Sunday, February 27, 2011

Baby Goats

Yes, we have baby goats.  Two little girls came to us when they were 6 days old.  They came from my friend Leslie's amazing farm in Bodega Salmon Creek Ranch.  She has free range New Zealand Kiko goats and Muscovy ducks, and I mean FREE RANGE.  The goats roam the entire ranch with the protection of Anatolian shepherds that protect the goats from coyotes and mountain lions and the ducks from hawks, owls and coyotes.   Guard dogs are so important on a functioning ranch with free range animals.

Spring is baby goat season and Leslie is overwhelmed.  When the mother goats do the work it is managable, but when the mama's refuge their babies, than the humans have to take over and do all of the work.  So Leslie asked if we would like to bottle feed some babies for 7 weeks, and return them to the ranch after they are off the bottle.  In return for this work and effort, she will pay us with goat meat.  

For those of you that may need to bottle feed some goats in the future here is the recipe for goat formula:

1 gallon whole milk
1 12 ounce can evaporated milk
1 cup whole milk buttermilk

Little Imogen turns out to be a goat whisperer :)

Both children are enjoying the babies and Gage likes to feed them.  The goats, now named Marc and Mazy (yes we know they are both girls), follow us around and bring a lot of energy and happiness to our days.

Even Seamus is enjoying the babies.  He is a blue healer/lab mix and the blue healer is coming out.  He tries to herd the baby goats, but also would love to play with them.  They both try to nurse on Seamus's belly and penis, which doesn't seem to bother him a bit.  :)

For the next 6 weeks we truly have an urban homestead.  We now have 1 dog, 1 cat, 4 chickens and 2 baby goats and we are all loving it.  :)

Kisses for Imogen



More soon on these wonderful, crazy, precocious baby goats.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Girls

We have had the girls for 4 weeks now, it is time for introductions.

Here they are . . .

What a pretty backside they have :)

We (I mean Gage) named them Yoko, Minnow, Boulder and Cookie.  Cookie was actually named by the neighbor Ryan when she flew into their yard.  He specifically asked if we would name her Cookie and after his help in capturing her safely, how could I refuse?  To read more about the escape and rescue of our Cookie take a look at this post What the Bleep!





The girls are about 6 months old and still scrawny teenagers.  They will plump up in the next couple of months into big, round chickens.  As well as excellent layers!

Other members of the family enjoy watching the girls.

Some find maybe a little too much enjoyment out of watching them :)

So now I am thinking maybe 4 isn't enough.  Hmmmm. .   maybe we'll get a couple of chicks to add to our flock.  Time to lock up the girls for the night.   Good night.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thick, chewy, yummy granola bars

I am in trouble.  I made these wonderful, thick, chewy and healthy granola bars.  A wonderful snack for the kids, made without preservatives or additives in my own kitchen.  The problem is, I can't stop eating them!  It doesn't matter how healthy something is, it becomes unhealthy when you don't stop.  So try these, they are wonderful.  But do so with a warning, they are irresistible.

It has been raining and raining and raining.  We have been making forts and obstacle courses.  Coming up with as many interesting, active, indoor activities as possible in a home without a basement, playroom or padded room with straight jackets.  All of these activities are fun and they can be quite stimulating.  However, when I look outside and see dark skies at noon and rain coming down what I really want to do, my truly favorite indoor activity is baking.  There is always bread to be made.  But my no-knead method (bread, bread, bread post) has made bread making a truly efficient project, taking up very little rainy day, indoor time.  As well I can only make so many cookies, cakes and other sweets - so I have sought out healthy and interesting snacks we can all enjoy.  My new favorite granola bars, sweetened with honey and dried fruit.

Here is the granola bar recipe.  I found this recipe at, I made a few alterations and added a few suggestions.  Please feel free to play with the recipe and make whatever changes seem tasty to you.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats (if gluten-free, be sure to use gluten-free oats)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (I found you don't need any sugar the bars are sweet enough with the honey,  if you do however choose to add some sugar feel free to use any kind you'd like.  I found the dark brown sugar adds good flavor)
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender, or any kind of flour you'd like if you are not concerned about the bars being gluten free.  I also enjoy halving the flour and adding half wheat germ/half flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)*(mix it up, add whatever you have in your cupboard, I added peanuts and cranberries delicious, if you have nut allergies you can add all fruit, it will be sweeter so reduce your sugar)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used almond butter) (you can also add tahini or sunflower butter for the families with nut allergies)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey, maple syrup or agave syrup 
2 tablespoons barley malt syrup or brown rice syrup (the recipe called for corn syrup, I never use it, but it can be used as well)
1 tablespoon water

Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost under baked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. (Alternately, after about 20 minutes you can use your parchment “sling” to lift and remove the bars, and place them in their paper on the rack to cool the rest of the way. This can speed the process up.)
Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares. [Updating to note, as many had crumbling issues:] If bars seem crumbly, chill the pan of them further in the fridge for 30 minutes which will fully set the “glue”, then cut them cold. To store, wrap the bars individually in plastic or stack them in an airtight container. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.
*Suggestions: Dried cranberries, apricots, pecans, sunflower seeds, coconut, walnuts, sesame seeds, pepitas, dried apples or even chocolate chips. My mix: 1/2 cup wheat germ, 1 cup dried cherries, 1 cup walnuts, 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes. Because my pieces were all pretty coarse, I pulsed them in the food processor a few times to break it up a little, though this isn’t necessary if you don’t mind yours chunkier.

Enjoy and try, just try eating only one!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Solution

I simply can not have my chickens going over the fence ever again.  As well I don't want to be anxious about chickens going over the fence, so I "fixed" the problem.  I eliminated, or at least highly reduced the  possibility of chickens going over the fence.

Here are the numerous steps of my solution:

Step 1:  Lock the girls up about an hour before dusk.  It appears that they search out the perfect roost rather than quietly roaming into their coop.  So I eliminated the options - coop it is.

Step 2:  Clip their wings.  Clipping their wings was relatively easy.  Catching them was the hardest part - after that they relaxed and submitted easily to the clipping.  I don't have any pictures, but check out this link to give you an idea what they look like before and after.

Step 3:  Raise the bar, or at least the fence.  I added additional fencing to their run, increasing the height by about 2 feet.  The addition is flexible so if the girls somehow make it up there I hope they become extremely disoriented by the shifting surface and flap back over to their side of the fence.

It has been a little over a week and no more chickens over the fence, or even trying.  It seems a few natural steps have taken place as well.  The first one is time.  Let the girls get used to their home and they don't want to leave.  Second, they have found the roosting perch in their coop.  So no more searching for a place to roost for the girls, it appears they have found it.  :)