Farming definitely slows down in the winter.... well, at least this winter. Last year at this time, I was milking a goat. Which meant in inclement weather, I spent a whole lot of time attempting to coax a most reluctant milk goat up the milking stand ramp. And while that may sound like riotous fun, actually...it wasn't. However, having said that, I will confess to you that, maybe, just a tiny bit, I miss milking....wait....don't say anything... I *do* .... maybe not the coaxing part...or the part where my hands freeze.... but, the joy of just going out every day and getting fresh milk for my family...yes, I admit, I miss it....which amuses me if you must know.
Anyway, way back in August, we decided to sell all of our goats but Annie - the milk goat, and Raven - the new one born in the spring to a mother that wasn't as good a milker as Annie. One of the ones sold was Raven's brother, Thunder. Thunder, Raven, and Sugar (their momma) were all in the fenced in area with Annie. (Trust me...this is going somewhere...eventually). Apparently, directly before we sold little Thunder, he was showing some interest in Annie. Which was not a good thing....because he was a Nigerian/Nubian mix and his momma wasn't an excellent milker...so, I didn't want him breeding my favorite sweet tempered Annie. We had other designs for her...in the form of a worthy Nubian buck with good lines.
So, we sold little Thunder and his momma and brought home Jem Dandy...just for Annie. It was an arranged marriage....they had no say so in the matter.... but, like all parents who arrange marriages for their children, we knew best.
So, here's Jem... all big and Nubian....
We started out putting him in a different pen...just to get him accustomed to things ...and to let Annie and Raven get used to the idea of him being around. A few weeks later, we decide to go ahead and put him in with the girls. Was Annie interested at all? No. No, she wasn't. Not a bit. Which was disconcerting, to say the least. I mean, this was her betrothed... the one for her!! And there he was... excited to be with his new love... chasing her around...to no avail. And she wasn't just being coy... it continued on in this manner and has to this day, to the best of my knowledge. Which leads us to an interesting conclusion... did little Thunder breed my blue ribbon milk goat?!!? (ok...so, she's never actually received a blue ribbon, but she's blue ribbon quality) Alas, we think he did. And if he did...it would've been in August...which puts my goat kidding in January. So, now...I'm all pins and needles...is she pregnant?? Is she going to kid so that I can begin milking her again?? Will she throw a girl who is as good a milker as she is??
Regarding the milking question, you may wonder what the Fox Family is currently doing for milk. Well, I'll tell you...we're drinking goat milk. Back in the summer, we decided that since we knew we were going to dry her off and breed her again, we should freeze some milk. We got started a little late in the game, though...because we *are* still learning. We really don't have enough left to last until March or April ...which is when we normally have baby goats, so we're thinking if she does kid in January, this could just work out perfectly with the dwindling milk supply. But, we'll see.... For now, it's a waiting game.