Living my dream, Part 3
Thursday, December 20, 2012

I have been working on the outside, trying to get the building and land to a maintenance state. I haven't started to restore the house other than complete painting and carpeting of the upstairs and restoring the rooms to a livable state.  There is much to do there.


I replaced the roof with steel last year.  Every year since '02', shingles would blow off and I would have the replaced in the Spring.  When I was going to work one night at 10 PM, shingles blew off and hit me in the head and I took it as a sign and contracted to have it done.  It took from March to August and one man falling off and two separate crews.  This is a story in itself.

The old corn crib is 3/4 sided and saved.  The three car garage's roof was so swayed, it was close to collapse. I have reinforced it and restored it to 90% straight. 


Living my dream, Part 2
Thursday, December 20, 2012

I had to dig and restore all the water lines and hydrants.  The old lead pipes were not salva
gable.  I am still working on getting electricity to all the buildings.  I have reworked the electicity every year. Eventually every building will be steeled and saved.  I have steel purchased and I am slowly saving each building.

The quonset hut was the first outside building to be tackled. Big chunks of steel had to be replaced, the trees that had grown into the side had to be removed and every single screen had to be replaced with two at cross angle because they had pulled loose over the years and stripped the wood.  It was my first experience of thinking a simple job was all it would be
.

I had to replace fence around the whole farm. I replaced the woven wire fence with high tensile electric and used cattle panel to segment the different pastures so I can rotate them.

I have saved the summer kitchen and chicken house which I have sided and insulated to use for a future fodder system project. Originally, I wanted to use it as a heated nursery for babies in distress.

Living my dream, Part 1
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I am living my dream.  I have had dairy goats for 30 years and as my farm's name suggests it is my "heart's quest" to see my animals vibrant, thriving and paying for themselves.

I live on a 130 year old Century farm.  It has been pieced out over the years and I  wound up with four acres and the home place.  I purchased the acreage because of the wonderful old buildings and have slowly been restoring the to be viable.

The farm was distressed after years of neglect, and it is still a work in progress.  I had a bulldozer in to bury the years of trash and mismanagement.  The barn had forty years of old hay.   I had to remove the hay and burn it.  In it there were old horse stalls and dirt floors.  The original wood floor was gone.  I cleaned and junked the inside and poured concrete.  The roof was so full of holes, it rained more inside than out.  It cost me $18,000 to just steel roof it.


My beloved friend, Lincoln
Sunday, August 26, 2012
 
I have started this several times...but some eulogies are hard.   My Lincoln passed a few weeks ago.  She was one of my 'Old Ones'.   The ones who let you get close to their heart.  In return they take a little chunk of yours when they leave. 

She was a white old style lamanca with a heart of gold.  Her name was given to her by a friend.  She had this distinctive long beard (ergo Lincoln) huge dragon eyes and a perpetual smile. Even in when she was weak she would come to the gate when she saw you.

She loved treats especially almonds.  I would stop by the fence when I dove in the yard because she would have her head all the way through it reaching a begging.  When you were close that pink tongue would start darting out even before the treat was close. (Very endearing) Her being one of the best mothers, she could keep track of triplets, a hard thing to do with goat babies, milked tons and even bossed the dogs.  That trait along with intelligence, beautiful udders and loving characteristics she passed on to her offspring.  That makes keepers.

I have had goats about 30 years and 10, 12, and up to 14 years are not uncommon. I keep my friends, I guess I am not a good farmer. Profit is not my top priority. But love and kindness is.  Lincoln, along  with Mousie, Kissey Face, Hog Meat, Butt Rubber, Old Lady and too many others to mention are waiting for me on the other side of the 'Rainbow Bridge'  along with a horse, dog and cat or two.  I will be a happy woman when I cross and see their loved faces. It is reassuring to know the animals who filled my heart with such joy will be there to greet me.
 
  


Henry the Pig
Monday, July 02, 2012

At one of our trips to the sale barn, I met Henry.  He came into the ring dragging his broken rear leg behind him.  He was around 5 – 10 pounds and so cute.  No one wanted him.  I bid $5 and got him.  He was a trip.  The back leg healed in a few weeks like it was never broken. 

I would feed the calves and he would follow me around.  When the calf was through, he would get any leftovers from the calf's bottle.  I would leave some in for him.  He would sit on his haunches and suck the bottle.

When we sold him at 50 lbs, he was big, fat and shiny white.  I missed him, but we needed the money.

 

Appalachian Farm Living near Philo, Ohio
Saturday, June 02, 2012

What I remember about the farm - beauty.  You could go on walks through mostly deciduous trees, up and down hills.  There were rock out croppings and streams  This is where I saw my first indigo bunting.  They are beautiful little birds, the size of wrens, iridescent blue and would flit through the trees so quick they would be hard to see.

The does I allowed free range in the hill.  They were so healthy, being able to feed off the natural forest. Goats are genetically deer.  They browse, not graze.  They like plants 18 inches off the ground and woody.

Talking of woody, one day I saw this man walking to our house across the field with twenty of so of my fine beauties following him.  He came to the house and asked if these were ours.  I thought “oh, oh”.  He owned an apple orchard and my girls where making snacks of his saplings (their favorite snack).  They were stripping the bark and killing his trees.  He was not a happy camper.  After that we checked the electric fence more often.


Buying goats for the first time
Saturday, June 02, 2012

My first experience in the buying of goats in the sale barn.

We decided we would like a couple more does to keep Betsy company and eat down the weeds.  So we went to the sale barn and bought two beautiful alpine does.  One was a cow bland and the other spotted.

In our ignorance we tied them to concrete blocks and let them eat our weeds.  We had over a hundred and twenty five acres very suited for goats with blackberries, forest under growth,  ginseng and trees, trees, trees.

Anyway, we discovered the errors of our ways when we noticed our girls' spigots in the wrong place.  We were so green; the does we bought were Wethers.  We learned fast.
  

The beginnings ... the 1980s and Betsy
The beginnings ... the 1980s and Betsy
Friday, June 01, 2012

Betsy....A Toggenburg (although at the time I didn't know it).  A true junk yard dog who loved me with all her heart.  Whenever I was out and about, she was there.  If any other goat or even the dogs would get close, she would run them off.  This began my love affair with goats.

She was a classic Toggenburg, with long horns and a nice warm brown color.  At the time I knew nothing about goats, but she was a diamond in the rough.  She was well put together with nice straight legs, level back, pretty Toggenburg disk face, deep chest, but petite and dairy.

She was originally my former brother-in-law's family goat.  They purchased her from a neighbor who tied goats out on his banks to eat weeds.

I took her from my brother-in-law's family when I caught their children beating her with sticks.  I don't know if they children did that out of ignorance or fear.  Either way, it was an appalling time.  Children and animals need guardian angels and I became hers.

Linda Dushane's Blog
Heart's Quest Dairy Goats
Linda May DuShane