Category Archives: Weather

Greening

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!

 

Slowly

Peanut lounging in one end of the old greenhouse this morning

But surely spring is showing itself to us.  The end of this past week was very warm, unnaturally so, but this weekend has been mostly sunny and breezy, with more normal temperatures in the 60s (F).

Battie’s beautiful girl watches from the back of the greenhouse

As the leaves are finally popping out, we have been moving toward making the new greenhouse more amenable in the warmer weather.  We already removed all the sectioning panels that we had up during the kidding months, and Sam cleaned out all the old straw, hay and debris.  The last of the ice that was lingering under all those layers of straw is finally gone!  It’s a big, wide open space now so the girls can find a spot with their babies without getting nudged by someone else.

Open greenhouse gable end, difficult to see properly

The only thing left to do, however, was to figure out when it would be advisable to take the plywood off the driveway gable end of the greenhouse.  That end was totally closed off, which is the north side, so it was a huge help during the winter.  But now it is becoming important to get some air moving through there, so Sam took it down on Friday.  It has made a big difference, and I am glad, it was time!  I am not a fan of really hot, humid weather, but when it does come, at least we will have about as much air circulation as possible.  The goats seem to appreciate it, and our Peanut has another vantage point from which to watch for our approach!  She is using it well :*)

Baby pile in the morning sun

I was able to sneak up on her this morning and get a photo after she had her bottle and was lounging next to another baby pile.  They were all happy and dozing in the sun.

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).

No sun yet

Bobbin full of single ply Romney/silk yarn

It feels like it’s been forever since we saw the sun.  For a moment or two this morning the sky brightened, but in the end it just led to more clouds.  The temperature feels like it is inching up, though, which is definitely a plus!

2-ply skeins of the Romney/silk

On these gloomy days I have been catching up on herd paperwork, and doing some plying.  I have spun up quite a bit of my backlog, but I hate to ply, so I frequently put that off until I can’t find another empty bobbin to put on the wheel.  I know, silly!

While spinning, I have been listening to Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising sequence audiobooks, and am on the 2nd one, The Dark is Rising.  I read this and the prequel, Over Sea, Under Stone, many years ago, but am enjoying it again.  I had never read farther into the series, though, so I am looking forward to the others as well.  Susan Cooper is a wonderful author who has written more than just this series, one of my favorites being The Boggart.  I am not a serious fan of heavy duty fantasy, but the battle between The Dark and The Light in many of her books is a timeless theme, and she does it very well, with believable, complex characters.  It also helps that these books take place in some pretty dramatic places, like Cornwall!

Peanut with her morning bottle

Peanut is continuing to do well, staying outside all day with the others, and coming in about dark.  She hasn’t made the transition to a three bottle a day schedule yet, but I think she is close.  She knows where to go when she wants a nap, and plays hard with the others when she wants.  I don’t fear for her safety with the others, but we will wait until after the Mother’s Day rain deluge to leave her out at night.

Oh my, I can see a slice of blue sky in the distance!  Shocking!

 

Peanut is growing up!

Even though we are having a pretty grey run of weather with never ending mud, the days are just flying by.  I have been getting a backlog of spinning projects going, and over the weekend my grandson and I went up to Maple Lane Pottery to visit during the Maine Pottery tour.  We had a lot of fun, and got to make some pinch pots in Robbi’s studio.

Peanut’s little den in the living room

On the farm front, Peanut continues to grow like a weed, and she is now spending all day every day outside with her friends.  She has really matured quite a bit in the last week, and can hold her own even with most of the mamas.  When she came in last night for her last bottle and bed, she ran right over to the little container that I have had out for her and gobbled up all the sweet grain that was in it.

Peanut has nighttime “quarters” in the upstairs bathroom, where she can move around and she has her sleeping tub, but we also have a large dog crate in the living room (I know, the things you find in farmers’ homes) for her.  She has her hay and grain in there, along with some salt and mineral mix.  She is doing very well with the hay, for sure.

Pippi babysits the crew on the rock

And so I think that when this run of nasty, drippy, damply cool weather is over, the middle of next week may be our target for getting Peanut outside for the overnights as well.  She is still taking four 12 oz bottles a day, so we shall see if she cuts back on that to three or not.  That makes it just a little bit easier on us!  Every evening when she joins us back in the house she looks bigger to me, and doesn’t look for much cuddling any more.  Wah, wah!  Our little Peanut is growing up :*)

Peanut and the herd

Peanut the house goat is plotting a leap onto my lap!

The past week has flown by and I just have not gotten my blog mojo on!  Tired at night in this drizzly, grey weather.  Dealing with a house Peanut is also keeping us busy, as all her systems are on green light, and I cannot seem to keep the diapers on her.  So we are constantly cleaning up while she is in the house.

Busy moms and babies in the greenhouse

We are trying to get our little goat integrated into the herd of babies and mamas, but it has presented its challenges.  She seems to do fine when the youngest of the babies are out playing and she fits right in with them.  The older ones can be a little pushy, and the moms mostly have no use for her and if she is not careful, they can do some damage.  Yesterday it poured all day, so we only had her out during chore times.  This morning she came out at chore time and we left her up there, but it turned damp and raw, and we found her kicked out of the greenhouse, huddled up by the fence shivering, late in the morning.  So we brought her in for an hour to have her bottle, then got her back up there.  The temperature has improved, even if the grey skies have not.

A napping Peanut

So we are hoping for some slightly warmer weather, but it looks unsettled with rain and fog on and off for the next week.  The weekend, however, looks like a winner!  We shall see.  I am not anxious for the blackflies, but it will be nice to see the sun again sometime, with some slightly warmer temperatures!  Spring in Maine, never a dull moment.  (Or maybe many dull moments with a few grateful sightings of the sun!).  And until then, we will keep getting our Peanut out with the others and watching carefully.  We have had house goats and lambs in the past and I know they get out there into the mix in the end.  It just feels like forever!

 

Tuesday, beautiful weather and more kids

Hagrid, resting by the feeder

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, for sure.  We had a visit from the vet to try and get our three babies from last week disbudded, but their horn buds were too big already.  That’s a disappointment, because I don’t like horns in my herd, but it’s possible that there are folks out there that will be fine with two Guernsey does with horns.  Our half Lamancha/half Guernsey boy, Hagrid, (he was the giant baby born last week to Pippi), may be desirable to someone as well.  He is a real sweetie!  On the plus side, she took care of Jingle the Donkey’s yearly exam and her vaccines, so it was not a wasted trip.

Edna and her new babies

Two of the does that we got in December are the ones that were still holding out as of this morning, even though they have looked like they would explode if you touched them, for the last few weeks.  Today at 11 we went out to check on everyone, and then I ran to a friend’s house to pick up a few things.  While I was there, about noontime, I got a text telling me that Edna had twins and they were up and cleaned off already!  It’s a buck and a doe, and they are doing well.  Edna is a good mom, and they are hunkered down and happy in the new greenhouse.  Edna ate more this afternoon than she has eaten in a week!

Edna and her little doe (I think!)

And so now Dorcas is the last holdout.  I know the full Pink Moon was at it’s height at about 2 AM this morning, but it will probably still look full tonight if the clouds have not moved in yet.  And so, who knows?  We may have more goat babies tonight.  You just never know.

Waiting, still waiting

Dorcas with the orange collar, and Edna, the other slacker, just behind her

We are still waiting for our last two does to kid (Dorcas and Edna).  They both look more than ready, but nothing appears to be happening.  I feel like time is running backwards, somehow.

Peanut takes over the chihuahua’s bed whenever she has a chance

But on the brighter side, our little Peanut is doing very well.  She has gained some weight (a little over a pound), and she is very active, tappy-tapping around the house (and ticking off the chihuahua into the bargain).  She got up on the bottom stair yesterday, but luckily she did not get any farther.  She follows us around like a puppy, and I find myself doing the ‘puppy shuffle’ so I don’t step on her!  She is also taking more milk at each feeding, which is a good thing.

We have had to close Fergus the sweet buck off from the girls until his neutering.  He is going this Friday.  I know that he will still be fertile for awhile after the surgery, but it’s just a matter of time now.  Hopefully his physical recuperation will go smoothly, and as the weather gets nicer, he will eventually be able to rejoin the girls.

Finding the rock is a great place to play king of the hill

And so it goes.  It is a dreary week, and everything we want to do outside feels like a bigger job than it really is.  And today is bone-chillingly damp.  Oh well, it is Maine in the springtime!  But the moms and babies have had their paddock opened up to the middle section now, and the babies have the big rock to play on.  It didn’t take long for them to start taking advantage of it!

Another day, another set of twins

The blondie in the back is the buck, and miss red head in the front is the doe. Cute as button!

And here we go!  Battie did not show up for her afternoon suppertime, and at the time, we didn’t notice until everything was over.  I was feeding the bottle lambs, and Sam was doling out the grain.  When we looked in the other greenhouse, there lay Battie, facing the corner, not doing much.  This was about 2:30 PM.

Battie’s doe and buck

We watched her for awhile, and then we went back to the house.  I got into the bathtub and soaked for awhile, but when I was getting dressed, I noticed Sam jogging up the driveway.  Not a good sign!  He had heard Battie bellowing up in the greenhouse, and guessed what was going on.  He got there just as her buckling hit the ground.  He got her moved into a jug, and that’s when her little red doeling came dropping in.  (We actually thought the doeling wasn’t a viable baby.  She was flat as a pancake, wasn’t moving, and wasn’t breathing).  We got her nose cleared off and there she was, right as rain.  Little spitfire!

Another 9 or 10″ of snow yesterday. No foot paths for the goaties first thing this morning

I wasn’t really expecting Battie to be due for another two weeks.  When I put Reddog in with my group on October 12, I knew that he had been all over Battie, but he also seriously bred her for a full day almost 3 weeks later.  So I had the second date on my calendar.  Just goes to show you, you never can tell!

On another note, we took Betsy’s babies away from her this morning.  Every time she got up, both of them were at her and never let her have a minute of non-nursing.  I put them in the jug right next to her, so they can stick their heads through the panel and chat, but no milkies.  I don’t think I have ever been given the stink eye from a goat the way Betsy gave me one this morning, but I think in the long run it’s going to be better.  She stared at them morosely for a few hours, and by early this afternoon, she was frantically eating hay.  And when all the hullaballoo started with Battie, she couldn’t contain herself, standing with her front hooves on the panel, watching and trying to see what was happening.  That’s more like most goats I know!  Noseybodies, one and all.  When I went out to bottle feed her babies at 7 PM, she was still ravenously attacking her hay, and the babies were just happily cuddled up in a corner of their pen.  I actually had to wake them up.  So I think things are progressing well.  I just have my fingers crossed that Betsy keeps moving forward with her nutrition.

What a day!  I think a glass of wine is in order!  Someone else is doing the 11 PM bottle feeding tonight.  That’s a huge gift :*)

Snowstorm Stella

Fergus at the gate. Complaining, as usual!

They have been promising us another blizzard-type storm.  And it is here.  Blustery and blowing from the north, it’s a white world again.  Not what any of us want to see in March, but this is Maine so that’s how it rolls!  (I won’t curse here, I promise).

Betsy and the little ones

We are definitely keeping busy with Betsy and her little ones.  Betsy is coming along slowly, and I am hoping that she revs into high gear sooner rather than later and gets some eating done.  We need to put some weight on her (we are doing all the supportive appetite-inducing things, as well as making sure she has vitamins, probiotics and plenty of minerals, salt, etc).  Even though we are bottle feeding those little bugs, they continue to nosh on her as well.  At some point I need to decide whether or not it is putting too much stress on her, and if I think it is, I will have to take the babies away.  I really don’t want to do that, they all need each other and that could be just as stressful to Betsy, but as the vets say, she is in a ‘negative energy’ zone right now, and I hate to think of her body trying to produce the milk for those hungry, hungry twins.  Sigh.  It’s always something on a farm!

Betsy’s little doeling enjoying some head scratches

Dorcas is the next doe in the lineup, and she could freshen at any point.  Difficult to tell, and most of our attention is focused elsewhere, so I suspect she will have a big surprise for us any time now.  And that will be the halfway mark for us.  4 more girls are due end of March, beginning of April.

Twig in the feeder, looking like a good farm kid with a stalk of hay in her mouth.

The 4 older kids are having plenty of action-packed adventures in the meantime.  They can’t help but have fun, because 4 is much more exciting than 2!  They love to run the fenceline and torment Fergus the buck on the other side.  He very sweetly sniffs them through the fence, and then they hippity hop away to torment someone else.  For a few days there Olive, one of Delta’s girls, was trying to sneak treats from Eleganza.  El is wise to her now, but for a few minutes there I thought Olive was going to get away with it.  They are all too funny.  And Twig has figured out how to get into the Sydell blue tub feeder…  that is one of the highlights of every goat kid’s life!  It’s not a perfect design, because of that, but none of the work-arounds I have tried keep them out.  And so it goes.  A goat kid’s world is a wonderful place, most of the time.

Just about time for afternoon chores.  Time to go out in the storm.  Ugh.  They say this one is a fast-mover, and I hope they are correct!