Monday, February 28, 2011

Funny Farm Free For All

With the sun out and the temp in the low 60's today I thought it might be a great day to let some of the girls and their little one's out to soak up the sun. There was another reason - Mishka was sitting out in the pasture on a hill and rolling on her side and acting like she might want to squeeze out a mini her!!! Oh Crumbs - I kept both Monica and Mishka penned up when the breeding was going on but with the events of last night we know that did not work....

Mishka is a bottle kid and that usually means they have no skills to act like Goats. Rather over the years I have found no matter sheep or goat - the flock looks at bottle kids more like a dog and not one of their own. Mishka is a spoiled brat ( remind me again who raised her? ) most of the time so it will be seen if she even notices what her responsibilities are as with other bottle kid Mothers I will be having another in the house. Keep those fingers crossed and prayers coming. It really would be better for the little one who is already in the house to have one of her own kind but trust me I want goats to be raised by goats whenever possible.

So in order for Mishka to have a birthing pen another Mother and kids needed to vacate. I decided to let a few others (those who would get along with each other that is) out of their pens and into the light.. Talk about a free for all - I had kids running everywhere, mother's crying and calling and my Great Pry looking at me like I must have had a brain meltdown to do this. Now with only having a few of the Mother's and Kid's out imagine it could be worse but this was enough chaos.... Even the Llama's in the pasture next to this looked at me as if I had lost my marbles. Maybe I have - you try thinking in a straight line when for three weeks you have not really slept!

So, I went in the house to feed a bottle and grab a quick bite of something and I watched from the kitchen window to make sure things did not get out of hand or should I say hooves. I will try to get a clear picture later because with those little kids darting so fast all around I could not get anything but blurry streaks... Such Joy, Such Fun, Such Long Naps.... I want a Nap!!!

We Have Nursing!!!

Update on Monica and her little one. I have witnessed three great long nursing sessions which I can not even put into words how happy that made me. Monica is engaged fully with her baby and even stomps the ground and snorts at me when I approach her. I completely understand that after having your hands into someone privates and then again getting my hands on her teats to assist in starting the little one - she has every right to be pissed off at me but if only she would see it from what good I did. I guess that is my role around here - step in when needed and then fade into the background when not needed...

So this smelly, tired Midwife hopes for a shower, some warm food and a hot cup of coffee.. All this before I need to start the morning chores and fiber business. No Rest for the Wicked - Yeah like I have been wicked - just cranky..

Monica is a Mother

Another very busy night in the barn!!! At 10:40 pm tonight Monica went into labor.. I really thought that she did not get bred and so imagine my surprise when she started screaming. Yes, ear piercing screams - poor little girl... I moved Kate and her little girl out of their pen and pulled Monica in and closed the gate. I had to run to the house to give a bottle to the girl in the house and then run back to check in with Monica.

I knew we were going to have troubles because she was pushing but not progressing so I got into the pen for a closer look and also to time the contractions. Oh how I wished I had ear plugs..

It is no 11:20 pm and still no progress and she is getting too tired to push so I will have to assist. I took off my nice heavy warm gloves and got on my knees next to her. With the next contraction I slow worked my hand in and grab hold behind the head and pulled. With the following contraction I repeated the process and out came the head. A HUGE head! I quickly cleaned the mouth and ran my finger in it's mouth to clear it. It took a breath and so did I..

I stepped aside for a few minutes to see what she could do on her own. That baby was too big for such a little girl but there was not much we could do to change that now. She struggled with the contractions and grew weaker so again I got on my knees next to her and with all my might (not enough to injury the baby or Monica) I reached my hand inside her and grabbed the shoulders. Waiting for her to breath and push I then pulled again. Out came this monster of a baby - a GIRL!!

I quickly cleared the mouth again and did the cord. Then placed her up towards Monica's head because she was weak and still in a daze. She went right to work licking and talking to her girl. I waited till she had most of the baby cleaned before I dashed to the house again because now it is 1:15 am and the baby in the house needs another feeding.

After that feeding I dashed back to the barn and watch to see if she has figured out how to nurse. As of this posting she is still looking for the teat but working on it.. I must leave again to go back out to the barn - hopefully she will have figured it out by now. It is getting really cold out and there are still more babies to come but I am praying not till tomorrow but when do I ever get what I want???

So Monica is a Mother - Congrat's

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New Addition To The Farm

Ebony finally had her babies this morning. I checked on her all night long and nothing but the moment I get busy the stuff hits the fan. I went in to check on everyone after morning feeding and walked in the barn to just see Ebony deliver a baby still in it's sack and not breathing. I quickly untied the pen gate and rushed in hoping to help - nothing to be done. As I hugged her and gave her words of love and hope I heard a tiny little voice. I quickly looked all through the pen - NOTHING! What in the world is going on??? I stood still and pitched my ears - Nothing! So I went back to assist the mother - again I heard a cry. I stood up and leaped out of the pen to search. Checking every pen and counting to see if there was anyone new - Nothing! Just then I saw in the dark feed room some movement. I rushed in and there was a perfectly cleaned off little girl caught in the tubes on the side of the barn... I picked her up and rushed her to Ebony, rubbing the sack of the other baby all over her hoping to trick Ebony. She is a very smart girl and an experienced mother but I think that she disconnected because in her mind her baby was dead.... Crap!
So, grabbing a towel and running to the house as I tried to keep the little one warm.. I ran into the kitchen and with hot water running I got the bottle, formula and blankets. Made a bottle and prayed that I could get her to nurse... She latched on to the bottle and before I knew it she had taken 4 full ounces. My word that is what a week old baby would drink. I quickly started warming her with the hair dryer and then made her basket with warm blankets. I put it in front of the space heater and watched... She went to nap and I ran back outside to the barn. I gathered up the deceased baby and checked Ebony over. I gave her a private pen, warm water, grain and hugs. Ran back to the house and was there just in time to watch the little girl to stand up and PEE!!! Yes, the tummy is working.
So we will see how this all goes - keep her in your prayers... Ebony is not even looking for her or asking me of her so I think this little one is in the house with me unless something changes with Ebony. I know her so well that I know she feels that her baby was born dead and that way that, forgetting she cleaned another. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed and pray a lot...

Friday, February 25, 2011


Saturday evening the computer decided to have it's complete melt down. I sat there trying to figure out what had just happened - tons of weird codes, flashing things and frozen screens. I knew I was in big trouble. After finding myself looking for a paper bag to breath in (just kidding but very close to the truth) I went outside and starting cleaning up barns and trying to breath...

I tried again Sunday and still no go.. So I had to wait till Monday at 10 am when the computer repair store opened. Without being in a complete panic - Yes, I was only 85% panic - I turned over the tower... I found out by days end the hard drive was fried and there went everything! I called around to find out what my options where and decided to just have mine repaired. We also hoped and prayed tons that they might be able to get any of the files back.

Now I admit I use the computer only to do my business and answer emails - I have dial up and you know that means days to download anything. Another thing was I am old school and everything is on paper too! You read that right - my brain always wants a piece of paper... So I could reconstruct things through my paper trails but what I was really freaking out about was my newest pictures of the goat babies... I had not had time to dowload them to disk and I really got some cute ones too.. The computer guy could not stop laughing - I know he thinks I am just plain nuts but my checks are good and that is all that is required...

So, here I am 6 days later and I am writing this to let everyone know that I had not fallen in the barn and couldn't get up - by the way, I did not hear of anyone calling to see if I was frozen stiff to the barn floor or eaten by the Mountain Lion - so I guess no one missed me...

I will try not to take it personally and get on with catching up on the 768 emails in my in box and pulled my orders. When I have extra time I will be posting all that has gone on since my forced electronic vacation and it has been chaulked full of typical Funny Farm drama. Good to be back I think!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oh What A Sweet Face but No Name Yet

This cutie pie is "?" - No Name Yet!
Lazy Kate is the Mother and the little girl was born 2/9/11 at 10:00 am in the morning. Don't you just LOVE the color - it is lighter then Carmel, softer then a cinnamon, any way you put it I just want to eat her up with a big spoon.... She is a good size girl with a ton of energy. Never makes a sound, loves the twins who live in the pen next door but Mother does not let her do much with them - Kate is a bit over protective but I love that about Kate. This sweetie pie also adores the Great Pry who guards everyone in the goat girl barn. I often find them nose to nose when I walk into the barn or laying next to each other with the pen gate between them. Kate has already taught this sweetie pie that hay is a food source - she is too young to eat it but she will put a piece in her mouth and proudly walk around the pen is if to say "If I wanted too I would eat it but I am on a liquid diet for now". She loves to twirl in circles and can be found pronging around the pen with no real plan in mind but committed to the process whole hearted.
I have been trying to think of the perfect name but the tiny gray cells are all tapped out. So any thoughts???

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Last Day - Full Tilt

When my oldest son started ice climbing my mother and friends would ask me "How in the world could you let him do something so dangerous?" My answer was something like this "I would much rather have my son die doing something he loves then to go by being hit by a drunk driver so something not of his choice." Now to some folks I know you are gasping and wondering what kind of heartless person/Mother am I but I have to say "Wouldn't we all rather go out with joy in our heart then dread and despair???" I know I sure want to go out standing straight and with giving it my all.

Keeping this in mind I must share this even as I am writing this while still crying. This afternoon while awaiting the birth of more goat babies I was sitting and watching all the little goat kids playing full force - running, jumping, hopping and just having the best time in the world. I kept saying to myself "I am the luckiest person in the world, my job has such joy."

As one of the girls had been pushing trying to get the second baby out I looked over to the pen where Mother Goose and the twins where having a ball... The two girls where jumping on and off their adopted mother's back - a game that all little furry four legged do and with wild abandonment. As my brain said "What a true blessing that the girls have Mother Goose" the unthinkable happened. The smallest one - who I called PEE elope because she always managed to pee on my slippers - jumped up onto Mother Gooses back and slid sideways. Within a blink of my eyes she crashed into the side of the metal tubing that runs along the walls. Her little neck in that instant snapped. I flew out of my chair and over the gate panel to get to her but in that second she was gone. I picked her limp body up and just started crying uncontrollably. OH MY GOD!!! I screamed. I scared the whole barn. It was as if someone had stabbed my in the heart - how could this be?? After all the trials and troubles - all the work, love and promise - OH MY GOD!!!

I took her body out of the pen with me and knew I had to get a grip. I had a mother trying to deliver her second baby... I had Mother Goose who had already lost one baby and now this!! I had the remaining little girl who was needing a mother to stick with her and care for her. I could not fall apart into a puddle... Yeah Right!!! I found myself sitting with my lost little one in the dark corner of the barn just sobbing. I again understand that I am very tired, that this is the worst week for me and my past losses. I get all that but we were having such fun one minute and then it is over..

I pulled myself together long enough to check the babies over and see the sex's and do their cords. I got my new Mom a dry bed of straw, fresh water and waited till the sack was passed and she had nursed them both. Then I went back to my corner, picked up my lost one and cried some more. Just then Ebony reminded me that it was past dinner time for them and would I please remember those who where here...

I went about getting the chores done and wrapped the little one in a blanket to carry back to the house. As I checked again on the newest kids and made sure they where nursing again I went over to Mother Goose. She gave me a look that let me know that I had to remember what I truly believe in. There was the second girl jumping, playing and having a great time with the kids in the next pen. For a moment I thought - "Shouldn't she be upset, miss her sister, sit down and ponder the great loss?" Then I wondered wouldn't she be safer with me in the house?? I could keep her safer, I would not let her do dangerous things but that would mean she could not be the goat she was born to be. I thought "I am not that kind of a parent" - "There is no guarantees in life." Just then Mother Goose licked my hand. She gave me that look again and I bent over the gate to kiss her forehead. I GOT IT!!! I UNDERSTOOD!!!

I have always said to folks - "If this was the last day of your life did you live it too it's fullest? If Not, what are you going to do differently?" I GOT IT!! It may suck at the moment but I GOT IT!!! Today, this tiny soul had managed to live 10 full days when she might not have made it thru the first. She brought such joy to my world for those 10 days which I would not have had if I was not luckily enough to save her. She got to play full tilt with her sister and be with her barn mates for the best couple of days EVER!!! That little one LIVED FULL TILT and for that I am grateful..

So as I am still a puddle of tears I know in my heart that was her best day ever and I am thankful for this day too... I hope with all my heart that when my last day comes I will have been living FULL TILT..

Playtime in the Wee Hours

I crept out early this morning long before the hens even thought of starting their egg production. The wind was howling so loud I knew I could get out to the barn without the whole farm knowing it. I peeked through the crack I left open to air the barn out in the crisp clean night air and what did I see but all the little one's romping and jumping around. They where full of energy and excitment. Even my sweet little twin girls where jumping all over their new home while Mother Goose watched on with sleep still on her mind. All of the kids jumped on their mothers back and then back onto the soft straw bedding. They looked like circus performers getting ready to amaze their audience. I wanted so badly to go in and play with them but this is the time I remind myself to let them have their lives without me placing my needs before theirs. I can not explain in words how seeing my two little twins being "Goat Babies" means to me. I guess I can not even call them "My Twins" because none of the four legged furry family members are MINE. I am lucky and blessed to be the one who gets to take care of them and at time get a peek into their silent world.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

From Tragedy to Triumph

February 15th is a crappy day for the Gerber household. It was the day that my husband fell to the floor and never regained his life. It has been 15 years since that day and I could not believe that this heavy cloud was hanging over me after all this time. I did not have time for this - I had too much work to do. I struggled to recenter myself and find my peace and joy. I kept wondering why after all this time was I in such a funk?

I went about my day doing those tasked that where required to keep everyone running... I admit I was so tired that I felt like I was walking with cement boots on. I tried to be kind to my weary body and listened to inspirational CD's trying to force my mind into a good place. As the day wore on I had this sinking feeling that something terribly wrong was coming my way...

It was around 5:30 pm and just fed the bottle kids. I was going to make another round of bottles but decided to make another check in the barn. As I entered the barn I could tell Mother Goose was starting up. She is Gretal's mother and is another one who never makes a sound - you know she is in labor because she will curl her lip and puffs her cheeks. I got my chair and sat down.
Mother Goose was normally a quick birthing goat but this time I could tell we were going to be in for the long haul. The head was out but there was no movement. I grabbed a towel and in the pen I went. This is the time I wished I had another set of hands here. It is really hard to hold a goat still with one hand and reach around this big girl trying to free a stuck baby. Mother Goose was not having any of it. I had to put all might into getting her to work with me. It is not easy to get this big girl down. Again, I did the cowboy throw and down she went. Quickly I got to her rear end and reached inside to push the baby back some to feel what was stuck. She had a back leg pressing forward and so this was too tight to get out. I could fell also that the baby had died and so this was a mission to save Mother Goose. I could not feel if there was another inside but had prayed that this was her only one. With the next contraction I reached farther back, pushed the leg back and then with the next contraction I pulled with all my might to get that baby out. Once out and on the ground Mother Goose jumped up and started cleaning the lifeless body. I made sure there was not a faint heart beat and then my light bulb went on. I put the baby down, got out of the pen and made a mad dash to the house.

As I threw open the shop door I pulled off my boots and up the two sets of stairs to the bathroom. I jerked open the door and frightened the twins but without a sound I gathered up the sheet that they where standing on and like jolly St. Nick grabbed the bundle and ran down the stairs. I quickly put on my boots and started running back to the barn. As I opened the door to the barn there was Mother Goose still cleaning the still body. I quickly got the twins into the pen - they where screaming and I took a towel and rubbed the deceased body to get every speck of afterbirth on the towel and then in turn rubbed it all over the twins. I grabbed Mother Goose and kept pushing the twins under her to get them started on nursing. They sure took to that fast and Mother Goose stood still but only because I had hold of her.

After giving her about 2 minutes of them nursing I let go of her. She stood and let them finish nursing but just then she took those horns and flung them into the air. They quickly ran to me crying in shock. I grabbed her again and we repeated the same procedure. Again I got the same response. I left the pen and sat quietly to see if she would settle. Those girls where so excited to be nursing that they would not leave her alone. After seeing her push them, flip them and run around the pen I thought I guess I better pick them up and get them into the house before they get hurt or cold. After three hours I was giving up.

Just when I was gathering up the sheet Mother Goose began to push again. Her afterbirth was slowly coming and now it was here. Just then I again got in the pen quickly and grab it - I had to play tug a war with Mother Goose but I got a huge portion of it. I rubbed that bloody sack all over my pure white girls as they stood in shock. They looked at me as if to say "MOM, have you lost your mind - what is this mess you are smearing on us?" I took chunks and stuck it even in their ears. I sure hoped this would work otherwise I was going to have a real mess to clean off these girls. Just then Mother Goose started talking to them, licking them and calming down. OH MY GOD!!! Can this be? Could I get this Mother to take these week old bottle kids??? I was so thrilled - my heart was in my throat. We have never gotten a bottle kid to be taken by a mother - Could this horrid day have a silver lining??

I sat in the barn for hours watching to make sure that Mother Goose was not changing her mind. I worried that my sweet little girls would get too cold outside because they had a personal space heater running all the time for them to warm their sweet little bodies. I must admit when I finally got to bed around 1 am my heart was singing. This day that was nothing but tragedy ended with a miracle. I was sill very sad for the loss of the little boy - by the way he was about three times the size of any of the little kids - so that was not a good sign. All I can say is with his short life here he has given a great gift not only to the little twins but also to Mother Goose. She is an incredible Mother and I do not know what she would have done if she did not have someone to care for - now she has two.

Thank the universe for reminding me to get out of myself and be in the moment - there is much I can't control but there are a few things I can be a active assistant in and this day was one for the books. I hope in some way my late husband was looking down and saw how far I have come and what skills I have mastered - a different life I live now then anything I did with him but this life would never have been created if not for the events of 15 years ago.

Oh What A Sunday

I lost a couple of days here because Sunday was a Big Confusing Free For All...

I am still trying to get it all straight so let's see if putting it down on paper would make more sense.. Don't count on it but here it goes - hold on to your seats. At 9:58 am I went into the barn just to take a peak because no one was showing any signs of labor but there I found Gretal in the early stages her labor. Her last year daughter Jill was in the same kidding pen because there was not a single suite left at Hotel Funny Barn... Jill was sitting quietly in the far corner and watching her mother give out those tiny sounds of active labor. I knew not to get involved because Gretal becomes flighty during labor. So I pulled up my chair and started counting contractions. Out came the first baby and it was a girl and before Gretal could even really look at her she sat herself back down and started pushing. Before you could really worry about the first one being left alone the second baby was out and it was a sweet boy. Gretal got up, started talking to them and cleaning them. She is a speed demon on cleaning. Before I could log in the delivery time which was 10:14 I saw that Jill started making faces. She is a first time mommy so I watched her closely to record her signs. It was now only 10:33 and with loud cries and panic in her eyes Jill delivered a tiny little boy but I knew we had a problem - Jill was giving me that "Deer in the Head Light Look". We see that in some first time Moms because it is all new and frightening.. Just then Mother Gretal stepped in. She went quickly to talking to Jill and cleaning the little guy. Jill came over to me and pressed her head into my forehead in an attempt to connect and receive comfort. She has done this since she was a little girl and it was our way to connect. Then with a big push out came the second little boy. Again, Gretal went about cleaning the newest little one. I was very concerned because Gretal was now caring and nursing all four and Jill was still confused. Just when I was feeling my heart start sinking for what would be too much for Gretal to handle it was like the universe heard my fears and Jill stepped in. Now before I was ready to do my Happy Dance - Jill was licking the kids of Gretal - WHAT!! O.k. then they did another switch and we had one kid of each mother nursing from the wrong mother. Then another switch and another - thank God they all look differently or I would really get confused....during this time of year it does not take much to get me confused.

I watched them for hours just to make sure there would be no Mother flipping out and hurting someone. Gretal would at times have all four of them standing in line to nurse but then after drinking from Grandma they would go to Jill. I must say I was filled with more joy then I have felt in a long time. Here was the perfect picture of Mother helping Daughter and Daughter helping Mother. The kids sleep in a big pile and each time they get up to nurse it is any one's guess who they will go to and each time it is different. Each Mom is giving their love to all and it is pure love....

The four little one's are thriving and bring such joy to watch. Jill is even teaching her Mother that this two legged Mother is someone who gives great body rubs and is there for their babies with all my skills and love.

What a roller coaster ride around here but well worth the price of a ticket..

Saturday, February 12, 2011

To Sleep in MY BED!

To Sleep in My Bed is pure delight. To have my legs straight out and not the letter "S" on the couch is Devin. To peel off my layers and feel the clean sheets against my skin is pure bliss. Even if it was for only two hours you can not imagine how my soul feels replenished. It is at times like this that I really know what is makes this gal happy - the simple things that most take as being so normal and routine until it is not there everyday.

Today amongst all the outside chores, baby bottles, butt checks and such I treated myself to homemade Spiced Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting... You read that right - I baked. Not only that but I made Honey Mustard Chicken with Herb Lime Rice. I had a nice bowl of fresh mixed lettuces with a huge ripe lush tomato. As I sat and enjoyed each mouth full I again reminded myself that for me it sure does not take much to make this gal happy. During baby watch food can be anything but the norm - a banana with a cup of tea in the barn may be lunch or maybe dinner. More likely I have forgotten to eat and do not realize it until my head feels like it is about to drop off my shoulders and then I race to get something into my stomach quickly. I often find myself eating a piece of bread with cheese as I am walking to the barn only to have the wind catch it from my hand and take it out to the dark black night for some other hunger creature in need a meal. Tonight I enjoyed a well planned meal and it was grand.

So here it is the start of my late night shift - bottles are awaiting the little ones to awake, I just got back from waking the goat girls and checking their butts, I placed another load of towels and sheets into the washer and through it all I remembered that feel of those crisp white sheets as I swished my feet back and forth - life can not get any better then this!!

What simple thing in life gives you pleasure??

Friday, February 11, 2011

Devil Goat Delivery - Thrills and Chills

I have never been shy to let folks know about my feelings for one of my goat girls - Esmeralda - the Devil Goat!!! Over the years her and I have had our battles and I am the one who ends up being hurt. Maybe we are too alike - strong willed, a very protective mother and someone who knows their own mind and follows it even when there is an easier way - Yep, we are two pea's in a pod.

Well I tried to put my head and heart in a kinder place with her even when it still hurts to take a breath because of her plowing me into the side of our metal barn after I assisted her with a problematic delivery. I guess you can tell I am still holding a bit of a chip on my shoulder and cracked rib cage... Last year we locked horns (rather I had to grab her horns and force her head into the corner of the pen to let her kids nurse) twelve times a day in order to keep her twins nursing with her and not in the house with me. This fun went on for three months so as you can see we have a bad history together.

So you can imagine my thoughts for this year with Esmeralda. I tried to place out in the universe the thoughts of an easy delivery, a kinder goat with no thoughts of hurting me or anyone else in the barn. I tried to mediate on those thoughts but a small voice in the back of my head said "Who are you kidding, this is the Devil Goat". Quickly I tried to clear my mind and place it back to good will towards all. The universe always gives us what we send out and this year was no different.

Shortly after Kate delivered I noticed that Esmeralda had placed herself in her yearly located kidding pen. First, can I say I am so amazed how these girls will return to the same pen year after year. So I gave her a big bucket of water - she drinks tons before and after delivery. I tied the pen up and told her that I would sit clear on the other side of the barn as to not upset her. See she also will charge at me if I watch her... So I moved my chair and went about writing in my notebook and counting the contractions and grunts she made. Hour upon hour went by and no progress. As I kept repeating kind thoughts that small voice was saying "This is just like the last time"... "You know what happen to you last time"... "Crap, I don't want to get hurt again!!"
O.K., I need work on my positive mediation but I am also going to be the one who is going to have to go in there with the Devil Goat....

Now it has been 6 hours and the labor is strong, the pushing is getting her no where and I can tell she is starting to grow week. I thought maybe if I talk to her - well that did not go well. In the middle of her hard pushing she found the strength to get up and charge the gate. Some folks just don't know when to set it down... I backed off and waited till she was back on her side. I untied the gate and slowly stepped inside. I kept a slow and steady breathing pace as to not give her reason to panic. I waited till she was in mid contraction and stepped next to her. As she finished her contraction and started to stand I saw that we had another problem presentation. One foot and a head. That is not good. So as she was almost on all feet I quickly pushed the head and foot back in. You can not do this gently because what you need to do is unlock the foot presentation.
She spun around and caught my leg with her horns. Luckily I had on my heavy duty fleece lined jeans and two pair of long johns so no damage to me.. She started her next contraction and there was only the head showing. I think now we will be making progress and just then with one massive push out came the rest of the head and two front legs. With that I left the pen and she sat down and delivered the remainder of the body. The sweet little creature wiggled and drew a deep breath. Mother went about cleaning off the little one while I knew another was soon too follow.

I returned to my chair and started counting the contractions again. The where coming fast and close together. The first baby was crying and wanting it's mother but she was busy. Normally I would go in and clean the face and treat the cord - that is with any other goat but not the Devil Goat. I had to sit on my hands and just watch. Out came the second baby and now she was frantically trying to clean both. Too bad she would not let me help!! I guess we are alike - I have never been one to ask for help even when it sure would have made my like easier..

After 45 minutes of her cleaning, talking, pawing them into nursing position we had contact. Two nursing kids. The first kid is a rich chocolate brown with black markings and the second is a light latte color with black markings. You might be asking - "What's the Sex?" Like I am going in there and touching them - did you not read the part about her hurting me??

So those two sweethearts where born 2/9/11 at 5:43 pm and 5:49 pm. Today is the 11th and I finally know the sex's - not by touching but by watching them pee... They are two fine, strong and handsome BOY'S.... Devil Goat charged the gate and tried to bite at my leg just for watching them pee... I do have to give her credit she is a SUPER MOM and would lay her life down for them - hope someday my kids would tell that to others of me. With my strong will, list of do's and don'ts and no holds bared Independence I guess the reason why the Devil Goat has never left this farm is because she is me and I am her... Boy does that suck!

10 am Wednesday Morning Surprise Package

Every time I pull back the big metal door to the girls barn it is like Christmas morning when I was a little girl. You get those butterflies in your stomach and your heart beats faster wondering what is in store for you as you look inside that big cold metal box. As I walk from the house I am always thrilled with the stars in the sky and the low warm glow from the barn lights that help me get from point A to point B with falling flat on my face - O.K. sometimes I do but we wont talk about my lack of Grace... As I stand in front of the big metal doors and summon up the strength needed to pull back on the leaver that most of the time is frozen in place I also say a small prayer that all will be O.K. with my sweet one's in the barn and if there is a problem that I have the ability to make a difference.

It amazes me how quickly things change in life - maybe that is why I seem to fight is so much on other levels. Even with the sun up there was no heat to assist in opening up the barn. I whaled on the leaver several times before I could make my way inside. Getting thru the door it takes a few seconds to get my eyes to focus from the blinding white of the snow. As I stand there I quickly check where everyone is and what they are doing... It is not a easy task because all that noise of trying to get in gets them milling around in circles. The heat lamps throw off a glow in the barn but not really bright enough for me to see in every corner and under ever gate. I flick on the switch to the over head lights and wait for the girls to slow down. Meanwhile my ever needy Great Pry Chief had only jumped up on me a dozen times to make sure that he is noticed and loved. I love him dearly but when you are as tired as I am and this HUGE dog jumps up and put his whole weight into your chest it does not really help in the process of quiting the barn. As I for the millionth time tell him NO and push him down I know this will not stop him from doing it for a millionth and one time.

As I finally get the residents of the barn to stand still I quickly see what has changed since the last time I was there - a lot can change in two hours. Just then I notice Chief was excited to see Kate - real name is "Lazy Kate". Kate is a very quite girl and does not have friends in the barn. She is a daughter of Ebony and so that makes her second in line and feared by most. Normally she sits outside her mother's pen but this time she had put herself into the pen that she had delivered her son Kazoo in two years ago. The way you would know this is important is because last time she was expecting she spent the whole time jumping out of the pen, me dragging her back in and around, around we went until the moment Kazoo was half way out. So for her to place herself in the exact pen was a BIG DEAL!

I quickly went to work. I closed the pen, tied it shut, got her water and found my chair. Sure enough without a sound she sat herself down and started pushing. Within a matter of minutes the little one was out and she went to work on cleaning it up. Kate is quite but if you go anywhere near her baby she makes this growling sound - strange but true. So I sat quietly and watched. I had forgotten that Kate is a neat freak. Really, I have never seen an animal get a baby so clean. I could sure use her with some of the other Mother's. Kate is like the "Martha Stewart" of the goat world... I wonder if there is OCD in the goat world???

I then decided that this was the only baby coming for her and so I could start my care of the others. I finished checking all the animals on the farm and came back about 45 minutes later and Kate was still cleaning this little one. What an incredible color and tons of swirly curls. The baby made not a sound and was enjoying every lick that Kate provided. It was not 2 hours after it's birth and finally Kate felt it was ready to nurse. The other remarkable thing about Kate is her fleece - she has tons and that is not a great thing when a little one is looking for food. Kate has an answer to that - she lifts up one of her rear legs and reveals her soft pink teats and huge milk bags. The little one latched on immediately and went to town nursing. This went on from side to side until the little one was sporting a very round tummy. Then they both curled up for a nap.

I took this as my clue to run to the house of feed the twins inside. Congrat's Lazy Kate!!!

It was later that afternoon that I was able to pick up the baby and see that Kate delivered a sweet little girl and with the most incredible fiber I have seen - I am so excited, I knew that Rasputin (the dad) was going to be throwing exceptional colors... For all the fiber freaks out there I am not sure if I will be able to part with that baby fleece when it comes time to shear - it is that amazing....

Maggie's Twins Update

This is a picture of the girls 20 minutes after they where born - I am trying to get new one's for you. Please be patient with me I have had my hands really full..Sorry for leaving you hanging but Thursday was one of those days that left no time to even see the computer let alone try and get it to work - No it is not fixed - heck I just finally snowshoed down the driveway to put orders in the mail box. Last I saw the end of my long driveway was last Saturday.

Anyway about the sweet girls - My or My are they doing well. They are drinking at each feeding 3 ounces now and are getting into the bumping the bottle like they would with their Mother's bag to get the milk flowing. Today I had to make two bottles so the pushing, shoving and biting would stop. While I would try to feed one the other would bite my hand as I held her back. Those razor sharp tiny teeth have cut up my fingers and it is not like I do not already have a band aid on almost every finger. They now run after me when I try to leave the bathroom and it is way too funny to hear them bang the door as if to say "I know you are out there Mom - Open Up!"

I was asked if there was a window of when I could put them back - if it where not for this horrible weather I would have tried it earlier but even last night the temp was below zero. We are expected to warm up this weekend and I might see what would happen with the three of them together since Maggie is still calling (that is a nice way of saying making us all deaf with her none stop screaming) for them but as I said before I would love to not have to been doing this but their survival take priority. Maggie still is having milk in her bags but since I still have not figured out why the nursing process got screwed up in the first place we may be placing Maggie's health of her bags at risk if I allow her milk production to go back up. I tested her for blood in the milk and she had none but that does not mean there is not other issues. Also if an infection is present it could also harm the girls and we sure don't want that - I have learned if something goes wrong there is a darn good reason and forcing the issue can only lead to worse conditions. I have only handled them with my barn coat on as to not put too much of my scent of them but just them being in the house and drinking formula changes everything. Time and Mother Nature will tell.

I tried last night to get some pictures of them and they kept moving so fast that everything was blurry - I did get a cute video of them but since my computer is still whacked it will not even allow that to be posted. I will later on attempt more pictures - I admit that pictures right now are not top on the list - just getting things done and catching a few winks are what figures into my schedule.

I will be posting separately about the newest additions and tales of not so funny events. Hope you keep following along because soon the naming contests will start and I have been gathering prizes for those lucky winners. Now if I can only remember where I put my camera - I guess a nap sure would help my gray cells but not till I get caught up a bit....

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Your Prayers are Helping

It has been a stressful Wednesday but who's life is not. Gradually Maggies girls started to pick up the pace and take ever increasing eye droppers full of warm milk. The schedule did not leave much to get done but the outside farm chores. In the end it was worth the effort. At the time I am writing this the girls just finished 2 ounces each of warm milk using a bottle, have left me many potty presents and the washer is running a full load of towels and sheets. To some this may seem like dull work but when I open the bathroom door to those sweet faces and they run to me with their tiny tails straight up in the air - Well, what better purpose could I have!!

So now I have two girls yelling for my attention and getting into all kinds of playful trouble. Maggies is still screaming and searching for her babies which just breaks my heart but again today it was so bitterly cold that I could not risk any changes to the little one's schedules. If Mother Nature would assist I might consider returning them but I must weight their health and well being above my desire to this family back together.

I really want to thank you all for your thoughts, kind words and prayers. I know it does make a difference so I want you all to hug yourselves for the great job you gave these girls. Too bad you can't get in on the snuggles and bouncing around but I guess that is the part you miss when you are not sitting at 1 am on the bathroom floor.

Oh, better get the formula made because soon they will be up and demanding MORE! Once again THANK YOU

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Worried Times at the Funny Farm

To catch you all up on the exciting times at the farm - With some of the coldest weather hitting us my sweet Maggie (Cashmere Goat Girl) went into labor and delivered a set of twin girls. They where strong and eager to be here. All was going well despite the minus 42 degrees. I spent most of Monday and into early Tuesday in the barn shivering and keeping a watchful eye on everyone. In between that I was hauling hot water out to the 7 different locations which houses animals. So needless to say I look like - well, let's not even talk about that.

By Tuesday morning at around 10 am Rebecca's determined it was her turn and placed herself into a kidding pen and went about the business of delivering a set of twins - this time it was a girl and a boy. Rebecca was a bit panicked because again we where below zero here. However, even with her rough behavior - pawing the babies and throwing them between her legs to get them nursing and their screaming through the process she managed to get them nursing in a matter of minutes. I guess that is TOUGH LOVE in the animal world - or better known as survival...

Meanwhile Maggie's was letting the girls nurse less and less. I went in an milked her out a bit and fed them with a bottle but after doing this for years I knew we where in trouble. I tried everything in my bag of tricks. I even flip this big girl to the ground, held her down and tried to force the girls to nurse. Have you seen those cowboys who flip a steer and tie their legs - that is what I was having to do to try and get those babies feeding. Finally with the temps dipping again down to -18 below I had to make the call - the tiny girls where coming inside. This is the first time I have ever had to do this with kids of Maggie's - she has seen some of the worst cases through without me taking them but I just knew that in this weather we had only a couple hours to save them.

With a basket in hand, lined with towels and hand warmers I gathered the girls, tucked them safely into their transportation and out the door we went. You could hear Maggie screaming and calling for her girls - it broke my heart but I knew this was the only way to try and save them. As I brought them past the shop door Kasha (my aging Great Pry who is residing in the shop during this bitter weather) greeted us at the door with a very worried look. I told her to watch the little one's as I stripped out of my gear and got the bathroom ready. I raced to grab towels, blankets and turn on a space heater. Kasha guarded them with her life and had her hed pressed to theirs as if to say "We Got You Now - Mom will make it better"

Now starts the real work and tons of prayers. As I sat on the bathroom floor with the girls wrapped up in towels next to the heater. I started feeding them a goat formula with an eye dropper. That long walk thru all the snow drifts took a great deal out of all of us but drop by drop of warm milk ran down their throats and into their very cold tummies. I sat with them in my arms rocking them and talking to them as their body temp slowly started to warm. Their feedings where every 20 minutes followed by body rubs and snuggles under warmed towels. They ate and slept on this schedule all night as I also went out to the girls barn to check on the other little set and to make sure no new arrivals made an appearance.

Early this morning the littlest girl final cried at me. No she was not in pain but rather she was demanding that I pick her back up and snuggle her. That was music to my ears... I sat with her for a very long time as she peed in my lap. Another wonderful sign... As she fell asleep in my arms I placed her gently back into the basket and went to change clothes.

As of this posting they are doing much better - still taking their warm formula by eye dropper but we are getting more in and keeping it in for greater periods of time. We have had several pee puddles which is Wonderful and they are becoming more vocal. Now, we are not out of the woods yet but at least I am hopeful that we might have a chance. Through out all the barn checks Maggie has told me in very loud voice that she wants the kids back but I keep explaining that this is their only way to see them again.

The temp outside is still below zero but as the sun peaks over the horizon I can at least have a bit of hope that today will bring new adventures for this very tired farm Mom. Oh and if new human mom's are feeling tired this morning just know that they are not alone.

I would ask that you keep the little kids in your prayers and thoughts today - we sure could use all the help we can get. I will post pictures soon and hope to run a comb thru my hair this morning - who am I kidding I will just put my hats back on worry about those rats tomorrow.

Stay warm everyone from the newest additions to the Funny Farm

Monday, February 7, 2011

Update and a Call for New Thoughts

The farm like most of the country is still dealing with Jack Frost and Mother Natures handy work. With temps going as far down as -42 and the snow drifts up to my butt - life sure has kept this old gal running in circles with snowshoes on. As you can see by the picture my hens are now up to 7 eggs a day. The brown one is from my black hen who throws double yolks almost every time. The middle is the last of the store bought eggs and I admit I sure am spoiled to always having my farm fresh eggs. The blue is from the latest hen to start and she was so proud of it that I thought her head was going to pop off. She ran around in circles showing me her egg and I spent about 5 minutes petting her and telling her what a great gal she was. All this while I could barley feel my fingers - It does not pay to try to pick up eggs with heavy snow gloves on - Butter Fingers!!

As I kept trying to count my blessing this morning as I trekked through the drifts in my snowshoes I found it harder then most days. I know the lack of sleep, the bitter cold, the continual barn checks have started to take their toll and just then I caught myself - I reminded myself that I am luckily to have the body to get thru the snow, I am blessed to care for such sweet souls and I just then I heard this strong voice come out of nowhere and say "You can make a new choice each day, each hour, each minute - What are you choosing?" Now before you think Grace has fell off the sanity track - it was my ear buds echoing this sentence into my brain. I somehow hit the play button to my CD player that was in my coat pocket as I was struggling to clear the ice that had trapped the gate into the goat girls pen. Those words came from Dr. Wayne Dwyer from his book "Excuses Be Gone".... I have been reviewing this book again and again because I felt I needed some guidance of late.

I stood there for a moment collecting myself and listening to those words with new meaning. I admit I have been reacting to things of late and not putting my full attention into my life. I have been working so hard to keep the normal routine running smoothly that I have not made new choices or put into motion new plans for this gal. By the time I got back to the house and pulled off all the frozen layers I had to sit down and catch not only my breath but my thoughts. My head was swimming and I felt overwhelmed but today I will be placing into action the words that have been playing in my ears since this storm has started.

I am wondering if you have a book, tape, CD, DVD or such that you are working with to advance yourself??? I hope you might share with the folks who visit here - we all can be the helping hand for another.

Stay warm, safe and moving foreward. Blessings.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


With Vaseline covering every inch of of my face even thou I have two hats on, a mask over that and pair of goggles on - I never take a chance that my skin will be exposed to the elements. I put on my five layers of clothing checking that they are dry and secured in place while I run through my head the shortest routes to get the work done before Jack Frost bites my nose off... This dance is done every three hours now until this bitter cold releases it grip from the farm and I can trust that my sweet one's will be safe. I must admit as I was struggling to get those heavy snow boots on I had visions of sitting on the couch drinking a hot rum drink and having my fingers sliding over some incredible fiber blend while I listened to the familiar soundtrack from one of many horrors movies that I love so much but instead I am listening to the crunching snow under my frozen snow boots as I carry hot water to my waiting charges who are shivering in this never ending bone chilling storm. I remind myself that they depend on me and that this will pass and soon we all will be outside again without having our teeth chattering and our body trembling... Last night at the 2 am watering those sweet faces where so glad to see me and eagerly drank the warm water with sugar in it. Even those boys who never let me touch them came close and pressed against my leg as if to say "Mom, thanks for being here".. I had to remind myself "NO CRYING Grace, it will freeze to your face and cause all sorts of problems". I felt so warm inside because I knew that they understood I will be there for them NO MATTER WHAT!!!

It is often hard to explain to folks that I feel it is a privilege to do what I do and now that it is just me at the farm I never can let them down - NO MATTER WHAT - NO MATTER HOW COLD. I have not seen a good nights sleep long before this storm - baby watch you know, but with this weather there just is no option to lay down and sleeping because that could cost someone their life or limbs. In the back of my mind I am always running through emergency plans in case the power goes out, or if a baby shows up in this bitter cold or God forbid something worse happens. I guess to some folks that would seem like some form of mental illness but around here we have been through horrible times and it always pays to be ready as best you can. Things Happen (around here I use the term Shit Happens) but I try to have some sort of plan lined up.

Now just so we are all clear - I am NOT WHINING - nor am I thinking there are not thousands of others out there caring and working in the bitter cold to make sure their sweet one's are safe and sound. I am sharing my story with you so the next time you think that living in the country, off the land and raising animals sounds like a dream - remember it is not always sunshine, birds singing and skipping in the pasture. However for this old gal even the bitter cold marches at 2 am is an honor to do because this is my passion - it may not be your cup of tea. Oh tea, now that sounds good...

So soon the weather will turn and it will be warmer. I will get to wash off the Vaseline and put on some clean smelling clothing and fix my hair. For now the Funny Farm is in survival mode and unlike the TV show I can not be voted off and we all pitch in for the greater good not some five minutes of fame and hype - My Motto is always NO MATTER WHAT!