Tag Archives: Zelda

April vacay week

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My last April vacation week ever!  The best part?  The Peepers are back!  (I love those little guys and wait for them each spring).

Otherwise, the weather has totally cooperated, and there was a lot of activity around here.  I really wanted to do some fun things with friends, but I also really needed to get some house and paddock work done.

Pemaquid Point lighthouse today
Pemaquid Point lighthouse today

Today my son and I did some alternative cattle panel fencing and gate moving for the boy goats and Jingle the donkey.  That took awhile, and afterward we ran an errand, and kept going down to Pemaquid Point lighthouse.  It was a fantastically beautiful day.  The sun was warm, the breezes were stiff, and the sky was as blue as ever.  We ended up in Damariscotta to make a Reny’s run, and then I went to the chiropractor.  After that, I had a lovely rest in the sun and I got some reading in.  Spent some time this afternoon with the goats, and then took a lovely bath.

Most of the week has been organizing and cleaning out spaces like the mudroom (ugh!).  We are selling one of our giant chest freezers, and it took the day on Tuesday to clean out, organize and re-assign items to other freezers.  But it’s done!

Yesterday I spent the day in Portland with some friends, and we had a fantastic lunch at Paciarino, then went to Standard Baking Company, Micucci’s Italian grocery, and then to Trader Joe’s.  Exhausting but fun!

Tomorrow will prove to be somewhat boring.  I still have to clean out and re-organize the lower pantry cupboard cabinets in the mudroom.  It will be a relief to get it done and over with, however!  There is much more organizing to do in the house, but this was a great start.  And the week isn’t over yet, so more fun to come, I hope!

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Bossyboots Pippi

The Beast (and Beezus the yearling in the background, eating her own little hay portion!
The Beast (and Beezus the yearling in the background, eating her own little hay portion!

I have been working on making milking work a little more smoothly.  Early in the week I made the decision to only milk Pippi, because SnowPea still has some pain in her right foot, and I could tell that being on the milk stand was not comfortable for her.  She has an enormous bag and crazy amounts of milk (sniff, sniff), but it’s better for her to get a break.  When her foot is feeling a little better we can try again.

Watching back
Watching back

So, the paddock arrangements had to change yet again!  Farming requires quite a bit of flexibility, and sometimes it feels like nothing will ever be set up in a way that you can count on from year to year.  So there was Pippi, all alone on her side of the fence once SnowPea went back to join with her kids, and all the other girls.  Have to have a companion for a lone goat (although she can be nose-to-nose right through the fence with all the other girls when she wants to be).  I decided to put her yearling doe in with her, Beezus the sweet chestnut brown girl.  She is a skittish one, but I did get her over onto the other side of the fence.  Pippi wasn’t all that happy.  In fact, not pleased at all!  They did a few fighting feints, and it appears as though I need to make sure that there are two distinct areas where hay is available, because Pippi will just fight her right off, with a scene worthy of a daytime soap opera star.

Beautiful stretch of summer days (too humid for me, but I am wimpy that way)
Beautiful stretch of summer days (too humid for me, but I am wimpy that way)

Pippi is not the herd queen, but whenever SnowPea isn’t around to interfere, she takes her almost-queendom very seriously.  What a brat!  She was pushing Zelda and Marigold around so hard a few weeks ago that she opened up a spot on her bony little head after headbutting  Zelda extremely hard.  (And the noises Pippi makes while meting out her brand of justice is almost too funny.  Grr!)

You just never know with goats!  And Pippi is definitely quite the drama queen.  (She will be fine with Beezus after her two newest babies are out of the picture…  How fickle!)

Blustery and grey

Marigold looking over my shoulder, picking bits of hay off my shirt
Marigold looking over my shoulder, picking bits of hay off my shirt

That’s what we have today. It’s a crazy, wild one out there for sure. So far no new goat kids, but on a day like today that’s pretty much ok with me. It’s not that cold temperature-wise, but the gusts could knock you down!

SnowPea the trampoline
SnowPea the trampoline

We have had a fairly quiet few days. At afternoon chore time I am spending a lot of time out there messing around with the baby girls. They are so much fun. Marigold is the big-eared girl and Iris is the short-eared doe. They love to climb on me and nibble at my clothes. I am also putting their mama, Zelda, on the milkstand in the afternoons and milking her out a little bit.  It’s not that I expect much, but when the time is right she will already be in the right place at the right time. I am also getting our old faithful SnowPea on the stand, even though she hasn’t had her kids yet. It gives me the chance to get her a little extra grain, and I am fervently hoping that she kids and has good milk for us again this year. She is a wonderful milker. Here’s to thinking good thoughts about getting a doeling from her! She also is about the most even-tempered of all the goatie girls and acts like everyone’s grammie out in the paddock. She doesn’t mind any or all of the babies using her like a trampoline. She just sits there as though nothing were going on, chewing her cud and having her afternoon rest.

girls_feederTomorrow is Friday and the last day of April vacation. I knew it would be over too quickly! Next we have the amazingly fast run-up to the end of the schoolyear. I really can hardly believe it.

 

Thursday sky
Thursday sky

 

Today was the day

First thing this morning the 3 got penned.
First thing this morning the 3 got penned.

Well, today was the day. We took the last 3 sheep up to our favorite butcher this afternoon. This is always something that needs to be planned for carefully, and since John’s hand surgery, we needed an extra special plan for the loading of the sheep into John’s truck. His Ford F-350 1997 diesel rides very high off the ground. With my bursitis hip issues, I can no longer get into the truck without stepping onto a bucket or a milk crate anymore, so that should indicate how high we have to lift the sheep to get them into the bed of the truck! We definitely needed reinforcements, and our friend Jim Child of Hatchtown Farm came to help, as well as our teenage grandson and his mom.

HoneyBea stops to take a look
HoneyBea stops to take a look

We don’t have a livestock trailer anymore, so John and I opted to build a “crate” out of galvanized metal panels in the back of his pickup. We made a teepee-type structure, and then John used a tie-down strap over the top for extra  safety. Luckily, we had the manpower, and as all the ewes were haltered, we really got through the loading in record time. The men had to lift the front end of the ewes up and over the tailgate, and I am still ok to lift the hind end in, thank goodness! And so we got them settled and took the 40 mile ride.

Zelda and her girls, Marigold and Iris bellying up to the feeder this afternoon
Zelda and her girls, Marigold and Iris bellying up to the feeder this afternoon

When we got home this evening and I went out to do chores it was definitely a different landscape. All goat, all the time. The one thing that I was able to do this evening was to put out the salt and mineral mixture with added copper that the goats really need. Sheep cannot have extra copper, so I have always had to get the extra copper into the milking stand mix for the goats as I could. This whole setup will definitely simplify my day to day operations from now on. But, I am really going to miss my sheepy girls. (But I won’t miss moving fence down in the pasture. Really!)

April break is here

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And so this week has screamed by. Busy with taking care of John after surgery, the new doe kids, and watching for more births, I got through Friday in a rather exhausted state. We had a lovely visit from our grandson over night which was a lot of fun as always, and then yesterday and today turned out to be a fantastically beautiful day so we spent a lot of time outside working.

Our beautiful doelings were set free on Friday morning before I went to work. It was time. I wormed their mama Zelda on Thursday morning, and then that afternoon I took the girls to the vet to have their hornbuds removed. When I got them home and reunited them with Zelda, she was definitely not happy with how they smelled (like burned hair)!  But she was happy to see them, and they were not at all inconvenienced by the procedure, the vet gives them an anti-inflammatory before she does it. And so they have a little bit of a Mohawk, and they are dancing around on the big rock and experiencing the big world of the paddock. AND, they are already noshing on the hay at the feeder, along with mama. Always amazing!

Yesterday afternoon I really thought that Elf was in labor, lying on the hillside in the sun, I really thought I saw a nose protruding. She kept getting up and licking her lips (usually happens when they are in labor) and then looking for another place to lie down. I ended up calling our friend Pam from Hatchtown Farm and we did a little closer inspection, but she definitely is not ready to kid. Being full of goat kid must be causing the bulge in the back end. All the goats but Zelda are looking uncomfortable now, but no one’s udder looks large enough to really be ready any minute.

So we wait and appreciate the wonderful weather. Lots to do this week and I already am feeling like there isn’t enough time!

Baby photos at last

I had a chance to get out with our regular camera this afternoon and get a few photos of our beautiful baby goats. The girls are doing really well and were bouncing around annoying their mama Zelda while she was trying to eat her lunch! We have definitely begun our kidding year on the right foot: two girls :*)

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First arrivals

Short-eared doeling
Short-eared doeling
Two sweet girls
Two sweet girls
Long-eared girl
Long-eared girl

Zelda held out until this afternoon sometime. I looped home before going on to errands (or I thought I was going to do errands) and I found Zelda in the greenhouse. 2 doelings with her, dry, fed and beautiful! I never did get out to do any more errands.

Water works!
Water works!

The second wonderful happening of the day is that we now have water coming from our dug well! Two reasons to celebrate tonight. I am hoping to get more sleep as well!

Udders, woo-woos and bellies

Pippi and SnowPea. The views are growing!
Pippi and SnowPea. The views are growing!

These are the name of the game this week. Not getting enough sleep due to all the birthing checks and I feel like my engine is running on empty and we have not even begun to kid yet!  Yesterday was Hatchtown Farm’s shearing, and even though it was a long day, it was replete with good work and then some relaxation with friends. Great food as well, as always!

Emily our wonderful shearer at work yesterday
Emily our wonderful shearer at work yesterday

We are still waiting on our goat babies, no secret there, and Zelda looks poised for action today, which is encouraging. She is really dropped and her udder is very full. It would be nice if she presented us with some babies in daylight, although we have had rain most of the day and it’s raw out there. All the animals were still at the feeder this morning awhile after breakfast and I noticed that Zelda had eaten but then walked away. Not much room in there for a big meal!

Every time I make the rounds up in the paddock I do a thorough check of all the back ends and udders. Every one is coming along, but the only one who is very close is Zelda. I can hardly wait for the excitement of new babies. Then it may truly feel like Spring has finally arrived.

(10:30 PM and nothing on the horizon!)

Same photos, different day

The girls assume the usual morning positions!
The girls assume the usual morning positions! Waiting for breakfast

It’s doing it again. Half this country seems to be cursed with the snow, ice and wind. Ugh! Enough already! It’s certainly not news, but it definitely is a downer, particularly after we had the wonderfully warm weather so recently. I feel like I keep posting photos that look the same as every other photo from this winter, but I guess that is the reality, so that’s what we have today. Photos that cannot be differentiated much from any others during the never-ending winter of 2014. Dark and grey, with a lot of white!

Elf and Zelda position themselves close to the grain feeders
Elf and Zelda position themselves close to the grain feeders

Today is our 6th school snow day, so we officially will be going a day later in June, although I am sincerely grateful that we didn’t have to drive on the sleety, icy roads this morning. To top it off, I woke up with the cold that my husband has been fighting for the last few days. It doesn’t appear to be as bad as the bug he has, thankfully.

I am off to do a little more knitting, and my husband is making his amazingly wonderful deviled eggs… just right for a snowy, windy, icy, yucky morning :*)