Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Houston, we have goats

I re-read my last post. It is pitifully filled with grammatical errors and plenty of 'what was I thinking?' I apologize for giving you a headache trying to decipher what my brain sorta spaghetti-plopped. In my defense - I was pretty much falling asleep at the computer. 'Nuff said.

Now, to finish what I left you hanging with.

We were about as prepared as we were going to be with what little time we had. Barn stalls sorta cleaned, no milk stanchion, a sad lack of goat chow and treats, milk machine-like contraption still in the box that it was delivered in and the manual still sealed in the plastic sleeve, and enough of a general idea of what we were getting into to be overwhelmed. What are we getting ourselves into?

Well, Saturday came, and we drove, and drove, and drove. It's at least an hour-long drive to get to the farm where the goats were. The back two benches of our 12-passenger van were taken out to accommodate three big dog carriers (Dad got a 'Fur'rarri. It's quite the plush carrier, if I do say so myself), and we loaded up whatever else we thought we might need (including collars for the little escape artists). Dad, Mom, Oma, and I all headed out. We stopped at probably one of the coolest, most awesome farm and feed stores ever. It's an old, restored mill, complete with original scale, gigantic wooden beams, and hardwood floors. If I join the work force, I want to work there. After we loaded up the goat fare, we were off once again.

As we walked up to the goat shepherdess' dwelling, we weren't greeted by the pack of poodles and mini dogs like we were last time. The farm was oddly quiet compared to previous trip; something didn't feel right. I found out soon enough: the pregnant doe that we had purchased delivered twins that very morning; one was a stillborn and the other was barely clinging on to life. It's one of the risks that you take with a first-time freshener; the caretaker was having a hard time with the whole thing. I was under the impression that she had never had to deal with this sort of loss before; she adores all of her goats. I'm kicking myself for not offering to bury the body for her; I didn't think of that until after we got home... I guess that goat farmer J--- had called my parents about the ordeal before we left. Why do I always seem to miss the important calls? :shrugs: Anyway... J--- didn't want to have the mamma or newborn around anymore; she was emotionally spent. What are we to do with a preemie?! We were no where near set up for this sort of thing. The surviving kid had to be pulled since he was stuck; the little guy was cold and had slim chances of survival. Shepherdess J--- kept saying that something just isn't right with him, he's just not vibrant like the other kids, doesn't seem to have the gusto that most goats have... Oy vey. Diving in head first, we are.

Eight goats wrangled up and loaded up into their respective carriers, and paper work all filled out, we mounted up for the ride home. I held a spritely, sassy little doeling on my lap, and mom held the newborn. It was certainly a trip that will forever be etched in all of our memories. ;) Imagine - a whole herd of mini goats who had never been away from their farm were now cruising down the highway at 55mph with complete strangers. I think I'd vocalize my opinion in the matter too, if I were in that situation.

At home, the mini-man, Eli, kept asking when we were coming home with the goats. He's been waiting for this day to come. When he woke up that morning, he told Mom, "Guess what today is! We get our goats!"

We pulled up the driveway after 6:30, but the day was far from over. We still needed to get the goats moved into their new home since we had nothing set up. The barn stalls had no bedding in them, no water buckets, no nothing... just what the llamas had been using. And all that was at a level where llamas could reach it, not mini caprines, and it was all covered in spit wads. We certainly are prepared, aren't we? Well, all that to say, we didn't come in until after 10. We were thoroughly whooped. But Mr. Preemie needed round-the-clock care. Mom was up all night with the goober.

Sunday morning came way too fast. We had goats to milk, potluck lunch to put together, church stuff to pull together and set up, worship music to assemble, etc, etc, etc... And everyone just wanted to sleep. Sorry, no sleep for you! Responsibility calls. I don't think that I've ever felt so piece-mealed, yet people kept commenting on how good I looked. I guess when I'm frazzled and brain-drained... :P Some of the young men also kept asking if there was anything that they could help us with; I couldn't even keep up with a conversation. Well, we stayed awake during church and miraculously drove home in one piece.

Meanwhile, while most of the crew was at church, Mom was at home with a tired 7 year-old, a tummy-troubled couch dweller, a preemie, and the phone. Yes, the phone. People wanted to come see the newest members of the farm family. Why not, says I. Come on over, she said! Well, one of the visitors was a friend who has been in the dwarf Nigerian business for about a year now. She was able to help give the goats a more thorough looking over. We got a little more than we bargained for. Our buck has turned into a rescue case, poor little dude... He was at the bottom of the pecking order.

The rest of Sunday was spent nursing preemie, continued work getting things set up for the goats, goat supplements and medicines, and naps (for the humans, the goats were wide awake). We still didn't come in until after 9:30. Keep in mind - we still have boat loads of high-maintenance chickens all over the place that require attention too.

The only promise of a better night's sleep would mean that Mister Tiny would have to stay out with his mom. But it's too cold to leave him out there yet... We were able to get the two of them together though. She had been searching and calling for him. We brought him out, she recognized him, and immediately started excitedly licking him - it was certainly a reunion that almost brought tears, it was that touching. After he got a bath, it was time to bring him in under the heat lamp again since he was getting cold.

Monday - Memorial Day - a day of continued barn work. Oma came over for the afternoon, we had bbq steak... we were starting to settle into a 'routine' if you can call it that. The initial buzz and excitement started to wear off. We were even able to get the little guy to be with his mom all afternoon - in a special pen that we made specially for the two of them and under a heat lamp of course. Things started looking up even if the little squeaker had to sleep in the house again that night.

It's Tuesday now. It's one thing to be greeted by a gloriously sunny day as you wake up feeling more refreshed than you have in the last several days. It's an entirely different matter when you go down to find that the preemie died during the night. I still have to go out and bury the poor little guy since my brother is gone all day. We did everything we could. It was hard to go out and milk his mamma, and she was standing there asking us where he was. Our relief was the spunky little doeling that gave us plenty of comic relief.

I'll write more after I get some pictures of the herd.
Until next time
~*SG*~

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Insta-herd

Well... We did it. 
We brought home 9, read it, 9 goats today. 
100 miles round trip. 
3 large dog kennels filled with caprines.
Windows open to let out the manure smell.
One buck - Oliver,
A wether,
3 doelings,
2 milkers - Jill and Mazie,
1 brand-spankin' new mamma who hasn't figured things out, 
and one tiny, struggling newborn who is less than 12 hours old.
Mom held the newborn; I'm held one of the doelings.
Everyone else is in the carriers.
We are crazy.
We are diving in head first.
Here it goes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Entropy and Chain Reactions

Picture from here
When you overcrowd poultry or they see a molecule of blood, they go cannibalistic on each other. Not joking. There is a dark side of chickens that isn't always talked about in those nice little backyard bird books. So, there I am, building a makeshift brooder divider out of fruit packaging from last summer's bounty and masking tape, and Mom is smearing what we lovingly call 'bum balm' on a poor victim. The grand opening of this year's chick ER was short lived though - we found another patient. Leave it to all those little boys... they just beat each other up. Off to the ER with you! After your slathering of the rooster booster, of course.

After we get the birds all settled in, Mom headed out to run some errands, and I was cleaning myself up from  chicken adventures (when you have a lot running around, you run into weird things apparently...), Eli, the mini-man, bursts in through the door, "Sarah, the gate latch is broken!" Say, what? The shoes go back on, and we headed back out to inspect the damage. We almost had a llama stampede. They see an opportunity to make a run for it, and they seize it. Eli held the gate shut as I headed to the barn to get some twine to tie the gate shut (it's amazing all the things you can do with that stuff). I opened the back barn door, snuck past mamma goose, and found some twine, just as Eli shouts, "LLAMAS!" Oy vey. I didn't close the back door. In comes llama stampede. And the front doors were wide open. That could have been lovely... While trying to get the llamas shooed back to where they belong, one of them decided to walk through the goose fence, and she promptly tripped over it and bent it. Being the stoic llama that she is, she nonchalantly got up and proceeded to join the rest of the herd in the stall, uninjured despite her fall.

I did another run through and checked on everybody, just in case - they all seemed good for now.

All that said - I should probably go inspect everyone, again. ;)
Until next time!
~*SG*~

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Eww...

While collecting eggs this evening, this girl was sitting in the nest - and her eye looked funny. So, I brought the hen in, handed her to my sister, and started looking up chicken eye problems. I started with swollen and/or blocked tear duct. Rabbit-trailed on eye worm, then took a good look at the bulbous growth that was sitting on the hen's face. Could it really be eye worm? But you don't get eye worms unless you have cockroaches. I haven't seen any roaches at all. Mice? Yes, but no roaches. I pulled out the gloves from the first aid kit just in case; this could get really gross really fast. Emotionally bracing myself for the disgusting, I started getting a closer look at the thing, whatever it is. It didn't seem to cause her any pain, even when I was poking it. With no other observations to be made, I let the girl back outside. Besides the swollen eye, the hen seems to be just fine! Just wish I could figure out what it is... 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Behind the scenes, bloopers and outtakes

Being in a wedding entails many things. New dress, new shoes, fancy hair, etc... but one of the never mentioned consequences of agreeing to be in a wedding is all the, umm... flattering pictures that people will get of you. It also helps when the videographer knows you and seems to stalk you with his camera. Just saying... ;) 

There were at least four cameras clicking away during the photo session. Which one to look at. Hmm...

Times be a-changin'

The bridesmaids were not the only ones to be trouble makers.

Wait, did I miss some lint on his suit?

Brothers... What can I say?

It would've been priceless if in focus. :P

There must have been something on the ground or we were looking at our boots.

Don't worry! Only a lot more pictures to go!

My bubbles. They be gone.


You want us to go where

Leap frog

Say what?


The guardians of the candle lighters. Don't mess with them.

And for the piece-de-resistance!



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love is Springing - a wedding story

April 28th, 2012
One thing after another - it was all orchestrated by God. That is the only way to describe it. It was all so providential; that's what made it so beautiful. Right down to the shoes, dresses, flowers, decorations. Everything. It was amazing to see how everyone was able to come together, work together, and make it one of the most special days for Isaac and Emily. Despite having more than 400 people present to witness their union, their wedding had a small, intimate feel to it. The couple's personality shone through in all the details. 
















I told you we were trouble. :P

The groom's brother/best man looked like a secret service agent, "No one will even think of approaching this vehicle."

All photo credit goes to Christi Davis Photography

Gorgeous

Blue skies. 
Fluffy clouds. 
Fields of crimson clover. 
Lush green grasses. 
Orange poppies.
Flowering trees.
Mountain views.
Winding back roads.
Rocking the bling-y sunglasses.
Shorts and flip flops.
Country music blaring and singing along. 
Windows rolled down. 
Warm sunshine.
And a sun halo. 

It's a good day.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Ocho huevos

She's sitting on a grand total of eight eggs. In the middle of the barn. Well, not really the middle, but they think that they own the place. With two grouchy, territorial geese diligently guarding the filled nest, doing anything in the barn has become a 007 adventure. We sneak around, close doors, lock gates, and hide behind things, all to avoid them. Should you get caught, oh my, I pity the poor soul who gets stuck in that situation. The garden hoe is not a suitable weapon of choice because it snags onto things that you didn't want snagged (think: stuck under the gate while the goose is charging you).

Not even the chickens are exempt from the harassment. Kevin decided that the goose nest was a perfect place to lay her eggs. Chickens are not always the brightest bulbs. Being very persistent, Kevin continued to try to lay in the nest despite loud objections from mamma goose. Trying to hold back two vicious geese and push the chicken away, my mom had her hands full (with goose necks that is). The back barn door was open to allow the breeze to blow through, and the dividing gate was ajar - and in comes the llama herd. Not only was she protecting the chicken, mom had to keep the llamas contained as well, all while her hands were full of noisy neck handles. "SARAH!" Uh-oh... What'd she get herself into this time? Once we quarantined the camelids, we had to find a new place for silly Kevin to lay her eggs. Being our special little barn chicken, the pile of straw in the corner (out of sight from the geese) was perfect. As soon as we put her in her new nest, she laid her egg right away and proceeded with whatever it is chickens do.

So... We are expecting the children of evil to joining us soon. Do you want some goslings? They're pretty gosh darn cute when they're little...

Friday, May 11, 2012

Summer Adventures 2012

Well, we're going to embark on a new adventure. Dwarf Nigerians will be joining the farm family this year. Their sole purpose of life: give us milk. Yep, the caprines will be expected to be useful around here and haul their own weight so to speak (even though they're about 60ish pounds when fully grown.) 

The discussion the last several weeks has really focused on, "Should we bring the cow home?" Miss Mattie is such a wonderful producer, and her milk is so creamy! It's going to be hard to let that go, but if there's little goats frolicking around, I think we'll all get over that. Some members of the clan were adamant that they didn't want a cow around. Understandable. You know that there are dog people and cat people? There also seems to be goat people and cow people. Apparently we're goat people. I can't wait to bring these little guys home!  

Jake. A handsome little stud muffin. His momma has wonderful udder formation, so hopefully his kids will too. 

My sister and Miss Luna. Luna's going to move here about July when she's ready to leave her momma.

Mister Eli out in our friend's goat pasture. Soon, very soon, our fields will look like this too! :D

Attack of the mini goat! Just kidding. Ooh, bad pun. Pun was not intended there. :P

And one of our friend's little girl, Vanessa. She's such a little farm girl. I love the tie-die with the plaid. Totally stylin' there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A day in the life...

I think that I sufficiently cleaned out my eyes today. Between allergies, a smoking oven, and onion chopping, my tear ducts got quite the workout. 

Picture stolen from here