Monthly Archives: May 2009

What do you get when

The rabbits are sick of all you people fawning over how cute the dumb baby goats are. They have cute babies too! Especially after they get out of that rodent-like, near-hairless stage. 

And so, I present the following question: 

What do you get when…

You cross a handsome buck like Speckles…specklesWith the gorgeous, friendly, soft as mink but not very photogenic Sasquatch?


Well, Speckles is a New Zealand/California cross. And Sassy is a Silver Fox….

So that makes them a one-quarter New Zealand/one-quarter California/and one half Silver Fox. 


Oh, you want to see a photo? 

Please sit down. 

pandabunnyPanda bunnies! 

Four white and black, and five black. You will die when you see them. 

blackieHere’s the whole family looking on while I stick the bun in my pocket. 

Ok, and that is the *last* time I ever do a post in the format of one of those idiotic joke emails that my dear dear relatives like to send off for a giggle and a snort. Goodnight!


Foxy Brown.





Not original or poetic, but you know, they are goats. I’m keeping Foxy, and Ginger will be for sale in a few months. They come from champion Nigerian Dwarf milking stock.

A few people have inquired about the boy, Eeyore.


I hope to borrow my friend’s tool, the Emasculator, and make Eeyore a wether, fatten him on grain and milk for a few months and then have him star in an animal processing class I’m putting together with the talented primitive skills teacher Tamara Wilder. (The date is set: September 13, if you’d like to sign up for the class. We’ll be killing two rabbits and one goat, processing all their parts, and starting the process for fur-on hide tanning. We may have a guest appearance of a local chef for a how-to cook lean meat demonstration. The class will cost $100 and is limited to 10 people. Send me an email if you want to sign up: novellacarpenter at gmail)

As for  his hermaphroditic sis/bro, Hedwig, here in this photo you can see the extra part (what I’m calling the angry millimeter) on her vagina.


Hedwig  is really sweet and fun, like a puppy. She/he doesn’t try to hump everyone like Eeyore (I know, already!) and she’s very people-focused. But on a practical note, intersex goats are not useful: they can’t be mated, they don’t make milk, they can’t stud, but they may smell strongly, like male goats. So, it’s a quandry. If I give her away to someone then I lose money on stud fees and feed, and perhaps that person gets a goat with problems. So, if anyone has a suggestion, let me know what you think.

Despite these issues, I’m having tons of fun with the little ones. I take naps out in the goat area and have them scamper across my body. Orla sometimes sleeps on top of me, and Bebe keeps a safe distance except when she wants a quick neck scratch. In the mornings, I milk Bebe and am in the middle of training Orla to behave on the stanchion. Things are lovely and I’m looking forward to a great, goat-filled summer. Let me know if you’d like to come by for a visit.

Goat Babies

It’s been a whirlwind week what with the new Biofuel Oasis opening up shop and both goats giving birth within a few days of each other.

novellabfoLast Tuesday Bebe came running out of the goat area looking crazy. Extra crazy. And then she started making the deep bleating noises that mean only one thing. I, exhausted from a marathon BFO construction weekend, ran around the house looking for all kinds of thing that I had now lost: iodine, washcloths, towels, beet pulp, molasses. Knowing Bebe, a pro with 4 births under her belt already, would be popping soon. She lay down and got back up for about an hour then started the real pushing. She yelled her head off, and I was reminded that birth is not fun and should not be a priority for me.

Finally, we saw a head poking out. A stuck-ish head and one hoof. Because normal position is two hooves and a nose. I couldn’t help myself, I broke the bag of fluid so I could talk to the head. It was a beautiful black and white La Mancha eared-head. “Ahhh,” it nickered. I cleaned off my hands and gently pushed the hoof back, and fished around for the second one. I couldn’t reach it. So, after another minute, and some intense bleating and pushing on Bebe’s part, and some gentle tugging on mine, Bebe finally got the thing out. These kids were huge compared to the straight Nigerian Dwarf kids.


Then out came the second one without issue. Bebe is the greatest mom ever, and she cleaned them off, made low mumbling noises and eagerly licked them while they nursed. Her udder is *enormous*. I breathed a sigh of relief–birth is very dramatic and scary, not unlike a death.

So, Bebe’s are: Eyore, a black and white speckled sweet boy. and Hedwig, a earless black and white girl who also has a weird extra thing on her vagina. These sexes are not ideal. I felt kind of sad the rest of the day. Yes, the birth went well, Bebe was healthy, and as cute as they are, these are not keeper goats if you’re in it for the milk.


That was Tuesday.

Friday, on the day of the grand opening of the BFO at 11am, Orla ran up to me at 9am with a quizzical expression and grunted. At least I could find everything I needed because the gear from Tuesday’s birth was still on the washing machine. I figured her labor might be short like Bebe’s. Around 1pm, with no signs of movement and lots of heavy breathing, I called Cotati Large Animal Veterinary. The nice lady vet talked me down when I confessed that Orla was having her first birth, she was slightly fat, and that I lived in downtown Oakland: “Has her water burst?” No. “Is she bleeding?” No. “Call me if her water breaks and there’s no progress.” It’s just so nice to talk to an expert (must remember to send a thank you card).


By 1:30, Orla was pushing and yeeeellling. I crouched next to her, offered her molasses water, and tried to facilitate the pushing by making dramatic facial expressions. Then, out squirted a spindly yellow thing. Dead. I thought. Because how can something look so skeletal and yellow and be alive? But then she coughed and I wiped her off. Orla, meanwhile, had one of those distant stares. She didn’t know this was her baby. I thought. I pulled on her collar–check out your baby! But she would have none of that. Bill came out to see the baby–an adorable blonde with blue eyes–and so did Bebe who couldn’t refuse the sound of a mewling kid. “There’s another one in there,” he said.

“No, she’s just fat,” I said. And stupid, I thought. I worried that she was like a neglectful teen mom. Visions of me doing 3 am bottle feedings flashed in my mind. Then another baby slide out. Twins! I couldn’t believe it because usually first timers have only one kid. After that one was out, Orla’s motherly instincts kicked in and she started cleaning up her girls.Both girls. Both blue-eyed. It was 3pm, I headed to the new Oasis. A good day to be born.