Monday, April 29, 2013


No rest here, though I'm in need of a day off! Yesterday morning I managed to get the strawberries cut up for jam. Then my parents brought my grandmother by to see the baby goats. Jeff traded for this Kubota last week. It's my Mothers' Day/Birthday/Anniversary present. I was able to buckle Grandma in (she's 96) and drive her right into the pasture to meet everyone.

While she was here, another friend and her girls came to see the babies. Then my kids got home from running through poison ivy around the church's new land and needed to be cleaned up STAT. The berries got put in the fridge for later. In the middle of all this, my BFF called to tell me her goat had just kidded- boy/girl twins. That's 4 days of kids!

When everyone left around 3:00, it was time to disbud Iris and Scilla's boys. I can't stop second-guessing myself on this. I burned them all down to nice copper rings like the disbudder directions and Fiasco Farm say to do, but then I read stuff about people burning to white (bone). I know it's not doing me any good to worry about it, but I can't stop.

Phoebe is still not thrilled with her little Iris. I caught Iris nursing on Scilla twice yesterday. Phoebe won't let her nurse unless I distract her. I put Phoebe on the stand last night and Iris got her belly full. Poor little girl. You can see the copper ring well in this picture. I am doing April and Fawn on Wednesday.

So after playing baseball with the kids and grilling venison burgers for dinner, hubby and I started the jam at 8:30. We finished about 10:00.

Jeff rescued this guy on his way home from TSC.

Do you stop and save tortoises in the road? I do.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

3 Days of Kids- Onyx's Girls

I checked Onyx Saturday morning before the kids' baseball game. She seemed fine. She got up on the stand for me for her breakfast. No discharge or anything. After the game, I went out to give Bogo and Magnum their CD&T boosters and give Phoebe and Scilla a dose of wormer. I was out playing with the babies for a while.

Onyx stood up to say hi and when she peed, it literally hit the barn wall like a water balloon. That was weird. Then came goo and in 2 minutes she was pushing! I called my husband in the house and told him if he and the kids wanted to see this, they'd better get up to the barn, STAT!

Within minutes she'd delivered this little Onyx Mini Me. We're calling her April.

She took her own sweet time delivering April's twin- she was focused on cleaning April up and getting her on her feet. About 20 minutes later, she finally decided to start pushing and out came Fawn! Her coloring was sure a surprise!

My friend Dave's buck only gave girls this year! I think this makes 15 doelings, zero bucklings from him. I hope Magnum is like that! We are 3 girls/ 3 boys for the year. I guess I can't thumb my nose at 50/50.

I'd called Auburn University Large Animal Clinic about Onyx Friday evening. Her half that had mastitis last year had started dripping a little bit and was 40% bigger than her other side. I was wondering whether I should milk that side out. I feared the mastitis was back.

Both vets I spoke with were on the fence about milking her. I decided to hold off since she didn't seem to be leaking more. I finally milked that side last night because the kids were having a hard time latching on, it was so full. They'd drained the other half. I brought a quart jar in the stall and within 15 seconds had filled the entire jar! She probably had another quart in there! I stopped at that point, since I didn't have anywhere to put the colostrum and since the teat had softened enough, I hoped the kids could manage it.

The milk looked fine. No blood, no stringiness. I think, knock on wood, that she's healed. The vet said that the disease last summer probably broke down some of the connective tissue in that half and that's why it looks so different from the other. I feel very encouraged. This was the goat that the vets gave a 50/50 chance of that half ever producing milk again. And I may just have my first gallon a day milker! She may just need an old lady bra to sling those teats up, just like Trixie ;)

I tried my hand at disbudding for the first time yesterday with Ike. I'm sorry you had to be my guinea-goat, Ike. I'd read everything I could find on the subject and looked at a hundred pictures. I hope I did a good job. I read that Swiss breed bucklings need to have their ridge done too or they get scurs, that's why he has 4 rings. I did each side twice, but when I got him up to the barn and studied him again, I decided there were places that did not look done enough. Poor little guy had to go back into the box for round three.

I think the whole process is more traumatic for the humans involved than the goats. Ike seemed no worse for wear. I need to do Iris and Scilla's boys this afternoon. They still don't have names, but I'm leaning toward Moses and Abraham. Name suggestions would be appreciated!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Scilla's Boys

Scilla finally decided to drop her kids! I guess she couldn't let Phoebe have all the fun!




Two boys. I'm not going to lie, I'm bummed and feel even sadder about losing Trixie's doelings. Onyx still hasn't had her babes and I'm praying for more girls! I have 4 bucklings I need to find homes for now- 3 ADGA registered Alpine bucklings and Bogo.

We will be disbudding Phoebe's kids today and will do Scilla's boys too if I can feel the horn buds. I felt Ike's the day he was born so they'll probably be ready.

These are Phoebe's kids Iris and Ike. Phoebe is not a very doting mother. She seems to forget about her kids and leaves Asher to look over them. She'll let them nurse, but definitely favors the Ike over Iris.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Baby Goats and a Full Moon

The goats getting into the feed the other day really messed me up. As I said yesterday, Phoebe had the worst case of scours, so I didn't think twice about it when she was standing in a corner of a stall each time I checked them.

Today was sunny and 75 and we'd made plans on Monday to go strawberry picking with my parent and my aunt. It was a perfect day. We got home about 5:00 and I said "hi" to the goats and went to check the garden. I noticed Phoebe didn't come to visit, but hey, she's not been feeling well.

I came back to the barn to get some garden supplies and heard a little "baaa". Whoa, what? I peeked over the wall and saw this:

Terrible, blurry picture, but I was terribly excited. I went in to check on them, a bit surprised she'd only had one. Checked the baby- a boy- drat. Bounced Phoebe's belly. She was done. Oh well, he's so pretty!

Asher was wonderful with them. Checking on mama and baby and keeping the other does away. I almost felt bad locking him out with the other goats so mama and baby could have some quiet time. I was reveling in goat grandmotherhood when my dad asked, "Where's Asher?"  Heck, I don't know where the dog is, I have a baby goat here!

Then my dad called Asher and saw him lift his head way down in the woods. He called again and Asher stood. That's when my dad said, "Umm, Kristin, who's that goat down there with Asher? It's not Bogo". He asked that a few times until I told him to stop it, he was scaring me. I ran down to investigate.

There in the woods was a tiny little kid. Asher had gone down there and curled up with it to keep it warm. I picked it up, ran it up to mama, and stuck it on a teat. Then I tried to see if it was a boy or girl but it had meconium stuck to it's backside so I couldn't tell! Finally after a good suck, mama cleaned the baby off and it's a GIRL!!!

I couldn't be happier. I think what happened was Phoebe decided to take a walk around the woods to browse and dropped the little girl. Not knowing what had happened and realizing that something was going on, she must have booked it back to the barn where she had the boy. The girl was dry when I found her. The boy was still damp. My wonderful, sweet, adorable, smart dog, Asher, had been taking care of the little girl in the woods and alerted us to her existence. He's my hero.

I think the full moon might work it's magic tonight- a Luna moth even landed on the kitchen window during dinner. Onyx looks like she's about to bust and her ligaments are soft. Scilla's are softening. When I checked the calendar on my iPhone this evening, I noticed it said 4/25- Phoebe Due. If Scilla hadn't tricked me so long, I might have actually checked the calendar and believed that!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What a Day

I'll be brief since I still need a shower and I'm beat. I went out to milk this morning and found that the goats had managed to get into a sack of goat feed. It looked like they'd eaten about 20lbs when I found it.

DH saw me struggling to get a sack out of the loft this weekend and stacked a couple of bags on a shelf in the barn to help me out. He didn't realize that Kat can (and did) reach the edge of that shelf from one of the stalls.

So it was probios and baking soda for everyone. Then an hour or so of chopping limbs and tossing them into the fence. I figured more fiber the better. Phoebe has the worst case of the runs, followed by Scilla, Magnum, and Kat. Onyx and Trixie seemed to have had a little sense and didn't over-indulge.  And Bogo, well, he's just Bogo.

The good news is that none of them are as bad off as Kat was the time she got into chicken feed. They've been eating hay and leaves all day, they just look a bit....hung over. Party animals.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Bees do it. I don't know why. Five minutes later they were all back inside. Maybe it's like a fire drill.

Bogo is For Sale

I am selling Bogo now that Magnum is settled in with the herd. He is a 7 week old full-blooded Lamancha buckling with gopher ears. He was bottle raised and very friendly.  I'm working on weaning him now. He eats lots of grass, hay, and grain, and drinks water from a bucket.

He is from CAE Negative herds- both mine and the breeders. He does not have papers but is from the same great blood lines as our new herd sire. Feel free to write with any questions.

I've listed him on Craigslist too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Duck, Duck, GOOSE

Okay, okay, so I know you think I need sheep to cut the grass- please do not tempt me. I picked these little guys up today. Who knew that geese eat grass and don't require additional feed? Experts recommend 20 geese per acre of pasture. When I read that, I asked the feed store to reserve two more for me. We will get them tomorrow. These two are named "Thanksgiving" and "Christmas".

My friend ordered 15 bronze breasted turkey poults and she doesn't need that many. She's asked if I would take some of them and I've been dragging my feet a bit. I don't know what to do with turkeys.

I finally agreed to take 3, but may be able to get a couple more. Two of the three have already been claimed. Cost will be $4/lb. They should be ready in early October, which I know is early for the holidays, but it's what I have to work with. They can be frozen.  Females should dress out about 20lb, males around 28lb. Please let me know if you're interested. I would be willing to raise and butcher 5 or 6.

Pretty Please

I know you goats are browsers not grazers, but would you please cut the grass already?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Case of the Disappearing Chicks

You see 6 chicks and a duck in this picture, right? That wasn't the case when we got home after dark Monday night. I was milking Trixie when one of my sons comes into the barn holding the Easter Egger (that I think is a roo), moaning, "He's the only one left. All the chicks are dead".

I calmly ask, "Are there dead chicks lying around? Feathers?" I am milking afterall and don't want to spook Trixie with fussing and fretting. "No, but they're all GONE!!!"

Now I have had chicks long enough to know that if a hawk comes, you lose a chick a day. You don't lose 5 chicks and a duck in one evening. If a raccoon had attacked, he would have left some evidence. If the dog.....well, I hope the dog finally understands that chicks and silkies are MINE. He does fine with the grown chickens.

I inform my sons and husband that the chicks know where they are. If they'd like they can get the flashlight and find them, otherwise the chicks will turn up in the morning. Somehow, I am the only one who believes this.

They searched and searched. More comments of "They're all dead" and "What a waste of money" kept drifting toward me in the barn. Finally, as we were ready to turn lights out for the night, Hubby heard a "cheep". He followed the sound and found the lot of them cuddled up under the rosemary for the night. Crisis averted.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Asher's Great Adventure

Why is it that things always end up scheduled for the exact same time? Saturday was the boys first baseball game of the year. Hubby was working out of town, so it was up to me to bring them, and I was really looking forward to enjoying the sunshine and seeing them play. Then my smart phone gave me an alert. Tractor Supply Vet Clinic. Saturday. 11:30-1. Exactly the same time as the game.

My dear parents to the rescue! What would I do without them here? We worked it out where I took the boys to the game at 11:30, met them there, then ran home to get the dog while they watched the game and brought the kids back home.

That's where Asher's great adventure began. I've taught him how to walk on a leash because I can't imagine having a huge dog you can't control, but sometimes he decids he just won't go. Like the time I tried to get him to walk into the garage. That butt hit the pavement and there wasn't a thing that would budge him. I envisioned this being his reaction at the front door of TSC, so I strategically stocked my pockets with treats so I wouldn't be the woman carrying her 50lb disobedient dog in.

I was the woman picking up her 50lb disobedient dog and shoving him into the car. He hasn't been in a car since the day we brought him home. He proceeded to whimper and cry the entire ride. Pitiful. Then I was the woman dragging her 50lb disobedient dog out of the car into the parking lot.

Fresh air and sunshine is something that Asher is used to, so the walk to the door was a breeze. A quick slip of a milkbone and he was inside before he realized what happened. He tried to backtrack for a moment before spotting the other dogs halfway down the aisle. The Great Dane in line ahead of us wanted to be Asher's best friend. He wasn't so sure about that, but made up quickly with the fat corgi and the poodle.

Let me tell you, it's not easy to fill out a form while controlling a curious dog next to a display of cow femurs. All the shoppers who walked by the parade of dogs would pat Asher on the head. I guess there's just something about his smiling face that draws people to him- it works on me. The Great Dane didn't get any pats.

I thought that the clinic was just for vaccinations, but the lovely vet's assistant walked me through everything that Asher might need from rabies vaccine to heart worm prevention. I thought I'd still have to go to my vet for that. The vet herself couldn't say enough good things about my sweet puppy. She must have coo'd 4 or 5 times about what a great breed Pyrenees are and what a sweet and good looking dog he is. Maybe she says that to every owner, but it made me feel good.

Ash didn't even flinch as he got his rabies shot, puppy booster, and kennel cough meds. As we were checking out, I heard a woman behind us whisper to her husband, "I think he's a puppy", so I turned around and smiled at her. "How old is he?" she asked. "Five months." "See, I told you he was a puppy. He's so good." Asher and his mama felt very proud.

We left the store with all his shots and a 6 month supply of flea, heartworm, and intestinal worm medication for $150. I'm certain it would have been more at the vet. I shoved my 50 lb (somewhat) disobedient dog back in the car. He took up a spot in the back window of my SUV and smiled the whole way home. So did I.

P.S. The boys lost their game, but the wonderful snacks afterward dulled the pain of defeat.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Spring is such a busy time around here! It was a beautiful morning so I went around and took some pictures of the goings on.

Scilla still hasn't freshened. Her udder is getting prettier by the day, but I'm getting so impatient. I don't have an exact day she was bred though the breeder estimated it was 11/11/12. 

My mom and I got most of the heirloom tomato and pepper seedlings repotted. I need to do the rest of them this afternoon now that they're big enough.

We also mucked out the barn and used the matted hay/manure/urine to smother the grass between the garden and the new blueberries. We plan to expand the garden a bit that way to make room for another row of tomatoes.

The potatoes are looking good. They'll be ready to hill soon.

The honeybees are loving the flowering collards and broccoli so I haven't pulled it out yet. I'll have to soon to make room for summer vegetables.

I put new T-post sprinklers up all around the garden for better coverage. It always seems that as things get taller, there are spots that don't get enough water. Hopefully, this will fix that problem.

The pecans are leafing out. One has catkins on it this year but no female flowers that I can see. One of these years, these things will bear nuts! Hubby is working on clearing out the sweetgums you see in the background. It's slow going, but we clear a bit more each year.

The fields are doing so much better after running the chicken tractors over them. I have glorious patches of clover like this all over. I wouldn't let hubby mow last week because the bees are enjoying those flowers too much.

And just for kicks, my very confused duck. The rooster is shaking his head. So am I......

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This Week on the Farm

My sister and her kids were visiting last week which left little spare time for me to write. Scilla still hasn't dropped her kids (unless, of course, she did overnight, I haven't been up to check yet).

Onyx is being a horrid devil goat to Trixie. She is seeing her opportunity to move from #3 to #2 in the herd and has taken to biting Trixie. At first, I thought she was just pulling hair out, so I started to shave Trixie so Onyx couldn't grab a mouthful. That's when I found all the places she's broken skin. So now she looks emaciated, half shaved with bald patches, sporting a handful of bite marks.

It reminds me of the story of the twin horses in Tifton that I saw on Yahoo earlier this week. I was so mad at all the do-gooders' comments. Here is this poor mare, who was not made to carry twins, who managed to carry them and successfully deliver them. I'm sure those foals (like Trixie's kids) were putting so much pressure on her stomach and organs, that there was no way she could eat enough to support them so she had to burn body mass. But all these commenters wanted Big Brother to step in and take those horses from that owner. I couldn't help but think that they would demand the same about Trixie even though I managed to save her life and her health continues to improve by the day.

My niece loved the baby goats. I'm working on weaning Magnum now, which is a challenge since BOGO still needs milk for another 3 weeks or so. She was less thrilled with Asher, who is just a little big for her. He was sweet and submissive as could be, but when he would lay on his back at her feet, he'd end up scratching her with his massive paws. She preferred to stay outside the fence. Unless she could talk someone into pushing her on the rope swing!

I can't remember if I posted about it earlier, but a friend and I made a deal that she would raise 50 meat birds if I would butcher them and then we'd split the finished product.

Here's the finished product. I am always so impressed at how nice these turn out. I got up Saturday morning dreading butchering them. Jeff was working out of town and 50 birds is just so many! But then my friends started arriving and brought with them a whole slew of teenage boys.  These were the nicest young men! It is so refreshing to see that there are still some out there. Good job, Moms and Dads- y'all know who you are.

We ended up having a perfect day. Everyone had a great time and we got these birds done in 5 hours! I am so blessed.

The young ladies were also very helpful in catching birds and bringing the decapitated fowl to me to scald and pluck. Pioneer women in the making! You go girls!

My son was even ready to don some gloves and see how eviscerating is done. He gave up when he realized that you really do have to take the gloves off to do it. At least we're making progress.

It seems we have gone directly from winter to summer. The forecast is saying 87 for today and I need to get the vegetable garden in (somewhere in between school, cleaning this house, daily farm chores, and baseball practice).

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Year Spring Wouldn't Spring

I write to you this morning in my flannel PJ's with the heat blowing. We had a high of 49 with drizzle yesterday. You know how I love going out in the cold muck to take care of the critters....

I locked Scilla in the kidding stall for the first time last night. She has been losing small amounts of mucus for a couple of days and her udder keeps getting bigger. Her ligaments were still firm when I checked last night, but I didn't want to take any chances of the dog or other goats harrassing her if she decided to drop those kids over night. I still haven't been out to check today (see first paragraph to understand why).

My sister and her kids are visiting this week. Some spring break they're getting. At least Tuesday was beautiful and we managed to snap a couple good pictures.

Magnum and Bogo are getting bigger by the day. If you know anyone who is interested in an unregistered Lamancha with great bloodlines let me know. Bogo needs to be sold as soon as we have other kids.

A dog's life.

A livestock guardian dog's life.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Pick Two

Happy Day After Easter

Last week, my dear friends gave me this home crafted cross to remember my sweet stillborn doelings. If you would like one, I'm sure he'd be willing to make more.

Kat has me so confused. She is getting bigger by the day! She looks like my does who are 4 months pregnant.


I tried to draw blood for a BioTracking and failed miserably. The only thing that lost any blood was my finger. I really need to know if she's pregnant so I know whether to dry her up or not. She miscarried 10/31. I gave her some time off and bred her 12/29, 12/19, and 2/10. Then she appeared to have a very light heat on 3/5 which I attributed to the end of the breeding season.

If she is pregnant, I'd have no idea which of those times was successful. She looks bigger than 2 months along, but does will not allow themselves to be bred again if they're pregnant. Buddy didn't have to try very hard to convince her, if you know what I mean.

I think another friend has convinced her neighbor who works at a vet's office to come by on Saturday to draw blood and bring an ultrasound machine. It would sure ease some of the pain of losing the doelings if Kat is bred!

Trixie is improving by the day. Since she needs the calories to get healthy again, I've been leaving free choice alfalfa and alfalfa pellets for all the girls. Kat has gone from a quart of milk a day to one cup shy of a half gallon and is increasing by the day. I'm curious to see what I get this morning. I should do a cost analysis to see if the extra milk is worth the price of all this alfalfa!

Easter Sunday church was great. We had services at the amphitheater on the river. The weather called for rain all week, but God came through with sunny and 75.

We had our third annual helicopter Easter Egg drop. A great time was had by all! Then in-laws brought lunch over. Beef tenderloin, heaps of vegetables, and my MIL's homemade pound cake. Yum!

My sister, niece, and nephew were supposed to come for the week. We set up a crib for my nephew last night before we heard that she spent her Easter evening at an acute care clinic. Her son has the flu. She took him for a well child visit on Wednesday and he ends up sick- gotta love the pediatrician's office. We are all so disappointed.

Part of me wants to tell her to come on down, but honestly, I don't see how I would keep this place running with the flu, I don't want sick kids, Hubby can't afford to be sick, and my dad just had brain surgery a month and a half ago. He certainly can't be exposed.

I guess we will just settle in for a week of normal. Which sounds pretty nice too.