Chubby Dog Farm has gone from raw land to a livable barndominium to a working small farm. We moved into the barndo in October of 2014 and out of the 21 foot travel trailer we had been living in since May of 2013. What a relief! The barndo is not complete, as we still need to install the reclaimed wood flooring in the office loft, railing around the loft and complete the stairs, finish the laundry room and larder, but what is complete is beautiful. A walk in shower, black vaulted ceiling, exposed duct work, 6x9 island, a 6 burner gas stove… we’ve got it all.
After the new year, we contacted a lady, Diana, on the Facebook page for the East Texas Goat Raisers Association about buying one of her LGD’s, livestock Guardian Dogs, or rather a puppy born in November. We set up a day to visit her farm, and came home with this.
The puppy is Mathilda, and the Boer goats are Rhoana and Sannah. The ladies are ornery, and Mathilda is a natural guardian, but she was bored as the lone puppy in the herd, as puppies naturally get. She wanted to play with the goats, and goats don’t play like puppies, so we had some trouble with her chewing Rhoana’s ears. We bought a young wether, Gravy, and she did the same to him. We tried to train her to not play via shock collar, but she was only compliant when we were outside with the remote control in our hand.
Luckily, Diana, who we purchased the puppy from, has kindly become our mentor. She lent us Mathilda’s momma, Sheba, for a couple of weeks to see if she could “entertain” and train Mathilda to stop playing with the goats. Worked like a charm. Diana had 3 puppies left that were reserved for a friend of hers, so we asked if we could possibly buy one of the females if the friend would agree to it. She did graciously. Now, we have a lovely pair of sister LGD pups who are doing a grand job, Mathilda and Beatrix. They have great instincts, although they still have at least a year of maturing to do. We are fortunate to have several layers of protection… Sassy is our farm guardian, electric fencing, and the goats sleep in an enclosed shelter. We hope that this will give the girls time to mature as exceptional LGD’s that their parents are.
We are also caring for 114 baby chicks. We have 50 each of Black Jersey Giants and New Hampshires, and a handful of Buff Orpingtons, Red Jungle Fowls and Ameraucanas. We can almost see them growing right before our very eyes. They were born around March 17th, so they’re 19 days old today. We are building a 12x12 chicken coop in the electric fenced in area with a chicken run in hopes that our LGD’s can one day guard the chickens as they free range.
In the meantime, we have planted 70 rows in our spring gardens. I say "gardens" because we have one at the top of the hill and one at the bottom of the hill that I call upstairs and downstairs, and we also have a popcorn patch.We've planted all of our favorites and tons of cream peas, which seem to sell very well at the local farmer's market. I foresee a summer of canning madness.
This is Hank, the newest member of our doxie pack. He is a beautiful, stocky and active dachshund mix who needs a lot of attention, ball throwing and lap time. He was jealous of his momma’s baby and let her know about it in no uncertain terms, so his momma was kind enough to ask if he could come live on our farm. We adore him, and he has brought a new life to Bella and Hunter, our other doxies.
All of this tomfoolery has taken place as I have two herniated disks in my lower back. I pushed through the pain last year while building the house, not seeing a doctor so we could save money that was allocated to the house fund. I’m quite stubborn and frugal. We decided that it was time to fix all that ailed me this year with our huge $5000 deductible, so I will probably have back surgery soon, and later for carpal tunnel syndrome. I’m way to young (42) for this ridiculousness. I’m ready to be functional and pain-free again. Calvin has worked harder than he should, but he’s a kind and loving man with big dreams for this land.
As much pain as I’ve been in, we are having a blast! We sit on the porch, beer in hand, and watch the goats and pups in the evening. We feed them and love on them and laugh at their silliness and get stinky together. We clean the chicks feeders and waterers and watch them in wonder of how quickly they grow. We build shelters and garden together. I love that quality time.
In a million years, I never thought I’d be a farmer, and if I did, I never thought I’d enjoy it. I don’t want to do anything else. I want to always have food growing in the ground. I want to always have animals. I always want to appreciate the hard work that goes into putting food on the table. Chubby Dog Farm is the life for me.