This past week there have been no babies born. Luna is once again drawing this drama out. Is she pregnant? Is she not? Layla swears she can feel a hoof. Yet, today is her due date and well, she doesn’t look that close. Oh the drama of Luna. I will forgive her as long as she gives birth and maybe to some sweet baby goats, possibly more than one to make up for this drama.
The chickens are having a blast I think. They have been cranking out the eggs. We have gotten thirty-eight in this past week. Big difference from what we have been getting. We have also had the chickens get out on us twice. The coop that they were in has a faulty door. In the freezing windy weather, it opened. As we look out to sweet chickens walking all over the place. We all ran outside to catch them. Of course it was Fabio’s bunch. They are all wily. I think if I lived with Fabio I would be wily too. Anyway, the five of us(the first time it happened Jack was home), went out to wrangle chickens. Jack had the net and I bet with the net he could catch those things yet. Dr. Seus for you this morning. The girls and I went about herding them towards Jack. It worked with all but one. The wiliest of them all. She went down to the draw to hang with the pigs. We did find her. She came back up for food once she forgot about the bad people with the net. We didn’t learn though. We put them right back into the coop with the faulty door. A few days later it blew open again. We went out once again. This time Layla with the net. I am not sure if she is just so tiny the birds don’t pay attention to her or what. She is good with that net though. It was Gwendy’s job to keep Esme out of it. Esme thought that chickens being out was a lot of fun also. I decided that this wasn’t something I wanted to be doing so many times a week and we put them in a new coop. Now all of our chickens are in two coops. We are hoping that we can get something built that will fit them all. It has been a lot of talk but we have decided no more chickens. If they breed and hatch them, that is one thing, but we are not getting anymore chicks. They are, besides the pigs, the only animals that eat grain on the farm now. Their food expense coupled with loosing half of them to a mink has made each egg worth about $10. Maybe more. I am guessing here. It is frustrating but I do like having fresh eggs. So we will be keeping a small flock at least.
The goats, sheep and cows have been doing well in their new area. We have had some excitement there as well though. The battery that runs the fence has been going all funky. Some days it was working, and some days it didn’t. This past weekend it just went out completely. No amount of charging would bring the battery back alive. We hoped that the animals wouldn’t notice. For the most part they didn’t. Fiona slipped out a few times. However one of the shetlands decided that she was just going to go out and eat some grass on the other side every so often. She always went right back in and no one followed her. Since there wasn’t much we could do about it we just let it go.
We also had a coyote close call. A couple of nights ago the puppies were going nuts all night. It seemed like they were barking all night long. It was driving Jack and I crazy. Well, at about 3:45 we heard, “bark bark bark!!” then “yip!yip! yip! Ooooo!” The puppies were talking to the coyotes and they were close. In fact the coyotes sounded closer than the dogs. I was hoping that they were telling the coyotes that this farm and all livestock were off limits but Jack wanted to make sure. After a very stressful time of trying to find flashlights, thank you Gwendy and your habit of hiding all flashlights or putting them in “special” places. A flashlight was found though after waking up all three children and having them look also. Jack went out there and yelled and screamed. He didn’t see the coyotes but went around and checked everyone. It is definitely not something I want to happen again. Yet now is the time that coyotes are all over the place. Our fence needs to be able to handle them. Yesterday Jack brought the battery home from the auto place. They had charged it the best they could. The battery is back on now. That makes me feel a little bit better. I am not sure I am going to feel completely better though until our fence is hooked up to the electricity. That reminds me. I didn’t post that last week. It is a kind of sad moment here on the farm. I can no longer say that we are an off-grid farm. Our house is still off grid, but our farm is not. Well, currently it is because nothing is hooked up yet. Soon though our fence will on grid. We will probably have a freezer up in a barn at one day for meat sales and a refrigerator for egg sales. That is still in the future, but we really need a reliable fence. One day that reliable fence will be hedge. One day. And one day we will have guardian dogs that know how to guard. One day…
Another big thing has been milking. I have only milked the three goats three times this week. Megan I milk twice a day every day since Joy died. She really isn’t much of a producer but she is getting so that she stands nicely. I can hope that she starts to do better. The other two have not been standing so well, they are giving a decent amount of milk. When I say decent I mean, I am getting about a cup from each. It isn’t much but I am hoping that it goes up as we continue to milk. It is insanely sad though to separate the babies from the mommies. Danielle is the worse. She cries for Dancer all night and Dancer cries for her. They are like best friends now. I am hopeful that it gets easier for them both and for me.
The girls and I had a rough morning yesterday also. I was out milking the goats while the girls were doing chores. Natalie came up and told me that Spot, the jersey calf, was down. At first I wasn’t so worried. Sometimes cows lay down. Sometimes, they don’t want to get up and nothing that you do is going to get them up. I also have tried to stop freaking out at every little thing the girls tell me because sometimes it really is just that an animal is sleeping. So I told her to get some grain and see if he would get up for that. I went in and strained the milk and then went out to check on Spot. Natalie did not tell me that Spot was so bloated that he looked like he was just middle. He was insanely bloated. I tried to bring back all I knew about bloat. Really, my only experience with it was with a week old bottle baby goat. I didn’t think that sticking a needle in the stomach was going to help much on this big guy. However I had read about baking soda. So I sent a handful down with the girls while I did more searching and frantically called Jack. I knew bloat was serious, they can die pretty quick. Given how bloated he was and not knowing how long he had been like that I wanted him better NOW! I found that vegetable oil can make a difference. However, we do not have any vegetable oil. We have olive oil, did that still count? I took a shot glass and filled it with olive oil and ran down the hill. Now, it is quite a hill we are going up and down trying help Spot. Not only is it quite a hill but it was covered in snow. Towards the bottom there are some big drifts. It was not an easy thing. Anyway, I got down there, the girls said that he burped once and chewed some cud but he still wasn’t getting up. So with Layla holding back the goats and curious cows and Natalie holding Spot’s mouth open I poured oil down his throat. It was fun. He seemed to like it. He burped a few more times. Then Natalie and I tried our best to get him off his side. There was no way we could lift him, we are talking about two hundred pound cow. We got him flipped to his side and he tried to get up but I guess he was feeling a little weak. He burped some more. We watched him for awhile and he seemed to be doing better. So we checked on him a few more times while doing chores and by the afternoon he was walking around like nothing happened. By the way, Jack was busy and never answered his phone. We did what we could with what we knew. It kind of sucked. I usually defer to Jack when it comes to pigs and cows. I couldn’t get a hold of him to ask him what to do. It was scary. So it looks like I am going to expand my knowledge since I know I cannot get a hold of Jack sometimes. You learn a little every day. I’m just glad that Spot made it.
Jack and the girls seeded out more things. It is exciting for me too. I have been watering them every day. Little sprouts are starting to show. I looking forward to eating from our garden again. We didn’t can as many tomatoes as we would have liked but we have still been making them last. We haven’t bought any tomatoes this year so far. There is just something that screams summer to me like a fresh garden tomato. I am super excited about some of the things we are growing, brussel sprouts, bottle gourds, okra and tomatillos!! I also picked out a bunch of new peppers. I have had quite a pepper thing going on lately. It is exciting. I can’t wait to see how our garden grows this year.
Gwendy had her party this week too. She had a lot of fun, it is so hard to believe how big she is getting. There wasn’t a goat dance party this time. She just had a doll tea party. It was a lot of fun. Then, since it snowed the day before, on her actual birthday she got to go sledding. She also got to pick all the meals for her birthday, granola(made by her) for breakfast, witch soup(cilanto potato soup) for lunch and macaroni, peas and cheese for dinner. Today we are actually in town. Our favorite restaurant ever is closing. We are friends with the owner. He is going to make chili for Gwendy today for her birthday. She is excited. We are really sad that they are closing.
On a last note, I am hopeful that you can find it in your hearts to help a friend of mine. I have talked about Joan on here a lot. She, and the rest of Shagbark, have helped us so much. If it weren’t for them we would not have made it into our house on time. Joan has helped me many times when Jack has been at work, when I need an extra hand. She is super understanding when our puppies get over on her land. I could really go on and on about how much Joan means to me and to my family. I really want her to succeed. She had a job at the restaurant that is closing down. That was how she was paying for her land and pretty much everything else. She decided to run an indiegogo campaign to help her out. Really, even if all you have is $6 please consider donating. It would make a big difference to her, to the land and to us. So please help her out. http://igg.me/p/96792