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Come with me as I travel through the real places of my life and into the steep, switch-back roads of the imagination. Join me. You'll be good company and your thoughts are welcome.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Birthing Season, Lambs, a goat and a Young boy

Farming is no picnic in the hay...especially during the birthing season. The babies seem to have all the fun. Adults, both human and animal, stay worn out.

Ewes in Waiting
Around the time of spring break each year, lambs begin to arrive on James' Young's hill. He raises sheep on his farm, helps his parents, Kenneth and Mary, with calves, and has completely taken over the care of our goats at A Point of View. James says, "I enjoy the little ones."

This year, one of the ewes rejected the third of her triplets and James began bottle-feeding, a charity necessary for its survival.

Mother with triplets. Can you guess which one she rejected?

When we moved to Grassy Creek, James Young (son of Kenneth and Mary who live at the end of Young Road in Young Hollow) was a senior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His brother Aaron was a sophomore. The Young family was quick to welcome us to their neighborhood. Kenneth is a local mail carrier and Mary drives a school bus and works in the cafeteria at the middle school. They used to have a self-sufficient farm complete with a dairy, but now that the sons are grown and getting close to retirement, they don't do everything, but still grow the best of everything including dahlias and blueberries for "come and pick your own," and raise cattle and chickens.
Mary and Kenneth Young and James in the background
The Youngs of Young Road

After graduating in 2001 with a degree in Finance, James returned to Ashe County as loan officer in a local bank. He is a quiet and humble guy from a hard-working family and he valued the rural life. So many of his contemporaries left the county for an education never to return because they found the jobs they wanted somewhere else. James considers himself lucky to have both a good professional job and the local farming lifesyle.

James helping his parents, Mary and Kenneth, tag and worm this year's new calves

Healthy thriving calves with numerical tags
James bought a home just over the ridge from Young Road and married Nicole Roberts in 2010. She enjoys the rural life enough to make the daily commute to Boone where she is Early Intervention Supervisor for Childrens' Developmental Services. In September of 2011, they became the youngest Young parents in Grassy Creek when son Samuel was born.

James, Nicole and Samuel with border collie puppie, Dixie
Samuel is almost eight months old now. He may be the next innovative Young farmer of America.

Nothing else compares with having your own son, but James continues to work hard at animal husbandry, learning all he can when not working at the bank or helping Niki or caring for Samuel. He makes raising farm animals look easy.

More and more lambs every day!
This year, James bought a billy to put with our herd of female goats to see if he could also raise baby goats.

Billy the Dad
So far, we have one new baby goat.

Nanny and Kid Rocky (No, I'm not naming them!)
Initially, and before James began caring for our goats, we named them, all 22 of them. We were told right off that we needed animals on our the steepest hills for the purpose of mowing and preventing the hills from growing up in weeds. Goats love poison ivy and the low brush that grows up fast and makes the land impenetrable. We soon learned that when you name them, though, they become pets.

One year, I took three goats, each on separate occasions to the veterinarian in Sparta in the back of my car because I was not able to convince the doctors to come here. One died of a rare brain parasite after bouts of seizures. The other two died of diseases that were never identified. Another goat disappeared, perhaps stolen. One was killed by dogs; another broke her neck on a fence post running from a dog. Over the years, we got down to 17 before the lead goat, Silas, died in winter. That was the end to naming goats.

We sold half of our remaining goats and had only 8 until James brought in a billy for mating. Now we are increasing in number again, one at a time. Nothing is cuter than a baby goat. Maybe there will be goat cheese one day!!

Wait Mom, I'm hungry!

I think goats are the cutest. Don't you? Well, sometimes there's an exceptionally sweet-looking calf, and the lambs are soft and squeezable.

What do you think? Which baby is the cutest?

(It's a trick question. Samuel is by far the cutest!)

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely enjoyed the blog about your cottage, sheep, goats and life in Grassy Creek, NC. The pictures are beautiful and I have to say that baby Samuel is my favorite !! Looking forward to reading your future blogs.
    Sherri R. Scherer