Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drowning in a Sea of Cuteness

Turns out the best way for me to avoid post show meltdowns, is to pick up 3 unbearably cute baby goats on the morning after the opening reception.

But let me back up here. A few years ago I met Brent, one half of The Fabulous Beekman Boys and he said that when I was ready to take the plunge and raise goats, I could buy a few from them in the spring when their goats have their babies (they don't keep all the kids, many go to auction and some are sold to various people in the area). It took me awhile to get it together but last fall when I impulsively decided to get 2 goats from another friend of mine, I knew that I would also have to get a few from the Beekman farm too, just to round things out.

So I have been in contact with John, who is the actual goat guy and he let me know that he would have kids that would be ready to go at the beginning of March. Doug and I went out to the farm to meet John and see the goats. We also met Polka Spot, the diva llama. She had been outside but came in when she heard us, the crowd of goats parted like the Red Sea when she breezed into the barn, and I am not even joking! She seemed to like me; she didn't spit or hiss at me and even let me rub her neck. She definitely had an attitude though. Anyway, a few weeks later, after there were even more kids to choose from, my daughter Ginger and I went back out to the farm. I had decided to get 2 doelings. We each picked one (VERY difficult, have I said how freaking cute baby goats are????) and I arranged to pick them up on the weekend that my show would be opening.

Barn Study#527, 4"x4" Oil on Panel, 2012

The gallery opening was wonderful and Doug and I really enjoyed ourselves. The small format paintings proved to be a good choice for this show; quite a few had already sold by the time we arrived and those who attended the opening seemed to enjoy putting together small groupings of them. Several collectors were also there and it was really nice to talk with them. It was a good night!

Bottle Study#532, 7"x5" Oil on Panel, 2012

After doing the chores bright and early the next morning, I went on out to the Beekman farm (it's about 40 minutes away) to pick up the goats. While I was there I impulsively decided to get a buckling (who would eventually be castrated) as a companion to JB when I separate the pregnant girls from the boys next winter. Thinking ahead in the face of all that goat-y cuteness is tough but I managed! And that's how we got Jonbonjovi:

I named them (from left) Stevienicks, Jonbonjovi and Gildaradner. MY kids don't appreciate my concept here with the names but I think it's funny and strangely enough the names fit their personalities.

The last week has passed in a busy, but pleasant blur of goat feedings, watching them play, soapmaking, cleaning the house, and worrying about the nighttime temps. Doug built a wood house and and small pen for the goats inside our garage, which is just basically a tin building and everything inside of it freezes in the winter. Although we have had a very mild winter, the first few nights that we had the kids it got down to about 8 degrees. But they managed just fine with their heat lamp, a few blankets draped over the house and some extra hay bedding, so I forced myself to leave them be after a few nights of checking on them at 2am. We did bring them inside for their feedings though for the first week or so, mostly because WE didn't want to sit in the freezing cold to feed them; they LOVE being in the house! Luckily, Mr. Wilson is turning out to be a good herd dog, he keeps everyone moving when they come in and out. He also pays close attention to feeding time. We may have to change his name to "Sheriff". You can see him here doing his circus trick; we did NOT teach him that btw.

Now that it is MUCH warmer, we have been feeding them through the fence of their pen in the garage. Gildaradner prefers to sit in someone's lap while having her bottle, but turns out she is not really married to that quirk when she is really hungry, heh.

Yesterday I took Gildaradner and Stevienicks to the vet to get their horn buds removed. Jonbonjovi is a polled goat, which means he won't get horns. He stayed home and cried all day. Literally. Most goat farmers do the disbudding themselves (good blog post here about the procedure) and I am fairly certain that I won't be able to manage to do this although I am not saying never, I guess. Never thought I would raising goats either and here we are. Anyway, the vets use anesthesia so the goats were just fine when I picked them up, however I wish I had googled some images beforehand. I admit to being fairly freaked out when I first saw their little heads! And forget about the rest of the family; Ginger and Doug flat out refused to help me feed them because they can't look at their heads, so I have figured out how to bottlefeed all three myself. Already they are looking better today and anyway, they are both still the same silly and adorable goats so I barely even notice it now. Scroll past quickly if you have delicate sensibilities, but this is how they look today, which is far better than yesterday:

All this has kept far too busy to have any sort of meltdown concerning art, and the break from painting has been lovely, but I do have to get back to the studio soon. Provided I can tear myself away from all this cuteness!


Melody said...

They are beyond cute .. makes me want to raise goats too...

Erika Allison said...

Cute, for sure! I enjoyed reading about your goat experience. And, I LOVE the names!

Barbara J Carter said...

Oh the cuteness! The last photo is so characteristic... give a goat even the smallest thing to play with and they'll stand on it. But beware: I bet they'll soon be able to get over that little fence.

Teresa Mallen said...

Goats do indeed cut into studio time! It's all good. We survived the disbudding procedure last summer. As first timers, we were so nervous. You are lucky to have a vet that is willing to do the procedure. If you are interested in a wholistic approach to goat health, you might wish to read Natural Goat Care by Pat Coleby and this website is really good: Goats are truly a joy and the more you have the more fun it all becomes...and they provide a great soil amendment for the garden! :-)

Terri L. West said...

Love your Barn study as always and the goats omg if I didn't live in a place where its illegal to have farm animals I would be have'n some of the cuteness too!

Ruth Armitage said...

Congrats on a successful show opening and the new wee little goats! I look forward to more photos soon! Are the two that were dis-budded nubians? That's what we have here... Ours are so much like dogs... follow us everywhere, etc. Enjoy!

Deborah Paris said...

Love the names!

Tracy Helgeson said...

Melody, you could put one in your backyard. But they need company, so you'd have to get another one;)

Thanks Erika! Passing along that someone else LOVES the names to my kids;)

Barbara, I am hoping we have at least another week or so before they get over the fence, waiting for their house to get here;)

Teresa, I am definitely going wholistic and Fiascofarm is just permanently open on my browser, very helpful site! I have already avoided antibiotics after one of the goats recently had a miscarriage, I gave her colloidal silver and vit c. Planning to avoid chemical wormers too. In fact if it weren't for all the paperwork, we would officially go organic......

Terri, all you have to do is call the goat a pet;)

Thanks Ruth! The goats are all nubian/sable crosses, with maybe a little alpine too. They have been bred for high milk production, but I think their ears are the best reason to have crossed them, SO cute!

Thanks Deborah!

SamArtDog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SamArtDog said...

I'm SO glad you have these cuties so I don't have to. More pictures! You prove that busy people always have time.

Can goats see color? Bet they'd love a big yaller barn all their own.

janet said...

Brown goat: SOOOOOO Jonbonjovi!