And today is an out of the ordinary one for Maine. 85 F here this afternoon, although we have a nice breeze so the bugs are not too big a problem.
The babies are growing like hotcakes, and the scrum around the feeder is incredible in the morning. We can barely get the hay in there before 3 or 4 not-so-little ones are jumping on and in. It’s nutty, but they are so much fun at this age. Everyone has cleared 35 lbs so far, and we are nearly ready to send some of our sweet ones out into the world with new families. Almost empty nest :*)
And so it goes. I will have to do a separate post to update my weaving apprenticeship. I have been very busy with that and have a lot of photos to share. Nothing earth shattering that any of you weavers out there couldn’t throw together in a jiffy, but the experimentation is teaching me a lot. And I am having a great time with it!
It’s that time of year when I try very hard to delight in the baby goats, and ever hopeful, delight in the weather as well. I have to say that nature has been more than cooperative, but the humans are not the only ones enjoying it… the black flies are as well. Gotta love May in New England!
All our babies are at least a month old now. They are a gang of very fast moving parts who are just delightful to sit with and to watch. They are a good tonic for the long winter and the crazy slow spring. I spend as much time as I can out there with them, and of course we also have bottle baby time which is fun as well.
We still have 4 babies that have not been spoken for, and I have them listed in the tab here on the blog – 2018 Babies for Sale. I have to get my baby time in as much as I can, because before too long they will move on or grow up. Ah, and so it goes.
It was such a treat to have some warmer temperatures, although the wind never seemed to let up. But the sun was marvelous, and all the mammals on the farm took advantage of it and played and sat in the sunshine.
Back into the colder and more dreary weather. Tomorrow we may see some snow. At any rate, it can’t hang around long, I hope!
I really appreciate the everyone’s concern over Saffron and her problem with lactation. It is now believed that she has a ‘sneaky’ form of mastitis that may have something to do with a slightly enlarged lymph node at the top of her udder near her tail. (She has had no fever at all). I’ve been massaging her udder right along, but we have added antibiotics now and I am hoping that it does the trick. The vet believes that if we can clear it up she will be fine for next year’s kidding, but little milk will be flowing this year. I am extremely glad that we have Battie’s milk for them!
I am also happy to have some kind of diagnosis. Hopefully the BioMycin will do the trick and we will have a much happier girl soon. We let her and the babies out of their pen on Friday morning, and as is true of most kids, on the first day of freedom they all did their own thing. Mama and babies went in opposite directions for part of the day, but by late afternoon they were checking in with her regularly. We call her babies Little Red and Little Blue because of the color of their felt coats, which will come off in the next day or so (when it will be difficult to differentiate them from the other girls!). They slept with Edna’s little butterballs over night, with Pippi and her babies a few feet away. All the other adults were in the other greenhouse close by.
The sun is shining now and even though the breeze is blowing and we had quite a bit of snow last night and this morning, they are all outside playing near the feeder. Maybe it will turn out to be a lovely weekend after all!
(I couldn’t get a photo of Little Red because she was playing in the greenhouse with Edna’s girl)
Was last Friday, March 30th. Our little Peanut has really grown up! We had a tiny little birthday party for her, and even though I made a polenta cake that I thought she would like, she did not.
But, what would a party be without a birthday hat??? For Peanut, we couldn’t just use a regular old sparkly cone, we had to give her a princess tiara :*) Needless to say, she did not like it. So her photo with the tiara is under protest. She did enjoy the 4 of us having a lovely time out in the sun and showers.
We also tasted some of my homemade Limoncello, which went very nicely with the polenta cake. Then we had a wee visit with the Edna’s and Pippi’s babies. The mud was a challenge for us, but we managed.
Battie finally seems to be turning the corner toward feeling better. I was really worried about her, she had so much trauma. But the meds and the rest are catching up with her and she is seriously eating hay now. I came out this morning to find her standing in her pen, cudding away nicely. She is still a little depressed, and when I empty her udder, she nickers to her babies :*(
I think goats are worse in confinement even than sheep. They are such herd animals that it is difficult for them to function without all that herd pressure, and without their friends and frenemies. Battie has steadfastly refused to eat anything from the hay feeders in her pen, but instead chooses only to eat from the feeder she can reach right on the other side of the pen divider, particularly if another goat is eating from that very feeder. So today we went out and while Sam was taking care of some other things, I let Battie out to stretch her legs and get the cobwebs out. I would never have let her out of the pen without hanging there with her, because you just never know, and I wasn’t sure if she was going to be a little shaky. She had a few tussles with Eleganza and Saffron, but other than that things went well (Battie is the Queen in Training. Pippi, the Lamancha doe, is still definitely The Herd Queen). It was hysterical, though, because when Eleganza got pretty stroppy with Battie, Pippi inserted herself between the two and grunt first at one, and then the other. She gave them both the what-for! I wish I could have gotten video of her doing that. She is a tough task mistress and does not like misbehavior! (Unless she is the one misbehaving).
And so we wait for whatever the weather will bring tonight… more damn snow, I guess. I hope we are firmly in the lower amount zone, for once. I am sorry to hear that other areas are getting slammed yet again. Happy Spring!
I don’t know what has been going on for the last few days, but the milking moms have just been very, very naughty! I have a whole routine, of which they are very aware, for milking times. Every one has her turn in a specific order, and when they get off the milk stand, they are allowed to wander around the outer greenhouse areas and eat all the weedy stuff, until all the girls are finished. Then they go back into the paddock areas, where the other girls and babies have finished their grain.
Maybe it’s the weather, but in the past few days we have been forced to escort each doe back into the paddock and lock them into the middle section while the non-milkers get their meal. Pippi started it, I think! (Poor Pippi, she is getting all the blame). As the next doe was getting on the milk stand and I began milking, the does that had finished and should have been grazing, were coming back around and eating out of the milking mama’s bowl! Heresy! Which ended up with every one fighting to get their heads into the pan and hoover up as much grain as they could. Sigh.
And so it goes. As of this morning, things seem to have calmed down. Even though it was raining, the does grazed and let each successive mom have her breakfast. Maybe it was sunspots, or the phase of the moon. I am just glad not to have to jump up from the milkstand every 5 minutes and usher a naughty girl out of the area, dirtying my hands and messing up the usually Zen activity of milking!
Yes, this week we finally have had two consecutive days of sun. It must be a plot to make us think that spring and/or summer might just be here! We are supposed to have rain tomorrow, but they say the weekend will be gorgeous again. That’s more like it!
Well, we have been busy here on the farm. We moved Jingle the donkey back in with Reddog the buck, so Fergus the wether could babysit the two bucklings, Hagrid and Mayo. They really needed to be off their mamas… Hagrid is very mature for his age and he was seriously practicing his humping skills on anyone who stood still. At 8 or 9 weeks old, he shouldn’t be able to breed any of the girls, but you just never know! This is a much safer solution.
As a result, Hagrid’s mama, Pippi, is all mine to milk. That’s a celebration all by itself right there! It’s so wonderful to get a decent amount of milk to get going with cheese again. I started my 3rd chevre batch of the year yesterday, and so far things are going very well. It’s always so satisfying to get those little cheeses wrapped up and ready to go.
On the Peanut front, she is now 9 weeks old and she is beginning to slow down on her bottle feeding amounts. I am hoping that in another week or so we can bump her back from 3 to 2 per day. That middle of the day feeding can be a pain if we all are out and about during the day.
Five of our 8 babies that were for sale are spoken for, and so we really just have to find homes for Dorcas’ two doelings and Edna’s little girl. Not too bad!
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.
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.
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!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!