Post-Thanksgiving weekend

New girls
New girls

I hate to say that it is Saturday night already.  Holiday weekends just seem to fly by.  Wah, wah!  It’s been a nice one, and I don’t want it to end.

We had a quiet holiday.  Tuesday afternoon around 2 PM I began feeling like I was coming down with a cold, and I hurried to do the last of the Thanksgiving shopping and get home and just veg on the sofa.  I took my Emergen-C and rested for the evening.  I don’t think I got the whole brunt of the virus, but I definitely appreciated that we weren’t going to have a ton of company and that the meal was going to be a very simple one.

So we took our feast across the street to our elderly neighbor’s house and we had a lovely, very laid-back time.  Friday was a day for catching up, sleeping in a little bit, working around, and just enjoying being home.  This morning I took a ride to a friend’s pottery studio for her “Shop Small” Saturday.  Maple Lane Pottery is one of my favorite places, and Robbi didn’t disappoint us.  I was able to enjoy visiting with her as well as finding some lovely holiday gifts.  Robbi is a very talented potter, and her animal-themed pieces are some of my favorite kitchen pieces.

Robbi had another small farm business there, Ridge Pond Farm, and it was lovely to finally meet Cari Balbo, the owner and maker of all kinds of herbal treats.  Face creams, hand and body creams, herbal tea mixes, all were as beautiful and wonderfully-scented as I imagined.  I make my own very simple hand and body creams (because I am allergic to everything!), but these are amazing concoctions and I hope her face cream is my favorite thing for a long time to come.

Marigold. Alert, but no better.
Marigold. Alert, but no better.

And so it goes.  The weekend is almost over, and I am sorry to say that our Marigold is failing.  We are going to have to make the final decision on her within the day, not that I believe there is anything to decide.  She is not getting up, and is falling behind on where her recovery should be.  She isn’t suffering yet with something like pneumonia or bloat, which could be a problem since she is not mobile, and is eating but not recovering any of her backend movement.  So that is that.  Breaking my heart, but there it is.  The ugly end of livestock farming. I will keep giving her all her little treats until it’s time to put her down.  A big loss to the future of our little farm.

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us here at Ruit Farm North.  I hope that everyone is having a peaceful and relaxing holiday with friends and family.  I am very thankful that both our sons are in the area for now, and that we can be spending a lot of time together.  And I am ever so thankful for all our friends, both human and 4-legged.

And thank you all for being a part of our farm family!

It’s coming

What awaited me this morning!
What awaited me this morning!

A few reminders are being thrown our way:  yes, winter really is on the horizon!  It’s been such a warm autumn that I have been lulled into not paying attention.  Although we have been working fairly diligently to try and get the paddocks and animal areas ready for the onslaught, it is still a little bit of a shock when the white stuff begins.

One more day of school and then Thanksgiving break is here.  Many in the family are dropping like flies with whatever viral thing is going around, but so far we are hanging on.  It’s going to be a quiet one for us.

We continue to give Marigold her vitamins and feed her up, but I do not see improvement yet.  We still hope, but I am getting myself ready for the worst.  I don’t know how long I can watch her like she is.

No change

Marigold during better days.
Marigold during better days.

We continue to take care of our sweet Marigold.  I honestly have to say that I don’t see any improvement.  After her 5 days of intensive worming and anti-inflammatories, we continue to give her vitamins, and need to give it time now, I guess.

She is pulling herself around a  little in her pen, and she is eating, drinking, peeing and pooping.  I am having trouble finding out how long the ‘usual’ recuperation time might be for this.  I suspect that a lot of animals get put down when this happens to them, so there isn’t a lot of anecdotal information floating around out there.  From what I have read, it’s at least a month before a final decision should be made about the animal’s future quality of life, if they are still alive.

I am now worried about keeping her warm as the cold weather descends upon us, when she is not able to move around much on her own.  We shall see, I guess.

The Hard part of farming

Marigold on the right.  Sweet girl!
Marigold on the right. Sweet girl!

While all our joy is devoted to our new Golden Guernsey does, at the same time we are dealing with a potentially devastating situation with my favorite yearling doe, Marigold.

When I got home from Vermont last Sunday afternoon, everyone was fine.  On Tuesday morning I went out to do chores about 5:20 a.m., and I found that Marigold was on the ground, pulling herself around with her front legs.  Her back end was not working, although her legs have power, but her back is not cooperating.  The classic symptoms of Meningeal Worm infestation.  (The worm goes into the spinal column and wreaks havoc with the nervous system).  My beautiful girl, strong and lovely, is struggling with a very ugly problem.

I am devastated.  We have two new Golden Guernsey does, but I have been counting on Marigold to be one of our breeding stalwarts.  Not to be, I know, but it’s a blow to the farm plan.  She is one of my favorite goats, one of the most colorful and friendly, and I am grieving for her struggle with this disease.  Those damn snails that carry the awful worm.  Aargh!  We will see how things go.  As of today she has had 5 days of the prescribed treatment, so now it is up to her and the vitamin injections.  Fingers crossed!

Welcome Batty and Saffron

The new girls - Saffron and Batty!
The new girls – Saffron and Batty!

We are finally able to announce that we have some new friends on the farm!  Saffron and Batty, our Golden Guernsey goatie girls.

I have been wanting (well, lusting after might be a better way to describe it), Golden Guernseys for at least 30 years.  I read about them way back when, and even though I adore my Lamanchas, the Golden Guernseys have been a dream that I never thought would come true.  They are smaller than most of the Alpine breeds of milk goat, have long lovely red/blond hair, and are reputed to be extremely docile and laid-back.  Getting genetics from Europe has been difficult for years because of the fear of disease transfer.  Bringing animals into the country is impossible, but sometimes the genetics can get into Canada, and then eventually over the border.

That is what happened with the Guernseys.  Channel Island goats and cows have a really wonderful reputation for being wonderful milk animals, with high butterfat ratios to the amounts of milk that they give.  I am hoping that my Guernsey/Lamancha crosses will be a winning combination.

Batty the doe
Batty the doe

Saffron and Batty are bred does.  We got them from Ardelia Farm in northern Vermont.  My friend Jane, who lives in Peacham, Vermont, and I also bought a buck to share from Ardelia.  Right now he is at her house, but hopefully soon he will be here to take care of some of our Lamancha does.  And so it goes.  New genetics on the farm!  New hope for the future of our smallholding.  It’s a new endeavor here at Ruit Farm!

It’s been awhile

November 1st.
November 1st.

Not blogging has felt terrible, but the end of the summer and the beginning of the school year were overwhelming.  Our coastal summers are usually humid and hot in July, and warm days/cool nights in August with almost no humidity.  This summer was a true bummer.  Hot and humid all the way through August and into September.  Oy!  My asthma was not happy, and I did not get many things accomplished that I had on my list.

I found it difficult to rebound after my mother in law’s death, even after our wonderful time in Vinalhaven.  Work consumed me.  I ended up prepping for the new shape of my school library day job (taking over the running of 5 more school libraries, adding it to the two I already supervise), and I am ashamed to say that I let it suck the life out of me.  Then halfway through August I took a bad fall and concussed myself, which led to at least 2 weeks of total shut-down.  And there we have the summer that wasn’t!

I won’t even look at the list that I had so optimistically created last spring.  No reason to do that.  The one thing that kept me going all summer was my quilt project.  I have been planning a quilt for our queen-sized bed for many, many years (I used to quilt like a maniac back in the ’80s).  My original plan was side-lined because I just feel like I have very different tastes now that we have lived in our open and extremely light timber frame house for almost 13 years.  But once I stumbled upon a pattern that is fun and very logical, every day I tried to sew up a few squares, and as of a few weeks ago I have 216, 7″ squares.  So that is my summer legacy:  a bevy of audiobooks and my sewing machine upstairs.  Awesome!  It is the first time I have pieced quilt squares with a machine, and it was addicting.  I love it!

Woodtove is stoked and going
Woodtove is stoked and going

And so it goes.  November is upon us and as much as I dread the time change, I do welcome the quiet and the time for working on things inside the house.  But until the cold and the snow really envelope us, we are rushing to get the goat paddocks up to snuff and set up for the winter.

It’s good to be back to the blog!  I have missed it.