Friday, March 16, 2018

Kids Coming Soon!

I hope you are having a great week!

I'm really enjoying the snow and rain we've been having. It means we may have enough water for the pasture to grow in the spring.

Sometimes people hurry from one thing to the next and never stop to look
at how beautiful our world is.
I love the snow on the mountains!

The snow on the fence sparkles in the morning sunshine.

All this water means a lot of mud and muck especially by Echo's stall.
I don't mind, that's why I have muck boots!

My snow boots were thrown away a few weeks ago because the holes were so big. Spring is here and I've put on my muck boots. They aren't as warm as snow boots, but they keep my feet dry even if I'm sinking in the mud.

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Do you remember River?
She is almost 2 years old.
Her birthday is April 9, 2016

She is getting ready to have her own babies in a few weeks. She should have her kids on April 7th. Sometimes babies come a day or two early, or a day or two late.

How many days until River will have her kids?

You'll be on Spring Break when River kids. We often have goat kids born during Spring Break.

River had a rough time when she was born. When you go home you can have your parents click on this link to read more about what happened when she was born. River

This is River's back.
Which side is bigger, the left side or the right side?

You might think that the babies are on the left side, but they aren't. The babies are on the right side. The left side is bigger because that's how big a goat's stomach is! She has plenty of food and water right now to make sure her babies finish growing properly and are born healthy.

We aren't milking River anymore. She has a break from milking for 4-6 weeks before her kids are born. We want to make sure that what she eats keeps her and her babies healthy and strong.

Sometimes we have to feed baby goats a bottle. We had to bottle feed River when she was little.

Here's a video of Quin and Xander feeding her almost 2 years ago.

We still have a few things to do to get ready for River's new babies. We have to clean the stall out so there is clean bedding. We need to make sure there is a little dog house inside the stall so they have a warm place to snuggle. I need to make sure their sweaters are clean and mended so they are ready to put on.

We're counting down to Spring Break and River's new baby goats! It's so exciting!

Have a great week!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Scout and JJ

We love our dogs! I also teach guitar so when my students come in, Scout and JJ love to come in and say hi. The students love to see Scout and JJ, too!

This is my favorite picture of Scout.
We took him camping this year and he is such a good dog in the car, and while we're camping.
Not many dogs will wear sunglasses so we can take a photo!
Do you know that some dogs are so special that people remember their birthdays? We remember Scout's birthday. So does the woman who owned us before we did. She always sends a birthday text for him.

I sent her this video so she could see that he is happy at our house.
Scout loves to herd any of the animals on our farm. Sometimes he helps us get animals from one area of the farm to another area of the farm. Even though he loves herding the goats and the cow, he doesn't mind watching over the chickens one bit! Scout's favorite thing in the world is to be with the livestock!

This is JJ.
Can you tell the difference between JJ and Scout?
They look alike, but not exactly the same.
They aren't even brother and sister!
JJ sits here every morning waiting for her treat.
She and Scout share the first few squirts of milk from Echo.

JJ's favorite thing in the world is to eat! She loves to eat so much that she gobbles her food down and then eats Scout's food. This is how we slow her down. She has to work for her food.

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Echo is like a big dog. She is so friendly and loves attention. She loves getting pet, and she knows her name, just like the dogs. 

As I walk out to milk in the morning I call Echo and she comes out of the barn, or gets up if she's laying down. I can call her from the backyard when I'm weeding and she comes over to eat the weeds that I've pulled. I can even call her from window and she starts looking around to see who is calling her, and where they are.

When we're done milking Echo in the morning she loves to get a hug. She is a sweet cow!

She loves being scratched under her neck, on the sides of her neck,
and on top of her head.

Have a great week! I hope you are still doing something kind for someone else every day!

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Little About Eggs

I think I need new boots. 

The hole is so big that snow and water get my feet wet and cold.
What do your boots look like when they wear out?

This is a question that I hear sometimes from people who visit the farm, too.

No, if you buy eggs from the grocery store they will not hatch. They can't hatch. In order for an egg to turn into a chick it has to have both a mother and a father, the egg needs to have a hen that lays it and a rooster in the barnyard.

Eggs that you buy from the grocery store come from big farms. They don't keep roosters. It doesn't make any sense for them to feed a rooster that won't give them eggs. That's a waste of money for them to feed an animal that doesn't give them anything in return.

Here's a fun video! I was able to see Scout and Carson, the neighbor's horse, playing along the fence. They had been playing and chasing each other up and down the fence for about 5 minutes before I could get out there and take a video.

Carson doesn't mind Scout because Scout doesn't bark at him. A lot of times Scout lays down and watches Carson from our side of the fence. Scout doesn't do anything to scare Carson because he's trained to work with animals.

I hope you have a wonderful time in the snow this weekend!

Friday, February 16, 2018

Animal Teeth

This article gets posted every year because February is Dental Health month in First Grade.

You learned a lot about teeth this month. Strong teeth are very, very important for people and animals. Keeping them clean is an important part of keeping them healthy. Eating properly is also an important part of keeping teeth healthy and strong.

Matt used to work at Timpanogos Animal Hospital in Pleasant Grove. He used to help the techs. One of the things he got to help with was cleaning dog's teeth.

Did you know that it's important to clean your dog's teeth? Most people don't like to brush their dog's teeth because dogs hate it! We use a special treat that cleans the dog's teeth called Dentastix.

People dentists like our dentist, Michelle Jorganson, like to clean people's teeth twice a year. Dogs should get their teeth cleaned once a year.

This dog has dirty teeth. Some of his teeth are infected and broken. Dogs don't take good care of their teeth. Do you see all the yellow stuff near the dog's gums? He also has a broken tooth on his top jaw near the red plastic tie.

Are you wondering what the tube is? It goes down his throat towards his lungs and carries a special gas that keeps the dog asleep. Dogs don't like getting their teeth cleaned. People can sit in a chair and have a hygienist clean their teeth, but a dog won't do that.

Here is the other side of his mouth. Can you see the teeth that are flat towards the back of his mouth? They shouldn't be flat. Sometimes dogs chew on rocks. If one tooth breaks other teeth wear down. All the brown and yellow need to be polished off his teeth.
All clean! Can you see the spot on the right side of the photo that is missing teeth? How many teeth are missing? Check the photo right before this one.
If you look closely you can see stitches where the teeth used to be.
Those teeth were infected and needed to come out.
All clean on this side, too!
The next thing that happens is that the tube comes out of his mouth and then the put the dog someplace comfortable while he wakes up.

These are Scout's teeth.
He is a good dog to let us hold his mouth open!

Here are JJ's teeth.
She's a good dog, too.

This is Misty.
She has all her adult teeth.
Misty's teeth look different from JJ and Scout's teeth.

This is Annie.
She has all her adult teeth, too.
Is there a difference between goat teeth and dog teeth?

Annie loves Matt!
She still gives goat hugs after Matt is done holding her mouth open for pictures.
Scout and JJ have pointy teeth because dogs eat meat and dog kibbles. He needs sharp teeth to chew. They have teeth on the top and bottom of his mouth so they can chew his food properly. If you want to learn more about what dog teeth look like you can click here.

Here are River's teeth.
Do you see how small they are?
She's getting ready to loose the two center front teeth in this photo.

Her mouth looks different now that she's two but I can't take a photo
at the same time I'm holding her mouth open.

Adult goats have 8 front teeth on the bottom. They don't have teeth on the top in the front.

Goats have 32 teeth total in their mouth. They have 8 in the front. How many back teeth do they have?

Goats use their back teeth for chewing, just like you. They don't need top teeth in the front because they use their front teeth for biting leaves, branches, and hay. 

Children have 'baby teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. You've probably already lost at least one tooth!

Baby goats have 'milk teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. 

If you want to learn more about goat teeth click here.

How many teeth do chickens have? Scroll down for the answer.

Chickens don't have any teeth!
They have a beak!
They need their beak to peck food into small enough pieces for them to eat.

You've learned a lot about teeth this month. Look at the animals you see this week and check out their teeth. Think about what shape and size their teeth are, and what type of food they eat. I'm sure you'll notice that their teeth are just right for the food they eat!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Trimming Hooves

Someone showed up this morning that we haven't seen in the past month!

Our grey turkey hen showed up in the chicken pen this morning!
We haven't seen her in at least a month.
I wonder where she's been hiding?
I wonder where she found food during the winter?
I hope she stays around! Last year she hatched out 11 baby turkeys and it was so much fun to have that many little turkeys running around.

This is a picture of the baby turkeys from last spring.
I hope she makes a nest and hatches out more eggs this year!

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Last week I told you that River had a sore hoof.
She still has a sore hoof so we've put her in a stall by herself
so she doesn't get hurt playing with the other goats.

She's still limping so we're being careful with her, and making sure her hooves stay well trimmed so the hoof can heal.

Do you or your one of your parents trim your fingernails? I have to trim goat hooves, too. Hooves grow like fingernails but it's more important to trim hooves and take care of them because goats walk on them.

Are you thinking, "Ewwww! Yuck!"
I think that, too. It's a yucky job because of all the dirt on their hooves.
I make sure I wash my hands when I'm done.

Goats don't usually mind getting their hooves trimmed. Sometimes I give them a treat when I'm done trimming just because I they like treats.

Do you like fruit snacks? So do the goats! I love it when people give us food that's not good enough for people, but still good enough for goats!

Have you done something kind for someone else today? I hope so! I'm still trying to do something kind to someone else every day. 

Sometimes I have a hard time finding something kind to do, and sometimes I forget. If I don't do well one day, I remember that I can try again later to day, and I can do better tomorrow!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Question and Answer

Most of the animals are doing just fine!
They are enjoying the nice weather, just like you.

River has a sore foot, so she's limping around. There isn't much we can do except give her some aspirin and keep an eye on her.

This isn't a question, but it was so nice to know you love me!
I love your teacher, and I love you, too!
You can tell that I love you because I keep writing posts for you to read.

No, we don't have any sheep right now.
We used to have a sheep named Stew.
He was nice and fluffy, but we had too many animals so
we sold him to another family.
That photo is from last January when we had more snow. Stew was nice and warm in his own, thick coat. He didn't mind the snow or the cold one bit!

This is a really good question!
Stew could live through a blizzard with only his coat.
The other animals would be ok in a blizzard, too.

Even though the animals we have would be ok outside in a blizzard, its best if they have shelter from wind and storms. We have a big barn with stalls for the animals to get out of the wind and bad weather if they want to be protected.

It's also very important to make sure the animals have enough food and water or they don't survive very well. Cows, goats, and sheep have a different stomach than people do. The food in their stomach gets hot because of the way the animals process (use) the food. Their rumen (type of stomach) produces a lot of heat so they have a heater right inside their body.

They also have thicker coats in the winter to keep the warmth in.

This is what the stomach of a cow (or goat, or sheep) looks like.
The rumen is the spot that breaks down food and helps keep the animals warm.
A chicken has a much smaller stomach.
(photo link)

Your stomach is much smaller than a cow or goat stomach.
(photo link)

Cows and humans eat different foods so they need different kinds of stomachs.

This is how Echo gets a drink. She needs a lot of water! She drinks between
25 and 30 gallons of water every day.

Her lips and mouth make it easy for her to drink that much. She can suck a lot of water.

What about cats? Do they need that much water?

Cats don't need as much water as cows and goats do.
Cats also have different teeth and a different mouth, so the way they drink is different. 

I wake up about 6:20 every morning.
I do a few things before I head out to do the barn chores around 8:00 AM.
What time to do get to school?
Thank you so much for all your questions! One of the best ways to learn new things is to ask good questions.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Making Squeaky Cheese Curds

Have you tried cheese curds? They are delicious! They are easy to make, too.

To make cheese you need 2 gallons of milk. Raw milk will give you more cheese than pasteurized milk from the store. Pasteurized milk is easier and less expensive to get than raw milk. We have Echo, so I have plenty of unpasteurized milk! A gallon of milk weighs 8 pounds. Each gallon of milk gives between 1 and 1 1/2 pounds of cheese. What happened to the rest of the pounds? Read on and find out!

I also need some rennet, and some starter. Starter changes the milk slightly so it's able to turn into cheese. You can find out more information about what a starter does, and what it's made of here.

Rennet is used to make the milk turn into a curd, which is a little like jello. You can find out more about rennet here.

How to:
Slowly heat 2 gallons of milk to 96˚F over low heat.

Once the milk reaches the right temperature, add the starter culture. I'm using a C-201 thermophilic starter. That's a lot of big words for 1st grade.

The starter is in the small spoon. I add a 'dash' to 2 gallons of milk.

I mix the starter in and let the milk sit for about 20 minutes to 'ripen.'
That means the starter has done it's job and it's time to add the rennet.

I add 1/2 teaspoon rennet mixed into 2 Tablespoons of cool, filtered water.

Once the rennet is added, I cover the container with a camp chef cover that
keeps the milk mixture nice and warm.

It's time to wait again. Leave the milk undisturbed, that means don't move it, don't touch it, don't check it. It needs to rest for 30 minutes. I usually clean the kitchen or vacuum or find something else useful to do while I'm waiting for the curd to form.

After I cut the curd, I mix the curds for 5 minutes.

Then I have to slooooowwwwly raise the temperature of the curds to 116˚F by turning on the stove very low.
This takes about 30 minutes, and I need to keep stirring it.

Can you see a difference in the curds (the white chunks) between the first picture and the last picture?
Heating the curds makes the whey (the clear, yellow-ish liquid) come out of the curds. All cheese is made from curds.

Next I need to separate the curds from the whey. I'm making cheese, I need the curds, but not the whey.

About 12 pounds of whey went down the drain, that's about 1 1/2 gallons. (Remember I started with 2 gallons, each gallon weighs about 8 pounds.)

I have to wait about 30 minutes or more depending on how dry I want my curds. It takes a few hours to make cheese. I usually have a few 30 minute breaks to get useful things done.

Time to open the cloth!

Now our family gets to enjoy some fresh Squeaky Cheese Curds! They are delicious! We like them better than the orange Squeaky Cheese from the store. My Squeaky Cheese isn't orange because I didn't add any food coloring to it. If you want your cheese to be orange you need to add a special food coloring.

I hope you have a chance to try this recipe at home!