Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Splash of Color Much Needed

While keeping the ridiculous hours I do during kidding season I try to keep busy so I will not realize how tired I am - so I have been dyeing fibers.

This lovely little basket is full of SoySilk Fiber dyed Peach. Makes your mouth water just thinking of those lovely round, sweet, juicy fruits that grace our tables in the summer. While the fiber was drying I had wished I put up more peaches because now I have to wait till they are back in the farmers market. Oh Well, at least I can have my fingers on this beauty... I might have to blend it with some of my Mohair from Avery - he is a natural peach tone - How Lovely!!!

I also dyed whispering Lilac, Mountain Aqua, Moring Sky Blue and Emperor's Jade. I must say they all get my fingers itching to get to the carding machine.

A Little Bit of Spring - Much Needed!

My son Conrad gave me for Christmas a wonderful gift of a starter kit for Tulips. I must admit in all my years of growing things I had never forced Tulips in my house. I had to give up having Tulips when we moved here because they are toxic to Llamas and Goats. Conrad knows how much I love them so this was a perfect gift. I must admit I did a great job - those that are blooming are from the Christmas gift and those that are peaking our their little heads are ones I purchased about three weeks ago. I will be enjoying Springtime early in the house as outside I get to walk thru 5 inches of snow from Sunday....

Thank you Conrad for such a wonderful gift...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Rebecca My Champ - Twins Again

Sunday morning has been nothing but none stop snow... I understand it is Winter but hiking thru deep snow every two hours sure makes these legs tired. After doing morning chores and getting the ladies all settled in I checked everyone's butts again and walked back to the house. It seemed like I might get Sunday off for good behavior. So I went into the house and started packaging and labeling yarn for my retail store in town. I sat at the kitchen table writing away while watching "Dead Like Me" ( I just crack up with that show, I know Grace is strange ) all of a sudden it felt like someone kicked my in my lower back. Then I had the worst cramps. I sat still for a moment and decided I better get out to the barn. So on goes all the layers and those heavy boots and out the door I went.

I quickened the pace with every cramp. Thru the gates, open the big metal doors and turned on the lights. It took a moment for my eyes to adjust because of the blinding snow and what did I find in the corner?? Rebecca, putting her ears in that strange way that only she does when in labor. That is one great thing about having these girls for so long - I know every movement, eyelash and ear twitch. I grabbed her by the horns and tried to move her to a pen. That was like moving a ten ton truck with just your arms. It always amazes me that a animal who does not weight more then 100 pounds can become dead weight when I want them to do something. Anyway, I waited for a contraction and then pulled her into the pen. Once she got in she settled down to the business at hand.

With not a sound, no screaming, huge dust storms or fanfair she sat down and started pushing. With each contraction she curled her upper lip, put her head in the air and pushed with all she had. After only a few minutes out came the first baby but I knew she was not done. She did not even stand to clean the baby but sat right there and curled her round body in a circle and cleaned the sweet thing where it layed. Then after 10 mintues of cleaning she went back to the rhythm of her lip curls and pushing. Out came the second little one and again she sat right with them and cleaned them both off. After they had been cleaned she stood and guided them with her feet and head to her swollen utter. In a matter of minutes without the little ones making a sound they both started nursing. What a sight.

Rebecca is another goat who is not real people friendly but a better mother you could not ask for - such grace under pressure, what love and compassion she has for her kids. While all this was going on her last years baby Lilly was feeling left out so I had her sit on my lap as I stroked her incredible fleece and gently whispered into her ear. Rebecca looked at me with soft eyes as if to thank me for caring for Lilly while she tended to her new one. Rebecca always has twins and this year is no different. We have two strong boys - both white and both real lookers. Rebecca delivers offspring that produce some of the best fiber here at the farm and I always look foreward to getting my hands into those lushish locks.

So no rest for the wicked but what fun we have as the barn fills with tiny new life and tons of new fiber - my spinning wheel is call..
The snow is expected to continue all night so those two hour checks are going to be long and cold but I can hardly wait to see who is coming next... Wish is luck!

Never a Dull Moment - Twins

With blurry eyes and cold body the two hour checks are still enforce.. Poor Maggie is so round that she is moving as slow as I am today. Despite her complaints I put her into a kidding pen. Her last year baby Murtle was not happy about being on the outside of the pen. So I pulled up a small sit and sat down with her while watching Maggie pant and cry. For those who do not remember Maggie is a SCREAMER and I mean SCREAMER. The kind of screaming that runs thru your body and puts every nerve on edge. With the lack of sleep this is harder to take - the things we do for love.

As the labor progressed poor Murtle grew closer and closer into my lap. As I rubbed her head and talked softly to assure her - Maggie got louder and louder until the whole barn was wishing it all to be over. Finally a head popped out. Silly Maggie is such a digger - for those who do not know it is part of their labor process, however she dug so much that the cloud of dust in the air was chocking me. I started coughing and coughing till I thought I was going to throw up. Not something I cared to do - so I tried with all my might to stop coughing. Maggie still digging and moving about as the poor little one was just peaking out with it head getting banged on the side of the barn with each turn she made. Finally I got in there and wiped it's face so the little one could breathe. After about 10 mintues she finally sat down and pushed. Pushed and Screamed. Pushed and out the baby came. Maggie went about licking it all over and then back to the digging - another little one on the way... While Maggie went on pushing for the newest addition I went over and wiped the first one down a bit to help out. Besides all that dust was not good for the babies either.

After the kids finally got cleaned up I could see that the first was a boy and the second was a girl. What a girl - see was up and nursing before the boy had even attempted to crawl a bit. The girl was bold, brave and out for herself. Everytime the boy stood she knocked him down. Then when he finally tried to find a teat she pushed her head or body in front to block him. She even was so bold as to scream everytime he took the teat in his mouth so Maggies would go right over to her and left the boy in the dust. Finally he got his nerve up and started to be bold and brave too. After a couple of great nursing moments he was ready to hold his own but he did not count on how pushy this little gal would be. She has the upper hand for now.

By this time is was 6:30 pm and time to get the rest of the girls feed, watered and checked. I finished the other animal chores on the farm and walked back into the house. By this time the winter boots felt like cement and my face mask was slightly frozen to my upper lip from my dripping nose (I know gross) but true. As I got out of the layers I realized I had not eaten all day - no wonder I was a bit dizzy. A quick glass of OJ and off to a shower - you see it has been several days and well over due.

See you when I dry off....

Oh Boy - Another Baby!!

I had hoped this Friday night would allow me to get a few moments of sleep but as I stretched out on the couch something said "Get Up and Check". Now I had just got back from the barn not more then 20 minutes earlier and NO ONE was showing signs of delivering. I battled with my inner voice for a few minutes and then peeled myself off the couch. Went downstairs and put on all those layers again. As I walked that long cold walk to the barn I kept saying to myself "No One Showed Signs"..

When I reached the barn and turned on the lights I did a quick check of everyone and found no one doing anything important but then I spied Mother Goose. There she sat still in the corner. Normally she gets right in with everyone. So I went over to her and who knew - she was in the middle of delivering. I quickly grabbed her horns and moved her to the nearest open pen. As her labor progressed the baby did not. I could see it's sweet nose and one tip of a hoof - after about ten mintues I stepped in and pushed the little nose and hoof back in so she could start again with a better shot out. In a matter of about 5 minutes out came this dearling boy. Mother Goose was busy talking and cleaning, cleaning and talking. After what seemed like two hours (according to my internal clock) he finally got the hang of nursing. Once his little tummy was warmed and he went pee - down for a quick nap he went.

After rechecking everyone and they all promised they were not in labor I went back out into the cold night and walked that long walk back to the house. I took off all those layers and by the time I went back upstairs it was almost midnight. I guess I was in the barn alot longer then I had thought. Well, after that I went back out every two hours just to make sure no one was lying and started their labor. One more long night - no wonder my lines on my face are getting deeper by the day but well worth it.

We have a first here at the Funny Farm

Tuesday at 2:30 pm Esmerelda went into labor and delivered a sweet girl, then about 15 minutes later out came a wonderful little boy now I thought we where done but about 10 minutes later out came another strong boy. WOW TRIPLETS!! That is the first time any of my goat girls had triplets. Our sheep yes but not our goats...

She is a great mother and went about the job of getting them up and running. With great care but with driven desire she got them clean and up to nurse quicker then most with only one. Esmerelda is not the friendly type at all but her mothering skills makes up for that ten times over. I must admit I was so excited but worried so I sat for four hours watching and waiting for any sign of trouble. Not a spot and I am glad for that!!

The little girl I have named ( Olivia ) and she is sure the lead out of the group. First to arrive, best at nursing and has already figured out all the ways to get out of the kidding pen. Under the heat lamp she appears to be a white but until I can get her in sun light I will not be for sure.

Next to arrive was ( Oscar ) and he is a gentlemen. Let's the others nurse first, let's them have the best spot under the lamp and never makes a sound. Such a kind fellow. He also appears to be a white but again natural light and time will tell.

Last is the odd man out ( Ozzie ) because unlike the others he has black masked face, a black streak down his back and black on his legs. He is also developing some light carmel in this fleece.

I will get pictures up as soon as the weather gets warmer. I have a floppy disk camera and it hates to work in the cold. I even tried holding it under the heat lamps but you are not fooling this relic. So for now no pictures but soon I hope.

Did a big happy dance TRIPLETS

Monday, February 15, 2010

Update on Ebony

Sunday she was very sad and not wanting to join in with the other girls. I decided both of us needed to get out in the fresh cold air and walk a bit. So I asked her to join me in a walk around the pasture and some heart to heart conversation. For those who think animals do not understand - Well, think again. As we walked she spoke (actual sounds) in goat about her sadness and loss. I listened to every sound she made, touched her with each sound and gave her soft gentle feedback. She would look up at me with those sad eyes and I look back with all my heart and soul.

Both of us know of loss and the pain it causes but I also know you can come out the other side stronger. It is hard to believe that when you are going thru it but in time all will heal. Not to say we forget but it does become easier. You see 14 years ago this very day my husband crumbled to the floor as a blood vessel broke in his brain. Three days later he was removed from all machines and he passed away. There is a part of me who remembers it like it was just yesturday. When I put that aside the rest of me realizes I have grown into a much stronger women, mother and now a caretaker of wonderful creatures.

So as we finished our walk around the pasture we went back to her pen, rested in the warm straw and she took a nap while I stroked her head. The other girls settled in for a nap as well - What a life I lead! Who would have believed out of my loss and sorry 14 years ago I would be in this whole different world... Change is not always what we want, it can be very painful but with change comes new growth, experiences and YES - a wonderous adventure.

Made something good to eat!!

First I start with puff pastry, then I placed a 1/2 inch thick slice of Pure Almond Paste. On top of the paste I have put a tablespoon of "Peach Blueberry Almondine Jam" This jam is incredible... It comes from a wonderful shop "Butcher's Bunches" on Etsy..
Here is a close up so you can see that wonderful Jam.

Then you fold over and crimp the edges. Somewhere my pasty roller is lost so I improvised - worked great.
Folded by a egg and cream wash to be brushed on the top of the turnovers.
Pop it in the oven and in less then 14 minutes out comes these mouth watering goodies.

Once cooled I drizzled and glaze over the tops. The glaze was 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 Tablespoon of heavy cream and a dash of pur almond extract. Add more cream if needed.

Then they are ready to eat. This is what I do to stay awake for my two hour checks on the girls. It filled the house with wonderful smells and I then could have something wonderful to eat while walking back and forth to the barn. I wished I could share with you all...

Please check out Butcher' Bunches on Etsy - she has some of the best jams around and she is a delight to work with.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Not the start I had hoped for

I promised to tell you when Kidding Season started at the Funny Farm - well, this afternoon at 4:30 pm while doing feeding chores I noticed that Ebony was in the early stages of labor. She is always the first to start the ball rolling. So with a storm heading our way I went into the house to get on more layers and get things ready. As soon as that was done I was back out into the barn sitting in the pen with her.

By 6 pm their came the sweetest little red haired boy. He was bright, alert and crying up a storm. Ebony went to work cleaning him and tending to his cries but I knew we were not done. Her glazed face told the story and she layed down and started her pushes. I took my towel and assisted in cleaning him off as the night air was getting cold. Ebony delivered at 6:15 pm a silver haired with a black back ridge darling little girl. Strong, sound and healthy she proceeded to start to crawl and cry. Ebony was busy cleaning and tending to them both - classic Ebony. I noticed that the little boy was not trying to crawl but just cried and cried so I wrapped a towel around him and took him into the other side of the barn where I had all my medical supplies and hair drier. I listened to his lungs and heart where I found his heart rate was way too fast. I started to warm him with the dryer but he was becoming limp and unresponsive. I gave warmed formula, rubs and finally assisted breathing but he passed. I wrapped him in the towel and went back to Mom and baby girl. She was walking and trying to figure out where dinner was. Mom was trying to pass the last of the after birth so I kept a close eye on the little one. She was attempting to find Mom but all of a sudden her legs buckled and she went limp. I immediately wrapped her in a towel and sprinted to the house. Upon reaching the house I ran to the bathroom where I had been having a space heater running just in case I needed a hot room to work in. I started the hair dryer and began warming her while feeding her with a bottle of warm formula. I worked on her for about 20 minutes but she was going quickly. When there was nothing left for me to do I wrapped her in the towel and took her back out to Mom. I placed both the babies next to Ebony and we sat and cried. Ebony licked them as I stroked her. One by one the other goat girls came up and viewed the bodies and then rubbed their heads on my back and shoulders - that is their way of showing compassion as they have done to each other. As I let Ebony have the time she needed to say goodbye I went to work cleaning up the pen and gather the supplies I had used. Once she seemed to have said her goodbyes I gathered the babies up and went back into the house with them..
I cleaned up the bathroom, cleaned the bottles and started the washer machine with the birthing towels because everything has to be ready for those who will be coming.

This is the hard part of the wonderful life I lead. The buckets of tears I have shed over the years for those who have passed is very hard but I remind myself daily that with the amazing joy I get each day with these furry family members there does come some incredible hard times too. It has been 13 years now that I have been delivering animals and the most important lesson I have learned is that there are some sweet souls that are just not meant to be here. I have brought many back from the edge but others are just meant to be sweet animal spirits from the moment they take their first breath.

So as I write this post my heart is breaking but my mind is telling me - "Stay focused on those you can save" I have others girls who will be delivering soon and I must be 100% so that I will be there if they need assistance. So, it is back to 2 hour butt checks and sitting with Ebony as much as I can because despite what folks might think - They Do Feel Grief and Loss.

So if I might ask you to say a prayer for those tiny souls who went tonight, one to easy the suffering of Ebony and one for those to come next. I thank you for that.