Tag Archives: Battie the Golden Guernsey Goat

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 :*)

Long days and short nights

Twig just loves the empty hay feeder!

That’s what kidding and lambing season is all about.  And in the midst of all this, I got sick last week with an upper respiratory, and then on Monday woke up with an atomic head cold to go along with it.  I guess that’s what spending most of the weekend outside in the bitter wind did for me.  Ah well, I have to say that I don’t get sick like this often, and it is frequently in March!

The Adventurers’ Club!

Aside from trying to get as much rest as possible, one of the biggest problems we have had on our hands, however,  has been our yearling doe Betsy.  She was shaping up like she was close to going into labor two or three times, but then didn’t, and that was two weeks ago.  Then she began to show signs of pregnancy toxemia.  And so for the last week we have been treating her for this, but her appetite didn’t come back, and she really was losing vigor and tone.  Not having a due date on her I really felt like so many things could be going on, and was beginning to be scared for her.  So yesterday I made the decision to take her to a vet that is not close by, but who has a large animal practice, and the capability of doing just about anything for small ruminants and horses right there.

We determined that she is close to having a natural labor, but the babies are so big and mal-positioned, that we ended up leaving her to be induced, and the vets very likely are going to have to do some kid pulling.  When I saw the X-rays, I knew it was well beyond my skill level.  I am hoping for a good outcome for Betsy in particular, she is my first priority.  We are cautiously optimistic about the outcome for the kids as well.  But that is definitely a bigger ‘if’ right now.  We are waiting for word sometime after late afternoon today, or anytime into tomorrow.

And so here at home her mama Battie is mooning about the place looking in every nook and cranny for her baby.  Sam found her wandering the paddock late last night peeking into every corner up there.  I always feel bad when I have to separate family units.  Hopefully Betsy will be home quite soon and in the pink again as well.

Cheese train is definitely running again

Marinated chevre!
Marinated chevre!

The Train is on a full schedule these days.  I am only milking two of the goats, Pippi and Battie, but each milking is getting me 3/4 of a gallon.  This means that every 48 hours I have enough milk to begin a new 3-gallon batch of chevre (with leftover milkiness for my grandson and for anyone who wants it in coffee).  It’s lovely!  As the lactation season goes through its cycle, I get more and firmer curd structure, so I actually can get more cheese per gallon than I do early in the lactation cycle.  Yesterday I got 15 chevre forms out of the 3 gallons, and earlier in the season I was lucky if I got 8 or 9.

Draining the chevre
Draining the chevre

Most of my days are spent on the chores surrounding handling milk and cheese.  Sanitizing!  But it’s worth it.  I will end up with a good amount in the freezer to dole out during the long winter and the early spring.  If I can find a day when I am not running in 20 directions, I have to  try and make some more Haloumi and Mozzarella as well.

A peek at the draining cheeses
A peek at the draining cheeses

Maybe I will be able to dabble in some aged cheeses as well this fall.  If I can find a wine cooler, and then also dig out a place to put it.  Definitely a work in progress!

Saturday again

Blue sky day
Blue sky day

And so it goes.  Weeks are flying by, and as we head into Spring we come to a screeching halt with some really frigid temperatures arriving on Sunday night.  These things happen, but after it warms up later on in the week, I really think I need to uncover my garlic!

Baby Betsy's favorite place
Baby Betsy’s favorite place

Saffron continues to improve, and she was even doing a little dance this morning.  Betsy the Bruiser will be 3 weeks old tomorrow, and she is romping and running up a storm.  Battie can’t keep up with her!

Battie and her girl
Battie and her girl

None of the other goats are due until early May, so we are watching carefully and making sure they are eating well and getting some good exercise.  Rain this afternoon and evening, so I started a batch of Ken Forkish’s bread recipe for a Biga starter last night (from the book Flour Water Salt Yeast).  It’s looking promising so far!

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!

Waiting for Battie

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When we bought Battie from Ardelia Farm last fall, she was bred.  We didn’t have any hard and fast due date, but they thought that she might be due the end of February, or the very beginning of March.  Well, needless to say, she did not have any kids at the end of February!

I was obsessive about checking her udder development, and in the last few days we did see some development.  We checked her around the clock, losing quite a bit of sleep, but every day she went up to the feeder and kept at it, never exhibiting any behavior that would indicate she was in labor.

Last night I was at a friend’s house helping out with a sick lamb, and didn’t get home until the wee hours, which are way past my usual bedtime.  And this morning everything looked fine, and i had to go to a meeting up in Searsport, an hour from here.  My son was on the job, and almost at midday, I got the phone call.  Battie is pushing and i can’t see anything outside of a water bag!

Everything turned out okay.  Battie was a champ, and had her baby all by herself, and was only really in active labor for about a half hour.  She is a first-timer, and had a single.  A beautiful doe!  She was up and about in a short time, and a friend of ours came by to see that everything was going correctly, as my son has never seen a birth before.  It all worked out well.  Our girl is a 7 pounder, and quite the independent spirit!  She is a beauty.

Our first Golden Guernsey born on the farm!

Checking in

There is definitely something going on!
There is definitely something going on!

This past two weeks have been busy, busy, busy, and in the middle of it all the cold I thought I was getting over, got worse.  Such is life at the end of February and the beginning of March.

Last weekend was a wild one, however.  I had a blast at the NETA Spa Knit and Spin in Freeport.  I help out with the organizational side, so we were over there before the vendors got there to set up at the Hilton Garden, and left as they were leaving on Sunday morning.  Quite a few of the ladies in my spinning group were there, and we all had a great time (knitting, swimming, hanging out, shopping, napping, reading, swimming.  You get the idea!)  The Fashion Show on Saturday evening was great, as always.  People are so darn creative and get so much done from one year to the next that it blows my mind.  It would have been much more enjoyable if I had not lost my voice by Saturday morning, but these things happen (emceeing the fashion show was a challenge!).  Flickr feed photos of the weekend are here.  (More photos will continue to be added).

Battie the licker
Battie the licker

Battie the Golden Guernsey goat is still not looking close to kidding yet.  We have added in a late night check so they will be used to seeing us out there at all times of the day and night, but this is crazy-making.  By the time the kids are born, we will be dragging with exhaustion!  It’s always the way.  A friend who breeds angora goats recommended that we get a baby monitor.  Our setup is almost 300 feet from the house, but I may give it a try.  It won’t replace the visual checks, but it sure would be a help in the wee hours if something gets going.  We shall see.  I can’t wait to welcome those little goaties (or goatie), but I do wish she might wait long enough for the much warmer weather that is forecast for the coming week.  It’s bitter cold with a mind-numbing windchill right now and through tomorrow.  She will do what she will do, but we can hope!

We got home, eventually
We got home, eventually

Then this past Tuesday afternoon my son and I drove up to get a load of hay in the new/used truck.  Everything went well to begin with.  It was the first time I had driven it and I enjoyed being able to get in much more easily than into the old truck .  On the way home down Route 1, however, we had a blowout.  Back tire was just rotted from sitting for a few years.  The men had all examined them before we drove the truck home, but after a little bit of use, I think the tire just breathed its last.  It was quite cold, and sitting in the truck waiting for the flatbed, I definitely got chilled.  But we got home.  The tow truck driver was a great guy, and all is well.  Thank you, AAA!  New tires on the list, maybe for this week.  I hope.

The only other thing that has happened in the past week or so is that I finally got up to the Maine State Employees Retirement people and filled out all my pension paperwork.  It’s official!  As an already retired friend of mine said, it was a little anticlimactic; she felt as though she should have had to sign her name in a huge, leather-bound book with gilt-edged pages.  Just some IRS forms and a few others, and that was that.  The end of a career and the beginning of a new chapter in life.

Can’t wait!


Here’s to hoping the Siberian Blast is over

SnowPea is a nosy noodle!
SnowPea is a nosy noodle!

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.

Battie's window on the world.
Battie’s window on the world.

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!

Reddog is the man!
Reddog is the man!

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!