farming, marriage

My New Coop


I’ve wanted a homestead farm for years now. I’ve wanted to milk goats, raise chickens, ride my horse, and grow a garden. I wanted to watch out my kitchen window as my kids learned to tumble and fall and get back up. I wanted to raise them with dirt and sunshine and fresh air. I wanted to be able to yell, “Were you born in a barn?” and chuckle, every time they left the door open as they ran back out to the sunshine.

The city was never my home, it’s not where I belong. It cramped me and the noise got in my head. I could never think over the noise. It was overwhelming.

chicksI knew my dear husband was willing to be witness to my dreams come true, and I knew he would work hard to afford the starting of a farm (which is a bit pricey, from our experience). But, I’ll be honest, I assumed I’d do a lot of the heavy lifting on the farm. And that was a price I was willing to pay to have my farm life.

But he has blown me away day in and day out. He’s made friends with the goats, and he built them all sheds. He is the one that said it was the right day to get chicks, and he helped feed and water them. (He’s even mentioned that he misses having them in the dining room.) He’s always loved dogs, so it is no surprise when he stops to tell them each hello.

Not only did he build goat sheds (which will get a post of their own), but he built me the best chicken coop. We looked at ideas online for a week straight. I called him a million times at work…what if we…what if we…what if we…coop2

And he built me a chicken a coop that’s just the best. My chickens love it and it let’s me keep them put up while they are small and will be where they spend their nights when they are big.

But not only did he bring me home a wood and wire structure, he went out of his way to paint it John Deere Green. Some said he should have used red, but it sure looks good to me. And he painted the name I picked for our farm on it. I cried when I saw it, and I’ve cried a few times since, because my husband knows how to love me well, and I am thankful.


farming, humor

Goats are Great

Get goats, I thought. It will be great, I thought! So got goats, I did. It was great, I thought.

In fact, when people posted free goats, I thought, with horror, how can you give away a great goat? I contemplated bringing them all home, but Pa W is a wise man and tells me no when he should.

So, this morning, I’m reveling in all my goatie greatness, getting ready to milk my doe, and carrying a bit of grain to the milk stand for her, when out of no where, all of the other goats swarm me. A bit of grain sounds mighty nice to them on this brisk morning.

I push one aside, then another. Then, the next thing I know, there are goat feet on my arm and shoulder, and I turn, to push away the nosy goat, and I get goat-punched-in-the-face.

I’m stunned.

I stand for a moment, with a goat still clobbering me, small scoop of feed held high in the air, out of goat reach. And I push again, shoving myself through the gate into the milking pen.

And then, my blood begins to boil, as I spit grit out of my mouth and blood trickles out of my nose. How dare that goat! How dare she punch me in the face! I’m giving the goat away! Free goat! Free goat! Free goat! I scream inside my head while standing at the milk stand. I’m trying to catch my breath, I’m trying to get the sand out of my teeth, I’m trying to brush the dirt off of my face.

Jazz – The Offending Goat

Free goat! Free goat! Free goat!

Over again in my head I chant. The enjoyment of the brisk morning far gone.

Somehow, though, milking my good little Shimmy girl was redeeming. I never made it to the free goat posting. In fact, after the first two pulls of fresh milk, I forgot that I wanted to give one of the girls away.

I’ve learned my lesson about milking time. I will put everyone up in the round pen before I take feed to the milking pen, and save myself the future embarrassment of being goat punched in the face.



If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping our farm’s blog alive, so from the bottom of my heart… Thank you.

The Backyard Homestead

Goat Coffee Mug

farming, Things I Enjoy

The Art of Punching Udders

I read all of the posts and pages and books and asked all the questions I could think of in regards to milking my goats. I love these goat girls (and our sweet boy), and I am so tickled to have my own fresh goat’s milk. It’s truly a dream come true for me to be working with a little dairy herd.

One of the many things I read over and over again was about punching the doe’s udder to stimulate a final let down and be able to fully milk her out. I have to admit, I didn’t want to punch a goat udder. It sounded so…harsh. I’ve breastfed a few babes, and thinking of someone punching me to release the last of my milk?

No, thanks.

So, our first couple of milkings went well, although I wasn’t getting quite as much milk as I thought I should be. I gave a meager wiggle to each side of Shim’s udder, and milked another squirt or two, closed up my jar, dipped her teats, and headed inside for the ice bath.

I got a little bolder with practice and pushed a little bit more firmly in my nearing-the-end wiggle routine – and I got double the number of extra squirts. Milked a fe

Shimmy, my doe-in-milk

w times with this, read the “punch the udder” routine again, and got a bit firmer in my wiggling once more. More squirts!

I finally gave in and admitted that the dairy folks that have gone before me for years, really do know what works. It was time to be bold enough to punch an udder. After all, when a kid isn’t getting much milk, but is still hungry, they will thrust, with quite a bit of force, their head/mouth/jaw into the udder multiple times to get more milk out.

So I finally did it, I gave each side several firm shoves. I punched her udder, on both sides, a couple of times. I got an extra cup of milk! A whole extra cup! And you know what? She didn’t flinch or budge over the ordeal – apparently, she knew I was doing it wrong all along and was just waiting for me to catch up to speed.

And that folks, is how I learned to efficiently punch a goat udder. What rad skill do you have that came to you in a funny way?


If you’re going to be doing any shopping today, check out the items below. I earn a small commission if you make a purchase by following these links. This money goes directly to keeping our farm’s blog alive, so from the bottom of my heart… Thank you.



Oatmeal ‘n Honey Goat Milk Soap