This month feels like it has just flown by. Busy days, and for the most part, beautiful ones. We have had our share of the hot-and-humids, however, and I think this may have been part of the catalyst for the Coccidiosis outbreak in two of the baby goats.
I am always on the watch for things like this, but we have not had any cocci episodes here since we had lambs, a few years ago now. It also usually hits us when we are having a very wet spring and summer. As we are in a pretty extreme drought, it kind of surprised me.
But the really humid and hot weather is very stressful on the goats, particularly the young ones. Our Fergus was the first to turn into Mr. PoopyPants, and then within a day or two the white buckling started. We got the sulpha powder mixed up and going pretty quickly, but it’s a rough ride, even when the diarrhea stops within a day. Sulpha drugs are hard on anyone, and when you are only 20 or 25 lbs., it’s not so nice. We are doing vitamins as well, and they seem to be responding.
And as it is August, it is haytime. We have a very lovely hay dealer who keeps our hay and we can go and get it when we need it, but that is for the first cutting bales. A good friend of ours recently decided to cut his really nice hay field for a second cutting. His neighbor does a first cut, but for some reason isn’t interested in doing a second. I was definitely interested, and today was the day we had to pick it up in the field. It was great to see Matt, and he even played farm boy for the day and helped us transport the goods. Nice to see our second greenhouse having such a nice collection of bales going into the winter.
The crickets seem to agree. I love going to sleep by their singing. Reminds me of childhood vacations on Cape Cod with my cousins!
And so it goes! Going, going and gone. The last moments of my last vacation are upon me. It has been a good week, quite productive, and if I must do my Puritanical inventory, I did get a lot accomplished. Not as much as was on my list, but it was good.
It’s funny, but in the last year or so, looking down the barrel of retirement, I have tried to set myself up for all the things that I want to do. Spinning, knitting, weaving, felting, sewing. Guernsey goats and lots of cheese and milk. I have found one of my dream looms (the Bergman), and gotten involved in my dream goat breed, the Golden Guernseys.
As far as the sewing goes, I have been planning on doing quite a bit of sewing with Maine Fiberarts, as well as with other friends who are good with fabric and machines. But I have a 1951 Singer in a cabinet that is heavy as all get-out. And so I have been searching very off-handedly for a Singer Featherweight for the last 6 months or so. Unbelievably, I found one on Craig’s List this past week (and it was not priced out of my reach). My husband and I were able to meet with the very nice lady who was selling it. We met at Barnes and Noble in Augusta yesterday morning. What a great little machine! I am looking forward to many happy hours with her.
Winter break is here and I am enjoying it to the max! We had our grandson for the past 3 days which was a lot of fun. The only downside to the last few days was the weather, with temperatures in the negative numbers overnight, and a lot of wind. That seems to have passed, and we are looking at rain/snow/ice tonight, and temperatures close to 45F tomorrow. Wacko. We will see how that works out.
I have some visits scheduled this week with some old friends, and I am loving the non-stressful days. The goats have come through the really painful cold spell and wind, and are doing okay. I am monitoring Battie the Golden Guernsey very carefully, as she is possibly due to kid in a few weeks. We do not have a firm timeline on this, but I am making sure to put hands on her udder, belly and back near her tail every day, at least twice. (I have seen some baby activity, which is very exciting!) So we are taking as many precautions as we can. Toward the end of the week i need to put a kidding pen together for the big event. I am hoping I do not have to begin making those midnight check-ins too soon!
And on another note, it looks as though Reddog the Golden Guernsey buckling is feeling his male oats. Sassafrass, one of SnowPea’s 2015 twins, was in heat two days ago, and he seemed to be performing his buckley duties. I definitely have the date on my calendar!
We think. Tomorrow is predicted to be one of the coldest days of the season. High of 24F. Today it was in the 40s. And it rained. And rained. I know we have had a few lovely days in the past week or two, but the overall feeling is of the grey sky and damp. My arthritis is killing me. It definitely does not feel like December.
Enough complaining, though. It is past the Solstice, and we are still just wearing light jackets. Not too shabby! My husband keeps the wood stove going, and dollars to donuts, we have to keep opening the back door or the windows. (I get where he is coming from; he hates to have to restart a fire everyday, so he wants to just keep it humming along. Sometimes that humming is to the tune of 80F in the house. Too hot for me!) So it is this season. Warm so far. It feels more like a spring mud season than the end of December. Mud and water galore in the paddocks. The donkey didn’t want to go into her shelter in the last few days, and we finally realized that it was too wet where we had placed it over the summer. We moved it this morning, thanks Sam, and now she is cozying into it.
Anyhow, it’s the holiday break and I am loving it. Sleeping in until 6:30 a.m. Lingering over coffee in the morning. Not getting dressed until I have to. Reading into the night. I must be in training for retirement. Hmm. Sounds good to me!
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!
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.
Always a difficult thing. 5 of us spent a very satisfying and lovely 4 days out on Vinalhaven. We got back on Sunday afternoon, and I have been running ever since. Some work-related meetings as well as just trying to get down to business at home with all the crazy projects I have been wanting to try and do. It’s hot and muggy again as well, and I do not function well at all on these days. The Vinalhaven fiber retreat was balm to our exhausted souls! We all got quite a bit of knitting and spinning done, and we even had an indigo dye day, thanks to Pam of Hatchtown Farm. Once we saw what the results were like, we all scurried around looking for more items to pop into the bucket! One of our merry group grabbed an old canvas hat out of her car and I tie-dyed one of my beloved sleeveless t-shirts. What a hoot! Good times with good friends is what it’s all about. Now I guess it’s time to get back to the daily grind. And while I am doing that, I will be able to dwell fondly on the lovely, restful and fun outing that we were lucky enough to have. Until next summer!
I love getting into the summer routine. We have been home from NJ for a week now, and I am still not into it! Aargh! My husband has been working some days and not others; his truck is waiting for parts so that is not running, which means that I have to take him to work, and on and on. I have a list as long as my arm of things that I want to get accomplished over the summer, besides getting some R&R and doing some fun things, but I feel like I am not getting anything done right now because of the routine I have not settled into :*)
I always feel so much more productive when I get going on this! It hasn’t helped that I am not milking SnowPea yet, either. I am all in a dither. We got our new boxspring and mattress delivered on Monday (wasn’t supposed to be here until today), which meant that I had to rush around and trash the house moving stuff so that we could get the old bed upstairs and the new one into our bedroom on the first floor. The corner of the living room that meets one corner of our bedroom has been housing all manner of things that need sorting, so now that stuff is sitting in front of the recliner and the dining room table. It’s too disgusting to even take a photo of it all, I just need to dig in and get going on it (most of the “stuff” are boxes of mixed up junk papers and bills and “real” papers that just need to be sorted and filed or recycled. We do a little better now with that kind of thing, but it has never been our strong suit at all!). Sigh.
But for now, I am going up to let the younger pigeons out of the loft for a little loft toss. They usually fly around for a few minutes and then come down and sit on the roof for a little bit, and then hop back through the tunnel and gate and go in for their food. Our older flyers have been training well. This morning I took them down to what used to be Sherman Lake (now Sherman Marsh) between Damariscotta and Wiscasset, and let them go. All 14 returned, thank goodness. Currently we are missing 3 flyers, but hopefully one or two of those will turn up as they do sometimes. I just hope this crew are ready for the first young bird race in mid-August!
Maybe if I get into my routine, my mojo will improve!
Just as the school year was coming to a close, we got word that my mother in law was doing poorly again, in NJ. Even though I still had two teacher days to go (the kids were out on Friday the 19th), we hastily threw stuff into a few bags, put Tesser the Chihuahua and her bed into the car, and took off on Saturday morning the 20th.
Needless to say, my sweet mother in law really was not doing well, and within a day she had been moved to a hospice room in a rehab center near my inlaw’s home. Someone from the family was with her around the clock, and she struggled for too many days before giving in. It was a very difficult time, and living away from home was difficult, although we were very comfortable with my sister in law and I certainly enjoyed having the time with her and our nephew and his fiancee.
And so the days went, and after she passed away there were a few days to wait for the wake and the funeral. I had hoped to be able to come back to Maine and let our friend Roy have a bit of a break from the goat and pigeon care between Dot’s death and the funeral, but there wasn’t enough time. So we stayed in North Jersey and as it turned out, there were a million things to do. Being there allowed my sister in law to go back to work for a few days, and I was glad that we could be there to help out. We live so far away, I am afraid that she gets the brunt of the care on a regular basis.
Even though it has been difficult losing someone that I have known and loved for 36 years, it is a fact that she had a good life. I hope I can be as healthy at 90 as she was! And of course, the other perk that we had was having some time with our family and old friends. Sometimes it takes something out of our control to force situations like this. And the thing that saved my sanity every day there was the midnight swim in my sister in law’s pool under a glass house.
And that was the beginning of my first weeks of vacation. Let’s just hope that that is as exciting as this summer gets.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!