Wednesday, August 4

Wednesday Dose of Cute: Other People's Cute, Tractor Woes, and a Little Barnyard Animal Challenge

Many of you have expressed an interest in hearing more about what my day to day life is like out here in the country—both the good and the bad parts—so lately I've been trying to include more farm life tidbits and stories in some of my posts. I'm also still working that Frequently Asked Farmgirl Questions page. The FAFQ page is up!

There are so many things I've learned during the past 16 years that I simply take for granted, until I stop and remind myself things like there was a time when I had no idea what a bottle baby was, let alone anything about taking care of one, and that maybe you'd like to know something about them, too, rather than just seeing the pictures.

Of course once I start writing I have a tendency to ramble on, and since I'm not a very fast writer, these sort of posts take me a while to complete. My goal is to get back to sharing something here every day, with longer posts interspersed between the shorter ones, along with lots more recipes.

If you enjoy these farm life tidbits and stories and would like to see more of them, I'd love for you to let me know. And if you come here more for the pictures than the words, please let me know that, too! Anonymous comments can be left, and you're also welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com. It can sometimes take me a while to reply to e-mail, but as always, your feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Other People's Cute 1

Other People's Cute 2

Other People's Cute 3

Other People's Cute 4

Other People's Cute 5

Other People's Cute 6

Other People's Cute 7

Other People's Cute 8

Other People's Cute 9

Some of you may remember last summer when our big old tractor up and died during haying season. Fortunately we were able to finish the job with the help of a neighbor's borrowed tractor (actually the second one we borrowed, which was remarkably similar in appearance to our own) and some beyond the call of duty effort from our feisty little old diesel tractor. Boy, was that a long and not fun haying season—not that any haying season is ever actually fun. Rewarding, but not fun.

Since we were pretty sure the problem with the big tractor was very serious (read very expensive), we put off getting it fixed for months. Then a little mid-winter stroll through Shiny New Tractor Row at the farm store ($36,000 for a new tractor that doesn't even have a cab?!) convinced us that fixing a tractor we already owned would probably be worthwhile no matter what the cost.

So in early March we bit the bullet, started asking around for a good tractor mechanic, found one not too far away, and ended up paying his brother (who just happened to be the person little Fernando had gone to live with a few weeks earlier—another little tale I may or may not ever get around to telling you) to haul our big broken tractor up our extremely steep driveway and over for a visit to what we hoped would be Fix It Cheap and Easy Town.

And that's where these rambunctious little cutie pies come in. I did photograph the whole tractor hauling adventure (which was actually pretty exciting, as farm stuff goes, though part of me can't believe I just typed that), but I figured most of you would probably find adorable baby animal pictures a lot more interesting.

It turns out that the tractor guy has sheep and dairy goats, and when we drove over to his farm a couple days later to check on our tractor (and have him custom weld a piece of exhaust pipe for our other tractor after an exhausting search both on and offline for a replacement came up empty), it took me about three seconds to zoom in on the cutest critters there.

Most baby animals are understandably scared of strangers—especially people—but these guys were all bottle babies, which means that if that protective fencing hadn't been between us, they probably would have raced over and knocked me flat on the ground in an attempt to get the bottles of milk they were sure I must be holding.

There are different ways farmers who keep dairy animals deal with dairy animal babies, which the mothers have to keep having in order for the milk to keep flowing. Some sell them off right away to people who then bottle raise them. A friend of mine who used to raise dairy goats said she always kept a 'buck list;' whenever a buck (boy) was born, she gave it one bottle of mother's milk, then started working her way down the names on the list. If someone came and picked up the baby goat (which they would either keep as a new daddy goat for their own herd or butcher for meat) right away, the cost was $15. If she had to feed it for another day or two, the cost went up to $40.

If you're going to keep the babies on your farm—either until they're big enough to sell, or because they're girls and you want to add them to your own dairy herd—you have a couple of choices. Some people immediately separate the newborns permanently from their mothers and raise them on a bottle. Depending on what they normally do with the milk from their dairy animals, the babies may be fed their own mother's milk (with some of the mother's milk held back for sale or personal consumption), or they might be given milk replacer, which is a powder you buy in a bag and mix with water.

If a farmer has both dairy cows and goats—or even just one dairy cow—the baby goats might be raised on cow's milk. When I raise bottle lambs who are orphaned or can't nurse on their mother for some reason (like Cary), I give them raw, full cream Jersey cow's milk I buy from friend who lives about 6 miles down the road, mixed with a small amount of milk replacer (which is really expensive) because sheep's milk is much richer than cow's milk.

Another option is to milk the mother once a day instead of the usual two times, and let the baby get its own milk during part of the day, but this means you have to specially disinfect the mother's udder each time you milk her. No solution is perfect; some take more time, some cost more money.

The babies in these pictures were 100% bottle fed, and boy were they cute. The tractor guy tried to talk me into taking one or two of the females home with me ("Goat milk is really good for you, and these are gonna be some great milkers!"), but I was easily able to restrain myself.

As romantic as the idea of fresh milk (and butter and cheese) sounds, I know that I'm just not up to taking on the responsibility of milking something twice a day, every single day, basically at the same times each day, no matter what. Instead each Monday I gratefully buy two to three gallons of raw Jersey milk from that friend I mentioned (who pays one of our Amish neighbors $40 a day to come over and milk her cows when her family goes out of town). And yet with all that freed up time not spent milking, I still never have time to my own cheese and butter—but I really want to.

Okay, so here's the barnyard challenge: Carefully hidden amongst these baby goats is a little lamb, a triplet that was pulled off its mother and bottle fed in order to ease the strain on mom. Can you tell which one it is?

As for our big tractor, the problem turned out to be something much less serious—and costly—than we'd thought, so we even sprang for new brakes (it literally had no brakes left) while it was already up in the shop. Unfortunately it started acting up again once we had it hauled back home, and even a farm visit from the tractor guy didn't solve the problem. Joe got it to limp along for those two early hay cuttings we did, but he's afraid it really is the big problem he originally feared, and because of the rickety old state this antique tractor is in, it may or may not be worth spending the several thousand dollars it will probably cost to fix it.

We still need to cut more hay this summer—there are 617 bales stacked in the barn so far and we could really use about 300 more—and while now would actually be the perfect time to recut the section of the hayfield we cut earlier, I'm not up to the extreme physical challenge of picking up and stacking hundreds of bales of hay just yet. We'd started looking around at used tractors for sale a few months ago, but my recent week long hospital stay put a big crimp in that plan, so if everything goes according to plan, some time in the next two months both the big tractor and I will make our way out into the hayfield and do the best we can.

Want some more farm life experience right now? I'm working on creating a bunch of new index pages so you'll be able to find things a lot easier around here, but in the meantime I'll keep leaving you lots of links:
6/3/05: An Unexpected Beginning (my very first blog post)
That Outfit Could Kill You
6/27/05: Chocolate Chip Sheep & Chocolate Chip Cookies
7/31/05: When? Soon (Living on Country Time)
Whoa! Farm Visitors

4/12/06: Hearts and Rocks and Numbers and Thoughts
4/13/06: Shepherd's Nightmare
5/14/06: A Tiny Tail for Mother's Day (the story of baby Cary)
How to Ensure a Happy Haying Crew
7/21/06: And Sheeeeeeee's SAFE!
7/18/06: The Tail of a Donkey and His Ratty Blue Halter
9/1/06: Happy Hour in the Garden

1/19/07: Merrily, Merrily, Merrily, Life is but a Stream
1/31/07: Sheep Shearing Early for a Change
2/3/07: Snowstorms and Sheep Shearing
2/11/07: Sheep Shearing Day 2007—Cary's First Woolcut!
The Tail of Two Mothers—A Mother's Day Story from the Farm
6/7/07: Farewell, New Cat
7/28/07: (It Only Looks Like) A Picture Perfect Walk in the Woods
10/19/07: New Face in the Cat Cabin

2/3/08: Handyman Special
3/10/08: Broccoli Soup & Recharging Your Dead Batteries (Because Setting Them on Fire Isn't an Option)
3/13/08: Cary, No Baby
3/19/08: Flood Watch
4/20/08: Chick Days Are Here Again!
4/27/08: A Big Sunday Feast and a Mysterious Little Owl
9/18/08: Putting Up Hay and Losing Electricity
9/24/08: The Higher and Higher Cost of Farming
11/23/08: Heat Cheat

1/1/09: Happy Happy, New New
1/27/09: The Stuff of Farm Life—Losing Lambs and Lottie
5/6/09: Baby Cary is Three Years Old Today!
7/1/09: A Day in the Hay
9/19/09: Bye Bye Sheep Barn! (new barn photos coming someday—really!)
A Book, Building, and Bread Bakery Update


  1. Definitely keep the stories coming! I'd love to hear more about life on the farm.

  2. I do love the picture but the stories are so much more interesting. Don't stop the pics though! As for the question I will say from right to left #2 two is the little darling lamb.

  3. yes, i love the farm stories. (and the photos.)

  4. Those are the cuties kids (and lamb although I'm not sure which one that is lol)!

    I'm not sure how much money your county gets at the local NRCS office (Natural Resources Conservation Service) but if you are an agricultrual producer that sells at least $2000 a year you might qualify for their CIGb program. I can't remember exactly what it stands for but basically they price share with you on a new tractor in exchange for you destroying your old one in the name of air quality. (New one must be able to run and move a bit). Here in CA we had quite a few million dollars given to us to dispurse to local producers.

    That kind of sounded like a commercial but I work in the local office and we helped a lot of people get new tractors!

  5. I enjoy reading the stories, but I LOVE the photos. So if the ratio of photos to stories got bigger, I'd be fine with it! :)

    Is the lamb the second one from the right in the last photo? Who knew baby sheep and baby goats look so much alike?! (To me, at least!)

  6. I think the lamb is the far left critter in the bottom 3 photos. I know that lamb ears should hang down more than goat ears and that one's ears look droopiest to me. How scientific of me, huh?

    I'm here for whatever you post about. I know it's called Farmgirl Fare, as in 'food' but the recipies are secondary for me. I guess I most love hearing about the day-to-day. If you posted about what you saw on your daily visit to the mailbox at the end of the lane, with a pic or two, I'd be happy.

  7. I'd say second one from the right, but it was pretty tricky!

    I love the farm stories and appreciate learning interesting facts. I don't mind a lot of words and pictures! I love your blog! ;)

  8. I do love your stories and hope things get easier around the farm.

    For the little bits in the picture - the lamb has to be the middle one (with the brown spot on its back) in photo #4. Different eyes, ears, and coat. So cute.

  9. Dairy animals? NONONONO. My mother-in-law is somewhat obsessed with Guernsey cows, but we will never have one. Because I know who would end up being responsible for milking twice a day. And it's not her or my husband.

    I'll stick with meat animals, thanks.

  10. I'm greedy - I want the stories and the photos!

    As for the challenge, I'm going to guess the second one from the right in the bottom picture. It doesn't seem to have those intense goat eyes.

  11. I love the stories! I live in a big city, so your farm life is fascinating to me. And I think the lamb is the second from the right.

  12. Stories and photos are great! I love to hear more about you and farm life and I also love to see photos of all the animals. Keep em coming!!

  13. Sweet babies!!! I say the little speckled-nosed guy is the lamb.

  14. I have enjoyed all your posts- photos, stories, everything! I would say the 2nd from the right animal in the last photo is the lamb- it has smaller ears.

  15. I say its the cute one with the light brown spot on its neck, it's ears are a different shape, as is it's face, and it is shorter at the shoulder than the others. They are all quite adorable though, and I just want to go snuggle them.

  16. I enjoy reading your posts, but I really like your photo essays. You do a great job of putting them together, and the animals are always so cute!

  17. I think I'm in love with these cute critters! But, as with all babies, they grow up and some of that cuteness disappears. Guess I'll just enjoy the pictures. Thanks for sharing them!

  18. Hmmm I'm guessing the lamb is the one with the little tan "shawl" across the shoulders. Gosh they're cute!
    As someone who is just embarking upon my own farming enterprise, I LOVE the stories. The pictures are cute, but any tidbit of information you give on the day to day workings of a farm will be gratefully filed away in my memory banks!
    Hope you're taking good care and healing up

  19. I would love to read the stories of your day-to-day life on the farm. Though I like your daily pictures, stories will be more interesting. :)

  20. I love goats! Those are so irresistibly cute!



  21. I love all your posts, whether they are just a quick photo, or a longer descriptive post like this one, I read every single word and soak it up like a sponge. I think the little lamb is the one next to the dark kid in the bottom photo.

  22. Whatever you choose to put out there is fine with me. Your blog was one of the first I ever read and the only one I'm still reading what.. maybe 4 or 5 years on. I would love to see a book though, a compilation of all the animal stories and the ups and downs of farm life.

  23. I love and appreciate the photos AND the farm life tales equally as much if not the stories a little more! Those kids are SOOOO cute! We WILL have dwarf goats someday!

  24. I always look forward to your posts, pictures, recipes, stories, whatever. And I really appreciate to learn about the everyday life on a farm, because living from the country is a dream that never came true for me.
    The lamb is the second from the right, isn't it? The ears look different to me.
    Hope you all will be alright for haying.

  25. The lamb is the one of the far left (I think)in the bottom picture. Please keep the farm stories coming. We've recently wed and have 20 acres with two horses and a dog. I'm trying to convince the husband that we need some laying hens and success stories are always a great help. :o)

  26. I love them both! Your stories are great, but they are made much better by your fantastic photos. And it's the only blog where I ALWAYS read the copyright notice...

  27. Please keep the stories coming! In the back of my mind, I always wonder if we (my husband and I) could make a go of it on the family homestead. You keep me dreaming and hoping that one day this suburban girl could really be a farmgirl, too. :)

  28. Hi Susan! Personally, I love anything you post - photos, farm stories, recipes - the more, the better! However, I am sure you have plenty of other stuff to do than just this wonderful blog, so I am always happy with whatever you post - just a huge THANK YOU for sharing anything and everything.

    And those babies are just too cute!!

  29. Pictures and stories please. I love both.

  30. Yep, second from right has different ears and a differently textured coat. Is it a self-shedding variety of sheep though? We have Damaras, which save us having to shear every year. Regarding butter-making, I found a swell method using the food processor. It's speedy & delicious!

  31. I love reading the stories! Good and bad.

    Also, I’m pretty sure the lamb is in the pen on the right, the white one with the big tan spot – pictured in the middle in the last two pics. It doesn't have those freaky goat eyes.

  32. I first came here for the stories and recipes, but love the photos, too. Definitely keep both, and I hope you are recuperating:))

  33. I love it all - the photos, the stories, and the recipes!! It's a nice start to my day when I can spend a few minutes reading about your bucolic life before I have to deal with my own here in the the middle of smoggy Dallas. And that lamb is so cute, I wouldn't have noticed! He's next to the black goat in the last pic, right?

  34. Te day to day farm life descriptions of both the good and the challenges, the animals, the recipes and the daily dose of cute!

  35. The longer stories are fantastic. Please keep them coming

    How about the little white cutie with the ears at half-mast???????


  36. I think the lamb is the one on the far left in the bottom pic. (If I am wrong, in my defense, I'm a city girl. If I am right, it's b/c his ears and face shape look different to me!) They're all soooo cuuuute! Also, I love reading stories, seeing pictures, anything you care to share.

  37. Love the text/stories. But whatever you want to post would be great.

    I'm calling the white one on the far left in the last few pics the lamb, and I'm amused that it's not just me who can't quite be sure which is which.

  38. (Wow, forgot my manners. Hope you're continuing to feel better.)

  39. Sorry to hear about your tractor woes.

    If you get a chance, read my blog Mon-Weds next week for our 2010 hay adventures. Not fun. Not as bad as the many, many bales ya'll have to deal with, but bad enough for us.

    p.s., we usually only do square bales, but are getting our 1st round bales this year. I know round bales are big, but 1 man/tractor can bale and move them around. Our hay guy says that more people are going to them and they unroll them to use them.....
    just a thought.

  40. I love absolutely everything you post here...the recipes, the stories, and the pix, of course! I have a wee bit of farm envy (because I'm reading about it from afar, I know! My great-grandparents farmed in Indiana, and even as a kid I knew how much work it is!). Hope you're feeling much better...sorry you had to go through so many unpleasant things in such a short time span.

  41. I love every single thing that you post...maybe a little bit less for the ones about eating your cuties, although I totally concede my carnivore's hypocrisy. Honestly, I just wish I had your energy and talents.

  42. I think the lamb is the far left cutie. It has always been fascinating to me to see animals segregate themselves by color, breed,type, whatever. When we have black steers and red steers they will often spend their quality time with the ones of their same color. When our sheep renters put a young dairy cow in with the sheep, they snubbed him for weeks. Just a funny observation. Also, the ears are more floppy on the lamb.
    Susan, I love what you photograph and write. Have tried some of your recipes and love them. Especially the pear muffins. So, whatever you do will make my morning.
    I hope you are getting around lots better now and that you won't overdo at the next haying time.
    I think you should look into what Mom Taxi Julie had to say.....

  43. Thanks so much for sharing all your pictures and wonderful stories. I especially like your recipes too. I have not had one failure from your list of recipes. I especially liked the jam squares. Delicious and as you said simple to make. Everybody ate them up including me.
    Hope you're feeling better too after all the ordeal with the crawly critter. Best always, Sandra

  44. We are in the middle of purchasing a farm in Ohio, so I love the stories and the photos. It will be a big change from Northern CA.

  45. Yes please - more details about running the farm! I'm here for more than the cute.

  46. Hello Susan,

    I look at your site almost daily with awe at what you accomplish. I rarely post comments on Blogger because rarely can I just post easily. But, I love your site, your photos, your animals, the wonder and even the tragedy of your life. I do hope you and your hubby are feeling better. It is so refreshing to see and read about your life.
    Best, Jeanne

  47. Hope you continue to heal and feel better. What an ordeal. We have a tractor, antique that it is, that the boys continue to fix each year to plow the garden. Pretty sure baling hay would make it croak for good. Good luck with finding another one!

    I love everything you post. I think the smallest one is the lamb.

  48. I check your blog everyday hoping for a farm animal post. I like to read the farm stories too and like the details. The more the better.

  49. I come here daily for WHATEVER you write or show!!! I'm so sorry for your recent misfortunes and hope things are looking up again.

  50. Love the stories and the photos. I find it’s a highlight when you show up in my feed reader.

    Brown spot on neck? Good heavens I would want them all- the dark one looks as if he's about to crawl through the fence to get to you.

  51. I LOVE everything about your blog, Susan, and have been here for so many years. I am sorry for not commenting as often as I used to. Your writing always brings us right there and leaves us wanting to know more. I'm forever sending links to friends and family so they can share, too.
    The recipes you share are always so good. I use many over and over. Thank you!

  52. Love your stories & photos. Can't imagine one without the other. Also like your recipes. This is my favorite blog!

  53. I'm not the susceptible to cute, but Wow! Those are some CUTE goats. Yes, more stories please. More tidbits. I like the photos, but often wish for a few less pictures and a few more words.

  54. Hi Susan! I've been reading your blog for some time but have never commented. I love all the cute pictures, but stories are just as good. I think the white one with a brown splotch on its neck is the lamb.

  55. Baby on the left, I think.

    Love your stories, your pix are great, but the cooking lore, recipes, and techniques are what I really love.

    You have great bread recipes and instructions!

    Deb in Indiana

  56. Hi Everybody!
    Thank you so much for all of this wonderful feedback. I really appreciate it - and please keep it coming.

    So more farm life tidbits and stories it is - starting tonight! : )

    But I think I'll wait a little longer before telling you which of the little cuties in these photos is the lamb. ; )

  57. OMG, how did you avoid taking home a couple goats? They are SO cute, their little lower lips make it look like they are perpetually smiling. And goats are so much fun, so much more social than sheep (which can be a bad thing).

    You have an iron will, I am in awe.

    BTW - yes, please do continue to give us longer glimpses into the life on a farm. Otherwise we just wistfully wish we were you as we slave away in air conditioned cubicles. It's good to see the good AND the bad, if only because it helps us (me) avoid the temptation to start playing, "Take this job and shove it ..." so I can go live on a farm.

  58. The lamb is the second from the right in the last picture-its hair/wool is different than the other and it has that lamb face.
    I love hearing about farm life and seeing photos. When it seems like there has been a lot of daily photos and not a lot of writing I usually just go back in the archive and read a post I haven't read before. Or look for recipes.
    I have worked on several farms and I am working on acquiring my own land and sheep so I really love reading about what life is like for you/on a farm.
    I think this is the first comment I've ever made! :)

  59. Love to hear the stories about the farm life! The pictures are great as well!

  60. The lamb is the one on the far left in the bottom photo. The hangie-down ears are for lambs, the stickie-up ears are for goats. Right?

    Keep posting whatever you want to post - pictures OR text OR both. Just keep posting. And get better with that stupid snake bit.

  61. I've been a follower for a few years and miss the longer stories. Your writing is very enjoyable to read and paints such a great picture of country life. You let your readers live vicariously through you. Pictures add flare to your stories but if I had to choose I'd pick words. Glad you're back on your feet after you "adventures" earlier this summer. Take care.

  62. I came because of the pictures... which are fantastic, by the way. I keep coming back for your stories. I am fascinated.

    Thank you

  63. Hi Everybody!
    Ready for the answer to the barnyard animal challenge? Most of you had it right - in the bottom photo, the lamb is the second one from the right, with the tan on the back of its neck. But the white goat on the far left is trying its best to look like a lamb, too - so don't feel bad if you guessed that one! :)

    Thanks for playing - this was lots of fun.

  64. Kelly - Baltimore, md8/10/2010 3:35 PM

    Love the stories. Keep the cute animals coming.. Glad to hear you are doing better.

  65. Love the stories, the pictures, the recipes, the information about how it all works and how you survive the day to day. Give us whatever you can!


December 2015 update: Hi! For some reason I can't figure out, Blogger hasn't been letting me leave comments on my own blog (!) for the last several months, so I've been unable to respond to your comments and questions. My apologies for any inconvenience! You're always welcome to email me: farmgirlfare AT gmail DOT com.

Hi! Thanks for visiting Farmgirl Fare and taking the time to write. While I'm not always able to reply to every comment, I receive and enjoy reading them all.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and I especially love hearing about your experiences with my recipes. Comments on older posts are always welcome!

Please note that I moderate comments, so if I'm away from the computer it may be a while before yours appears.

I try my best to answer all questions, though sometimes it takes me a few days. And sometimes, I'm sorry to say, they fall through the cracks, and for that I sincerely apologize.

I look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy your e-visits to our farm!