Welcome!

Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.

Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Swim fetch fun



 After expertly moving all the sheep and goats out of the back pasture, Rialey got to play some swim fetch in the pond.


Then the thought occurred to me, what if something went wrong, and I had to go in after her. Rialey's a great swimmer, but there I was standing there with a 7 month old strapped to my back. Although Elliot has been taking swim classes, I'm not sure he's quite ready for an inter-species water rescue. I guess we'll stick to dry land play for a while.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

North Carolina Sheep Day

This Saturday we decided it was high time we had a "sheep day." This is a day where we gathered up all the sheep for health checks, get weights on the lambs, and just generally make sure that all is well with the flock. This is something we did weekly at our old place because there seemed to always be at least one sheep or lamb who was doing poorly and needed deworming at the very least. Since we have moved to North Carolina, the sheep have been doing so well that we didn't feel the need for such hands on care. Still, we have 8 lambs on the ground now, and it was time to get our hands on them. 


First order of business was to figure out which lambs belonged to which mommas and get them marked for easy identification. Anthony then checked the color of everyone's mucus membranes around the eyes to make sure no one had any serious issues with parasites. They were all nice and pink!


Anthony's sister Theresa was in town visiting so she helped us get weights on all the lambs. I'm excited to report that the lambs are thriving in their new home so far. They are far and away outgrowing last years lambs. The real test will be in a few months when they are weaned and eating on their own. In previous years, this is when we have run into problems with the lambs. I'm hoping the milder temperature and far better pastures up here will help protect them in that stressful period.


Fred and Rialey are still BFFs. He stole an opportunity to get some snuggles in while Rialey held the sheep in a corner of the barn for us.


Once we were done checking the sheep, we decided to go for a walk around the pond and down to the lake. We moved the sheep into the back pasture to let them graze the lush, untouched grass that is growing back there.


The weather was beautiful and Elliot was enjoying the fresh air and sunshine from the safety of the carrier on my back.


The lake is so beautiful with clear waters and everything turning green all around. 


And apparently we have beavers!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Saying goodbye to Piro

Early on Sunday morning we said goodbye to Piro, my sweet kitty boy. He was only 10 years old.


Back when I was working for the library, I was helping host a meeting of a local amine club. I remember we were watching a show called Kanon. During the show, one of our regulars, a girl probably around 10 or 12, came in with a couple kittens. She'd found them on the side of the road in the local neighborhood. They'd basically been left in a ditch. She was going to keep one and give the other to a friend. 


Eventually anime club ended, everyone left, and the library closed. We were cleaning up when there was a pounding on the back door of the meeting room, a door no one ever used. I opened the door to see the girl standing there with one of the little fluff ball kittens. She thrust the tiny thing into my hands, said, "My mom won't let me keep this!," and ran off. I was left standing there with a confused look on my face and a tiny kitten in my arms. I took him home with me with the intention of finding the little guy a home with someone else. I decided to call him Piro after the kitten in the show we were watching that day.


Well, as you can probably guess, the little guy stayed. Luna fell in love with him and adopted him as her own. He took to eating raw like a champion and clawed his way into our hearts. 


Piro grew up to be the sweetest cat. He loved being scratched around the head and neck and would fall over sideways while rubbing his face against your hand. He must have had some Persian in him because he ended up with a huge, puffy coat that I would sometimes shave down, leaving him a lion's mane and fluffy tail. He would snore when he slept. He also had chronic mild urinary issues that resulted in him peeing on anything and everything left on the floor. No rug, dog bed, or dirty laundry was safe. He taught us the hard way to keep the floors clear!


More recently he and Rialey developed the sweetest relationship. They had a morning ritual. He would jump up in the bed just about every morning and clean Rialey's head, licking carefully around her ears and nibbling on her ears. For her part, Rialey would hold perfectly still not even turning her head if we called her name. We said Piro was giving her a case of cat paralysis, and she loved it. 


Of all my animals, it was Piro who there for me when I most needed him. Unusual for a cat, he would sense when I was having a hard time and just be there with his furry little paw on my knee or shoulder. When Anthony and I first got together, Piro would climb up onto his chest, put his front paws on either side of his neck, and look him dead in the eye as if to say, "You hurt her, I kill you." 


The last month or two his appetite had been dwindling. We went to the local vet, tried antibiotics, fluids, anti-nausea meds. We also tried some natural remedies, oils and homeopathics. We did bloodwork, xrays, and ultrasounds. Nothing seemed to help, and the vet wasn't certain of the cause. He just wouldn't eat. He lost a little weight, but generally seemed ok. As a last resort, we tried steroids, and he just crashed. The weight melted off of him until he was skin and bones. He was desperately thirsty and still eating poorly. One more trip to the vet for more testing, and she concluded that we were looking at large cell lymphoma, a fast acting cancer that seemed to have spread to most of his major organs. She recommended euthanasia and sent us with pain meds and fluids. 

Even though it was a couple months in total, it felt so quick. He was doing ok, then he just wasn't. I wish we could have done more, but if it was cancer I guess there wasn't much else to do. 

I'll miss my little man. My tuxedo clad pee monster. My sweet headbutting fluff ball. He was one cool kitty cat.   

\

Monday, January 30, 2017

Cowvan


Ran into this weirdness while out running errands. Better pictures here.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Naps


All along I've said that Elliot is a very middle of the road baby. He's not the kind of easy baby that sleeps through the night and endlessly amuses himself during the day. On the flip side, he's also not the kind of baby who required endless rocking and walking the floors.

With him, it almost always boils down to just two things, gas and naps. As he's gotten older and I've learned what in my diet causes him issues, the gas has become less and less of a problem. I mean he still toots like a grown man on taco night, but the gas doesn't cause the same kind of pain and suffering for all of us.

This just leaves naps. From the beginning, Elliot was not a great sleeper. He's not terribly difficult to get to sleep. If the timing is right, few minutes of walking and bouncing and singing boring songs usually does the trick. The problem is that he doesn't stay asleep. If left to his own devices, during the day he will nap for about half an hour at a time. My mother has solved this problems by spending many, many hours holding and rocking and soothing him into sleeping for 2-3 hour stretches. This has the advantage of getting him the hours of sleep he should have, that he needs but the disadvantage that little boy has never learned to sleep on his own. Plus his Mawmaw won't be around forever. Pair this with the fact that he was sleeping snuggled in the bed with me at night, and we have a baby who just cannot sleep on his own.


We've started working on it. During the day, we are trying to put him down for naps and at night he is sleeping at least part of the night in a pack and play next to the bed. Night time is working pretty well (I'm slowing recovering from baby snuggle withdrawal), but so far he cannot nap for more than about 20-30 minutes without waking and crying. The pediatrician says this is a very common time for sleep regression anyway. He says no matter what we do, things should get better in the next couple months. For the sake of our cranky kid and my unfolded laundry, I sure hope so!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The cuteness


Sometimes this kid is so cute it hurts! (if I do say so myself)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Splashing away the grumps


 Elliot woke up this morning a cranky dude. Tried letting him splash around in his ducky tub to restart our day.


Seems to have worked!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Sleep, barn doors, and my Gwenny


We are pooped. The holidays and the packing have taken their toll. I treasure getting to cuddle up with my little guy every night and snuggle and nurse our way to sleep.


Meanwhile, up in North Carolina Anthony is hard at work getting the farm ready for all of us. He and his father built and painted these amazing doors to close off a safe room for the sheep and goats to overnight. I can't wait to see them in person. 


We lost my babygirl Gwen last year on Christmas Eve. I realized this year that through the magic of things like timehop and facebook memories, I'll get to relive her swift and horrible demise in pictures every holiday season.
That's why I was so happy to wake up this morning to this picture of my girl in her prime during her visit to a physical therapist for her knee. She was a an ornery and hard-headed goat who was so smart and funny and sweet in her own way. I still miss her every day.

Friday, January 20, 2017

What's Happening!

So a lot has happened since last I posted here.


Anthony and I welcomed our newest family member into the world on August 15th. Little Anthony Elliot was 8lbs 5oz and ?? in long. I had to be induced due to high blood pressure, but otherwise went natural. Labor was fast and furious. I walked and walked and walked around my hospital room until it was time to get into the tub and push. Elliot came out perfect and healthy into the warm water and his dad's waiting arms. I had a few health issues afterward, but all is well now. We are both doing just great!

The other big news is we moved! Anthony was offered a really great job up in Greensboro, NC just before Elliot was born. The bad news was that they needed him to start very quickly which meant leaving baby and me when El was only 3 weeks old. Anthony found us a wonderful farm less than 15 minutes from his work and busted his butt to get it ready to move me, the baby, and a select group of our animals.


On my end, I sold off a lot of livestock and tried to pack up the house and farm. My mother moved onto the farm and helped with animal and baby care. Of the goats, Eve and Turnip got sent to a wonderful lady to join Rutabaga (now Mayberry) and get spoiled rotten. I sold off all but the very best of our flock leaving us with a very nice looking group. We ended up moving with 9 sheep, 9 goats, and a motley group of turkeys, chickens, ducks, geese, and quail. My dad helped us purchase a gorgeous livestock trailer to get everyone moved.


Anthony with the invaluable help of my step-dad packed a giant u-haul truck full to the brim with our belongings and used it to pull the stock trailer up to our new place. All the animals did well with the move, though Fred, our barn cat, was more than a little pissed at being moved with the livestock (safe in a crate, of course). We are all now settled in our new home awaiting kids and lambs and trying to convince the chickens to stop flying out of their pen at night.

The farm itself will be shifting from a business to more of a homestead. A place for us to raise our own food and focus a bit more on our own family. There may be some products in the future, but both Anthony and I agree that egg sales are for the birds!

So what is the future of this blog? We'll be keeping the name HighTail Farms because we feel like it is who we are, not where we are. Ideally I'd like to turn this into a 365 project. That's a picture a day, everyday. I did it for years, but we'll see if it is something I can keep up with now that we have a farm and a small human to contend with.

That means there will also be a bit of a shift in the content. Expect a lot of pictures of the ins and outs of our daily life, less direct focus on the farm, and of course lots of pictures and videos of baby Elliot because I'm a new mom and I think he's really stinkin cute. I'm warning everyone now so you can get out while the gettin's good!


I'll be moving a handful of posts over here in the next few days (weeks?) because I was originally thinking I would start a whole new blog for the 365.  I hope everyone will stay tuned. Life with baby and farm certainly hasn't been boring so far. I look forward to chronicling our future here with all of you.