Category Archives: Health

Best laid plans and July catch-up

Peanut browsing while Battie finishes her meal on the milkstand

Things have kind of gotten away from me.  I have been so busy I don’t know if I am coming or going some days.  I do Monday/Wednesday/Friday cardiac rehab appointments in Brunswick, which is about 25 miles from here, and I need to factor in the summer traffic on Route 1, which makes for a day that is quite foreshortened.  It’s craziness, but necessary.  And so by the time I get home around 12:30, things get on a roll, and some days I don’t even get dinner organized until close to 8 PM.  Not the best laid plans, for sure.

Seriously cool climbing opportunities

But the farm has moved gently into the summer and things are going well on the whole.  Peanut came down with a case of coccidiosis, but the treatment took care of it and she is cruising along nicely.  We had to cut her milk consumption back quite a bit while she had it, and we have not returned the amounts to the previous, even though she has done some pretty loud complaining about that.  She is 13 weeks old, and it’s time to look at some weaning, so she is down to two 8 ounce bottles per day now.  Much easier, and as a result she is eating a little more grain which is important for her.  She is a just over 30 pounds, and loves to come out of the paddocks and race around with us while we are doing stuff.  She is good entertainment value and a real sweetheart!

Saffron’s girls ready to get into the car :*(

And today Saffron’s girls were picked up by their new owners and are on the road to their new home in Massachusetts.  They will be in good company with Nubian goats and some Icelandic sheep.  One of the girls was a little anxious, but I got a text from their new owner saying that they ware asleep in the back of the car and doing well.

Peanut is snacking on the dinner buckets!

And so it goes.  We now only have 3 little doelings for sale.  It’s going to be quiet around here pretty soon!  Twig got used to being sister-less pretty well, and none of the moms seem to mind having their babies weaned from them.  We are chugging along with the milking and the cheesemaking.  A few of the moms still have babies on them and I am getting more milk than I actually have room for in the refrigerator!  A nice problem to have, really.  I won’t complain, my milking and cheesemaking year is a short one.  :*)


Woods behind the house, view from the upstairs

The trees are finally really greening up here on the mid-Maine coast.  I had an appointment the other day down past South Portland and I couldn’t believe how much farther along the leaves were there.  But we are finally catching up, although I miss the different hues of the greens after the leaves are full sized and looking toward summer.  But for now it’s just nice to glance out the windows and see an ocean of verdant colors.

Peanut removing herself from a hay feeder

As far as everything else goes it is pretty much status quo.  I have not been as hands on in every day farm chores in the last two weeks as I am recuperating from an unexpected health challenge, which is what I need to do right now.  Thank goodness for Sam!  I am milking the 3 does in the morning, the ones that are keeping our Peanut afloat with her bottles (down to three a day now, phew!), and doing a few things around the house, but he is carrying on with all the rest, thank goodness.

Peanut waiting for her bottle

One of my biggest joys at this time of year is not just watching the goat kids grow like gangbusters and seeing the leaves bust out, but also simply to stand on the back porch in the evening and listen to the peeping tree frogs that fill our woods.  They are my beloved invisible chorus of the night, one of the greatest pleasures of spring.  (Although it doesn’t feel much like spring right now, still, yet, again in the 50s and rainy!).

And so it goes.  The holiday weekend is upon us and we hope to see the sun tomorrow!



Saffron in her new coat.
Saffron in her new coat.

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.

Everyone is jealous of Saffron's new wardrobe!
Everyone is jealous of Saffron’s new wardrobe!

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.

Ice on the trees and the last of the snow
Ice on the trees and the last of the snow

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.


March is flying

Battie is pretty sure something big has just happened!
Battie is pretty sure something big has just happened! (That, or she is modeling for a look-alike on Munch’s “The Scream”)

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).

52Yesterday 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!

atomiccityI 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!

SnowPea butts in
SnowPea butts in

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!

Reddog steps back in

(The video above is some of what went on when we reintroduced Reddog back into the main group of does.  He did quite well)

It’s been quite a week and a half.  The wind that has plagued us just did not let up.  The temperatures have risen, however, and we are having some lovely sunlight.  I have been home from my day job for three days now, with a flu-like cold.  As an asthmatic, I get my flu shot religiously, and I am glad it only hit me a glancing blow.

As the days have gone by since we brought Reddog onto the farm, we have been watching the way the does in the main pen have been interacting with him, as he has been penned inside the greenhouse in a corner of their space.  Every once in awhile, SnowPea, our herd queen, will go over and stick her head through the green panels and try to give him a shove, but other than that the girls looked fairly friendly to him.  One of SnowPea’s twins is actually quite smitten with him!

This morning we got up and found the sun coming up, clear skies, and dead calm.  No wind for a change.  So I thought it might be about time to let the little bucky boy out of the bag, and see how they all get along.  I always try to do this when they are hungry and won’t have all their attention on putting the new goat in his or her place, as they are focused on getting some breakfast.  There was some posturing, but right out of the pen, Reddog took the initiative to put the head butting moves on the girls.  The first time we put them together, he just kept running away from them.  This is a good sign.  Sam was out there checking on them a little while ago and he was up the fence line, have a tete-a-tete with Oreo, the buckling in the next pen over.  It’s a good sign.

Reddog is still very shy with people, which is not a bad thing when it comes to rams and bucks.  I don’t like getting too friendly.  (If you make them too friendly, when they get all grown up, they think they can boss you around, as though you are part of their herd.  It doesn’t usually end well, as I can attest to, having been punched down quite a few times by some of our rams.  Not fun.  I am too old for this!).

So we shall see.  I am hoping that one or two of the Lamancha does come into heat, even at this late date, so I can get my Golden Guernsey breeding-up program going.  I won’t mind having kids later in the season.  You just never know :*)

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.

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.

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.

Wicked waste of a week

Some of our pigeon pals enjoying the sun and the warmer temperatures
Some of our pigeon pals enjoying the sun and the warmer temperatures

I have been away from the blog for too long, but definitely not on purpose. We had a wonderful getaway in Freeport last weekend, and then late Monday night/early Tuesday morning I woke up with a monstrous case of the stomach flu. I don’t think I have been this sick in 12 years. Been home from work the rest of the week and am gradually getting my strength back, but it was a rough one. I have not done any reading, spinning, knitting or even podcast listening. This is about the first time I have spent on the computer. What a nasty waste of a week.

Lovely late winter day. The melting sounds divine!
Lovely late winter day. The melting sounds divine!

But, the NETA Spa weekend was wonderful! I actually only have a couple photos from the weekend, both taken by friends. I may be able to get more from someone else, but if anyone is interested in the group, you can join by going to the home here and requesting membership. Yahoo continues to be something of a cumbersome site, but I am not sure there is anything else like it out there anymore. (We have a lovely Ravelry group if anyone is interested as well – New England Textile Arts Network, NETA).

Our friend Crystal and myself, out of the pool
Our friend Crystal and myself, out of the pool

The weekend was full of friends and fun, with lots of midwinter shopping therapy available. Some of our friends stayed in Freeport, some just joined us for the day on Saturday. During a lull on Saturday afternoon, a bunch of us swam in one of the hotel pools and then adjourned for some libations and hors d’oeuvres in our room, relaxing before the late afternoon fashion show. (Those are the only two photos I have copies of so far!).

Resting before the fashion show.  We left the picture-taking to the young one!
Resting before the fashion show. We left the picture-taking to the young one!

The week may have been a waste, but the weather is finally showing some signs of moderation. It’s about time. We still have something of an ice jam on one side of the house, but the rest of the roof looks clear, and it was a pleasure to be out doing chores today. I spent some time up with the girlie goats, got a lot of kisses and requests for head and neck scratches, and Zorro the llama hung over me like some hairy dinosaur looking for treats. Had to even remove my hat and gloves it was so beautiful! No significant  precip in the forecast, either. What a relief. I am dreaming of green.