Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lesson Learned

Once I decide something I don't waste any time in getting it done. Last night I had pretty much decided that I needed to find a new home for the lambs. I was learning that I am not a sheep person but a goat girl through and through. I am very glad that there are sheep people out there or I wouldn't have my lovely wool to make my felted hats. I am just not one of them.
I used to think that I had to keep an animal until it died or I wasn't a responsible pet owner but I have since learned that there are lots of wonderful people out there that might be a better fit for the animal and have had some lovely experiences placing an animal with someone that is a better fit. I used to think that I was the only one that could take care of it really well. Not true of course. As long as I followed my gut when I talk to the person. If my gut says no...I say no.
This morning when I got up I listed the lambs on craigslist and within 2 minutes had two wonderful replies. The first gal, Stephanie, wanted a companion for Coco her Katahdin wether that she kept for a pet. He walks on a leash and is used every year in the living Nativity at their church. She has horses and a donkey also. She was very excited and came out right away to meet Lucy. I had originally said that they all had to go together but since she had Coco I thought Lucy would be happy with him. I liked Stephanie right away and Lucy did too.
The next lady, Tammy, called and wanted some Katahdins for her small farm. She wanted hair sheep for low maintenance. An experienced sheep keeper, she hadn't had sheep in years and really wanted some to keep the lawn and pastures down. She also has horses, dogs and chickens. She was unable to come see them because her mom was flying in from New Mexico but said she will call back in a couple of days when her mother leaves. We shall see if she calls back but with loud mouth Lucy gone peace has been restored to the farm.
So you see it is not such a bad thing to place an animal in another home. It's just sharing the love.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lambs Are Driving Me Crazy

I will say it out loud.....THE LAMBS ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY. I have always been very sound sensitive. As a little girl my hands were over my ears at any hint of a loud noise and although I don't have my hands over my ears now I am still super sensitive to noise.
These lambs are noisy. They are screaming at me constantly when I am down at the farm. It has been about 10 days since their last bottle and it hasn't gotten any better. I expected them to have a bit of an adjustment period but this is getting on my nerves. Even with their mouths full of hay they are maaaaaaaaaing at me.
And it's loud!
My bottle goats have been friendly and love to be handled. The bottle lambs are still a bit wild even though as I fed them their bottle I touched them all over. They are hard to catch and hate to be petted. I am thinking I'm not a sheep person. There are dog people and cat people and I am noticing that there are goat people and sheep people.
I'm a goatgirl!

Any advice?

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Purpose Driven Life

I, like most people, have wondered about my purpose in life. I guess it's my age and the need to reflect on the meaning of my life. I even read the book A Purpose Driven Life, well really only the first few chapters because I find that books like that say all they need to say in the first few chapters and then it gets redundant. But I ponder now and then what my purpose is in life. I have never done anything remarkable. I didn't go to college, didn't have a great career, haven't traveled much, I'm not very ambitious-maybe a tad bit lazy. So you see I really have struggled a bit with my mark on the world. Working with kids is very satisfying but the reality is with kids is they soon forget you. I once got an email from a high school teacher that said her students had an assignment to write to an educator that had made a difference in their life. One student chose me. I was very flattered and waited eagerly for the letter to arrive. Well it arrived all right but all the things he remembered about me never happened and his spelling was so bad I am reluctant to say I worked with him. But I enjoy being with the kids and figure that if I am just a kind person they see every day that's good enough....but not going to change the world.
As I struggle with my purpose in life I also struggle with my obsession with animals. I feel like Noah as he collected animals two by two for the ark. I am on a mission to stock my own private petting farm. I can see it now, pens of animals with signs on each pen explaining what kind of animal it contains. I mean really,who doesn't like a petting farm? When I had my 4H club and took them to the fair the kids all raced down to the petting farm to sign up to work. It was a high priority that they worked hard in fitting around their showing schedule.
So to make a short story-long, I had a few visitors this weekend to the farm. First I had Clare and her delightful grandkids. They met all the animals with carrots and cookies. We walked around and petted and fed and then petted some more. All that was missing was the signs on all the pens telling what they contained. I loved sharing my farm with these well mannered kids and spending some time with my blogging friend.
The icing on the cake was when the sweet little 4 year old boy called out,
"I love you" as he climbed into the car. I will never forget the look on his face. Sheer delight. To see pictures go to Clare's blog...just remember if I'd have known she was taking pictures of me I'd have ducked, or at least done something with my hair.
My next visitor was my great nephew who always asks to spend the night when he comes over. Now I know with him the biggest pull is his uncle (Hubby) that takes him on a motorcycle ride and the longer he is here the more rides he gets.

But he loves to work on the farm with the animals.
He is a very capable boy and I can give him some tasks and he is sure to get it done. We built a big fire and cleaned up sticks and branches that had fallen over the winter. Now what boy do you know doesn't like a fire and a good pokin' stick? He must have fed the animals 10 times and had enough energy to wear out the black Lab we nicknamed Turbo. Needless to say I was exhausted.
But as he climbed in the car to go home he rolled down his window and said...
"I love you"
It may not change the world but this is my purpose and I shall embrace it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I've Created Monsters

There they are trying their best to be big sheep but when they see their mommy(me) they holler. They aren't hollering now because I am using the zoom and they don't see me.


Yes, I have created little monsters that are driving me crazy with their franticness to get the tall mother to feed them a bottle. This will pass but for now they are little monsters.

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Neigh-bor

Look what the neighbor has............


She was born yesterday.


Her name is Annie.


She is so tiny.


She will never win a conformation class.


But she wins hands down in the cutest little horse around class.


I think I will go look at her every day.

You know I want one of these but I must control myself.


She got all tuckered out posing for her pictures.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sequestered


It had to happen sooner or later. I knew this day was coming. The day the hens could no longer free range.
For the last year the girls have had free run of the place during the day and locked up safe at night. Our small farm is fully fenced with field fencing and the hens never scratched beyond the line. I knew I was on borrowed time...or should I say they were on borrowed time. But every morning they stood at the front of their coop begging to get out and every morning I let them out because I had gotten complacent. Nothing bad had ever happened.
Until today.
I was met at the gate by the neighbor and her boy. A few of the hens were over in their fenced yard. The chickens had gone through two fences and several lots to get there.
And their dog had killed one of my Silver-Laced Wyandottes.
I went over and 3 hens were trapped behind the fence, knowing the way they needed to go to get home but unable to get back over the fence.
The lot was heavily wooded at one end and the hens kept diving into the heavy underbrush to get away. So with the help of an over-enthusiastic 12 year old boy and his very kind mother, we proceeded to herd those confused hens in the pouring down rain. Time after time they got around us and dove back in the woods. After about an hour of this I was pretty discouraged and wanted to give up. I told the lady that they could just find their own way home. But the neighbor smiled sweetly and said she would like to let her dog out sometime tonight and really didn't want her killing anymore chickens.
So back into the woods I dove.
I apologized profusely and told them that they could go back into the house and I would keep working on it...remember it's pouring down cold, cold rain....and the twelve year old was screwing up my chicken herding.
But once again she smiled sweetly and said that they weren't doing anything anyway since the baseball practice was called on account of rain and they would be happy to help.
So while I barked orders we, like a well oiled machine, herded those chickens through the woods, across the field, and out the gate. As the boy closed the gate and I chased the girls down the road with a stick I thanked them for all their help and assured them that the girls were going to be locked up from now on.
It was a hard lesson...especially for the Wyandotte....but a lesson I knew I needed to learn. Not only did I lose a great little hen, I bothered a family that just wanted to get on with their evening and not see their beloved Daisy kill one of Mrs. W's pet chickens.
I think I owe them a dozen eggs!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Making A Pig Of Themselves


One thing for sure about Cora Belle and Filbert is they are friendly. I have been complaining to them about jumping up on me, usually after they have stepped in something disgusting. They jump on the front of me and they jump on the back and unlike a dog they don't care about any of my training techniques. So yesterday morning when I went down to feed something was amiss. Cora Belle and Fil were not underfoot. They were hanging back and looking rather dejected. I noticed Cora Belle had some vomit around her lips and down her legs. She was grinding her teeth and bleating pitifully. Oh no! She had gotten into something and by the looks of Filbert he had followed suit. I just couldn't imagine what they could have gotten into. My mind raced through all kinds of scenarios. The hay was bad. The hay had something poisonous in it. Someone fed them something through the fence. They were getting sick like Moly. I scoured their pasture for any sign of something that could have made them sick. Nothing. And none of the other goats were sick. What could it be?
So I got out the baking soda and put them in the milking stand and gave them a soothing soda drench. Maybe not so soothing but I managed to get enough down them after quite a struggle (good, they had plenty of strength left). I rubbed their tummies and sympathized with them. They went back to their stall and laid down moaning softly to themselves. My poor babies. What could they have gotten into?
Then it dawned on me. The evening before I had let the goats out into the main field to browse around while I was feeding. I had also let the chickens out to scratch around while I was there. I went into the feed shed to do something and awhile later when I came out Cora Belle and Filbert were in the chicken coop helping themselves to an all you can eat chicken pellet buffet. I had left the door open! I drug them out and never gave it another thought until yesterday when I spent all day racking my brain on what they could have eaten. Oh yeah, the chicken food, and obviously a lot more than I thought. While a normal amount probably wouldn't have made them sick, they must have been in there longer than I thought not eating a normal amount but making pigs of themselves.
After worrying about them all night, I was anxious to check on them this morning. As I walked up to the field, out jumped Cora Belle and Fil from their stall. They planted their two front feet on my clean jeans and said with bright eyes, "Hey, what's for breakfast?"
I was never so happy to have goat prints on my pants.

You Pig

video

Friday, April 3, 2009

No Kidding


It appears that there will be no kids born at our small farm this year. The girls, being mature, are showing all the signs of cysts in their privates. Oh I gave it a good try all right. I drug Lexi over to the honeymoon suite every 20 days or so only to have her come back in heat. Every time I saw her flagging I called the goatfarmer and begged for one more try. The goatfarmer was very accommodating and even offered some sort of injection to get her to ovulate but I didn't want to bother since I didn't really need kids. I was hoping for kids in July so that goldilocks and my son could come out and deliver goat babies with me. So every time I saw her flagging I got all excited to get her over to the buck...again. When I went to feed yesterday sure enough she was flagging and Semi-Sweet was doing her best impression of a buck. I felt the panic that sets in when you have to get them to the buck like now but luckily I came in the house and counted 150 days on the calendar only to find that she would kid on the same weekend as my niece's wedding. Not an option. So I took my self off to Costco to get my mind off of the goats in heat. It worked and the panic subsided....I'm sure to the goatfarmer's relief.

But I was able to get in on the miracle of birth on Monday. I had asked the goatfarmer if I could please come over and take pictures of her babies and she kindly agreed. I wanted to sit in the baby goat pen and take picture of frolicking babies.....but Mother Nature had other ideas. Bertie, a Lamancha doe was kidding. So after I bottle fed some babies that were born earlier I sat on an over-turned bucket and watched the goatfarmer deliver kids. Much to my surprise I was thrown a very slimy baby and instructed to clean it off and give it a bottle when it was ready. I rushed into the nursery with it and turned it over....a doe....yippee. Then I, along with a very attentive Boston Terrier, cleaned her off and fluffed her up. When she was ready I gave her a bottle of colostrum. About that time the goatfarmer rushed in with another doe for me, and the Boston Terrier, to clean and fluff.


I was in heaven.

So I may not be having any of my own this year but I do know where I can get my kid fix.


So I will leave you with some pictures I took while I was there. Don't be alarmed, the goatfarmer likes her goats with no ears......easier delivery that way.

I couldn't take my eyes off this beautiful girl...she just stood out. Maybe because she is the only one that isn't black or brown. I don't know but she is a show girl.



Oh what a face!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Secret


I have discovered "The Secret". No, not the secret that Oprah is talking about but something much more important than that, that I have been seeking the answer to for many years. Ever since I was a young bride and put in charge of peeling hard boiled eggs for potato salad at my brother and sister in law's farm. The eggs were farm fresh and anyone that has tried to peel a farm fresh hard boiled egg knows just what I'm talking about. They don't give up their shell without a fight. Half the egg comes off with it. I thought I was doing something wrong. I chopped up what was left of the eggs after the fight and threw away the evidence before anyone could see.
Since my morning routine is one hard boiled egg, a piece of toast and a banana I had to boil two eggs to get just one after the peeling was through. So, as I always do, I asked anyone that had anything to do with chickens their "secret" to getting fresh eggs out of the shell.
The suggestions ranged from saving eggs for a while and using the older ones for boiling to, believe it or not, going to Safeway when I needed eggs to boil.
But quite by accident I came upon the "secret".....
Here it is. Just give the egg a slight rap on the counter before it goes into the pot. A small crack does something...don't ask me what but I have tested it for about a week now before reporting to you the results and it worked every time.
No more struggling to peel a farm fresh egg. I now have the "secret" and all is right with my world.