Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

File:Lilium longiflorum (Easter Lily).JPG
Christ is risen!  Today we celebrate the life and message of Jesus, so I want to remind readers of the true message of Jesus.  

Jesus said the greatest thing we could do is to love.  He also served as a great role model for how to live.  Jesus associated with the marginalized and commanded that his followers care for "the least of these."  He defied the authorities of his time and rejected the status quo.  For that he was executed.  Yet his message lives on.  Even for Christians who do not believe in the literal physical resurrection of Jesus (yes, they do exist) and for those of other faiths or without faith, his message is powerful.  Jesus refused to bow to the Roman Empire or to the powerful religious authorities of his day.  Today, we have an empire larger and more powerful than the Roman Empire and a Christianity that can often be narrow-minded, judgmental, legalistic, war-mongering, and even hateful.  Christianity has been high-jacked by those who believe that to be a Christian means to become part of the empire.  That couldn't be further from the truth.  

So today, think about loving one another.  Love your neighbor who lives next door, the neighbor who lives across the border in Mexico (a man-made border, I might add, established and enforced through violence; not at all Jesus-y), and the neighbor across the sea in China or the Middle East.  

Happy Easter!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

You Are What You Eat

Pink Donuts series

This past week I had a very frustrating conversation.  I was browsing in a bookstore with a family member.  She talked about how she wanted to do something to help her mother with her health, especially to get her off some medications.  She said she was looking into alternatives to conventional medicine.  I readily agreed and mentioned a couple of alternative practices that helped me.  She didn't seem interested and proceeded to the "new age" section of the bookstore.  At this point we parted ways because I wanted to browse a different section.  When we were heading to the checkout, she again mentioned helping her mother.  I gently asked if she had talked to her mother about the foods she eats and mentioned an older couple who seemed to greatly benefit from eating organic fruits and vegetables. They had both lost considerable weight and the wife was able to stop medications she had taken for years.  This story was met with...silence.  

Bill and I have seen this on the "other side."  When we've talked to church leaders in our area about the health of a congregation and than shared health education resources - church-sponsored programs, mind you - that can help members reclaim their health, we get...silence.  And, like my relative who wants to resort to more "other worldly" approaches to healing, we've watched church leaders send out appeals for prayers for members who are afflicted with pain and suffering obviously linked to poor diet choices - yet they never address the need to change the underlying habits that caused the condition in the first place.

It's as if health and food are not at all linked.  However, these same people, if you told them you were going to add a little sugar to their car's gas tank, would react in horror.  Why?  Because we would be feeding the car something that was damaging.  So why don't they see that the wrong foods also damage the human body?  Another take on this would be a church where a number of the members had serious alcohol abuse problems.  Would the congregation send out pleas for prayers - and nothing else?  Or would they consider starting an alcohol education or 12-step program at the church?  Such a program would not single out anyone but would have the effect of improving the health of the entire church body.  Same thing with a health program.  

Why is there such a disconnect - an inability to see that food is fuel for the body and that our cells need the right kind of food to properly function?  My great grandmother is someone who didn't get the right kind of food and she died from a terrible disease called pellagra.  There were three symptoms to this disease - four if you count death - that were called the three D's:  dermatitis, diarrhea, and dementia.  An awful way to die.  What caused it?  A dietary deficiency - not enough niacin.  Imagine the condition of the body cells of people who consume the Standard American Diet of over-processed, fat-laden, sugar-filled, chemically-enhanced "food-like substances."  The effect might not be as dramatic as pellagra, but the SAD diet lacks proper nourishment for our bodies.  Yet when a conversation turns to food and someone mentions eating a more healthy, wholesome, natural diet, silence often ensues.

The silence really baffles me.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Farm Friday

Some highlights from the week:

We ended up observing Earth Hour after all.  Since Saturday was the first good planting day and the weather was going to take a turn for the worse, Bill spent all afternoon getting what he could into the ground.  This included getting more asparagus planted.  For Earth Hour, we took a long walk around the farm.  The moon was almost full and the sky was clear so we were able to see our way without the help of flashlights.  We arrived back at the house just before the hour was over so I got together everything to make some hot herbal tea once I was able to use power again.

Just as we knew it would, the weather on Sunday turned bad with rain, sleet, and freezing rain.  During the night, we got the first snow of the season - spring that is.  This is what we woke to:

It melted by the afternoon but it was good that Bill got the asparagus, some spinach, and onions in the ground on Saturday.

On Wednesday we attended a Chamber of Commerce event where the Virginia Secretary of Agriculture was the main speaker.  The topic was a study that was done to determine how much agriculture contributes to our local economy.  Seems like it contributes quite a bit.  The study even said that the Wine Spectator named our region as one of the top 10 global wine destinations.  So I wondered if that would continue to be true if we had a uranium mine and milling operation nearby.  

Friday we attended a meeting of the local meat goat association.  We did learn from one member why we sometimes have kids that don't make it.  Seems its a copper deficiency in the mothers.  We're certain we lost one of our kids this week as a result of this deficiency. 

Due to the cold, wet weather, we're delaying our CSA deliveries this season (and extending the season on the fall end) because we don't have anything to give our members.

On a personal note, I've just been offered and accepted a new position at Danita's Children.  I'll be working part time as a grant writer and I'm excited about all the possibilities that come with the position.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


Once again, I'm a bit late in publishing my weekly wellness post.  Since I'm a huge tea fan - and since I've been drinking lots of hot tea due to the weather - I thought I'd post a quick list of the health benefits of tea, gleaned from Huffington Post:

  1. Boosts the immune system
  2. Rehydrates
  3. May lower risk of heart disease
  4. May shrink tumors
  5. Possible treatment for prostate cancer
  6. Improves function in old age
  7. Lowers blood pressure
  8. Aids weight loss
For me, the best thing about tea?  It just tastes good!  So it's nice to know that it has additional perks.  Some of these benefits are from green tea so it's a good idea to mix it up - drink black, green, white...just enjoy it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taste of Tuesday

File:Spaghetti Squash Prepared 500.jpg
Sorry, I forgot to take photos, so I had to get one from here.
A few weeks ago I had dinner at Ruby Tuesday's with a group of friends.  I really dislike going to  such restaurants because they rarely have any vegetarian options, except for the salad bar and I don't like salad bars.  I was surprised to discover a very healthy vegetarian option that inspired the following recipe.  The original restaurant dish called for it to be topped with zucchini but they were out of zucchini so I asked that they substitute broccoli.  You can also substitute fresh mushrooms for the canned; just saute them with the onions.  I only had canned on hand so that's what I used.  This dish is low in calories and high in flavor.  Plus, it helps you get closer to your daily vegetable requirement.

Italian Spaghetti Squash
(Serves 2)

1 small spaghetti squash
1 cup marinara sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 small can sliced mushrooms, drained 
1 zucchini, sliced and steamed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half, remove the seeds, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 30-40 minutes.   Saute the chopped onion in a little bit of olive oil, add the mushrooms and marinara sauce, and heat through.  Carefully remove the squash from the oven and scrape with a fork to form spaghetti-like strands.  Divide into two serving portions, then top with the chunky marinara sauce and the streamed zucchini (or you can substitute with broccoli).

Bon appetit!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quote for the Day

"One of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds. Much of the damage inflicted on land is quite invisible to laymen. An ecologist must either harden his shell and make believe that the consequences of science are none of his business, or he must be the doctor who sees the marks of death in a community that believes itself well and does not want to be told otherwise." 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Earth Hour

Today is the day that people around the world observe Earth Hour.  As I blogged two weeks ago, while this event is symbolic, it doesn't have to be.  It can actually lead to long-term solutions to our climate crisis.  The fact is we - mainly those of us in the western world - use too many of the world's resources.  We think nothing of flipping a switch or plugging something in and leaving it on.  And while individuals aren't responsible for the majority of the waste - hello corporations - awareness in our own lives can spill into our role as citizen consumers who can vote with purchases for corporations that believe in a sustainable future - and take steps to ensure we have one.

This is our fifth year of observing Earth Hour and I'm sorry to say we might not be able to actually participate due to a family obligation that will require us to be on the road this evening.  If you want to learn more about Earth Hour, here is the official web site.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Farm Friday

Yet another busy week.  Here are a few highlights (and low points) from the farm:

On a sad note, we lost little Brownie.  We have no idea what happened.  Bill went out to do chores one morning and found him next to the barn.  He is greatly missed.

We've also had far too much rain (and cold).  Bill isn't able to plant in the gardens because tilling wet ground will ruin it.  

I've been cleaning up and planting the flower beds at the "Old House," the original farm house on our property, in anticipation of our upcoming Open House/Field Day next month.

One of my aloe plants (a "patented" one I purchased from a fellow farmers' market vendor last year) and one of my snake plants are getting ready to bloom (my other snake plant bloomed lat year).  They must both be happy where they are:

I've had some great bird sightings at the bird feeder hanging just outside our back door:  goldfinches, blue jays, cardinals, and even a couple of house finches.  

Bill discovered that our Brussels sprouts were still producing.  I roasted them that same night; they were delicious!

We ordered 25 more chicks to add to our flock.  I hate to order from hatcheries, but we haven't had luck with our own hens brooding chicks.  We're hoping this is the last time we have to do it. We've ordered Dominiques, which are considered the oldest American chicken breed.
Two new baby goats have been born recently.  The one born today isn't looking well, so we're not sure if he's going to make it.  On a positive note, Delilah had a healthy girl earlier this week.  Isn't she cute?

And huge thanks to one of my blogger friends, EcoGrrl, for featuring me in one of her interviews.  She's interviewed some amazing women and I'm honored that she chose me to be among them.  I recommend you go check out her blog - and read the other interviews while you're there.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Serving Two Masters

There are a couple of Bible verses warning about trying to serve two masters.  Both say the same thing:  "No one can serve two masters.  Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other."  As I wrote last week, our governments (local, state, and federal) seem to be trying to do just that.  In addition to the impossibility of supporting two opposite sides without favoring one over the other, it makes politicians and elected  and appointed officials seem schizophrenic.  Here are a couple of very recent examples:

In Virginia the General Assembly (which is made up of the Senate and the House of Delegates) have come up with a plan to increase transportation funding.  Along with restructuring the gasoline and diesel taxes, they want to impose a $100 a year fee on hybrid vehicles.  (Check out the details at Huffington Post.)

While you're thinking about that one, consider the state-endorsed Earth Day poster competition among school children in Utah.  This contest is administered through the Utah Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining and sponsored by the Salt Lake Petroleum Section of Society of Petroleum Engineers.  The Earth Day poster theme?  "Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas, and Mining."   (Read more here.  And here is a link to the contest details.)

While government officials seemingly embrace the idea of conserving energy and have long endorsed the premise behind Earth Day, they also want to make nice with the oil, gas, and mining corporations that help pave the way for them to continue in their jobs.  Definitely serving two masters.  I wonder whom they despise.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

coca-cola is good
More and more research is pointing to sugar, especially sugar found in soft drinks and other artificial beverages such as sports drinks, as a major cause of obesity, illness, and death.  The American Heart Association recently presented a study at a conference that links over 180,000 annual deaths world wide (25,000 in the United States) to the consumption of sugary drinks.   Read about the findings here.  

The article shares some facts about soft drinks that you many not be aware:

"A typical 20-ounce soda contains 15-18 teaspoons of sugar and upwards of 240 calories.  A 64-ounce fountain cola drink could have up to 700 calories.  People who drink this 'liquid candy' do not feel as full as if they had eaten the same calories from solid food and do not compensate by eating less."

In addition, another study has shown that the rapid rise of the incidence of type II diabetes is linked to consumption of sugar.  Learn more here.  

Clearly, the message is to stay away from sugar, especially sugar in the form of beverages.  One good idea is to start working towards getting the recommended eight glasses of water a day - and NOT from bottles (that's a whole different topic).  Many of us are dehydrated from not drinking enough water and often our mind will interpret dehydration as hunger.  So, drinking your eight glasses of water each day has multiple benefits:  it gives you proper hydration, it helps prevent you from overeating, it saves you money, and it keeps you away from the sugary drinks that contribute to chronic diseases and death. 

Please don't substitute diet drinks for the sugary drinks.  The sweeteners found in those drinks tend to increase hunger, so they don't prevent the consumption of extra calories.  Plus, these drinks can also contribute to dehydration as you're not as likely to adequately hydrate yourself with water.

As a side note, the USA Today article linked above mentions that while places like New York City are taking the obesity and "sugar" epidemic seriously, some places continue put corporate interests and profits over health and life.  According to the article, on Monday, Mississippi "signed into a law legislation that prohibits cities and counties from restricting or banning the size of soft drinks, or from requiring that restaurants post calorie counts or other nutritional information.  Mississippi is the most obese state in the nation."  I'm speechless...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Quote for the Day

"It is a wholesome and necessary thing for us to turn again to the earth and in the contemplation of her beauties to know of wonder and humility."
~Rachel Carson

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Janus, the Two-Faced God

As a student of nutrition and the environment, I see that the U.S. government finds itself in quite a quandary.  On the one hand, the problems and financial costs associated with our poor food system and the environmental degradation from manufacturing and other processes are topics that the government addresses on a regular basis.  On the other hand, since the very corporations that cause our health problems and poison our environment essentially have the government on its payroll, the government also gives regular assistance to the very same organizations that cause such devastating problems.  How do government leaders expect us to take them seriously?  Seriously.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Farm Friday

Faithful Ginny, waiting to ride in our farm vehicle
We just returned from purchasing some top soil and organic fertilizer to put in our new raised beds.  Since the rain has made the ground too wet to work, Bill is trying to get some things started for spring by growing in raised beds.  In the meantime, the seedlings we started in the house seem to be thriving and we're waiting until the weather permits transplanting.

Our *highlight* of the week was a skunking.  One night, right before turning in, we let out Ginny to do her business before settling down for the night.  I opened the door to let her in and caught a whiff of skunk.  My initial thought was, "Thank goodness Ginny knows to not bother a skunk" - she has been skunked twice before.  I closed the door and noticed that she was drooling and rubbing up against her bed.  Then the smell that hit me was very strange, like she had gotten into some chemicals.  As I was trying to grasp what had happened, Bill came into the room and said something about it stinking and that it smelled like something was burning.  In my confusion, I worried Ginny had gotten into something dangerous so ran out with a flashlight to investigate.  And I found a dead skunk.  In those brief few minutes it took for me to realize what had happened, it was too late.  Actually, it was too late as soon as I opened the door.  Ginny had been skunked - and so had our family room.  *Fortunately* the smell dissipates rather quickly.  Unfortunately for Ginny, she had to spend the night outside, in the dog house, and got a special bath the next day.  I'm hoping this time she has learned her lesson.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Say It Ain't So - Google Reader

Bluescreen error
I haven't been very good about keeping up with blogs lately.  Beginning February, I decided to cut down on time spent browsing the internet and made two major decisions:  1) to abandon facebook for the month and 2) to temporarily limit my blog reading to 10-15 blogs.  I had all of my blogs in Google Reader so I was able to create a special list for February for the blogs I had chosen to read.  I also knew that once the month was over, I could go back to all of the other blogs in my reader.  Well, I haven't been good about reading even the 10-15 chosen blogs and I seem to have extended my internet break into March.  Imagine my surprise this morning when I decided to do some catch up reading and was greeted with a message that Google Reader would die as of July 1!  I'm not a techie so I don't understand all the reasoning behind its demise. (If you're interested, you can read more on Wired.)  The question is - now what?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wellness Wednesday

Walking together

One thing I learned from the nutrition class I just finished was that the majority of calories we burn is from basic living - breathing, sitting, thinking, eating, sleeping, etc.  This is called your basal metabolic rate, what many people simply call your metabolism.  Although exercise doesn't burn up the majority of calories, it can rev up our metabolism, so even after we've finished exercising, the rate at which our bodies burn calories increases.  In addition, I learned that we burn three times more calories standing instead of sitting.  (Read about it on Livestrong.) 

Both the lack of exercise in the general population and the increased tendency to sit slows our metabolism which can lead to weight gain.  Think about how modern humans in the Western world spend their days.  Most of us get in our cars to drive to work, sit at a desk or at some type of station all day, sit in our cars to return home, then sit on the sofa to watch our favorite TV shows because we feel too tired to exercise.  Not a good combination.

I encourage readers to find ways to get on your feet.  Even better - try to squeeze in some time to exercise, even if it's just walking around the block during your lunch hour or before dinner when you get home.  If you have children, make it a family event as children are also far too sedentary.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Taste of Tuesday

Today I'm sharing one of my favorite - and easiest - recipes.  It's a soup recipe that I got from Valerie Bertinelli's many appearances in the media.  In addition to being quick and easy, it's delicious, nutritious, and low in calories.  You can play around with it if you don't have the exact ingredients (i.e., substitute zucchini for yellow squash or Parmesan for the Romano).  And of course, I use vegetable broth rather than chicken.  I borrowed the following version of this recipe from here.

Tuscan Soup

  • 1 1/4 cup eggplant, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 can whole tomatoes, no salt added, undrained and chopped (14 1/2-ounce)
  • 1 can sliced mushrooms, drained (OR 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small summer (yellow) squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, dried
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 12 oz can chicken broth, reduced sodium
  • 8 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • Combine the first 10 ingredients in a large saucepan, stirring well.
    Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
    To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls; sprinkle 2 tbsp of Pecorino Romano cheese.

    Bon appetit!

    Monday, March 11, 2013

    Learning from Our Mistakes

    One night last week, as I was preparing dinner, I had to fight back tears as I listened to this song:

    If you've never heard it and don't have time to listen, maybe you'll understand when you read the lyrics:

    Travelin' Soldier

    Two days past eighteen
    He was waiting for the bus in his army green
    Sat down in a booth in a cafe there
    Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
    He's a little shy so she gives him a smile
    And he said would you mind sittin' down for a while
    And talking to me,
    I'm feeling a little low
    She said I'm off in an hour and I know where we can go

    So they went down and they sat on the pier
    He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don't care
    I got no one to send a letter to
    Would you mind if I sent one back here to you

    Chorus: I cried
    Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
    Too young for him they told her
    Waitin' for the love of a travelin' soldier
    Our love will never end
    Waitin' for the soldier to come back again
    Never more to be alone when the letter said
    A soldier's coming home

    So the letters came from an army camp
    In California then Vietnam
    And he told her of his heart
    It might be love and all of the things he was so scared of
    He said when it's getting kinda rough over here
    I think of that day sittin' down at the pier
    And I close my eyes and see your pretty smile
    Don't worry but I won't be able to write for awhile


    One Friday night at a football game
    The Lord's Prayer said and the Anthem sang
    A man said folks would you bow your heads
    For a list of local Vietnam dead
    Crying all alone under the stands
    Was a piccolo player in the marching band
    And one name read but nobody really cared
    But a pretty little girl with a bow in her hair

    So many thoughts raced through my mind as I listened to this heartbreaking song.  I remember Vietnam.  I had two uncles and a cousin serve there (and many years later, both uncles died from cancer due to exposure to Agent Orange).  I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't give the war much thought as I was fairly young, although I do remember expressing my very unpopular budding pacifist beliefs.  Many of those young Vietnam vets who made it back without physical wounds suffered other types of wounds.  Their lives were never "normal."  It all seems so senseless now.

    My thoughts also turned to Iraq and how we went there under false pretenses.  How many 18 year old soldiers "came home" like the young man in the song?  How many innocent Iraqi civilians are now mourned by their families.  Of course, I also thought of our present predicament in Afghanistan.  And I wondered why, for those of us at home, we don't behave as if we're at war.  We just go shopping and talk about the latest celebrity buzz.

    I also thought about how, back in 2003, Natalie Maines, the lead singer for the Dixie Chicks, made a comment  about President Bush in frustration over the impending war with Iraq.  As a result, the band was blackballed by country music fans and radio stations.  That demographic is typically very vocal about defending our first amendment which gives us the right to free speech.  However, those same fans didn't think Natalie Maines should have exercised that right.  This very talented band never recovered their former popularity.

    As an historian, my mind is trained to look backwards as well as forwards, to compare past actions and results with current events.  Hindsight shows us how wrong both the Vietnam and the Iraq wars were and yet political leaders seem to be able to convince many that the current or the next one is justified.  We wonder why members of the younger generation often fail to learn from their mistakes.  The answer is simple:  look at the example set by their elders.

    Sunday, March 10, 2013

    Quote for the Day

    The greatest gift we can give to our children is to raise them in a culture of peace."
    ~Louise Diamond

    Saturday, March 9, 2013

    In Two Weeks

    Please join me on Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m. (your time) as people around the globe observe Earth Hour, a symbolic expression of concern and hope for our planet.

    Of course, please don't stop with symbolism.  We are consuming more energy than we are capable of sustaining and, at the same time, we are wreaking havoc on the globe by polluting our water, destroying our landscape, and damaging our climate.  We need to do more by consuming less.

    Friday, March 8, 2013

    Farm Friday

    Garden fare:  Black-eyed peas from the freezer and fresh collards
    Just a quick post today as it has been a fairly quiet week.  We don't have bottle-fed kids anymore as Grace and Main decided they were too big for their bottles and self-weaned.  Very little is growing in the garden, although we've got some starts going in some cold frames and under grow lights in our son's old bedroom.  We now have regular delivery days, times, places for off season deliveries.  Currently, we're only delivering eggs from our free-range hens and pork from our pasture-raised pigs.  

    We were supposed to get heavy snow earlier this week but all we got was a morning of snowfall that melted in the afternoon.  As we approach spring, this should be the last snow of the season for us.  By the way, for those of you living in a place that observes daylight savings, don't forget to set your clocks forward by one hour on Saturday night!

    Have a great weekend!

    ***P.S.  How could I have forgotten that we have a new kid - Ann Marie?  Donna gave birth to her on Sunday, just before our son and his family arrived for a visit so our granddaughter was able to see a new born goat!  Will have to get photos later.

    Wednesday, March 6, 2013

    Wellness Wednesday

    Today I'm focusing on "industrial" food, that is food that is prepared from natural ingredients that have been overly processed, supplemented with additives, and then packaged for your eating enjoyment.  The following two clips from Democracy Now! should help give you at least a hint that the pre-prepared food you purchase at the supermarket and other outlets is not good for your body or for your health.

    In this first clip, Robert Moss, New York Times reporter and author of the book Salt Sugar Fat:  How the Food Giants Hooked Us talks about how large corporations work to make us want more food:

    (I'm having trouble getting the clip to upload so if it doesn't appear, you can find it by going here.)

    This next clip has food author Melanie Warner talking about her new book Pandora's Lunchbox:  How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal and how the "nutrients" in processed food aren't so nutritious:

    (Again, (I'm having trouble getting this clip to upload so if it doesn't appear, you can find it by going here.)

    At the end of the day, it seems we need to get back to eating simple but nourishing meals that include real ingredients and which provide us with the nutrients that our bodies actually need.

    Sunday, March 3, 2013

    Quote for the Day

    "The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals."
    ~Mohandas Gandhi

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    Farm Friday

    This week the two bottle fed babies seem to have decided to wean themselves.  After four attempted feedings where they both pretty much rejected the bottle, I think it's time to call it quits.  I still went out to see the goats this morning, sans bottle, but with my camera to try to capture a little bit of goat activity.  Our pastures are pretty slim pickings this time of year so we supplement the goats' diet with some feed and hay.  It gets pretty competitive out there, often with the alpha - or dominant - goats hogging the feed bowls or even entire bales of hay.  I try to get a little extra to the girls lower on the totem pole but sometimes that turns mean with the stronger goats ramming the weaker goats who also try to get a little extra food.  So I try to be stealthy with my treats, although it doesn't always work.  It's funny how the alpha goats don't seem to mind when the babies (not their's) are eating hay or grain; it's only the adults they bully.

    Here's my morning in photos:
    Grace (on the left) my formerly-bottle-fed baby

    Penny checking to see if I have treats

    Jolene (mother of Brownie) waiting for Bill to bring some feed

    Bianca, out shyest goat - she will eat out of my hand sometimes

    Gratuitous photo of Brownie

    Some of the gang eating their hay:  Sara (right) is the alpha goat in this pasture; Sharona (upper left) has triplets 
    Have a great weekend!