Taming of the shRuby

Everywhere you look on the Homestead this week, Spring is in evidence.


Aprie shows off her blossom (just for Luc)

It’s almost as if the garden had one eye on the calendar;


“Hey, look: September the first! Spring must be sprung!”


Or maybe we were just looking for it in a bid to banish the mood of last week. It wasn’t that hard to find, though.


Sylvia is the latest coop resident to succumb to Spring fever, chicken style


and in the goat paddock, the girl’s girths steadily expand.

We watch these developments with mixed emotions. This promise of Homestead riches, both animal and vegetable, is incredibly exciting, but at the same time a tad daunting as we are reminded of the limit of our knowledge. We’re still searching for the best way to preserve our excess fruit, that is supposing we manage to keep the bugs and bogies at bay long enough to produce a crop at all, and no matter how gorgeous we think our broad beans are, you can be sure the multitude of passersby we chat to as we minister to the front garden know someone with better, bigger, healthier and better tendered legumes. The more we find out, the less we know.

No where is this more in evidence than with our goatie girls, and Miss Ruby in particular.


She is a beautiful specimen of pure bred saanen goat and all the wonderful dairy attributes of that breed.


She is also opinionated, flighty, feisty, and downright grumpy. All this antisocial behaviour raises a number of questions, along the lines of

  • have we done something wrong in raising our first kid? 

  • why is she so stroppy?

  • doesn’t she like us?

and most importantly

  • how are we going to milk this uppity little madam?

But then Farm Girl got out her calculator, did a bit of googling, and informed us that Ruby is the goat equivalent of a teenager; “and you know what THAT means,” she added sagely. Hmmm…good point.

And The Bean Counter reminded us of the days we spent simply coaxing Geraldine onto the milking stand, followed by weeks of just sitting next to her, patting her and talking to her, building up the trust that finally resulted in the Homestead milk supply. Leia wasn’t the most willing of milkers either, initially. It took time and trust and, possibly something unique to her, a couple of choruses of  the Rolling Stones’ “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday” before she acquiesced.

So, we’re going to get a  head start on proceedings.  From tomorrow it begins: the taming of our very own Homestead Shrewby; Miss Ruby.


12 thoughts on “Taming of the shRuby

  1. I was wondering about ShRuby…but I got there in the end. Trust you to bring it round to music somehow…
    I was thinking teenager when I read Ruby’s characteristics, so I”m glad to have my inexpert (well, I might not know about goats, but I do know a couple of teens) opinion reinforced by FG. Isn’t it funny how we forget the long tedious stages of things with animals? And children come to that….training toddlers to use the loo comes to mind. Some things just can’t be rushed :).

    And just as you start showing off your lovely blossom and your verdant broad beans, we are finally! getting some rain, albeit in huge storm bursts, and all of nature is soaking up the desperately needed moisture but feeling a little battered at the same time. Autumn has befallen us, our nights are cool now, and I’m back to wearing my sweater in the mornings. Apple sauce and tomato sauce for the freezer are nightly cooking sessions now, the annual agricultural fair is in two days (like a big A and P show), and school starts back in 5 days. Isn’t it extraordinary how the season seems to change in a big leap overnight almost? You can see it creeping closer week by week, and then suddenly, bam! overnight you’ve changed over to the new season. Like taking a jump to the right (as close as I’m getting to a musical reference).

    Is she broody, that hen? Eggs under her? I’m at the point with my “chicks” where I need to put the pullets in with the main flock and the 4 (5?) roosters into the freezer, but that won’t be a lot of fun, so I’ve been putting it off…and getting the new pecking order sorted out will be I suspect a slow process, much like convincing a goat that she wants to be milked daily Love the goat pictures, by the way.

    • Love the musical reference…I’m going to shove that boat well and truly out by observing that as you take your jump to the right, we are definitely stepping solidly to the left 🙂
      Being this close to animals has been a real eye opener, particularly when it comes down to those dreaded “phases” we go through (how I hated that term when I was a kid). If even the goats become stroppy adolescents, it can’t be all put down to environment, attitude and lack of discipline – can you tell I made a hard row of my teenage years:)
      Yep, Sylvia the hen is broody but is to date only incubating a couple of plastic eggs. We do plan to get another clutch of fertilized eggs but that does mean that, if we end up with two more females, some hard decisions need to be made on who ends up taking a walk with The Bean Counter and Farm Girl. As top of the list are very distinctive personalities in the flock, it’s not going to be an easy decision…
      Did you check out the Agricultural Fair? Hope the rain is falling in the right places and right amount for you all.

    • It’s two steps forwards and one back at the moment..thank goodness for camellias, Ruby can’t resist them and is beginning to understand a certain level of behaviour is required before she gets to check out the contents of my pocket 🙂

  2. Your beans look very fine beans to me. I am also jealous because your beans flower so early in the season. We have to wait until late spring early summer at the earliest before we see any flowers in our exposed garden. Miss Ruby is a very beautiful goat. She probably feels she has a right to be grumpy – like a super-model 😀

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