We’ve moved!

So, we’re in the new home (and yes, I see it’s really dated now!). I have lots of nice things to say about Weebly but we’d been having some glitches with accounting (including having been double billed for months!). I can handle a lot of things but accounting problems every six months are not one of them. So, I’m back to wordpress.

Once I get my wits about me, I’ll get a proper post up. Until then, adieu!

Breeding, Farm life, goats, Kidding, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Stock for sale

Sad day

Yesterday our special needs little guy succumbed to his challenges. He has been tested and poked and prodded and evaluated beyond (probably) any goat anywhere. The best the vet could come up with was that, as with any mammal, this little guy was just born a bit special but he didn’t know why.

IMG_9091  <Here he is with his sibs.


He had been really slowing down over the last fews days, just starting to drift off from the flock and not caring (never a good sign) but still eating and affectionate and doing most of the things goats do. More and more often we would have to retrieve him from wherever he was. He also was not keeping up growth wise. His sister, who was less than half his weight at birth was more than double his weight and half again as tall as him as of yesterday.

So we wondered if the end was coming but hoped we would have him a bit longer. Yesterday he went downhill quickly and we had our answer.

Farewell Freyr. We miss you already.


Viking Pancakes (aka How I Suck at Recipes)

So, not for the first time I have had a Viking Pancakes request. Now, before I get a buttload of messages and comments about how they’re not authentic, I know that. We call them Viking Pancakes because it’s fun to do so, not because we’re re-enacting. That being said, I was taught this recipe by a Finnish girl back in my youth. She had a Norwegian Grandma who taught it to her. And, it’s reasonable to suppose something like this would have been eaten; they’re fast, east, and use foods that the early Northern Europeans would have had on hand. I could even see Vikings making them when they were on Viking. Well, sort of.


Ok, without further ado….


I realized last night that the recipe is basically 1:1:1. That is 1 egg to one cup of flour to one cup of milk. The cup of milk is the variable- always. It will depend on how thick you like ’em and what type of flour you use. I think it also depends on humidity a bit but don’t have any actual evidence for that. What I also love is that you can tailor this recipe to what you have on hand. Lots of milk but just a couple of eggs? No worries – have more milk than eggs. No milk in the house? No worries, use eggs and thin evaporated milk with a lot of water (though it’s not as yummy). I suspect you could make it with all water and just an egg or two if you were desperate but I haven’t ever done that.


So last night I did roughly 1 egg: 1/2c rye flour and 1/2 sifted, wheat flour (so like white flour but not white because no bleach etc): 1 cup milk. If I’d been thinking, I would have doubled my eggs and halfed the milk. I haven’t started milking the goats and don’t think I will be but I have eggs coming out of my ears (just grabbed two dozen from the house this morning).

So, the flour goes into a big mixing bowl.



Then the eggs (or the milk -are you getting the general idea of how I cook?):


I used to have a working Kitchen Aid to mix these kinds of things up but I’m back to using my $20 bomb proof hand mixer. Use whatever method you want to start blending these two together. You want them to look basically like this:


Once the eggs are reasonably well mixed in, you start adding your milk. I like to add one cup at a time. I hate having to add flour after the milk because you are guaranteed to get lumps. Well, maybe you aren’t but I do, every time. So, add your liquids (milk, milk alternatives to the batter as you’re mixing. One cup at a time (this is one of the only times I’m fussy but it’s worth it, trust me). Keep adding the liquid until you have a fairly runny batter. Runnier than regular, Norther American pancakes but not as freely flowing as water.



Can you see the drips on the beater? It kind of gives an idea of how runny I like them but your mileage may vary. Some people like them thicker and eggier, some like thinner and more crepe like.


Once the batter is smooth and lumpless (ok, I go for the 80-90% lumpless range. I often regret it when I get a lump of flour or goo but whatever) pour it into a hot pan sizzling with a generous dollop of butter. I like to turn the pan on after I’ve added the milk to the batter. I use cast iron so it takes some time for it to heat and cool down. Just make sure the pan is sizzling when you pour in the first one. For my skillet it’s about a 1/2 c for each pan but you’ll just have to practice and see what works for you. Like to leave the heat just a little higher than medium. I’ve learned that cooking too fast means the flour leaves a mealy texture and inevitably, I burn some. It turns out there is some merit in being patient. Who knew?










Keep a close eye on things so they don’t scorch. When you see the edges looking done (they look cooked and almost dry or crispy) it’s time to flip. Feel free to add more butter at this time – yes, even in non stick pan. Maybe especially then (I’m not a non-stick fan). Anyway, you can minimize the butter if you want but these babies are not about restraint, they’re about going for it.



Do you see what I mean about the edges here? Also – I leave that little vacant spot at the side to make it easier to flip. No, that wouldn’t pass in Hell’s Kitchen but whateves.




Browned and delicious. Not too crusty or it will be hard to roll up. I like mine rolled up with whipped cream and fruit. No, there’s no picture of that though we did have them with cream and fresh cherries last night. I’m sure you can understand why there’s no picture.


Other toppings/fillings include jams, icing sugar and lemon, yogurt, applesauce, chocolate. And I’m sure there are savories that would be good too but we tend to the sweet when enjoying these babies.


Also- they make a fine breakfast.


Reheat in the frying pan (with butter).


This morning I added apricot jam:



So not a bad way to start the day.



Farm life, Philosophy, Seasonal

A great compliation

If you’re looking for DIY options this summer, you might want to check this out:



Breeding, Farm life, goats, Nigerian Dwarf Goats, Wethers

An inflammatory post about horns and disbudding

Ok, I’m not being inflammatory deliberately. It just seems that every time this issue comes up anywhere, it gets heated. My plan is to talk about our horns this year why we did what we did, and (as always) how CUTE the babies are.

First of all, lots of people disbud and lots of goats live their lives with amputated horns and seem to do ok (we have no real way of knowing whether they miss them or not but the ones I have don’t appear to be suffering for it – except maybe in the back scratch department).


I also want to say that I understand some of the reasons people disbud. The most compelling reason for me is not my safety, it’s theirs. I have had a gorgeous Icelandic ram caught by his spectacular horns in the fence. Fortunately I’m a frequent checker on my animals and found him before he’d died.


Now, years later, most of our fences are smaller and there is far less likelihood that anyone would get a horn caught (dairy or fibre animal). The one place we haven’t yet redone is the boys run therefore, all of the not polled boys now are disbudded. The girls run should be all super small no climb so Gita is remaining horned.


She is a bit of an experiment but as I was looking at pictures of horned Nigerians, I realized that their horns look very much like my horned Icelandic ewes. And exactly like the horned Icelandic and Norwegian goats I covet. So, we left her intact.


My issue with disbudding is how quickly the horns start on some kids (but not always – more on that later). If the horns start in right away, then you’re having to make decisions about them before you really know what the animal will look like. Why does it matter? Simple -why disbud an animal you’re going to eat? I won’t sell a pet quality intact male and I won’t sell a pet quality doe in most cases. This requires me to decide on their horns way too early (in my opinion). Anyway, my other feeling was that I had some 4H people interested and I know they need disbudded dairy goats to show. So, I did disbud. And then I disbudded the one horned, wethered pet we’ll be keeping in case he ends up in the boy run with the more open fence.


I have to say that contrary to what people suggest, I had the vet do it. When it comes to animals and injury/pain and vets, I think there is a lot of misunderstanding out there. And it’s easy to believe them – especially when taking an animal to the vet comes with a bill. I admit that although I felt that I wasn’t in any way over charged, it is a tough thing to swallow. For me though, it’s just part of caring for my animals. Anyway as a result of the vet visits (yep, plural), I’d love to debunk a couple of those myths.


First of all, the fact that anyone (animal or person) who receives a huge burn to their head and a few minutes after is playing isn’t proof that it’s not causing them pain. We know that in moments of huge, life threatening pain (and I would say two 1000 degree burns would be included in that) the higher and mid level functioning of the brain literally shuts off leaving all of the energy for the lower level functioning. This is the primal part of the brain that keeps us alive when we are in danger. It’s the part of the brain that can watch a grizzly chomp on your arm, not feel any pain, and think “as long as he doesn’t get the artery, I should be ok.” It’s the same part of the brain that can, after a traumatic injury like a bear eating your arm or a fall resulting in a catastrophic pelvic fracture, have you walk out of the bush, seeming to be unharmed. It’s the same thing that happens when a deer who has been hit by a car and now has two visibly broken legs will start trying to get up and run on the stumps (yep, a gross visual but even worse in real life, I assure you). There is no time to think about the pain, the brain has shut down everything except ‘this is what I need to do right now to be safe’ primal response. It’s also why people will involuntarily urinate in an emergency – the brain is making sure all systems are 100% online for survival. It’s also the same part of the brain that allows a mum to lift a car off of a child or do other things that the body just wouldn’t do except that it has to.

It’s not until your brain gets the message “it’s ok, you’re safe” that the pain and immobility will start. I could get into a whole big discussion on the whys and hows (it’s the kind of thing I work with a work) but I think for most people, it wouldn’t be that interesting.

Suffice to say that simply seeing an animal get up and walk or play after such a burn isn’t evidence that the burn didn’t hurt.

Now I want to be clear. I don’t think people who DIY disbud are cruel. This is new information and lots of people who don’t work in my field don’t even know about it. Those who might don’t necessarily buy it. Also, people are swayed by myth two…..


Myth Two – the vet. I encountered two myths about the vet. The first is that the needle to sedate the goat is far more traumatic than the quick, at home disbudding. And the second is that the vet can’t possibly be competent at disbudding.

To address the first myth:


No death grip, just chillin'
No death grip, just chillin’


Well, I have no taken a bundle of goats to the vet for castration and/or disbudding and I have participated in both myself as a DIYer. I can say, without a doubt, that no, the goatlings didn’t have more stress at the vet than the DIY ones (see the above picture). The only really stressed one was the one who is a bit wild and didn’t want to be touched by yucky humans. He was going to be stressed whether or not he went to the vet or had the DIY treatment.

Not a lot of stress here
Not a lot of stress here

To address the second:

I have had goats disbudded by vets in the very distant past without any problems. And now, we’re a month in with no signs of scurs. And there is no question that they’re neutered (unlike when we banded and hoped we got everything but…). So, while it could happen that they’ll scur, so far so good. And, there are no shortage of DIY scurs in the world as well too.


There is kind of a third myth and that is that the goats don’t do well with the anesthetic. I learned that the generally used anethetic for goats isn’t a reversible one and so you have a long waiting period for the goats to come out of it. If you didn’t know that, you could be really worried that literally, hours later, the goat is still out.

All of mine did just fine – although they slept for a good long time.



If you are going to disbud, please do consider your vet. Of course, whether it would be a good choice for you and your goats depends on a lot of factors, not the least of which is the quality of your relationship with your vet. With my vet, he’s pretty straight ahead and we have a great relationship. He told me he does few disbuddings, why he was doing things the way he was, and pretty much every step of the procedure (both for the disbudding and castration).


I also feel really strongly about pain relief. Not only were the babies knocked out but they were given a bolus of pain relief that would last 24hrs – long enough to get healing started.


Overall, I was entirely happy with the disbudding by the vet. Yep, it cost me something but it was so very worth it.