I think my garden this year ended up as a success!!!
I have not had a successful garden since we moved 5 years ago. This year with the covid-19 shut down, we got going on gardening extra early and were able to get all our raised beds planted. We also dug another couple beds through the gravel and sand, digging out the rocks and adding dirt and compost in its stead, then lining the beds with cedar to edge. The first one we finished and filled with tomato plants that have thrived in that location. The second one we only half finished before things dried out to the point it was excessively difficult to dig, so we decided to wait and finish it this fall.
But the big gardening news this year was that we got a greenhouse! Even at our prior house I was chronically on a hunt for a good greenhouse. We tried a couple of the $99-$300 models, but were never more than moderately successful. The best I ever did was the year I started a bunch of plants under grow lights and then after they got going, put a plank in front of our living room window and moved them to it. They were a little gangly, but that year we had tons of plant starts for the garden.
My co-workers know me pretty well and know I am chronically on the look out for homesteading stuff. One day at work, one of my coworkers said to me after coming back from her lunch break, “did you see that greenhouse on craigslist?” I had been busily working, so I had not. On my lunch break a little later, I looked up green houses. A few hours prior, someone had listed a sturdy-built glass and cedar greenhouse for only $500. What they had was actually a sunroom, with the structure leaning up against the back wall of their house. I texted Josh with no expectation of him being interested. It was so nice but I knew it would be a big chore getting it moved.
Feel free to see if you can use the above document to improve your breeding decisions, and let me know how it works for you!
This is our second year doing 4 H and our second year showing animals at the county fair. Last year fair was such a good experience for all of us. Emma was showing a couple goats, and Cecilee and Wyatt tagged along. They all had so much fun! Emma took third in showmanship and had a blast doing so, and Chrysanthemum shone in the mix breed class as a dry yearling doe (the Linn county show bases off of ADGA breed standards, and does not recognize mini’s).
Everyone had so much fun, in fact, that this year we ramped it up a whole bunch! This was Cecilee’s first year able to show a large animal as a Junior showman, and so she showed Chrissy. Emma showed Penelope, Maple, and her chicken Grace, and Wyatt branched out and spent March-July raising market goats. He showed and then sold one of his goats at market. All of these activities meant that we had 9 different shows in a 3 day stretch, and then auction on Saturday. It meant that I had to take my a little bit shaky at times organization skills to a whole new level, with multiple different outfits and supplies needed at different times, and different animals needing buffed and puffed for show. It meant getting up early to do all the farm chores and be at the fairgrounds by 7:30 each morning, staying late to do the evening milking, and then go home and do all the farm chores at home. It meant packing lunches early in the morning before waking protesting sleep deprived children, and making sure outfits were ironed, a clean milk bucket, and the hay and feed for the next day were in the car the night before. It meant watering the garden late or early.
I literally wore out a pair of shoes.
With 2 kids old enough to go places relatively independently, and one that is pretty good with a buddy system, my kids were spread all around. With animals in both the small and large animal barn, the fun stuff in a whole other section of the fairgrounds, and parking a half a mile away (sometimes there were shuttles), I spent a high percentage of all of my days walking, checking on people, animals, or hauling stuff. 4 H has this idea that the kids will do all the work. They really do a lot of it. But as proficient as my kids are doing things, they still need direct supervision frequently, and I had to check to make sure they were doing all the things. Texting and calling has made the modern 4 H mom’s life a whole heck of a lot easier, but I still frequently had to track them down in person. Whew! I am tired all over again thinking about it!!
Ultimately, though, everyone had a blast and fair was successful again this year.
While we weren’t there for awards, I am still so proud of both my girls who both got reserve champion in showmanship (second place), Emma for Intermediate showmanship and Cecilee for Junior showmanship! This is no mean feat considering this is Emma’s second year and Cecilee’s first year showing diary goats. Chrysanthemum won Champion Mixed-breed doe and second best doe in the whole show out of all the breeds. Penelope took first in her age group and breed. All my girls performed so well!
Wyatt got 5th place in showmanship out of about 30 kids, and one of his wethers took first place in his weight class.
So what were our take aways?
Emma brought a chicken to fair. We learned we need to separate our fair chickens from the roosters at least 3 months in advance. Poor Grace was missing the vast majority of her feathers on her back. Even though we fluffed and buffed her the day before, gave her a bath and toenail trim, and tried to make her look pretty, she was still a sad looking chicken. That being said, Emma was SO PROUD of her! She was so sweet showing off her chicken, getting her out for fair visitors to pet and taking great care of her. Emma LOVES her chickens and it definitely showed.
In the dairy goat department, Emma had 2 dairy goats and Cecilee had 1. Last year all our goats were dry. This year we showed 3 in milk. This was a huge difference! Not only were the prepping and showing requirements stricter, we had to be at the fairgrounds for 13 hours to catch morning and evening milking. This made for long days, but we learned a ton about showing and setting up goats, and I could see an improvement in my girls from the beginning to the end of fair in their knowledge and skills.
I forced Wyatt to do meat goats this year. Yes, I am that mom. His project started in March and while I did a lot of the daily feeding, due to their school schedule, I still made him clean the stalls, add the spools and hay bales for them to have something to run and jump on, and build a fence to give them their own separate area. He also had to make sure we changed their feed according to the information he was given depending on their age and weight, and he had to exercise them. Wyatt procrastinated writing his buyer letters and we only got just a couple out at the very last minute. This did not give him good odds of selling his goat for a very high price. Nevertheless, by the day of auction we had made up a flyer for him to hand out to any prospective buyers that came by, and he did a good job of introducing himself, his goats and politely engaging the buyers to ask for support. Because his wether did so well in its weight class, Wyatt was still able to sell him for a good price. I am not sure if that reinforces bad behavior, but I was thankful to the buyers out there supporting kids! It ended up being a very positive experience for him and he is wanting to do it again next year.
Lastly we learned that we need to be stricter about biosecurity within our group. Our 4 H group had the idea to share the herdsmanship duties amongst the kids, which in theory is great. The kids signed up for 2 hour chunks where they had to come through and pick up excess poo out of pens, sweep floors, top off waters and hay, and talk to fairgoers about the goats, answer questions, etc. The practice of this, though, was that all the shovels and wheelbarrows were used on all 6 of the pens within our group. Whether because of this or some other type of contagion in the barn, by the last day all my goats got scours and after we got home they had snot pouring out of noses and a cough. Maple even had a low grade fever. Within 24 hours of being home, all my goats at home had it too. Not the way we wanted to end fair! Next year, I think we need to bring our own cleaning supplies and I need to just rotate my 3 kids through herdsmanship on our own pens.
All in all, fair was a wonderful experience again for everyone. The days were long but enriching. There is something so rewarding about seeing all your kids hard work pay off. Also, I really enjoyed them, and watching them experience new things, spread their wings, and discover who they are. But next year I am going to train like for a marathon the month before fair!
I never learn so much as when I do something myself. At long last, Josh and I are ready to shop for a puppy to add to our farm. Unlike last time we bought a dog when we took little time for preparation and just bought the first cute, male Aussie puppy we found, this time we are researching this thing to death, and because we want to buy with breeding rights we have extra requirements this time around.
I don’t regret Panda. We have learned so much because of him, and he has been a good buffer for the kids through some of our hard moves and difficult times. But he comes with a lot of baggage. Some because of his breeding, and some of our own making because we were caught off guard by the circumstances that befell us right after we got him, and his training and socialization suffered greatly as a result. I often feel like my own dog is a rescue dog. I am rescuing him from our earlier selves and circumstances.
That being said, we have spent the last year preparing for a new puppy off and on, and this time we plan to do things right. We have improved our fencing around our whole property. We have taken Panda to a trainer to evaluate what he needs before we add another canine to our farm. He is getting extra classes and attention to prepare him. We have worked out our kinks and workflows for what a new dog would require of time and energy, talked about finances, and how to make another addition to our farm pencil (short answer, don’t acquire any more goats!! Haha).
We have talked about dreams. Josh dreams of being able to train a dog to duck hunt, and I want to raise dogs that could be trained to be service animals. Are these dreams compatible in one breed? The girls dream of babies. Always more babies. I swear they are going to be midwives when they grow up! Wyatt dreams of dog poop with a quiet despair that tells me that this is going to have to be a chore that is more evenly divided among the family members. If we get another dog, he demands payment for all the poo. I think that is fair. I dream of creating a self-sustaining farm. How will adding a dog help or hinder these dreams?
Like everything in life, we are going to have to find a way to compromise on some things. My goal is to make this new venture successful for my family, and in doing so, I believe I will find success myself. We are pretty sold on English Cream Golden retrievers as a breed that will meet the whole family’s needs best (except for Emma, who wants a boxer or an Akita or a terrier or a bulldog or any other type of dog, because she is too afraid she will so fall in love with the baby Goldens and not be able to sell them when the time comes without breaking her heart).
Now before you all freak out, yes, we know that the English Cream is not currently recognized by the AKC and that due to their blockier head and body, and they don’t show well in America. Its OK. I am not planning on showing at this time. I will, however, plan to purchase breeding stock that has been shown or at least has had parents that have shown and done well in Europe, where these dogs do meet the European standard in order to make sure I am staying true to the ideal character when I breed.
Breed decided, I am making lists.
I am also asking questions of breeders.
All these lists are helping us coalesce our thoughts and plans, but nothing beats learning by doing. I am sure there are a thousand details we haven’t thought of. We are doing our best to be wise and prepared. But nothing prepares you like doing, so we are moving forward with shopping for our puppy! Once we have a puppy home we will see what other details we missed out on and hopefully learn again for next time.
When tragedy strikes, after the shock and disbelief, how do you support yourself and your family?
One of Josh’s relatives was killed by a neighbor on drugs this weekend. I was at work when I got the news. After the initial tears, I had to wash my face, go out and continue to care for the people who were coming in with lesser but equally relevant to them illnesses and injuries. I can put up a pretty brave front. Smile, act like you are interested, ask all the right questions, make jokes. But inside, my heart was racing, my palms were sweating, my throat felt tight. I could feel the little bursts of cortisol in my system as my body tried to assimilate the threat in response to my brain’s cues of danger.
This is a healthy and needed response for our bodies to have, and I am sure it saved many an ancestor of mine from being gored by a wooly mammoth. For many of us, though, our brain’s attempts to wade through the chronic stress and anxieties of the modern world cause anxiety, and our bodies react the same as if it was a wooly mammoth! This is such a hard thing to deal with! I have spent many years mentally chastising myself for these body responses. Anxiety is a funny thing. I have days when I feel great. I have other days when for no reason all day inside I have little cues of panic, little cortisol bursts and heart races, muscles tight, tunnel vision. And then of course, there are the days, days like yesterday, where there is a reason, although I don’t always have such a big event to trigger them.
Finally I am learning to be gentle with myself and listen to these cues as a message from my body that my brain needs care. So here is what I am learning to do to take care of myself when my anxiety or stress levels are high.
Yesterday, I was lucky to have already taken my Mito 2 Max, a beautifully formulated supplement by doTerra that I take every day to support my adrenals and help calm the “spikes” in adrenalin that come along with chronic anxiety and adrenal fatigue. Mito 2 Max helps me cope with day to day stress.
I also use a Hawthorn and Damiana tincture from Wish Garden every day. I feel it helps with the anxiety related palpitations and upset stomach I frequently get. I can tell a difference after missing my tincture for just a few days. Hawthorne is so supportive to the heart and cardiovascular system. In our interconnected bodies, I am not surprised it helps with this anxiety symptom too. Damiana, although it is best known for its use as an aphrodisiac, is calming to the mind and stomach.
Both these treatments are great for my day to day symptoms, but I was in a crisis. Luckily, I have found Bach Flower Rescue Remedy to be helpful as well as doTerra’s Serenity and Console essential oil blends. For general calming I use Serenity, for grief I use Console. Yesterday I didn’t have Console with me, but I had the Bach Flower Rescue Remedy and Serenity. These helped.
On my lunch break I made sure to eat something with some salt, potassium, zinc, and vitamin C as these nutrients are all supportive of the adrenals. And today, and for the next several days as we support the family through the grieving process, I will focus on making sure my family eats nourishing meals and gets extra rest if they are able.
Lastly, today I am adding to my daily practice the goal of putting away from me any thoughts of anger and bitterness towards the man who killed her, and the justice system that knew he was a threat but did nothing until it was too late. Hate hurts the hater. Bitterness eats the soul of the bitter person and defiles everyone who is around it. As much as it feels good to have thoughts of justice and revenge at the moment, long term those thoughts turn into bitterness and hate. I do not want bitterness and hate defiling my soul or hurting me long term. So as a part of my daily spiritual practice, I am praying for peace and forgiveness in my heart. I am recognizing the sadness, helplessness and fear that drives those negative thoughts, and I am trying to hold the hurt fragile humans in my heart, while accepting that life is a gift and its outcomes are unknowable to any except God.
My job is to be brave. My job is to keep going forward with an open and helping hand. My job is to care for other humans without bitterness or hate.
Coping is hard. We Americans have coined the term “adulting” to describe coping responsibly in life and through the bad stuff. I personally always think of our current rather toxic definition of “adulting” as powering through hard things without taking care of yourself. I would like to challenge myself and you, to stop adulting for a minute. Take some time for nourishing your body, breathing, grounding, literally sitting on the ground if you need to, and checking in with your soul and spirit. What do you need in this moment to support yourself?
Fear has been keeping me from thriving! Lately my heart has been so heavy with the inroads the government is making on our freedoms in the USA. The recent legislation pushing greater government control in so many different areas is overwhelming and daunting. With the sense of panic I have over these laws and so many other things in this world that are happening and are out of my control, I have stopped focusing on what I do have a sphere of influence over. With this mental milieu, it is no wonder that my brain is not thriving! I have finally realized I can pray for our nation and world, and step in when I can. Other than that, it is in God’s control, not mine.
But I truly believe I have a purpose on this earth, and I don’t think it is to stress out over things I have no control over. God teaches me things when I open my mind. A few weeks ago, I was talking to one of the ladies who has offered to mentor us as we pursue our dream of breeding some dogs. She was mentioning how she had been mentally living in a place of lack, and she remembered the parable in the Bible where the master entrusted some of his servants with various numbers of talents, and told them to keep them and give them back after he came back from a journey.
Two of the servants went out and grew their talents, but the third one buried it in the ground. The ungrateful servant was bitter and angry towards his master instead of feeling blessed to be entrusted with the talent, he wasted his opportunity to be a good steward of what he had. When time came for them to give an accounting to the master of his money, the first two servants had worked hard to double the money and brought the master more wealth. The third one who had buried his money in the ground when it was time to bring it back to the master said, “I knew you to be a hard master, reaping what you did not sow, and so I hid your money. Here it is back.”
The master was angry that the servant had not at least put the money into the bank where it could have earned interest. The master rewarded the first two faithful servants, but the one who was lazy he took away what he had and gave it to the one who had done the best. I can hear the ungrateful servant even now, echoing down through the ages: “It wasn’t my fault! If the master had been a little more clear about what he wanted…If he had told me that he wasn’t going to judge my efforts…If I had gotten 5 talents like the other guy instead of just the one…It was too hard…” Matthew 25:14–30
I have been given an abundance of talents. What have I been doing with them?
Yesterday, I was talking to my doTerra upline. She said,
“YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO GIVE, THAT SOMEONE ELSE HAS BEEN PRAYING FERVENTLY FOR!”
What a paradigm shifting sentence! Maybe that gift is natural healing. Maybe it is being willing to be present and listen even when I am busy and stressed. Maybe it is giving someone hope.
What good can I do in this world? What do I have to give that can fill up someone else’s lack?
I am a teacher.
I am a healer.
I am a caregiver.
Please take the time to comment below. What is your talent? How are you being led to use it? What barriers do you have? How do you need supported to be successful? I would love to hear of your successes and failures as we all grow together!
Spoiler alert, it's a boy!!!
Penelope went into labor Sunday Apr 25th. We could tell it was her time because her udder filled up and got tight and she started being more vocal, pawing the ground, pacing, wouldn’t settle down and chew her cud, and was generally upset. Poor Penelope, she didn’t know what was happening. I had everything all set up in the barn for her and we kept a close eye on her throughout the day and evening. Initially the girls said they were going to sleep in the barn and they got out and blew up the air mattress and got out their sleeping bags and bedding. Last minute, though, Emma decided she did not want to sleep in the barn and then Cecilee didn’t either.
Although she continued to have labor signs, she did not appear any closer when we went to bed at 11:30 pm. I am all for my comfy bed. I wasn’t sleeping in the barn! I set my alarm for 1 hour, and promptly passed out. It had been a really busy weekend, and I am not as young as I once was!!! Before I knew it, the alarm went off, and I huffed and puffed out of bed, into some clothes, glasses and boots out to the barn. Nothing. One hour later, I repeated this process. This time I watched Penelope for about 5 minutes, but she had laid down and was chewing her cud, not pushing or looking in any distress. I came back to the house and said to myself, “I need at least 90 min to get a full REM cycle in and that goat looks like she is not even going to have babies tonight!” So I set my alarm for 2 hours. About 1 ½ hrs later, Josh got up, and asked me if I would like to have him go check. Knowing that my alarm was going to go off in another 30 min and that if nothing was happening I could avoid this wake up for another 2 hours, I said yes. So he got his clothes and glasses and boots on and huffed and puffed out to the barn.
About 30 seconds later, I heard him running back to the house. I don’t know if I have gotten out of bed so fast since the last time a chicken was getting eaten by a raccoon in the middle of the night. “Honey, there is a baby on the ground! It is breathing and looks good but she is still pushing! Hurry!”
Faster than this Mama ever moves, I got out to the barn, and sure enough there was a perfect little black and white…buckling…sigh. We of course instantly fell in love with each other. And he was up and moving, strong, nursing and bleating before we knew it.
Alas, he was a single. Penelope got so fat with her pregnancy, we just knew she was having at least twins, maybe triplets. Cosmos was a good sized little boy-about 6lb 5oz, but by no means huge. Penelope definitely lost her girlish figure during the pregnancy and she sure fooled us!
After Penelope and her baby had had time to bond, I blew dry Cosmos’ ears, tummy and all the other little parts that stay damp in a 45 degree barn in March, dipped his umbilical cord and counted his fingers and toes. I made sure he nursed and got a good amount of colostrum. Penelope needed just a little coaching but she caught on pretty fast. Then, we took about 1000 pictures of Penelope and her baby, only about 10 of which turned out.
By then it was about 5:30 AM and we left mama and baby to rest. We, too climbed back into our beds and caught a few more hours of sleep.
And that was the start of kidding season!!
It’s Here!!!! Baby Goat Season!
Remember all that stress about getting our goats bred back in the fall? Well, time marches on, our wait has paid off and babies are coming!!
Mini-Nubians tend to birth 145-155 days after breeding, with most of the unofficial polls I have seen indicating that 147-152 is by far the most common. Today is day 144 for Penelope.
She doesn’t look quite ready yet, which is good because I am not quite ready either!
The birthing stall is cleaned out but still needs lime and hay spread. I will do that today. The rest of the barn also needs swept and tidied. I don’t know about you, but if I am going to hang out somewhere with a laboring goat for several hours, I really prefer to do it in a semi-clean and comfortable environment, so we need to also add a few chairs and a heater to the “waiting area”.
3 weeks ago Penelope and Maple both got a BOSE shot (we live in a selenium deficient part of the country), and their CDT booster (you want to give this about 2-4 weeks before birth). These things should help the kids come out with strong muscles and protected from the risk of getting enterotoxemia and tetanus for the first several weeks of their lives until they can get their own vaccines.
Our birthing kit is 70 percent pulled together. I need to add a few things still and will pick up the last few today when I go to the store. I have been waiting for Wilco’s one day sale today with 20-30% off! Love me a good sale, guys!
When it is all done, here is what the kit will contain:
Trash bags (we use old feed bags for this purpose)
Chlorahexidine (for scrubbing hands and arms if needed to assist with birth)
Witch Hazel (for sore or torn mama hineys)
Head lamp and flash light (a head lamp is nice because then you are hands free)
Wet wipes (we get unscented because we want to interfere with the mama's smelling her babies as little as possible)
Chucks or puppy pads (I always find these at places like Goodwill, but I am sure you can get them at a regular store)
Sterilized (as best you can, I soaked mine in alcohol for 30 min) scissors
Heavy thread or non waxed floss
OB whole arm gloves
My kidding positions diagram to help with kidding mal-presentation, should that occur
Surgical lube-if you can find a sterilized one, that is better
Bulb syringe. I got a 4 pack off of amazon for around 4 dollars
Iodine to dip or spray on navel and hooves (in years past I have had this in a container to “dip” or pour, this year we are trying a spray bottle)
Clean bottle and nipple
Clean metal bucket to milk mom if needed
Feeding tube-one of those things you hope you never need, but if you do you do, so good to have on hand, and a syringe to use it with (make sure the end will connect to the tube, I like to use a human urinary catheter for my tube and a 2 oz syringe with a catheter tip on it. They are made to work together)
Karo Syrup-for rubbing on gums of weak babies
Baby goat sweaters (because they are so cute! But only use if you must as putting a sweater on a baby can increase the risk of the mom rejecting the baby. I also have been storing mine in the same cabinet that I use to store dog and cat food, so I need to wash them with some vinegar to make sure there is no lingering dog/cat smell to them to get them ready)
Warm Molasses water for mom (I have a quart jar with 1 cup of molasses in it and a lid in my birthing kit ready to go. When she births, I add hot water, shake it up, then add to a larger volume of cooler water. It is more than she needs but this way she can drink as much as she likes.
Grain for mama
My own “Mother’s Milk” blend herbs to add to my goats grain to help boost production.
A little shepherd’s purse tincture for any post birth hemorrhaging
Post birth worming medicine if needed (Doesn’t need done immediately, but I like having all my stuff in one place so I don’t forget in the excitement of cute little babies). Some people prefer to use an herbal. I do use herbal worming medicine I get from Molly’s Herbals as a preventative all year, but just after birth I use conventional wormers if I am at all concerned about mama’s condition, because it takes a lot of energy to make all that milk and mama needs as much help as she can get!
Energy-for me this comes in the form of lots of coffee!
So wish us luck, guys!! Hopefully the next post will be full of happy healthy little baby goats!!!
I heard the other day that this last February was the 7th coldest February on record for our area. I can well believe it. While cold and snow are an inconvenience anywhere, on a farm they can spell disaster if one is not prepared. Usually the weather here where we live is pretty temperate over all. Sometimes by early March we already have trees budding out and flowering. I think by the end of last February my evergreen clematis and the quince in all the yards were already blooming, and my gardenia was not far behind.
This year, for the most part, the tree buds are still tightly furled and the daffodils are late in showing their faces. I don’t mind waiting on the flowers, as much as I look forward to them every year, but I am becoming worried for my goat babies that are due in a few weeks. Believe it or not, goat babies usually do just fine in the cold weather after the first few days. I don’t know why it is, but I have heard over and over on different goat forums I am a part of, that the babies born in the cold end up the hardiest and grow the best long term. The caveat is “long term”. For the first few hours to few days after birth, they are susceptible to getting hypothermia, and if not caught early enough, they can get sick or die.
An experienced doe will clean her babies and dry them thoroughly. She will also make sure they eat within the first hour after birth (obviously, as best as she can). Last year Petunia, our first freshener doe, did a good job licking her babies, but mostly just on the tops of their backs and their butts. She did not clean off their heads, ears, legs or bellies, though, and even though it was only 40 degrees in the barn I noticed after about a half an hour that her babies were laying or standing hunched and not as spunky. I felt inside their mouths and their mouths were cold. A goat baby’s temperature needs to be a minimum of 100 degrees in order for them to eat. If they are colder it is they don’t eat within an hour blood glucose can get low and this is very dangerous. So I took them and rubbed a little Karo syrup on their gums (you never want to feed them if their temp is lower than 100, but that is a quick way to boost their blood sugar), and I got towels and the blow dryer and blow dried them the rest of the way dry. Once they were dry and warmed up they were able to nurse.
Then, at 2 am Josh and I were out in the barn trying to fashion some type of shelter for them to be able to retain some warmth. We propped up a board against a wall, making a “Teepee” with the two boards, and a third board raised up off the ground enough for them to crawl under. It was up against the wire side of the pen. As scared as I am of barn fires, I refused to use a heat lamp and we got an oil radiant heater instead that we parked just on the outside side of their shelter on concrete to radiate warmth and warm it a little bit. They slept in there for the first few months, even though I turned off the heater after a few weeks. Petunia would stick her head in to cuddle them when they were sleeping in there.
This year, I have 3 first freshening does, 2 of which are young mamas. Young mamas sometimes have less instinctual knowledge of what to do to take care of their babies. I want to make some warming shelters to have available to put in with the babies as our weather is not showing any signs of improvement. Not that our boards were a total flop, but I am going to make a warming barrel for our babies this week. I will show you all the finished product once I am done with it!
I also bought some baby goat sweaters…BABY GOAT SWEATERS, GUYS!!!!! I have heard that sweaters can make the mom reject her babies if they smell weird, but we are at least going to get some pictures with them. Stay tuned for cuteness!!!
Yesterday was a Snow Day! I have to capitalize this because we don’t get much snow around here. Stereo-typically, when there is snow in the Willamette Valley, we, like most of our fellow people around here, freak out. So Josh did not drive his work truck in 45 min to his job site and stayed home with me instead. The school districts are terrified to have been the ones that caused traffic accidents or mayhem, so the schools were closed. This allowed us to have an unexpected day free.
When you have a farm, you both work and the kids are all in school, an unexpected day free is like a pearl in an oyster! We started the day by making a list and prioritizing it. This included things like Josh cleaning his guns that he had taken hunting the day before, and me starting an instant pot of bones. I don’t particularly care for bone broth, and it doesn’t agree with me, but Josh and the kids seem to get health benefits from it. A snow day is definitely a good day for bone broth soup.
Next we (FINALLY!) got the blood drawn on our goats. This process went much smoother this time thanks to some tips I got from my friend Ginger. (Don’t be lazy, shave their necks first! Total time saver and poke saver in the long run!) I will mail that off today and we will hopefully officially know whether Chrysanthemum is pregnant by the end of the week! We did some other work in the barn and around the house.
Emma has been in Hawaii for the past 10 days with her Grandma and Aunt who live there. She missed the snow, but got sun and snorkeling so I think that is much better. She had her birthday in Hawaii this year. It was so weird not having her here for that! All the phone calls and facetimes and text messages in the world cannot make up for having your baby far away on her birthday!
Emma is our chicken whisperer. Every day while in Hawaii, she needed me to go check all the chickens over to make sure none were hurt at least twice a day, and to send her a picture of the eggs I collected each evening so she can see which Hens were laying. She texted or called about taking care of the animals every evening to make sure no one forgot anything. I think if it were me, in between snorkeling and laying on the beach with a drink in my hand, I wouldn’t have time for that. She sure loves her chickens.
As I have mentioned before in previous posts (see HERE), we have been in the market for either buying or salvaging a new chicken coop for months. Emma has been living under the daily threat of us getting rid of chickens due to the squalor that they have been putting up with. Imagine my joy when I found an AWESOME Chicken coop for us for only $150!!! It had just popped up on Craigslist and I jumped at the find! Someone seriously did not know what they had! It came with 2 free feeders, a free dog igloo that will be perfect for baby goats, and 3 free hens that may or may not be laying (I know, I know, we need more chickens like we need a hole in the head). Despite the snow, Josh and I made the 50 mile trek and picked it up. We got it home just at dusk last night. Since the functionality of the tail lights were definitely questionable, I am glad we made it before dark. It will also be the best gift for my little chicken mommy for her birthday! This summer we will paint some flowers on it and put a pink flamingo or 2 out front. For the price, I couldn't be happier, and when we are done with it, it is easily hauled away.
I hope Emma loves her new chicken house. With a few adjustments, it will be perfect!