Friday, May 31, 2013

The Peek-a-Boo Guard Llama

When we brought home the insta-dairy herd, all residency in the barn was suddenly claimed by goats, and there was no room in the inn for our llamas. We had the hardest time picking just one llama to keep as a guard for our mini caprines since everyone had their favorite llama. Somehow, someway, it was decided that Zorro would be our watchman.

So we're down to one camelid. And he quickly adopted all the little goats has his herd. Ne'er to part. If you so much as walk one of the goats out of the pasture or barn, Zorro is right there in almost a panic at the gate whining for them to come back. (Yeah, this guy doesn't hum like your stereotypical llama... he's either silently standing aloof or whining for his goat buddies to come back) The funny thing is, the does are petrified of their towering sentinel.  I don't blame them, actually; those tiny goats only come up to about his knee.

Now he has also decided that it is his duty to keep an eye on the baby goats. Dare I say, nothing will happen to them while under his watchful eye. When we had Mazy and her twins in a separate area, Zorro would come into the barn, check on everybody else (all while causing a tizzy and stampede), he would sneak over to the window with the newborns to peer in, then he would just stand there watching them. I don't know if he was curious about the whole ordeal, if he was shocked by their tiny size, or if he couldn't wrap his mind around the fact that there were two trouble makers. (Llamas usually only have one cria per pregnancy; goats on the other hand... well, you hope that it's only two.) When Dreamer had her kids, we also kept them in a different spot so they could have some peace and quiet from the rest of the herd. Again, the llama would do his rounds in the barn, and then he'd stand in the window and just watch them.

I don't know how he'll do as a guard llama in the long run - he's an intact male. But so far, it's been fun to watch him try to get assimilated into a goat herd. ;)

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Half-Hearted Egg Laying Attempt

You usually get them when the hens are just starting to lay. After they start to figure out what they're doing, the quantity of teeny eggs dwindles to the rare oddity. So whenever one is found in the nesting boxes, it's a treat. Today, the chicken decided to only do half the job since it's Mother's Day. ;)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Chicks Baby Quilt

It's done! I've been working on it ever since Emily and Isaac announced that they were going to have a baby. The little guy is a month old now... Better late than never! (In my defense, I've had baby showers, bridal showers, weddings, adrenal fatigue, baby goats, meat chickens... The creative energy just isn't as abundant as I would like)

I got the last of the binding sewn on last night; now it's ready to go! :D
A blend of vintage feed-sack and modern boldness. 
It features 'shoo-fly' quilt blocks off set by hand-embroidered squares. I only had to buy coordinating fat quarters (courtesy the local Joann's store) to make the shoo-fly since I had all the white muslin already in my stash. The chicken designs are from 'Rise & Shine' by Yesterday's Charm. The border fabric is also from Joann's. Just don't look too closely to the actual quilting of it though... getting the quilt top, batting, and backing to all line up perfectly is not my forte... As for the binding, well... I cheat. I buy wide bias tape (single fold) to do the last step. I use the machine to sew one side down and then hand sew the other to made a clean finish.  

I must admit... I'll miss working on it. Maybe I'll have to make one for myself and stick it in my collection.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Star Wars Day to us!

We've been literally sitting on the edge of our seats for a week waiting for Dreamer to have her kids.  

Last Saturday, the plan was to go to a wedding, but that morning, Dreamer's tail ligaments were noticeably looser. After checking on her every hour or so, we decided to go to the wedding anyway. She wasn't progressing beyond the initial signs. How would we feel if we stayed home and she didn't kid? We'd miss the wedding and look like... well... anti-social wanna-be farmers. (Yeah, we're total beginners at this whole dairy goat thing - we haven't the slightest idea of what we're doing)

And all week she didn't get any closer to telling us that 'it's time.' Even though we checked on her about four times a day. Is this what it feels like to be a first time parent?

Why all the fuss about this goat? Well, long story short... last year, she kidded early, one of the twins was a still born, the other kid died a few days later, etc, etc, etc... You can read more of the story here.
Needless to say, we've been on pins and needles and praying that everything would be okay. 

Well, fast forward to yesterday morning. She didn't want her morning grain. Or apples. And she snubbed the ever-coveted raisins. Since when did the bubble goat not eat raisins? Oh my word. It might be the day! 

We checked on her at lunch. Nothing new.
Are we really being over anxious with this whole thing?

I checked on her again later that afternoon. Oh, what's that? She's alone. Softly bleating (she's usually a very quiet goat). In the corner. In a... nest? I felt her ligaments - almost non-existent. And her udder had bagged up considerably. Hopefully she would kid before midnight. ;)
So we got her all set up in the kidding stall.

If you want to teach an 8 year-old patience, have him watch a goat in labor. He was about to throw in the towel and have his computer turn when mama goat started having serious contractions. He was glued to the straw bale from that point on. With plenty of questions, of course.

Before the sun set, we had twins. A scrawny little boy and a hearty little girl. Both a gorgeous black with some white and brown spots.

A round of 'aww...'s later, it was time to get the chores done. Life marches on. 
But the little boy was having a hard time figuring out the whole nursing thing, so Mom and I stayed out in the barn 'til after 10:30 pm trying to get some food in him. 

I would have posted this all last night, but I was whooped and didn't have any good pictures of the kids.

As for names, Luke and Leia Skywalker is the obvious choice considering the day that they were born. But Mom's not that into Star Wars. ;)

Little Mister under the heat lamp

Me and the little miss. 
PS - do you know how hard it is to get amniotic fluid and colostrum smell out of your hands?