11/11/2009 Goat Gossip 79 Fall planting and winter planning are here! I guess in the grand scheme of things, summer at the Rancho was a mixed blessing. Spring was kinda green and there were hopes of baling plenty of hay, but the drought showed its dryness and we did good to get 20 bales from the pasture that we did cut and bale. As they say the best laid plans of mice and men fall by the wayside, at least when it comes to what the Good Lord intends to do! I try to shop around and find the best price on just about every item that we try to buy for our operation and it drives the feed & seed dealers and Gwen crazy. I guess it’s just the Dutchman in me coming out and many times Gwen has to rein me in and point out that I’m fixin’ to spend a dollar on transportation cost to save a dime on feed or whatever it is that I’m buying. I guess it’s the Polish in me that causes this phenomenon because I still want to argue with the Logical Lady and try to persuade her to see things my way, even if it’s the wrong way! Hardheadedness is a family trait cuz Rhys is the same way! Anyway, weren’t the recent rains wonderful! All of the pastures and woods came up green and the Oaks are so full of acorns that it seems like God has blessed us with a bounty this year! The goats spend most of their mornings in the woods munching on acorns and after their ten to noon siesta they go out and grab a belly full of green stuff. This mild weather that we have been having here in the Trans-Tweener region is great for growing goats and the new kids are growing big and strong. Our order has been placed and the seed for our fall planting should be at the feed stores when I get home from tugboatin’. We tend to go with what works for us and since we don’t have a plethora of farm equipment we try to make do with the bare minimum. The next items on my equipment wish list is a harrow drag and a 12’-14’ disc. I guess we will have to sell some goats in order to get them! We are planting Austrian winter peas in most of the open pasture and the goats seem to do pretty well on them. We just sling the seed out and run a tire drag over the pasture to work it down to the soil and this method works well for us. As long as these timely rains keep falling they will come up just fine. Good Lord willing! The only problem with planting the peas is that the deer just love them! They are already so fat and sassy from the forbs and browse and acorns that they are ready to pop! They eat and eat on the cornucopia that is Rancho Volsa Basias, and then they aggravate the livestock guardian dogs by coming to the protein tubs for dessert and a little loose mineral to settle their digestion at night. Thomas & Co. bark at them rascals all night! Just like the robins and cardinals that bless us with their presence, Gwen likes to see them hopping over the electric fences and gamboling through the pastures when she drives in from church at night and Mongo and Fang enjoy the brief chases that occur when we go on a 4-wheeler runs in the evenings and some of the deer get startled up, so harvesting any of them are out of the question. They are fixtures on the Rancho just like Ellie Mae and Festus the donkeys. Maybe I could start up a wildlife park and earn enough for that equipment? We are finally going to plant some Durana clover in the hay meadow to add some nitrogen to the soil. Not having to spread a bunch of fertilizer to get the grass to come up in the spring appeals to that Dutchman in me. This is a new clover that is supposed to reseed easily and according to tests by experts puts the most nitrogen in the soil. It makes me wonder about the testimonials that folks are paid for. One year this variety is best and next year it will be another. It’s a never ending stream of information trying to tempt our input dollars and it never gets any easier to make decisions, just more confounding. One decision that we are definitely making is how to spend our money on winter feed supplements. We will be buying a load of whole cottonseed again this year and I’m going for a load just as soon as I can make it home and hook up the War Wagon to the livestock trailer. The best price I have found in the area was Williams Gin in Frost. There are some other gins that I contacted and if you want to find out what they are charging then Google Texas Cotton Gins find the yellow pages listings and call around to some of the ones closest to your location for availability and prices. Don’t dillydally cuz some of the ones I called are already through ginning and have sold out of whole cottonseed. This stuff goes fast cuz all of the cattle feeders buy up as much as they can get their greedy little hands on! Gimme a call if you need some help finding what you need. Whole cottonseed can be a chore to deal with; what with all of the shoveling and toting around that you have to do. But the results are fantastic! Our herd stays fat and sassy all winter on the stuff and you all will realize the health benefits from all of the cardio exercise once you start shoveling and lifting and carrying it around. C’mon, a little hard work never killed anybody! We have taken to just putting it in cattle creep feeders with all of the barriers removed from the fronts and allowing them free-choice access in the evenings when they come into the pens. They will self limit themselves. So says the most knowledgeable man I know as far as goat nutrition, Dr. Frank Pinkerton. Doc Frank is also an advocate of feeding whole cottonseed and is someone that I trust to research and find the right answers about such stuff. Get yourself a load and see what it does for your goats. I think you will be pleased! We had two nominees for the offices coming open, Gary Tugwell for President and Gwen VanderMartin for Treasurer. The Board of the FCGBA decided not to put the opening of our roles on the ballot. We are also considering going to quarterly meetings instead of monthly meetings. There will be no December meeting due to the Holidays. The ETGRA is having a raffle for a portable hayrack. Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25. The hayrack was made by Greg Ashabranner and consists of three pieces. It can be assembled by one person in about five minutes and holds one square bale of hay. The hayrack is easy to move from pasture to pasture as you rotate your herd. The winning ticket will be drawn at the January, 2010 general membership meeting. Tickets will be sold at all association events. Tickets may also be purchased by mail, please include your name, address, contact phone number. Make checks payable to ETGRA and mail to P O Box 152937; Lufkin, Texas75915, for info go to www.etgra.com That’s all I have for now, Gwen and I are going to the NETGRA sale. She’s not letting me take the War Wagon with the goat box so I’m not buying (wink, wink!). If you have any goat gossip then call 903-388-8528 or e-mail [email protected]. Bye, for now.