We have had radom amazing sunny days here on the homestead. Days that are best spent in the company of goats.
The other day it was so beautiful I decided to take some pictures of all the goats. The babies were out in the sun and I thought it was time to introduce everyone.
We have lambs! Oreo and 1tag decided to have their babies on the same night. It was fortuitous! The Mr and I had cleaned out the old turkey stall just that day and gotten it ready for their arrival. We ushered the sheep inside (which was a huge pain in the butt because that’s what sheep are) but we got them all in and settled. That night it snowed 5″ and the sheep dropped off 2 lambs for our trouble. I can’t tell you how glad I was that we had them inside. Now we are only waiting on 1 more ewe.
The girls gave us two ram lambs so they won’t be staying long term on the homestead. When you have boys on the farm they aren’t good for much. You only need one breeder and from there, every male is superfluous.
We also have baby goats!
Brutus (in back) and little Twinkie take a nap.
Need a goat of your very own? Jet is now for sale.
Rocket is staying with us because she has the privellage of being a girl.
Tank ADORES the baby goats. Well, he adores all goats no matter what. He’s a super goat enthusist. He will sit at the gate and just gaze at them adoringly as they play. It’s really pretty sweet.
A few things have been going on in the last week which is why I’ve remained silent. Last Thursday I stepped down into the goat stall as I was getting ready to put everyone away for the night, and I rolled my ankle. Seriously, I heard that gross popping sound and I face planted into the straw. Thing was is that though I am usually awesome and paranoid about bringing my phone with me at all times I decided not to take off my muck boots and go back into the house to retrieve my phone not 5 minutes before. So there I was, laying on my face in agony with the almost certainty that I’d broken my ankle. My husband wasn’t due home for another 2 hours and it is a long way back from the barn to the house when you are a cripple.
So I sat there for a moment and took a deep breath of the musky straw of the goat stall and remembered that I am not the ‘wait to be saved’ type. I go onto my knees – my poor unreliable angry knees – and crawled out of the stall trying not to hit my foot to hard on the floor below because every tap was agony. I used bits of straw and fallen hay as knee pads as I crawled on my hands and knees down the cement hallway toward the door. The whole time – and this is probably stupid – I was physically saying to myself “I can do this.” over and over again. Every shuffle of the knee and hand was “I can do this.” Oddly though I still wasn’t crying.
Pretty pathetic right? Yeah, well, I knew once I got to the door of the barn I had 20 feet of mud to the fence and a bunch of goats who wanted their grain more than anything so I decided I’d test it. I pulled myself to my feet and with the aid of one of the Mr’s many 2×4′s I took my first tentative step. It hurt like hell but I could move. So I did. I used that 2×4 as a bastardized cane and moved as quickly as I could through the barnyard and through the yard and into the house where I had enough thought to grab and icepack before falling onto the couch and reclining as far as I could to elevate the offending joint. I went fast because I knew that I was working on adrenaline and that it would probably wear off at any moment. And it did. Just about the moment I heard my husband’s voice on the other end of the phone.
So yeah. We had a lovely little ER trip to our local hospital where I was checked in by a woman too bored with me to stop looking at houses and who got snippy with me about my -completely abnormal for me - high blood pressure. HA! You know, the only people who make a big deal out of that are people who’ve never been hurt so bad they needed to go to the ER before. Unless you’ve felt that fear and pain you can shut your sweet ass up. My blood pressure was high because I was in pain, because I was terrified I wasn’t going to make it out of the barn by myself, because I had already broken this ankle when I was 13 and have two screws in it, and I was terrified that I would be out of commission for 8 weeks.
People, I have stuff to do. I’m too busy to be a cripple for that long.
So 4 hours later I was greeted with the news that it was NOT broken. People, I felt like I had just won the lottery at that point. Everything else didn’t matter, I was as good as gold.
So yeah. My wonderful husband took amazing care of me for the next 3 solid days. I hobbled on crutches and scooted around the house on a rolly chair and did my best to keep completely off it for that time. The swelling went down and the bruising came - omg it is SO bruised! – and I’m able to walk around pretty confidently now with aid of a brace.
To celebrate let’s have a contest! Comment here with your worst injury and I’ll pick 5 random people (with help of the random number generator) to win 3 patterns of mine of their choice. You have until Monday the 27th before I’ll pick my winners.
And though this has nothing to do with the post here are some goats.
You guys, I am so overwhelmed by all your kindness and your wonderful comments. I’m responding to all of them as I can. I find that if I write back all at once they tend to be generic and I hate that. So I’ve had kind of an awesome 2012 so far and it’s not even 33 days into the year! (Lets pepper this post with some goats shall we? It just makes everything better.)
1. My testers are JUST about done with my Coastal Waters Shawl which is turning out BEAUTIFULLY. They have worked so hard and so completely that this will be such an easy shawl to knit when I publish it. It is a study in slipped stitches and really fun and interesting!
2. I’ve just finished another shawl design that I’m pretty sure is one of the neatest things I’ve done because it was with out planning and just spur of the moment. I just really dig it.
3. I’m fairly certain that at least one of my goats is pregnant and that 3 of my sheep are which rocks my world.
4. I finally was able to string together 150 words for my Ariel synopsis to eventually put into an agent letter. It took the help of my wonderfully honest cousin, my best friend, and the Mr who spent a half an hour alone re-writing the last line but I think it might actually be what I’m looking for. If you’ve never tried to compress a book into 150 short words it’s pure torture. The first few attempts I had sounded as if they were written by grade school kids.
Through the eyes of the casual observer Portland may seem like just another city but just below the eco-friendly surface it’s a hub for forgotten gods, mythical creatures, and things that go bump in the night. Standing between these two worlds is the arch angel Ariel. Ariel is divine justice and keeps the peace between pantheons, creatures, and humans for as long as such things have existed. It is her job – and her job alone – to make sure that everyone who walks among humans follows the laws set down by the most powerful of her kind. Now someone or something is changing the game and setting its sights directly on the peacekeeper herself. Now not only is the lion of heaven in grave peril but the world itself.
Right now things are going pretty good and I’m pretty pleased with myself. I have some knitting to show you but I thought goats might be just the ticket
So awesome in fact that I’ve got a goat post just for you all. Your response to my Oulaw sweater was overwhelming and if you heard a high-pitched distant squeal that was coming from me running around my house and barn as you bumped me at one point to #2 on the “whats hot right now” list on Ravelry. I did get reports that dogs from miles around lost their bananas for a few hours and I’m making restorations for that but guys, it felt so darn awesome. The response was such a huge ego boost I can’t even describe it. I’ve been turned down by Knitty.com twice, Interweave Knits twice, and Knit Scene once. Then with a self published sweater I put a lot of thought and work into you all made me feel SO un-losery I can’t even begin to thank you.
Well, I can begin so I will…with goats.
Who on earth can resist a goat smile? No one I say, NO ONE. It’s kryptonite, you know it is. You see a little goat smirk and your insides go all squishy then try as you might a force bubbles up inside you till you just can’t contain it and you explode with an ‘awwww’. You know you do. I KNOW you do which is really all that matters right?
Running Prancer runs. He also prances quite a lot. He also side kicks and wiggles happily. I swear La Mancas are the happiest goats on the face of the earth.
Sometimes I see him running and he’s running right at me and I won’t lie, I pucker a little when he doesn’t turn directions until the LAST second. You will read a report one day that I am completely bowled over by this goat. It might even be the way I die. If it is that would be the most ridiculous thing ever and if the Mr posts a damn obituary saying “at least she died doing what she loved” I would haunt his ass so hard because no one loves getting run over by a goat. But I digress. Back to the cuteness.
There aren’t a whole lot of hat wearing holidays are there? I think we’ll have to make some up to be quite frank.
We had snow and the goats didn’t really know what to think. It wasn’t bad like rain but it wasn’t awesome like sun either.
And as a special little extra tree here is a little video of goaty goodness!
So it’s almost new years again and I don’t know where the year’s gone. I’ve done a lot, a lot of crazy things a lot of fun things and a lot of things I never thought I’d do.
So I never really make resolutions because I make enough lists it would make a normal person crazy but this year I’m going to because there are a few things I really want to put some effort into.
1. I’m going to knit down the stash. I’m going to do my best to knit with yarn only from my stash. The only exception for this rule will be for designing things such as sweaters.
2. Along with this I’m going to knit down my queue on Ravelry. Currently it stands at 5 pages and a 176 projects. It grows faster than I actually knit the projects so I think it’s time to whittle it down a little. Also this will get me some finished knits that I really want.
3. I’m actually going to work on submitting my writing to get published. I’ve written a lot this year and it’s had a pretty positive responce so I’m going to go for it.
Things that are not resolutions but that I am just going to do are things like learn how to milk a goat, making cheese, and even working with my shepherd Kodiak to learn how to herd sheep.
The year in review…
We got chickens.
Lots of Chickens….Some which we ate and some which lay eggs…
We got some goats and I fell in love…
We got some gooses…
I started getting eggs from my chickens…
We picked 3 metric tons of blackberries…
I also learned how to can…
We adopted Tank a little brother who has really become a sweet addition to our family…
We rented a ram so we can have lambs this spring…
We added some pygoras to the farm…
We are hoping to expect turkey babies sometime this coming year…
We wish you a merry goat-mas…
We wish you a merry goat-mass,
We wish you a merry goat-mass!
And a happy Baaaah year!
It was the night before Christmas and we were dressing up a goat…
“What is finer than dressing up a goat in headbands so cheery?”
The only thing better is dressing up a wooly ram…clearly.
I’ve been a downer and I’m sorry for that. I wanted to thank you for all your wonderful lovely encouraging comments. It’s been a little hard to pull myself out of this downward spiral. Maybe because Christmas is coming, maybe because I’m just super tired, or maybe because I really can’t take one more stupid thing happening. So in order to get past all that I have some photos that will make you smile. I giggled my butt off taking these…
Charlie is a super star. He can’t help it, he just has that charisma that makes everyone fall in love with him. Now? he likes to wear things on his head. Super star x 10. My cousin Rebecca thinks I should start a separate blog called “Stuff My Goat Wears” which I think might be funny. I kind of want to go to a party store and buy out their novelty headbands.
Charlie is not the only super star on the farm though…
Herman is our rent-a-ram that we will be buying at the end of this breeding season. He’s so damn sweet and gentle and a beautiful red the Mr and I don’t want to let him go. Also? He’s festive. This ram let me put on his crazy head band and then just stood there like a champion. Then! He struck a few more poses. He couldn’t have cared LESS about what I was doing as long as it got him a chin scratch. Dear Herman, I love you.
Aw My Mr. Dude. He does abide. You have to admit that anything along with his sweet bunny face is just adorable as can be!
Oops was not so happy about the adornment but I think that’s because it was a little big on him and kept slipping. In the end Charlie wanted it back and pulled it off everyone’s head until we put it back on him.
And since this went over so well I found another…
Charlie couldn’t smile anymore if he tried!
He loved it so much he wandered off to eat still wearing his tiara. Gotta love a goat that can accessorize!
Herman was not to be left out though.
In the end though I let them all get back to their dignified naked selves.
And Dude was merry!
Mr Wally knows he’ll probably never be subjected to such indignity because he doesn’t even like an ear scratch. He’s a sweetie face just the same though.
And the geese are always around, yelling at me and tattling on anyone breaking the rules.
The day after the fire I came out to find my little Pygora goat, Count Chocula had passed away in the night. I cried. Pretty hard too because I thought I was over the worst bits of my luck. Apparently not. I had no idea what had caused this because he had been running around right up till I put them away for the night with out a sign of anything being wrong. I was devastated but this is livestock first. I know that sounds terrible, I know you are all frowning at me, but honestly, he wasn’t friendly like Charlie or Oops or Dude. He didn’t want me anywhere near him and though he was adorable and I loved him he wasn’t a pet.
Then I noticed Dude was acting a little lethargic and Charlie was acting a little weird. Panic struck that I might have something bigger on my hands that might wipe out my beloved goats. I called the vet and got Dr Scott out. Now I love Dr Scott, I totally have a farm crush on him because he’s no nonsense and knows what he’s talking about. He’s not a dog and cat vet, he’s a big animal vet which means he understands a little better where I’m coming from. After a quick check of the goats he determined that Charlie was fine but Dude’s rumen was slow. That means his 4 stomachs weren’t churning his food like they should be. It’s like a car idling too slow and threatening to stall. Except in goats this will kill.
We went over everything they’ve gotten into and what they’ve been eating. My goats are strictly pasture fed with a little bit of grain to enforce training to come when I call. (Yes, my goats do come when I call, usually better than my dogs do). They hadn’t gotten an overload of grain or chicken feed or anything. It made no sense but Dr Scott being as awesome as he is kept asking. He knew something had happened.
Then I shrugged and was like “My neighbor threw a bunch of apples over the fence yesterday, like a huge amount.” and Dr Scott looked at me, nodded and said “That was it, that’s what happened.” And that’s what killed my little goat. My goats have been eating apples all summer with out a problem but the last 2 months? Nothing. I hadn’t noticed any apples falling off the tree on our side of the property in a while which means that our goats weren’t eating them. Then the neighbor in his good intentions threw over about 30 apples and my goats being gluttons ate them all up.
Here’s the problem though. Goats like cows or sheep have rumen which means they have multiple stomachs that digest food that normally wouldn’t be nutritious. They eat grass and the like and create a base environment in their stomach. Adding the sudden intake of so many apples created an acid environment and basically poisoned the goats. This is called Rumenial Acidosis. Now that I had a reason and a diagnosis I felt better (well a little). Dude was given a dose of rumen starter and is now doing so much better that I think he feels normal and everyone else is fine too. I just didn’t know. The goats had been eating apples all summer without an issue but here’s what I didn’t realize. They had been off apples for about 2 months, then had a gluttony of them. This is where it went bad. Apples themselves are fine in moderation but you can’t add anything that produces that much sugar right away.
Now I have to write a kindly letter to my neighbor about this. I’m dreading it because I don’t see it as his fault but I don’t know if he will think that. I think he’s fantastic and wonderful but this accident happened and I have to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I swear, some days you just can’t get a break.
Rest in pease little Chocula, I’m so sorry this happened.