IT’S BABY TIME!!!!!!!!!!!

Against all odds, one of our oldest does, Lucy, who looks like death warmed over on her good days, gave birth to two beautiful little bucklings yesterday afternoon.  I had to get up in there and do a little rearranging of babies before we could get baby #1 out, he was attempting to make his exit noggin first and legs tucked back – not a great strategy.  What we really want to see is two front feet and a little nose first.  Baby #1 was out, breathing, and getting a bath for about 4 minutes before his brother arrived in perfect swan dive form – feet and nose first!

Though they won’t be staying with us long, I have dubbed them Ricky and Ricardo in honor of their long suffering mama, Lucy.  As we will be bottle feeding them for a few days (Lucy’s milk producing days are pretty much over) I feel like we should have something more interesting to call them than baby #1 and baby #2.
Here is their big screen debut:

Anyway, HUGE congrats to Lucy, who birthed her boys beautifully despite being one million years old.  We promise you get to retire now.









….And we’re off to the baby races here at Fat Toad Farm, we’ll be back in the caramel business in no time.  Keep your eyes and ears open for more kid craziness over the next month and a half – this is only the beginning!  (Here is Ricky, working on his tan under the heat lamp.)

These little piggies go to electric fence school -weeee! weeeee! weeeee! weeeee!

Okay, before I describe electric fence school and all our blog readers decide that we are evil farmers who enjoy torturing our animals – here is a fun video of our happy, ridiculous piggies eating kale plants:

Okay, now that you’re convinced our piggies are general happy and healthy, here is a somewhat hilarious video of electric fence training – a necessary evil if we want our piggies to be able to spend time outside in the fresh air and warm sun.  They gots to learn to RESPEC the stingy fence!  So, on Friday we set up the fence, let the piggies out and turned it on.  We had a crew spread out around the fence to make sure that when our unsuspecting victims did meet the stingy fence, they backed up and ran away rather than surging forward and getting tangled.  There were a couple of really spectacular ZAPS!, I suspect one of the piglets may have actually licked the fence because he went screaming back into his house and didn’t come out again for 15 minutes.  This one I caught on video wasn’t so bad, a little SQUEEK! followed by a full on retreat to safety by all 5 pigs.

Things That Are Learned…and Remaining Mysteries – Part 2

Things That Are Learned…and Remaining Mysteries

Saturday Feb 25, 2012  Written by Judith

It was a long night. We checked on Sugar at 9:30, 11:00, 1:30, 3:30 and 6:00. And then just for drill, we
added cleaning off the all the greenhouse roofs at 11, because of the mounting snow. Katie surprised
Steve at 11 by showing up at the barn to help out. That made it so Steve could get back to bed by

But all our words of prayer and encouragement did not deliver Sugar of her babies. So this a.m., we
knew it was time to intervene, for real. Luckily, Sugar had dilated enough for Hannah to be able to
reach in and try to figure out what was going on. Mind you, this had all been theoretical to her until
that moment. She is the designated “reacher” because she has small hands. With Steve carefully and
patiently coaching her, and me holding onto Sugar with her head between my legs and telling her sweet
nothings, and Sugar, most of all, working working working with us, we were able to remove two very
entangled, and unfortunately dead, babies. Sugar licked them just like a good good mom, and worried
about why they weren’t standing up.

It is not a given that Sugar is out of the woods. This whole process is very hard on a goat, but her
temperature is OK, she eagerly drank warm molasses water and was willing to come into the milking
parlor to have her first milk squeezed out. She’s not really eating well yet. We will be watching her
closely today, checking to see if she successfully expels the placenta, looking for signs of rumination,
giving her appropriate homeopathic treatments….and once again saying words of thanks and
encouragement to her.

What went wrong here? What should we have done differently? What will we do differently next
time? These are the questions we asked ourselves as we had something to eat in the late morning after
it was all over. It’s very hard to say. Birth and the bringing of vibrant life into the world are mysteries.
Sometimes it just doesn’t work. (95% of the time it does).Were the babies too tangled? The head of one
and the legs of the other were coming out together. Was one dead before the birthing process started
and triggered it too early? Did we wait too long? We couldn’t have asked for an experience that would
test our resolves for “hands off” births more dramatically.

What have we learned? Hannah did one awesome job and is now as prepared as she could be for the
birthing season. Very few births will be as complicated as this. Next time, if the second stage of labor
has not materialized within 4-5 hours, we’ll use some homeopathic approaches. Next time, we will
check what is going on internally earlier. Next time, at 12 hours, we intervene no matter what. Next
time, it will be different and we will have to learn new lessons. Next time, we will still be a little heart

The Lessons Nature Teaches You – Part 1

The Lessons Nature Teaches You

Friday Feb 24, 2012 Written by Judith

We have been preparing for this kidding season for a long time. In fact, in some ways, we’ve been
preparing since the first “gleam in the parents’ eyes”, which would have been in early October. But just
when you think you’ve got your “you know what” together and you still have a week before anything
happens… well, things happen.

Both Katie and I dreamt about babies last night and both of us went over the hill to the barn this
morning just feeling like we were going to see some kids already born or someone in labor. It was the
latter. Sugar had a long string of mucous (sorry, this may be too graphic) which is a telltale sign that
something’s shakin’, and for future reference, it was bloody. For the WHOLE ENTIRE DAY, nothing has
happened. She’s in her little “nest”, hasn’t eaten anything, and now we wonder what’s going on. We
have very purposefully decided to have a much more “hands off” approach to birthing this year, letting
Mother Nature and mother goat have their space and time. I’d say Sugar and Mother Nature are really
testing our resolve.

I have reread the rather short and not very detailed section in Mary Smith’s Goat Medicine book and all I
come away with is that this stage, the first stage, can last up to 12 hours.

So now it’s 7 p.m., 12 hours later and I think it’s going to be a long night.

Just to keep us on our toes, Lucy, our very old goat, who, despite all our best intentions, got pregnant
this year, was down. And I mean not looking good at all. Gave her some mineral oil since we had
had another goat recently with frothy bloat and she was looking that way. And then gave her some
propylene glycol in case we were really dealing with ketosis. She bolted right up and started eating hay.
Hmmm. However, she doesn’t look so great as the light goes out of the day and our first real serious
snow fall in forever starts. Before going to bed, I give her some Nutradrench.

It’s going to be a long night.

Chocolate Chipotle Soup with cinnamon goat milk caramel foam and chocolate covered cocoa puffs

Yes, you read that correctly – Chocolate Chipotle Soup with cinnamon goat milk caramel foam and chocolate covered cocoa puffs.

Are you kidding me??!!

I’m considering a last minute road trip to The Olmstead in Louisville, Kentucky for this Chocolate Dreams event on Monday night where  chefs will be competing in GuardiaCare’s Chocolate Dreams Fundraiser using our Cinnamon Goat’s Milk Caramel!
Delicious things happen when chefs compete in the mediums of chocolate and caramel – all you have to do is stop in and enjoy samples of delicious chocolate treats, more treats than you could ever imagine!
Visit this website for event information:
More details:
Event: Chocolate Dreams
Event Date: Monday February 27th 6p-9p
Event location: the Olmstead on Frankfort Ave– Louisville KY
Soup: Chocolate Chipotle Soup with cinnamon goat milk caramel foam and chocolate covered cocoa puffs
Next Monday our chefs are competing in GuardiaCare’s Chocolate Dreams Fundraiser. You simply stop in to enjoy samples of delicious chocolate treats, more treats than you could ever imagine!

Four-Legged Zeppelins

In late February, I don’t regret the fact that I am not a goat.  In September, the girls cheerfully outpaced me as they trotted jauntily out to pasture.  Now heavy with pregnancy, they slowly plod on our walks.   At this time of year, the walks keep them in shape and ensure that the kids are properly situated for birth in two or three weeks.










To prepare for milking, we are training our goats to come up the ramp into the milking parlor for grain.  If the phrase “training our goats” brings to mind a circus ring, you’re not far off the mark.  If teaching first-time milkers how the stanchion system works isn’t amusing enough, we can watch as our huge, ungainly does jostle for position like big, four legged blimps.  It must be the goat version of back to school time.  Too bad there aren’t any sales associated with the start of milking!








And last, but certainly not least! -  the goats and the people at FTF extended a warm welcome to Lily, the first of this year’s interns.  We just have to make sure we don’t confuse her with Lilly the goat!  Welcome Lily!

Fat Toad Farm in NYC

First stop, the Sinnotts’ (my husband’s parents’) house on Lake Waccabuc, NY.
(HUGE thanks to Jack and Betsy for driving me and my suit case of caramel all over the universe this weekend!)








On to a demo at the Park Slope Coop in Brooklyn.









And (chilly) swimming lessons for our lil’ pup North.









Valentine’s Day demo at Lucy’s Whey in Chelsea Market.



…aaaaaand suddenly this sign in the window of a gas station tells us we’re back in VT.







“Land spreadin’ out so far and wide, Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside!”