Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My Darling Darla

We've had a house goat for a week and a half now.  Darla developed an abscess on her neck so I took her to the vet to have it lanced and sent off for a culture. In the meantime we kept her in the house in case it was contagious.  It isn't, thank goodness.  It's something she developed through a cut in her mouth and her mother's milk.  She takes a bottle from me and since she's been away from the herd so long her mother won't let her nurse. 
For now I'm giving her shots of penicillin once a day and I'll only let her out to play with the others if it's sunny and warm.  She's not in any hurry to be out in the cold anyway.  If she's not sleeping under the stool at my desk, she's lying in front of the space heater.
I'm not kidding about the space heater.  Today she came looking for me but when she saw I was nearby she ran back to the den and laid back down in front of the heater. 

This afternoon Rosie, Darla and I took a nap together on the daybed.
Yeah, she's spoiled.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Farm TV

Sometimes I sit in my yard and watch Farm TV.  It's my favorite channel.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pessa's kids

Yesterday we had our last kidding for the season.  Pessa is a pro at it since this is her 3rd time.  All went as smooth as I could hope for.  Because they're much different in color than any of our other babies, James named the girl and boy, Harlie and Quincy. Harlie is the red one, looking much like Pessa.
Quincy is kind of a dusty tan and white.
I'm kind of glad kidding is over and we can get into a routine.  We've been milking for a little over a week and James still has to help hold some of them while they fight me on the milking stand.  There has been improvement but we have a ways to go till I can call it a comfortable routine.  At least now I recognize things will improve.  Two years ago I thought they'd never learn to stand still but they all do eventually.

We ended up with 6 chicks from the 24 eggs we had in the incubator.  Today I put in a new batch.  We'll see if I can do better.  I have the temperature just a bit higher and will keep a closer eye on the water for humidity.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hatching chicks

Yesterday was day 21 for my eggs in the incubator so I anxiously awaited pips and peeps.  It's day 22 and we've only hatched out 2 chicks.
It looks likely that one more will hatch but I see no more signs from the other eggs.  Bummer.  I won't throw them away for a few more days.  I may candle some tonight to see if there's hope. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patient Pessa

Pessa is due to have her babies in the next few days.  She's very lazy and big.  For some reason everyone else's babies love her, or at least love playing on her.  I can't believe how patient she is with them.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I love the whole idea of recycling even though sometimes it's an inconvenience.  I feel guilty if I throw away something that can be recycled but occasionally I do it anyway. 

I'm feeling pretty good about my most recent recycling though.  A friend of mine called me and asked if I wanted some roosters.  Well, I don't need any roosters for my hens but of course my interest was piqued.  Tommy knew a guy who was just shooting his roosters because he didn't want them.  He wasn't eating them.  I hated seeing them go to waste so I said I'd take them and butcher them and put them in our freezer.  Supposedly they were under a year old but I really had no idea if they'd be tough or not.  I went to Tommys to get them and he added a few of his own he wanted to get rid of.  There were 9 in total.  I didn't have time to butcher any of them that day but thought I'd do a few the next.

I woke up feeling kind of puny and knew I couldn't kill a bird without puking.  It would have to wait till another day.  Meanwhile the roosters are in a very roomy shed with food and water.  The next day I had people coming to look at goats and I was still feeling tired and not up to par.  I also wanted to go see Susan's new lamb so there was no time to process roosters.

So here it is 3 days later and the roosters are still in my shed and I'm feeding them like I feed all my other chickens so I posted an ad on Freecycle.  I've gotten a big response to the ad and someone is supposed to come tomorrow and pick them all up.  They plan to put them in their freezer.  I feel a sense of relief that I don't have to do it.  I know I'll have plenty of roosters hatching from my incubator in the next few days (if all goes well) and will have to deal with them when the time comes.  Hopefully I won't be sick. 

Once again I'm singing the praises of freecycle. 

One of these roosters is really pretty and I'm tempted to keep him if he's nice.  We'll see.

Roosters are such pretty animals.  It's too bad they don't lay eggs and get along with everyone.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Ssssssexy overalls

Yeah, I know I look really hot in these overalls.  People tell me that all the time.  Those big pockets in the back are what make them so flattering. 
For some reason James likes when I wear them.  I like wearing them because they aren't tight around the waist like so many of my jeans these days. 

Most of you who know me well know that James writes me poems, songs or letters for most special occasions.  In 2005 (October 6th, to be exact - he always writes dates on these things) he wrote me a song called Overalls.

Give me my woman in overalls,
throw in a hammer and a trowel,
plenty of brains and a good bit of brawn
and I’ll be content ‘til our Boxers howl.

They say she’s a gal who gets things done,
she’ll plumb, she’ll wire, she’ll plaster,
then she cooks gourmet at the end of the day,
it wouldn’t be fair if I outlast her.

Followup with a soak in a big hot tub,
a little bit of cleanup in a bubble bath,
and she’ll feel good in a queen-size bed,
what more could I ask for, just do the math.

Let me tell you, to quote my better half,
“it can’t get nicer,” seventeen years past,
it’s always vacation with her at my side,
I wish every day wouldn’t be gone so fast.

Give me my woman in overalls,
throw in a hammer and a trowel,
plenty of brains and a good bit of brawn
and I’ll be happy ‘til our Boxers howl,
oh so happy ‘til our Boxers howl.

Ok, maybe you all won't appreciate this song as much as I do, but every time I wear my overalls I think of it.

Today 2 women came to visit me and my goats.  One of the women was considering purchasing Ella, one of my kids.  I thought twice about wearing my overalls, lest they think I was a hick.  Then I thought, oh well, it's either this or sloppy sweat pants and a sweat shirt.  I don't think they cared one bit how I was dressed because the baby goats had all their attention. Ella was on her best behavior and won them over immediately, just as I had told her to do.  We talked goats, milk, cheese, soap and everything goat-related.  It was a great visit.  One of the women agreed to pay $1,000.00 for Ella (just checking to see if you're paying attention, Angela).  I'll bet you didn't know goats were that profitable, huh?  Yeah, me neither.  

One other note about my overalls and how sexy they are.  I think it was last year my 73 year old neighbor, Feenie (aka Elmer) came over wearing the exact same overalls the same day I was wearing them.  James could hardly keep his hands off Feenie either.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Today the vets came and castrated Shiloh.  This is not a picture of the actual act.  It's a mule being castrated - the best I could do.  I didn't have my camera handy or you might be seeing a video of poor little Shiloh's castration.

Before it all began I separated Shiloh from his mom just in case it upset her.  It didn't.  I put a rope around Shiloh's neck and held him so the vet could measure him to know how much he weighed and how much sedative to give him to calm him down.  We let him relax and then she gave him the final drug to knock him out.  We slowly lowered him  to the ground.  They checked his eyes for reactions to  whatever it was they needed to know.  Then they began.

What amazed me (well not really because I've had farm vets out here before.  I should say "impressed me") is that one of the vets told me I could watch as much or as little as I wanted.  A small animal vet (i.e. our dog's vet) would never let us watch.  I asked these vets why and they explained about sterile conditions in the vet's office and how livestock aren't pets etc.   It's a whole different ballgame.  I have yet to meet a farm vet I didn't like.  Both of the vets were women.  One was the mentor of the other.  They discussed the whole process as they went along.  They included me the whole time and explained things as the process progressed.  I learned where they went to vet school, why they chose livestock as their expertise and how hard or easy it was to find a job.  I could tell they loved what they did.

As the one doctor was explaining what she was doing she grabbed the "emasculator" and the other vet said, "I like that, the name emasculator".  A male vet would never have said that.  Of course I watched the whole thing.  It was much different than castrating my male goats.

Slowly Shiloh came out of his stupor.  He stood and looked like a drunk sailor.  Ok, a drunk donkey.  I've never really seen a drunk sailor.  We led him to his barn where he would recover.  The vets told me what to watch for, heavy bleeding, signs of tetanus, etc.  He also got tetanus and rabies shots while he was under anesthesia.  For an hour or so he leaned on this post or had his head against the wall.
He's looking so much better tonight.   As soon as he was reunited with his mom he nursed. 

The vets hung around a bit to make sure Shiloh was ok.  In the meantime they watched baby goats.  Finally one of them said, "We can't watch baby goats all day.  We need to go." 

I hope Shiloh is feeling a lot better tomorrow.  They told me it might take up to a week till he was back to normal.