Goats, rabbits, chickens (pages)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fences and Roots

I hate, hate, hate to see animals penned up, cooped up or otherwise crammed into small spaces. I like them to be able to free range as much as possible. In the wild west, I would have been one of those fighting for no fences!

When we brought our goats home we separated and isolated them for a while until we managed the parasite situation. Then I moved them into the new barn and holding pen along with their guard, Rocky, and kept them there for a day. Then, I tested the new electric fence, held my breath and opened the gate. They love it. LOVE IT. There is lush pasture, thick brush, hanging limbs still filled with leaves. Goat heaven. I was afraid they might head for the hills, literally, as there is a LOT of land on the OTHER side of the fence. But, they graze and browse for awhile, then they always come back to the barn and holding pen to relax and hang out. The "browsing" ...eating tree leaves and brush adds so much to their natural diet and contributes to their over-all health.

In the evening, when they hear me calling the chickens in, they come flying into their pen for supper, Belle's bell clanging in the cold air. I lock them in the holding pen at night for safety. We have coyotes running out our ears and a couple of bobcats for good measure. Cougars, too. They nestle in their straw bed in the barn. I couldn't be happier with the fence. It only took a couple of little zaps for the goats and Rocky to learn to keep away from it. I test it every morning before I let them out to make sure it's working. One day a sycamore branch had blown across it but that was an easy fix. Now my beauties can roam to their little goat-hearts content.

Rocky (Anatolian puppy) is learning not to chase and nip at the goats hind legs. He has a log and chain attached to his collar for an anchor. It sounds awful, but it slows him down just enough that he tires easily and gives up the chase. We are on day four. The man where we bought him suggested this treatment. Rocky's mother also had the idea to chase and bite the goats and this remedy worked like a charm.

Tomorrow is HERB CLASS. The Herbalist is in....the field. Come on out and we'll DIG herbs! Increase your knowledge of herbalism. You can take the herbs you dig home and we will also make a remedy in class. FIRST FROST HERB CLASS. Tuesday 11-1 10 am to noon. $20

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Herbalist Is In...

It's here! FIRST FROST HERB CLASS. You've been waiting for this class, asking about this class and wondering what the heck is this class about. Herbs must not be harvested before their time! ROOTS are wonderous, marvelous sources of good juju but there is no need to harvest them if all the medicine is up in the leaves and flowers. As soon as it freezes all that good stuff hurries back down into the root for the winter. DIG NOW!
And, that's just what we are going to do: TUESDAY NOV 1 10 am to noon. First we'll dig, then we'll study and learn all the great things it can do for our bodies, minds and souls then we'll make a natural remedy for you to take home. We will work on two or three different herbal roots depending on the time we have. If you have a small shovel and gloves bring them along. Wear old clothes. Get ready to have fun and learn.

We will start with Dandelion-my all time fav and Burdock-my all time fav. OK, I can't choose between them! They are just so hated by conventional standards and I want to teach anyone who will listen about all their many super-duper qualities and all the GOOD they can do for you and your family. It's truly amazing.

Natural remedies have been around a long time for good reason. I've used them for myself and my family with excellent results. You will be able to choose between making a tincture or a salve to take home. Don't miss this once a year class.

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 1 10 AM TO NOON $20 CALL TO REGISTER. Bring a friend; it's a beautiful country drive, all paved roads except for the last block.

Elizabeth 816-853-0440 lizzy@rcvfarm.com

The last Farmers Market of the season is Saturday in Liberty, but not to worry. Rocky Creek free range eggs will be available at Mother Nature's in Liberty. 816-415-4638. Tell them I sent you! And, as always, they are available at the iFarm Country Store here at Rocky Creek.

Sunday, October 16, 2011



It's one of those undesirable facts of life; one of those things you don't like to think about let alone talk about. And, when you mention it to folks, and as an herbalist, I do mention it, they get that look in their eye. That look that says "eeeeew". That glazed look that says they wish they were anywhere discussing anything with anyone else but me.

That subject? Worms. Parasites. Trust me when I say they are everywhere and no one and no place is immune. And, yes, you most likely have a few. A few can be good. It helps make you immune to them. So, by the same token, a few can be good for your pets.

Farmers and multiple animal owners are the exception to the "eeeeew" factor. When dealing with animals it cannot be ignored, it must be managed or you and your animals will pay a heavy price.

Here at Rocky Creek Farm before we ever moved onto the property I decided to carry my herbalism philosophy over into the management of farm animals. Knowing next to nothing about how to control parasites in animals other than traditional chemical protocols, I set out to learn. I studied everything I could think of. My herbal training was great with how to get rid of them naturally in people, but not so much on the preventative and elimination side for animals.

After reading Juliette de Bairicli Levy's book for the Complete Herbal Handbook for Barn and Stable( available in the side bar) I was hooked on what this world-renown herbalist had to say about what she called natural rearing for animals. I got her book "The Complete Herbal Handbook for Dog and Cat" along with a pile of other natural method books and commenced to study. We already had our mini Auzzie dog, Cassie, a small array of cats for rodent control and a flock of chickens. I began my natural parasite regimen and crossed my fingers.

After taking in all the experts had to say I ultimately designed a protocol myself. I make my dogs meals and supplement a good commercial dog food. I made a dog and cat "Green Goodness" which is a vitamin/mineral/herbal supplement that I mix in their food. (I have one for people, too!) The parasite preventative also goes into their food, bedding and for the chickens wherever they "dust bathe".

Of the several cats we have, one came as a stray. A beautiful small calico queen (Katy Scarlett)...and you guessed it, she was full of worms. I was dismayed but at the same time anxious to see how my new protocol worked.

Goats were next on the agenda. We found two cute mixed breed (Coco and Willie) and a Boar doeling (Belle). Goats are notorious for getting parasites; all goat owners give a regimen of chemical vermicides rotating them so the worms do not become resistant. Before we brought them home I found a great resource: Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby. I was satisfied with his credentials and experience so now I was armed with how to use the natural method for goats.

We isolated Coco and Willie upon their arrival. Then we added another dog; our future goat-guard. Rocky is just 9 weeks old and is a beautiful Anatolian/Akbash mix. I knew it was time to check the animals I already had to see if the parasite regimen was working and check the newcomers to see where we stand. I spent an hour collecting specimens: dogs, multiple cats, goats. Belle had not come home yet so I stopped by her farm to get her contribution and delivered them all to my vet.

I knew I wouldn't hear anything until the end of the day but I still jumped at the phone each time it rang. I'll admit I was nervous. I had been warned by several that I needed to use the chemical treatment if I didn't want serious infestation. I love my animals and this is a life or death situation for them so the outcome of the tests was important. I had been using the natural method for six months during the prime season . If we had infestation it would mean the natural protocol did not work. Was I ready to give it up?

When the vet's call came I ran for paper and pencil to write down all the info. Cassie: negative. All cats: negative. Coco and Willie: negative. Rocky: negative. Belle: positive. All of the animals who had been on the natural protocol were negative. Even Katy who without a doubt was infested. It was working.

Coco and Willie came from a farm where they had the run of a large forested area which helps to keep down infestation. We built an isolation area for Belle and will keep her there for 30 days. I've decided to give her a chemical dose to kill the worms in the beginning then put her on the natural protocol for the rest of the month. I know the natural protocol takes a little time and I want to kill the adult worms right away so I don't have to worry about that.

I am very excited about using the natural method. In fact, when I got off the phone with the vet I actually jumped up and down and did a happy dance. I plan to have tests done every in 4 weeks or so to keep an eye on things.

My entire protocol will be posted on my website in the articles section next week. If you have experience with this subject--good or bad-- I would love to hear from you.

iHerbs = intelligent, individual, integrative herbs

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How-To-Tuesday Pumpkins

OK, so it's officially after midnight and not Tuesday anymore. But, I wanted to post this How-To and How-To-Wednesday just doesn't cut it.

HOW TO COOK PUMPKIN. Ever see anyone try to wrangle a pumpkin? In our home school class this month we carved pumpkins. There's nothing quite so charming as kids hacking away at a pumpkin. And, over the years I've seen plenty of moms and a few dads wield and unwieldy knife at a pumpkin. It's really quite simple, like cutting up a chicken, once you have the basics down.

First, wash the pumpkin. Basic H is great for washing vegetables.
Get out your best SHARP knife and slice the pumpkin in half.
With a spoon, a serrated grapefruit spoon works best, (Sorry, kids, I didn't have enough of these to use in class) scrape out the punkin' innards. (Not unlike cleaning a chicken!)
Slice the pumpkin into smaller pieces; place skin side UP in a baking dish, add a little water and cover.
Bake at 325 degrees until the pumpkin is fork tender.
Let cool and scrape out pumpkin.
WaLa...you are ready to bake that pie...or cookies. FarmBoy Gary made delicious pumpkin cookies for class yesterday. I love autumn!

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Additions

We are gradually adding to our farm family. We've been looking for goats and a guard dog and finally found some. We purchased three goats, two of which are home on the farm. Two little mixed breeds for fun (Alpine/Toggenburg/Nigerian?), Coco, the little girl and Willie the whether. They were wild as March hares when they arrived via dog kennel in the pick-up but are taming down nicely. They actually let me touch the sides of their faces and yesterday when Coco escaped the goat pen (twice) she followed Farmboy Gary right back in through the gate. Guess they are loving their new diet!

Farmboy went to a conference and stopped en-route to check on some Anatolian/Akbash puppies I found on Craig's List. Sure enough, one male made the Rocky Creek standard! And, of course, his name is Rocky. I've never had a guard dog before...they are so different--in a good way. He made his escape twice his first night home and once the second night. At least he came right to the back door and woke me up. Both nights I put him in the dog kennel for the rest of the night until I could find the escape hole and fix it the next day. Now he seems content and is bonding nicely with Coco and Willie.

Tomorrow is class day for home schoolers. Life Science: PUMPKINS! We will be studying, carving, painting and tattooing! With a few games thrown in. It's $5 a kid, come on out and enjoy the fun. Call to register. 816-853-0440.
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