Category Archives: Life

That’s the plan

Fergus and Saffron at breakfast today
Fergus and Saffron at breakfast today

Waiting on all our goat blood test results is almost over.  The only test not reported out so far is the CL test (Caseous Lymphadenitis, very nasty).  The lab apparently has been backed up, and should have results for us Monday or Tuesday.  In the meantime we are going to have some fecal tests done, and just get everything tidied away before we can join our two female groups together.

Greenhouse that needs a cover
Greenhouse that needs a cover

Our vet usually does the fecals, and mostly to report on the Haemonchus Contortus worm (barberpole worm) which is the most life-threatening.  But we heard through the grapevine that some of the does that came out of the farm our does came from, have tapeworm.  Not the end of the world, and controllable, but we want to be sure before we meld the two groups.  I hate worming during gestation, and worming for tapeworms is only effective with the “white wormers,” which are not good to use during pregnancy.  And so we will have to decide how to treat them if this is a reality.  Just another hurdle to pass.  I am not overly concerned about this group’s health, they are very active and are eating well.

And so it goes.  We are almost ready to get a tarp on the greenhouse that we set up awhile ago, and hopefully it will be the kidding house.  That’s the plan, anyway!  There is always a plan…

Change is the essence of life

Pickles and Sassafras
Pickles and Sassafras

I guess!  I am feeling a little sad, as we said goodbye to Pickles and Sassafras today, SnowPea’s only twin girls, ever.  The girls are a Lamancha/Alpine cross, where their mother and grandmother were purebred Lamanchas.  The Alpine in them is how they got those big old ears!  (It was a bit of a rodeo as we took them out of the pen… Sam had them on leads, but they took off backwards, and in the process they mowed me down and took Sam for quite a ride.  But all was well, Sam never let go.  Oy.  I have a sore knee, but it will all work out!).

Dynamic Duo
Dynamic Duo

Decisions about how many animals to keep on the farm change from year to year as our needs and capabilities change.  Having slightly morphed our focus toward breeding the Guernsey goats made me have to take a really hard look at how many goats overall I really can manage to milk in a season.  Keeping more than a few girls just ends up with me only breeding half, and carrying the others along.  Not only is it more work and management, but it’s an added drain on the budget for hay and grain.  The market for crossbred goats is not huge around here.  I am hoping that the Guernsey youngsters will be more salable, so keeping some around and not milking all of them will hopefully pay off a little bit.

We shall see!  It looks as though Pickles and Sassafras are going to a wonderful home where they will have plenty of other goatie friends.  Lovely folks.   And now we are down to only one Salsa/SnowPea progeny, our little friend Fergus the Buck.  He will have to carry those wonderful milking genetics forward to some of our new girls.  It’s all good :*)

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!

This Week in America

Time change. No more Daylight Savings!
Time change. No more Daylight Savings!

I was all ready to write a post about how I believe all my breeding does are bred, but this week kind of de-railed me.  I have been extremely anxious and upset during this election season, which seemed to go on much longer than it should have, but most of us get up every day and hope for the best from our country and from the world, and keep on going.

I am an optimist and eternally cheerful and ready to meet the challenges that we have in life, and this election was definitely a big test of that point of view.  Even so, I felt sucker-punched by the outcomes of this vote which stank of hatred and intolerance.  And yet it does not totally surprise me, because there are a number of people in my family who have been feeling disenfranchised and side-lined by this country even while the economy has technically been on the “upswing.”

The breeding group at supper. Gotta watch your back, or Pippi or Reddog might bump you out of your spot!
The breeding group at supper. Gotta watch your back, or Pippi or Reddog might bump you out of your spot!

At the basis of this all is that I am totally abhorrent of hate-speak and prejudice of any kind.  I have had plenty of practice in being the person that is ignored because of background and ethnicity, even in the country of my birth.  We are a country of immigrants and need to be mindful of that always, even of those that have come to the party more recently.

Saffron the Guernsey goat. No election anxiety for her!
Saffron the Guernsey goat. No election anxiety for her!

I wish a lot of things for this country, but most of all that we can make an effort to heal ourselves.  Be the change that we want to see, be inclusive, and advocate for a language of tolerance instead of hate.  And I am on it!  Call your representatives, call your senators, call the White House after the changeover.  Make yourselves heard about what is important to you, because I know that I will be.  We need to be vigilant about all of our civil rights, and I fervently hope that we can move forward instead of back, together, as a country.  And I wish this also for the world.  Rebecca at Grongar posted a lovely segment from Carl Sagan about our world and how small and precious it is.  I hope that we all can see that in the days and years to come.

Birthday

Our sweet Saffy!
Our sweet Saffy! What a great goatie girl.

Not mine, my husband’s.  He is 65 today. Lots of wonderful phone calls, one of which was from his dad.  92 years old, but going strong!

I love chatting with my father in law, but today I was struck by the fact that I am extremely jealous.  To be having a phone call with your dad when you are 65 is a wonderful thing!  I would give anything to be talking to my dad even now, at the age of 62.  He was killed by a drunk driver, and was older when he became a father to begin with.  And so it goes.  He has been gone for 31 years, and nothing can change that.

But it was quite a day, and a beautiful summer day at that.  I am so grateful for the time I have had.  And my husband is 65, and still going strong.  A summer day to appreciate, for sure!