Thursday, March 28, 2013

Common Core Curriculum and Data Mining Your Kids

Sometimes I come across current events I find so appalling I can't help but crow about them on my little farm blog. inBloom is one of those things.

InBloom Inc. is a database funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foudation set up as part of the Common Core Curriculum. If you're not familiar with Common Core, just follow the dollar. As part of the stimulus package, The Administration set up the Race to the Top program which provided (bribed?) states with federal money for adopting federal eduation standards.

InBloom is a private non-profit organiztion set up to collect information on your kid. This data will then be available to the govenment and to vendors to supposedly help them customize educational materials.  The scariest part to me is that we aren't just talking test scores and report cards here. They will be tracking everything from healthcare histories, disciplinary record, family income range, family voting status, religious affiliation, and appreciation for diversity.

One of the things that kept me from sending my precious boys off to Kindergarten was the form I had to fill out that basically surrendered my parental rights to the school district. Among other things, the district wanted blanket permission to publish my kids' work, or post their work or pictures on the internet. Now it appears they want "functional magnetic resonance imaging" and "cameras to judge facial expressions" too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Greetings from the Frozen Forests of SW Georgia

I'm cold.

I'm tired of being cold.

I cranked the heat today and turned on all the space heaters. Power bill be damned. I'm tired of being cold.

Now that I have that out of my system....

Trixie is continuing to improve. She was chewing cud today! I haven't seen her do that in ages. I milked a small amount of colostrum out again. It's pretty thick, but internet research tells me it's not out of the range of normal.

Then she wanted out of her stall for a romp with the other goats. I was terrified that she'd keel over as they were head butting, but she held her own. I am still keeping her separate for the most part so she can have plenty of rest and they don't steal her alfalfa.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Not Good, but Not All Bad

What a day.

Trixie started laboring around 1:00. About 45 minutes later we had a bubble out. Then she stopped. My friend's husband drove to meet the vet 40 minutes away to get Oxytocin. Within 20 minutes of the injection, she started pushing in earnest again. I didn't see hooves like I should have, so I had to go in and managed to help her pull out the baby by a back knee and hip. Not a good presentation.

She was stillborn. A beautiful 5 pound baby girl.

Once she was delivered, Trixie started pushing again. Again, we weren't seeing the front feet like we should have. This time I went in and grabbed two back legs. After a couple contractions, we got a beautiful 4.5 lb baby girl. Stillborn.

Shortly thereafter came the third. This one actually came out the right direction though I did have to straighten her second leg out. 4.5 lb stillborn girl.

Here is a link to their picture. They're beautiful, but I don't want to offend anyone who doesn't feel comfortable looking at them.

I wonder when they died because they were just perfect. We did everything we could to revive them but there was just no life there when they came out.

At least Trixie seems to be doing slightly better since delivering. She is very weak, but has been cleaning up hay that has bits of goo on it and drank about a gallon of water. She still had not delivered the afterbirth when I came in. The vet had me administer some more Oxytocin but said it can take up to 6 hours. She is meeting me after church with a good antibiotic.

I am wondering when and if I'll be able to milk her. I guess we'll see in the morning.

Thank you everyone for your prayers and support. And thank you to my family and friends who came to help. I appreciate you all!

Duck Eggs

On a lighter note, I've learned that most people who are allergic to chicken eggs can eat duck eggs. Our mallard, Clay, lays us about 18 eggs a month. My usual customers haven't shown much interest in them.

My sister has been frustrated that her son is allergic to eggs. It is usually something that children will outgrow, but meanwhile she had to bake his first birthday cake without eggs. Even a little egg, say in cornbread topping on casserole, upsets is tummy.

Then I had an "Aha!" moment. It came to me that maybe he could eat duck eggs. I did some online research and found that they have different proteins and most people who can't eat chicken eggs can eat eggs from ducks, geese, quail and other fowl. The converse is also true. I have a friend who is allergic to duck eggs but can eat chicken eggs.

I sent a couple dozen eggs to my sister. They did a sensitivity test on his arm. When that showed no reaction, she made him french toast. He loved it and was not sick! This has reopened a world of culinary possibilities for her. It may be some information to pass on to anyone else you know with an egg allergy.

Saturday Update

I'm really running late this morning. After I checked Trixie at 6am, I went back to bed and slept until 9:30! The bucklings were yelling for breakfast.  Kat was stomping her hooves to be milked and I was late getting Trixie her Prop G and B-Complex. At least a feel a little more energized.

Trix was up and about her stall some last night. She managed to get her blanket off, knock over the hay bucket and have a fairly normal BM.

She is still drinking lots of water and had some more discharge this morning. That's all I know. Information I found on Dexamethasone says "Used to induce labor in pregnant does when the slow introduction of labor over a 48-hour period is desired". 48 hours is 3:00 this afternoon. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, March 22, 2013

24 hrs After Induction

I administered the Dex at 3:00 yesterday. Around noon today, she passed a good size string of mucus that looked like it could be her plug. She is also up and down more and drinking a lot of water on her own. I was excited to see her get up, poo, and stand for several minutes.

Poor girl is just skin and bones and belly at this point. I'm about to go give her yet another drench. Thank you all for your prayers!

This Morning

Trixie is still alive. Her eyes look sunken. She's drinking lots of water on her own. No sign of labor. She's still not eating.

I was scared to go to the barn this morning. My sleep was filled with dreams of Trixie and her kids- alive and recovering. The spaces between those dreams were filled with deep worry that she would not be alive when I went out this morning. Or that I might find a tiny kid, wet and lifeless next to her lifeless mother. Morbid, I know.

And then there was the very real and worrisome concern of what will I do with her if I find her dead? I'm not sure I could bear not to know how many kids she is carrying. Could I dig a hole that big? That was followed by prayers that I won't have to deal with that. I am exhausted.

I gave her the morning dose of propylene glycol. She really hates that and put up a pretty good fight.

And so another day of poking and prodding, drenching and injecting has begun. And praying. Lots of praying. I need that Dex to kick in and fast!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Latest

I dosed Trixie with Dexamethasone at 3:00 today to induce labor. She has just been looking weaker and weaker. The vet and I didn't want to wait any longer.

I pray that she and the kids will be okay. I have learned a lot from this. Mainly, I've learned that I know my own animals and I have a good gut feeling for how they're doing. I need to trust that. I just hope that lesson can be learned without added angst and heartache.

I'll keep ya posted.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Update on Trixie

Edit 6:39pm- I just gave her the Propylene Glycol for the first time. She hated it! I see no sign of her wanting to eat. I gave her probios too. She will need another drench and a shot of B-complex still tonight.

Her rear end looks like there is a baby right there and has for a couple of days. I can barely feel the ligaments on one side and not at all at the other. This was from earlier. It's more pronounced now. I so wish my first experience with this had gone smoothly.

I texted the vet today. She still wants to hold off on induction for another couple of days, as do I. She thinks I should start Propylene Glycol as well as the drenches today. Of course, our local Tractor Supply was out and the feed stores don't carry it. Hubby was able to pick some up at the TSC in Thomaston and that was the third store he'd checked!

This is the drench I'm using:
500ml 50% Dextrose
50ml Amino Acid Concentrate
200ml Calcium Gluconate

100ml orally 3x per day.

I'm also giving B-Complex subcutaneously twice a day and probios daily.

I can't get her to take any food though she's still drinking a little water. The stress of all this has zapped my motivation to do anything else today. I don't want to lose Trixie or the kids but I certainly don't want to lose BOTH! I am so new to this and really don't know what course to take. My gut says to take it day by day unless she starts looking worse.

Once she is given the medicine to induce, it will take 36-48 hours for her to deliver. She needs to have the strength to do that too! I don't want her to deliver more than a week early, for fear of losing the kids so that means induction sometime this weekend. And I feel like that's another brick's the weekend. The vet didn't say that she wouldn't come out on the weekend when I texted "I just don't want to get stuck over the weekend". I sure hope that she will if we need her.

Leibster Award

Thank you, Kris for nominating me for a Leibster Award. Outback Farm is one of my favorite blogs and is the first place I go while I sit down with my coffee in the morning. I feel so honored.

I wasn't sure what a Leibster Award was, so I visited the site that nominated Kris, Clearwater Farm Journal. What a great blog they have too!

As I understand it, I am supposed to do the following:
Nominate 5 blogs with less than 300 followers
Share 5 random facts
Answer 5 questions
Think of 5 new questions for those you nominate

The blogs I'd like to nominate are:
Kelly at Happy Hollow Homestead
Jessi at Rising With the Son
Jane at Rational Preparedness
Sunnybrook Farm
Range to Range

Five Random Facts:
1. I am a book addict. I have to limit what I pick up or I will get nothing else done. I think the Outlander series took a year of my life.
2. I am blond, left handed and Polish, so please don't expect me to be coordinated.
3. I am a foodie. Fresh, delicious food is one of my favorite things in the world. Throw in a good bottle of red wine and I'm in heaven!
4. I like lightning storms. Yes, I know they're dangerous, but they're so pretty!
5. I am a cat person, but I'm learning to love my dog.

Here are the 5 questions Kris had for me:

How long have you been farming? Or homesteading?
I have been gardening for years (my degree is in Horticulture) but I would say that I really started homesteading about 3 years ago when I got chickens. I already had a big vegetable garden and fruit trees but the laying hens led to the honeybees, which led to the dairy goats, which led to the broilers. I suddenly feel like singing "There was an old woman who swallowed a fly..."

What got you started farming or homesteading?
I think growing up "picking dinner" was a big part of it. My mom and grandfather always had vegetable gardens and fruit trees. I just took it a step further.

What's your favorite part about farming or homesteading?
Self-sufficiency. There is nothing like looking at your dinner plate and realizing that every last bit of your meal came from your land- and it tastes amazing!

What's your most dreaded part of it?
I loathe having to poke and prod at the animals. Injections, drenches, CIDR's, taking temperatures. It all just makes me feel like a big meanie! But I know it must be done so I pull up my big girl panties and forge on.

What do you most LOVE about it?
I really love sharing what I have learned. Like yesterday, we had a group of homeschool families out to play. The children didn't want to leave!

It does my heart good to see a child get to collect eggs and see that they come from the back end of a chicken not the back room at the grocery store and no, that's not gross. Neither is milk straight out of a goat gross. People in the past understood these things. It's been a blessing to get to share these experiences, that used to be commonplace, with people who've never had them.

And 5 questions for the people I've nominated:

What are your passions in life?
What experiences helped shape you into who you are?
What got you into farming/ homesteading?
If you could live anywhere and do anything, what would it be?
What do you find stressful and how do you manage it?


My poor girl is not doing so well. We still have 11 days to go and she's not wanting to eat now. I am drenching her 3x/day with  50% Dextros, Amino Acid Concentrate, and Calcium Gluconate. Giving B Complex twice a day and probios.

I am finding it so frustrating (as with the honeybees) that you do everything right and still have problems. I have carefully measured their feed, they have fresh hay, water and alfalfa daily. They get a good herbal wormer and I have monitored them for anemia. They have loose minerals, baking soda, and get selenium treatments. They get their hooves trimmed and their coats brushed. Etc, etc, etc.

I feel like every problem you can have with goats has been thrown at me this first year from buying a goat who ended up having mastitis, to Kat's miscarriage and subsequent inability to be bred since, to this. Some days, I wonder why I bother.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Playing with the Goats

I have worked hard to train Asher that he's not to play with goats. All that has gone out the window as Magnum engages Asher in play! Asher is so good about it. Magnum chases him, jumps on him and butts him and Asher just rolls over and takes it. I'm happy he's got a new friend.

Trixie has 13 days to go. She really doesn't even want to get up anymore. Yesterday it took her 4 rests just to make it to the water bucket. I'm torn about whether or not to move the bucket closer. I know the exercise is good for her, but I don't want her to get dehydrated. She is turning her nose up at her grain, but is eating plenty of hay and alfalfa. I gave her some sweet feed last night and she gobbled that right up. I'll try some more of that tonight since she eschewed her ration this morning too.

Does anyone know when is the earliest it's safe for goats to deliver so I can stop worrying about her having to keep those babies in?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

One Big Happy Family

I have been stressing about Asher since I brought the bucklings home. Bogo is just so tiny! Ash could crush him faster than he devoured that dozen Super Bowl hot wings.

Yes, I know he's a great Pyrenees and he was bred to do this job. But the goats are so tiny and he just wanted to play with them!

For 2 days I left the babies locked in a stall only letting them out when Asher was leashed. Finally today, armed with a water gun, I let the three meet untethered. It took a couple sprays, but Asher quickly got the message that he was not to paw or mouth these little goats. I am so relieved!

I am still locking the little boys up when I'm not out to supervise, but another day or two like today and Asher will have earned my trust as a babysitter.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Meet Magnum and Bogo

Yesterday, we picked our herd sire Magnum and his little buddy Bogo (Buy One Get One) up from Raven's Haven near Carrollton. She really has some beautiful goats.

Asher is not quite sure what to make of the babies.

His mama was a first freshener. Here is a pic of her udder.


This is little Bogo. He is also a full blooded LaMancha. He was a tiny little guy when he was born, so the breeder sent him as an unregistered companion for Magnum. His mama is Raven's Haven's Victorious and sire is her buck Nikolae. If  you know anyone who may be interested in him, he is for sale as soon as my other does kid so Magnum will have new friends.

I'm off to bottle feed!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Triple Cropping

Mom, Cole, and I got the rest of the spring garden in on Sunday. We'd planted more broccoli, cauliflower, onions, and a few other things before the skies opened up in February. Some of the little plants didn't take it well but some will make it. Sunday we planted lettuce, carrots and seed potatoes.

I need a bigger garden. We have three planting seasons here and it's difficult to get everything rotated in. Problem is, our soil is horrible (it's taken me 8 years to build the healthy soil in the garden), if I expanded I would need to expand the electric fence to keep the deer out, I have limited sunny space, and I'm basically a one woman operation- I don't have the time nor energy to care for more. Okay, so that's a lot of problems. Looks like I will have to keep working with what I've got.

Trixie is doing alright. She's still eating well though she doesn't want to spend any time on her feet. 18 more days.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Periparturient Edema

After all my searches of "Pregnant Goat Swollen Feet" pulled up Toxemia, I decided to try "Pregnant Goat Edema". I really don't think Trixie has Toxemia because she's still getting up and eating well. The swelling is the only symptom that fit.

The "Edema" search pulled up periparturient edema. Ding, ding, ding!

The first indication is usually the doe's walking as if her feet hurt, followed by a gradual swelling in the lower part of her front legs and progressing to the lower half of her rear legs....
Unlike ketosis or other pregnancy-related diseases, periparturient edema does not cause the doe to go off-feed. She will be listless, preferring to sit rather than stand because walking is painful, but she will continue to eat. Moaning, groaning, and grinding of teeth are common symptoms.... 
Periparturient edema usually appears in a doe that is carrying multiple large fetuses.
I gave her a dose of Molly's Herbals weekly worming formula and added in a tiny bit of the wormwood formula. Her eyelids are pink so I don't think she has a heavy worm load, but I didn't figure it couldn't hurt.

19 days to go.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Leaves, Glorious Leaves

I read somewhere that lots of leaves will help Trixie get the kind of nutrition she needs, so I went and pruned some water sprouts off the peaches and apple and chopped down some unwanted cedars and privet.

She happily chowed some apple and a pine bough (which she had to share with Asher-he's convinced he's a goat). Her back feet don't look so swollen today. The front still are a little bit. I'm thinking since she's getting up and eating well, I shouldn't worry too much.

Pregnancy Problems

I am a nervous wreck over these pregnant goats. Trixie is due on March 30. I noticed yesterday that her feet looked a little swollen and she was walking like they hurt her. I googled it and came up with all this stuff on pregnancy toxemia.

I've been feeding her free choice hay, alfalfa every day or two, about a pound and a half of ADM dairy goat feed/day, and veggie peelings from the kitchen, but I guess I've messed something up. I gave her a little molasses and karo syrup yesterday (against the recommendations of a breeder friend).

She was up and about yesterday afternoon to get acorns with the other does. I felt encouraged that she was better until I checked my post on a goat forum and had two people say toxemia.

She's as big as a house! She must have triplets in there. Any suggestions on what to do for her?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

War on Children

We were teaching the boys how to tool a belt in art class last Thursday. Chase wanted our name on the back, so we showed him how to find the center of the belt, find the middle letter of our name and work out from either direction. The result? After completing the first four stamps, his belt said "AMMO".

We all got a good laugh about how he's going to get expelled from Hammock Homeschool for his threatening piece of art work, but the truth is, it's not funny.

It's not funny to call a five year old a murderer for talking about her Hello Kitty bubble gun or to suspend a 7 year old for biting his Pop Tart into a shape that could, possibly, I guess, look like a gun. The following article sites example after example of this war on our kids and it is hardly the only war being waged. I will save CSCOPE, revisionist history, feminization of our boys, medicating our children, attack on Christianity, sex education for Kindergarteners, etc. another time.

Schools Jump the Shark 
Michael Geer
Around the ranch we usually mutter and shake our heads, but now they've gone too far.
Public school officials at Heritage Middle School in Meridian, Idaho put the school on 'lockdown' because a teenage boy was seen 'roaming the halls' with a ... ready? ... a folding military style ... shovel.
A shovel.
No report filed on whether it was a high capacity shovel. Might have been high capacity in the hands of Big John, loading sixteen tons. Certainly not in the soft un-calloused hands of a school bureaucrat.
A middle school teenage boy was spotted in the halls with a 'suspicious' object and the school "resource officer" leapt into action. Only trouble was the boy was on an errand for a teacher who had forgotten the folding entrenching tool, meaning shovel. A prop for a history lesson on WWII.
Local police said no charges would be filed. So the kid's got that going for him, which is nice."
Continue Reading....

We need to wake up, take notice, and stop what is being done to our children.

“The schools cannot allow parents to influence the kind of values-education their children receive in school; … that is what is wrong with those who say there is a universal system of values. Our [humanistic] goals are incompatible with theirs. We must change their values.” Paul Haubner, specialist for the N.E.A.

“Give me your four year olds, and in a generation I will build a socialist state.” Vladimir Lenin

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wilbanks Apiary

This is where I'm getting my new packages in May.

Busy Like a Bee

It's been busy busy around here since I got back from Utah. I can't seem to get caught up or get my act completely together (I missed the kids' guitar lessons 2 weeks in a row which is really not like me).

Last week, I redid the kids' rooms. They were a mess. Same baby green paint from when the rooms were nurseries and if you have had boys, you know what they can do to a place. So we cleaned, we painted, we rearranged furniture, and got them new bedding, lamps, and pictures. They look like young men's rooms now. The boys are very proud and taking excellent care of their new digs.

I bottled the beer and Skeeter Pee (hard lemonade). It really came out good. Tastes like a nice white wine! I'm going to get another batch started. I really hate sterilizing bottles though.

Friday, I saw an ad on CraigsList for silkie roosters about an hour away from us. My son has 3 hens and ordered 2 roosters from an auction on Backyard Chickens back in December! We sent the seller $35 for the birds and shipping and still have not received them. The only thing keeping me from being steaming mad is that he hasn't cashed the check.

This is Oreo:

And Mist:

After getting these boys, I asked the BYC seller to send my check back or send me a picture of it ripped up. I still haven't heard from him. Cole is looking forward to selling chicks to earn a little money. We just need the hens to start laying again!

Last weekend was bitterly cold here. So what did we do? Ate raw oysters and pretended we were at the beach. Mom and Hubby are expert shuckers!

This cold snap has me down to the dregs of my seasoned firewood. I have about 3 days worth left. The weather had better change soon! Sunday, we bundled up and split and picked up the tree we felled at my friend's farm. Then went next door and got a load of odds and ends our next door neighbor didn't want. He likes his wood uniform to stack in his wood sheds. I'm not so picky. Odds and ends burn well and do just fine under our upcycled redneck pool "tarp".

Monday I planted the tomato and pepper seeds. I'm a little late getting them started. Like I said, I can't get my act together after being gone for a week.

Yesterday, the kids talked me into some chicks from TSC Chick Days. We have enough chickens, but most of my original Red Sex Links have died. They are the sweetest birds and the best layers, so I don't suppose it will hurt to have a few more.

Cole has a Spelling Bee on Friday. At 9:00am! Do you have any idea how hard it is for me to get anywhere by 9:00am? I am not much of a morning person and I'm going to have to get up by 6:30 to get ready and finish my chores in time. The next 2 days are devoted to getting through his lists of words.

And speaking of bees. Yesterday I ordered two 4# packages of bees from Wilbanks Apiary in Claxton, GA. I'm going to have to go pick the bees up in May. I am determined to get at least 2 strong hives going! Beekeeping is such a challenge (and so expensive) with all the imported pests and environmental hazards the bees face today. Honestly, to make any money on it, I'd have to charge $50 a quart for honey (which I'm not going to do). And people wonder why they can't find local honey. It's so precious, I don't want to sell it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Aspartame in Milk!?

I just read this article stating that the dairy industry is petitioning the FDA to allow it to put aspartame in milk and milk products without having to list it on the label.

I find that outrageous! It didn't come out of the cow (goat, sheep, waterbuffalo etc.) with artificially sweetener in it, so it's not milk and should be listed as an ingredient.

I'll admit, I haven't done a lot of research on the effects of artificial sweeteners- I just try to avoid anything that wasn't food 100 years ago. Milk sweetened with aspartame would not pass my litmus test.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Night Bird

I love mockingbirds. Really I do. I once heard one mock a seagull. I love how they display their white wing flashes to other mockingbirds. I love that they eat lots of insects. I love watching them chase crows away.

I don't, however, love the mockingbird that has taken up residence in the tea olive outside my bedroom window and wakes me up singing every morning at 5:45.