Monday, March 31, 2008

Gearing Up

It is time, once again, to trim the pig's hooves. I dread this job because it was such a fiasco last time. We had screaming and struggling and hastily trimmed hooves. I have tried to think of an easier way to do it that doesn't involve the vet and a 300 dollar bill. I have even entertained the idea of giving them some beer and getting them drunk (please don't judge me until you have tried to clip the feet of an eighty pound hunk of solid strength that is screaming in your ear) but my hubby reminded me that they could be mean drunks. And since we have never been drinking with the pig sisters we have no way of knowing this. So I did what I always do, Googled it. I found the California Pot Bellied Pig Association. They had a few articles on the subject so I emailed a lady there and asked her about sedation and trimming. She answered back with some very helpful suggestions.
1. You can use Benadryl.......lots of it.

2. You can wrap them in a blanket.

3. You can do the pig flip.

The pig flip consist of grabbing them by the front legs and picking them up, rolling them up on their bottom and flipping them over. Once they get on their back they stop struggling. We were doing our own version of this but were flipping sideways instead of backwards. She was kind enough to send me pictures and videos of this in action. She must have sensed I was a visual learner. Here is one of the pictures. Note the protective ear wear........and is she really kissing that pig?

I haven't shown these pictures to hubby yet but he will have to be the one doing the pig flip and holding them between his legs. He's the one that wanted these pigs so he has to assume some risk. I guarantee there will be no kissing going on.

Maybe I should give him the beer.......or the Benadryl

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Peaceable Kingdom

Nothing to write about so I will just post some blurry pictures of the beautiful animals that keep me sane.

Here is Dottie. She was dumped along with her brother and her mother in front of my house.

Here is Ruckus at 7 months. He has hardly changed a bit since I got him. He is tiny tiny tiny but as friendly as can be. I love his sweet disposition.

All the goats together

Penne's new hairdo with Koo admiring from afar.

Penne carefully eating around the nettle shoots that I want her to eat.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Getting To Know You

When ever you get a new animal there is a bit of an adjustment period. Not so with Penne. She came right in and made herself at home. She is in with the goats and likes it just fine. In fact she is very much like a goat. A huge goat. She is curious, friendly and pushy about food, which I think accounts for the first two traits.
When Kate brought her to my farm she was concerned that Penne would be afraid of the pigs. I assured her I wouldn't let them out for a few days. So a few days later I decided to let everyone out into the big pasture. I walked over to let the pigs out with Penne on my heels. She was curious and thought what I was doing may involve food. I opened the pig's gate and out they came. They ran right under Penne and she didn't bat an eye. They looked at her, she sniffed them and everyone went on their way. I put some hay in the pasture and everyone was settling down for a snack when I heard the warning sound, a llama warning sound. Penne had her head up and wouldn't eat. Now I knew something was wrong. Coming through the trees were my neighbor's peacocks. She was afraid of the peacocks. This I do know, if a crazy peacock comes out of the woods to attack my livestock, Penne will be all over it!
One unexpected added benefit is feeding Penne with the goats. She eats half their food. I have a problem with fat goats so it is Penne's job to eat part of their hay to help slim them down. They don't even know they are dieting.
I have even given her a bit of a haircut. She had this clown collar thing going on around her neck so I sheared that off. I brushed out her beautiful fiber, that's llama talk for hair, trimmed her tail and brushed out her head. She looks much more elegant now.
I told my hubby that I trimmed the puffy collar off and he said, "Oh no, I liked that."
To each his own.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Good Good Pig

From the pages of The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery

Christopher Hogwood knew how to relish the juicy savor of this fragrant, abundant, sweet green world. To show us this would have been gift enough. But he showed us another truth as well. That a pig did not become bacon but lived fourteen years, pampered and adored till the day he died peacefully in his sleep - that's proof that we need not "be practical" all the time. We need not accept the rules that our society or species, family or fate seem to have written for us. We can choose a new way. We have the power to transform a story of sorrow into a story of healing.
We can choose life over death. We can let love lead us home.

I loved this so much I wrote it down. It spoke to me.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Itty Biddies

In every group a leader emerges and the chicks are no exception. There is always the one that takes the chance and comes out first, leading the way for all the sheep, or in this case chicks, to follow. That would be Ramona the Brave my Red Star chick. She is the brave leader of this small band of biddies. She is lovely and golden and stands out in a crowd.

I have one chick that is very lovely but...............looks nothing like the Silver Laced Wyandotte she is supposed to be. What could she be?

Here is the Wyandotte chick....

And here is Miss Lovely........

modeling hands courtesy of my hardworking hubby

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Day in Oregon

My son left for college in Los Angeles 5 years ago and we don't get to see him that often so when he calls and says that he is visiting the University of Oregon and could we buzz down and visit we decided , definitely we can. He is interviewing for graduate schools and Oregon is one that is in the running. His lovely girlfriend is interviewing also. They are a package deal.
We jumped in the car at 4 in the morning, that was really 3am, and drove the 5 hours to spend the day. We arrived in time for breakfast and then we walked around the campus, which was beautiful, ate at a small cafe and had a very good visit. It must be a bit warmer in Oregon because I saw a forsythia in bloom. After dropping them off at the airport to fly back to L.A. we drove home.
Now I have to tell you that Lane and Linn Counties in Oregon are, so far, my favorite part of the country. Especially this time of year. Rolling green hills full of sheep with new lambs. It is really hard to drive when 15 lambs are running and bucking in the field next to you.
I must admit I have a farm fetish. When I drive along I lust for a real farm. One that has a farm house. One that you can set out your back door and through the fields with dogs running after you. And an old (but in good shape) barn. A proper barn. So as we are rolling along I am looking at all the farms and thinking.......Oh, Oh I could live there! I am jealous of people with family farms. I have told my family that if I die before living on a proper farm my life would not be complete. I really feel this. Right now the Dixie Chicks song "Wide Open Spaces" should be playing in your head. So someday I will move to a proper farm with a proper barn, God willing and the creek don't rise. And until then I will just lust after somebody else's.

So a day with my favorite people in one of my favorite places, without rain, was most enjoyable.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Pasta Anyone?

Penne Pasta has arrived. She leaped out of the van and took a look around. Koo ran right over and, being the gentleman he is, jumped right on and tried to molest the poor girl. She didn't seem too phased by him but we put Penne in with the goats and left Koo in his pasture. They can get used to each other for a while. Koo has not seen another llama in 5 years. He couldn't believe his eyes. Once again I forgot my camera for a minute and missed a few good photo opportunities.

Kate, the llama gal, was very kind to give her a ride and we had a pleasant time chatting about llamas. She gave me lots of good tips for trimming toes and caring for llamas. She even gave me a lesson in nail trimming that Penne stood quite still for:) And wouldn't you know....Koo is a little overweight. We have a problem here. I enjoy feeding animals , and they enjoying eating. A perfect combination for a chubby farmyard. Well at least it won't cost me any more to have another llama. I will give her half of Koo's.

Here are a few pictures I did manage to take after I came to my senses and got the camera.

Koo and Penne get acquainted

Kate, Penne and the goats get acquainted

One thing that has me worried though, I noticed that Penne LOVES to eat. And remember what I said about me.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Picking up Chicks

Every day this week I have been calling the feed store. "Are the chicks in yet?"
"No not yet," replied Tom. Thursday I called and Tom said Friday was the day. He was expecting Buff Orpingtons, Aracaunas, Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks. I asked him to hold some for me but he wouldn't do it. Against store policy. I had to come in. I was a bit nervous because I knew everyone is waiting for the first arrival of chicks and they were having a sale. I pictured myself getting there after work and only having a few to pick from. You see I need to get chicks now if I am going to get them in and out of the brooder in time for my trip in May. I don't want my neighbor, who takes care of my animals, to have to mess with the brooder. So I called about noon today and checked.
"Are the chicks in?"
Can't you hear them cheeping?" asked Tom. And yes it was a cacophony of chick sounds in the background. I said "Please can you hold some for me?"
"No can't do that" said Tom.
Well now I am getting nervous because I want my chicks. I am not good at waiting. So right after recess I take off for the feed store. When I get there, there is certainly a few people getting chicks but they had plenty.........just not any Buff Orpingtons, my first choice. They didn't hatch yet. But, I was like a kid in a candy store. There were lots of stock tanks full of different kinds of poultry. I meant to only get about 6 but couldn't stop. I took home 6 Aracaunas, 4 Silver Laced Wyandottes and, just because, a Black Star and a Red Star.
They are in the brooder now looking as cute as cute can be although one of the Wyandottes is suspiciously different from her sisters and I am suspecting I got a banty by mistake.
I tried to pick out different color Aracaunas because I know from experience that the lighter one lay the pink eggs and the darker ones lay the green eggs. So I got three of each. They already have cute little earmuffs over their ears. I still have 3 Light Brahmas and 3 Speckled Sussex coming from my neighbor's order. He is waiting until the hatchery isn't so busy. The minimum order is 25 so he is throwing mine in with his. They will probably arrive just as I leave for vacation. If so I'm sure he will keep them for me until I get back. I should have quite a colorful bunch of biddies.
I just love having babies in the house.......yes in the house. appears my Aracaunas are Americaunas and my odd colored chick is a Golden Laced Wyandotte. My neighbor came back from the feedstore and clued me in. Apparently there were some Golden Laced in with the Silver Laced. Lucky me!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Spring Fever

Winter has turned the corner, here in the Pacific Northwest, and spring is on the way. I can hear it in the trees. Birds singing and chirping everywhere. The grass is starting to grow and I swear I heard a lawnmower today. It is time for a little spring cleaning. We cleaned out the boys' pen and spread all that good stuff on the field. It will turn into lush grass before you know it. All the goats got wormed, a good brushing and their feet trimmed. That is always a back breaker and the older I get the more breaks in between goats I take. The tin snips gone hoof trimmers made the job a lot easier.
Koo got his nails trimmed and a thorough brushing in preparation for meeting his new friend, Penne, next Saturday. Yes, if all goes well Penne will be in my pasture by Saturday afternoon. I hope this works out. Little does Koo know that his spring will become much more interesting, to say the least.
I tried to coax "The Ladies" into the new hen house but those chickens are smarter than we give them credit for. I decided to put them in there because I have yet to find any young laying hens and "The Ladies" are hiding their eggs from me. I will just try again in the morning when they are good and hungry.
Now I am just waiting for the forsythia to bloom, then spring will truly be here.