MuldrowHomeFarm-Our journey into Farming (little did we know this is where we were going....)

MuldrowHomeFarm

Loving the herd life
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1999 is the year we met......I will merely highlight what has brought us here......but suffice to say, a lot of love, patience, forgiveness and so much grace, it cannot even be measured.
I am assuming that the initials, "DH" stands for Dear Husband......at least, I am hoping they do. If not, then please know that DH here does stand for Dear Husband.....because to me, my husband, is a very Dear man......
I met DH at Hollywood Video, where we both worked. Our marriage is a 2nd marriage for both of us and he has 4 boys, one of which, I claim and he calls me Mom. I came into our marriage with a daughter and son. Both my kids were younger than his youngest by about 2 years. So....we had a blended household of a 15 yr old boy, a 13 yr old boy, a 10 yr old girl and a 7 year old boy. I didn't have teenagers, so I had no idea what I was in for......
Fast forward through all the drama of having that household incurred........the oldest boy that lived in our house, JM, joined the Air Force upon graduation and that was wonderful and terrible at the same time. He is now 36, medically retired after 15 years in the AF, survived a kidney transplant 2 years ago in February and is back home with us at the farm, with his incredible wife, who we absolutely adore! They have been married for 8 years and she is our angel!
Our daughter married an incredible young man, who joined the K9 unit in the Army and they are out East finishing up his contract so they can move home to the farm in a couple of years. We are praying for a baby in 2021, as they have suffered 2 miscarriages in the last 2 years.
Our youngest son joined the Air Force when he turned 24. A little slow out of the gate, but he loves it and is up North "living the dream", as he puts it. He plans to finish his contract, maybe do a couple more years and then come home to the farm. We shall see what God has in store for him and us!

DH and I decided very early that we liked each other, as well as, loved each other enough to work together. From 1999 to 2006, we were lucky enough to have jobs that allowed us to be together all the time. In 2006 we had a financial set back that required us to move from South Texas to Midland, Texas, or as I like to call it.....HELL. Please, I know that many people love West Texas and I was born in Houston, Texas so I am Texan, through and through but to me, Midland, Texas is HELL. If not for the fact that it is a desert, it is because of the family members who resided there that were trying to "help" us, all the while trying to destroy our marriage behind the scenes. We endured 2 years there until I said, "I am going home, to South Texas." And so we did.....we ended up in South East Texas about 20 minutes from Louisiana and 40 minutes from the Ocean....which is why I moved as far South as I could.....(we cannot afford Galveston or I would live there). Also, Galveston is where we met........
Anyway.....in 2008 when we moved to SE TX, I found out that DH grew up as a beekeeper, with his father and grandfather and they once owned 4000 hives. He RELUCTANTLY agreed to teach me how to keep bees and we currently run between 400 and 600 hives locally. We had not been able to work together since 2006. DH took a job that he enjoyed but hated to be working without me, as I hated to work without him so we set out to do what we could to work together again as soon as possible. 2018 looked like we would be able to do it but it ended up being 2019 before we made it a reality.
2017 JM moved home with MM and had his kidney transplant. He has blossomed. We bought 56 acres of uncleared land and went to work. Little did we know that uncleared land would be so difficult to make into a farm of any kind......but we are loving it! Now, because we are in SE TX, we have endured Hurricane Harvey and Imelda. Both have dumped so much water on us that we keep floaties on all our goats. Thank God we did not have animals in Harvey and we did not get the goats until the week after Imelda.
Another notable event is that a young friend of mine, that is the same age as our daughter........I met her when we worked together from 2009-2011, gave birth in 2018, to an amazing baby boy. Her family is out of the picture and we have adopted them as ours. We went through her pregnancy and his birth with them and now he is 2 and a half.....the absolute light of all our lives......we couldn't love him more if he was biologically ours. He will never know that he is not ours! They live with us and will build a house at the farm when the time comes.
We timbered the majority of the property and divided it up. 38 acres for our son and our precious MM. 18 acres for DH and me. At our age, we thought 18 acres would be just about perfect. Wow....18 acres is HUGE. So, we gave an acre to CS and our baby boy. Henceforth, he will be known as The Super Hero, Captain Spiderman. He loves Captain America and Spiderman. A picture will follow so you can see what I mean.......please, feel free to laugh, as he thought this outfit up all by himself.
Then we gave 2 acres to our daughter, AG and 2 to our youngest son, JE. Thus reducing our land to 13 acres. We might just be able to take care of that!
I did make sure that we left about 60 feet of brush on the front and side of our property to block any potential neighbors. I can safely say, it was not enough brush......
I grew up on a farm, 330 acres and we farmed soy beans, cows, horses, goats and chickens. That, of course, was 1000 years ago (I am 52 now) so I thought I had enough knowledge to do what we needed to do. I learned to drive a tractor when I was 6. I could saddle my own horse at 6, Even though I had to stand on a 55 gallon drum and jump of to cinch the blanket on her, I did it. I left the farm at 18 and SWORE I would never go back. Well, I didn't but at 40, I couldn't remember why I left. I love farm life and surprisingly so does DH, even though he is a Pirate at Heart, he was just born 200 years too late.
2018 allowed us to start our dream by putting in a 75 foot driveway. We then started fencing in the outer perimeter of the first portion of the property. We chose the best fencing for goats we could find, which means it is fairly expensive and now damn near impossible to get......we have to order it by the pallet. About $2k a pop. We get a slight discount by buying a pallet. We had the front and the sides fenced but the back was not fenced.......but it was a long, long way to the back of our property and we back up to the LVNA canal, which is right next to the RR tracks so we figured any livestock would just stay up front, which, thank heavens, they did...we went to auction.
DH decided that it was time for natures lawn mowers, since I refused to buy him a Cheeta Lawmower for $10K. We took $1500 and went to see what we could see at the auction barn. It was exciting and sad. I will not go into the auction scene but I hate the thought of going back. I will, mind you, because I am a rescuer at heart and DH knows this and accepts it. In the last 10 years, we have housed, vetted and rehomed over 40 dogs. This year we have had 2 litters of little black puppies dropped at our gate at the farm. All vetted and rehomed. I am proud of this. We never refuse something God puts on our doorstep. The auction wasn't put on our doorstep but now that I know what it is......well, I will go rescue from there again but now I know how to quarantine, thanks corona, and that is helpful.
We walked around the pens and wrote down all the numbers of the goats we wanted to bid on. We were given specific instructions by our leader. DH would be doing the bidding. Only Nannies and NO PREGNANT GOATS. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.......
Everything was going well, right up until DH started bidding on an OBVIOUS Billy Goat. He was beautiful but he was a BOY. I am on one side of the room, JM (son) and MM (dil) are on the other side of the room. We are frantically looking at each other and the back of the room, where DH is now in a bidding war for this boy. I am gesturing wildly and JM is mouthing to me, "What is he doing?" DH never, NEVER, looks at us...his trusty spotters......he just goes right on bidding......and winning this boy. After he finishes, he glances at me. Noticing my STUNNED face, he mouths, "What?" I mouth, "It is a BILLY." He says, "What?" I make the hand signs for LARGE COJONES and say very loudly, "HE HAS BALLS! HE IS A BILLY!" Everyone around me busted out laughing, of course and DH looks down and says out loud, "The number shows it is a Nanny." I shake my head and DH looks over to JM who mimics my hand gestures. Just then the auctioneer says, "Hey, sorry about that, I gave the wrong number on that last goat." But by then, we had already bought him so.....oh well.......no, they would not go back and re sell him.....so we took him home. At the end of the day, we ended up with one nanny with twin billy kids, I just couldn't let them be split up, 1 billy and 14 nannies and 2 wethers. As we were leaving, the boys were already out back loading up our herd, we girls went to the potty. I got stopped by a little goat that was being sold with no bids. I asked the auctioneer if she was a nanny and he said yes. The bid was $40. No one bit. They were about to move on so I bid $35 on this little thing. I couldn't believe my ears when some dude from across the room bid $40. I just stared at him and said, "Seriously? He asked for $40 900 times and you never said a freaking word." I turned to the auctioneer and said, "$50" then just stared at the Dude. He remained silent. And this is how I ended up going outside to my wonderful DH and saying, "We have one more to load. I'm sorry. No one wanted her and I couldn't leave her." DH just shook his head and sent JM to find my last little girl. Imagine my shock when JM brought me a goat that stood about 14 inches tall. My son said, "Here is your goat, Mom." He looked at his Dad and just started laughing. I had bought a teacup goat. OMG. She was precious. I loved her so much and DH said, "Honey, we are buying goats to clear our land. What exactly, is she going to do?"
I had no response but I loved her.
DH and JM, along with me and MM, had built a surround that was about 40x40 with a temporary loafing shed *pics to follow* for our little herd. We brought them to the farm and put them in our "pen" with the loading shed and set a round bale of hay in the center. We thought we were set.
A friend said, "Do not name them if you intend on eating them." So, I promptly named all of them. I know we will be eating some of them this winter and I am ok with that. As a matter of fact, I am looking forward to devouring Jane. She is quite a little B*tch. She will taste lovely. She does have beautiful babies and we will get one more kidding out of her before we send her to freezer camp but she is terrible.
I have always loved to write but I have never had a subject that I could just latch on to and write that felt so right. I would apologize for the length but this is my journal so I won't.
Since we were so uninformed about goats and had no frigging idea what the hell we were doing, we ended up losing a few before we got the information we needed. I am not sure how much I can type without it booting me out so I will post this and start another post, just in case.....
 

Baymule

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I’m loving it! I was born in San Benito, family moved to Longview when I was 2. Moved to Houston when I was 8 and I graduated from Bellaire High. Left home, moved to Baytown, Dibol, Huntington and back to Longview. Moved to Livingston and stayed there for over 30 years. We bought this place 6 years ago, here in Lindale, to be close to our DD and family. They just moved to ODESSA!!!! WTH. DSIL took an assistant principal job, it is a good move for them, but we sure miss them.

So fellow Texan, I’m with you all the way. I like it that you are using your land to build a family compound. That is awesome.

Y’all have a LOT of bee hives! Do you scatter them around? Lease places to put them or do people pay you for the bees pollinating their crops?
 

MuldrowHomeFarm

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Once we got them home, they had those terrible auction numbers stuck to their sides. Let me tell you, that glue is worse than the glue traps for rats. We tried to let them wear off but it would have been weeks and I just didn't have the heart for that. DH and JM set about cutting the hair so the tags would be free. That worked well, but they had bad haircuts on their sides for a few weeks. Better that than those numbers. And what about those numbers? If we didn't name them, we called them by their numbers? Or tried to describe them? "Hey, you see that brown goat? No, not that brown one, the other brown one." I mean, they are all different looking but still....names are the best way to go. And their personalities justified the names.
We learned that wethers were good to have because they cannot get the girls pregnant and act as a calming agent for them. Wethers are boy goats that have been castrated and are basically big dogs. At least, our 2 were. Finnegan was the wether we lost. He died on day 5, after going down hill, due to worms, but we had no idea, at that time, what the problem was. We could not find a goat vet or a vet that knew anything about goats, nor could we find anyone who would talk to us about goats. We spent almost 2 weeks trying to find people with goats or a vet that would help us. Finally, we found both. The Goat Spot is really what saved us. That forum (along with this one) has a true family spirit and is beyond helpful with sharing their information. We would not have made it this far without the advice we received from The Goat Spot (TGS) and a new friend from TGS that lives near us, who was willing to teach us and mentor us in our goat journey. She invited us to her farm and taught us what to look for, taught us how to do our own fecals and offered her friendship. We will be forever grateful.
I also found a lady at Agrilife in a different county that was willing to talk to me about goats. She is the one that told us what we needed to vaccinate them with and de worm them with and that we needed to do hoof care regularly.
Hamilton is our 2nd wether and he is absolutely precious. He has learned to be a billy goat because we moved him into our Billy herd. He is doing very well with all the boys and they love him. More on that later.
Our herd consisted of the following:
Finnegan, wether, lost to worms day 5
Hamilton, wether, doing wonderful. Thought he was a dog but learned he is a boy goat. Doing boy goat things.
Scarlett, our herd queen. Partial Boer and something else. Solid Red and beautiful.
Jane, 2nd in command. She is terrible. White with some tan coloring.
Emmy Lou, 3rd in command. She is aloof and still is. White with black markings on her face
Hazel, she is fat.....and aloof, black and white
Lizzy, aloof, black and white
Olive, friendly "ish" brown girl
Buttercup, friendly, Momma, black and white, had 2 little bucklings with her
Boots, baby boy, died week 2, worms
Justin, baby boy, alive and kicking......2nd in command of our buck herd. Beautiful black boy with white
Lucy, our blue eyed girl, gave birth to preemie doe we lost, week 3
Lace, Lucy's sister, died week 3, worms
Thistle, miscarried day 3
Sadie, brown, one horn broken
Primrose, tricolored
Mae, white with brown spots
Calamity, my hot mess
Snickers, my littlest goat, died in labor (who would have bred this tiny girl?) week 3
And finally, Barbacoa, the Billy that DH bought by accident
We brought 20 goats home. We lost 4 the first month. I was devastated. So very devastated. I couldn't go to the farm because I found a dead goat every time I was there. I was on the phone for days and could find no help. Finally, at the beginning of November, I found TGS.
I neglected to mention that we only had our Billy for a week. DH decided to return him to the auction house the following week. He had STRICT instructions to not buy anything else. However, JM drug me out to the goat pen where there was only one other goat for sale. A nanny with a 2 day old baby doe. DH couldn't buy anything but apparently that did not apply to me. They came home with us. Zoe ( the Mom) and Faust (the kid) joined our little herd and we said goodbye to Barbacoa. Little did we know he only needed a week to knock up several of our girls. If they weren't pregnant when we bought them, he knocked them up during that one week he was their Sire.
We ended up with 16 of our original goats. We brought 2 new girls home.
We began to do fecals regularly. We began to do hoof care monthly. It made a difference. We feed them "the good stuff" and they browse. They began to get healthy. We treated for worms. We learned all about the worms they get and what the dewormers are about and how to give them. We created a monthly hoof day that includes hoof care, FAMACHA, handling goat from stem to stern and kopertox on all feet, deworming anything that rates a 3 or higher.
We had 18 goats from October until January. That is when we began to try to decide who was pregnant. It was a hoot with all of us trying to figure out who was preggers and who wasn't. We were wrong, right, wrong, right, wrong.....I was watching videos of what to do when your goat kids and all these videos showed these prepared women, helping their goats give birth. They had BIRTHING KITS. They were helpful.
DH said, "No."
I said, "But....."
DH, "NO."
I hung my head.
DH put his hand on my shoulder and said, "They have been doing this without you for a long time. We will watch and see what happens and help IF we need to. We will not let them suffer. But we will NOT interfere. Got it?"
I nodded.
I brooded.
I watched.
I waited.
GOO! WE HAD GOO!!!!
Hazel was huge. We called her Triple wide. 4 kids. Surely, she has 4 kids. So we built a birthing pen. The next day, no goo. We did not know about THE DOE CODE. How could we have known? We had no idea that if we spoke the words out loud that the pregnant does automatically added 3 days to their gestation. Or how were we to know that if we dared to guess that they would give birth this week that they were sworn to wait a week and give birth on the COLDEST, WETTEST day of the year. How could we have known? But the Does knew.
Hazel was living her best life, in the birthing pen, getting private food. Staying in and laying around......why give birth? Not when I get this life.....oh no....birth can wait......
And wait it did.
Then we had GOO again.....wait, that's not Hazel. That's Lizzy......and Jane......
Ok, so 2 more birthing pens....
Lunch time......put Lizzy and Jane in pens.....go to lunch.....come back.....Lizzy has TWINS.....perfect little goats.....one girl, Lil and one boy, Phil. OMG. We are goat grandparents! Jane just turned her nose up at us. But she still had goo. Hazel just laid there and rang her dinner bell. Sigh.....ok...
Next morning, Jane had TWIN bucklings! Gorgeous boys!
Hazel just grunted and asked for breakfast.
Next day, no new babies.....
I kicked Hazel out of the Suite. Made her go browse and walk. At the end of the day, she was back, requesting entrance to her Suite. I let her in. I'm a sucker for a fat girl....being one myself, I understand the struggle.
Next day, no babies.......
Next day, no babies......
Emmy Lou had GOO! Hazel got kicked out again and Emmy Lou went into the THE SUITE. Next morning, DH happened to show up as Emmy Lou was pushing out twin number 2 and she was hung.....so DH gave a little tug and she came right out......TWIN does! Yay! One white, One black.
Hazel came to the Suite and stared.....unbelievable, she was just so put out. She held her head high and waddled away.
At this point, our 2 first sets were big enough to meet the herd. So we let Momma's and kids out into the big pen but not out-out. Just out.
GOO again! But this time, we didn't catch it so Olive gave birth mid day in the loafing shed. When we got back from lunch, you'd think we'd learn to go hungry, we had to move her little doeling and her little buckling into a birthing pen. She happily followed. Hazel just stared at us.
The next day our herd queen, Scarlett, delivered 2 stunning bucklings with moonspots. She also delivered in the loafing shed, when we went to lunch.
Hazel went out to browse, giving us a dirty look as she waddled away.
Now we have 3 full birthing pens again and we have let our first littles go out to browse with their Mommas.
THAT WAS A MISTAKE. Jane came back with no babies. NO BABIES. Lizzy has her twins. Jane's babies are NO where to be found. Are you kidding me? No pun intended! I was beside myself. I called in all the troops, as Jane just stood there and screamed at me to find her babies. I am yelling back, "You lost them! You lost them! You lost them????? What do you mean, you lost them?????" So troops arrive and we fan out. No babies. 2 hours go by.......no babies and Jane has laid down because the Minions are working on it so why should SHE worry? DH says......"You know, she knows where they are so they are fine. But.....is it possible she took them out the gate and across to our neighbors field?" We all but ran to unlock the gate and cross the road (small, dirt road) and cross his fence (illegal but we do not care) and search for babies. Jane, no worries, lays there chewing her cud.
DH went one way, JM went the other. MM and I just stood in the road, wringing our hands and me chastising Jane for being a terrible Momma. 20 frantic minutes later, DH yells, "Got 'em!" And he carries her 2 sleepy, content, full bellied, sun warmed, babies to the fence and hands them over to us. We kiss and cuddle them. We take them back to Momma who huffs at us as if to say, "What took you so long? I hid them in plain sight."
I immediately went on to TGS to tell of the adventures and lambaste Jane for being a terrible Momma.......only to learn she is a good Momma and did what all good goat Momma's do. So......lesson learned!
Next day, Jane AND Lizzy hide their babies. This time, I do not panick. JM and I fan out into the forest behind the pen and I happen upon both sets of twins, well hidden and being patient. We left them alone. 2 hrs later, after much yelling from their Momma's, neither set even moved. We did have to go get them because we were locking them up for the night.
Next morning as we are letting everyone out, we count them and Hazel was missing....then I heard her bleat.....from the loafing shed.......we run and she is just starting to give birth! I yell, "I need a towel and some hot water!" DH says, "No" I say, "But....." DH just shakes his head. I step back and pull out my phone. Oh well, if I can't help, at least, I can get it on film!" It was a perfect birth. She was perfect. The twin does she kidded were perfect! We watched the whole thing. Once she had them cleaned up, dried and nursing, we waited for her to finish the nasty birthing business and clean up. Once that was done, we moved her and the twins back into THE SUITE. She had earned it.
We thought we were done! 6 nannies, 6 sets of perfect twins. We had no other pregnant girls. Life was good!
Next day, we went to lunch........
Calamity, my sweet, hot mess......lowest ranking girl, so much wrong with her......her horns look melted.....she is obviously over 6 years old and had never had hoof care until we got her. Her ribs show. Her hip bones show. We feed her. I cheat and give her treats. I love on her, as she tolerates, if I have treats.........Calamity has given birth....to a single kid......Calamity is stunned. The kid is stunned. We are stunned. I'm not quite sure who was more stunned but the kid stood in the same spot for an hour staring at a tree after I made sure she was ok. DH finally let me get involved! Calamity gave birth in the forest but close to the driveway. I went and checked. "It's a girl!" I iodized her umbilical cord, made sure she latched to nurse and then backed off. Once she finished nursing, she turned around and just stood there, staring at a tree (pic to follow) for an hour. I stared at her and Calamity. FOR AN HOUR.
And that was our first kidding season!
I was recently asked if these were our first goats. Yes, we dove off the deep end. We had no idea that goats are the most difficult livestock to rear in South East Texas, due to the worms. We just knew that is what we wanted so that is what we started with. Looking back, I wouldn't do it any different. The rest of our group, however, would......but we are where we are and things are looking up!
Our kidding all happened in January and February. At the time, we didn't know that the little buckling, Justin, that was born in early September and was just turning 4-5 months old........was able to "be a buck"..........now, here we are, 4 1/2 months later.....and we are getting ready for our 2nd set of kiddings to begin......Justin will father at least 4 sets of kids.....maybe 5..........hence the reason we now have a buck herd......that will be included in the next part of my journal....for now.....dinner has to be made!
 

MuldrowHomeFarm

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I’m loving it! I was born in San Benito, family moved to Longview when I was 2. Moved to Houston when I was 8 and I graduated from Bellaire High. Left home, moved to Baytown, Dibol, Huntington and back to Longview. Moved to Livingston and stayed there for over 30 years. We bought this place 6 years ago, here in Lindale, to be close to our DD and family. They just moved to ODESSA!!!! WTH. DSIL took an assistant principal job, it is a good move for them, but we sure miss them.

So fellow Texan, I’m with you all the way. I like it that you are using your land to build a family compound. That is awesome.

Y’all have a LOT of bee hives! Do you scatter them around? Lease places to put them or do people pay you for the bees pollinating their crops?
I love your story! You have lived all over Texas! Awww, I hate that they moved to Odessa. I understand it being a good move for them but it still sucks!
We are very excited about the Family Farm (compound). We all agree that we want to be together so we are making it happen!!
Yes, to putting hives on other people's land but we don't charge for it. They use it for pollination and ag exemptions and we don't have to own a bunch of land and pay taxes so it is mutually beneficial!
 
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