I hate goats !!!

My neighbour is a stock man.  An old fashioned stockman, pushing 80 years old, and he has forgotten more about stock than I’ll ever know.  When I complain to him about this or that, he pulls his hat brim askew, hunches his shoulders and drawls a la Gomer Pyle, “First you gotta be smarter than the…(dog, horse, sheep, mule etc”).  This does nothing to make me feel better.  In fact it makes me feel worse.

I’ve divided the sheep barn in half.  Of course not having sheep anymore, I guess its not really the sheep barn anymore, but that’s been its name for 30 years.  It’s a hard habit to break.  One half is now the winter chicken coop, and the other is is the combo goat, pig and dog barn.  There’s only five goats, Momma Goat and her four babies, IMG_2785my Pot Belly pig Dolores, affectionately known as PigPig, IMG_2933and my sheep guardian dog, Queen, whom I call Big Dog.  IMG_5745There’s lot of room for these few creatures, if they would just SHARE.  But goats don’t share with anyone!

PigPig has one corner, which I’ve piled high with sweet hay–she burrows in and is nice and warm and cosy.  But I’ve noticed the past little while, since I blocked the goats from going into the chicken side and torturing the chickens, PigPig has been getting grumpier and grumpier.  Yesterday I happened to notice the young goats were tap dancing all over my pig.  They pack down the hay and PigPig was moving closer to the edge of the pile every day because it was looser and she could burrow part of the way in.  Well, her head mostly and her back was all exposed.  The temperature her has been hovering around the -30C mark, colder with the windchill and poor PigPig was freezing.  Damn goats.

So  I decided to fix up a goat proof corner for Pig.  I found an 4 x 8 sheet of particle board and cut a couple of pieces of rough 2 x 4’s and blocked off her corner.  I had to coax her in with dog biscuits but once she realized the goats weren’t dancing on her back she burrowed into the centre of the pile and I hope she will be warm tonight.  I hung a heat lamp on the goat side–Momma goat will lay under the lamp and the littles will lay with her and hopefully not bother the pig.

So why do I hate goats you are asking?  Not because they are pure evil.  Not because they torture every other animal on the farm.  Not because they tortured my pig in particular (I love my Pig!).

I hate goats because they are smarter than I am…

A new year

Nothing makes me happier than finishing something, using it up…Something from the pantry, from the freezer, or some project I’m working on.  I like to imagine crossing these things off my giant to do list.  And along with that I love being able to just go out to the deep freeze and bring in something yummy I don’t have to cook, just re-heat, cause I’ve already cooked it weeks ago.  I love making big batches of spagetti sauce, filled with garden zuchinni, onions, tomatoes, carrots for sweetness and peppers for heat.  I love to take out bags of peas and beans that I’ve blanched and frozen, each pea a sweet green jewel and each bean a slender green thread of summer.  I still have garden carrots in the fridge and pounds of garden potatoes in the pump house.  And slowly they are being eaten up, making room for the next crop.  I also love souvenirs that are either edible or useful. IMG_5042 I brought my son back a lovely sharp sheep milk cheese from Spain, and tonight we finished it off grated, and sprinkled thickly over a really good spagetti sauce I took from the freezer.  IMG_5885And I’ve been wearing my Galician housecoat–light but warm and keeps me from wearing everything I cook. cropped galician housecoat This weekend I also finished off the rabbits–I’ve boned out half of them for sausage and yesterday roasted the bones and scraps golden brown, and today boiled them up into a rich broth.  I will  freeze this broth and use it as a base for soups and stews and gravies.  This year, as usual, I will make no resolutions. But I would like to make a serious effort to use, use up or dispose of many of the things I accumulated over the years.  Having walked for six weeks on the Camino, carrying everything on my back, I really don’t think I need so many things.  Literally, on the Camino, possessions were a burden.  Back home I have so many things, an accumulated burden, however much I hide them here or there…so this time next year I would like very much to have reduced my number of things.