Tag Archives: Pippi

Pippi the grump

Yesterday dawned a beautiful day.  I am glad because it was hoof trimming Thursday!  The sun was out for the morning and it almost smelled like Spring.

I am sure I have written before about our wonderful shearer Emily.  We always had her shear the sheep when we had them, and as I have some issues with my back, she comes to us to do hooves every few months.  I don’t know what I would do without her!

Our sweet Twig

Our goatie girls have long memories (as does Jingle the donkey).  One or two of them hold grudges for quite awhile after we have someone like the vet out to see them.  Twig is actually the worst.  She wouldn’t talk to us or let us pet her for a few weeks after the vet did Rabies shots last fall.  She was seriously pissed with us.  The other one who has fits is Pippi, our Lamancha herd queen.

Pippi in a pout

When Pippi sees the vet or anyone she is not overly familiar with coming down the driveway, she tries to make herself scarce, running into the adjoining paddock and standing in the corner (you can’t see me here, right???).  All of our goats are extremely friendly, we have culled any that are difficult to handle, and mostly we have no problems corralling them.  Yesterday Pippi did her usual mad break for it, but when we got her on the milk stand, she would not eat the grain we had for her.  Instead, she just put her head down as low as she could get it, and stuck her tongue out at me.  I try not to anthropomorphize animals, but it just killed me to see her standing there giving me the stink eye, with her tongue sticking out like a child who has been caught being naughty!  She stamped and did her best to throw Emily off, but the humans prevailed.  Pippi wasted no time getting back into the paddock, and we all had a good laugh.

It was good to get the hooves taken care of before the girls get too big with babies.  A little over a month.  I am starting to get baby goat fever :*)


Nothing better than a good spreadsheet

Not sure what Pippi means by standing there with her tongue stuck out. Thinking hard about Reddog, perhaps!

When I pulled down the driveway Monday evening on my return from NY Sheep and Wool, I was greeted with the sound of Pippi absolutely bellowing her head off.   My son said that she had been at it all day, and had not really eaten while on the milk stand that morning, just kept trying to go over as close to the boys’ pen as she could get, and mooning about, bellowing.  As I don’t want kids too early in the season, I had been waiting until after the Rhinebeck trip to put the breeding group together.  And so I took the opportunity to get Pippi bred on Tuesday when we moved Twig, Peanut and Betsy to a separate paddock, and moved Reddog in with the 5 moms-to-be.  Jingle the donkey misbehaved badly with the non-breeding group, so we put her in with Hagrid and Fergus the wether.  (Donkeys hate change of any kind, and I think those young girls freaked her out.  She sees them through the fence every day, but she didn’t care for their company at all.  Ah well, it’s a donkey thing).

Reddog is quite the hunky boy!

And so Pippi was a happy camper all day Tuesday.  As it happens, by Wednesday morning it was clear that Saffron was having a good time with Reddog as well!  Now when I sit down at the milk stand in the morning I can have a full dose of buck stink up close and personal.  (Bucks who are courting a doe rub their heads anywhere they can on their intended – and that head has been drenched with all kinds of stinky hormone-filled pee.  Delightful to a doe, not so nice for humans!).

A new spreadsheet makes the coming breeding season seem a little more real!

And so my new spreadsheet has been inaugurated.  First babies due on Friday, March 23, 2018!

Pippi threw a curve ball

She did, too, in a number of ways.

New boy in town

Firstly, Pippi has never had a single, never ever.  Always pretty good sized twins, usually a buck and a doe (I wish I had a photo of her, pre-baby delivery.  She always looks like she has a suitcase on either side, and we uncharitably call her Wide Load.  Then she has her babies, and all is normal again).   Secondly, she always has had her babies during daylight, or at the very latest, early evening, right around dinner time.

Pippi can be a little bit of a helicopter mom!

Not this year!  Now we were pretty sure that Pippi was going to be popping her progeny yesterday, all the signs were good and she usually pops them out on her due date or one day later.  As the day wore on, however, I just figured that it might go another day.  But that’s not the kind of thing you don’t watch, so every few hours one of us went up and checked in on her.  I was exhausted, and after we tube-fed little Peanut a little before 10, we went out for another check.  Pippi was obviously in labor, talking to her butt, but the longer we stuck around, the less Pippi looked like she was going to cooperate (she is a very private doe and will cross her legs and wait until the humans are elsewhere).  By 10:10, we went in and I threw myself on the sofa.  Sam couldn’t wake me up at 11, which we had decided to target as the next check, but his text did, and it said Baby.

Our handsome boy!

So he got her and the baby into the jug, got her settled, and we took care of getting the weight (9.25 lbs.  Giant baby), giving the Bo-Se shot, dipping the navel, and helping to dry him off as he is one big piece of real estate.  Beautiful boy.  But her vaginal situation did not say to me, placenta, it said, there is more baby to come, and we waited to see if there would be another water bag.  Then I realized that she wouldn’t do anything while we were there, so back we went to the house after getting her a little molasses water, about midnight.

I guess I must have dozed off again, because about 1 we went out  and realized that she had passed the placenta, hence no more babies!  I don’t blame her, she certainly has a beautiful and very large baby, but it was a little bit of a surprise from a champion twinner!

At less than 24 hours old, he looks like he could just go and join the other babies and fit right in.  He is quite tall, and has a beautiful long body.  I must say that I am surprised the Lamancha genetics trumped the Guernsey genetics where the ears are concerned!

Anyhow, mother and baby are well, although Pippi gets incredibly pissed every time one of the other mothers looks into the pen.  But this is life, and when you are the Queen, I guess it is part of the job!

Our little Peanut

We are still trying to get Peanut on the bottle.  She had one shining moment today and got sucking her tongue, so I shoved the bottle in and she drank an ounce all on her own.  She looked very surprised, and then went to sleep.  One day at a time.  She has already become my little cuddle buddy.



Our little orphan

Was quite the day.  We have been doing round-the-clock checks on a few of our does, and no one appeared to be doing anything yesterday or last night.  Getting bigger, but nothing else going on.

Peanut on her feet a few hours later

Last night we thought Beezus might be in the beginning stages of labor, so we were checking her every few hours.  Nothing.  But this morning when I went out there, I found a wee little babe covered in the straw near where Beezus sleeps.  There was no wet spot, no placenta, no nothing.  Just a little baby, apparently dead, lying in the straw bedding.  I grabbed her up, and even though I presumed she was dead, I wrapped her in my jacket and grabbed a towel, and ran her down to the house.  Beezus was just sitting there cudding.  Oy!

Anyhow, she mewled once, and as I was rubbing her belly, I felt her breathing.  And so it began.  After I took her temperature and it didn’t even register on the electronic thermometer, I knew we were in trouble.  And so I had to go to the trusty internet to read the instructions for giving an intra-peritoneal glucose and water shot.  I have never done this before, but luckily I had the glucose, and I did it, following the instructions from one of the big universities.  It was clearly A Miracle.  I watched her come to life in the minutes after that shot, and I still can hardly believe it.  When we got her temp up to 91.4, we celebrated, although when I spoke to the vet, she didn’t sound very optimistic about that milestone.  But we are keeping on, and hopefully it will be a positive outcome.  (Lots of hot water bottles, a heating pad, and body heat to help her get to a temp of 101+.  We did it around midday!).

Peanut having none of this bottle stuff!

Little Peanut Butter should not be alive, but as of tonight, she still is.  We worked long and hard this morning getting her warmed up, so that we could begin to give her some colostrum and milk.  I don’t have a lot of frozen colostrum, and her mama wasn’t making any.  She was dry as a bone.  So I defrosted some from another doe, and broke out my powdered colostrum.  I am milking one of my does, so I can mix that with the powdered stuff.

I don’t know where this will go, or whether or not this little one will survive.  She is truly a Peanut.  About as big as our chihuahua, who is 3 lbs soaking wet.  I want her to thrive, but the odds are against her.  We shall see.  We are having to tube feed her, even though since midday she has been able to hold her head up and get up on her feet and lurch around.  She is not interested in the bottle yet, but I am hoping against hope that we can coax her to it.  (I really hate tube feeding).

And so it goes.  Dorcas and Pippi are still ‘wide loads coming through,’ and very pregnant.  Don’t have a date on Dorcas, but Pippi’s due date is today, which means that tomorrow is a good bet for her.  She will be watched closely.  I can only hope that she decides to go during the day.  Beezus has actually been our only doe to do something at night so far.

Adventures in farming.  Always something new.  All positive thoughts are welcome!

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!

New Snow for the Snow-Eaters

Pippi's post-prandial snow feast
Pippi’s post-prandial snow feast.  Who you lookin’ at???

Overnight the snow did turn into sleet.  It was quite nasty out there for our 11 PM goat check last night.  Everyone was snug as a bug, and no one looked as though they were going to be standing alone in the corner anytime soon, listening to their inner baby bio-rhythm, so it was back to the house for some sleep.

The choices are endless today. Fresh snow everywhere!
The choices are endless today. Fresh snow everywhere!

After my husband plowed the driveway yesterday afternoon, we must have gotten another 4 or 5 inches of snow, with a crust of ice on the top.  Lots of snow was coming off the greenhouses this morning, and Pippi and her daughter Beezus were in heaven.  Yes, Beezus loves to eat snow as well!  After their grain this afternoon, they both were in their element, noshing at the best and the freshest.  It always gives me a chuckle.

Pippi and her daughter Beezus, having a go at the new snow
Pippi and her daughter Beezus, having a go at the new snow

I am adding one more doe to the short list of possibles earlier than later.  Eleganza the white Guernsey has a nice little udder coming along, and her belly looks like it may have dropped as well.  Baby watch is getting a little more serious.  It’s supposed to be bitterly cold Thursday night into Friday, so we shall see.  We can hope to have a miss on that one!

More snow tomorrow.  Nor’easter on the way.

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!


Battie checking everything out just before we took Betsy into the other pen.
Battie checking everything out just before we took Betsy into the other pen.

That time came to us here at Ruit Farm a few weeks ago.  Our girl Betsy the Guernsey was quite overdue for weaning, actually.  A few weeks ago I put her in with the larger group of does, which shares a fenceline with her mother and auntie.  (Big debates in the dairy and sheep world over the best ways to wean, whether it be whisking the babies away so they cannot hear or see mama, or whether it is to the opposite side of the fence.)  And a week later, I took our girl Pippi out of the larger group, and moved her in with the two Guernsey girls.

Betsy is definitely big enough to be weaned!
Betsy is definitely big enough to be weaned!

The acclimation time has differed for the two different weaner groups.  Betsy has had a very difficult time being separated from her mama.  She gets pushed around by the big group quite a bit, but she is holding her own.  Pippi’s two babies have been sad to be separated, but they aren’t inconsolable.  And the difference is that I left Pippi’s twins in with their cohort, but Betsy not only got separated from her mama, she had to go into an alien group.  Poor girl!  I am hoping that if I re-introduce her back in with her mother in another month, that she will not nurse, but just be happy to be back in her element.

Chevre. It's all good!
Chevre. It’s all good!

And so we have milk!  I have been madly making cheese.  A few batches of chevre, one small batch of Haloumi, and a batch of cheese that I hoped was going to be chevre, but turned into something halfway between a partially cooked-curd cheese, and something indefinable.  I kept it, pressed it, and may just have to use it as you would use curds.  Poutine anyone???

Keeping busy

First walk through the herd for the new babies
First walk through the herd for the new babies

Not difficult on a farm in the spring.  Pippi’s babies are doing very well, and they are growing like weeds.  We let them out of the jug on Monday morning, and it’s one of my favorite things to watch as the mama and babies get introduced back into the herd.  Always entertaining!  Pippi takes her job very seriously, and she warned everyone off of her babies.  She can be a bit of a barnyard bully, but in this case, it’s definitely a necessity!

Half gallon of Pippi milk!
Half gallon of Pippi milk!

Because the new babies are still smallish, they are not emptying Pippi’s udder very efficiently, and of course they always have a favorite side!  So the left side of Pippi’s bag was staying much larger than the right.  I took advantage of that, and got her on the milking stand yesterday afternoon.  She is a trooper, and gave me a lovely half gallon of milk.  I won’t be able to depend on this amount, because as the kids grow, they nurse much more efficiently.  But it’s a start.

Fencing and the old livestock greenhouse
Fencing and the old livestock greenhouse

Over the weekend we also got some fencing done.  One of our greenhouses has to come down, but I had based some paddock perimeters on the greenhouse and had fencing attached (never a good idea, but it worked at the time).  I had not been allowing any one in there as I have no cover for that greenhouse, and it’s really kind of in an awkward spot.  So we got our alternate fencing up, which always takes longer than I think.  But it’s a big job and I am kind of past wielding a sledge hammer and pounding 7′ T-posts in to the ground, so I was happy to have my son’s help.  (I used to stand on the step ladder and pound away.  Not in my plans anymore).

Pippi's kids are so tall!
Pippi’s kids are so tall!

And so it goes.  We are waiting on Pickles to have her kids.  She is due on Saturday.  She didn’t look quite ready yet this morning, although she is getting there.  First-timers can really surprise you.

Looking forward to a mostly beautiful weekend.  Full of goat babies, I hope!

Pippi delivers the goods

Pippi's twins
Pippi’s twins

I don’t think that Pippi has ever had her kids at night.  She always goes into labor early in the day and by evening everyone is settled for the night.  I am convinced that she waited until darkness yesterday because the black flies were so intent upon carrying every living thing away, and she couldn’t stand it until dark when they go into hiding!

Little Spot the buckling
Little Spot the buckling

And so we have a new buck and doe.  Half Saanen, half Lamancha.  They are beautiful little goaties!  They are both white, but the little buck has a black spot on his left cheek.  His grampie, Elvis the crazy white Lamancha, was all white with two little spots of black on his left side.  Funny how those things come out.

Anyhow, the doe was 9.25 lbs and the buck was 8.5.  Everything went very well, and they are resting in their greenhouse pen.  They had a lazy day today, but are looking strong and healthy.  The little doe is always ready to cuddle, and the little buck is constantly teasing his sister.

And so we have one more doe to go (Pickles), and if anyone else is pregnant, we won’t know until later.  Maybe Reddog did manage to breed some of the girls and we will be happily surprised!