Saturday, December 10th, 2005:
Another rough couple of days. Yesterday I didn’t have to start work until noon and since it was 24 degrees out I thought I’d wait on feeding the animals until the hoses thawed a little so it would be easier to water them. I cleaned the fish tanks and the house instead. When I went out at 10:00 I found Cally, one of our pregnant Nigerian Dwarf goats in a bad way. She was laying on her side, bloated, neck curled back and not very responsive to me. She had seemed a little less interested in eating the day before but when I looked again she was eating avidly so I hadn’t thought much of it. Anyway I ran and got some Vitamin B complex and injected her with that and then gave her some NutriDrench. I checked her vitals which were fine except her temperature was a little low at 99.8 degrees. I loaded her onto the garden cart and managed to get her into the house in front of the warm stove. Then she started having repetitive up and down eye movements like a convulsion so I called the vet and arranged to bring her in immediately. I loaded her back on the cart to the car and loaded her up. I called work and let them know I was going to be late. On the way to the vet in my Subaru wagon I noticed she had perked up and was looking around and by the time I got to the vet she was fine. He felt like she had polioencephalopathy (thiamine deficiency) and that the B complex I gave her had helped. He kept her to observe her for the afternoon while I rushed home, fed and watered the critters, cleaned up and went to work. Tom picked her up after work and she looked great but we needed to do twice per day thiamine injections.
Now we had planned to go to our family’s cabin in the mountain to help with some clean up work that needed to be done- it’s about 4 hours away. We had planned to take the truck but with the cold weather and now a sick goat we thought the wagon would be better. So Saturday we got up at 4:30 AM loaded up the Subaru with all our stuff, the goat, the beagle and took off. Three hours later after driving on icy roads over the pass and climbing to the top of another there was a whining sound, copious blue smoke from the back and the temperature gauge shot up. We pulled over and we were overheating. When we check the radiator was very low on fluid but there was plenty in the radiator but with an oily film to it- not good at all. The oil looked good though so we poured the reservoir fluid into the radiator and limped to an overlook site off the shoulder of the highway. My family at the cabin couldn’t be reached (no cell phone service), Tom’s father had had heart surgery two days before, so we called my dad. He happened to be about 30 minutes away! We dropped off some stuff, looked for a car trailer (no luck) and came for us. We managed to call about a rental car in Ellensburg. We loaded all our stuff including a goat and beagle into dad’s truck and went down the mountain into Ellensburg and rented an SUV. The man there asked if we had pets (which we admitted to having a beagle) but didn’t ask about livestock so we didn’t lie. We went down the block- loaded everything into the rental SUV, thanked dad for saving us and went back home 3 hours away over the pass and icy roads.
Above is that photo of poor Cally getting back home. She had been on 5 car trips in two days (to the vet and back, and then three the next day trying to get to the cabin, being rescued and driving back). She’s doing great!
Now we have to hook up the car trailer to the truck (which we should have brought on the trip in the first place) and drive this and the SUV back over the mountains, drop off the SUV and pick up my dead Subaru and limp back again over the icy roads. Quite a fun weekend huh?
December 21st- shortest day of the year!
I did the usual animal chores and had an appointment after that. When I returned my brother was here so I hung out with him. Then a couple came to drop off their two goats while they went on a Christmas vacation. They couldn’t find anyone to watch them consistently for the next 1.5 weeks. They are Pixie and Trixie- both born here. They sure have grown. They are quite friendly and can be a little annoying. They seem to be settling in OK. We also got mini Rex rabbit from Tom’s daughter. Her boyfriend bought it for her for her birthday but the rabbit is chewing everything so they are giving it away. I hope a lesson was learned.
Mostly we’re getting ready for Christmas with presents, foods, and decorations- a fun time of the year but exhausting.
December 25th- Christmas
This isn’t really farm related. Christmas Eve we stayed with my father, and there was a horrible wind/rain storm that kept us up most of the night. In the morning a large tree fell on the house and destroyed the roof on a good portion of it. The scariest thing was that a branch speared through the roof over the bed where my father and step-mother were. It’s probably 2 feet above where Karen was. It was so scary, but they are fine and in good spirits. So we spend Christmas morning clearing the debris from the roof and laying tarp down so rain water would get into the house and destroy more stuff. An eventful Christmas.
I am starting to think about getting ready for kidding and lambing starting next month (February 20th). I am using the hay from the barn so I can put the pregnant ewes in there starting January 20th and start feeding them extra grain. As you can see the pregnant does are starting to show quite a bit. I’ve removed the wethers and started feeding them extra grain all ready.
Yesterday we got Fern and Earl, pygmy doeling and wether from a couple that work where I do. They decided they needed a different home and since I lost my Pygmy wether Ben , I was thinking about getting a replacement. So it all worked out fine. They’re a little nervous now but I think they’ll settle in with the other goats just fine. They’re friendly and cute.
It’s been raining something like 20 straight days now and things are a little muddy. The fields aren’t flooding though because we’ve (mostly my husband) have been keep the ditches flowing so it’s not as bad as it’s been in previous year’s.
Today I prepared the lambing pen. I had to move about 20 pallets and large pieces of plywood, about 6 bales of hay and 3 bales of straw. I repaired the fencing and walls around the pen and then caught the six ewes, wormed them and put them in the pen. Here they’ll be in a cleaner, more protected environment and I can give them more grain. This year I’m going to use coccidia treatment now and then again on the lambs and kids at 3 and 6 weeks of age because of my loss of a kid last year to coccidia. All of the above was quite exhausting.
I also got the nest boxes ready for hopefully some rabbit kits to be born next Monday. I sheared our black Satin Angora rabbit Pepe and clipped his nails- he wasn’t too happy either.
This morning I discovered two red Satin Angora rabbit kits were born in the night. They are doing quite well so far. This time I’m going to bring them into the house and bring them out each morning to eat. This way, hopefully< they can’t escape their nest box and freeze nor can their mother trample them. The only issue is we’re going snowmobiling this weekend- I guess some Angora rabbits are coming with!
I trimmed all the goats’ hooves. wormed them and gave them their CDT shots. The pregnancies seem to be going quite well- I can palpate some fetal parts and some of the udders are starting to develop. It’s fun trying to imagine what’s inside.
On Monday I pruned all of the fruit trees. Things are budding quickly here and we had a day of nice weather so I got it done. My neck and shoulders hurt but at least that’s another task out of the way!
Today I did the usual animals chores and then did buck maintenance. They were all brushed, their hooves trimmed, their CDT shot given and wormed with ivermectin. Then they had their photos taken. You can see that Cody is thrilled about all of this.
Today I sheared all six of the pregnant ewes and now I’m sore. I’m generally quite happy with the fleeces- there’s only one they may not be good and that’s Wink’s. I also trimmed their hooves and gave them their CDT shots. I took photos of the ewes before shearing- a side view and a close up of their wool. Then I took photos of them after shearing- a side view, a front view, and hind view and a face profile. These should show conformation pretty well. I posted some of the ewe photos at http://www.schoonoverfarm.com/ShetlandEwes.html and the fleece photos are at http://www.schoonoverfarm.com/Fiber
Other than that I managed to do the usual animal chores and cleaned up the rabbit cages. The baby rabbits are now out of their nestbox/kennel and into a cage. I think they are a little nervous about it but are sure growing up quickly.
This is the one year anniversary of the farm blog! A whole year of the trials and tribulations of a small sheep/goat/cow/donkey/llama/rabbit/chicken/duck/goose farm. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.