And so it goes! Going, going and gone. The last moments of my last vacation are upon me. It has been a good week, quite productive, and if I must do my Puritanical inventory, I did get a lot accomplished. Not as much as was on my list, but it was good.
It’s funny, but in the last year or so, looking down the barrel of retirement, I have tried to set myself up for all the things that I want to do. Spinning, knitting, weaving, felting, sewing. Guernsey goats and lots of cheese and milk. I have found one of my dream looms (the Bergman), and gotten involved in my dream goat breed, the Golden Guernseys.
As far as the sewing goes, I have been planning on doing quite a bit of sewing with Maine Fiberarts, as well as with other friends who are good with fabric and machines. But I have a 1951 Singer in a cabinet that is heavy as all get-out. And so I have been searching very off-handedly for a Singer Featherweight for the last 6 months or so. Unbelievably, I found one on Craig’s List this past week (and it was not priced out of my reach). My husband and I were able to meet with the very nice lady who was selling it. We met at Barnes and Noble in Augusta yesterday morning. What a great little machine! I am looking forward to many happy hours with her.
My last April vacation week ever! The best part? The Peepers are back! (I love those little guys and wait for them each spring).
Otherwise, the weather has totally cooperated, and there was a lot of activity around here. I really wanted to do some fun things with friends, but I also really needed to get some house and paddock work done.
Today my son and I did some alternative cattle panel fencing and gate moving for the boy goats and Jingle the donkey. That took awhile, and afterward we ran an errand, and kept going down to Pemaquid Point lighthouse. It was a fantastically beautiful day. The sun was warm, the breezes were stiff, and the sky was as blue as ever. We ended up in Damariscotta to make a Reny’s run, and then I went to the chiropractor. After that, I had a lovely rest in the sun and I got some reading in. Spent some time this afternoon with the goats, and then took a lovely bath.
Most of the week has been organizing and cleaning out spaces like the mudroom (ugh!). We are selling one of our giant chest freezers, and it took the day on Tuesday to clean out, organize and re-assign items to other freezers. But it’s done!
Tomorrow will prove to be somewhat boring. I still have to clean out and re-organize the lower pantry cupboard cabinets in the mudroom. It will be a relief to get it done and over with, however! There is much more organizing to do in the house, but this was a great start. And the week isn’t over yet, so more fun to come, I hope!
Another absolutely fantastic day on the coast of Maine! It was definitely a good one. The weather was perfect, even to the point of not much wind. I was beginning to prep for a big cleanup day (today), but I also had some eggplant that needed to be turned into parmigiana.
While I was having my morning coffee, I began the red sauce. (At this time of year that means that it’s 3 cans of Italian tomatoes, plus all the garlic, onions, carrots and celery – plus the little end of sauce pork I had stashed in the freezer). I got that puppy going and then we went out to get some things done with the goats.
I have been wanting to separate Reddog the Guernsey buck from the large group of does. I didn’t want to do it in the really cold weather in case Jingle doesn’t allow him into the shelter while she is getting to know him. So yesterday we thought it would be just about time. We got him in with Oreo and Jingle, and there was some jousting. He got into Jingle’s face right off, and was paid back with a swift kick to the head (but Jingle made contact with Reddog’s horns). Oreo confronted Reddog, and they got into it a little, but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.
We were watching them through the day today, and there was a little sparring by the two bucks, but so far it looks okay. Today was a mudroom-clean-out-day. And a dentist appointment. Exhausting! But we still have some eggplant parmigiana leftover. It’s soft enough for me to eat tonight :*)
I don’t know! I think it’s close. I am dying to be outside and enjoying the sun. One more day until April vacation begins. I am looking forward to it more than I can say.
I feel like I am starting to have a weekly blog instead of a roughly every-other-day-blog. But it’s okay.
Things are chugging along as usual. Nothing out of place. Waiting for our next goat kids which are due in May. Cleaning up around the farm, trying to get our pigeon pairs together. Reading some new YA books and going to the chiropractor to see if I can get my hip up to par. So far it’s really helping. Walking is much improved and I am feeling better in general. Just hanging in the paddocks in the sun with the goats in every spare moment.
The Kitchens Garden blog, written daily by Cecila, has put out a challenge to her readers for us to show our writing work spaces. Very quickly, here are my two spots.
On the main floor of our house, I usually write while sitting on the sofa near my houseplant-covered coffee table (trunk). My grandson loves sitting here with me and so we have Winnie the Pooh and the Singing Goat here as well.
And then my upstairs workspace is a very messy desk. I don’t work there as often, so it tends to get a little cluttery!
So that is my writing workspace. Mostly my workspace is outside with the goaties!
And so it goes. Weeks are flying by, and as we head into Spring we come to a screeching halt with some really frigid temperatures arriving on Sunday night. These things happen, but after it warms up later on in the week, I really think I need to uncover my garlic!
Saffron continues to improve, and she was even doing a little dance this morning. Betsy the Bruiser will be 3 weeks old tomorrow, and she is romping and running up a storm. Battie can’t keep up with her!
None of the other goats are due until early May, so we are watching carefully and making sure they are eating well and getting some good exercise. Rain this afternoon and evening, so I started a batch of Ken Forkish’s bread recipe for a Biga starter last night (from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast). It’s looking promising so far!
After our ordeal on Sunday, we have had some frantic days. Saffron seemed to come through her premature baby episode, but we could not get her to really start eating. Her temperature remained low (like 99F low) and it was quite a struggle (goat temperatures are normal in the 102-103F range). We continued to give her antibiotics, vitamin B, and also NutriDrench.
In the last two days or so she has perked up quite a bit, and is finally eating more and doing some serious cudding. Her temp seems to be holding at about 100.5-8. We got her a very stylish coat, to help her hold her body heat a little more efficiently, and the pen is really beefed up with lots of straw. She is roaming the whole paddock with her BFF Battie, as well as Betsy the Bouncing goatie girl, and Saffron seems much more like her old self.
Of course, I continue to worry about her recuperation, and now that the antibiotics are done, we continue to give her vitamin B and ProBios with her food. If she is cudding, she is creating warmth for her body, and I hope that tomorrow and Sunday’s temperatures will help. Sun will help a lot as well! Today’s ice mess was a welcome day home for me, but it wasn’t optimal for my girls. So we will continue to wait and see if Saffron keeps getting better.
Monday snow day! 2nd day of Spring, gotta love it. Our new little doeling is doing very well, and has found her name, Betsy. She is a corker, and yesterday evening Sam caught her on the wrong side of the paddocks, and had to get her back to her mama. None of the girls were hysterical (yet), and apparently SnowPea and Pippi had her corralled and were keeping her away from the others, so she was not in any danger at that point (SnowPea and Pippi are awesome mothers, and I think they had already acquainted themselves through the green panels). Betsy seemed very unabashed, but was happy to be back on the other side, with Battie. We plugged what we think are the two areas she may have gotten through, and everyone was where they are supposed to be this morning. It’s always a work in progress!
On the other hand, things had not been going too well for the past few days with another goat. We knew that Saffron was a little depressed at being separated from Battie for 5 days, but there was something else going on as well. I had begun to treat her for pregnancy toxemia, and she was showing no signs of perking up. Friday she ate, but with no great enthusiasm, and Saturday was not much better. We were dosing her with caprine Nutridrench, which has all kinds of good things in it, and giving her vitamin B shots as well. I was getting ready to get out the straight Propylene Glycol, because Sunday morning she was standing in the corner with her ears down, not paying attention to anything. We got some Nutridrench into her, and when I came back a few minutes later, I could see that she was having labor contractions, and that explained it all. This is about 6 weeks too early for her to have kids from her breeding with Oreo (she came to us already bred, and then lost her pregnancy after she got here, so then was bred by our buck).
Well, it wasn’t pretty. A very beautifully formed little buck who had absolutely not a speck of hair on him was stillborn. He was breach, and it kind of freaked me out when it wasn’t coming, because all I could feel was a rat-like tail in there. And so she (and we) had quite a day. After the baby came, we were waiting and waiting for the placenta, and when it started to pass it was totally clear, as though she were having another kid. It was quite the process, and I am happy to say that this morning she looked almost like her old self. She is interested in what’s going on, and appeared to be interested in food again early today. This afternoon her temperature was down and I could not get her to eat. About an hour ago I was putting some fresh straw into the pen and she dove right in and began stuffing her face… all the wonderful 2nd cut hay that she has, and this is what she wants? I don’t get it! And after some of the straw I got her to drink quite a bit of warm water. The sun is just beginning to go down now, and the vet has just told me to put her back in with Battie and Betsy, which will definitely be a warmer option. I will have to keep checking on her as night falls. We may have to put a coat on her.
We will continue giving her antibiotics and vitamin B, and hopefully there is nothing inherently wrong with her plumbing that she can’t keep a fetus to full term. (I would like to believe that she lost her fist pregnancy back in the fall due to the stress of traveling here from Vermont, at a crucial time in her gestation). I guess we will see next year.
So I got the gift of a snow day and it was perfect timing. I needed to recuperate from the stress of the accumulated weekend events, continue getting over the pneumonia, and try and tend to Saffron as well.
The best thing about yesterday turned out to be the sun: while waiting on Saffron, in-between taking her temperature and checking to make sure things were progressing, we got to work around the farm during the middle of the day, and even caught some relaxed rays for awhile. The temperature and wind were cold, but the sun was spectacular! I’m glad she chose yesterday for the Big Deal. Thank you, Saffron. You are a sweet, gentle girlie, and you need to get all better for us :*)
It’s always the way. The first lambs or kids get all the attention. We have been spending a lot of time out in the greenhouse with our new little one. She is a sturdy little bugger! She’s getting to that hoppity stage and is even cuter than the day she was born and had a bent ear (the ear fixed itself).
Yesterday we made the jug twice the size it was, and now she has more room to hop. She is loving every new encounter, and is a delight. I have not been obsessive about weighing her, but when I did yesterday, she had gained a solid 2.5 lbs in 4 days. Her belly is always full when I check on them, and she most usually has milky-mouth, which is also a good sign!
I have been home for a few days with a three week old cold that turned into pneumonia. I thought the cold was just pushing my asthma to rebel, but that obviously wasn’t the case. I am feeling a little better today, but the antibiotics are harsh. Eating my yogurt is helping. It’s also given me some uninterrupted time for catching up on some reading. I just finished The Girls of Atomic City by Denise Kiernan. It’s a very detailed look at what life was like in the secrecy of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, while uranium was being enriched for the Manhattan Project and the town and enriching plants were being built as they went. I would have loved to have been present for many of the interviews that the author was able to do with so many of the women who went to work there in 1942/43, many of whom are still there, in their late 80s and early 90s now. Amazing. As much as I hate nuclear weapons, and don’t even support nuclear energy, their stories are amazing. I love reading about how women have coped and triumphed throughout history, even without being given much credit. I highly recommend it!
Right now I am working on my spreadsheet for the rest of the kidding season. We are all over the calendar with these girls, but I don’t really think anyone else is due until early May. (Although I don’t have a real date on Saffron, so she is going to be largely guesswork just like Battie.)
I still have not formulated what name our new girl is living up to. Hopefully she will make it clear soon!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!