Midweek holidays don’t come around very often, now that most of them have been moved to Mondays, and Veteran’s Day felt like a real treat yesterday. I began fairly early, and got out to pen and worm the goatie girls. Sometimes that’s a bruising activity, but things went pretty smoothly. (Strong necks and heads don’t always want to cooperate with a dosing syringe full of stuff that doesn’t taste so nice! And if they put their heads down and hold them there, it’s almost impossible to dose them. Their other trick is going air born, of course!).
My husband and I did have a lot of errands to run, but it was a pleasure to be out and about on such a beautiful day. Even though we were busy, it was a fun and relaxing day. Sleeping in until 5:30 yesterday morning was a real pleasure as well, and the weather cooperated and was extremely mild. But the real treat in the afternoon: ice cream for lunch! One of our favorite ice cream places in Thomaston, Dorman’s Dairy Dream, just happened to be open :*)
Still warm today, but it won’t be for much longer. Actually, they are talking about a significant cool-down tonight, and cold and snowy for Friday morning.
So glad that John had the forethought to get my snow tires on today!
Things have calmed down a little bit in the last few days. None of the animals got hurt (that I am aware of) in the change over of groupings. I have to get used to the new feeding amounts, so my schedule has changed quite a bit at chore time as well. It’s an adjustment!
I am getting a little bit of a rest from cheese-making because I wormed SnowPea the other day. As the does may be pregnant I had to use Ivomec as a dewormer so we don’t have as long a waiting period as we would if we used a “white” wormer like Valbazen. I have not read any information coming out of the United States on these wormers used on goats (Ivomec was made for cows and pigs and is “off label” for goats and sheep). But the Brits have done a lot more research on wormers made for cattle and used in small ruminants, which is definitely helpful. So I usually only wait 5 days after giving Ivomec, which will take us to the weekend and then I will start collecting the milk again. Kind of nice not having the milk bucket and bottling cleanup chores for a few days! It’s a mini vacation :*)
Anyhow, the temperatures have dropped radically over the past 12 hours and the wind is blowing hard. Winter is probably on it’s way. The countdown is on in our house to the Solstice! Daylight, such a blessing!
Oh my. What a day! It’s been a totally crazy weekend. Yesterday I basically spent the day on the road picking up and delivering the fresh pork for our customers as well as for ourselves. Our wonderful butcher is a little more than an hour away and yesterday my husband had also scheduled our new Subaru for replacement tires. (I know, it only has 3,000 miles on it, why the new tires? The tires that Subarus come with are actually very good ones, Yokohamas, but they are not great in ice, snow and really rainy conditions. So John wanted to put my favorite Michelins on while we could still sell the original tires). As a result, I didn’t get as early a start as I had planned on. By the time I made the rounds the afternoon was well on its way, and I still had to put our meat into our freezer (an athletic event, at the least!). So there went Saturday.
This morning was a big morning: worming time for the does and the ewes. I do not worm regularly unless they need it, although we try to do Famacha scoring as regularly as we can. But sometime in November when the ground is beginning to freeze and the cold weather is here, we worm everyone just to get rid of any nasties before the winter. I don’t worm them in their paddock area, I set up a pen outside the paddock and worm them in there on an empty stomach. Then I make them wait for breakfast. Not a happy bunch! After a few hours they get fed, but I keep them in the outside pen for as long as I can so they shed their wormy poops out of the paddock. I can’t always leave them out for the whole day, as I like to do, and today we had to go get hay, but they were out as long as we were home.
Worming was just the first of the strenuous activities, however. After strong-arming the does (they are definitely not happy about the nasty tasting stuff) and hustling the ewes I was tired enough. But I needed to get all my cattle panels wired together before the winter, so I did that, and then I got a third paddock gated so I could put Jingle the donkey and Beige Boy the buck into that one. Not a happy scene, I am afraid. Jingle was not pleased to be in that pen, and when the buck was introduced, she went crazy. That was just the beginning! I then put all the does in with Bagels the buck and Zorro the llama. Another crazy scene. By the time I finished chores, most of the inmates had settled down. I am concerned about the does being stressed with this move, as they have all been bred by hand in the last two weeks. Sometimes stress can cause them not to “settle” or not let the fetus implant. If so, hopefully they will come into heat and get bred again. Don’t want to make this too boring for Bagels!
One other activity that is keeping me busy every day is making chèvre. We gave most of SnowPea’s milk to the pigs while they were here. After they left, I went into high gear, starting a new batch every three days or so. I know that freezing is anathema to most cheese gurus, but I find the chèvre we freeze is quite good on the other end. So most of my batches go right into the freezer, and I use some of it right away (as well as share the goods with friends and family!). So that is what I am left with tonight, beside the laundry, packaging up the newest batch. And then I think early to bed is in order.
Suddenly, it has become a hot and humid summer. These past few days have been so hot and sticky that I worry about the people and the animals! We are definitely doing our best not to do too much work in the middle of the day. To that end, I got up extra early this morning to get out and not only do chores in a cooler part of the day, but also to do some more strenuous work, worming everybody, and switching up some of the animal groups.
I was not ready to get up this morning at 5 or even 5:30, when I actually did get out of bed (leaving the air conditioned bedroom wasn’t too difficult, it was still nice from the night air). We had been on a ‘cruise’ last night to view the Boothbay Harbor fireworks from the water, which is always much more pleasant, particularly in hot weather. It was wonderful, but we didn’t get home until close to midnight, which is definitely past our usual bedtime!
As I got everyone penned this morning, I tried to make sure that I didn’t do anything to irritate my slowly healing back, and everything was fine, except that by the time I was finished I had a little bit of heat exhaustion. Except for water bucket duty, I have remained inside getting other things accomplished during the day, and even that has been challenging. Early July in Maine is usually an up and down ride of hot and humid or breezy and nice/hot days. We are pretty lucky to live so close to Muscongus Bay, as we normally have onshore breezes even in the hottest of weather. But, I suspect we are not having that today, that’s for darn sure! Oh well. At least the trees and wooded areas around the house offer a green and cooling visual effect. It helps a little, anyway!
Busy days. Yesterday we penned all the ewes and lambs first thing and we checked their Famacha scores and wormed them. You are supposed to do that on an empty stomach so that the wormer takes effect better, so that was our early job. Then we separated all but one of the mama ewes from the lambs and put them into the other paddock. And that began the crazed calling and crying that has continued into the day today. All of these lambs are very past due for weaning, but it wasn’t really convenient for a number of reasons. The only mom who is staying with her lambs is Esther as she had her babies so much later than the others. She has not gotten the very best nutrition as I had to cut down on the grain for the other moms. So she needs to stay with the market lambs and get more grain before she heads down to the field.
And then the big trip to the vet’s today with our four doelings. It was time for their disbudding. I really hate doing this, but the vet does it very efficiently and they get a shot of Banamine which is an anti-inflammatory so I think they are more comfortable. They were a little dozy on the way home through the torrential downpours and by the time we got back to the farm they were hopping around in the back of the Subaru and checking things out through the back window. They got with their mamas right away and within minutes they were out playing on the big rock. A few more things to check off the list!
Coopworth Fiber, LaMancha Dairy Goats and Cheese on the Coast of Maine!