Halloween, 2014

I have not dressed up in years, but today at school was a lot of fun. It was pay-to-wear-a-hat day (or donate two cans of food to the food drive) at the middle school. Some of them were very creative! It was quite a Friday.

On the flip side at home, it was time to just relax up with the goats. The girls were having none of my offers to play, so I just stood back and watched them at the feeder. It was a lovely evening, and the goatie girls were having their usual romps around the bunker, so I took a video of the scene. And Iris the doeling does not disappoint, as she is hopping behind the feeder and then running around to push SnowPea off her side. Gotta love those girls!


Last week of October

Dinnertime, and it's still light!
Dinnertime, and it’s still light!

It’s beginning to feel as though I am down to a blog post a week, which is definitely not my intention. Work has been totally draining, and after getting home and doing all those things that need doing, I end up in the chair with a glass of wine, nodding off.

Things are chugging along, and I am aiming to set things up for breeding this coming weekend. I need to get the boys settled in a different area so that I can put the girls who are going to be bred in where the boys are now. With their intended beau.

I am hoping that we can get some outdoor work in this weekend as they are forecasting rain and snow in some areas of Maine. Yay. We need more moisture like a hole in the head! I am still dealing with the last 4″. Nuts. At this point I would rather have snow than torrential rains. But many of the trees are still holding onto their leaves, which gives me the feeling that we are holding onto autumn for a little while longer. But it’s almost November, and I do not have a clue where October went.

Lull in the mess of rain

Brief lull in the downpours
Brief lull in the downpours

Another insanely crazy week is moving by. A family friend from NJ has been staying with us for the past 10 days and left today, to make the drive back to the NY area. It’s been a wonderful visit, and in the midst of all that I had to go out of town over the weekend.

I knew this crazy weather system was moving our way, but really did not want to believe that we would be getting the better part of 3-4 inches of rain. The paddocks are a mess, but John and our friend got to replacing a tarp on the greenhouse that the girl goats use for their shelter. Just in time. And the grassy areas in the paddocks are very firm and nice, so I am feeding them up in those areas while things are soggy.

On the milking front, while I was away this past weekend, John was unable to catch SnowPea in order to milk her (that little bugger, she is a caution). So she went another 4 days without being milked. I think I am going to start drying her off. Two 4-day non-milking days in the last 3 weeks is enough of a cosmic sign for me. So we are down to milking every 4 days, and then we will be finished. It’s that time of year!

Tesser update

Tesser having a rest after the last vet visit
Tesser having a rest after the last vet visit

Well, we have more blood results for our little Chihuahua. She does not appear to have a kidney issue, it looks like she is polycythemic (not sure if I have the spelling correct here). She makes too many red blood cells, so her blood sucks all the extra water out of her system into the blood, leaving her dehydrated. As we have been giving her fluids under her skin, she has perked up. It’s all in the balancing act, I guess!

So we have some new hope for our future with little Tess, and we just have to be a little more careful about her fluid intake and watch how she feels, as well as feeding her a more balanced diet. Being a lot more observant is the key. Totally worth it!

Columbus Day weekend 2014

Tesser is looking pretty good this weekend!
Tesser is looking pretty good this weekend!

I couldn’t wait for the weekend, and it’s been great so far. We went out to breakfast this morning at a local Round Pond eaterie, John went up to Jay, Maine, to register the pigeons for tomorrow’s race, and I had some down-time at home to do some cheesemaking chores and a little paperwork. Tonight our grandson is here and we have been watching Thomas the Tank Engine videos and setting up Brio train tracks. The day was grey and cool until this afternoon when the sun finally joined us.

SnowPea is good with the new milking schedule
SnowPea, our star milk goat, is okay with the new milking schedule

Columbus Day weekend is usually the peak of the autumn color in the midcoast Maine region, and it’s right on schedule. The Damariscotta Pumpkin Fest is this weekend, so there are lots of wonderfully carved giant pumpkins in town. I have not gotten any photos yet, but maybe tomorrow. I love a good three-day weekend!

Tesser is holding her own so far and seems to have perked up with the extra hydration. Monday I will take her back to the vet to have some more blood work done, and we will get some firmer answers, we hope, on her condition.

SnowPea continues to give us a goodly amount of milk, just once a day. And she seems pretty happy about it too!

Dog tired

Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood
Tesser, all decked out in the bandage from the drawing of the blood, in her cat bed

This past week has been a cluster of running from one thing to the next and feeling as though nothing is being accomplished. Unfortunately, much of the running has centered around Tesser, our twelve and a half year old chihuahua.

Chihuahuas are notoriously finicky, and dogs as small as ours can be fragile and have issues. And she is all of four pounds on a good day! But Tesser has not been eating well, and appears to be in a little pain some days. I would expect that she would have some arthritis at her age, but it’s so difficult to tell about things like that. Most of the time she is still a happy doggie when we are around, and we cuddle and have playtime.

On Monday we spent quite a few hours at the vet’s office getting blood work done, and having her pumped up with some fluids under the skin. Prescription food was provided and we went home trying to be hopeful about indications that her kidneys may not be functioning well. She has perked up a bit, and eaten more than she has in awhile, but yesterday afternoon we spent another few hours in the vet’s office so they could run her blood panel again. Not much has changed, even though she is well-hydrated and eating.

So we came home with more prescription food and a bag of Ringer’s Lactate with which to pump her up every night for a week. One more blood panel next week will either confirm that her kidneys are not working correctly, or show that she is just slowing down with old age. So I am crossing my fingers for a little more time with her, and hope that we can find foods that she will eat and that agree with her.

It looks as if another dreaded life transition has landed on our doorstep. You know they are going to arrive, but just hope they will stay away longer. She has added so much to our lives that I can’t regret any of the years with her. One more cycle in a very sweet life.

Milking train partly de-railed

SnowPea looks so innocent!
SnowPea looks so innocent!

In the last 14 years I cannot remember any time that my husband and I have been away together, except when my mother died in 2003, and he was only in NJ for 24 hours before heading back. Having farm animals can be a little bit limiting in that way!

This past weekend, however, we really needed to be gone together, and our son offered to take care of the goats, and even to milk SnowPea. He came over for a walk-through the night before, and I thought all would be well (he has done a lot of farm chores with us through the years and has milked in the past). The morning after we got to NJ, I got a text that said he could not catch her. Even using all his sneaky approaches, she remained elusive. In the past we have had people around that are used to doing a lot of milking, and this time, it just didn’t happen. SnowPea is older and has more tricks up her sleeve than she did even a few years ago.

Needless to say, she remained elusive for most of the weekend. Since she had had a spotty milking 3 days, I decided it was a sign that I should cut back to once a day milking. She was already on a crazy schedule, so I made the call on Sunday night when we got home, to just milk in the afternoons. I have a lot of work to do with the winter shelters for the goats, so this may be a blessing in disguise. All of our friends that love to share in the cheese bounty are not so happy, but these are the fortunes of farming. Sigh. I was hoping to get quite a few more batches of cheese into the freezer for the winter and the spring, but that’s the way it goes. I will still get some, just not as much. And so the autumn is upon us in more ways than one.