Riding Lessons & Horse Camp

One of my granddaughter’s activities is riding. She began taking lessons a year and a half ago.

Riding Start UpShe began by learning how to properly groom her horse and why grooming is important.

Ready To GroomThe first month or so, most of the lessons were about getting familiar with riding on a horse. The basics were introduced to her — rein and leg control, and she became comfortable with trotting around the outdoor and indoor rings.

At The FarmShe has been learning to ride Western style which means using a Western saddle and learning some maneuvers with barrels, posts, and other obstacles. She has a goal to learn to lasso.

Outdoor Ring ExercisesShe has gained enormous confidence when riding and it’s a great activity for her.

Riding Lesson May 2015She enjoys cantering the most now and her skill level has improved enough that she canters without a lunge line.  She canters full ring-circles now and the horse she usually rides, Ben, loves to give her a good workout. :-)

May 2015This week, she’s at Horse Camp. Each day, she gets a riding lesson and a trail ride across the creek and into the hills.

The FarmYesterday the trail ride was planned as a bareback riding lesson to work on bareback skills. Although there were 3 adult trainers that accompanied the campers, one young girl decided to trot while bareback. This girl had the confidence but didn’t have the skills to maintain balance and control without a saddle and stirrups. She fell off of her horse and dislocated her arm.

I suppose that girl won’t be at Horse Camp today, and her horse will remain in the pasture.

Horses out in pasture

Little Goat Kids Are So Cute!

We have all made it through the 2015 kidding season and we had 3 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets! Here are a few of the goats running to greet me — “ears up!”


We are now finishing up the bottle-feeding with the last set of twins now. They were born May 3rd and are almost 7 weeks old.  For now, they are still housed in a separate kid pen. When I turn them loose in the main pasture, they love to romp around and kick up their little hooves!

Abbies Kids June 2015

The set of triplets were born in mid-April and they have already moved to their permanent home in Pennsylvania. They were sold as triplets so we were really happy for them.

Carra's Triplets

These 2 sets of twins were born in March. We sold the black buckling to a goat owner in West Virginia. The remaining 3 spend most of their days eating hay or browsing outside in the goat pasture with our milking does.

Two sets of twins born 3/2015

The kids get along well with our milkers. One of our does is a great “aunt” and protector to them. She even beds down near them during the day when they escape the weather in the barn.

Kids 2015

It’s been exceptionally busy around the homestead with the goats, the kidding season, the gardens, the other critters, and the demands of homeschooling my granddaughter. Hope everyone is enjoying the last days of Spring.

Another Set of Twins

One of our does had a set of twins a few weeks ago (March 10) and this time, they were little doelings. Here they are, 9 days old:

Casidhe Does3_19_2015

These doelings are from Aibrean Wit’s Casidhe Ailee x Briar Mtn RCRM Donnal Pol. They are the first Nubian kids for this 2-year old doe, Casidhe, who is the daughter of our herd queen Abbie.

Now the kid count is 4, with a set of bucklings and a set of doelings. With little goat kids and 2 first-time fresheners to learn about good milk parlor behavior on a milk stand, I’ve been busy out in the goat yard.

Four So Far, Mar19_2015

Spring has finally arrived here at the homestead. Seedlings are popping up in the seed flats, early Spring flowers are blooming, birds are singing their Springtime tunes, and the homeschooling activities continue. More later…

Kidding Season Has Begun

Kidding season is here and as of Monday evening, we have twin bucklings!

Cristins Twins, March 4, 2015

These bucklings are from Aibrean Cristin Riley x Briar Mtn RCRM Donnal Pol. They are the first Nubian kids for both our doe Cristin and the buck (Pol) we purchased last year as a 3-week old.

By Monday around 5pm it was obvious that one of our Nubian does, Cristin, was going to have her kids. It was Day 148 and we’ve been watching her closely. We want to be around for the birthing because sometimes there are problems with the delivery of goat kids.

So when it was time to normally close up the barn for the night, we penned Cristin in the birthing pen and I stayed in the barn with her. Around 6pm she had the first contraction and after that I figured it would be an hour or so before she kidded.

Cristin did such a great job kidding, despite a difficult delivery. She is one of our 2-year old does and this was her first kidding. Her labor progressed nicely but she wasn’t able to delivery the first kid easily. We kept track of the time involved and saw that something was wrong — there were 2 kids presenting at the same time. When we saw the third hoof and didn’t see a nose, we realized that I would need to assist in this delivery. Once I was able to determine the position of both kids, I began to push one of the kids back so that the other kid had enough room to pass through the birth canal and out.

Timing is critical when there is a problem or a delay in the birthing process. All birthing problems create increased physical stress on both the mother and the unborn kid(s).  Fortunately, Cristin was laying down and I was able to rearrange one of the kids into the secondary position so that Kid #1 would be able to pass through the birth canal. Thankfully, Kid #1 was presenting in the normal hoof/head position but Cristin was unable to fully push this kid out. I assisted and timed my efforts with the contractions. Within seconds, Kid #1 was born.

Immediately after Kid #1 was born, here came Kid #2. Since this kid was already trying to be born, this was a very fast delivery. Kid #2 was born ‘backwards’ which is back hooves and legs present first. Fortunately, this was a smaller kid and required very little intervention from me.

Cristin had quite the ordeal. She was worn out and stayed down on the bedding straw for about 20 minutes, resting. I stayed with her to make sure she was recovering well. I was glad that my hubby and granddaughter were both helping with the goat kids so that I could focus on Cristin.

Both of the kids were born around 7:40pm on March 2 and they are doing fine. So we have twin bucklings to love on and laugh at.

Cristins Twins, March 4, 2015

Cristin is out and about and being a first freshener, she is learning all about how to be a good dairy goat.

Cristin, March 3, 2015For those who are interested, an excellent write-up with diagrams on kidding is at Fias Co Farm.


Pots, Pans, & Cast Iron

When we gutted our kitchen area about 10 years ago, we made sure to install enough kitchen cabinets to hold most of our dishes and our cooking utensils. We designed a cookware cabinet that would contain many of our pots and pans but it just wasn’t convenient to stoop down every time I reached for one of them.  Since I love to cook and make everything from scratch, we have quite a few pots, pans, and skillets — I was bending and down on my knees too often.  Besides that, some of our larger items like the roasting pans and Dutch ovens were taking up quite a bit of shelf room.

We then decided to install 2 hanging racks to hold pots, pans, and skillets. One is just for some of our cast ironware.

Rack for Cast Iron Skillets

Our other hanging rack holds quite a few stainless pans, plus a few of our colinders.

Rack for Stainless Cookware

We found that having a cookware cabinet is great for the large soup pots, lids, and a few large roasting pans. But without having the hanging racks, the pots and pans were stacked much too high and they were difficult to manage. We’re glad we re-organized our cookware because we now have a bit of extra space in our cookware cabinets. And we have room for the cast iron Dutch oven and the Romertopf clay-baking oven in those cabinets now.

Cookware Cabinet AreaWe now store 2 roasting pans in the drawer below the oven and several very large soup pots downstairs on top of my soap and candle cabinet. Plus, we now have the 2 hanging racks for some pots, pans, and cast iron.

Our hanging racks for most of the pans and cast iron skillets provide the easiest way to store and access the cookware that is used the most. I also like how they look against the cabinetry.

A bit of planning and effort made our kitchen more efficient and I’m glad we took the time to do this. How do you store your cookware? Do you have too many pots and pans and need to rethink your own storage system for cookware?