Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Those sweet boys

I don't know what it is about boys on this farm that I find so special.  If I don't make an appointment at the butcher for Windsor in the next 4 or 5 months he may just have to stay.  He's about as darling as a steer could possibly be.  Today I was mucking out the barn.  He stood close by waiting for each time my back would get sore and I'd hug him or give him a rub down.  I put Pandora on and set my phone on the barn rail.  He walked over and stood by it like he was listening to the music.  He probably stayed there for half an hour.  I need to get a radio down there so I can play music louder for him.  Papa and Raisa have already shedded out most of their winter coats but Windsor is still very fluffy.  Maybe it's his baby coat.  He turned one year old this month.

Rex is my other really sweet boy.  He's getting close to 8 months old and I finally have an appointment for him to be neutered tomorrow. Where did the time go?  He's not as heavy as Keri yet but he's just about as tall and it's hard to tell them apart.  His goofiness usually gives him away.  I have to admit he's been much easier to raise than Keri.  Maybe because he had Keri to help raise him.  We've had 3 babies (humans) visit in the last week and a half.  Rex behaved beautifully with them except for the fact that he wanted to lick their faces and sniff them all over.  
All this little girl wanted to do was look at buttercups.  All Rex wanted to do was be on top of her while she looked at buttercups.  Can you blame him?
Poor Rex, didn't have a chance with this little boy.  He was out of reach.  Darn those baby bjorns.
Ok, this next boy isn't quite as cuddly as Rex and Windsor but he's still a pretty cool guy.  Wendell is beginning to seem more and more like Roxie in nature.  It takes very little coaxing to get him to roll over for a tummy rub.  He'll stay there until you quit.
Yes, the little kids are cute but I still love old Cooper more.  The girls love him too.
He may be stinky, old, arthritic and crusty but there's still something about him that holds a special place in my heart.  I worry he may not make it through another winter.  He's moving slower and slower and this last winter really took its toll on him .  He shivers unless it's in the 50s or above and he spends more time alone than he used to.  I think it's because he can't keep up with the others so he doesn't try.  

I haven't gotten attached to a rooster in a while.  Not since Foggy, I think.  I have one friendly little rooster but I guess I don't spend enough time with him to get to know him.  If only they had fur instead of feathers.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

It's getting crowded in the barn

So much has been happening here lately.  Such is spring.

Darla had 2 kids (males) 3 days ago.  I sat with her for 7 hours waiting on these kids.  I think she held off because she wanted me to spend the day with her.  They were worth the wait.  They're so cute and have hilarious ears.  Darla is 1/2 Nigerian Dwarf and her ears stick out.  Cato (the dad) is full nubian and has long pendulous ears.  Lenny and Miles  have a combination.  This first one is Lenny.  The second, Miles.

Lenny was bouncing before his mom even passed the afterbirth.  It's like he couldn't wait to be out of there.
All the kids are rambunctious.  Mrs. Butterworth's daughter, Macy, is especially busy climbing on things.  She loves sleeping on her mom and grandmom, Pessa.
She also loves dancing on Windsor, who seems to like the attention.  Papa does too but I don't have a video of him with kids hopping on him.

Windsor sometimes hangs out in the small trailer which was built for chickens but then converted to goats.  I guess I should have considered cows going in there too.  The goat kids don't seem to mind sharing space.  He hasn't destroyed it yet.
Jaz and Willo are happy for any attention they can get, even if it's just kids nibbling on their tails or underbellies.

There's another shelter and lots more field to roam but they all want to hang out together.  I'm sure the pigs would be right here too if they could.

The grass is growing like crazy, which I should be happy about, but it means more work and I have less time to sit around watching the animals interact.

Black Olive moved to West Virginia today.  She was such a good sport as we figured out how to load her into the back of a pickup.  Like Roxie and Kevin, she walked where we led her and made it easy for us.  I hope she makes nice babies for her new owners.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Shake it off

I'm just gonna shake shake shake shake shake shake, shake it off, shake it off.

I thought about scaring all my readers off by having James video me dancing to Taylor Swift's video but I'm kind of shy so you'll just have to imagine me shaking it off.  It's not pretty anywhere except in my mind.

It's been that kind of day.  You know the kind.  The day when you get a phone call from your neighbor friend telling you your 7 piglets are in the road stopping traffic and you have to put your cup of coffee down and race out only to find them squeezing back through the fence.  After returning from milking you realize you forgot to let your chickens out of their barn because you were so stressed out about how you were going to keep the pigs in, only to find one of your 2 only laying hens dead on the floor.  No bites, no evidence of foul play.   I felt like throwing a tantrum and then curling up on the floor and crying.  Very mature, I know.  I can be like that.

Also, my best milker/herd queen/sweetest girl, Luti, has been limping for a few months.  I thought it was from carrying so many kids and a huge udder.  Today I discovered she has an abscess on her hoof.  At least I now know what to treat.  For a while I didn't know if it was her hip, leg or hoof.

This weekend was an idyllic weekend really. (enter the butterflies and singing birds).  We went to a few parties and had some great laughs.  We hunted for morels then sat on the deck with good friends having drinks and a  thrown-together dinner.  Perfect.  It had to end, right?  Why did it have to end?

I spent today closing off a smaller space of a few acres for the pigs, like I always do this time of year, with electric ribbon.  This way they have to stay on just a few acres so I can plant the rest of the field with greens, pumpkins and melons.  Unfortunately I discovered piglets chewing on the electric wire and ribbon shortly after I installed it.  Maybe the solar battery didn't have enough charge to shock them, I don't know. It doesn't stop them from walking through the outer fencing.  A few more pounds and they won't be able to fit through.

After fretting about the pigs, I sat on my tractor, Betty, and cut grass for a while.  This may have been what I needed to put things in perspective.  Breathing in diesel fumes will do that to you.  In with the diesel - out with the diesel.  Betty made me better.

Nothing has changed really.  I saw the pigs have escaped the electric ribboned in area but I'm in a different frame of mind.  Sometimes I just need to sit and be still with the animals.  Watching Windsor drink from a leak in the hose is soothing to me.

Sometimes days like this I need to remember to count my blessings.  Here are 4 little blessings prancing through the field.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

No one can resist the babies

Two more babies arrived today.  Lily gave birth to a pair of giant boys.  Last year (her first time) she had 2 tiny kids which didn't survive and she had a prolapsed uterus.  You can imagine I was a bit nervous about her kidding this year.  And then to have such huge kids!  I'm pleased to report it all went
as smoothly as I could have hoped for.  She did let out a big scream as the first mammoth goat found its way out though.  They were up walking in minutes.  They seem mature for newborns.  They figured out how to nurse very quickly.  I put one of Luti's week old kids next to Lily's and the newborns are bigger than the week olds.  Check out this face.
He looks very much like Lily except he has more black on him.  His brother is dark brown.
Raisa and Papa were fascinated with them.  Papa and one of the kids were nose-to-nose but Keri chased Papa away before I got the picture.  
Keri really takes ownership of the kids.  It's funny how the goat mamas won't let other goats near their kids but they'll allow Keri to lick them.  I don't get it.  Keri laid next to Lily as she was pushing the first kid out.  It didn't bother Lily at all.
No babies are more popular with the other animals than the piglets.  I think everyone loves these little guys.  They walk back and forth through the fence so sometimes they're with Keri and sometimes they're with Rex.  One day I saw all 7 piglets following Rex like he was the Pied Piper.  It was so cute.

I've seen them sleeping next to Windsor, my steer, too but I don't have a picture of that.  

More babies soon.  It looks like Darla is next.  I hope her kids are much smaller than Lily's.