Sunday, February 27, 2011

Hits and Misses

It's been a long winter, hasn't it? For us in western Oregon, winter means that if it's not dark and raining, it's gloomy and pouring (except for the day or two where it's freezing and snowing). I find myself desperately trying to find things to keep our imaginations and spirits alive until spring, and hopefully drier weather, returns.

Therefore, I've recently started a project I call E.W.G. or Experimenting with Goats. Now, before anyone freaks out and thinks I'm doing evil medical experiments on my goat boys, let me just say this is not the case. Not yet anyway. (kidding!!)

Instead, I'm experimenting with food. You know, goat-y likes and dislikes. Rumor has it that goats will eat anything and *everything*...tin cans, paper, ivy, wood, garbage - but in my experience, this is not true. I have, however, found myself to be quite surprised by some of the things they will, and won't, eat.

And so, without further ado, here are...
Pete and Reggie's Food Hits and Misses of February 2011

FOOD ITEM: Asparagus
Hit or Miss?: A resolute MISS

While some attention was paid initially to the scent:

The majority of the action was around the dish rather than eating from the dish. They stood over it:

Head-butted next to it:

And turned their backs on it:

Pretty clear message there.

FOOD ITEM: Bananas
Hit or Miss?: A resounding HIT!

Well, at least for Pete. Reggie did the whole sniff and taste thing, but Pete ultimately was the one to gobble that whole blasted banana (including the peel) down:

Reggie: Sniff, sniff:

Pete: Nom, nom, nom:

Reggie: sniff, sniff, sniff:

Reggie: A dainty and noncommittal taste:

Pete: "!"
Reggie: "I wonder if I could scratch my head on this.":

The banana had a 50/50 rating with my taste testers. Half of them loved it, the other half wanted to just play with it.

FOOD ITEM: Cauliflower
Hit or Miss?: A crunchy HIT

Ever wondered what to do with the greenery and stalky ends of your cauliflower? Feed it to your goats!:

Despite this picture making it appear otherwise, both boys loved this tasty treat. Nice tongue, Pete:

It was good to see Reggie finally enjoying something as much as Pete:

FOOD ITEM: Douglas Fir Tree Branches
Hit or Miss?: A seasonal HIT

Since there are very few bushes or blackberries for them to chew on right now, and also since we just felled that 50' Douglas Fir tree a few weekends ago, fir branches have been big on the menu lately. Fortunately, they love it.
And it makes their breath smell "Piney Fresh"!:

FOOD ITEM: Leek tops
Hit or Miss: A definite MISS!

While Pete and Reggie both tried to be polite, and did significant and energetic amounts of sniffing and mouthing, very little of this made it down either of their throats:

Reggie did the whole "lipping" thing again:

...followed by more of his trademark "sniff, sniff":

And then the leeks went into the compost bucket.

FOOD ITEM: Raisins
Hit or Miss?: A HIT that made me laugh and laugh (Thanks for the idea, Chai Chai at Homestead from Scratch!)

Who knew raisins could be such fun?!:

Both boys wanted to eat them before I could even get them out of the box:

They sucked them out of my hand so fast:

I poured some out then onto the stump and Reggie took great care in closely examining each one:

...before inhaling them all:

Leaving Pete to wonder what they should do next:

So, they head-butted:

FOOD ITEM: Sunflower Seeds
Hit or Miss?: OHMYGOSH- CRAZY HIT!!!

The lure of black-oil sunflower seeds is almost impossible for anyone to resist, apparently. The wild birds love it, my chickens love it and now...:

I couldn't get a non-blurry photo of them eating because they were so frantic to slurp these babies out of my hand:

This treat had a 100% success rate, no question about it:

My husband thinks I spoil my animals. I tell him he's nuts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A major distraction

So, I need to fess up.

I basically got nothing, beyond animal care and picture-taking, done today.

I know many of you have been dealing with the situation I was in today for what probably seems like months now, but my part of northwest Oregon sure hasn't.

This was our first "big one" of the year.

So, while you might groan and shake your head at me, we were absolutely delighted this morning when we woke up to this:

About 4 1/2" of the lovely white stuff:

It came down hard last night and left our small farm feeling like it was a cozy mountain-side retreat.

The little snowman I made outside our bedroom door last night had lost some of his definition and his candy necklace had all but disappeared in the new snow:

And, darn, I guess I won't be pruning back these raspberries today:

The chickens were happy to see me coming with breakfast, though:

All was well inside the run - however, there was a great deal of excited chatter over what was going on outside:

Skippy, who grows bolder with each passing day, was particularly talkative and wanted to tell me all about it:

Morning, boys! (They look like they've got those bands across their eyes to protect their privacy, don't they?):

Hey Beau, you've got something on your nose:

No, it's still there:

And, yes, if you tilt your head like that I can't see it at all:

Rain or shine or snow, there are some things that still need doing every day:

But as I was doing those things, I found myself totally distracted: how different everything looked. Everything around me looked even more beautiful than usual.

And I mean everything:

That'll do, donkey:

And although there was a lot of other stuff needing done:

I found myself mesmerized by the smallest details:

Uh oh. Looks like these raspberries aren't going to get pruned today either:

After feeding, I headed into the house to get Roxy - she loves the snow:

She raced around like a puppy:

And then she posed for me:


Until she got cold:

And needed to put her new coat on:

The big critters were completely surprised by the blue-green bullet speeding by:

And it took poor Kai, who normally takes Roxy completely in stride, a while to figure out that the turquoise-garbed critter was not a threat:

They did eventually work it out. Fortunately:

But I'm telling you, with all this going on, it was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to focus on anything else: