Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another day in paradise

The weather is beautiful here in Minnesota.  Didn't do too much of anything today.  Yesterday we bought a "new to me" car.  Other than that the weekend has been pretty uneventful.  We will be passing on our little pickup to the college bound daughter.  She sounded pretty excited.  She's driven it before but only while wearing Nascar helmets. (It's a stick) She'll be coming over on Tuesday and with any luck she'll be able to drive it home. 

Snowdrop (baby goat) had me a little worried the last couple of days.  She been refusing any bottles but finally after three feedings without a bottle she sucked down 16 ounces this afternoon.  She saved herself a trip to the vet tomorrow.  The goods news is that she continued to drink water and eat her grain and hay.  We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Dex (donkey) is likely to get castrated before the scheduled end of September date we had originally decided on.  He has been more and more boisterous and the days go by.  He took a pretty good bite out of Josh's arm yesterday because Josh was holding a pail of grain and he apparently thought it should go to him.  Then today he harassed and chased Madeline through the pasture.  He's been a very bad donkey!

This morning I also pasteurized my first batch of goat milk for family consumption.  I'm just about to feed it to the kids at dinner.  I haven't decided if I'm going to tell them what it is or not.  I know Josh will still drink it but Madeline is another story.  I'll let you know how it goes...
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Here Chick, Chick...

So, a couple of good things happening at the farm today.  The much anticipated event of the installation of a new septic system has commenced!  When we bought the house, back in February, the septic was repaired because there were roots growing through the pipes.  It was recommened that the whole system be replaced.  So we have been living with a gigantic trench running through our yard and down the hill and have been waiting for dry weather for the "replacement" to begin.  And of course with our luck, this has been one of the rainiest springs in a long time.  Well at least we can be happy for the farmers!

Other happenings:

The baby goat is now doing well enough that I have put her in the pasture with the other goats during the day.  She will still be spending her nights in the garage until she gets a little bigger so that she doesn't fall prey to any other animals.  When we got her she was drinking 12 ounces of milk twice a day.  I now have her up to 3 feedings a day and she is drinking between 16 and 20 ounces.  I think she has already put on about 5 pounds.  She is also offered free choice hay and grain and of course water.  She was 12 pounds when we got her and should easily have been closer to 20.  She hasn't really perked up yet but things are still new for her and she is still hiding a lot from the donkey.  It feels good knowing that we saved her from certain death.  She probably wouldn't have lasted another week there in the condition she was in.  She can look forward to a long and spoiled life now!

The last major event of the day was the delivery of the meat chickens to the processing house.  70 chickens are a lot to have roaming around the property every day and their feed bill was getting ridiculous.  Not to mention that they had a bad habbit of getting into the gargage and making a mess.  The baby goat is in there in small kennel run with a plastic dog kennel and a large wire dog kennel.  The chickens would go in and eat all of her grain and then kick her pine bedding everywhere while they scratched through it.  She would sit in the kennel terrified.  Those chickens were about as big as she was.  I do still have about 5-6 available if anyone is interested.  So now we will start to incorporate the chicks that are left with the rest of the flock.  I'm not sure how Farmer Brown and Bob are going to like that.  They have been working hard over the last couple weeks chasing the chicks around to make sure they don't get too close to the henhouse!  Should be interesting!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Got Milk?

So tonight I ask G, "Don't you think you should learn how to milk the goat?"  This of course, produced a slur of excuses as to why he shouldn't be responsible for "molesting" her.  Finally I had enough and made him come with me.  I set him down and proceeded to show him how to clean her udders.  I showed him how to grab her teat and sqeeze out the milk.  It took about 15 minutes and he managed to dribble out a few drops of milk.  I felt so bad for the goat the way he was man-handling her that I had to take over.  It was hysterical and I did get a couple of awesome pictures to post on Facebook!  Unfortunatley for me, I don't think he'll be ready to take over the milking chores anytime soon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Get Back Jack

Today I made a goat milking stand.  Makes milking more comfortable.  It would only have taken about 15 minutes to milk mama and feed baby but ended up being nearly an hour.  It would seem the other goats think the "new girl" is getting too much attention.  I wonder if they can smell the grain on her breath and they know she's being well fed while they're condemned to munching only hay?  Anyways, the minute I opened the door to get her they made a mad dash to get out.  I managed to keep them back but the donkey was too much for me and he escaped.  Did he run?  Are you kidding me...he stood there on the other side braying until I came back and opened the gate for him to go back to the pasture.  Then he had the nerve to stand half in and half out of the gate so that the goats could make a run for it.  I barely managed to shove him through the gate before they all got out.  I am now weighing the pros and cons of guard dog vs. guard donkey.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kidding Around

Well, I did it!  I have been browsing Craigslist for weeks looking for Saanen goats.  It's a solid white dairy breed with upright ears and a beard.  The idea was to get a yearling that I would breed for the first time this fall with the other 5 goats and not have to milk until next spring.  My brother stayed with us for the week to help out so on Tuesday we decided to take a trip to Princeton, Minnesota to visit a farm with goats for sale.  The goats were so sickly and thin.  It was so sad.  I offered to take a couple of the goats just to take them off his hands but told him there was no way I would give him any money for them.  I ended up calling the local Sheriff's office to report the condition of the animals.  He wouldn't let me take any of the goats so after a 2 1/2 hour drive, we went home empty handed.  I went home, searched again and found a breeder in Glencoe, MN.  We scheduled an appointment for Friday for me to look at a doe who was currently milking or her kid who was six weeks old.  I really wasn't prepared to bring home a goat and have to start milking her and I really didn't want the kid because she would be too young to breed this fall.  So, I got them both...

They are mother and daughter but they were separated right after the birth.  So now I have to milk the mom to feed it to the kid!   The poor little baby is at least six weeks old and today when I weighed her she was only twelve pounds.  She should be almost double that.  When I looked closely at her this morning I could see she was also covered in lice.  No wonder she was struggling.  I'm guessing if I had left her there she would have been dead in another week.  So I gave her a shot of Ivomec and treated the rest of the herd too.  She is currently being kept in the garage instead of with the other goats until she perks up and puts on a little weight.  I think another couple of days ought to do it. 

So tonight I got home from work a little after midnight and had to go out and milk mom and then feed baby.  Third times a charm, only took about 20 minutes.  Last night was the first night we had them and there we sat in the garage with all of the wrong equipment and not a clue of what we were doing.  I looked at G sitting on an overturned bucket, falling asleep and started laughing hysterically.  It just struck me as funny.  I never thought that after 13 years of marriage that we would one day find ourselves living on a farm and spending our Friday night in the garage milking a goat!  We'll see if the novelty wear off.  Tomorrow's project: Build A Milking Stand....stay tuned. 

I also just want to say thanks to all of my fabulous friends who listen to me go on and on about my feathered and furry babies and pretend to never get tired of hearing about them.  You guys are the greatest!