Farm Crew, Foster Dogs

What’s In a Name

I have over a decade of experience naming foster animals, and then after deciding on two human names, I felt tapped out. After deciding on names with my husband for our daughters, I’m very glad we didn’t always have to agree on foster animal names!


untitled-6A dog’s name is important and often the first thing they learn. It needs to suit their personality, not just their appearance.




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My track record with naming fosters is pretty good. I would guess about 80% of our foster pets kept their names (Myrtle, Billie, Eddie, Vera, Calvin, James, Betty, Ethel, Steve, Abe, Chip, Wilbur, Louie, Norman … the list goes on).


DSC_0491As goofy and silly as this puppy is right now, I wanted to name him based on what he could become.



DSC_0115His breed, the Great Pyrenees, has been used a livestock guardian for many years. Originally the breed worked with Shepherds in France and Spain. The breed is known for their impressive size, gentleness with children, and loyalty to their family (herd and human). Obviously, you can see here he is definitely cut out for guard work. 😉


DSC_0613The Great Pyrenees will guard their territory by using the least amount of aggression/force possible, often times just their bark is enough to scare off an unwanted guest. Because of this, I like to refer to them as a peacekeeper.


untitled-5RANGER … is what we are calling him. It’s a strong name meaning “protector.” Sorry for those of you who voted for Fluffy, Puff, Cotton, or even my daughter’s favorite, “Huppy.” Although “Ranger Huppy” will be his full name. 😉

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The Many Faces of Motherhood

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As most of you know I recently had a baby. I was instantly connected to Jane even though I had never met her. Just like my first daughter, I simply love her unconditionally.  

We celebrate life on the farm often. We’ve had puppies, kittens, bunnies, and most recently, goat kids born! But motherhood is hard business and a job not to be taken lightly. I’ve seen the many faces of motherhood and they are interchangeable between species.


FullSizeRender_1The most recent addition to The Tucker Farm is a little goat kid! She was born a few weeks early in the middle of the pasture and sadly, we missed the whole thing. When I found the kid and her mom, Pepper, they were beneath a tree at the back of the pasture. They were surrounded by the other animals who were interested in the new kid. Pepper is a first time Mom, but her instincts are top notch. She was head-butting any creature that got too close to her kid, whether it was a tiny kitten or a much larger donkey.

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Over the past 24 hours, I’ve watched her emotions range from anger, to frustration, to joy … all stemming from the instant love for her kid. Her facial expressions say it all.

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Pepper never takes her eyes off of her kid, which is how I am with with both of my girls.  I hope that they too will someday experience the joy of motherhood.

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Twins!

If you had your money on Ruth going into labor before me, you are a winner! Ruth gave birth to twins on Saturday, June 13th, a doeling & buckling.

DSC_8795This was our first kidding at The Tucker Farm! I have been reading about goat labor non-stop and getting advice from fellow goat owners for weeks now, trying to prep myself for any possible issues that could arise. I’m lucky enough to have a lot of experienced friends close by that were on call to be goat doulas. I had been watching Ruth for the typical signs of impending labor, such as, her udder getting really full and her ligaments disappearing. But these things were never obvious to me, even on the day of labor.

On Saturday morning I let all the animals out into the pasture as usual. Ruth came out of her stall but didn’t follow us up to the pasture. Since it’s been 90 degrees here and she waddled as much as I do, I was not going to force her out. So I led her back to her stall and gave her fresh water and made sure she had plenty of hay for the day. My husband, toddler and I then went off to run errands.

We returned around lunchtime and I wandered down to the barn to check on things. Much to my surprise, I found this!

Unfortunately, I missed her actual labor. The kids were very wet when I found them and Ruth had just started passing the afterbirth, so it must have been quick. Mama Ruth is an experienced Mama and an excellent one at that. I’m thankful that in our journey to be more sustainable she made things a bit easier.

What’s amazing about kids to me is that they are already “kidding” around at only 24 hours old! Quite different from puppies & kittens. Nothing is better than watching kids play!

We look forward to watching Mama Ruth raise her kids and can’t wait to finally have our own goat milk! Believe it or not, we didn’t just get goats to be pets and weed whackers, but we got them for milk! Both my daughter and I are unable to drink cow milk, so we’ve been buying goat milk from a local dairy for a few years. Of course in order to have milk, you must also have kids.  We have another doe, Pepper, due in August . . . so more kids to come!

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Little Barn of Horrors

The first time I saw the barn was in the middle of winter, when Atlanta actually had a rare dusting of snow on the ground. Despite the fact the property sat vacant for years, and that the barn was filthy, I was still drawn to its charm.

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The water line had been cut, the stalls were growing plants, rat poop was piled high – but it had so much potential.  We were oblivious, however, to the horrors that awaited us in the barn.

It started with a few ancient carcasses.  Eh, no biggie, at least they were fully dead.  Then we found the half eaten rabbit that was very fresh – a bit more concerning.  Then came the 5 foot rat snake.  OK, he’s a good snake, we let that slide (or slither)… even though I wanted to crawl out of my skin.  We learned very fast not to leave anything laying around or a mama rat would make a nest in it.  But to top it all off, once Spring arrived we discovered the property is crawling with poison ivy!  Thankfully the goats love it!

We thought to ourselves, this is what we signed up for, this is the farm life. Things at the house weren’t perfect either.  Our master shower leaked into the basement, the HVAC broke, the furnace exhaust pipe fell through to the basement, much of the basement flooded from a storm, and the collection of spiders down there would be the ideal cast for a Stephen King mini series.  But then the real horror reared it’s ugly head…  We were playing host to a family of Copperhead snakes!

The copperheads live under the feed room concrete slab.  For weeks my toddler and I had been walking over the threshold where they hang out midday.  So far we have been able to remove 1 of them, but we know there are a few more.  Our copperhead story is not over yet, so don’t worry, I will keep you posted.

Today the barn is full of life and houses the animals we have grown to love.  Our daughter yells “BARN!” every morning before heading down for chores.  It’s hard to imagine all the horrors we’ve dealt with and are still dealing with when I look at the old barn.  Nonetheless, it remains my favorite place.

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Next up . . . predator losses & barn cats!

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It Takes a Village to Raise a Farm

Our next human family member is due in a few months so we had to dive right into getting the farm ready.  The only way I can manage a farm and family is by having a streamlined routine everyday.  This means proper fencing, safe housing, and an efficient barn/feeding routine.  We had none of these things when we moved in.

When we moved in, our barn roof leaked, the fencing was ancient, there was no dog yard, and of course no routine.  Fortunately, our “village” of friends offered to lend a hand.  We are lucky enough to have friends and family that have trucks, ladders, tractors, experience, and most importantly, the willingness to help us!

Next up . . . little barn of horrors

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We bought a Farm . . . a real one!

Some of you may not realize where our name, The Tucker Farm, came from. For the last 8 years we lived on 3/4 of an acre in a suburban town called Tucker. I crammed as many animals as I could onto that tiny lot!

After becoming pregnant with our second child we knew it was time to move to a REAL farm! I imagine you are picturing a pristine pasture full of flowers wrapped in a perfect fence. That’s not quite what we bought, but I know we will get there!

Moving Day!

Settling in . . .

Next up . . . the work begins!