Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


                                                                 Happy Christmas

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Goat Girl

When I was 11 years old I begged my mom for a baby goat. As you might guess she did get me one and then enrolled me in 4H. Along with my record books I got a copy of a book called Dairy Goats-Breeding/ Feeding / Management. I read that book front to back. I spent many a night flopped on my bed reading about feed, minerals, hoof rot, kidding, and ADGA scorecards.
I have no idea what happened to that book and wouldn't have even thought about it if I hadn't seen a copy on ebay while hunting for something else.
I had to have it to put in my barn so I bid and battled back and forth a few dollars here and there and won a chunk of my childhood.
It came the other day. I opened it up and started reading the old familiar typed pages. I turned a page and caught my breath. It was the closest I have ever had to a deja vu experience. I had been there before. I wasn't 52 with tired feet, I was 12 years old pouring over a book about my favorite subject. In that split second I could feel my bedroom in the house I grew up in. I know it sounds crazy but remember I"ve been cooped up with a broken hyperactive husband for the last 6 weeks. It was bound to happen.
Here is the manuel I learned how to farm goats with.

 
 
 
It has informative drawings
 
 
    \The milking stand I wished my dad built for me.

 

This one is just as disturbing today as it was then.
 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Flippin' Pigs

One of Keith's chores is doing the pig flip so I can trim their hooves. With Keith out of commission and with the hooves needing trimming I took a couple of friends up on their offer to come help.  I'd do the flipping and Molly would do the trimming. Molly trains horses, she can handle a couple of short-legged  pigs.
I had never been the pig flipper so I was a little nervous. They are heavier than I thought and there is really nothing to hang on to. The idea is to come up behind them, grab their front legs and then gently lay them back in your lap.

video
 
It is a chore I spend more time thinking about than it  actually takes to do. I think when you see it you will understand.


 
video




We tend to draw a bit of attention when flippin pigs.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Say Grace


   Almost 11 years ago, I came out of the bathroom at a local dog show in which I was competing in obedience with my sheltie, Miles, and there was the most beautiful dog I'd ever seen. His name was Paris. I told the woman on the other end of the leash I wanted a dog that looked just like him. She told me she had a litter of puppies and gave me her card. I tried not to call her. According to Keith we didn't need another dog...especially another hairy barky Sheltie. I didn't listen to him and before he knew it I was going to look at that litter of puppies. I had my choice between two females. I chose the smaller girl with the two black ears. The other puppy went on to be a champion and was sold to someone in Korea for $50,000.  The story of my life.

That is how Wynstone's Say Grace came to live with us. She was adorable and wormed her way into Keith's heart in spite of all that hair. Everyone loved Grace and Grace loved everyone. People would say something like "Oh she really likes me" as she was up on them licking their neck. I wouldn't have the heart to tell them she did that to everyone. Grace had a whole list of people that suggested she come live with them "if anything happens to you".

 
Bought as an obedience dog, she made it quite clear she didn't really care for that obedience thing. She was known to just leave...and no amount of positive reinforcements brought her back.

Right in the middle of Keith's big accident, Grace started to cough. When I had a chance I took her to see the vet. I was worried because our vet of 28 years had retired and sold his practice to a couple of new vets but I was very pleased to meet Dr. Josh. He was compassionate and practical. He had to deliver the bad news that Grace had cancer and her body as filling with fluid. She had very compromised lung function. He talked about some options but we both agreed no good would come of it. I brought her home and she lasted 9 days. She was spoiled those 9 days and got one more walk to the farm.
I was having a hard time with the big decision.
Grace was still eating, drinking, running, and barking, she just couldn't breath.  I took her back and saw the other very compassionate, practical partner, Dr.
Dean. He helped me make the big decision. Grace was suffering. I had to let her go but I tell you this, Grace knew what was happening. I told the vet that she knew what was going on and he said

"I know she knows"


Grace never gave anyone a moment of grief. She was, and I know it is said a lot but this time it is true,  the best dog.



Sunday, November 4, 2012

15 minutes of fame

Here is a clip that includes a couple of my goats.

Rooster Valley Farm School          

My New Favorite Show

Since Doc Martin is not on right now I was happy to discover a new Britsh show to like.  Call the Midwife is a show worth watching. I'm telling everyone about it. I even have a PBS app on my iPad to watch in the bedroom so Keith doesn't have to listen to women giving birth.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Security Breach


I have spent a good deal of time thinking about my breeding schedule. I have been planning kidding dates to correspond with shows and the fair. Cora Belle is still on milk test so I planned for a very late breeding so that she would produce for the full 305 days required. I have thought a lot about who I would breed to whom. I have decided not to breed all the does like I did last year. Maybe just Cora Belle, Wedding Belles, and Hazelnut.

Can you tell where this is going?

Tonight when I went down to put all the does away the herd ran to me as they always do but with two additions, Lucky and Pepe.
Apparently in my haste to get the buck pen up after Keith's accident I forgot to attach one of the livestock panels to the T-post.
I then spent the next ten minutes wrangling the two bucks away from the girls. By now the girls had had enough of those stinky boys...especially Pepe.
When I got home, Keith asked, like he always does, how things were at the farm. I burst into tears and told him about the mess I had walked into.
He wrinkled up his nose and said, "I'd throw those clothes directly into the wash. You smell like a buck."

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Go Ask Alice

Sometimes when I'm stressed and overwhelmed I make a desicion I regret. So this last spring when I had babies and milk coming out my ears I decided to let Alice go live with a very nice family that had bought Alice's boys. When they put her in the back of their car the last thing I saw was her staring out the window with a panicked look on her face. That look was seared into my brain.
Over the summer I received glowing reports on her and followed their love for her and her milk on Facebook. I still felt that pang of regret whenever I thought of her or saw her picture.
When the nice family took her home I made them promise that she would not end up on Craigslist but be returned to me if their situation changed.
This weekend their situation changed and I was pleased to get a message that they were going to bring Alice back. They had to relocate after retiring from the Navy and couldn't take a goat with them. Alice was coming home.
Sunday they pulled into the farm and opened the back of the car and there was Alice. She jumped out,  sniffed the air, and took a look around. I was happy to see her. She was healthy and happy. They had taken excellent care of her.
Now I know I should have quarantined her but instead I put her back in with Buttons and Boots (her old gang) and with only a few head bumps she settled in like she had never left but not before she chased the nice family's car down the drive saying "don't leave me"
Now they have her face seared in their brains.

Alice just has that effect on people.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

And He Walked Away

Monday morning while going downhill into a busy intersection roundabout Hubby lost his brakes. He was able to avoid hitting anything other than the very back corner of a log truck. His dump truck flipped over spilling its contents and crushing Hubby's collarbone and breaking a rib. Considering that there was no room in that smashed cab for a human body I'd say he was very lucky...as were all the cars that happened to be in the intersection that day.
With surgery on Tuesday to piece together his collarbone that is now in 5 pieces and a potential 6 month recovery, I may as well throw out my honey do list. Now I'm doing everything.
But that's ok. It could have been so much worse.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Meant to Be


About a month ago I heard through the grapevine that the local zoo might be interested in getting some baby goats from me for their petting farm. I gave them my contact information and waited to hear from them. We were really excited to have a couple of our babies at the zoo. It is a wonderful facility where they would get top-notch care and my family could go there and see all the children enjoying them. My son and daughter-in-law happened to be here when Snaps was just born so they got busy holding and socializing him for a life at the zoo. It's a tough job but someone had to do it.

Then I never heard back from the zoo. I called and talked to a very nice lady and told her what I'd heard. I just needed an answer so I could move on with finding them a home if they weren't interested. She said she would talk to the keeper and someone would get right back to me. They didn't.

So I decided I'd waited long enough and put my last two babies of the season, Spots and Snaps, up for sale together.

Enter Jennifer who grew up with goats and is starting a new preschool called Rooster Valley Farm School. She had been searching a long time for the two perfect wethers for her little farm. She came out yesterday with two of her children, Jack and Eleanor, to meet the goats. My goats loved them. Especially Snaps. All the holding that Kyle and Stephanie did was rewarded in spades.
Naturally Jennifer and her children were thrilled that the zoo had not taken them and they could buy them for their school.

If I had a preschooler...and lived in Snoqualmie...I would be happy to have him or her spend the day with this wonderful sweet kind lady and a couple of funny little wethers named Snaps and Spots.

I said it before and I'll say it again....

                  I meet the nicest people selling goats!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Royal Wedding

My beautiful niece was recently married in Prague. It breaks my heart that we weren't there to share the day with her and her new husband. Now that the pictures are flowing in my heart is breaking even more. Isn't it lovely?



  

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Pig Days of Summer

It is finally summer in the Pacific Northwest. I'm not complaining. It has been wonderful. I'm a mid-seventies kind of gal.
We've been busy with new babies, milk testing, chopping wood, painting, and visiting kids...including my son and daughter-in-law. I am in the process of teaching my DIL all the ropes of farming and she is a very willing student. I can now say, "I'm too tired to milk." and she will happily go do all my chores for me and even make the milk into cheese.
I love her.

My son is an expert at holding the baby goat and socializing it while she milks. I love him too:)


Blackberry has turned into quite the entertaining guy. His favorite pastime is chasing chickens and the cat. I didn't really want another llama but I'm glad I didn't have a choice. My llama lady told me he would be a lot of fun and she was spot on. He is nothing but fun.....at this point.




 I told Willow she gets to keep him. I'm pretty sure I heard her say thank you.


The goats are all doing well and milking up a storm. I received the numbers of the top ten does for the 2011 milking season and if I'd have continued milking Cora Belle last year just a little bit longer she'd have made it into the top 5.


We are working hard this year to get her on the list for the 2012 milking season. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Hazelnut, Cora Belle's daughter, is turning into the farm favorite with her winning personality that she gets from her dad, Chaos. It certainly didn't come from Cora Belle.


She has a really big mouth though.


Snaps continues to grow and Buttons is just happy to be alive. She has loaned her position as Farm Ambssador to Hazelnut for awhile.



Life is good!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

My kids were home last week and for my Mother's Day present put the lattice on my barn. There is nothing I like better than to have people working for me. It turned out beautifully and grounds the barn to the...well, ground.

I love these guys. Now how about those steps.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How is Buttons?

Buttons is doing just fine. Thanks for asking. You would not even know she had such a hard time. She is very pleased with her new baby boy and is taking very good care of him. Snaps is just like his momma and is training for the role of farm ambassador. My son and daughter-in-law have been carrying him around and socializing him. Buttons is a smart mom and appreciates a good babysitter. She doesn't waste any of her precious free time looking for him.
I think this will be Buttons' last kid....at least for awhile. She's earned some time off.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Dottie


Ouch

My brother-in-law has a farm where he raises beef and anything else his daughters brought home. Over the years he has been known to use family gatherings with an abundance of male attendees to get some of his more unpleasant tasks done. The men and boys never knew if they were going to herd cattle, separate the bull, or for that matter castrate the bull calves. It has turned into a family joke. My brother had the misfortune of being in on one of these family parties and witnessed the pulling of a calf with a '77 LTD bumper. The cow and calf lived but my brother was never the same. Hubby has always been right in there helping his brother......when he couldn't fade away into the background.

Little did I know this family joke would come in handy.

Buttons went into labor yesterday and when it came time for her to push all that presented was one long front leg. I stuck my finger in to have a feel around and came up with another leg but no head. I brought the leg out but it was a back leg. Now I had a front leg and a back leg out and I still couldn't find the head. I tried to stuff the back leg back in. It wouldn't go. I tried to find the head and finally found it way in the back but couldn't get this kid turned around. I was really getting nervous now. I was all alone and no matter what I did I could not get this huge kid out. I needed help. I started to go back home and then realized I had ridden my bike to the farm and would have to peddle home for help.

I was a horrible sight to see turning into my driveway covered in blood and mucus. I told Hubby that something was terribly wrong and that I couldn't get the kid out. I would need to call someone. I would call the goat farmer at Herron Hill. He asked if I would like him to try. Now I must say Hubby is not really into the farm as much as I am. He is a reluctant farmer. Growing up in the suburbs with no pets it didn't come naturally for him but being one that isn't afraid of getting his hands dirty he is always willing to help. So I accepted his offer and as we flew back to the farm to try and save Buttons I called the goat farmer just in case. I left a shaky scared message to come help Buttons.

When we got to the farm the two legs were still sticking out and Buttons was in great pain.  I told Hubby to pull down and out but to get that baby out. I held Buttons collar while he grabbed the legs and gave a good pull downward. I asked if it budged at all and my heart sank when he replied "No, not a bit."
 So we gave it another try and this time Hubby reached in and grabbed what he thought was the rear end of the kid and pushed it down while pulling as hard as he could and out it shot. I have never felt so relieved to see a kid shoot out then at that moment. The kid was huge and dead. It is always sad to see a kid make it that far and then not live but I didn't care. Buttons was saved. Even Buttons was so relieved to have this large kid out she didn't care either. I worked on the kid for awhile to see if I could get him going and then when it looked futile, wrapped him in a towel and set him aside. Poor boy. He was beautiful.
Thankfully she had another in there and with a little help from me (this one was not in the right position either) pushed forth another big boy. He was alive.

Snaps
Now Buttons being the practical girl she is quickly forgot about the dead baby and focused all of her attention on the new live one. I slipped the dead kid out and buried him. I know I should be more upset about him but I am so relieved that it wasn't Buttons I was burying....it was that bad folks.

 Sure I've seen the horror stories about stuck kids but in all my years of goat raising have never had one. Lucky for Buttons, Hubby had spent a few of his holidays helping his brother and one of those days involved pulling a calf. The family jokes will continue but I know for a fact there is a little goat named Buttons that is glad that a farmer is out there teaching the menfolk how to deliver a baby that doesn't want to come.

So Hubby was my hero yesterday. He not only saved my goat but he washed and vacuumed my Jeep. I don't know which took more courage.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Triplets Again?

Excuse me but you're in my spot

I had read that llamas choose a special spot to have their babies. The llama lady asked if I had noticed if Willow had picked a spot yet. I hadn't noticed. When I went to feed yesterday I did notice a huge difference in how Willow was acting though. She was humming. A lot. And using the dung pile. A lot. I knew for sure that we would have a baby that day. It just so happened that Hubby had rented a log splitter for the weekend and was busy splitting and stacking wood and I was busy cleaning around the farm. The perfect day to hang around and watch for a llama baby. When Willow wasn't at the dung pile she seemed to be hanging out with Hubby at the woodpile. He thought she enjoyed hanging out with him but as the day wore on and I knew that llamas gave birth in the morning I started to get worried. Then it dawned on me...this was Willow's place. The spot she had chosen to give birth. Long before Hubby decided to split firewood. We have to leave I told Hubby. You have to stop right now and leave. You are in her spot. "But I only have about 5 more minutes of wood to stack," he said. But he packed up at my insistence and we left her to her spot. It was approaching the 6 pm deadline for llamas to give birth without problems....I read it on the internet! We had to get out of there fast. When I checked on her a half hour later there were two long legs and the head sticking out her rear end. It was huge and she was having a hard time getting him out. As she paced around she knocked his legs and head on trees and got his gangly legs caught in the fence several times. Every time I tried to help it only made it worse so once again I left her alone and went to milk and do my chores. She finally delivered him at 5:45 pm with one hard push as I watched from the barn door. As he slid to the ground she made a terrible noise, swung around and acted like she was attacking him. I ran from the barn screaming her name and it seemed to startle her out of her attack and she turned to him and started loving on him. What was that? Hubby says it was like spanking a newborn...that's his theory. I'm just going to forget about that little episode since Willow has turned into the perfect little mother to her giant baby boy.
We named him Blackberry after the little wild blackberries that are ripe right now. He is really very popular because no one I know including myself has ever seen a baby llama.
I am going to start charging admission.