Disbudding day #1

Sassafras has a little sit down after her disbudding.
Sassafras has a little sit down after her disbudding.

That was today.  Our vet came out to do the deed as we do not wield a disbudding iron, and even if we had one, we would not use it.  It’s a moderately tricky process, and if you heat up their little heads for too long, they can be in peril for their lives.

Pickles is so exhausted she took a nap with her head in the hay feeder
Pickles is so exhausted she took a nap with her head in the hay feeder

In a dairy operation, I don’t have any room for horns.  They use them against each other, and I am not in favor of torn udders.  So we suck it up a few days post-partum, and have the vet do it for us.  And when the vet does the disbudding, the babies get an anti-inflammatory, a local for pain, and a tetanus antitoxin.  So it is the way we roll.  And today went well.  I will check them before I go to bed, but they were looking alert before I came back to the house a little while ago.  And so it goes!

Our little girls

SnowPea and one of her girls
SnowPea and one of her girls

I don’t think that we have ever had two doelings from one mama before this.  We either get 2 bucks, or a buck and a doe baby.  I am still amazed that this was SnowPea’s offering for the year!  Since SnowPea is on the older side, we may actually keep both of the girls.  Their mama has been our most bestest milker for many years.

And can we say cuteness squared?  These little ones are just too much.  Sassafras and Pickles.  I could spend my whole day in the pen with them, letting them climb on me and nibble my clothes.  SnowPea will only take so much, however, before she comes and chews on me so that I will unhand whichever baby I have in my lap. Today my husband called me to tell me that one of the girls had gotten out of the jug/pen, but was snuggled up to Zorro the Llama, and right up against the pen so SnowPea could see her.  What a nut!

Sassafras stuffs herself into the hay feeder.  What a goober!
Sassafras stuffs herself into the hay feeder. What a goober!

Hopefully the rain stops tonight and the rest of the week will be warmer and precipitation-free.  The vet is coming on Wednesday to disbud the girls.  And then freedom!  Out with the other girls, for big adventures.  And then we just have to wait for Pippi to have her babies, in about two weeks.  It’s all good.

And we have doelings!

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Wednesday night was a little rough as I was up and down checking on SnowPea, and the next morning she was her usual self, but eating like crazy and pushing everyone out of the way! Her udder was the same size as the evening before, and I presumed that she was going to wait another day to do something, tanking up for the job.

But long about 2 PM, I went out to see that her udder had ballooned to double its earlier size and she had a nice size water bag hanging there. I made sure our kit was ready with the Bo-Se (selenium and vitamin E shot for the newborns to protect against White Muscle Disease), iodine for navels, Nutridrench for helping along a befuddled baby needing energy, and a bag full of clean towels. Then we called some friends who have been dying to see a goat baby born, and the wait began.

Unlike with the sheep, I don’t usually see much of the kidding process, as our goats (knock on wood) rarely have issues, and pop them out when they are ready, so I may or may not see the beginning of labor. Conventional wisdom with small ruminants has it that if the water bag is out for more than an hour and there is no movement forward (like little hooves and a nose poking out), that the farmer should investigate and make sure there isn’t a problem. We hate to do this because it automatically means antibiotic intervention, and I don’t like setting it up for that scenario if I can help it.

So I was torn. SnowPea didn’t appear to be in active labor, no strong contractions, and she paced and then just sat down. So we all left (that’s probably what she was waiting for!) and I called my older son, thinking I would be pulling a goat baby shortly. He came over and when we went out, voila! – there was a whopping 8 pound doeling! All dry, fed, and getting around very nicely. It appeared as though SnowPea was finished (no more water bags, just the usual prep for getting out the placenta), and we did all we had to do with the baby, got mama comfy, and went in to dinner. When I went out to make sure things were still going well, about 2 hours later, it was obvious that I had just missed the second doeling being delivered. She was sputtering and lying there in her amniotic fluid, and SnowPea had just started licking her off.  And this one is a 10 pounder!

And so we have two adorable doelings from Mama SnowPea, who always has 2 bucks.  Every year.  Pickles and Sassafras are a very welcome addition to our little farm!

About time

Sunny, wonderful afternoon
Sunny, wonderful afternoon

The Peepers have finally found their voices! Last night on my way out to check on SnowPea, their lovely chorus kept me company. I live for peeper song. It’s like the final notice that spring has truly arrived.

I worked on finishing up jug accommodations for our first due goatie girl this afternoon. Taking my time, enjoying the sun. The only negative to the day is the stiff breeze that’s gusting around 10 mph, from the south and east. We usually get winds from the north/northwest, and I have the pen set up with more windbreaks in that direction. Sigh. I will have to push some clean straw into the breaches.

SnowPea, photo taken awhile ago!
SnowPea, photo taken awhile ago!  No grass here yet

While I was working, the girls were eating their dinner, when they weren’t harassing me, that is! SnowPea came into the greenhouse around 5:30 to check it all out, and when she turned around I saw that she had lost her mucous plug. So things are moving along! It’s difficult to tell what it really means, however, as there are years when I don’t even see that part of the birth process, and it can be as little as a matter of hours, or even a day or more until the baby arrivals. So we are on alert tonight. I have my feet up right now and I will go back out and check her at about 8:30.

I am ready for our new little ones and can hardly wait to meet them!

This morning, the boys and Jingle attacking their hay at breakfast.
This morning, the boys and Jingle attacking their hay at breakfast.

Monday of April break. Started out with some fog blowing over the paddocks, and the sun never really did make an appearance. I had been planning on getting going on cleaning out greenhouse bedding to get ready for our goat kids due late this week. I came in from chores to get some breakfast first, and the dentist office called to offer me a cancellation…  Derailed again :*)

But it was a good thing, as I have had a chunk missing out of one of my front teeth since January, and it was driving me crazy. Plus a broken filling in one of my back teeth. I had to hustle to get up to Rockport, but it was really worth it. And then my scheduled gift to myself for the start of vacation: a massage this afternoon.

This afternoon, cold and damp, Tesser takes advantage of the fire!
This afternoon, cold and damp, Tesser takes advantage of the fire!

And now it is pouring rain. Luckily not snow! By tomorrow afternoon it is supposed to be moved out. I gather we need the rain, even though we have had enough of a snowmelt to cause flooding in parts of the state.

Hopefully the weather improves a little, although the forecast is pretty questionable. I have a few fun things planned for the week and the rest I will take as it comes. Here’s to vacation!

Bucky Boys

So Henry the black and white buck, and Bagels the brown buck, put on a nice show for us yesterday. Quite the hungry crew! Jingle is just standing there, patiently waiting, which is a little out of the ordinary. I was hoping she would add to the hungry chorus with her brassy, impatient voice!

It’s a little damp and chilly out there today. But it’s a wonderful beginning of April break as my older son has traveled up from NJ to visit for awhile. What a treat! He has already been a huge help with some things that need doing around here. This morning he helped me get more Ivomec shots into the two bucks, who have a mite problem (although I am hoping that that is on the mend).

Even though rain is predicted for much of our week, it’s such a pleasure to be having some time off. As usual, I have a list of things I would love to get to, most of all: dressing my loom! It may happen, but then again I have so many things I want to get done in the house and up with the goats, who knows?

Udderly Spring

5:45 a.m. today.  Rainclouds coming in.
5:45 a.m. today. Rainclouds coming in.

The days do not disappoint! I can hardly believe the change. 64F on the way home this afternoon, and the snow is rapidly sinking into the mud and the leaves. The birds are beside themselves with song, and the racket they all make from before dawn until after dusk is very welcome. What a relief :*)

Difficult to see the developing udder.  Fuzzy udder!
Difficult to see the developing udder. Fuzzy udder!

We are coming into the home stretch of the days leading up to kidding. SnowPea is due a week from tomorrow, on Wednesday April 22. She usually goes a day or two more, but we are getting there. Pippi is not due until May 9th. Both girls are showing signs of udder development, which had me dancing through the mud the other day. I keep hoping that I might get a doeling from SnowPea, but in all the years she has kidded, she has only once had a doeling (who met a bad end, strangled in a basket feeder). Each year I have new hope, but usually she has twin rams, and doesn’t look back. Ah well, it’s all as it needs to be, but she continues to be my good buddy and my favorite milker.

Marigold's side-selfie
Marigold’s side-selfie

This afternoon I had a chance to clean out a corner of the hay greenhouse and then I took some time to sit on the rock and enjoy the sun and the breeze. Marigold the Amazing always joins me up there, and today she begged for a Spring Selfie. And she got one :*)

Three more intense work days until April break. I am ready!

And the week goes on and on and on

Thursday morning's drive to Augusta was pretty nasty.  Slushy snow!
Thursday morning’s drive to Augusta was pretty nasty. Slushy snow!

I am watching the sky lighten out there and gearing up for another crazy day. The week just flew by! Tuesday was John’s surgery day of course, Thursday was the annual Reading RoundUp conference in Augusta (library and literacy), and then yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a workshop with Dr. David Loertscher in Scarborough in a most lovely new school library (or Learning Commons as we are beginning to rename them again!). Last night a few of us girls had a long-standing dinner date which was extremely fun and a great stress-reliever (we always try and ask for a table in the corner because we laugh so much!). Today is: dump day, make chili for the auction tonight, and middle school auction night. Tomorrow is Hatchtown Farm Shearing day!

Last Monday morning's chore time
Last Monday morning’s chore time

One week until April break. Today’s weather is looking pretty magnificent (60F), and tomorrow’s looks even nicer for the shearing. Spring might actually, almost be here!

Post-surgery Hump Day

John after surgery
John after surgery

So it’s the day after John’s surgery and things are going well. Yesterday was long and exhausting, but he is recuperating and it’s much less painful than the surgery on his left hand was last year. I also think that part of the deal is that he is a Leftie, so with his right hand out of action, it’s not quite as restrictive. Plus, the doctor put a couple of blocking shots in his hand right before the surgery was over, and it’s possible that that has helped things quite a bit.

So we are over the hurdle and now just have to watch for a steady recovery. The cast and dressing gets checked and changed on Friday, so the surgeon will see what’s up then. In the meantime we have a strap hanging over one of the living room beams so that John can keep his arm elevated while in the recliner. When I went back to work today, some friends looked in and not only kept John busy, but also made sure he was doing okay. It was a huge help.

And so it goes! Life is more than frequently interesting :*)

Happy Spring holidays, and taxes

The girls are quite serious about their breakfast!
The girls are quite serious about their breakfast! (You can see SnowPea on the right, with her baby bump on the right and her rumen on the left. She looks a tad uneven!

Passover and Easter, it’s all good. We had friends over for dinner last night and enjoyed the evening. Yesterday was such a nasty, cold and wet day that it was lovely to tuck up and have a jolly chat about pigeons and the racing season to come!

Pippi is looking pensive!
Pippi is looking pensive!

Today turned out to be quite beautiful, if a little on the cool side. 16F this morning, and then as the day wore on, it turned quite breezy. I did some extra outdoors work this morning, and then after having a lovely breakfast with John’s wonderful Semolina bread and some fresh mozzarella, I got down to the annual evil adventure with taxes (I just pull all the info, I have someone else do the rest!). But it was enough to send me into a tizz-whizz when I thought I could not put my hand on one of my check registers. Eee gads! It was right where it was supposed to be, but a little disguised. Definitely not my favorite job!

And so the day went. Lovely daylight all around us, sun and clouds filling the afternoon alternately. We ended up taking a ride down to Freeport to LL Bean early this evening. My most prized chore tool, my headlamp, had crapped out this past week. There may be a short in it somewhere, as I would be doing chores and all of a sudden it would flicker once or twice and then go out… bring it in, plug it in, recharge, and it would look okay while sitting on the table. But when moving, not so good. I got an even stronger light, however, 215 Lumens!, And now am charging it. I can hardly wait to see how it lights up my mornings. It’s really the little things that can make my day.

Tomorrow is the final get-ready day for my husband’s hand surgery. He has Dupuytron’s Contracture, and his left hand was fixed a year ago, the right hand to be fixed on Tuesday. He is a leftie, so I am hoping this convalescence won’t be quite as bad as last year’s. We are hopeful, and looking forward to him being able to open his hand more normally again (some of his fingers are permanently tight up against his palm and he had a terrible time this past winter even getting extra-extra large mittens on his right hand). We are both ready for the Big Fix!

And so it goes. Spring is really almost in the air up here, and it’s only 3 weeks away from our first goat kids of the year. I can feel the warm trying to push the cold away. Not quite yet, though.