Spring Out Here

I guess I never noticed before, but spring kind of creeps up on you out in the country.  One day everything is brown and covered in snow, and the next, there’s green grass almost an inch high.  The buds on trees burst overnight, and baby animals just seem to appear out of nowhere.  Being home for Easter was kind of a bummer since the new season is just now getting a good start at home.  I had no sooner got out of my first class this morning when my mom sent me pictures of the only kids I’ll get this year.  Leave it to temperamental, spoiled nanny goats to withhold their children until after I leave!  On top of missing my kids, my duck eggs are due to hatch tomorrow. There are few things in life more adorable than tiny new duck feet, even if ducklings are louder than a tornado siren!  At night, the spring peepers keep up a commotion in the pond, and I so enjoy seeing the mist rise off of the fields in the morning.  As you may be able to tell, I really love spring!  Yes, summer is lovely, fall is a huge  relief after the heat, and winter is beautiful, but all life is renewed in the spring.  The air is not yet muggy, and you can still smell the dirt in the air.  In a few weeks the garden will be ready to plant, and there will be no end to weeding, tilling, watering, and rock picking.  When the hay is tall, it will be cut, raked, baled, and hauled in a matter of days, only to be repeated again when the grass grows back.  When the heat of the day is gone, there will be fishing trips and barbeques, swimming in the creek and catching lightning bugs.  For now though, the nights are cool and quiet, and we still just flip through the seed catalogs.  Balers and air conditioning are far from our minds as we sit in the living room with all the doors and windows open.  We’ll enjoy these few brief weeks of spring before the Missouri heat moves in, and then we’ll pick okra and green beans, and dream of next spring.

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A new little doe just born this morning!

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Also a little doe, trying out her new legs!

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These aren’t babies from this year, but they are the same breed that will be hatching this week. You can’t see them very well, but they have afros on top of their heads!

Tucker Farms: An Official Introduction

Hello to all! There is so much going on at the farm that I will probably have to post several times this week! I went home this weekend, as I do most weekends, and I had no problem finding something to do. For this first post, I thought I would introduce you readers to a few of our animals. This will be rather lengthy, so I apologize in advance!ImageSo, first and maybe the most exciting activity is the building of the new goat barn. We have been wanting to do this for a while, and my Daddy started setting posts earlier this week. This barn will be used for housing goats, particularly during kidding season.

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Here we see the brains of the operation, otherwise known as my Daddy and my older brother Dustin. Dusty lives in the next house down, but still comes to help out when we need him. Daddy is a regular man of all trades, and he dreamed up the ideas for this barn by looking at other plans. I will keep you all up to date on their progress as best I can!

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Okay, so this one I might get in trouble for! This is my older sister Carolyn building a rabbit box. I reassured her that I was only getting the box in the picture, but I sneaked her in too! Carolyn has several rabbits, and is always perfecting some sort of feeder or pen that will make caring for them easier. I guess she got that from Daddy!

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So here is my department: the goats. These are a few of my breeding does, and one of my bucks. As I mentioned last week, they are mostly a Boer-Nubian cross, although we do have a few that we have “collected” from random places and people. They thought I was going to feed them so they came running, disappointing them, but giving me a great photo op!

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A few more of the breeding stock.

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And a few more!

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This is one of my bucks I used this year. His name is Captain Jack, and this is the second year I have used him. He threw some gorgeous buck kids last spring, and I hope the same will happen this year!

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These are a few of my yearling does, who were born in March 2012. They are mature enough to breed, but I prefer to wait until they are older.

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Another shot of the yearlings, along with the “guard llama” Buddy. Ever since some dogs killed most of my herd years ago, we keep at least one llama in every pen of goats at all times. I have not had a security issue with my goats since!

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Another pair of llamas. This is Onyx and her baby, who remains unnamed as of now. The llamas are my momma’s project, and she’s been raising them almost as long as I have been raising goats.

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The latest baby born on the farm. The sire is on the left; sort of weird how the baby is almost pure white!

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Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper! These hogs were born early this spring and are actually going to be leaving the farm this Thursday to go to the slaughterhouse. Anything tastes better when you raise it yourself, and this is going to be some good bacon!

ImageThis is my little doe rabbit, who was also born earlier this year. I used to raise many rabbits for my 4-H project, but I gradually got out of that when I started with goats. This doe is bred and will have babies in time for Easter!

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These guys are noisy, messy, and so much fun! I have always enjoyed raising ducks, and I bought the first of these particular ones two springs ago. I believe they are Crested Blue Swedish, and I get little ducklings every spring. In the words of The Little Rascals, “Nothing beats a buck and a duck!”

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A few of our laying hens and the rooster. These are Cinnamon Queens, which are excellent egg producers and are very hardy and easy to raise. We get about one and a half dozen eggs per day.

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This is Hank, my dog. He is Blue Heeler-Australian Shepherd cross. I have had him for about 12 years, and he helps us work cattle. His partner, Katie (below), belongs to my sister, and is Blue Heeler. They are both getting pretty old now, and mostly laze around, play fetch, chase the cats, and shred shoes.

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Okay, I think the only one I have not introduced you to so far is my momma. So here is a picture of Momma and I back in April at Missouri State FFA Convention in Columbia. I had just received my State FFA Degree at this point.

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So hopefully now you know a little about my family, farm, and the animals we raise. I would love for you to follow me or comment on my blog anytime. I hope you enjoyed catching up with me this week, and thank you for reading. Happy farming!