Big Joe

Here’s a funny story I had to share.

This year several of us kids decided that we’d really love to have a big bean bag chair. Katie and I used to have them when we were little kids and enjoyed them immensely (envision two little girls jumping off beds onto bean bags chairs) Well, we’re a little more sophisticated than that now and thought that the comfy chairs would come in handy for extra seating in our rooms.

Several of these were to be Christmas presents for this year. Katie and I volunteered to go and pick up the “Big Joe’s” from Wal-Mart. We hopped into my little car and drove off in high spirits.

Arriving at said store, we grabbed two carts and headed back to the household section. Once we started loading them into our cart, we realized that this was going to prove a bit trickier than we had first envisioned. I remembered the chairs from my youth as being a lot more flexible but at any rate we managed to stack/cram all five into two carts. Katie led the way with two in her cart and I brought up the rear with the last three, blindly bumping into displays until Katie took pity on me and led me in the right direction amid the stares of our curious fellow shoppers. (I couldn’t see over the tops of the blasted things!)

We paid for our goods and then hurried out to the car. Here’s where it really got tricky. Katie managed (with great difficulty!) to stuff three in the back seat while I crammed one into the trunk, but here we were stuck with one more that had to go somewhere. A friendly old gentleman offered to escort the remaining “Big Joe” to our house, but we politely declined, and wishing him the merriest of Christmas’s we managed to maneuver the last one on top of Katie in the front seat. As the driver, my vision was greatly impaired by all of the extra “Joes” in my car. We cracked the windows for air (it got stuffy!) and took the back roads home.

Haha! What an adventure! It has afforded us several good laughs.

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We Used to Have Goats…

goat face

We used to have goats. We enjoyed them while we had them, for the most part. They definitely had their moments. (I.e dragging little girls across the pasture after milking, getting out of their pen, and then there was that one who would bite…) We kept them as milk goats and had a small dairy goatshare program. Well, a few years ago, during our annual planning season, we were assessing the farm, realizing we were running out of grass and so one of the herbivorous species had to go, and we decided that it would be the goats. It was a hard decision to make because one of the reasons we started goat shares originally was because we had some customers who needed it for health reasons. We finally decided to go ahead with it and were glad after we had done it, feeling like we had made the right choice in the long run.

Well, fast forward a few years and totally unrelated, some dear, family friends of ours are getting married! The parents of the groom asked us if we could milk a couple of their goats Saturday morning on our way up to the wedding. Sure, no problem, we’ve got this!

We left a little early so we’d have plenty of time to get to the wedding. We thought about bringing a change of clothes. Nah, we’re pros, right? We can do this in church clothes, no problem. (A gross underestimation) As an after thought, I grabbed a bag of baby wipes so we could clean our hands afterwards.

Everything was going according to plan and after we did our farm chores we hopped over to our friend’s house to milk the goats. We stood outside the goat pen, admiring the small fortress our friends had built for their goats. Man, we could have used something like this!

“This will be a piece of cake,” we thought to ourselves, hitching up our skirts and letting ourselves in at the gate. Our friends had said not to worry about saving the milk so we planned to hold their collars and milk them out on the ground, ten minutes tops and we’d be out of there, right? Nope.

Time makes the memory a great forgiver.

A small chase ensued for the first goat which would have none of being still while we tried to milk her in the pen.

Fine. We’ll take her up to the milk stantion, no big deal. I took hold of one goat while Maddie got another.

My goat jumped up onto the stantion easy enough but when I began to milk her she started kicking for all she was worth. I doggedly kept at it and as she smeared the sleeve of my church coat with grime, the grim realization of what we had taken on began to steal over me. Good thing I had packed the baby wipes.

We repeated the process several times until all five goats were milked. One of the goats was in heat and so the buck was chasing her around and it was all we could do to escape his horrible stink. (Any farmers out there will know what I mean)

After a harrowing escape, all the goats were milked, including the one in heat and the buck was successfully avoided. We locked them up again and then proceeded to wipe down with the baby wipes, praying we wouldn’t show up at the wedding smelling like buck goat and kicking ourselves for not bringing a change of clothes.

“Hey, I brought lotion!” Maddie said, so we slathered some lotion over the wet parts and kept going.

Well, the wedding went off beautifully and no one said anything about a goat smell so I guess we were good. It sure made for a good laugh though! Raising goats is not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

Farmer’s Daughter Notes // Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

We were in the middle of dinner when we remembered that the pigs still had to be moved. It was about 6pm. Dad and oldest Son had headed off to Georgia on a father-son adventure that morning and so we women folk were holding down the fort. Of course we had a list to help us remember all the things that Dad and oldest Son do, (They sure do a lot!) and then we remembered that one last thing we had forgotten; moving the pigs. So off we trooped to complete the task. Middle Sister had spent an hour or more creating the new paddock and now all that was left was to shoo them in, right? Wrong. Their shelter still needed to be pulled into the new pen, that was easy enough, the only problem was that it had been there for a while and after rain and piggy mud puddles on hot days, the shelter had turned into something of a castle surrounded by a moat. Hills of nice, packed dirt rose up steeply on the insides of the shelter creating a stubbornly rooted abode. Using the tractor we appropriated the front loader to lift the shelter over the hills. Now the shelter was pretty heavy and caused the back tires of the tractor to lift slightly (With second Sister still in the seat) sending Mom and oldest Daughter into a slight panic. Second Daughter assured them that she had the situation well in hand. After pushing at the front end of the shelter she made her way around the moat to the other side and pushed at that end. The back end was really stuck and didn’t appear to want to give at all.

“We’ll just have to expand their current pen and give them some more pasture” Someone said.

“But Dad said he didn’t want them tearing up that part of the pasture.” Middle Sister said, gesturing to the new paddock she had set up on the other side, “I set up the new paddock where he wanted it.”

“Well, he’s not here to give us advice on the shelter,” Someone shot back. (He was also out of cell range)

Middle sister, who had worked so hard on the paddock that afternoon, among her other chores, began to get teary.

“Its ok!” I comforted, stretching out my hand towards her.

“No its not!” She said, rubbing at her eyes with a short, jerking motion. (We had now been working on this project for about an hour.)

Second Sister saw the tears from her perch on the tractor and the Stone-Wall Wilson gene kicked in. A determined gleam shone in her eye as she pushed the tractor into gear and gave orders for little brother to run up and grab her boots. (Did I forget to mention that the majority of us were wearing flip-flops. Yep. Just call us the flip flop farmers)

Up crept the tractor tires again as she used the front loader to lift the back of the shelter over the hump. After much lifting and pushing and shoving the shelter was successfully dislodged from the hill and over the moat. We cheered. surely the next part, moving the pigs, wouldn’t be so bad. About that time, brother came running back with the boots and the pig round-up began. The herding them up wasn’t so bad, we got them up to the edge of their old paddock just fine and then they came to a dead stop. They refused to cross the line. Now, if you’ve ever been out to our farm and walked back to see the pigs, you’ve probably noticed that all it takes is a little old bitty wire to keep them in. When moved to a new paddock, it only takes about one or two times for them to find the fence, realize, “ouch, this thing bites!” and then they are (pretty much) forever trained to never cross the line. Well, here we are trying to move them, we’ve removed the wire at that corner but they won’t cross the invisible line. We coaxed and pleaded. We ran up to the house and found some succulent watermelon rinds, but to no avail. They settled themselves right down in the corner and started digging around in the dirt, just inches away from their new paddock. We started to press them a little, urging them to cross the line, then the pigs started getting nervous and then, oops! One broke through the ranks and dashed back to the far corner of the old paddock, followed by the rest of the herd. We repeated this process about three more times. Time is ticking, the sun has disappeared behind the trees and the mosquitoes are starting to get bad.

To be continued…

-Morgan