May 28, 2009
Animal lover or animal killer?
Ok, here's my dilemma. Not long ago, my best friend came to visit for the weekend and we had a great time. We went to Canton to the trades day and had a lot of fun. We walked and walked and walked (well, you get the idea) and walked a little more. Walking all day, looking at different shops and sweating like pigs (I heard that pigs don't actually sweat) we came back home tired and exhausted. All I wanted to do was to lay on the couch with the A/C unit to a freezing stage, get a huge glass of ice cold water, have the biggest dinner ever and just go to sleep.
While I was cooking the 2 1/2 pound burgers (I told you, I was hungry) my best friend decided to go walk around the property just to enjoy the view, not 30 minutes after he left the house, he came back running and screaming "I just saw a coyote on the other side of the fence, give me your shot gun and I'll kill it"
See, we consider ourselves animal lovers. We love to have animals and even if we don't have much to eat, our animals eat very well. We raise livestock and even though they are for food consumption we have not been able to slaughter any of them as of yet. We spend money at the supermarket buying chicken when we have some home raise chicken. We buy beef when we have cattle and the only thing we eat from our animals are the eggs produced by the chicken.
This is the problem. As more people over populate the cities, we are bound to seek out other places to live if we want to be free of stress, pollution, crime, and noise, therefore, the country is the only way to go. We purchase land and fence it in for our own protection as well as our livestock. but here's the problem. As we fence our properties, the land is getting smaller and smaller and wild animals have nowhere to go or hunt.... so now what?
My best friend described the coyote as a skinny, rib cage popping, hungry looking, malnutritioned animal. Obviously this coyote hadn't been very lucky at the hunt, therefore he was looking for a more easy meal to catch which is........ my goats, chicken and calves.
At the beginning of this year, I had a flock of 30 free ranging hens and..... yes, you guess it, all of them mysteriously disappeared. No feathers left behind, no signs of blood or struggle and no place to look. You would think that if a coyote killed my hens, there would be feathers somewhere, right? well, we found nothing.
Anyway, if a coyote was taking my hens it means it was coming so close to the barn regardless of the livestock guard dogs we have here for protection. If a coyote dares to come that close, it means it is hungry enough to risk its own life, right? Well, my question is this...... Do I kill the coyote or do I let it kill all my hens?
Do I have the right to kill an animal whose home has been taken away by people like us leaving them with so little land to survive? when we move to the county is because we want to be closer to nature, right? Well, aren't coyotes part of nature?
Do we have the right to choose what "nature" means to us?
Here's another problem. We raise chicken, goats and cattle from birth. We nurture them, we feed them, give them a home and protect them. We get attached to our animals and when we think that a coyote or any other wild animal KILLED one of our home raised animal anger overcome us and we are so ready to kill. Should I let a wild animal come to our property and take my animals without us doing something about it? Should be protect our properties and do what we would do to humans: come in and be killed? Why will a coyote be different from a human? If they come to our property and take our possessions, why don't we shoot to kill?
I am torn between live and let live or kill and be safe. Are we truly animal lovers or do we restrict our love to "some" animals only? If we choose which animals to love and which to kill, why do we call ourselves good hearted animal lovers? If I kill a coyote to defend my livestock will I continue to be an animal lover?
I guess only time will tell. Will I get angry enough to pull the trigger? I will let you know...
April 16, 2009
Shows and making new friends
We moved to Dallas from Houston after being transferred from one job to another one. As many people do, you have to follow the job market if you want to survive, eat and make a life of your own.
Moving away from home was a difficult and painful thing to do. We left behind family, friends and the life we were accustomed to come to just to try an uncertain brand new life.
Before moving to Dallas, we decided that the city was not the place for us, we wanted to live in a peaceful place with some land for us to raise some animals and be happy. We found a little house with three acres which we immediately called it home. After our first attempt to mow the grass, we immediately realized that three acres was a lot to mow especially when it was a pushed lawn mower and when the grass kept on growing faster than we could mow.
We answered an ad advertising pygmy goats and we met with the owners, talk a little about the goats and we came home with a baby doe and a baby buck. I guess that made us "goat farmers".
We spent a lot of time with our brand new goats and they became very friendly toward us. What a joy it was to come home from either work or school to find two beautiful goats waiting for you to greet you and love on you (well, more like pulling on your clothes and butt you around).
One day, we adventured onto the Texas State Fair and while walking around we somehow found ourselves in the livestock barns. It was then when I first saw the Nigerian Dwarf Goat for the first time.
Those goats were so cute and they were being shown as well. We sat and watched the show for a while and even clapped for the winners when they announced the grand champion goat.
One thing that caught my eye was how these people interact with each other. They acted as if they liked each other with smiles and hugs. Being the sarcastic person that I have been all my life, my first thought was "they are so fake".
A few months of doing some research about these goats, selling our original goats and off we went to talk to the breeder closer to us. The breeders happened to be David Millison and Jim Mannos whom sold us two precious baby does and offered their friendship. From that moment, we learned so much from them. David and Jim came to the house and showed us how to take care of our new goats and introduced us to the world of showing goats, we went out to dinners, parties and these two individuals introduced us to more breeders that oddly enough, opened their houses and hearts to us without a question.
I remember going to Renate and Dale for those wonderful fajita dinners. We had such a wonderful time talking goat stuff and meeting new friends. I remember meeting Denise Roye for the first time and having a great time with her jokes. Frankie and Suzanne became life long friends and get together as much as possible, Seeing Beverly at the shows and getting good advice from her, Crazy Cynde that was the life of all parties, Steven and Jamie making us laugh while in the show ring, Sweet Lynn always with kind words, shy Sheri and quiet Aaron full of love for others and some many other wonderful friends we met along the way.
I will not tell you that every person you will met at a show will become your life long friend. There are people out there that their lives are consumed with politics, jealousy and hate. These people are an annoyance to the soul and will not rest even after making someone's life miserable. They smile at you and then stab you in the back and when they're done with you, they have latched on to their next victim but don't worry about them, focus on the people you think are worth keeping as friends. Be honest to yourself and others, have fun and be true, only then you will truly enjoy showing your animals and making new life long friends.
March 26, 2009
With so many goats for sale, whom do you buy from and what should you buy?
When you're looking to purchase a goat you must answer so many questions first, then decide what you want the goat for. There are so many farms out there with an incredible amount of beautiful babies that choosing the right one can become a full time job. First, you have to go through as many web pages as possible, then you have to send e mails after e mails, settle on the price and finally transport the goat from the seller's farm to yours. But the question still remains, what do you want to do with the goat. Are you looking for a cute goat that you just want to look at? Now the job to find the right goat is easy but whom would you buy it from? I suggest that if you're not planning on milking the goat, you are not planning on showing it or breeding the goat, then get a wether. Wethers can go from $50.00 to $150.00 depending on the farm.
Wethers: A wether is a castrated buck that can't breed any females. Wethers are very attractive in many ways. First, they do not smell like the bucks do, they are very friendly if handled daily and they can be a lot of joy to have. Many people will consider a wether worthless because they lack the capability to breed, but to each its own. We have seen wethers transform a shy child into an outgoing and responsible member of any club. Wethers help children come out of their shells and introduce them to a whole new world. A world where children get together at the shows, call each other on the phone and have something to talk about, make new friends and in many cases keeps them away from drugs and "bad company". If a wether can do this, would you say that a wether is worthless?
Let me tell you a couple of stories regarding wethers. We had a family come out to buy a goat for their little girl. When they came to look at the goats she just pointed at one particular animal she had seen on our web page. The little girl would not talk not make eye contact. Talking to her parents, I found out that this particular child was having a lot of problems making friends in school due to her shyness and they were worried about her. Before they took the wether home with them, we talked about the care of the goat, how to trim hooves, de worm, where to give the shots etc. We tried as much as possible to get her to talk but it never happened. Before they left, we talked about the up coming shows and asked her if she wanted to show her wether. We told her that many children show their wethers at the shows and perhaps she could make some new friends there but she never said a word.
A couple of weeks later, I received an e mail from this family. In fact, the e mail was typed and singed by the child. She thought about and wanted to come out to the show and just sit and watch first. We gave her the information and asked her to bring her wether just in case she changed her mind at the last minute.
The day of the show came and when we arrived to the barn; she along with her family were one of the first ones there and guess what? The wether was in a pet carrier in the back of their truck. I called some of the 4 H children and introduced her to them. They immediately welcomed her and started walking around, talking and laughing. She showed her wether and it just happened to win the grand champion wether title. Everyone congratulated her and she couldn't stop smiling, she was on top of the world. From that point, we saw her at all the wether shows and she became a very talkative person with lots of new friends by her side.. Her parents couldn't believe that a wether could have done so much for their little girl. Now she is in college and on her way to new adventures.
The second story is of a little boy that came to our farm with his family to look at the goats. This boy was so shy he wouldn't get out of the truck, he wouldn't; even roll down the windows. It was so cute when he look at the baby goats and very slowly he came over and started petting one of them, then another and another and another. He had a big smile on his face. Their parents bought him one wether and took him home. We talked about the wether shows and the 4 H club but their parents didn't think he would join the club because he was just too shy for anything. We talked about the up coming shows and invited him to bring his wether and just give it a try. The day of the show he was there, shy and not talking to anyone. Again, I called a group of children and told him that he was new to the showing wethers and they immediately welcomed him. He experienced his first show and although he did not win he was hooked. Children were talking to him, helping him and he was having a good time. Now, he is part of the 4 H club and very involved in it. He became very outgoing and although he's still a little shy, he is definitely coming out of his shell. That my friends, is what a wether can do. Worthless? I don't think so.
Getting a baby? That's a good choice! There's so much to do with a baby, you can get it to follow you around every way you go, you can raise it and be happy with it. Showing is a fun way to begin as well. Many people want to either show and breed goats but they're not sure if they want to start big or not so a couple of babies is the way to go. Not much stress over breeding to the right buck, and the fun watching them run and being happy is what is all about. The only drawback is that if you want to breed, you will have to wait until they are mature enough to do so. Some people breed their does at any time weather they are ready or not. We usually wait until they are about 1 1/2 to 2 years old and sometimes even at a later time. Breeding them at a young age can cause a lot of problems in the long run. If the doe is too young she could have problems during birth and end up dying. If you want to take a chance on a baby you raised then go ahead and do it. If not, then give them time to grow.
Matures does come in all sizes and heights but nonetheless its still a mature doe. Most people sell their mature does either because they do not have the udder to win in the show ring or because the owners want to keep the babies to maintain the blood line given others the opportunity to breed and get great looking babies. There are many advantages of getting a mature doe. First, you will see exactly what you need to improve the breed. If the doe lacks either fore udder, rear udder or medial ligaments, then you can use a buck that might give you what you're looking for. If you see that a mature doe has a long body, then that's an advantage. Another advantage is the breeding time. You do not have to wait one or two years to breed, since she is mature enough, you can breed her right away. An extra advantage is that her babies will carry your farm name.
Remember, every time you breed your goat, you are looking to improve the breed and not just breed for the heck of it. If you breed just to sell and make money, you are doing a terrible injustice to the breed.
Bucks: should you get a junior buck or a senior buck? Well, it is up to the individual. Many people would purchase junior bucks to bond with them. Bucks will become easy to handle and well behaved if you work with the in a regular basis. With a junior buck you get the chance to see how his personality develops and if it compliments your herd or not. With a senior buck, you will immediately see what type of babies he is throwing. Will he give you the length of body you are seeking for? Will he give you the spring of ribs? straight feet? etc. Those questions can be easily be answered with a mature buck, all you need to do is conduct a little research and find his kids to see if that's the route you might want to take.
Price is something you have to consider. Remember, just because you pay an enormous amount of money for your new goat, it will not guarantee you a win in the show ring, also it will not guarantee a show winning bay. just be happy with what you get, love it and respect it, it is counting on you to survive, give them a good life, give it lots of loving and protect them to the best of your ability.
February 21, 2009
Ah!, the art of bill collection and how to ruin someone's day.
Just like every other American wanting to reach the American Dream, we started utilizing credit cards to purchase the items we could be more satisfied with. We wanted to have all good things in life and why shouldn't we? We worked hard daily, we worked more than forty hours per week without complaining, we came home exhausted, stressed but somehow satisfied of the accomplishments at work. We had good paying jobs, good health insurance and a variety of interests to keep us busy throughout the week.
Credit companies were lining up to offer the most credit ever. "You qualified for our Platinum credit card with the credit line of $20,000, all we need is your signature" "Apply for our credit card today and you will be on your way to Paris, France tomorrow, just sign on the line below".
Of course, back then it was easy to be sucked into getting those credit cards without even thinking about it. We are professionals, we have good jobs, and the country is in good shape, why not!!
Thanks to all the stupid bureaucrats in Washington managing the nation's money we are now in a place were bad things doesn't seem to end. It is outrageous that your inability to manage the nation's economy hasn't made you feel incompetent and yet, you still have a good job while the rest of the nation suffers.
There was a time when purchasing brand name food items was the norm, getting all your laundry done at the dry cleaning was a must due to your busy work schedule, going out to dinner on Friday or Saturday was a way to reward yourself from all the projects you were able to accomplish at work throughout the week and paying your bills on time was nothing but a way of being a trustworthy consumer.
Now, one of us lost his job and things have been gone downhill from there. We made the mistake of writing down our home phone and work phone number on the credit applications and we are paying the price. We now get phone calls from bill collectors on a daily basis. It seems like the bill collectors and I are on a first name basis. I even feel that one of these days I will get invited to their house for supper. What a job!
Nowadays, we have to stretch the little money we have left and have completely changed our way of living. We purchase the cheapest food items we can find; the dry cleaning is done at home hoping that Mother Nature will dry the shirts and pants on time before the next work day. Going out to dinner is almost a faded memory we try to hang on to as much as possible.
Mister bill collector, what made you think that by calling me three times a day is going to get me to pay you the money any faster? What made you think that I will have the money today I didn't have yesterday? It doesn't change much the fact that I still don't have the money to pay. See, I have other obligations to pay first that I consider a priority. I have the mortgage, electricity, water, food, insurance and gas to pay first. Remember that without a home, I won't have a place to write you a check. Without electricity I won't be able to see the amount I need to pay you, without water I will be too weak to write the check, without food I will be starving and my hand will be to shaky to write, without insurance I will be too sick to deal with you and without gas, I can't make it to the post office to drop off the check. Now, can you see why the above items are more important than you?
Mister bill collector, it is not that I don't want to pay what I owe; it's just that I need more time to pay for it. You have received the monthly payments I sent to you, but what you consider a problem its that is not what you were asking for. Nowadays I have very little money left from my paycheck, why don't you take what I'm giving you? Isn't better to get some money than no money at all? Don't I deserve some credit for sending an honest payment to you?
Now Mister bill collector, I have a problem with your billing system. Why is it that I get your bills the day before they are due? Why can you send them to me one or two weeks before due date? Are you collecting the $39.00 late fee to give your high paying executive that million dollar yearly bonus? Now Miser bill collector, in those rare moments when I do get my statements on time and I send you the partial payment two weeks in advance why is it that you always happen to cash my check the day after due date charging me another $39.00 late fee? Now, you know I don't have all the money to pay for what I owe, why do you continue charging me those late fees?
Mister bill collector, you say you want the items purchased to be returned back to you if I can't pay. Will you be returning back to me the money I have invested in those items? No?? Well, then, there's your answer.
Mister Bill collector, stop calling me so many times at work, once per day will be just enough to ruin my day.
Stop increasing my interest rate; it only makes me want to stop sending you those partial payments all together. Don't you want to get paid faster?
Stop asking me to return the purchased items. If you want them back, they will be at the nearest pawn shop. See I had to sell them to pay for the phone bill. It seems like you have called me so many times I have gone over my monthly minutes.
See Mister bill collector, the more you call me at work, the more pissed off my boss will be because I am getting so many phone calls, then the chances of me getting fire will increase due to your constant harassment. If I get fired, you won't have me to make your pathetic day; you won't have your quota to reach of people harassed and you will end up jobless and being harassed by your same kind. Think about it Mister bill collector, don't bite the hand that feeds you.
January 24, 2009
We have a few does due to kid this month and we have been very excited about it. We start checking for babies at about 145 days and we watch very closely every day. Today we went to give the goats their morning hay and I found something devastating. My beautiful doe, Woodhaven Farms Reina deTejas died during the night. It was difficult to understand, just last night she was doing great. She ate her feed, ate her hay and was doing fine. She was nine days away from having her last kids and never looked distressed at all.
Reina de Tejas was our very first Nigerian Dwarf Doe ever. We bought her at three months of age and lived here her entire life. Reina de Tejas had the most beautiful face I have ever seen in a goat. Her eyes were captivating and her sweet personality was incredible. There are many does that will annoy you at feeding time but Reina de Tejas was patient. She knew she would get fed so for her, there was no need to make a big scandal out of feeding time. She was the first doe to greet you as you were approaching the barn, she knew inside those coat pockets were some delicious treats for her.
Many times I felt that she knew when we were happy or sad. If you were sad, she would look at your as if telling you "don't be sad, I'm here for you and everything will be alright" and she would actually sit in front of you just staring at you as if she was trying very hard to take all the pain away from you and comfort you.
Many goats come and go but only a few will make a big impact in your life. Reina de Tejas brought us a lot of joy and for that, she will always have a special place in our hearts.
Rest in peace my beautiful doe, you were truly loved your entire life.
January 1, 2009
I will never understand the need to take something that doesn't belong to you. It makes me feel mad, frustrated and violated. See, I have been losing goats for the past 5 months and it drives me crazy. The first goat we lost was Steele Ballew Sweetheart two weeks after she received her Permanent Grand Champion status. The loss was devastating and even though it has been 6 months since she disappeared, we still miss her a lot. We brought Sweetheart home when she was 2 1/2 months old. It took me a long time to convince Kim and Wayne to sell her to us, until they finally said yes. We loved her right from the beginning and we took good care of her. She really took ownership of the name, sweetheart. She was truly a sweetheart, full of love, friendly and healthy. We were so proud of her even when she didn't win in the show ring, we loved her dearly.
The day she disappeared, we looked for her in the middle of the night. Randy kept calling her name hoping the wind would carry the echo of his voice to where ever she was. He called her name as loud as he could hoping she would call back to him, but nothing, his calls went unanswered. I tried to get him back to the house but he refused to stop looking for her. The next few days we combed the neighbors' properties looking for remains: some bones, hair, blood, something... but no remains were found.
We drove around the neighborhood stopping at farms we knew had goats, we asked people if they had seen her wonder around but no one was able to give us good news.
Yes, the fact that an animal might've taken her crossed our minds but even if a coyote, mountain lion or a pack of dogs would have taken her, a sign of struggled would have been found somewhere, some place but we didn't find anything.
A couple of months later, another beautiful doe disappeared. This time it was Pride of Texas Sweet Pea. This does was handled from birth and was extremely friendly. This was the type of doe that loved to spend time on your lap just chewing her cud, being loved. She actually liked being in the show ring and she was a good show doe. My heart was broken when I couldn't find her the next day but more than that, my heart was being filled with hate towards people who comes into your property thinking they could take what they want regardless of the heartaches they are causing the owners.
Well, they came back again and took Pride of Texas Mrs Ippy. Ippy was my pride and joy, I was looking forward taking her to the show ring and seeing her win. She was absolutely beautiful and correct but again, someone decided to steal her form us. This time whomever has been taken our goats left us his foot prints on the ground. See, the night before we had some nice rain and the ground was wet. When I noticed Mrs. Ippy was missing I walked the pasture just to find the human foot prints heading toward the fence, also I noticed the leaves were disturbed as if the goat was being dragged, hopefully, alive.
With that information on hand, we called the Sheriff's department to report the findings. Of course, the officers insisted that a wild animal was the problem and not a human but nonetheless, they wrote the report.
Now, we have cameras all over the property and if we ever find someone that person will be shot. Yes, that person will be shot.
To the person who has taken our beloved animals, you are a disgusting human being. I don't know you but find you repulsive, you have violated our property, our trust and our faith in society. You are nothing but a common thief; you are a joke and an embarrassment to the human race. Someday you will make a mistake and I will be waiting to make you pay for what you've done.