Search This Blog

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The mothering instinct

Sasha and the chicks
I was recently talking farm animals with someone looking to get a goat or two.  As the conversation progressed, we touched on birds.  Tom told me about his dog, Sasha, who was present when some chicks started hatching.  She was so excited, that she had to be there for every one of them.  The result, of course, is that they imprinted on her.  The color match between dog and chicks is wonderful.  No wonder they called her "Mommy"!

The conversation reminded me of a terrier/shepherd cross I had many years ago. Jody wanted to mother everything that came along.  My son's hamster disappeared one day and we searched everywhere for it.  Finally, we just followed the dog--there is was, soaking wet from her washing it.  

We took in a stray cat and her kittens sometime after that.  After trying in vain to keep Jody away, I finally had to put a barrier to keep her from the kittens.  The decision wasn't made lightly; she loved those kittens, but when I heard her growling menacingly. Jody was curled up with them, threatening the mother cat, who was meowing loudly, pacing and wanting to feed her litter.  

The funniest mothering incident, though, was when Shawn got a  Saanen kid for a 4H project.  Jody following that kid around, trying to lick and comfort her.  Melanie, though, was having none of it.  After a few aborted attempts, Melanie promptly butted her in no uncertain terms.  Poor Jody!  I can see her face still!  The expression was so dumbfounded, so sad!

Dogs with a mothering instinct are gems, no doubt about it.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Bible according to children

Received from a friend today, I doubt that a nun ever saw any of these papers, but they must have come from somewhere, and they're pretty funny.  They remind me of the old Art Linkletter show, Kids Say the Darndest Things.  I suspect that these are real answers by real children and collected by an unknown soul who just had to share them.

A Nun Grading Papers

Can you imagine the nun sitting at her desk grading these papers, all the while trying to keep a straight face and maintain her composure!

Pay special attention to the wording and spelling. If you know the bible even a little, you'll find this hilarious! It comes from a catholic elementary school test.
Kids were asked questions about the old and new testaments. The following 25 statements about the bible were written by children. They have not been retouched or corrected. Incorrect spelling has been left in.

1. In the first book of the bible, guinessis. God got tired of creating the world so he took the sabbath off.
2. Adam and eve were created from an apple tree. Noah's wife was joan of ark. Noah built and ark and the animals came on in pears.
3. Lots wife was a pillar of salt during the day, but a ball of fire during the night.
4. The jews were a proud people and throughout history they had trouble with unsympathetic genitals.
5. Sampson was a strongman who let himself be led astray by a jezebel like delilah.

6. Samson slayed the philistines with the axe of the apostles.

7. Moses led the jews to the red sea where they made unleavened bread, which is bread without any ingredients
8. The egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, moses went up to mount cyanide to get the ten commandments.
9. The first commandments was when eve told adam to eat the apple.
10. The seventh commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery.
11. Moses died before he ever reached canada then joshua led the hebrews in the battle of geritol.
12. The greatest miricle in the bible is when joshua told his son to stand still and he obeyed him.
13. David was a hebrew king who was skilled at playing the liar. He fought the finkelsteins, a race of people who lived in biblical times.
14. Solomon, one of davids sons, had 300 wives and 700 porcupines.
15. When mary heard she was the mother of jesus, she sang the magna carta.
16. When the three wise guys from the east side arrived they found jesus in the manager.
17. Jesus was born because mary had an immaculate contraption.
18. St. John the blacksmith dumped water on his head.
19. Jesus enunciated the golden rule, which says to do unto others before they do one to you. He also explained a man doth not live by sweat alone.
20. It was a miricle when jesus rose from the dead and managed to get the tombstone off the entrance.
21. The people who followed the lord were called the 12 decibels.

22. The epistels were the wives of the apostles.
23. One of the oppossums was st. Matthew who was also a taximan.
24. St. Paul cavorted to christianity, he preached holy acrimony, which is another name for marraige.
25. Christians have only one spouse. This is called monotony

Monday, December 19, 2011

Life--a poem

I came across this poem by Jessie Belle Rittenhouse, and had to share it.  Lots of food for thought.

My Wage
I bargained with Life for a penny,
And Life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening
When I counted my scanty store;
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial’s hire,
Only to learn, dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have paid.


I've been watching the whole "occupy" thing with some bemusement.  The Occupy movement has been the darling of Main Stream Media, the same MSM that vilified the Tea Party protests.  However, I didn't see the violence and lack of respect for property with the Tea Party protesters that I've seen with the Occupy protesters.  Certainly I never heard of any Tea Partiers relieving themselves in public as the now-famous photo of the protester defecating on a police car in Manhattan, nor have I heard of Tea Partiers leaving trash everywhere.

Do the Occupiers have some legitimate complaints?  You bet they do!  However, I believe the Occupy movement has been totally infiltrated by left wing socialist types, just as Whittaker Chambers outlined in Witness.  And by the way, I think Witness should be required reading for anyone interested in how the tenor of the country has changed in the last 80 years. The spotlight should not be on corporate dominance or Wall Street, but on government intervention in business and the economy. Without government's meddling, corporations would not even exist, since they are a creation of government (government charter). Without government's abdication of its right and duty to coin sound money, bankers could not transfer real wealth into their coffers by debasing the currency. Without government winks and nods, genetically modified products could not exist, for patents on life would not have been awarded and the marketplace would have quickly disposed of the products.  Without government subsidies and programs dating from the 1930's, which set out to diminish the number of farms in operation and bring agriculture under government control, Agribusiness could not and would not exist.

The Occupy movement does not have my support, and shouldn't have yours either, for it takes the focus off the federal government, the perpetrator of the atrocities, and puts it on the beneficiaries. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some thngs just shouldn't be done...

...And one of them, I'm convinced, is transporting goats in cold weather.  Violet had a bit of a cough when she arrived, but nothing major.  Next night it was awful: racking, croupy, wet.  Aconitum 1M, then Herbiotic herbal remedy several times last night and again several times today.  She was improved today, cough still awful when it occurred, but not the racking cough that she had last night. 

I let her outside for about an hour or two late this afternoon, after locking up my other goats, who very much protested since they know there's another goat here and they want to meet her.  No fair!  How could I do that to them!

Violet stayed close to the barn, checking things out, following me around as I cleaned, filled hay racks, and water buckets.  I brought her in some fir boughs, but she wasn't interested in them--and even ignores apples and grain.  What kind of goat is this?  She did try out carrots and thought they were tasty, but only as long as I hand fed her.  The pieces I put in the feeder are still sitting there, waiting for her attention.  

Tonight when I went out for final check, she coughed several times in succession, but this time a dry cough.  So it appears she is better in the morning and worse at night.  I gave her a different homeopathic remedy.  It's a pretty cold night out there, and I found my head shaking as I marveled at the Father's incredible engineering that allows animals to stay warm in weather that sends me rushing to the warm house. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Arrival at last!

Woohoo! My new Sable doe arrived tonight. My son Shawn drove to Kennebunk to pick up Patina EZ Violet.
I snapped several photos of her examining her new digs. Sanuba was lovesick--at the buckrag munching stage--and bleating in another stall, and for a few minutes, at least, Violet knew she wasn't alone. I just wish I'd thought to take a picture of her dressed in her sweatshirt that kept her warm and comfy on her long ride. 
The photos are grainy, as they were taken in the barn at night, but I'll take more tomorrow.  I'm so glad this doe has finally arrived.  I'd hoped to have Dehlia to keep her company, but that was not to be, so she'll be a little lonely until her quarantine period has expired.  
She's a substantial doe, with good bone and size, larger than I anticipated, bigger than Leah, who is about the same age.  Tomorrow morning I'll take more time to get to know her.  Right now she needs to just settle in and feel safe.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goat life

Beatrice was bred to my Sable buck on the 6th.  She's so different from Leah!  Leah screamed and hollered and left no one in peace.  Beatrice just gives plaintive, sad little bleats, as much as to say, "Oh, poor me! Woe is me!  I feel so baaaaaad."  Presented the buck rag, then off we went in the car again, Beatrice gamely standing for the entire 35 minute ride.  Was she a horse in another life, I wonder?  She doesn't seem  to think of lying down.

No matter.  She thought Ike (Patina M&M Eye Candy) was cute as can be, and he thought her divine.  I left her there overnight, picked her up in the morning and oh! my! she just reeked of buck!  The other does gathered 'round her when she entered the barn, and I'm sure they all had a nice chat.

Today's the 13th, and Leah hasn't presented any signs of heat, and I doubt that Beatrice will again, ether, but I'll be watching for them.  Now, Sanuba (aka Snub), on the other hand, is due for heat in a couple of days (my does did NOT synchronize this year!), but she won't get to meet Ike.  Instead, I'm measuring her milk to see when I can put her on one milking a day.  So far, she hasn't dropped to half of her peak level yet, so it's still twice a day.  I'm sure she doesn't mind, though:  she gets fed grain twice instead of once, not to mention the occasional apple or carrot.

Speaking of odd treats, Snub is the only one of my goats--ever--that doesn't like fir or pine boughs, or the occasional piece of bread.  She marches to the beat of a different drummer, probably one from the Nubian desert.  She's more aloof in other ways as well, and, while none of he goats like walking in the mud, Snub will wail about getting her feet dirty.  I've actually had to lead her through the barn and out a side door to get her to the pasture, because she just won't walk through the mucky stuff.  Thank goodness for frozen ground in the morning. She's able to trip out to pasture without mussing her dainty feet.  I chuckle, tongue in cheek, but Sanuba really is my most elegant doe, regal and calm.  Beatrice is the Queen.  Sanuba is the Empress.
The Empress and the Queen holding court

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Not turkey soup again!

A few days ago, I pulled the last of the turkey from the freezer and made turkey soup.  There's only so many times you can eat turkey soup without despairing, and even though we'd eaten it twice already by yesterday, I really didn't want to toss it all, or even feed it to the chickens. I considered that It just needed... um... something to zing it up.  But what?  I thought about it a while and though of Indian spices.  Hmmm.  Google search for "turkey soup spicy".  FOUND!  Turkey mulligatawney soup!  I found two different recipes, tweaked them both, and came up with my own.

Mulligatawny soup does not have carrots and celery in it.  My base was an already-made turkey soup with onions, carrots, and celery, but hey, I didn't know I was going to make muligatawny soup!  You know, it didn't hurt it at all.

To 2 quarts of soup, I added
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp  turmeric
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp ground mustard (I used yellow, but next time I'll try ground black mustard seeds and see if it makes any difference)
1/8 tsp chile powder
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp curry powder

And 1 tsp of my Secret Ingredient.  It was secret even to me, as I put it in a baby food jar a long time ago and I'm a bit fuzzy on what it is.  That is, I'm reasonably sure it's either asafoetida or garam masala.  The last time I opened asafoetida, it was overwhelming.  A pinch goes a long, long way.  It's one of those spices that must be used judiciously or it will ruin the dish.  Garam masala, on the other hand, can be used in quantity.  I added a teaspoonful and all was well.  At this point, I'm sure it was garam masala.  Perhaps I ought to say, I have no doubt it was not asafoetida.

I then added garlic powder and salt to taste, left the soup to simmer for 20 minutes, and then served it up for lunch.

It was delicious, definitely not your run-of-the-mill Thanksgiving-turkey-revisited soup.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The woes of Facebook, and a perk or two

Well, I did it.  I signed up for Facebook.  After talking to a couple of good friends, I became convinced that the way to market my goats and horse, to reach people about things that are important to me (like freedom-robbing bills going through Congress), and even just to reach people that are unreachable by phone, I had to bite the bullet and get a Facebook account.

I was stunned to find that FIVE PEOPLE wanted to "friend" me as soon as I had logged on for the first time.  Good grief!  This was even worse than I had anticipated!  I mean, how could that happen?  And it just got worse from there.  I have people asking to "friend" me that I'd never expect.  For example, why would a 19 year old boy at church want to "friend" me?  What possible interest could he have in what I have to say?  Or the husband of an acquaintance?

I've noticed that people have "friends" in the hundreds.  Do they really check in on everyone?  Do they really look at each and every post that appears on their Wall?  Do they not shut off the feeds for most everyone, and if so, why "friend" them to begin with?

I suppose these and other questions will be answered as time goes on, but though I spend a lot of time on the internet, I doubt that Facebook will take up a lot of my time.  That said, it's nice to be able to see what's happening with Magic's training, as Carol Poulin posts updates frequently.  My girl is sooo much happier in work, and I love being able to see her progress.  Since Carol uploads her videos to YouTube, I get to post here.


And talking about videos, I can't wait to get my new camera.  Then I can film my goats as they escape from the pasture and chew down the apple trees and rose bushes--like they're doing right now.  Time to go!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Idle Thoughts

Tuesday dawned to the bleatings and bellowings of Leah, my youngest doe.  Having just obtained a buck rag, rank with amorous pheremones, the night before, I offered it to my does.  My rule is:  if they sniff it and show no interest, they're not in heat; if they show interest enough to linger on it for a bit, they're either coming in or going out; and if they want to eat it, that's a standing heat.  Leah literally started chewing on the buck rag eagerly.

At 8:30 in the morning, she was in the back seat of the car, still bleating pitifully, and we were on the road to Thorndike, about a 35 minute drive.  No hesitation when we got to the Amish farm where my buck is housed.  She was bred several times as I conversed with the young Amishman -- I hesitate to say "boy", but he's only in his mid to late teens -- about horses, goats, and conformation.  An hour later, I loaded  her back in the car, and nary a peep out of her on the way home.  Nature is wonderful, and I have no doubt she settled.  I really don't want to keep Leah.  The goat market isn't all that good at the moment, and I'm hoping she'll be easier to sell if she's due to kid in the spring, particularly bred back to a Sable buck.

Sanuba looking over the gate
This evening I found a similar situation in the barn, only tonight it's Sanuba, who is being milked through.  I scratched her neck as she leaned against me.  Poor girl, she'll just have to deal with it.

I bit the bullet today and bought a digital video/still camera.  I lost (misplaced?) my Kodak digital camera that I bought 10 years ago, and after not being able to find it for several weeks, decided I had to replace it.  It's amusing, in crooked sort of way, (is that irony?) that my old camera cost me $527 when I bought it, a high quality, megapixel camera with both digital and soft zoom.  The new one, which can do soooo much more, including sharp video, was only $98!  Ah, technology!  It moves at an alll out gallop while I'm poking around in the barn.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

It wasn't a good day today

I just lost my 5 month old Sable doeling, Dehlia in a death so quick it took my breath away.  I had triple wormed her with Fir Meadow's wormer, followed that up weekly, had consulted my homeopathic vet about a cough that wouldn't go away, and finally took her to my local goat vet a few days ago.  She examined her, assured me she didn't have pneumonia, but that she did have a high worm load.  She was about a 3 on the FAMACHA scale.  The vet gave her injectible Ivomectin.  Her stools were finally normal, so I let her out today.   I walked into the barn this afternoon just in time to see her flop over at the feeder. She gave a bleat, and gasped a couple of times, and I felt down her throat to see if she had anything lodged there.  Nothing. No signal in the barn, so I had to run to the  house to call the vet.  WHY do cell phones not work when you need them the most? 

I tried percussion to keep her heart going, breathing down her nostrils.  Too late.  There was nothing I could do to save her.  The vet said it was probably a blood clot, and probably related to the heavy worm load.  That's her best guess since it was so quick.   Could a too-fast worm die-off be responsible?  I'll never know.

My brother came with his backhoe and helped me bury her.  Rest in peace little Dehlia Rose.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I finally got my Sables!  I picked up my new little doeling, Patina Eula's Dehlia Rose, and my new buck, Patina M&M Eye Candy, on October 29th.  It was a long drive from Northport to southern Maine, and I had a stop on the way.

I left around 10:00, with Magic in the horse trailer.  I figured she'd better get some training, because I was about ready to turn her into dog food otherwise.  Since I'd left the horse trailer parked in the dooryard of the barn, and had been feeding her on it for a couple of weeks, she walked right now.  We quickly closed the door and she was ticked!  She settled right down, though, probably because she had to get her balance.  I'd left her loose in the trailer, and, not unexpectedly, she faced the back.  By the time I got to Durham, and Esprit Equestrian Center, we'd been traveling for 2 hours.  Surprisingly, she walked out rather than bursting forth like a bolt of lightening.  Carol was impressed.  So was I.

Patina M&M Eye Candy  (photo by Cindi Shelley)
It took another 2 hours after I left Durham to get to Shapleigh.  Not that it should have.  It just did, what with me ambling along with a horse trailer in tow and losing my bearings every now and then.   I had meant to bring the Maine Atlas, but somehow it never made it from the car to the truck.  At least I remembered the directions I'd been given over the phone, and the phone number in case of need, and oh! there was need!  I picked up my two goats around 2:30, left Shapleigh around 3:00 (after stopping at Ted's Fried Clams for a late, lucious lunch), and headed for home.

I detoured to Thorndike to drop off the buck at the farm of an Amishman who is housing him for me, and arrived home around 7:45 (or was it later?) in pitch dark.  Shawn, bless his generous heart, carried the doeling down the lane and into the barn, where I bedded her down in deep hay, and then went back and parked the truck and trailer in the dark--no easy task when it involves backing into a side area.

Ike (photo courtesy of Cindi Shelley)
Ike (short for Eye Candy) is, from all I hear, having a great life.  The does were batting their eyes at him when we left, and he's had company every day since then.  He's a happy camper.

Patina Eula's Dehlia Rose (photo by Cindi Shelley)

Dehlia Rose had a croupy rasp in her chest and received Aconitum for that.  She's much, much better now, has a friend from the neighboring farm, a wether borrowed to keep her company.  She's a sweet thing, but very tiny compared to my kids of the same age.  She's well formed, though, and coming out of her shell a little more each day.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Of desperation and its outcome

A couple of weeks ago, Zoe was scratching so much, and had so many fleas, that in desperation, I used Frontline Plus on her. Now, I used it once or twice last year, but it's not something I'm fond of. I hate using any kind of chemicals, but the herbal spray I was using didn't seem to be doing much. About a week later, Zoe broke out, in one afternoon, with hot spots all over her body. The sores were angry red and weepy, and ranged from the size of a dime to larger than a half-dollar. No itching, just real evidence of toxins in her body.

I wasn't sure what it was from at first, and started ticking off all the things that she might have gotten into.  We live on a farm, after all, so maybe she had found something in the shed and rolled in it?  Nope, the door was closed.  Allergic reaction to sweat bees or ground bees?  Maybe.  Reaction to deer flies?  Possibly.  Then I remembered the Frontline Plus and after some searching online, found a discussion group on Amazon.  Though Zoe's particular reaction wasn't described, I did read about  hot spots at the application site.  Well, one of the spots is definitely there.

I took Zoe to the local vet, who diagnosed Acute Moist Dermatitis, aka hot spots, and prescribed Benadril and steroidal cream.  In other words, to fix the problem, let's shut down the immune system.  I paid the bill, thanked the vet, and went home to email Dr. Glen Dupree.  I love this vet; he never fails to come through.  Apis, he said, and apply Calendula tincture (10 drops per ounce of water, sprayed on) or green tea or Aloe juice.  By the next morning her hot spots were pink and healing instead of raw and red.  Another homeopathic remedy followed.  In the meantime, I mixed up some Calendula ointment, Aloe gel, and Vitamin E and applied that to the hot spots that weren't too sore to touch. For five days, Zoe just lay on "her" chair and rarely moved.  She went outside when she needed to, but had no appetite--my little dog who could eat her meal, mine, and yours and look for more!. 

It was amazing to see how quickly the lesions healed.  I've had other dogs that got an occasional hot spot, but none ever cleared up that quickly.  I knew she had turned the corner on day 5 when someone came to the door and she lept off the chair to greet them.

She's looking lots better now.  Her hair is growing back, but so far as Frontline Plus is concerned, I'll never use any spot- on chemical (poison) again.  Instead, I'm using a growth inhibitor for fleas on the carpets and stuffed furniture, boric acid crystals as well, and adding Flea Free herbal/garlic food supplement to her food every day.  I may also add Brewers yeast, and apple cider vinegar to her water.  Perhaps she won't be so tasty, then.

Oh, and did I mention?  She still has fleas.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No kidding around this time

One of the most disagreeable tasks presented to any goat herder is castration of bucklings before they become sexually mature.  Meatball, Emily's buckling, has reached 7 weeks, and the deed had to be done.  There are three methods of castration, but the easiest for the human, and possibly the hardest for the buckling, is by using the Elastrator.  Poor Meatball!  It isn't enough to remind myself that wethering him (castrating him) will give him a chance to live, rather than just got straight to the auction for meat.  Watching his discomfort, his pain, is hard and guilt-filled.  It generally takes 2-3 days for a buckling to be back to normal.  Tonight I've given him homeopathic Arnica.  Hopefully it will make him more comfortable, poor little guy.


Monday, July 4, 2011

Thoughts on Independence Day

Today we're celebrating Independence Day, and the Republic which was formed when 13 Independent Colonies became 13 Independent States, with a federal government as their agent.  Most Americans have either forgotten or have never known that the first document to bind the States together was the Articles of Confederation.  Sadly, and worse still, most Americans have never read the Constitution for the united States of America nor the Federalist Papers, nor the document that started it all, the Declaration of Independence.

The results of this lack of knowledge are all too obvious today.  The Federal Government has become the Master rather than the agent, and dictates to the States, rather than taking direction from them.  The Congress has forgotten its role and the Executive has arrogated more and more power that rightfully belongs to Congress.  The only lawful, Constitutional money, gold and silver, has been replaced with paper money, Federal Reserve Notes, issued by private bankers, who have, by debasing our currency, robbed us of our true wealth.  A dollar today buys what about 3 cents would buy in 1920, and the dollar has lost approximately 40% of its value since 2000.

We have more regulations that limit our Constitutionally-guaranteed freedoms, issued by non-elected bureaucrats of extra-Constitutional agencies, than our Founding Fathers could have imagined.  Our once great Republic has become a Marxist/Fabian Socialist wasteland, and most Americans aren't even aware of it.  As Benjamin Franklin reputedly warned us, we have sacrificed our freedom for "security" and have lost both.

Even our food supply is restricted.  The food gestapos raid farms and hold women and children at gunpoint for the "crime" of selling raw milk to informed adults.  Our right to travel has been converted to a privilege requiring licensing.  Our common law right to work and keep the fruits of our labors has been converted to taxable "income".  Yet not one person in a hundred is aware of the fraud behind all of these activities.

Yesterday I received a weekly email newsletter from Franklin Sanders, The Moneychanger.  Below are his comments.  I could not have said it so well.  Happy Independence Day, America!

Now, a little 4th of July meditation:

     I don't use the word "freedom" much any more, but "self-government."  Most people think "freedom" means licentiousness, the liberty to do any damned thing you please.  It doesn't.  The man who is a slave to his passions is no freer than the man who is a slave to a salt mine -- in fact less so, because his slavemaster doesn't  need chains & whip.

     We are only free to do what we have a moral right to do, no more.  Substitute licentiousness & & rebellion & anarchy for that, and you have, well, something that looks like the USA today.

     Another thing:  no man  and certainly no constitution, "grants" or "protects" your rights.  You have no rights unless you as a "belligerent claimant in person"  ENFORCE those rights.  That part of the "self" in self-government.  If you won't fight, you aren't free, and your children surely won't be.

     Thus the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, after they had made their case against George III & declared the independence of their sovereign states, ended with this warrant:

     "With a firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each  other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."

     If you aren't willing to pledge the same, NOT when the mob is clamouring for war & patriotism is cheap, but when most of the country opposes the law & the truth, and then stake everything on maintaining your rights, you aren't free, and never will be.  When those men signed that Declaration, less than 25% of the country wanted secession and independence, & that number fell sharply when the British troops landed.

    Finally, the signers knew there is only one guarantor of liberty.  As the Swiss philosopher Henri-Frederic Amiel said 75 years later, "If liberty is to be saved, it will not be by the doubters, the men of science, or the materialists; it will  be by religious conviction, by the faith of individuals who believe that God wills men to be free but also pure; it will be by the seekers after holiness, by those old- fashioned pious persons who speak of immortality & eternal life, and prefer the soul to the whole world; it will be by the enfranchised children of the ancient faith of the human race."

Friday, April 29, 2011

On milk, homeopathy, and herbs

Sanuba, bless her pea-pickin' little heart, is up to a quart a day of milk--and what wonderful milk it is! Sanuba, as her name implies, is Saanen/Nubian cross.  My other milker is a full Saanen, and though Bea gives delicious milk, it's low in fat. Sanuba's milk, on the other hand, is rich and full of butterfat.  I can actually skim it right off the top the next morning. Yum!

Buckling, Sanuba and Emily
Sanuba's doeing is already gone, sold at a week old, and her buckling is happily playing outside with the others, dodging horses' feet, investigating geese, and generally taking life as it comes. 

I'm milking Snub (Sanuba) three times a day, not because she has such a huge quantity of milk, but because we're still battling congested udder. I've been working with Glen Dupree, a homeopathic vet in Louisiana, to resolve this, and we're definitely making progress.  From one teaspoon of milk, painfully (for me) extracted, she has increased steadily to a little more than a quart today.  Her buckling is getting all he wants, as well, and I'm sure he's consuming at least a quart or more a day.  This has been a long road for both of us.  I've been massaging her udder at every milking, applying hot and cold packs twice a day, giving her herbs, Ester C, and homeopathic remedies as directed, and though she's much softer and more pliable than before, we still have a way to go.

Today I got some udder salve and herbs from Fir Meadow to add to the protocol. I like Kat Drohval's products, and my goats eat them readily.  Her BWW Wormer is great. In combination with GISoother, it's kept my goats from being plagued by parasites.  The GI Soother targets Haemonchus contortus, a particularly nasty worm that Beatrice contracted from the sheep that was here when she got here.

Emily has already started to bag up a bit.  I thought her due date was May 30, but I'm thinking perhaps she actually had a false heat?  No wonder my goats keep me crazy!  They won't even let me know when the buck is no longer of interest!  At any rate, after Snub's surprise pregnancy, I'm going to be prepared for both a May 9 due date and a May 30th.  I hope she has bucklings so I don't have to pull the kids. CAE positive does do take some management, no doubt about it.

Leah is also bagging up, but the earliest date for her would be May 29th. Let's see now--I bred her because I wasn't sure anyone else had been bred, is that right?  From now on, I will not assume that no one's been bred, even if they're tail wagging to beat the band, batting their eyelashes seductively at the buck, and blatting their heads off--or even if they're just plain not interested when they see the buck.  Perhaps, after all, they just want a little privacy.  What a learning experience this has been!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Surprise kids

Here I've been wondering why my Saanen/Nubian doe (aptly named Sanuba) has such silent heats and why I could never catch her in heat, and it turns out she's the only one that actually caught when the Saanen buck came to visit last November.  I was totally unprepared, had not been feeding this doe as if she were pregnant, had never seen her responsive to the buck at all, so it was a shock when I went out to the barn last Sunday (April 17th), looked in the communal stall, and saw two little kids wobbling around, the doe still cleaning them off, a black and white buckling and an all-white, Saanen-looking doeling..

Unfortunately, all was not well.  I suspect one of them was malpresented, because my poor doe was very reluctant to stand.  She'd struggle to her feet, stay up for a minute or two at most, and down she'd go again.  This is not normal.  I wanted to pull the kids, because the doe is CAE positive, but I was frantically trying to track down some colostrum to feed them.  Thank goodness for good friends and neighbors!  KelLee, my neighbor down the road, quickly came over to help me get the doe up, check her over, and see what we could do to give Sanuba some incentive to stand on her own.  She was definitely acting sore.  KelLee had some colostrum at home, so I followed her there to get it, and when I returned, the placenta had passed and the doe had eaten almost all of it.  KelLee and my son Shawn had taught the doeling to nurse while the doe was lying down, but the buckling was very hungry.

Ironic, isn't it, that the doeling, who I'd most have liked NOT to nurse, was the one who latched on quickly?  Ah, well.  The buckling quickly took to the bottle, and the doeling absolutely refused to have anything to do with it.  Shawn helped me get the doe up and hold her up for 4-5 minutes so the kids could nurse more easily.  After 5 hours, I realized I hadn't seen her drink, so I offered her some water.  You could almost see the lightbulbs go on!  Water!  Omigosh, I'm thirsty.  She struggled up and walked gingerly to the water bucket and drank deeply.  I dragged over a bale of good second-crop hay, and she munched as she lay with her kids. I gave doe and kids a dose of Arnica shortly after the birthing, and later gave Sanuba a dose of Bryonia, as it seemed to match her symptoms well--thirstless, reluctance to move.

Throught the night I fed the buckling and checked the doe.  By morning, it was clear that she was not improving.  I'd already talked to my local vet, so I called her again and confirmed that she was needed. A shot of Banamine and a shot of a long-acting antibiotic, a look at 3 other critters on the farm, and I was poorer by some $200+ but easier in my mind. 

Next day, Sanuba was up and moving around, but had congested udder.  That is, edema of the udder.  The udder was cool to the touch, not red, but hard to the touch, and very little milk.  At that point, I emailed Glen Dupree, a homeopathic vet I think very highly of, having taken a class from him at MOFGA.  He gave me instructions on what remedies to give and when, and advised me to alternate hot and cold compresses twice a day.  Ugh.  I don't know which finds it more disagreeable, the doe or I, but we're both carrying on.

Today her udder is noticeably softer, and instead of getting barely a squirt and working at getting a teaspoonful, I actually got 1/4 cup of milk tonight. :)  Hooray!  Any milk I get is fed back to the doe, disguised as a coating for grain. She's not like Beatrice, who readily slurps down milk or kefir.

As I looked into her stall tonight and watched the kids bouncing all around, rearing up, bucking, and racing in circles, I know why I love husbandry.  I may have come late to the farm, but it's been in my blood for generations.  My grandfather walked these fields and woods with me when I was a child and instilled a love of the land.  This is the way life is supposed to be.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Sometimes life throws us curves.  Sometimes we invite those curves.  And sometimes those curves are so unexpected, so devastating, that it takes one's breath away.

A young man from the local church I attend, whom I will call merely L, threw himself one of those curve balls on Saturday.  I've known L for several years, watched him go through his teens, heard reports of how he attended Seminary and was always on top of things. Then he started to slowly fall away from church, though he still associated with other LDS youth.  L's father moved overseas, but L still had plenty of family in the area, and many friends.  I was able to depend on him last year for help bringing in hay, he was reliable and willing.

Saturday night, L was showing his best friend one of his guns, a gun he thought was not loaded...  The rest is life changing, devastating, shattering history.  The gun went off, and L's friend was gone forever, and L's life will never be the same..  After several hours investigation, the police released him.  Who knows what will happen next?  The hours he spent with the police were grueling; they tried repeatedly to bully him into "admitting" that he'd shot his friend on purpose.

As I've pondered this tragedy, I find myself thanking God again and again for my parents and grandparents who pounded into my head the rule, the credo, that you never, ever point a gun at anything you don't intent to shoot.  We had guns around all the time when I was a child.  There was always a rifle behind the kitchen door at my grandparents' house; my father had several rifles.  I learned to shoot and handle guns from the time I could hold them, and if I'd ever even thought of playing with a gun or treating it with less than the respect it deserved, the consequences would have been dire.  I can't even imagine someone with guns pointing it at a friend, even with the safety on, even knowing it was unloaded.

And I think of the devastation wrought by that one careless act; one life taken, the other life shattered, the collateral damage beyond reckoning.  I want to shake L and scream "What were you thinking!" but I know the answer--he wasn't thinking, he couldn't have been thinking--could he?  My heart ache for L, for his family, and for his friend's family.

I'm reminded of the words to a song by Janice Kapp Perry, There is Eternity:
    But some heartaches just can never be explained
    And no caring words can take away the pain
Tragedy comes to us all, sometimes in small doses, sometimes overwhelmingly large, but if there's one thing I know, it's that the Father can turn tragedy into hope.  I believe in miracles.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's a lot harder to curb complaints than I ever would have imagined.  I've been working at this for weeks, and so far haven't strung together even 7 days; nay, even four.  I have, finally, put together 2 days several times, and most recently, and most notable I failed on--TA DA--Day Four, which means I managed to get through three whole days before a complaint crossed my lips.

As I watched the original challenge on YouTube, I observed a few people remarking that it had taken one or two weeks before they were able to get into the swing of it.  One or two weeks!  Either these people have very different standards than I've set up, or they're lying--or I'm far worse off than I ever expected.  Here are my standards:

1.  It's okay to think it, but I can't say it (same as A Complaint-Free World)
2.  Fits of temper, impatience, or outrage count as complaints.
3.  It doesn't matter if someone else is around to hear it.  If I've uttered it aloud, it's a complaint.

What this means in effect is that if I go out to the barn and the horses have tossed their hay out of the feeder and pooped all over it, the exclamation, "Those stupid horses!" is a complaint.  The question comes when I cry, "Oh, no!"  Is that a complaint?

If the goats have escaped from their enclosure and tipped over my buckets of minerals, and I tell someone what they've done, is that a complaint?

Suppose I've had a small run-in with a family member, and another asks me about it, is the retelling a complaint?

So far, I've answered "yes" to myself on all counts, which means I either become rather uncommunicative with respect to situations in my life which can be construed as negative, or I have to change the standards.  I finally started looking at intent, and that eased a bit of the retelling, but I'm on rather shaky ground.  What I have learned is that murmuring, by definition, means speaking very low, almost inarticulately, and often in complaint.  As soon as my voice gives utterance, I'm in trouble.  I'm learning to keep my mouth shut tight, even when I want to lash out, exclaim, or just tell someone of the unbelievably stressful heartache I've just endured, the catastrophe just avoided, the idiocies just observed.

If I ever string together 21 full days without complaint, I suspect I may be almost mute.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Muttering, murmuring, and complaining

A year or so ago, someone at church gave a talk about "murmuring" and gossiping.  He pointed out that we should not murmur and mutter, as the Israelites did, and gave some ideas about how to turn the conversation if someone is gossiping or complaining (murmuring) about someone else.  I listened and determined that I would do better, and for a while I focused on looking for the positive.  Eventually, though I thought of it occasionally, my focus went elsewhere.  Just a few weeks ago, though, I came across a YouTube video about "A Complaint-Free Revolution".  What a great set of videos!  I went to the website, where they present a 21-day challenge--no murmuring or complaining for 21 days straight.  Always ready for a challenge, and always willing to improve myself, I decided to take the challenge.  That was 2 or 3 weeks ago.  So far, I've only made it through 1 full day without complaining, and I blew it the next day. 

Do you know how easy it is to murmur and complain?  I'd never realized how easy it is to fall into that trap, and how much I'd let myself wander there.  On, you can buy flexible plastic bracelets to remind yourself not to blow it again.  The idea is, that each time you see the bracelet, you'll be reminded.  I dn't have a bracelet, so I just put a scrunchie or other hair tie around my wrist, and when I complain or murmur, I switch it from one wrist to the other.  Many days I make it until 8:00 or 9:00 at night, and then I slip and have to start all over again.  Hmmm.  Could it be that when I'm tired, I'm more prone to complaining?  Now there's a thought!

I've discovered is that it's not always clear to me whether I'm complaining or not.  For example, this morning I backed my truck out of the driveway and didn't turn sharply enough. Yesterday's snowstorm and subsequent plowiing had left a few sizeable snow banks on our private road, and I went just far enough to catch one of my back wheels in the outside of one.  I exclaimed, "Oh, crap!  That was pretty dumb!"  Is that a complaint?  I got out of the truck, dug out the wheel, put down a little sand, and off I went, wondering if I needed to start over again. 

Another thing I realized is that those imaginary conversations I have--you know the kind, where you're thinking of someone that you have a (ahem) difficult relationship with--often are about disagreements.  Whew!  That must be the muttering part of murmuring and muttering!  Or is it?  Perhaps it's just planning the conversation when you see that person?  Or is that justification?  I'm coming to the conclusion that the more I keep my mouth shut, even when I'm alone (or perhaps especially when I'm alone), the better off I'll be.  There are some great URLs that discuss the topic, which is preached against in many scriptures.  One particularly cogent article, which I came across this morning, is called "The Sin of Murmuring".  Another is "Grumbling, Murmuring, Complaining". They helped clarify the truck incident, for example. 

Ah!  We are all too human, and truly "the natural man is an enemy to God".  Tonight when I go to bed, I'm going to have had a complaint-free day, and tomorrow I will start Day 2. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Milking Made Easy

I'm now finishing my second week with the Henry Milker, and the more I use it, the better I like it.  If I'm in a hurry, I still hand milk, because it's faster, but I've found there are certain advantages to using the milker--over an above saving my hands, that is.  I can go off and check commotions in other parts of the barn, usually caused by my rambunctious Fox Terrier terrorizing the escaped bantams; or I can fill water buckets, checking the pressure on the milker every couple of minutes.  I've even done a quick cleanup of horse poop in the center aisle of the walk-in portion of the barn, fed the geese, and collected eggs, all while the Henry Milker was doing its job and my doe was placidly munching her grain.

Using the milker couldn't be easier, and I'm appreciating the large teat cup for its comfort to my doe, while still maintaining enough suction for the milker to work.  The teat cup is much larger than the "large" size that I got with the Maggidan's, and I was concerned that it would be too big. Not so!  And I think Beatrice appreciates not having her teats squished inside a smaller syringe.  Since I consulted with Mike Henry, I've upped the vacuum pressure that I use.  It's still not quite up to 10 lbs, but higher than I had it before, and instead of a steady trickle, the milk is now delivered in a rushing stream.

The process is shown below.  Just click on the photos to see them full size.  Altogether, so far I'm very happy with the Henry Milker.

Beatrice before milking. Her udder is fairly full.

Attaching the teat cup to the right teat. 

Starting the flow. The pressure is around 6 or 7 lbs and it's already flowing nicely into the half-gallon Mason jar.

The Henry Milker keeps working and I can go water the geese.

There's always an audience.  "Whattadaya doin?  Can I watch?"

Time to switch teats, and only 3 minutes have passed.

Empty udder.

"Are we done yet?  My grain is gone."  Beatrice is ready to get down.

The jar on the right contains the strippings, less than a cup, while the milking jar contains a little over 5 cups.

3 lbs 4 oz, most of it easily extracted by the Henry Milker

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hay feeders at last!

Beatrice and Sanuba at the stall feeder
 I finally got around to making feeders a few weeks ago.  Why I put it off for so long, I'll never know.  Previously, I was feeding hay with haynets, and I'd untangled goat heads and legs a couple of times.  The possibilities for problems seemed to be lurking just around the corner.  What a difference it's made!  Hay waste has gone waaaay down, and stress levels among the four goats seem to have waned as well.  The stall feeder is straight up and down, while the walk-in feeder (they can come and go from outside to barn) is slanted.  I really haven't seen a great deal of difference in waste between the two of them.  Since there's plenty of room for each goat to get to the feeders, they aren't trying to chase each other off nearly as often.
The things you can make out of spare pallets!  Life is good.
Walk-in feeder, front view


Walk-in feeder, side view

Henry Milker: First Impressions

I got my new Henry Milker a few days ago.  I've used it several times now, so here are my first impressions.

It's a lot slower than hand milking. Even with hands that hurt while I milk, I can still milk out my doe in 4-5 minutes.  The Henry Milker takes 8-12 minutes, mainly because I can only milk one side at a time.  On a few occasions, I've used the milker on one side while hand milking the other.   That still gives my hands a rest.

That's actually the biggest downside to this milker.  There's plenty to like.  For one thing, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it gets out most of the milk, so that when I hand strip, I'm looking at 1/4 to 1/2 cup in total.  That's a big improvement over the Maggidan's milker I tried last year, and the self-built unit I tried before that.  With both of those, I had to hand milk a good half and more, since the milkers consistently left that much in the goat's udder.  To be fair, Maggidan's advertises their milker for mini's, and maybe it works great for them. It doesn't work well on a full sized goat like a Saanen.

The Henry Milker has a great pump, and I love the gauge that lets you know exactly how much vacuum pressure is on the teat.  I've been using between 5 and 7 pounds of pressure, and that puts a steady stream into the jar.  Two quart jars are provided.  One was broken on arrival, but my one doe in milk, Beatrice, produces around 6 cups per milking at the moment, and that will increase with lengthening days, so I use a half-gallon Mason jar.

The first few milkings, I put the milk through a filter anyway, just to see if it was really as clean as advertised.  It is, but I still use a filter for the strippings. That's hardly a problem, though, since we're only talking a small amount.

What I'd love to see is a Y for the tubing so I can attach a tube and teat cup to each teat and finish the milking in half the time--or the approximate time it takes me to hand milk.  I'm not sure that would work, but I may experiment.

The tubing is very easy to clean; the tiny brushes provided cut way back on the possibility of tiny bits of milk calcifying in the tubing.  The only difficulty I've had is getting the tubing off the pump--it just doesn't want to let go!  Cleanup is fast and easy, a real plus.

I'll continue using the Henry Milker over the next 2 weeks of my trial period.  If nothing untoward occurs with it, I'll most likely keep it.  Even if it's slower, it sure does give my hands a rest.  That in itself makes the Henry Milker worth every penny of its purchase price..

Oh, and did I mention that Mike Henry is very quick about answering questions and lending support by email?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tis the Season

Emily is just getting over her heat, having spent a delightful two days with Reverend Lee, and Leah is relaxing after putting up with Emily and Reverend Lee.  Emily has scurs, and though they weren't very big, they're definitely off now.  She butted heads with the buck, she butted heads with Leah, and I think she would have butted heads with herself if she'd known how.  She definitely let me know that it was time, and "I know exactly where that buck is, so don't try to hide him on me!"  I hope this time she settles.
Leah and Reverend Lee
No more tail wagging or plaintive cries from either doe, but Beatrice is very unhappy. Beatrice is in heat, complaining loudly because she has been separated in no uncertain terms from the buck.  Sanuba seems to have no interest whatsoever.  I hope that means she's bred, but having been fooled last year, I'm by no means certain.
My new Henry Milker has been shipped.  I've tried other milkers, with little success.  Check back to see my report on it.  I'm very hopeful, as my hands are pretty sore sometimes from arthritis.  I'll need to be improving my diet this year--getting back on mostly raw, alkalizing my body--but in the meantime, once my other does freshen, I'll need any help I can get!