It was a really beautiful day today. I drove down the driveway this afternoon and sat in the car with the window open, my face to the sun. And I could feel the luscious heat of it, such contentment.
It got up to the high 30s today so we have had some melting. But the sun was the real news, and it just never stopped. A real joy to be outside. The goats were in and out all day, running back and forth between the greenhouses, and that is about it. The sum of today was sun and almost warm temperatures.
The pregnant girls are progressing slowly. Betsy’s backside looks a little pinker today, and her udder is larger than it was yesterday. So the late night and early morning checks continue, and we shall see. At the beginning of every kidding season I agonize over all the little signs, and by the time a few of the girls have kidded we are just in take-it-as-it-comes mode. The first is always a nail-biter!
I am going to have to do a little dance next weekend, as it is the yearly NETA Spa Knit and Spin weekend in Freeport, and as I am one of the planners, I am supposed to be there. So we shall see what happens with the early due girls, and if I am in Freeport and something is happening, I am not very far away, 50 minutes, perhaps. But still, if I think anything is percolating, I will be here for the duration. My goatie babies are the most important thing for me.
It’s school break this week, so I get to spend some extra time with my grandson. We will be having some fun in the next few days, along with picking up a load of hay. For a good time, it’s here on the farm!
I love the winter in most ways. But 60″ of snow in a 10 day period is a little nuts! We didn’t get the 1 foot last night that we were forecast to get, so I am very appreciative of that (we just got about 6 or 7″, but it’s heavy stuff). And so it goes.
The sun was out for a good portion of the afternoon, and it was a blessing. It was a pleasure to spend some time with the goats, and all is well with them. I am still watching Betsy, Delta and Eleganza like a hawk, but there does not seem to be any forward movement on their status. They have developed small udders, and some days their bellies look like they have dropped, and some days they do not, and there is a tiny bit of vulva swelling, but not what it should be. So things are percolating, but not quite done yet. It’s a long road when you do not have any idea of due dates, so we will just keep doing what we are doing. The late night checks continue on. They got their CD&T shots, so everything is good to go.
The goaties are also getting used to the drill of having narrow pathways between their greenhouse areas. This weekend we are supposed to be having some 40F weather, so perhaps some of this will melt. Maybe we can also push some snow off of the paddocks to get them a little more room. Pregnant does need their exercise, and right now it’s not an optimal situation, although I notice a lot of running to and from on what I call the train tracks, as they jostle and chase each other one way and then the other. And so we will wish for continued clear weather!
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.
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!
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!
Growing up during the ’50s and ’60s my family was comfortable. We lived in a suburb of NYC and my dad got on the bus or the train every morning at 7:20 and went to The City, to return home each night at 7:30, and as a CPA he did a lot of traveling over the winter months.
But on the weekends, we always had some of my dad’s extended Italian family gathering either at our house, or at cousins’ houses in Brooklyn. I know my dad really valued his family, and I always knew it was the highlight of his week when he could cook up a big meal with one of his sisters or his younger brother on a Saturday night, and then after dinner he and the uncles would play cards and smoke. All us kids would be off somewhere else, playing or doing puzzles (or hiding on the dark staircase outside the dining room and listening to the adults talk while we giggled). Being an only child, I looked forward to these weekends as well.
And that is where I began to learn to cook. From the aunts and my dad, I learned a lot and have continued to try and re-create many of the things we ate back then. At the time, many of the ingredients had to be brought to the suburbs with whichever aunt or uncle was coming out our way, because there were not a lot of local stores in post-war suburban NJ that carried imported Italian products and really fresh meat and fish (if we had lived nearer to Hoboken or towns right on the Hudson, I am sure we would have had no problem, but the town I lived in was very WASP).
One of the traditions in our family was that whoever was having a birthday got to choose the dinner meal for that night. To this day, I prefer staying home and cooking my own favorite birthday dinner of breaded veal cutlets with Marsala sauce, scalloped or oven roasted potatoes, and kale, rather than going out. Having a February birthday always meant that kale was available, and it has been my favorite vegetable since I was a little kid.
My mom was a competent cook, but she never attempted most of the wonderful Italian meals we had on the weekends. She did, however, learn to make breaded veal cutlets, and so even if my birthday was on a weekday, I still got my choice of birthday dinner. And yesterday, it was exactly the same. We had a lovely dinner here at home for my 63rd, and of course, it involved veal cutlets, potatoes and kale.
I do not want to get into the veal question here. I have always been happy with ‘rose’ veal, and every summer I sock some in the freezer that is locally grown and very delicious. As a kid, I knew nothing about the veal industry, and as an adult I am so very glad that we live in a place where there are many small farms raising happy, pasture-based beef critters. And so I can continue to indulge in veal cutlets on my birthday. (As a teenager I did a 6 year stint as a vegetarian after learning about the meat industry. I do not remember what I had for those birthdays, but it was probably eggplant parm, my second favorite thing in the world!).
On the goat front, still no babies! We are awaiting the Big Blizzard to roll in this afternoon. Got the greenhouses cleaned off in readiness for the predicted 14-20 inches. Mama mia, I love winter, but that much snow is just on or over the edge of crazy!
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.
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.
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!
The snow was awesome, while we had it. Nice fluffy stuff. Of course, it was lying on top of the ice road that our driveway had become, so it was tough going, nonetheless.
But the rain came today along with unforgiving wind, and the temperatures have been steadily rising, only to reportedly plummet again tonight. All the goaties are snug in their shelters and have been all day.
I am chomping at the bit to be able to get all the girls into one group together, but that will be another 10 days or two weeks. The vet is coming on Wednesday and we are doing the new girls’ Rabies vaccines as well as the usual blood testing. All the newbies are purportedly bred, (they were in with a buck), and I don’t want to take a chance on any of them passing something to our existing herd (although the present setup is not optimal, they can touch noses through the fencing). I do not believe that it is going to be a problem, but I don’t want to take any chances, either. And the Rabies is very important to get well before the kids arrive.
So our shelter change-up organization is going to have to wait until the two groups are one. Until then, the girls appear to be pretty comfortable. Cannot WAIT for the Solstice!!!
Monday snow day! 2nd day of Spring, gotta love it. Our new little doeling is doing very well, and has found her name, Betsy. She is a corker, and yesterday evening Sam caught her on the wrong side of the paddocks, and had to get her back to her mama. None of the girls were hysterical (yet), and apparently SnowPea and Pippi had her corralled and were keeping her away from the others, so she was not in any danger at that point (SnowPea and Pippi are awesome mothers, and I think they had already acquainted themselves through the green panels). Betsy seemed very unabashed, but was happy to be back on the other side, with Battie. We plugged what we think are the two areas she may have gotten through, and everyone was where they are supposed to be this morning. It’s always a work in progress!
On the other hand, things had not been going too well for the past few days with another goat. We knew that Saffron was a little depressed at being separated from Battie for 5 days, but there was something else going on as well. I had begun to treat her for pregnancy toxemia, and she was showing no signs of perking up. Friday she ate, but with no great enthusiasm, and Saturday was not much better. We were dosing her with caprine Nutridrench, which has all kinds of good things in it, and giving her vitamin B shots as well. I was getting ready to get out the straight Propylene Glycol, because Sunday morning she was standing in the corner with her ears down, not paying attention to anything. We got some Nutridrench into her, and when I came back a few minutes later, I could see that she was having labor contractions, and that explained it all. This is about 6 weeks too early for her to have kids from her breeding with Oreo (she came to us already bred, and then lost her pregnancy after she got here, so then was bred by our buck).
Well, it wasn’t pretty. A very beautifully formed little buck who had absolutely not a speck of hair on him was stillborn. He was breach, and it kind of freaked me out when it wasn’t coming, because all I could feel was a rat-like tail in there. And so she (and we) had quite a day. After the baby came, we were waiting and waiting for the placenta, and when it started to pass it was totally clear, as though she were having another kid. It was quite the process, and I am happy to say that this morning she looked almost like her old self. She is interested in what’s going on, and appeared to be interested in food again early today. This afternoon her temperature was down and I could not get her to eat. About an hour ago I was putting some fresh straw into the pen and she dove right in and began stuffing her face… all the wonderful 2nd cut hay that she has, and this is what she wants? I don’t get it! And after some of the straw I got her to drink quite a bit of warm water. The sun is just beginning to go down now, and the vet has just told me to put her back in with Battie and Betsy, which will definitely be a warmer option. I will have to keep checking on her as night falls. We may have to put a coat on her.
We will continue giving her antibiotics and vitamin B, and hopefully there is nothing inherently wrong with her plumbing that she can’t keep a fetus to full term. (I would like to believe that she lost her fist pregnancy back in the fall due to the stress of traveling here from Vermont, at a crucial time in her gestation). I guess we will see next year.
So I got the gift of a snow day and it was perfect timing. I needed to recuperate from the stress of the accumulated weekend events, continue getting over the pneumonia, and try and tend to Saffron as well.
The best thing about yesterday turned out to be the sun: while waiting on Saffron, in-between taking her temperature and checking to make sure things were progressing, we got to work around the farm during the middle of the day, and even caught some relaxed rays for awhile. The temperature and wind were cold, but the sun was spectacular! I’m glad she chose yesterday for the Big Deal. Thank you, Saffron. You are a sweet, gentle girlie, and you need to get all better for us :*)
I can smell Spring. It’s almost upon us. We had a bunch of nasty wet snow yesterday afternoon, and it froze up over night, but today it’s gone. This afternoon the goats were feeling extremely frisky at chore time, so after their grain feed, they went nuts!
Thanks, Big Zelda, for your nose shot at the end of the video!
A few reminders are being thrown our way: yes, winter really is on the horizon! It’s been such a warm autumn that I have been lulled into not paying attention. Although we have been working fairly diligently to try and get the paddocks and animal areas ready for the onslaught, it is still a little bit of a shock when the white stuff begins.
One more day of school and then Thanksgiving break is here. Many in the family are dropping like flies with whatever viral thing is going around, but so far we are hanging on. It’s going to be a quiet one for us.
We continue to give Marigold her vitamins and feed her up, but I do not see improvement yet. We still hope, but I am getting myself ready for the worst. I don’t know how long I can watch her like she is.
And I am loving it! Less snow every day is a real blessing. I don’t know how long it will take to get clear ground back, but I am cheering for it in a big way.
We had to go for some hay today, and those bales definitely hurt (compressed Canadian hay, 2nd cut, 60-75 pounders). But we need to stockpile some as the season is coming to an end and I don’t know when the local folk will be able to start making hay. Probably July, the way things are going. And to top it off, John is having hand surgery next Tuesday, so we need to have things in order before then as I will have no help for awhile.
The day was beautiful, and we were able to take it easy and unload fairly leisurely. And, I was finally able to get Henry back into the boys’ side of the paddocks. I fixed up the gap in the fence last evening and am hoping that he does not find another chink in the setup.
And so it goes. The twilight was spectacular tonight as I was hauling water. Another day closer to the warmer weather!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!