Monday, February 28, 2011

Of Juniper and Goats

The Horned Locusts are great fans of the Juniper tree. They eat berries and lower leaves (creating shade trees and preventing rodents from moving in), and clean up the litter underneath from fallen leaves, berries, branches and mistletoe.

Goats LOVE mistletoe. They mob trees, standing up tall to get at the tree parasite. On the mesa above SunStar most of the trees have mistletoe only above the goats' reach. We help the goats by pulling off more which they can chew from our horseback. 

I always know the moment when it is Juniper Allergy season because goats have a hankering for the pollen. They change over from loving primarily female trees full of berries to the males full of red pollen. Huge pollen puffs come out of the tree when the goats get to them, best to be standing upwind. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I found a nice little ammonite on this walk, both sides were near to each other sliding slowly down the hillside, sitting slightly under vaguely moist soil.

This is the best little bowl out here for clams, ammonites, and all sorts of interesting fossils. It had been a while since I'd come through this way, usually going right up and over rather than around, so I led Dunny up and down the arroyos and around the hillsides and found a few nice ammonites and lots of coral.

 This chunk is just a piece of a really old ammonite, much worn by desert and time.


This "wild parsley" is a tasty addition to soups and stews, eggs and meat dishes, used much like Italian parsley. 

Chimija is easily overlooked, especially in the first weeks of emergence. By the time the seeds are blowing away in the wind both the goats and the horses will be munching along with me.

Dunny waits patiently and keeps an eye on the goats while I photograph plants and rocks. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Bit Different

Today's subject involves another kind of bit- 
the type that is the communication between planer and sandstone.

Sharpening the bit.

This bit has its own teeth.

Preparing for the bit.

 No goats here- just mining the shop (for Kopelov Cut Stone pictures).

This little bit takes some off one side

And this little bit goes a little further.

Lines drawn in the sand(stone).

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


My faithful, patient and lovely Dunny horse... Waits while I go over the edge of the hill to turn the goats back and see their progress off the side of the cliff. This horse does it all, and loves her job! She grew up in the goatherd, creating the most capricious horse- yet a team player.

I've been noticing the mistletoe is dying, crisping after those sub freezing days a few weeks ago. After a few warm winters it had exploded, but you can tell now where the green is turning brown and crispy that the goats will have some dried mistletoe to clean up next winter.

Peacocks are practicing for spring.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chopo and Chauny

Friends (Jean, Anusha, Chauny and Krishan) from Eldorado came out to SunStar today to see the kids and visit all the other goats. They went out on the range with the crew too. Chauny rode with me on Chopo while the rest of the gang drove with my folks to overlook from the mesas above.  

Football was very happy to see Chauny again, she still comes when called though the little red goat could not find her friend in the saddle.

Chauny got to ride up down and across some pretty good hills. 

Chuany thanked Chapo for the ride at the end of the day and Chapo, while feeling 
loved and appreciated, watches the goats stream by which are his life. 
His ears ever on his rider he is a happy horse at the end of a work day.  

Monday, February 21, 2011

White Dogs Working

Yolo is coming on walks again. She and Zuli, and sometimes Kaya, stay close to the herd while the boys charge out to turn back advancing, barking neighbor dogs. She cruises ahead of the group with Rocky searching out coyote scent. Yolo's real style difference on walks is the tendency to sit and watch from above. She is a bit like Kaya that way, on the periphery alert for movement and danger.

Regal here is 9 years old and still trucks with the herd. He is in the middle or brings up the rear. He is especially useful when the younger boys get carried away. Breaks up wrongly founded fights and chastises bad behavior. He is enjoying his place as elder in the pack.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Scenes from GoatWalk

A few nose y goats found a house made of alfalfa. A band of horses have have left lots of grazing marks around this valley and seem to have opened up part of the wall working on demolition, someone has been removing the windows, maybe they helped with the wall too.... The goats put in their two cents before moving off again into the saltbush fields nearby. 

Rocky and Kaya survey their goat filled valley enjoying a warmish breeze.

Coming home late last night after a late start with the goats after the Organic Conference. The goats make a last minute juniper break.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Organic Jujube Presentation

Becky (my mom) gave a presentation on growing Jujubes today at the Organic Conference. She gave a 30 minute presentation on our experience with the exotic fruit tree to a standing room only group in the Santa Fe room of the Mariott Pyramid in Albuquerque.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Maremma Pup and Kid

This little girl was quite enthralled by the newest-born goat kid.

Yolo Mama

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rocky and the Goats

The goats are much harder to move without their big white protector. If Rocky is not there to say it is ok, then they won't budge. Rocky missed the opening of the gate but came running when his grandpa, Regal, barked the departure alarm. Regal is a rare Maremma which voices his opinion a lot. He is very vocal and can bunch the herd when he wants to then trots off with them following his lead. Sometimes he decides it is time to go home and gathers the crew. Rocky does the same thing essentially, but without a word. Yesterday the herd broke up in the hills with three different opinions of direction. Buck turned one group back inward, I turned another and then watched as Rocky went from herd to herd and after joining with them turned the goats back toward each other. We met finally about a half mile from there; all herds combining at the far plot before streaming home. 

After Rocky arrived the goats burst forth. Here Rocky has greeted Regal and is looking around before taking the lead with the goats. 

Until Rocky arrived Zuli had been going back and forth shaping the herd to head east rather than north where the feed is pretty played out. As soon as the momentum hit the little Aussies took the lead keeping the head goats from running full steam so we leave as a single mob. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Maremman Puppies!

These pups are thrilled with the newborns. They love the older kids that have been hanging around, but these infants are their size and equally as bonded to the puppies. What a nice warm spot for little kids.  

These Maremma pups are 5 weeks old now and looking for new homes with stock for when they are a little older. They are bonding with their goats and should be pretty caprine-cultured. They need to be in the pen with their stock for the first 6 months or the bonding will not work. After that they are bonded for life and will serve their stock as best as they can figure. Being highly intelligent dogs they will do all in their capacity if not more for their herd whenever the need arises.

The  dark headed on wants to nurse on the pup.