the goats. In fact, I was so relaxed, I just left it on aperture preferred, set at F 6.7.
I'm going to separate out the pictures by goat, so folks can get a good idea of the conformation of each animal. Some of them are wearing coats, so there are not as many good pictures of them. I will get those another day when it is warm. Today, it is overcast with a cool, wet breeze coming in off Liberty Bay. I've been clipping goats to get ready for both ADGA Linear Appraisal and kidding. They are quite ready to be done with their scratchy winter coats anyhow.
Disclaimer: I was supposed to be forking out their yard this morning. Well, I've had a tremendous amount of pain in my foot, so walking back and forth with the wheelbarrow to the compost pile is out of the question for me today. I need to keep my wits about me so I can copyedit a 60-page chapter on Good Manufacturing Practice compliance in the manufacture of cell-based medicines this evening. Being in pain does not help me stay sharp for copyediting. So, please overlook the terribly untidy condition of the yard and focus instead on the lovely goats :)
Ah, PayDay. This little boy is a dream come true for me. He is 3.5 months old and is out of SGCH Blythmoor HM Almond Joy 3*M, who has an LA score of 90. His dad is Diji Farm SD Gunslinger, who is polled. PayDay reminds me of a little Clydesdale horse. He's so strong, with a super soft, wooly coat, and a little heart-shaped nose that begs me to kiss it. Yes, I do kiss this buckling. I love him that much!
Goat Mountain View Dust Storm
I could take pictures of this boy all day long. I absolutely love Dusty. He is a yearling out of Goat Mountain View Poem and Goat Mountain View Oasis Storm. He has Oasis Storm's wonderful back end: super wide and strong. He has his mom's depth and dairy character. His genetics are too tight to the does in my line to use him with those that I have linebred for this past decade. But, he would be very nice with my Tahoma does. Dusty is going to my friend Penny at Tuppence herd. Penny was planning to come out today to see him, but she is not feeling well--so here are some pictures for you to hopefully brighten your day!
Goat Mountain View Thundrstorm
Here is the boy affectionately known as Mr. Personality. He's got such a lovely face, dreamy blue eyes, and when he is in full coat (recently clipped here), he looks magnificent with his enormous mane and dorsal (that he likes to wear mohawk-style). He also has a bit too much personality. Thundrstorm is not quite a brat, but certainly close considering he is very friendly = always climbing up on you for kisses. He is also the one usually in trouble if there is any amongst the bucks, though they rarely get in trouble. Thundrstorm is going to my friend Joan's at Tahoma herd, also not too far away in case I want to use him again. He is out of Wag's Ranch S'Mores Pi and Goat Mountain View Oasis Storm. It will be a bit tough at first to separate Dusty and Thundrstorm, as they are very close. But, it is needed as they play and play and play and play. Thundrstorm never stops to rest because he just loooooves the ladies. Yeah, he is obsessed, and he has been obsessed every since he was 2.5 months old and trying to breed his mom, which is the same age when his dad DID breed mom Lyric. Yep, family trait...grandfather Xlnt Storm was the same way. Speaking of the ladies, Thundrstorm bred Tahoma Sonnet and Goat Mountain View Poem, who are due in weeks.
M.R. Blue MacLibbyHeart
Mac is a sweet, gentle soul who is more interested in being our family's lap-pet than chasing the ladies. But, he did breed Lyric, Hailey, and Mikado, who will be kidding in about two weeks! I guess he just saves his energy for when he actually gets to be together with the doe--maybe this boy is a bit smarter than Dusty and Thundrstorm, who run themselves ragged lolling and grunting at the fence of the doe's yard or headbutting until their heads bleed. Mac's mom has the nice medial ligament that I'm chasing after to improve the udders on my does, which are really nice, so I'm being quite picky at this point in the game. He has nice dairy character. Mac is available for stud.
Goat Mountain View Limerick
I dearly love this old gal. Limerick is 8 years old, has given me 19 beautiful kids, and 16 of those have been doelings! Once, she gave me quadruplet does. She is very consistent in the kids she produces, almost like a goatie assembly line. Every year, there is a solid gold doeling that knocks your socks off; there is often a chocolate buckskin doe, and usually a gold doe with a white belly band. Someone explain to me why I have always sold her knock-your-socks off gold doeling each year? Well, I intend to keep it this year! Reverie, Hailey, and Rondeau are some of her chocolate buckskin does. Lyric is a gold doeling that was actually the runt of triplets. I sold her sisters after weaning, but I wanted to retain Lyric longer so she could have more time on mom's milk to grow strong. Well, things got busy, and she never got sold. I'm so glad because I love Lyric.
But, the main reason why I love this old goat so much is because she is so very sweet. Limerick is a total lovebug; she is the favorite of everyone in my family. She's the doe that I can rest my head on at the end of a hard day, while she calmly chews her cud and watches over her herd. What a great doe for herd matron she is.
Limerick is also the doe that I usually milk each year. She is a wonderful producer with a lovely udder. And, she is cool as a cucumber on the milk stand. She produces enough milk to satisfy the needs for my family's table.
Goat Mountain View Reverie
Six-year-old Reverie is our self-assigned watch goat. She always keeps an eye out for threats to the herd, though not just at this minute. She is puffy and pregnant, and the only coat that I could find to fit her has terriers all over it. Oh, the humiliation in the doe yard. But, this particular coat is very thick and well insulated = recently clipped mommy doe falls asleep while still standing. Reverie is my largest doe and is standoffish. Her kids are always very friendly though.
Sonnet joined our herd this past winter, and she has been a hit with everyone. Look at that sweet face! She is an absolute love. Sonnet adores being scratched by humans, and all the does seem to love giving her scratches with their heads too. She came from Puyallup, which is a bit more chilly in the winter than we are here on the coast of the Puget Sound. So, she was very grateful to get rid of her super thick coat, though also grateful for this extra-padded coat this morning. She always seems to be in a good mood--thus, her nickname is Sunny Sonnet.
Mikado is my shy girl. There are times when, if I sit still in the barn for a while, she will come alongside me to get her neck scratched. But, generally, she does not want to be approached. But, she is very good about coming to the milk stand when called and stands nicely without ever a kick, so I don't complain. I especially don't complain because Mikado is gorgeous. I love this doe's conformation and deep mahogany coloring, just lovely. Also, she is an easy keeper: calm, gentle, and never gets into mischief.
Goat Mountain View Poem
Poem is a rock star. Reverie usually throws gorgeous bucklings, who I castrate and sell to pet homes. One year, she gave me a single doe, and it had been a tough year for me, and Poem was a really good snuggler...so she never was sold. I named her after one of my favorite Bible verses: Ephesians 2:10. The Greek word that is translated as "workmanship" is poema. Once Limerick retires, this pretty doe will easily step into Limerick's place. Poem is very long, refined, with lots of depth, and she has beautiful kids. She is also consistent in her babies, as Limerick is. (She is Limerick's granddaughter.) Poem usually throws light buckskin kids who are long with great dairy character. Last year, I gave Limerick the year off from milking and milked Poem instead. She milks just as nicely, with great capacity...though she did try to pull the drama queen play the first couple months on the stand. But, such is often the case with does that were very spoiled as babies.
Goat Mountain View Lyric
OK, OK, what is with the odd haircut? This is something I do with the Angora rabbits when the weather is cool (they are next for shearing!). Lyric is the first to kid: June 7th! So, I decided to clip her top half and give her some time to grow a bit of length on it before doing her bottom half, which I will clip close closer to kidding time (and if the weather doesn't warm, I will only clip her udder). Her coat looks odd, but look at that lovely topline! In fact, this one is nicknamed Lovely Lyric because she is lovely in many ways. She is a very sweet, gentle doe, similar in personality to Mikado. Lyric went through a phase as a yearling and two-year-old doe where she was very shy. Now, she has become quite the lover and has really won my heart. She was the mom of Oasis Storm and gave him his terrific rear view, which he threw to his kids. She is a great mom as well. She also does well under pressure, as she got bred back (accidentally!) by her precocious 2.5-month-old son, carried triplets without a fuss, and then gave me gorgeous twins (Gadget and Gidget) just 7 months later. So, as a 3-yr-old, she will be on her fourth freshening early next month. Through it all, even being junior in the pecking order, she never lost condition. Yep, she's a keeper!
Goat Mountain View Hailey
Hailey is another amazing doe in her own way. She is abundantly calm and easygoing. A bomb could go off and Hailey would just stand there chewing her cud. She will even let other does babies stand on her back to reach the upper portions of the manger. She is so wide through her body that she is the perfect choice for goat surfing, like her mom Limerick. She loves to be brushed, so her coat always stays nice. Hailey gave me triplets as a first freshening yearling, with plenty of milk. Her udder is so tight to her body, it is surprising when you see how much milk goes into the bucket, as she doesn't appear as capacious as she is.
Wag's Ranch S'Mores Pi
I traded Jane Wagman Goat Mountain View Alexandra (Hailey's sister) for S'Mores Pi. It turns out that Alexandra is a bit of a stinker (though a lovely doe) and doesn't like to be touched. I think I got the better end of the deal as far as temperament is concerned because S'Mores is the ultimate sweetie pie. She is the mom of Mr. Personality (Thundrstorm). S'Mores went to another breeder to be bred to an outside buck (Millers Buckaroo Freedom) so I could bring in some new genetics (as I kept S'Mores' son as a herd buck). S'Mores had a single doeling, Constellation, who is now in my herd. S'Mores did not fare well while away from our farm. She was at the other breeder's for nine months and was down to condition score 1 when I brought her back home two months ago. She integrated right back into the herd, as all the does love her. Who wouldn't? But, I believe she may never reach her potential as she did not have proper nutrition during her growth as a yearling doe. I may choose to place her with a loving home as a pet. She is a petite doe who is very friendly, gentle, and obedient--certainly a very easy keeper.
Goat Mountain View Rondeau
Rondeau is my yearling doe out of Limerick. I have her registered as a tricolor, but I need to learn that Limerick usually has one chocolate buckskin--and they always seem to morph color as they age! Such is the case with Rondeau, who is now a chocolate buckskin with a belly band and extensive roaning. She is going through her lanky yearling phase right now. But, this is one long doeling--long body and long legs. She reminds me of a deer. Rondeau was the champion goat surfing kid last year (not so hard when you mom is as wide as a tug boat) and would always find a way to ride on my shoulders as well. As a yearling, she is a bit more cautious. But, I know this line; she will be back to kisses galore once she turns 3 years old. I plan to breed her for the first time in the fall.
Goat Mountain View Chanson
Chanson is my yearling doe out of Mikado. I'll bet you could have guessed that, as they look so similar. Chanson is as wild as the hills and equates human touch to being burned with white-hot coals. But, that doesn't bother me because this little doe is gorgeous! She may be the prettiest doeling ever born on my farm. I had taken Oasis Storm over to my friend Joan's house. I asked her, "Pick out the doe that would be a match made in heaven with Oasis." She's been breeding Nigerians for a couple decades, so this was not hard for her (it would have been for me!). Mikado went home with me and gave me lovely twins. The boy was very nice, but there are enough bucks in the world, so he was sold as a pet. Chanson has her mom's dairy character and lovely coloring in addition to an improvement in the rump and very pretty head courtesy of Oasis. She also will be bred for the first time in the fall.
Goat Mountain View Virelai
Um, so this is awkward--I didn't get any decent shots of Virelai. Well, I wasn't really paying attention to how many pictures I took of each goat. And, she is swimming in this bulky coat. Virelai is a very pretty, petite, blue-eyed, polled doe out of Goat Mountain View Poem and Goat Mountain View Oasis Storm. She is Dusty's sister. There was also a tri-colored doeling in the litter named Dreamer. I was calling that doe Screamer because she was such a needy baby, but the buyer convinced me to change it to something nice. And what do you know? She no longer screams. Anyhow, Virelai stayed here on the farm because she was the runt of the three. This was not due to any lack of milk production on her mom's part. No, Virelai was an absolute space cadet as a baby. She was the ADD goat, constantly getting distracted by all the interesting things in the big world and forgetting to nurse. Her siblings never forgot though! Though she was slower to grow, she is turning out to be a very nice doe. She is long like her mom with Oasis' nice back end. And, she is the world's most mellow goat. Yeah, even more easygoing than Hailey. I know, you didn't believe that was possible. Virelai was a big hit at the nursing home last year because you can pretty much pick her up and move her anywhere you like, and she is absolutely relaxed, doesn't even miss a chew on her cud.
Blythmoor Coffee Bean
Coffee Bean was purchased to be a companion to PayDay, as I had no kids of my own yet in February. She is out of Blythmoor Jelly Bean and Gunslinger (same polled sire as PayDay). The jury is still out on whether or not she is polled. I asked Margie, "Is she long and straight?" When Margie answered in the affirmative, I said, "Sold!" She is a lovely doe with a great personality. I am very pleased with her indeed. She is very well blended, smooth, and well set. Speaking of "long and straight," I asked my friend Penny about that on the phone the other night. I have a bit of an obsession with that in goats. I told her that it could be that I've gone overboard and now have goats that are too long. She has been breeding Nigerians for 25 years and used to be a judge. Penny said, "It's not possible." I take that as a wonderful excuse to continue my obsession. There was a line from some movie, "I only have one weakness...." Yep.
I had a rare experience today where I actually caught up on my copyediting work by dinner time. Well, I chose to skip dinner and, instead, go sit out in the pasture with my old Pentax K10 fitted with a Sigma 18-125mm. The does were all in a good mood, chowing down on grass in their last month of pregnancy. It was a really lovely break.
Melinda Joy Weer
Freelance Copyeditor, Farmer, Homeschool Teacher, Retired GIS Analyst, Programmer, Cartographer, Structural Geologist.