Chicken update

It’s always the way.  We just get used to having chicken entertainment behind the house as well as up near the sheep and goat pens,  and things have changed again.  Bad Chicken #2, aka Chicken Licken, disappeared sometime in August.  I can’t say that I am altogether unhappy at not having to avoid a chicken underfoot on the back stairs as well as all her little surprises on the stairs and on the path, but chickens are such great animals they are addictive to watch.  And when the windows are open in the warm weather I could always just hear her soft clucking and chattering somewhere in the background, singing with the crickets and cicadas.  I still watch out for her as I go down the steps, but she seems to have disappeared very completely.  We have had some foxes in the area, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she went home with one of them.  Life in the chicken fast lane is sometimes not so pretty.

Henny Penny roosts at the corner of one of our greenhouses

Bad Chicken #1, aka Henny Penny, is stil alive and kicking however.  She roosts in a spot that I would have thought a little dangerous and open to an owl attack, but she seems to be hanging in there.  She has her own whole feeder which I have left in the hay greenhouse, always stocked with a little scratch and some layer pellets.  She is nice company at chore time, and dances around my feet hoping that I will drop some of the goat’s sweet feed as that is her all-time favorite.  And she is even leaving us eggs about 5 out of 7 days a week.  One green-blue egg a day in the long grass is kind of a nice treat for John in the morning.  We are grateful for anything she shares with us, and I look forward to her company each day!

It’s cheese time again!

Milk in the pot warming in the sink

Better late than never, I guess!  What with all the crazy breeding problems we had last year with the goats, we really couldn’t begin milking until a few weeks ago.  2 of our baby girl goaties have gone to new homes, but our star milker, Pippi, still has one baby girl here.  So it’s a hit or miss thing with the milking.  Some days we get a half gallon a milking from her, and others, barely a quart.  But we can work with it, and so I have begun to  do some small batches of

Chevres ready for the fridge. Yum!

chevre.

So we are on the road again!  We are going to be doing some AI in the next month, so we will have a couple of weeks when we won’t be able to use the milk, but we can make cheese into the winter if the weather isn’t too bad.  We can only wait and see!

In which I am reincarnated as Oscar the Grouch

I am usually a pretty even-tempered person, but my bursitis flare up has turned me into someone I almost don’t recognize.  Excruciating pain that won’t go away is obviously the root of this evil, and I have not been thinking about much of anything at all, except getting through every day without crying in public.  I might have welcomed a rental in Oscar the Grouch’s can… at least people would know what to expect!

I really thought that I could get my hip under control with ice and ibuprofen, but by Thursday I knew it was not working, so I saw the doctor and he gave me a cortisone shot with anesthetic (had these years ago with varied success).  When the anesthetic wore off, however, my hip was still pretty bad, although a touch better.  I am pretty much always in motion, but I have been forced to take it easy so John has been doing more of the chores and I have been using the ice packs religiously.  I am presuming that the whole hip area was so inflamed that it’s going to take awhile to get back to being my normal little bit gimpy, but I wish I could fast forward that timeline a little!  I have so much to get done while the weather is this perfectly autumnally gorgeous!  Grump, grump, grump.  Whine, whine whine!

At least I got a few books read which was kind of nice :*)

It’s been a week or two

BabyBea, one of our purebred Coopworth ewe lambs.

Darn.  It’s really gotten away from me.  Work has been intense, and then there was the American Coopworth Registry’s first National sheep show at the Garden State Sheep Breeders in NJ.  Coopworths were the featured breed! And it is our registry’s 10th anniversary which made it equally special.  The sheep show featured a card-graded show which is different from most shows.  It measures each sheep against the breed standard, not against the other sheep there.  It was extremely interesting and informative.  The good news is that most of the sheep our members brought to the show graded in the good to excellent categories.  Which means that we are on the right track with our breeding programs.  Always good to know!

Esther is one of our “blue” purebred Coopworth ewes. She is full of personality and has a great fleece!

And it was a total surprise to us as a breed registry that the Dutchess County (NY) Sheep and Wool Show is highlighting the Coopworth breed in its skein and garment competitions this year.  So we all have the opportunity to mail in our knitted, spun or woven creations for judging.  If anyone needs some Coopworth fiber or yarn, take a look at our member list at our breed site!  We can supply you with all kinds of great fiber :*)

Goatie update

Doelings in the feed bunker

Now that our goatie babies are all over 2 months old, we are beginning to find new homes for them.  They have been a constant source of entertainment and they are all sweet, sweet doelings.  But keeping 4 of them would mean a serious population explosion, so we began looking for homes for two of them.  One of Pippi’s short-eared girls and the long-eared girl who did not break her leg!

Bonbel the stellar goat!

We also have an extra adult goat, Bonbel, that we had not really intended to keep.  She is the one who had the long-eared girls this year.  She has kidded twice, both times twins and both times with no problem.  But I hand milk and only can deal with a certain amount of it, so I prefer to only milk two goats a year.  Maybe 3 someday!  So we found out that a friend of ours was interested in her and we did a barter:  she is helping me with trimming goat hooves and she gets a sweet girl who has a lot of milk to share.  I am really pleased!

Bonbel’s girl who has moved on to a family with children!

As for the goat babies, our friend who is taking Bonbel has found a family whose children have been saving up for goats, so they are taking an adult from our friend and two of our babies.  One long-ear and one short-ear.  Our friend Celine took the three of them off yesterday, and today has been a totally new chore time!  The long-eared baby with the broken leg is still here with us and Bonbel her mother is gone, so she had a little bit of a tough time, but Zorro the llama cuddles up with her in the greenhouse, and I found her sleeping next to Pippi’s short-eared girl this morning.  They are great friends and hang out together.  SnowPea, our oldest doe and herd queen, also cuddles up with any of the babies and watches out for all of them.

The crazy goat-baby energy has been cut in half, but this is a step forward and I am glad that we have found really good homes for our girls.  Big sigh!

I love this weather

Gold and green day

I don’t want to hurry the seasons and wish for cold weather or anything, but I love the onset of autumn.  This summer has been warmer and more humid than any other summer we have spent here.  And don’t even get me started about the insect explosion this season due to the pathetic winter we had!  Insect vermin have made our lives miserable this past few weeks and the flies in the pasture with the sheep have reached epic proportions.

But we are finally turning the corner now.  Last night I actually had to close the window over my head as it was breezy and down in the forties.  And today, Labor Day, is the perfect Maine day.  Sunny after the fog burned off with a brisk breeze.  While John was mowing down in the pasture I wormed and then moved the sheep, so I did get a tad overheated, but taking some time in the shade with the wind blowing across the hill was fabulous.  So the 4 sheep and the donkey are wormed and in new pasture and we are gearing up for breeding time.  It seems to have gone by so quickly this year.  Lambs to the butcher last week and this week making plans for next year!