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Peanut’s new adventure

Peanut having breakfast (she is on the left)

The weather has finally cooperated and we finally made the move to having Peanut stay out with the other goats all night.  She is effectively a “real” goat now!

She remains the smallest of all the babies out there, even though she is 7 weeks old today, but she is doing very well with the others. She has not had any crying jags out there at all, either, except when it’s very close to bottle time.  We have not gotten her onto 3 bottles per day instead of 4, but we moved the last feeding of the day to 8 PM, instead of 9 (once it’s pretty dark outside the goats tend to be bedded down, and if we go up there, everyone gets all riled up).  It doesn’t seem to bother her!

One thing I can truthfully say, it’s quite a relief to have her out of the house… even though she was only inside for a little bit of the evening and about a half hour in the morning, she has grown so much and is so strong now that she can just about jump onto any table or pile of newspapers without giving it a thought.  Talk about chaos!  It was exhausting supervising her.  I have only tackled a little bit of the cleanup in the house that it’s going to take, but there is no rush.

And so our little House Goat is growing up, but her cuteness remains intact.  I don’t think that will ever change!

(It’s difficult to get photos of her because every time I go into the pen she runs up to climb on me.  The photo above is about the only one I have been able to successfully take in the last few days).

Betsy comes home

Betsy’s little boo boos (we call Betsy Boo Boo all the time)

Phew!  Betsy and two live babies have joined us back on the farm.  The vet called yesterday afternoon to say that nothing was happening yet, but could she call us at any time of the night in case we needed to make further decisions.  (That was a bit of a nail-biter to take off to bed).  She also told us that after they give the drugs to induce labor the average time is about 30 hours, so we knew it was possible to be between 10 PM and midnight.

Betsy’s doe is quite a girl!

Midnight came and went, and every time I awoke and checked the clock I thought, awesome Betsy, you hang on for some warmer temperatures!  Anyhow, at 6 AM the vet called and let us know that she had pulled two live kids, one doe and one buck, at 11:30 last night.  They are doing fairly well, although the buckling may have had some ataxia (oxygen depravation), and he was the one they were watching.  But we were free to come and liberate them!

Betsy’s buckling in a food coma. He also has some trouble with his leg coordination right now

And so we toodled to Monmouth and picked up Betsy and kids.  The vets had gotten them started on bottles, with Betsy’s colostrum mixed with milk replacer, because they needed sustenance right away, and also because nursing two kids is not going to be to Betsy’s advantage.  She had gotten very thin in the last few weeks and she needs all her strength for herself, not to put into making milk.  The little doe is very vociferous and takes the bottle well, but the buck wants nothing to do with the bottle.  He just wants mama!  He will be our challenge.  Luckily I planned ahead and milked Eleganza and saved quite a bit of her colostrum, and also a few quarts of her milk.  That will definitely help us along here.

It is so bitterly cold that when we got them home, I relented and borrowed a friend’s heat lamp.  Betsy doesn’t have the resources to keep herself warm enough, let alone the babies.  They are all nestled up together under the lamp tonight, and the buckling must be getting enough to eat because his temperature is over 102.  But as with everything else, we will keep checking and deciding how to proceed.

The weather service claims that the windchill advisory will be over first thing in the morning.  I really hope that is true!  This is inhuman.  I don’t know how folks manage to live in the tundra regions.  Mind-numbing wind is a force to be reckoned with, for sure.  I can’t say that I am looking forward to a foot of snow on Tuesday and Wednesday, but if it’s in the high 20s, I will live with it, happily :*)  (I may need to remind myself of this as we are so quick to forget, and everything is relative, right?).

Blizzard 2017

Looking out the living room window to the west, where the almost 5' tall Rugosas are looking like dwarves in the drifting snow
Looking out the living room window to the west, where the almost 5′ tall Rugosas are looking like dwarves in the drifting snow

Has definitely been here.  It’s almost gone, but the work entailed in dealing with it is going to take at least another day.  What a mess.

Greenhouse snow caves
Greenhouse snow caves.  Our fences appear to be getting shorter as well!

It certainly is a beautiful, white world out there, and the snow is light, but when 2 feet of it falls in such a short time, it’s not so light to remove :*)  We will deal better tomorrow with the paddocks, but for now the goats are fine in their houses, which really are looking more like snow caves tonight.  Even the metal donkey shelter (portahut) is covered in snow, as it’s so high up the sides, the stuff on top had nowhere to go.  I don’t know how much snow the wind will shift tonight, as it is roaring again out there, with 30-40 mph gusts.

Stuff this deep is really a struggle for me to get through as I am so short.  But I have to say that the goats are doing well, and when we showed up at 3 this afternoon for the supper run, Pippi broke a trail through to the new greenhouse, where she knew the grain would be offered.  She actually almost knocked me down going past.  Fergus, however, stopped to jump up and say hello, and see if he could get my hat from me before I noticed.  Not a chance, Fergus!

Ut oh, you can't change direction on a path that narrow!
Ut oh, you can’t change direction on a path that narrow!

Most of the photos I took look like nothing but white, with a few higher white things sticking up here and there.  But it was a doozy, and we are supposed to be seeing a storm Wednesday night into Thursday that could bring another 6+ inches.  I truly hope not!

Last Sunday in November, 2016

Was a totally grey one.  November has been pretty true to form, and as the leaves have finally left the trees, we have seen almost no sunny days.  It’s ok, this is what November is all about.  Good knitting and cooking weather!

Guinea hen cup and new skin cream.
Guinea hen cup and new skin cream.

This morning I made my annual trek to Maple Lane Pottery‘s annual small business weekend sale.  I love Robbi, and she not only has a great lineup of pottery items, but she has a few other small business folk there as well.  Cari Balbo of Ridge Pond Herbals was there and I was able to get my new supply of winter face and skin creams in.  It’s always fun and I could not restrain myself when I saw that Robbi had a mug with Guinea Fowl painted on it.  How could I pass that up???

In the Ruit Farm goat world, we decided that today would be the day to take Reddog the Buck out of circulation.  We have had him in with the 4 girls since Wednesday, October 12th, which makes it a total of 46 days.  Goats have an estrus cycle of anywhere from 17-24 days, but the average is about 21 days.  So we are a little over two average cycles, and no one has really appeared to be in a second heat.  Reddog has spent most of his recent time at the fenceline, ogling the girls over there, hoping for some action.  Poor guy, he really didn’t have too much of a challenge with just 4 does to breed.

After we moved Reddog back into the buck paddock with Oreo and Jingle the donkey, we opened the gate between the two girl paddocks.  And there we had our afternoon entertainment!  It took a few minutes for one of them to find the door, but after that, it was a free-for-all of head butting and running around.  Beezus, who has been sharing a pen with Saffron and Battie, the Guernsey girls, turned around and pursued Saffron for at least a half hour.  They were nuts.  Fergus the buckling took the opportunity to try his moves on Pippi while she was busy fighting off all comers from the top of the big rock.  I have to give him lots of points, he really keeps trying!  Zelda the beautiful wandered into the opposite pen and found a new head-scratching post, and ignored the rest of the fray.  Always a work in progress.

Zelda checking out the other side of the fence
Zelda checking out the other side of the fence

And so it goes.  I am hoping that my friend Jane, who co-owns Reddog, can come by and pick him up soon so that he can do some work at her farm.   3 of the non-bred girls are currently for sale, and even though I thought they were spoken for, I think I may need to re-advertise them.  It’s all good.  I only want Zelda, Pickles and Sassafras to go to a good home with someone who will really appreciate all that they have to offer.

And, I can’t believe it’s almost December!

Happy Thanksgiving 2016

My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along
My sage has not died back yet, and the turkey was happy to invite it along

A little late, I know, but I hope everyone out there had a wonderful day with family, friends, or just on their own.  (One of my most interesting Thanksgivings was when I was a junior in high school and my parents had gone to Portugal or Spain with my uncle Morty, supposedly for 4 days, the weekend before Thanksgiving.  I think it was to look at what eventually became known as ‘time shares’ and they were offered another free three days, which they took advantage of, but which also meant that they couldn’t make it back for the holiday.  My dog Jason, the sweet Bedlington terrier and I, had a vegetarian Thanksgiving all by ourselves. Well, he ate meat, I did not.  I think I had broccoli and stuffing.  It was a very instructive and insightful holiday!).

Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua
Tesser the 14 and a half year old Chihuahua, in front of the wood stove, of course!

Anyhow, not being a vegetarian any more, we had a lovely, if very low-key day yesterday with a 22 pound turkey.  Just the three of us and Tesser the Chihuahua.  Of course I make the same amount of food no matter who is coming, because it’s all about the leftovers for me!  The only thing I did not do was hors d’oeuvres, because without real company, it didn’t seem all that important.  We had a toast to our lovely neighbor who passed away this past August, as she (and previously her husband Jim) had been a fixture here every Thanksgiving since we moved in 13 years ago.  And then we took our time eating our lovely dinner, all of us in something other than holiday garb, and closer to the PJ side of things.  A most relaxing day.  (The goaties got to celebrate with some celery and romaine leaves).

Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!
Pumpkin/cheesecake pie, mostly taken from the Smitten Kitchen recipe. Delicious!

And so it goes.  It’s a very grey and rawly damp November day here today.  I had a morning visit with a good friend, and then came home to sit by the woodstove and perhaps do a little knitting or spinning.  I slept in until a shocking 7 am this morning and have absolutely no reason to be tired, but a quick nap on a day like this could be just the ticket.  I love Thanksgiving :*)

A Tasty mess

Grating beets is a total mess!
Grating beets is a total mess!

I have been hoarding a bag of really beautiful beets from a friend’s garden.  My plan right along has been to make a nice pot of winter borscht.  I have not made summer or winter borscht in a few years.

When I make borscht in the summer it is a very simple recipe:  mostly just beets, some veggie stock or chicken stock, some onions and it’s pretty much done.  Eat it cold with sour cream or yogurt, and it’s just perfect.

After the chopped cabbage goes in
After the chopped cabbage goes in

My winter recipe, however, is something that I rarely make because it is quite the time consuming affair – have to start it early in the day.  And so I just have to mention it again!  Retirement has offered me the opportunity to make a recipe like this on a weekday.  What fun :*)

There are hundreds of variations on borscht, and no one agrees on much when it comes to a definitive recipe.  My mother always used beef stock in her winter borscht, but no actual meat in the soup, and she never added chopped cabbage.  I have used meat in it for the last 30 years because my husband can’t stand to eat a meal without meat tucked in somewhere.  (If you want to make it a kosher meal, obviously you would not add sour cream to it at the end).  I have begun shredding the beets instead of dicing them up more recently…  I saw it in someone’s recipe, perhaps one from Joan Nathan, as I like her stuff.

Looking pretty good!
Looking pretty good!

Anyhow, I started the whole process about 7:30 this morning, and it’s still simmering away.  The cleanup continues, although there is no help for my beety red hands!  Even though I am looking forward to this for dinner tonight, it’s definitely better the next day.  My one poor bit of planning is that I didn’t set up bread yesterday for baking up today.  Poor us!  Maybe biscuits will have to do for tonight.  Such problems!

Almost there

Fergus
Fergus

Sorry to have been away for so long, but things at work have been cranking.  It’s the end of the school year as well as the end of my work career.  Wow!

Saffron waits patiently
Saffron waits patiently

And so it goes.  The goat kids are growing like hot cakes and the weather is getting more beautiful every day.  It’s almost summer, and I can hardly wait!

Tomorrow should be my last day at work.  I will be breathing more easily after that.

Whew!

April vacay week

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My last April vacation week ever!  The best part?  The Peepers are back!  (I love those little guys and wait for them each spring).

Otherwise, the weather has totally cooperated, and there was a lot of activity around here.  I really wanted to do some fun things with friends, but I also really needed to get some house and paddock work done.

Pemaquid Point lighthouse today
Pemaquid Point lighthouse today

Today my son and I did some alternative cattle panel fencing and gate moving for the boy goats and Jingle the donkey.  That took awhile, and afterward we ran an errand, and kept going down to Pemaquid Point lighthouse.  It was a fantastically beautiful day.  The sun was warm, the breezes were stiff, and the sky was as blue as ever.  We ended up in Damariscotta to make a Reny’s run, and then I went to the chiropractor.  After that, I had a lovely rest in the sun and I got some reading in.  Spent some time this afternoon with the goats, and then took a lovely bath.

Most of the week has been organizing and cleaning out spaces like the mudroom (ugh!).  We are selling one of our giant chest freezers, and it took the day on Tuesday to clean out, organize and re-assign items to other freezers.  But it’s done!

Yesterday I spent the day in Portland with some friends, and we had a fantastic lunch at Paciarino, then went to Standard Baking Company, Micucci’s Italian grocery, and then to Trader Joe’s.  Exhausting but fun!

Tomorrow will prove to be somewhat boring.  I still have to clean out and re-organize the lower pantry cupboard cabinets in the mudroom.  It will be a relief to get it done and over with, however!  There is much more organizing to do in the house, but this was a great start.  And the week isn’t over yet, so more fun to come, I hope!

Happy Friday

IMG_1020Shabbat shalom to everyone out there!  It’s a beautiful Friday afternoon and the wind is blowing, but it’s sunny and amazingly beautiful (made more so by the fact that it’s the eve of April break!).

And so it goes.  I have my feet up and a good book in my hand (The Friendship Riddle by Megan Frazer Blakemore). Leftovers waiting for dinner.  And, let’s not forget, a glass of wine :*)

Can it be spring?

Pickles has opinions
Pickles has opinions

I don’t know!  I think it’s close.  I am dying to be outside and enjoying the sun.  One more day until April vacation begins.  I am  looking forward to it more than I can say.

I feel like I am starting to have a weekly blog instead of a roughly every-other-day-blog.  But it’s okay.

Reddog is enjoying the sun
Reddog is enjoying the sun

Things are chugging along as usual.  Nothing out of place.  Waiting for our next goat kids which are due in May.  Cleaning up around the farm, trying to get our pigeon pairs together.  Reading some new YA books and going to the chiropractor to see if I can get my hip up to par.  So far it’s really helping.  Walking is much improved and I am feeling better in general.  Just hanging in the paddocks in the sun with the goats in every spare moment.

30 some days left in the school year.  Yahoo!