Recently, it came to our attention that we were slighting the animals here on the blog. We'd get fan letters from Joey the llama supporters, or letters demanding, "Why the heck isn't Charlie's Angel the star alpaca of the week." Well folks, we've heard you loud and clear.
We're caving in to pressure. We'll admit it. We're weak like that.
So by popular demand (and also because a very nice farm visitor came and took some great pictures), this week's featured animal is Raphael, the pushiest goat on the face of the planet.
Don't let that slightly bowed head and submissive look fool you. This is a goat that demands attention.
If there is head rubbing to be gotten, Raphie is at the front of the line.
He's explained to us that sometimes you just can't get to that little itch on the top of your head. It's there, nagging you all day long. It would certainly be helpful if a human came around every now and again for a bit of a rub.
What's that you say? You think five minutes of goat rubbing is enough for any farmer in one day.
Silly, silly you. Rub on!
It's really hard to walk away from an insistent goat. Velvety ears. Soft mohair coat.. And pleading, pleading eyes.
And so we pet. And scratch. And tell him how lovely he is.
In the end, we're all happy. He gets a bit of attention. We get to play with our large dog goat.
And all is right with the world.
It's not going away folks. Winter, that is.
I told it that, according to my good friend Puxatony Phil, it only has about 5-1/2 more weeks to hang out with us here in Ohio, and then it's bye, bye time. Pack your bags. See you next year.
Winter didn't like that very much. It told me to take that:
And it dropped a few more inches of snow on us, including our pretty little community park.
Yup, Winter said, "Enjoy the walk out to the pasture with those water buckets."
And, "Have a good time getting to the compost/manure pile, too."
That Winter can be quite nasty. The goats and Joey couldn't believe it when I told them how rudely Winter had talked to me. Shocked, they were. So shocked they couldn't move one more step.
But, not to worry. I checked the calendar. Next month is March. Mr. Puxatony is going to be right this year. I just know he is. In 5-1/2 more weeks, we will certainly give Winter the old heave-ho.
How do you feel about Winter?
I like it -- for the most part. Today wasn't bad. Somewhat sunny, not too cold.
Joey the llama likes Winter. It makes him smile.
Dewey, the Great Pyrenees, likes the snow, too.
She likes it so much she sleeps out in the front pasture. Sometimes the sight of her sleeping in a snowstorm stops traffic on the road in front of the farm. Like it's unusual to see a huge dog asleep in a snow drift!
Moose likes the snow, too. But he likes to sleep inside. On a fluffy bed. They say border collies are the smartest dogs around and I think that proves it.
The chickens, rooster and guinea hens don't venture too far from their coop. In fact, this is pretty adventurous for them.
For the alpacas, even the babies, a Winter day is just another day. They are toasty and warm, covered in their fleece. Ahhh, to be an alpaca.
But the goats, they are constantly asking questions. When is it going to get warmer? Can we have more food to help us keep warm? Why do we live in Ohio and not Texas where they don't get snow? You know how goats are. Never happy unless the're up to something.
It's a dilemma in most communities: What to do with the Old Christmas Tree. Do you send it to the landfill or chip it for mulch to use later?
But no questions like this enter the heads of the humans at That'll Do Farm. We know what to do with a used Christmas Tree. We are on the forefront of the recycling movement, doing our best to reduce, reuse and recycle.
After all, we have goats.
And nothing says recycling like a goat.
So we gifted them with a Christmas Tree. They said no decorations needed, thank you very much, just a plain old tree would do.
Joey the llama checked it out first, nipping off a few of the choice ends. After declaring it safe for one and all, he allowed the goats to sample the rest.
The only problem is goats don't exactly "sample." Devour -- yes. Totally consume -- yes. Eat up greedily -- yes, yes, yes.
They made short work of the tree.
We've certainly reduced, reused and the goats are currently hard at work recycling.
We've been known to have a bit of "weather" here in Northern Ohio, snuggled up as we are against the southern shores of Lake Erie. In fact, we can tell you exactly what "Lake Effect Snow" means and how it can change your day.
But we got lucky this past week. Buffalo got all the lake effect snow. We just got the faintest of faint dustings. Enough to freeze the ground and hold the yucky mud at bay. We're a big fan of faint dustings.
Joey the llama checked out the fresh snowfall first and declared it safe for all to come out.
Fred, ever fearful, wasn't quite sure, but if his pal Joey said it was o.k., then by golly, it's o.k. with Fred.
Miss Alibi didn't have a problem with the snow at all. But one feel of her beautiful fleece and you'd know why. She's as toasty warm as if it were an April morning.
Just the thought of snow and cooler weather makes Quintessa smile.
The chickens, being chickens, wouldn't come out of their coop yesterday. But they "chickened up" and were out exploring this morning.
The guinea hens, being braver than chickens, were out together (always together -- they never travel one without the other.)
But, judging by the look on this rooster's face, the poultry members of the farm are not going to enjoy Winter!
We've been very lucky this past year. Friends from near and far have come to the farm to wish us well and help us get started with this whole operation.
Friends from New Mexico, Missouri, Louisiana, Oregon, and lots of Ohioans and Floridians have all been generous enough with their time to pay us a visit -- and sometimes lend us a hand! This weekend was no exception as Florida was represented again.
Our friend Isobel flew up for the weekend. She must have gotten word that we are requiring all out-of-state farm visitors to bring gifts, and lots of 'em, because she came through with the goods.
Check out these beautiful, handmade Christmas gift tags.
(Just for the record, there really isn't a gift requirement -- far from it. We just like seeing our friends. But if they have the silly, misguided notion that gifts are part of the visitation rights, who am I to stop them!)
We spent the weekend visiting with the goats and the alpacas.
Another friend, Heather, enjoyed her visit with Joey the Llama.
Joey loves all the ladies. He doesn't give a hoot about any guys that visit, but he sure does love the gals. I think his real name should be Casanova.
After all the animal hugging was done, we got down to some serious crafting.
We needle felted pumpkins, snowmen and baby chickens.
It was a real Ohio farm themed weekend.
But, before you knew it, it was back to reality.
I've told Joey the bad news -- "his" girls were gone. He has to settle for me and Farmer Gal until more visitors stop in. I hope he'll be able to cope.
Sometimes we come up with some really hairbrain ideas at the farm. Getting the goats to build their own food storage shed may have been one of them.
First, we told them to read the directions.
That's Donatello. He's the brains behind the whole operation. You tell him to read the directions, and by golly, that's exactly what he's going to do. And he did it well.
Not like his human helper. That guy was laying down on the job.
Next came floor inspection.
Raphael was all over that. But this apparently was a union job, so he had to call in another inspector to help inspect.
Once they both declared it sound, two rogue goats decided to take a little unauthorized snack break.
Fred was the lookout man while Donatello made quick work of the appliqued sweatshirt. Tasty treats indeed.
In fact, Fred spent most of the day as the lookout man.
Two of his fellow workers snuck off to play with the box (typical kids!) while Fred kept watch.
But even with all the horse-play and shenanigans, the goats finished the job. And, because they are goats with very few ego problems, they don't mind if somebody else gets the glory shot with the finished product.
They know they did all the work. They don't need the spotlight. Humble. That's what they are. Plain old humble.
Joey, I love you. You are as handsome and as personable as a llama could be.
And fluffy. You get extra points for fluffy. However, we are taking away points for hay and dirt rolling. Knock it off Joey. Don't you know you are to keep that fleece clean! The knitters are depending on you.
Joey is a four year old llama that came to us last week. His owner had to move. Much to her regret, she didn't have room for him at her new house so he is our new livestock guardian llama. Fancy title for a fancy young man.
He is making himself at home in the west pasture with his newly-shorn goat friends.
They enjoy a spirited game of chase every now and again. But not too much. There is serious eating to be done, and the goats are the right animals to do it.
With goats, it's really all about the food. "When and where is my next meal coming from" -- that is their battle cry.
A tree is a good spot to stop for a quick snack. So what if it's over your head. That's why you have the ability to stand on your hind legs. And you use that skill frequently.
Sometimes you have to share your tree with a friend. But that doesn't really matter either. The farm has plenty of trees to go around. Forage the afternoon away.
And sometimes, you just have to take a rest from your repast.
You know, stretch a little between courses. It's good for the digestion. Let your friends make pigs of themselves.
And if all this eating starts to get to you and you begin to worry about your boyish figure, just call the big, shaggy guy over. He's always up for a sprint across the pasture.
Just in case you're not up on your alpaca holidays, this past weekend was National Alpaca Farm Tour Days. Yup, if you weren't here, you'll have to wait an entire year to celebrate again.
That'll Do Farm was open for tours both days. We met a bunch of wonderful people -- thank you all for stopping by. We appreciate your interest in the farm.
It was a lovely weekend for touring.
The neighbor's cornfield was rustling and sounding very fall-like.
All the fall flowers and fruited twigs were begging to be picked.
I love this kind of an arrangement. Casual, natural and oh so seasonal.
Farmer Gal had young Steeler out for halter training.
He's as cute as a bug. In fact, all the alpacas were on their best behavior for the tour. They must have known it was their weekend to shine!
The goats were showing off in their new pasture, climbing anything they could.
And then on Sunday, Mary Jane from Up Close and Personal Alpaca Shearing came to give the goats their haircuts.
I've never seen anything quite so funny in all my life. Naked goats. Our big, macho goats now look like little pipsqueaks. And Fred. Oh my, my, my. Poor Fred. Mary Jane left some fuzz on top of his head. He looks like a Chinese Crested dog, and that's just plain wrong. Funny, but wrong. Which is why I love it.
The strange thing is, Fred is now the bravest goat. Before, he was shy and timid, and now he is King of the Goats. Samson in reverse.
All-in-all, it was a perfect National Alpaca Farm Tour Days weekend. Festive, Fall-Like & Fun.