Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The kids are here!!!!!

They're here! The kids are here!! They are both boys, which is a little sad, but they are lovely. We can't name them, because we don't want to get attached to them ( according to mum. I would very happily become very attached to these kids! ). But we are getting our Nubians this weekend. We bought collars for them today. We are also getting some amount of eating roosters from the same person. And we got four eating roosters yesterday. This place is becoming a bit like a butchers shop!

By the way, if you get a bit squeamish, you might want to duck out, because I'm going to go the whole hog!

So Gooey had been having contractions most of the afternoon. It all happened so fast! Every book I read said it would take ages. The contractions didn't even seem that bad. I went up to house to get a glass of water. I'd been there about two minutes, when mum rang the home phone. ' hello?' I said. 'It's coming!' Mum said without even saying hello. I don't blame her! If it had been me out there, I certainly wouldn't have wasted my time with cheery greetings. 'What?!' I yelled, and I hung up the phone and raced out to the dairy, as fast as my legs would take me. When I got there, it was clear that it was happening! There was the bubble. It was a clear yellowy whitish color. It had some kind of veins in it. Mum was in the birthing stall with Gooza. I went in too. It was getting dark now, around six o'clock, so dad brought us a torch. This part took a while. Gooey was hardly pushing. At first, we thought something was wrong. The bubble was a fair way out before we saw feet. But we saw them eventually, and a head too, with its little tongue sticking out. When I saw the feet, I was sure the baby was huge. His father, Sky mister ( he doesn't belong to us ) is quite a big goat. But when it came out fully, I thought it was tiny!

It was slippery and slimey, gross! But at the time I didn't really care. I just wanted to get him dry, so we could concentrate on the next baby. The next bubble was red. The afterbirth hadn't come between kids, but I wasn't worried. They can come at any time. We weren't sure what was in this bubble. We didn't think it was feet, but it was. This one came out fine, too.

I don't have any photos of them soon after the birth. We were to busy helping Gooey clean them off. Then we helped them to drink. They were clearly hungry, especially the oldest one.

Well done, Argoo!! 
After the birth, we gave her a handful of soaked barley, send some molasses in warm water, for a bit of a pick-me-up.

Here's something wonderfull. Our maremma,  Gypsy, who is supposed to gaurd the livestock, has never done a very good job. But since these kids were born, she has attached herself to the dairy. The kids can't go out for another week or so.

 The other day, a kid got out. We were at the house. Mum saw Gyps with something white in her mouth! A kid! She took it around to the tank, and put it down, as we ran over. Was she going to eat it, or look after it? We think look after it, but we can't be sure.

The goslings have hatched too. There are only four of them. We put them outside today, for the first time. I have a feeling this dog doesn't want to guard. He wants to eat. Better keep a close eye on him!

This post isn't very accurate with days and stuff, because I've written it over the period of about three weeks. Mum has to read my posts before I publish them, to make sure I haven't somehow accidentally given away our identity, or something like that. She's been really busy, as we all usually are, and hasn't had time, so it's sort of a lot of posts in one, but it doesn't matter. I think I mentioned getting the new goats further up. Well, we've got them now! There lovely! They seem to really like each other, and they aren't even related. Daisy and Argoo are mother and daughter, and they seem to hate each other.

We got a surprise this afternoon, when we got home from a trip into town. We found Winnie in Sarah's stall! We had given them a day in the stalls to get used to them, but Winnie busted through the bottom rail between her and Sarah's pens!

Isn't spring a lovely time of year? Our garden looks amazing!! Probably won't be so good soon, when we start running out of water. But for now it's beautiful! I picked some flowers earlier today. I'm not very good at arranging them, but they are still gorgeous to look at.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Argoo's 'prolapse' and geese

Scary experience! A few days ago, in the evening, I went out to the shed were the goats spend the night. Argoo was lying down in her stall, happily chewing cudd- nothing funny here. I went into her stall to give her the check up that me and mum had been giving her, multiple times a day, for the last week or so, checking her belly, under her tail, and things like that. 
Gooza was making funny little noises, but she didn't sound uncomfortable. She had been making these noises for a few days now. It was like she was muttering to herself, or maybe to her kids. But when I lifted her tail, I found there was something funny here. Her vulva was open about three centimetres, and there was something purpleish pink and round just visible. I quickly got mum and showed her.

We got Gooza to stand up, and immediately she closed up and was back to normal. Well, almost. She seemed to want us there, more than usual. She was pressing firmly up against any one standing near her, not like she was trying to hurt us, but like she just wanted to know we were there. I knew something was different.

Mum called a friend of ours who owns goats, and is studying to be a vet. She described Argoos condition to him, and sent him a photo. She asked him weather he thought she was in labour early (she's 17 days early). He said he didn't thinks so. He thought she was having a prolapse. 

I didn't know this yet. I would have gone with mum and tried to pick up bits of inforfmation by listening to mum's side of the conversation, but I wasn't sure about the goat and wanted to stay with her. When mum told me what it was, I started to freak out a bit. I knew what a prolapsed uterus was, I had read about it. I didn't know heaps, but I knew enough to decide they weren't very nice. 

Mum rang the vet, and we put Argoo in the cage trailer. The poor thing didn't enjoy the trip up the highway very much, I don't blame her! When we got there we crossed the road(mum holding Argoo and me clinging to the trailing end of the lead, terrified that my Gooza would get away!), and walked her up the path of the vets. When we got to the door we weren't quite sure what to do, so mum stuck her head in the door and asked jokingly 'does one bring one's goat inside?' We have only ever  brought domestic pets to the vet  before, what were we supposed to do? The vet told us to bring her in if she would come. Argoo seemed happy enough to come in, and once she had checked her surroundings, she followed where we led her. 

When we got into the room, the vet asked some questions, looked at the photo, and then put on a disposable glove and stuck her finger in-ugh!!!!

She said she was dilated a little way, and it was her vagina, not her uterus. It wasn't a prolapse, and it wasn't unheard of, it was just unusual. There was probably still room for the kids to get around, when they come.

So we thanked the vet, and took Argoo home. I was glad that it wasn't as bad as I'd thought, but I was still worried. What would I do if something happened to one of the goats?! We went home the back way, since we weren't in a rush. The back way was a quiet dirt road, and I think she had a nicer time. When we goat home, Daisy was very happy to see Gooza. She was always the sookiest when left alone! Argoo seemed happy and back to normal.

However, our friend who's studying to be a vet was not so sure, he reckoned it was her uterus. But he said that the vet we saw was the best vet he knew. So we still aren't really sure. We'll just have to wait till the kids come. I can't believe it's only 16 days today! 

Now, off the subject of goats. At about five o'clock this morning ( an awful time to be woken up ), the dogs started barking, and then howling. Unfortunately, our little dogs set of our maremma, Gipsy, who is supposed to be our livestock guardian, and protect our animals. Why didn't she hear the fox who stole the poor goose that was sitting on eggs down the bush?

So the fox took Princess, our lovely goose, and mum collected her eggs put them in a basket beside the fire, padded with blankets and hot water bottles. We are running around this morning, trying to figure out whether to put them under a friends goose or incubate them. Mum wants to put them under our friends goose, but I kinda want to incubate them. Incubating them always makes them a lot tamer.

We had a gosling once. We found him lying flat on the ground on his back in the shed. The parents had kicked him out. Even though geese are probably the dumbest poultry I've ever seen, they do have some sense. They new that 'Gammy', as we called him because of his gamy leg, would not be able to survive. We grew very close to Gammy. He was doing quite well at one point, learning to walk and feet himself. But he went downhill from there. He started falling on his back, and not being able to turn himself over. We couldn't leave him alone. We started taking him every were. I can still remember mum making him a cloth nappy, and taking him to a university in the city for a foot test for Buddy. The doctor loved him!  He took photo after photo to show his daughters!
In the end, we decided it was better to just put him down. It would be nicer for him. We still miss Gammy. This was years ago.

So I hope these eggs hatch. We need more geese now!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Goat books, birthing kit

As Gooza's labour gets closer, me and mum are very nervous. What if something goes wrong? What if the kid/s are positioned incorrectly? I've read every book there is to read on goats, cover to cover, and since Gooza was bred I've pretty much memerised them all, word for word. We own two 'goat books', as we call them, one is mine and the other is mums. We also borrow a lot from the library.

Mums is called natural Goat care, by Pat Colbey, which isn't the best book I've ever read on goats. Pat Colbey seems to be a bit obsessed with copper. She finds ways to link copper to pretty much every goat illness there is, including CAE! And I don't think anyone's been able to find the cause of CAE. There was one incident that really turned us away from copper: Argoo had sores on her back feet from the mud one winter, and Pat Colbey's book advised us to use a mix of some sort of cream, and copper sulphate powder. That goat was in agony! The treatment worked, after a while, but poor old Gooza was left with a slight limp for a few days, she was in so much pain! So all we give them is a quarter of a teaspoon in their soaked barley.

My book is called 'Get Your Goat', by Brent Zimmerman. The author lives in Italy, and raises Oberhaslis. It's more of a beginners book than mums is. It's less factual, and it's full of pictures. That's probably why I like it!

We are sorting out our birthing kit at the moment. Towels, bottles and teats, iodine to dip the umbilical cord, scissors in case it needs to be cut, hand lubricant, and things like that. We also have to bring out a bucket of warm, soapy water, but I can't remember why! I could just ask mum, but I love opening up a book.

I've studied the page with the birthing positions over and over again, so that I will recognise which one the kids are in. Although, at this point, I'm hoping I won't have to stick my hands in!!

I don't think Daisy is enjoying Argoo getting all the attention. Daze is usually the one that gets sick, gets out of the paddock, all of that. She's also a lovely goat, very friendly, but very stubborn. Every thing has to be Daisy's way, or the world is in danger of ending! But Daisy's jealousy isn't good. She's been quite aggressive towards Goo lately, but I guess it's better Daisy is mean rather than Argoo, because Argoo has horns!

Theatre and Goats

After mum publishing all my belated posts yesturday, and all your encouraging comments, I'm feeling pretty enthusiastic about blogging! I've been re-figuring out all the pages and buttons, and I think I'm getting the hang of it again.

A few days ago I performed my last performance that I did with a theatre group near us. It was never really my idea to do it, but mum convinced me. I'm glad she did. I loved it! On the first night, I was scared stiff! I had Rescue remedy in my drink bottle, and I was trying to take deep breaths. I was pacing up and down the room, and one of the girls was giggling, and another was trying to comfort me.

Once I got on stage, I found it really wasn't that bad. In fact, I quite enjoyed it!

It was my first time there, and I hadn't got particularly attached to any of the girls, but after the last performance a lot of them were crying, running around hugging every one in sight, especially the ones they wouldn't see next year!

We found out recently that our goat, Daisy, isn't having kids. It's so sad. She was the one we really wanted bred. She's got good posture and a very good udder. At first we were only going to keep any girls she had, for milk, but we've decided that maybe we could keep a wether, and train it to pull a small cart of straw, or manure for the garden. I thought it sounded pretty cruel, but when I read up on it I found most people think goats don't mind it, that they like to be useful. So maybe we'll try it out.

We were cleaning out the kidding stall the other day and while we did it, me and the kids were trying to think of names for any doelings we keep. We used to have an Anglo Nubian doe named Clover, but we gave her away, and later she died just after she had her first lot of kids. Pumpkin wanted to call one Clover. She also wanted to call one Esmeralda, after a Saanen cross Togg' that we sold(she's still alive, but we miss her).

Gooza ( that's what we call Argoo) is looking really big at the moment. She's due on the twenty seventh of September.
I really hope she has at least one girl. It would be quite an unsuccessful first year of kidding if she didn't!

Monday, 31 August 2015

A slow living link up apology

*posted here in error from Greenhaven's blog*

Today I woke later than usual but still I rose before the sun. A gentle aching in my shoulders reminded me of yesterday; a productive day full of children, animal care and building a shelter for the animals from recycled pallets.  
The ache is probably from lugging the pallets without waiting for Belle's help. I was keen to finish the job though, because our new rotating paddocks are going slower than I would like. I was also conscious of being back in the house in time to make a rhubarb pudding to complete our meal. In the morning I had prepared a broccoli soup with my own chicken stock and broccoli from the garden. A lovely meal which created few food miles - very satisfying for the soul but not so satisfying for the hungry tummies of busy people. Hence a yummy, stodgy pudding to round out the meal.

This morning began with a light frost which saw me running outside in my slippers to tend to the newly planted avocado.  The sun is rising now and revealing a gentle mist in the valley. The leaves on the gums are sparking with gold under the sun's bright rays.  It's going to be a beautiful day and I intend to start on the next shelter and perhaps move one of the electric netting fences if I find time. Yesterday I broke a promise to the girls that we would sit together with some colouful wool to do some felting. Maybe today... I was also going to take a neighbour some wheat. Maybe today...  I should fix the grey water pump, plant the seeds that should have been in a month ago, do some baking, weed the garden, turn the compost. We'll see how far I get.
It's always hard to know how the days will progress. Unexpected things happen. Animals get sick, fences stop working and need immediate attention, chooks find their way into gardens they shouldn't be near. Today a friend of mine is not well and will possibly need a hand. If this is the case, it won't be a problem. I have a couple of jobs I need to do in her town so I'll just rearrange my day and achieve those jobs instead. I'll complete today's tasks tomorrow.

Life ebbs and flows and the pace is hectic but the work is simple, gentle and very real. As a family, we are well connected to our lives, our food, the seasons and our friends and family but there's not a lot of breathing space left.
I tell you this because today I should be writing the month by month, slow living link-up and I can't bring myself to do it.  While, in my head, I write to you every day giving you snippets of gossip, recipes, tips on gardening or farming, or simply sharing an amusing anecdote of something the children have done, I rarely find time to sit in front of the computer to put my thoughts down.

While I intend to continue writing because I love it so much, I can't commit to a regular timeframe in our busy, overly filled lives. I apologise to those who love being part of the monthly catch up with others travelling a similar path and I thank you for having taken part.  It's been a wonderful way to connect with a community of people who share a common love of striving to live gently and respectfully in this world of ours. Thank you Christine (Slow Living Essentials blog) for beginning this idea and allowing me to continue with it. It's been great fun over the past few years.

Cheers, Linda xx

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Almost under way

*addendum ~ this post was written by Belle months ago but she wasn't confident about posting it. I've just discovered it's existence and encouraged her to publish it. Cheers, Linda (Mum)*

The chickens came a few weeks ago, the pigs are coming soon, and our hobby farm is really getting going! Although, the cold weather and the posibility of babies inside them, is stemming the goats milk flow a bit. At one point Daisy was giving two litres of milk a day, but now she is down to only one. Argoo is pretty much dry. We hope they are going to kid in September. I'm really excited!

We recently bought three electric netting fences, for rotating the animals around the property. The reason we do this is to improve the soil. Each animal spends a few weeks on the same spot, one after the other, doing their bit to turn up the soil, and also adding a layer of manure. We haven't seen it in action yet, because we couldn't complete the cycle without the pigs. They are crucial for this. They work the hardest at turning up the dirt.

As I said, we bought some chickens a few weeks ago, as day olds. They're ISA browns, and there are 20 of them. They spent a little over three weeks in the brooder box in the house, but now they're in a shed with a couple of roosters that won't be there much longer, they are for the pot. They don't seem to mind the chicks very much, just giving them a bit of a peck every now and then, to sort out pecking order. I've only named two of them, the only rooster among them is called Kurt, and a hen that is particularly small, is Midget. They're reasonably tame. There was one incident were Midget escaped (due to her tininess) into the other chook pen. They were chasing her around, and she was terrified. When I opened the door, she ran up to me and tried to hide under my legs! I must say, I felt very loved!

Our school work is going pretty well, I'm studying Peru at the moment, but I've stopped for the holidays. Did you know that the alpaca is native to Peru? And that Peruvians domesticated the guinea pig for meat purposes?

For quite a while, Buddy has been playing around with 'work'. Most mornings, he gets up, has brekky, does his usual morning jobs, and then packs his lunch and goes out to work. He does things like raking leaves, digging (usually unwanted) holes, and things like that. So I decided to give him some proper work. Every morning I have to fill two hay nets with hay, tie them in trees in the goats paddock, and take the goats from their stalls, out to the paddock. I asked Buddy if he wanted to help. So, most mornings, Buddy comes outside with me, well rugged up with scarves and beanies, helps me with all my jobs. He loves it! 

So our farm is almost under way, but I find pigs a little frightening. I think I'll leave the pig keeping to mum!

Monday, 4 May 2015

Joel Salatin's seminar

*addendum ~ this post was written by Belle months ago but she wasn't confident about posting it. I've just discovered it's existence and encouraged her to publish it. Cheers, Linda (Mum)*

Recently, we went to see a seminar by Joel Salatin. Joel Salatin is a farmer in america, on a farm called Polyface. He knows heaps about farming organically. I found it absolutely inspirational! He talked so much about everything! He took ages to explain one thing, when it could have been explained much more briefly, in my mind. But he wasn't just blabbing on boringly. He had so many examples, and personal experiences, that even as a kid, I wasn't bored! 

I  wanted to get home and start doing stuff! I wanted to build that shed , and shovel that manure, and plant that plant! Up until seeing Joel Salatin, we hadn't really considered our place as a farm. Yeah, we have a big property, and a few animals, but we weren't making a profit from our place and we don't grow hay or anything like that. He made us see that any place can be a farm (with a very long but entertaining explanation). 

So ever since the seminar we've been going hell for leather, working outside and turning our place into a proper farm. In the last two days we have planted eleven tagaste (lucerne) trees, made1 goat shelter out of pallets and iron and planted a garden around our big paulonia tree. We have also shoveled trailer load upon trailer load of horse manure, which is not a very pleasant job.

We have decided that we should start making a profit out of our place, and we've actually come up with quite a few businesses that we could run. My favorite one is an egg buisness wich we are hoping to start soon. We're going to buy about twenty day old ISA Brown hens and i've asked mum if i could be appointed the egg business lady, and she said yes! So i'll be in charge of he egg  business! we came up with "Henhaven eggs" as the name.