Monday, March 31, 2008

New Names

Having lots of babies from year to year for many years has made it difficult to come up with new names for everyone. So I have decided to go with a theme again this year. I have done this in the past and used a Car/Truck theme, our babies that year were: Rio, Ranger, El Camino (Ellie), Breeze, Trooper, Nash and Spider.

This year and perhaps next year, since we are not expecting very many babies, we are going to use Jewels, Gems, Precious Stones, Minerals or Metals. So, to get this party started we have decided to call our new sorrel Walkaloosa colt "Garnet", since he is very red.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Foal's First Attempt

This video clip is of our new colt's first attempt at standing on his own four feet, he did very well for a first time.

The sounds that you hear in the background of this video are: One of my hens announcing the arrival of my husband coming home from work. The sound of my husband's vehicle. My Miniature Schnauzer barking at my husband's vehicle. If you listen closely enough you can hear my husband closing his door and walking up to see the baby for the first time. Luckily he didn't say anything until after I stopped recording.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

It's a Boy

It is a Walkaloosa sorrel colt with 3 stockings, a sock, a big spot on his forehead and a blanket, born at 4:50 PM. So, see there, mares do foal during the daylight hours, proof positive that mares do not only foal at night. Many of our mares have foaled during the day throughout the years, but the majority still choose to foal in the very early morning hours.

Walkaloosa Colt

Colt for sale
We went for many years without one foal being born with four socks or stockings, now we have had one born each year for the last three years. This colt has three nice stockings and his right front foot has a sock that comes up over the ankle but it is dirty in these pictures and hard to see.

News Flash

At 11:30 this morning, "Morning" our TW mare waxed heavily and she is now in labor, my DH came home for lunch and cleaned out her stall and restrawed it. More later...


My new handy dandy Hot-Shot Power-Mite arrived from It is like a electric cattle prod but it is compact and fits into your pocket. It looks like a stun gun or taser, but of course, only delivers a buzzing sound and a slight shock. It is used for close-up animal work with hogs and cattle. In case you missed my blog about my billy goat getting a little pushy and aggressive, he is the reason that I bought this little device.

I put it in my pocket and went to gather eggs in the goat/chicken shed. As usually, Cooter started his routine of chewing at my sleeves which is fine, then he started lightly pushing on me with his head.

He gradually increased his pushing and I slipped the Hot-Shot out of my pocket and applied it to his neck. He hollered and came back after me, mad as could be. I shocked him again on the neck and he yelled and came back again, this time he reared up and tried to hit me hard. I got him on his shoulder that time and he came back for more.

I was beginning to wonder who was going to win this battle, when I made good contact with the side of his belly and he bleated and ran away. He went on the other side of the building where he had to peek around the side to see me. He never came back and I was relieved because I didn't have much more fight in me.

When I went back out there to check on things after dark that night, he came right up to me to be petted but never once chewed on me or pushed on me. I was so happy that he wasn't afraid of me and that he didn't start his stuff with me again because I had totally forgotten to take the Hot-Shot with me.

I have been in the lot several times since this incident and he is a changed boy. He is not pushing on me at all now. It is amazing to me that he knew exactly what he was doing that he needed to stop doing.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Rain

I said it before and I'll say it again, the good news is that the drought it over! It rained here all night again and we are having the worst flooding that this area has seen in years. I feel for the people whose houses and businesses are under water or are watching the river and creeks rise and will soon be under water. Though we do have flooding on our property it doesn't come close to our buildings. I can deal with some rain water in the barn and a little on my living room floor because of poor drainage.

This is quite a contrast to the dry weather that we had last year, I think something somewhere must have gotten stopped up last Summer and Fall and is just now breaking loose.

I did get some sleep last night, I got up a couple of times to check my girls then had a hard time getting back to sleep because I was worrying about all of the water that was pouring in but there was nothing that I could do about it but worry, so, I finally went back to sleep.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Waiting Still

I am currently waiting for daylight, so that I can go out to check on my goat that is about to kid. My DH tells me that when he was out there earlier, she sounded congested. The weather has taken it's toll on us and our animals. When it is cold and windy one day, warm and sunny the next then monsoons of cold rains hit for days at a time, goats have a hard time coping and so do I.

We have two mares that are very, very close to foaling and our foaling stall has three inches of water in it. The rest of the barn is flooded too. Even my living room has rain water coming through the wall again.

We are going to have to try to get the foaling stall dried out today and with the continuing rain and my DH working, I don't know how we are going to get that done.

I am going to have to figure out if my doe has pneumonia and how to treat her since she is so close to kidding. She is going to have to be moved into the barn, if I can find a dry spot for her.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


I am being called all kinds of strange names, Goat Lady, Chicken Lady, Witch Doctor and Medicine Woman. I am left handed which qualifies me for the Medicine Woman title, some Indians believed that left handed women were big medicine. Left handedness also earns me a short life span according to the people who study these things.

Left-handed women may have a shorter life-span | Health | Reuters

So, since I am not going to be living very long, please forgive me if I do strange things, like strange things and believe strange things, like goat's milk is superior to store boughten milk. That raw milk is superior to pasteurized and homogenized milk. That free range, unmedicated chickens lay better quality eggs, that are better for you. That Baltic Amber from tree sap is a natural pain reliever when applied to the area of pain. That probiotics keep the body healthy in many different ways. That sunshine is very healthy except when taken in large doses. That fresh air is very good for you especially when taken in large doses. That nothing smells better than a horse.

Addition to previous post: Another reason to have a big rock in your goat lot is so that your buck can spend endless hours of his time trying to move it with his head. This helps everyone in the goat lot by keeping him entertained, busy and burning excess energy, so that others can get some rest. However, this is the equivalent of body building and weight lifting for a goat, he is building strong pushing and butting muscles.

The Rock

One thing that we are blessed with on our farm is limestone, not a great thing to have on a farm but they can sometimes be useful. We have many nice rock specimens, in many different shapes and sizes. My Son chose one after I had griped about wanting a large rock for my goats to play on. His Dad and he loaded it into the bucket of our new tractor (putting the first scratch on it before the first payment was made) and delivered it to the goat lot.

The goats were somewhat scared of it to begin with but it didn't take long for them to warm up to it. Goats love to climb, play king of the hill and jump off of high places, so this is perfect goat decor.

Within one day my goats had accepted the rock as their favorite spot in the lot. They stand on it, fight over it, sleep around it and have general community meetings there. It is also very good for little goat hooves, keeping them worn down, neat and trim.

I have already told my Son and Husband that the goat lot needs a couple more large rocks to complement this one and add to the overall ambiance.

The Rock

Goat Rock

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Eggs for Sale

Spring has sure made a difference in egg production, my bantams are still not laying but everything else sure is. I just went out to gather eggs and every nest in the shed has a hen sitting in it. I have a refrigerator full of eggs and need to sell some. I have been selling some to a neighbor and giving them to my kids, but they just keep coming.

My chickens are doing wonderful and I really enjoy them. When I go outside in the mornings they are waiting for me. I slide open the big barn door and they follow me everywhere I go until I feed them. I feel like the Pied Piper with my little flock clucking along behind me.

Monday, March 24, 2008


After working with Giselle for many hours and trying everything that we could think of, she continued to go downhill rapidly. I found a scalpel and gathered my towels, so that we would be ready when she breathed her last breath to open her up and try to save her babies.

She died in my arms and my DH went to work as quickly as possible. He had no problem locating the first kid and handing it to me. I immediately gave it a gentle swing to try to clear it's lungs and passageways, and started toweling it off but put it down when I got no response and took the next one, the same thing happened. He handed me the third one and quickly searched for more before turning to help me.

We worked and worked, slinging, thumping, rubbing, even giving some mouth to mouth but none of them ever moved or responded in any way. A black buck, a black and white spotted buck and a mahogany spotted doe.

This turned out to be a bad Easter for me, my new Easter dress went unworn and I am wondering if there was something more that I could have done for Giselle or for the babies. My Dear Husband says that this is just life on the farm. You are always going to lose a few battles, I suppose. But it still really hurts...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Easter is as early this year as you will ever see it again in your lifetime. Everything seems early this year, we were looking forward to Spring but it came up in such a whirlwind that the temperatures haven't had time to catch up yet.

Giselle is still not doing well, she is off her feed and not getting up at all, she did go outside and stand for just a few minutes today but then went back inside to lie down and she hasn't moved since. She hasn't eaten any hay or grain, she wouldn't even eat treats. I took some warm molasses water to her at about 11:30 tonight and she drank quite a bit, but that is all she has had.

Her tail end had some goo hanging from it this morning which is a good sign that labor is close but I have been checking on her every 30 minutes all through the night and she isn't doing anything. She is just lying very still and has a glazed look in her eyes.

It is now 3:03 in the morning and after checking on her the last time I have decided that she has all of the symptoms of Pregnancy Toxemia and I have mixed up a drench for her again, karo syrup, molasses, nutri-drench, B-complex vitamins and crunched-up tums. I am giving her the drench syringe full (50 ml) every two hours, then following that up with 50 ml of yogurt. She isn't happy about it, she just wants to be left alone. No sleep for me tonight...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Starting Kefir

Kefir is pronounced keh-fear, I'm not sure that I have enough knowledge to explain what it is any further than that. I have been reading and studying it and it's effects for the last few days. I have read many incredible testimonies about it's benefits and stories about it's rich history. At one time being valued more than jewels or gold, the property of Kings and a family's wealth determined by it's ownership.

It arrived in my mailbox yesterday in a little envelope, the kefir jewels or grains as they are properly called were dehydrated and looked like small pale yellow nuggets. There was a paper included with instructions on how to begin my new venture. I had paid for the postage and the grains themselves were free because it is very bad to sell kefir grains, they are a gift from God.

Kefir is a milk beverage and was used as a milk preservative before the time of refrigeration. Kefir grains are a living Probiotic as opposed to an Antibiotic, BIOTIC means "life", PRO means "for" and ANTI means "against". So, probiotic means "for life" and I'm all for that! When hydrated and active, Kefir grains resemble cauliflower and are pure white.

Since I don't have a goat that has come fresh yet and milk is so expensive right now, I asked for dehydrated grains instead of the moist and ready to go variety. My plan was to hydrate my grains as soon as I had fresh goat's milk. However, after reading so much good information and hearing all of the wonderful things that kefir can do for you, I just couldn't wait and started half of my grains.

The instructions said to put the grains in 1 to 2 cups of water with 1 tablespoon of sugar. I did this and after a few hours my grains were no longer yellow, they were white, fluffy and rubbery. I strained them out of the water and rinsed them in a plastic strainer because I have been told not to let them come in contact with metal. Then I placed them in a glass cup of milk to sit on my kitchen counter for 24 to 48 hours for fermentation.

My 24 hours were up at 9:00 this evening and the milk smells very yeasty, I will let them set for another 24 hours, then pour the milk off and give it to my dog, then put the grains back in fresh milk for 24 more hours. The next milk that the grains are strained out of will be the kefir that I will be drinking. It is suppose to be the consistency of buttermilk but has a different taste. The grains themselves will grow and multiply as long as you keep them in fresh milk on a continual basis, straining it every 48 hours. You can also eat the grains when you get enough or give them to friends.

There are many recipes online using kefir and I will be trying some of these. I will probably be keeping you posted on my kefir adventure.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Farm-Style Manicure

You should see my lovely fingernails, they are brittle and broken, split and jagged. They usually have unidentified dark substances under them as well. I try to keep them out of my mouth most of the time for that reason.

Dipping crushed oyster shell straight from the bag with your bare hands to feed to your chickens is rough on your nails. Bracing yourself with your hands in the mud and manure to look under the goat/chicken house for a lost hen is not good hygiene. Getting into a slight scuffle with a Billy Goat can and will break an already brittle nail and also bruise one's knuckle.

I don't know what has gotten into Cooter, well maybe it's because it's Spring but I didn't know that he had a calendar and knew the exact day that Spring arrived. He is getting hard to deal with, he usually just nibbles at my fingers and clothes, sometimes puts his head against me and applies slight pressure but today he was just being mean and trying to knock me down. He did the same thing to my DH while he was shoveling out the shed, he took the shovel to him and that made him worse.

He likes being kicked and hit because he likes to play rough, so I avoid getting rough with him, even if he makes me mad. If he pushes on me, I grab his ear, give it a twist and hold him still in one place for an extended period of time. When I let go he usually doesn't want to play anymore. But this type of training does take time and patience.

After the slap with the shovel, he thought we were on his energy level and were thinking like he thinks. I know from experience that it is hard to win in a hand or foot to hard head battle with a buck. If you kick them, it will hurt you worse that it hurts them and hitting them with your hand is just stupid and I have the bruise on my hand to prove it.

Billy goats are made of tough stuff and I should have known better than to have made such a pet out of Cooter but he was so sweet and cute, I couldn't help it. My last buck was not pampered and he avoided human contact, so he was much better behaved.

I am afraid at this point that I am going to have to resort to drastic measures and purchase a cattle prod because I don't want my Grandkids not being able to go into the goat lot because of a mean billy goat, plus the fact that I am just getting tired of his annoying behavior.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Spring is Here

Spring has arrived and we have survived the winter. The rain cleared out of here and the sun is shining just for the occasion.

My little orange Mille Fleur D'Uccle hen went missing last night and this morning. I hunted for her today and found her under the goat/chicken house all covered in mud and acting puny. I had to get down on my knees in the mud and take my handy dandy chicken catcher to get her out, it is a long metal wire with a crook in the end that will snag a chicken by the foot. I caught her on the first try and drug her out. I cradled her in my arms and looked her over but could find no injuries. She must have just had a hard night out in the cold being wet and muddy.

I put her out in the dog kennel with the other banties and they all attacked her viciously. I must admit that I don't understand chicken psychology, they don't have any compassion. They are pecking at her and plucking out her feathers and chasing her. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Question

I don't understand people who like to golf, I don't understand people who like to rock climb, bungee jump, or sky dive. I don't understand people who like to fly, and I really don't understand people who like to shop, I just cannot relate.

So I guess that I should not find it odd that there are people who cannot relate to what my Husband and I do. But I must admit that I get a little testy with people who ask me "the question" that makes my blood boil.

We like living on a farm, we like raising animals, we like feeding animals, we like caring for animals, we like shoveling our hard earned money out onto our manure piles without ever turning a profit. That is what we do and enjoy.

Get over trying to understand it, it will never make anymore sense to you than continually buying shoes and clothes, wearing them a couple of times and giving them away, does to me. It will never make anymore sense to you than paying ridiculously high prices to play a game of golf or trying to kill yourself with some dangerous sport or hobby, does to me.

We love our animals and enjoy them and part of that love and enjoyment includes a commitment, a commitment and responsibility to feed and care for that animal while it is under our ownership. Just because the weather is horrible outside doesn't give an animal owner the right to skip a feeding, just because money is tight doesn't give an animal owner a right to quit supplying food or expect those animals to fend for themselves.

We had a situation come up today, a friend who recently had surgery, went to check on a mare that was due to foal. When she arrived the foal's nose was out but no feet were showing and the mare had stopped laboring.

She called the Vet, then called me. I told her what I would do in the same situation, which was push the baby back in and find the feet. She called me back a short time later to tell me that she had done what I had told her but that she couldn't get the legs to straighten out, so she just pulled her out by her knees.

Everything went well and the baby and mare were both fine but the baby's legs are very crooked from being in that position for so long and she couldn't walk or even stand to nurse. My friend just milked the mare and gave the baby a bottle then asked if we would come down to try to get the baby up to nurse it's mother, since she couldn't do that because of her surgery.

We went to the place where she keeps her horses and my DH got the pretty, dun, blanketed, appy filly on her feet and held her head up and steadied her to nurse. This filly will be fine, her legs will straighten out with time and she is completely healthy. But without human intervention both the mare and filly would have died. Without someone spending a couple of days helping this foal to nurse she will not survive.

While we were there someone else who has horses in the same barn, asked us if we had seen another horse that is at this barn. We said that we had, it kind of stuck out like a very sore thumb. She has been feeding this poor, young, skinny horse her own hay just so it will survive. She has talked to the owners about giving it away but they won't because they love it too much. They did say that they would sell it, but they want a good tidy sum for it. My feelings about this is that if you are eating, then your animals should be eating. If you are not doing without meals, then your animals should not be doing without meals.

If you have the money to have cell phones, cable T.V., an internet connection, go to places of entertainment, or go out to eat, then there is no excuse for not taking care of your responsibility to your animals.

I will climb down from my soapbox now and get back to my original point. I am spending many sleepless nights right now because of my pregnant mares and does. It will get worse as time goes by and they get closer to kidding and foaling. It is my duty to take care of them, since we are responsible for them being bred in the first place.

I know many people who own animals and take very good care of them but when it comes to birthing, they will not lose any sleep over it, to me this is just like not feeding your animals, because you are eating out all of the time. Which gets me to "the question" that I hate. The question that people will ask is, "Why do you have to watch them so closely, don't you think that they can have babies without your help?"

The answer to this question is this, "Were you home alone when you gave birth or was your wife home alone when she gave birth?" Yes, animals have been giving birth unassisted for many, many years. But what makes them any different than people? Women have been giving birth for many, many years as well. It isn't that I think animals are as important as people, but I have an investment in these animals and there is just as much chance of something going wrong for them as there is for humans.

The investment that I have in these animals may not necessarily be a big financial investment but with horses it is eleven months of care and waiting for a foal. With my goats it is five months of care and waiting. Do you really think that I don't want to be there when they give birth.

If you have raised animals for any length of time, you know the simple things that can go wrong during a delivery. Things that can easily be fixed if you are present but if you are snoring in bed those simple things can kill both the mother and baby or babies. Sometimes it is just a knee that gets stuck or the sharp little hooves that try to perforate into the mother's colon or a breach. With twins, triplets or quads in goats, it can be a tangling of legs or two competitors racing to be the first one out. These are things that can be corrected without an injury or death.

Last year one of our foals was just huge, she got stuck at the chest, we had never had this happen before. Her head and shoulders were already out and it took all of the strength that my Husband had, with his feet braced, to pull that baby out. He was sliding the mare backwards and we were praying when she finally popped out. It happened in the middle of the night. If we had been asleep we would have awaken to a dead mare and foal in the stall and it would have been very difficult to have gotten them out of that stall. My poor Husband was extremely sore the next day.

A friend of ours had a foal get stuck at the hips, the mare was panicking with the baby mostly dangling out and flopping around. Our friend was not strong enough to help, but luckily the Schwans delivery man arrived just in time to put some muscle into the pull and they got the colt out.

I am not saying that I am present at every birth but I miss very few. If I do miss one it isn't because I wasn't doing constant checks. There are times when you think that you can safely slip away for a couple of hours without anything happening, only to find out that that two hours was all that it took and they are either in the middle of giving birth or have just gotten done when you return home.

Building an Ark

It is still raining, our barn is flooded, it has never been this bad before. If Morning foals now the poor thing will drown. Our foaling stall has about 3 inches of water in it. My DH spent this evening with a shovel trying to divert streams of water but it didn't help, there isn't anywhere for the water to go.

I just came in from checking on the goats in the horse trailer and I can hear Indian Creek raging, I am anxious for the dawn to see how bad the flooding is. I guess this will bring the water tables back up to a more normal level.

I dread trying to take care of my animals tomorrow, I won't be able to walk in this much mud.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Right to Keep

The Associated Press: Guns Case Goes to Supreme Court

I'm no Supreme Court Judge, Lawyer, Scholar, or even of Male persuasion and I don't play any of these on T.V.

However, I can interpret the following sentence: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed"

This sentence has four separate parts, separated by commas, the second part more clearly describing the first part and the third part totally standing alone but also claiming ownership of all of the other parts.

The third part is the key to the complete sentence. The PEOPLE have the right to a well regulated militia, they have the right to the SECURITY of a free state, they have the right to KEEP and bear arms and they have the right for those RIGHTS not to be infringed upon. What is hard to understand here?

What was the purpose of a Militia in the first place? The purpose of a Militia was to keep others from imposing their will upon the People. There are those in this country who are constantly trying to impose their will upon others.

Whether you like it or not in order to maintain order, one must have weapons of some kind. We are so brainwashed in this country that we think that all that guns are used for is crime. That could not be further from the truth, throughout time weapons of defense have been necessary and one cannot depend on one's government to defend them at all times.

Independence is another key word to me, our government seems to wish to make us more dependent all of the time. They are trying to destroy the small farmer or people who might be able to support themselves without any government assistance. This includes regulating what lands can be used and what they can be used for. They want to tell us how to handle and sell our animals. The latest thing that has been pointed out to me is that seeds are being altered so that they will not germinate, so that you can't keep your own seeds from year to year and will have to buy new seeds every year.

I am so surprised that declawing cats has not been made illegal because we are so concerned about animal rights, but when it comes to human rights, those need to be limited and the government should control our lives because we are unable to govern our own lives. Banning guns is an issue of declawing us, of taking away our defenses.

9-11 comes to my mind as those poor people on those planes didn't try to take control of their own lives until it was too late. Because we are not conditioned to take care of ourselves, we trust others with our lives. We have been declawed and our gun free zones have become an easy place to prey on innocent victims. If the fox is in the hen house you don't turn your head and hope for the best, we have to take action.

Don't let the people who are scared of guns and have been conditioned to think that guns are a very bad thing take away your right to protect yourself and your property.

There are many more people in this country that own and handle guns responsibly than there are criminals that have guns who could care less about what laws are on the books or how the Supreme Court rules on this issue, as a matter of fact, they would love to see the United States of America completely disarmed.

I am one person who gets very annoyed when I am punished for other people's actions, especially when my punishment is enjoyed by those people who caused the problem in the first place. Criminals have caused the problem with guns and they are the only ones who will benefit from a ban of guns.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Waiting

Still no babies, they just love torturing me. I usually check on everyone at about 2:00 a.m., if everyone is settled down and sleeping quietly then I go to bed for good unless I just happen to wake up, which I do occasionally. I wake up in a total panic thinking that I have missed something.

I am confident in the mares not being quite ready to foal yet because I have a lot of horse experience but the goats have me tied in knots. They are so big and seem so miserable and I hear tales of does kidding without their udders being strutted and with no signs of labor whatsoever, so since I don't know their exact due dates, I am a little edgy.

We rewrapped Morning's leg this evening and it looked very good, when we changed the dressing two days ago it didn't look so good, so I was concerned about it. My DH got to hose it thoroughly the last time, so I think that really helped.

Morning doesn't do much for my ego. I went out with my hair down today, she nearly tore the side of the barn down and almost jumped the gate. She hates me with my hair down, she thinks that I am an alien from a horse devouring planet or perhaps an unidentified blood sucking earth creature.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Blossom has arrived and I got to drive her today, she is soooo sweet. We plan to keep her for the rest of our lives. She is brand new and her full name is Orange Blossom Special but we are just going to call her Blossom.


She is a Kubota MX5000, hence the Orange inspired name. We have been without a tractor for a good long time, our last one was hauled away for junk. But it was junk when we first got it and it caused us much grief. With Summer quickly approaching and pastures to be mowed, we had to make a long thought out and hard decision. So, instead of buying a new truck, which we need, or building a house, we bought a tractor.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Mr. Shorty

Mr. Shorty is our miniature horse, who thinks that he is a draft horse. He has a bad case of LMS (Little Man Syndrome). What he lacks in height he makes up in attitude and desire to one day rule the world.

We acquired Shorty several years ago, as a badly foundered and neglected kid's pony. He was free, so why not? The price was right. He did require some foot adjustments.

Mr. Shorty (before)

And in case that you didn't notice his feet....

Shorty's Feet

Because poor Shorty couldn't stand on his other three feet to have one foot trimmed, he was stretched out on his side, while my husband and a neighbor took a hacksaw to him.

Mr. Shorty (after)

The picture above is after we had had Shorty for awhile and my poor husband had finally gotten his feet back in shape. He complains that he is the hardest horse to trim that we have, not because he doesn't behave himself but because he is so short and it is back breaking work.

Shorty and Garfield

Mr. Shorty and Garfield

Mr. Shorty is a very good natured feller when he wants to be, as you can see by these pictures of him with our cat, Garfield. Not only does Garfield like Shorty but my hens seek refuge on his back as well, to get away from the rooster. Our rooster even occasionally takes a free ride on Shorty's back. The goats like to chew on his mane and tail, stand on his back when he is laying down and play tag with him, he always wins.

But Mr. Shorty's true love is kids, he likes them for some reason. He doesn't care at all for adults though, he doesn't even tolerate them well.

Mr. Shorty, Garfield and our Grandson

Shorty and Grandson

Mr. Shorty and Grandson

These pictures are of Shorty with our Grandson when he was younger. We took Mr. Shorty to Sunday School one Sunday morning and he nickered when he saw the little children coming to ride him. He is really good with kids and he just loved our Grandson until he reached about 7 years of age, then he started considering him an adult and wanted nothing more to do with him.

Shorty looks like the perfect little pony in these pictures, but looks can be deceiving. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He picks a fight with horses six times his size, he torments both of our stallions, he is impossible to catch if an adult tries to catch him, however, any small child can catch him at anytime. He walks under fences and goes anywhere he decides to go. He is very hard to lead unless it is a child that is leading him, then they can drag him around anywhere.

We have to keep Shorty in a special pen that he cannot escape from in order to keep him from foundering. It takes only a small amount of grass to founder him and he has even foundered on too much hay, so we have to feed him carefully. He is also a master mind when it comes to gates and his timing is always perfect for escaping through any open one. On these occasions, Mr. Shorty gets the rips and that is very entertaining to watch, he is very athletic and fast and can leap small buildings in a single bound.

All in all, Mr. Shorty is pretty worthless and pretty valuable at the same time and we love him.

Our Grandson

Friday, March 14, 2008


I am a worrier, I'll admit it but I would rather worry about things and then not be surprised when the worst thing happens, than to be optimistic and get caught off guard.

Giselle is huge and uncomfortable but I started worrying that she was just a little too dull. She was laying around all of the time and didn't want to get up, her hind legs were swollen and she was grinding her teeth. When she stumbled and fell when I tried to get her up to go out to the goat lot, I decided something was wrong and it wasn't my imagination. I consulted my expert forum friends at and they told me to look into Pregnancy Toxemia / Ketosis, which I did. It is caused by the build up of excess ketones in the blood, due to the incomplete metabolic breakdown of body fat. Giselle had some of the symptoms.

I started dosing her with Corn Syrup, Nutri-drench, Vit.B Complex and Molasses and also increased her alfalfa hay ration. I am not sure what caused this unless it is because she was fat during the first part of her pregnancy, maybe too much grain, the wrong type of grain, too many babies or large babies. But I do think that I am seeing an improvement in her, she is jumping right up for her doses of medicine, she loves it.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Finding Time

It is getting increasing hard to find the time to blog right now. I am up all during the night checking on my due and overdue mares and does. I have to switch the goats around during the day because at this point the buck cannot be with the girls who are getting ready to kid. So I turn the girls out in the warm sunshine during the day and put Cooter in the horse trailer, he hates it!

It is also Spring which makes it really hard for me to stay in the house, plus springtime brings lots of orders for the horse and goat rope halters that I tie. I can usually keep up with my rope halter orders but right before Christmas and in the Spring, I get so many orders that I fall way behind.

We are suppose to have rain for the next few days, so that might help me to find some more time to blog. I know that we need the rain for the grass to grow but I hate to see the mud again. The ground is just getting to the place that I can walk on it without the fear of falling. More mud also means muddy footprints on my clothes, for some reason Angel, Paris and Collette cannot keep their feet off of me.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Good News!

The good news is that warm days are ahead, I have seen the weather forecast and it is looking very good. Sure we will have rain but rain brings grass and grass is very important to us who lived through last year's drought with livestock.

Our horses have already started leaving the hay feeders, which means that they will start losing weight and pushing on the fences but that always happens in the Spring.

When we unwrapped Morning's leg last night, it was greatly improved over the pictures that I posted yesterday that were taken two days ago. It didn't bleed when we took the dressing off, that was a first, because it has always bled before. She didn't act any better as far as manners go but we didn't expect her too. We haven't seen her knuckle over on it for a couple of days either, so that extensor tendon is healing.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


This is my registered TWHBEA (Tennessee Walking Horse Breeder's and Exhibitor's Association) or Tennessee Walker.

Morning Gold Dust
Morning Gold Dust

This is Morning's injured leg after three weeks of treatment. I wish I had taken pictures when this first happened, you would not believe that it would ever look this good.

Morning's Injured Leg

After 3 weeks

About three and a half inches of bone was exposed from top to bottom of the injury, there were two grooves in the bone. There was a large flap of skin that hung down under it. The Vet thought that the flap would have to be cut off at some point, but it seems to be reattaching. If you haven't read my other blogs about Morning's injury and treatment they are located here:

My DH was able to remove the bandage yesterday without the twitch but Morning was a nervous wreck as usual, she is just more relaxed with the twitch on. A friend of mine was here the other day when we changed her bandage and commented on how crazy she is, and was amazed at how she visibly relaxed when the twitch was applied. Her muscles stop quivering, she loses the wild look in her eyes, she lowers her head and stands still.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Angel Update

I have been a little nervous about my goats kidding with Angel around. I know that LGD's are excellent midwives with some experience, but since Angel is still just a pup, I don't know if she is prepared for kidding.

Since we have moved Giselle and Cinder into the horse trailer at night, Angel is sleeping halfway between the goat lot and the horse trailer. My DH ("Dear Husband" for those who don't spend any time in private messaging, chat or on message boards) said that when he went into the horse trailer to feed the girls this morning, Angel came in right behind him. That is pretty desperate for a dog who is used to being scolded and pelted with BB's for being out of the goat lot. That tells me that she is very serious about her job as a Livestock Guardian Dog and her job is to protect all of her herd and not just what's in the goat lot.

We are not disciplining her for checking on the horse trailer and when the babies are born, she will be invited into the horse trailer to help, as part of her training. She will also be allowed to eat the afterbirths and any dead babies (hopefully we won't have any), which is also the job of a LGD. They clean up anything that might draw in predators.

Great Pyr
Angel ~ my Great Pyrenees

Horse Tails

When I went out to feed my goats and chickens on Saturday after the big snow, I kept hearing this strange sound. Anytime there is snow on the ground, everything sounds different, clearer. This was a clicking sound that was coming from the pasture and sounded like lots and lots of wooden or bamboo wind chimes. I stopped and listened and tried to figure out where the sound was coming from. It didn't take long to see what was causing it.

All of the horses with long tails which is most of them, had little balls of ice on the ends of their tails. They were clicking together when they moved. They were also causing great difficulty in walking and some them had even quit trying to walk because their tails were wrapping themselves around their hind legs and locking in place. When they would try to step forward they were all tangled up and pulling their own tails. It was a strange sight that I had never noticed before. It was like having their hind legs roped, so I suppose it was good training, they didn't seem too upset about it, some of them were just standing very still, while others were walking very slowly and carefully.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Spring Ahead

As I write this it is nearly 8:00 am but it is really nearly 7:00 am. Which means that I lost an hour of sleep and I can tell it. I guess that I can gain it back in November but that is an awful long time to wait.

I really like Daylight Savings Time and think that it is a wonderful idea. I don't know why it is a good idea. It does seem to make the days longer but that is probably an optical illusion.

Morning gave us fits last night, she was restless and pawing in her stall. I got up and watched her for awhile to make sure that she wasn't going into labor but she was just shaking her head, pawing and generally making lots of noise.

I woke my husband up to ask if he had checked her utter and was she strutted? He got up and went out, then came back to bed and said that she is filling up but not strutted. She continued to raise cane, so he got up and watched her for awhile. I guess she is just feeling better and tired of being cooped up.

This is one disadvantage of living in the barn, mares in labor usually try not to wake you up but devious horses like Morning, sleep all day and keep you awake at night. I know that she needs some exercise and some sunshine but we really don't have a place to turn her out that isn't muddy and/or uneven ground, we are hoping that it dries out some this week.

We are so amazed at how quickly and well this injury is healing, every time we unwrap it we are so pleased, I just wish that I had taken pictures. The extensor tendon is still not healed, so she can't always control her foot and it knuckles under, so that she steps on the front of her ankle, then she totally panics but she panics over everything anyway.

This mare acts like there is danger all around her at all times, to the point of injuring herself over non-existent threats. She has never been mistreated while we have had her and the lady that had her before us bought her at auction and thought that she had been abused but I just think that it the way she is wired. I have been told that this is common in her bloodlines.

She has absolutely no redeeming quality other than she is black, beautiful, has an extremely smooth gait, is very pleasant to watch in the pasture, has good bloodlines and doesn't seem to pass her spirit on to her offspring but then we have only had one foal out of her. Handling this mare is a nightmare. I will try to get some pictures of her and her well healing injury when I can and post them on here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Horse Articles

Articles of horse abuse, neglect and starvation.

Kentucky's unwanted-horses crisis spiraling

Rise in number of neglected horses

Hungry, Hungry Horses

Slaughterhouse legislation may worsen horse market

Middle Tennessee's horses going hungry or selling cheap

Lack of foresight

The premise that without horse slaughter there will be no incentive to continue breeding horses doesn't make sense. I don't know of anyone who breeds horses for slaughter anymore than people breed dogs to be euthanized at the local animal shelter. Thousands of dogs die everyday without the incentive of slaughter. Horse ranches who run large bands of broodmares that number in the hundreds with stallions, who never touch their young stock until round-up time when they are taken to auction, will continue to do what they have always done, it's their way of life, even if they are getting $50 per head.

Also to say that closing the packing plants is not contributing to these problems is more fantasy thinking. Not every state had a drought last summer and to say that the slaughter market is still very much alive in this country is a clueless remark as well. Killer buyers are just not buying the same number of horses that they were. They are making more money per head when horses are cheap or free and with the cost of gas and the longer transports out of the country, they are only going to take the cream of the crop, certainly not thin or crippled horses who might not make the trip. Isn't this just common sense?

I predict that the Humane Society will come up with a solution soon. They will take over the horse slaughter industry to make sure that it is done humanely, and then we can pay them to dispose of our horses, further devaluing the horse.

What the anti-slaughter people are trying to do is noble but not possible. They want to change society. They want people to have feelings, be compassionate and loyal, in a society where animal and human life is not as important as their own comfort and finances. When an animal has no value, then it has no value and will be treated as such. I heard Rush Limbaugh once say that if you want to save an animal from extinction then you need to start eating it. This is unfortunately true.

Many people have already stopped registering their horses, because they aren't going to put anymore money into an animal that is already worth nothing and while I can understand that, it is still heartbreaking. At times in the past we have had people buy horses from us and tell us that they don't care about papers because you can't ride papers. We always tell them that the papers aren't for them, they are for the horse, they give the horse more value. Even if they think that they will keep the horse forever, you can't see the future and something could happen to force them to sell, that horse will have a better chance at a good life if he has paperwork that goes with him than if he doesn't.

This is all about the devaluation of the horse. If you want to help horses then you have to give them value, not only in your eyes but in the eyes of everyone. Believe it or not, there are lots of people out there that don't even like animals of any kind. They could care less about horses or they especially don't like horses because they fell off of one once. Sometimes we can only see with our own eyes and think everyone thinks and feels just like we do, they don't, they don't care if animals are mistreated and even mistreat animals themselves.

I have a friend who is a big softy now but tells horrible stories about the things that he used to do to animals. He didn't have any feelings of compassion at all for them until he started getting older and got a house dog, now he has four dogs in his house along with three birds, he worries over them to no end. I know other people like this, I also know some people who just live in their own little world and think that animals are dirty and nasty creatures. But most people do care about money, I don't know anyone who thinks of money as dirty and nasty, though most of it is. Give a horse some dollar value and it will be treated with more respect.

I have a question? Why would anyone have a Mustang stallion? I just recently saw where someone is expecting a foal by their Mustang stallion. Can you adopt Mustang Stallions? Why wouldn't all Mustang stallions and colts be gelded? From what I read she adopted this stallion at 9 months old directly from the BLM. Why is our government closing horse packing plants and then promoting the breeding of unregistered horses?

Friday, March 7, 2008

Home Sweet Home

The snow is already falling, it wasn't suppose to start until 1:00 but it started at around 7:00. The roads are slick and the local schools have just announced dismissal at 12:30.

We put Giselle and Cinder in the horse trailer last night and they acted really happy to be there, nice, dry and warm with lots of straw. Angel isn't happy about it she is running back and forth from the goat lot to the trailer that is setting up here by the barn. We aren't giving her a hard time for leaving the goat lot this time. She is just trying to do her job.

Since I mentioned that we live in our barn, I thought that I would post some pictures of it. We live in the side with the window, there is a drive through aisle and then stalls and storage on the other side and of course a nice loft.

Home Sweet Home

Our Barn House

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Done My Part

If you read my "Doe's Secret Code of Honor" blog then you will understand this blog better.

Everything seems to be in place for both of my does to kid in the next couple of days. My house is in chaos (which is normal), my hair is tangled (new perm), laundry is piled up, my husband keeps saying, "Oh, they are no way near ready." and to top it all off, we have a winter storm watch for Friday and Saturday. I have done all that I can to make them kid early, the only thing that I haven't done is plan a trip.

It would have been so easy this year, just to put the two does in the foaling stall and have them right outside my door, maybe I haven't mentioned that we live in the barn. Anyway we live on one side of the barn and have a nice big foaling stall right across the aisle from our living room door. However since Morning had to go and get herself injured and with her being the first mare to foal this year, she has taken up permanent residence in that stall, so my goats will have to kid in the horse trailer.

Can you even believe it? We have been having warm, sunny days, Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday, our horses have left their hay feeders in search of new grass and then we get a prediction of 6 inches of blowing and drifting snow for the next two days with lows down around 14º.

The good news is that it is suppose to be 49º on Monday, so maybe there is still hope. My does will both be good girls and wait until the weather warms up to kid, breaking their own code of honor. We will have to wait and see, but to be safe, I will continue the nightly checks.

The Wait

The wait has begun, both Giselle and Cinder are making nice milk bags. Giselle looks like she could go at anytime. Morning still is not bagging up and doesn't look as heavy in foal as she should, so we may have her due date wrong. She was our stallion's pasture mate, so it is possible that she was bred later. Dandee is already making a milk bag, she always bags up early and gives gallons of milk. We always get extra colostrum from her to freeze in case of future emergencies.

Here is the schedule of events:

Morning (the injured Black Tennessee Walker mare) Due - March 12th (Walkaloosa Foal)
Giselle and Cinder (Does) Due - sometime around March 19th
Sissy (Chestnut AQHA Mare) Due - March 28th (AQHA Foal)
Dandee (Bay AQHA Mare) Due - April 1st (Appaloosa Foal)
Collette, Paris and Calico (Does) Due - sometime after May 11th (if they are bred)
Quizzy (Sorrel AQHA Mare) Due - June 17th (Appaloosa Foal)

Sleepless nights, flashlights, batteries, alarm clocks, homebound, nervous, anxious, impatient, cell phone, kidding kit, foaling kit, towels, iodine, enemas, tetanus shots, tail wrappings, shovel, straw, manure fork, lounge chair, blankets, long underwear, heavy socks, face mask, gloves, carhartts, I LOVE SPRING!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Doe's Secret Code of Honor

The Doe's Secret Code of Honor is as old as goats themselves and is ultimately the species best kept secret. No doe shall ever kid before its time. (Its time being determined by the following factors):

1. No kid shall be born until total chaos has been reached by all involved. Your owner's house must be a wreck, their family hungry and desperate for clean clothes, and their social life nonexistent.

2. Midwives must reach the babbling fool status before you kid out. Bloodshot eyes, tangled hair and the inability to form a sentence mean the time is getting close.

3. For every bell, beeper, camera or whistle they attach to you, kidding must be delayed by at least one day for each item. If they use an audio monitor, one good yell per hour will keep things interesting.

4. If you hear the words, "She's nowhere near ready. She'll be fine while we're away for the weekend," Wait until they load the car, then begin pushing!

5. Owner stress must be at an all time high! If you are in the care of someone else, ten to fifteen phone calls a day is a sign you're getting close.

6. When you hear the words "I can't take it anymore!" wait at least three more days.

7. You must keep this waiting game interesting. False alarms are mandatory! Little teasers such as looking at your stomach, pushing your food around in the bucket and then walking away from it, and nesting, are always good for a rise. Be creative and find new things to do to keep the adrenaline pumping in those who wait.

8. The honor of all goats is now in your hands. Use this time to avenge all of your barn mates. Think about your friend who had to wear that silly costume in front of those people. Hang onto that baby for another day. OH, they made him do tricks too! Three more days seems fair. Late feedings, the dreaded diet, bad haircuts, those awful wormings can also be avenged at this time.

9. If you have fulfilled all of the above and are still not sure when to have the kids, listen to the weather forecast on the radio that has been so generously provided by those who wait. Severe storm warning is what you're waiting for. In the heart of the storm jump into action! The power could go out and you could have the last laugh. You have a good chance of those who wait missing the whole thing while searching for a flashlight that works!

10. Make the most of your interrupted nights. Beg for food each time someone comes into the barn to check you. Your barn mates will love you as the extra goodies fall their way too.

Remember, this code of honor was designed to remind man of how truly special goats are. Do your best to reward those who wait with a beautiful doeling to carry on the Doe Code of Honor for the next generation of those who wait.

--Author Unknown

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Got Gravel

Our drive is passable again, can't keep the people away now. Our peaceful, quiet life is over and we are $600 more in the hole.

We live here in the Limestone Capital of the World, as a matter of fact we have one whole hillside that is nothing but limestone with a little dirt spread here and there. But it still cost us $600 for a few rocks for our drive, we ran out of money before we ran out of drive.

When we first moved here and cut our driveway, my Husband and Sons took rock from the hillside and put it on the drive, then took sledge hammers and broke it up. They all got very good at it, they know just how to hit it to bust it up with the least amount of blows. If any of them ever have to work on a chain gang they will be prepared. Some day my kids may even get nostalgic at the ring of the hammer hitting rock.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Horse Treat Recipe

We have a dear friend who owns several acres that she keeps mowed like a golf course. She only has three horses and each Spring they tend to founder on the plentiful, weedless, rich grass. We help her out each year by taking our broodmares with the new foals to her place to help eat down the grass.

This is a great solution for all of us, her horses don't get as much grass and don't have to be locked up in her corral as much. Our mares get good grass, the babies get their first experience of being loaded and hauled in a horse trailer. They also get hand fed treats and get lots of handling and attention (she loves the babies). The extra bonus is that we just pick the mares up in the fall and bring them home to wean the foals. Usually we bring the weanlings home before bad weather sets in but this year we only had two babies left that didn't sell and Diana kept them all winter. So, both Biscuit and Diva got some extra spoiling.

We put Diana's hay up for her each year and try to help with other problems that crop up at her place from time to time, like downed fences, trees or injured horses. We have one lame mare that she always winters for us also.

Diana buys carrots in bulk from Sam's Club as treats and also has a nice apple tree in her yard that supplies treats in the fall but she was buying expensive horse treats as well. So to help out, I found a recipe online that looked good to me and started making treats for her to feed during the winter months. I don't like baking during warm weather, so I only make them when it is cold outside. All of her horses and our horses love them, my goats do double back flips for them too, my dogs even like them.

Diana's Favorite Horse Treats and My Favorite Goat and Dog Treats.

1 cup of quick oats
1 cup flour
1 cup shredded carrots
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons corn or vegetable oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup real molasses (real molasses is a good source of iron) or you can substitute pancake syrup or corn syrup

Mix all ingredients into a large bowl. Make small balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350º for 15 minutes. Shut off the oven and leave them in the oven for several days to harden. I always double or triple the batch, I cool them on a cooling rack while the others are still baking, then pile them all back on the cookie sheet for the hardening stage in the oven. Letting them set out in the open for a few weeks takes any softness out of them, making them crunchy and more desirable for the horses and goats. They also store better if they have no moisture in them.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Like a Lamb

March came in like a lamb, which means that it will go out like a lion. That is why I had a hard time blogging today because I was outside enjoying the weather.

I kept a close eye on my Chickens today and am convinced that they are not hiding their eggs. I got 2 eggs early in the morning. Then around noon, one of the Rhodies went into the goat/chicken shed and set on a nest for a long time but didn't produce anything. They don't seem to be molting, so I don't know why they have stopped laying with the nice weather that we have been having.

My cousin's D'uccles have started laying eggs for him, but mine are still not laying. I bought some oyster shell to put out for all of my hens but I think they are laying less since I put it out.

My mud turned slightly solid today, it was nice to walk on top of it again. However, our driveway has fallen completely through. We have put tons and tons of gravel on that thing throughout the years and it has just eaten it up or hard rains have washed it down the hill and out into the pasture. This is the first time that it has gotten so bad that you have to have a 4-wheel drive just to get up the hill when it doesn't have any snow or ice on it. It is also starting to get ruts.

The weather forecast is for hard, heavy rain for the next few days, so we need to get gravel on it Monday, but all of our savings are in our horse's bellies and we hate to put gravel on it only to have it washed down into the pasture again. Hard rains will wash even the biggest sized stone down that hill. It looks like we have no choice but to go ahead and gravel it or some unsuspecting visitor, like the Mailman or the UPS guy, is going to get hung up right in the middle of our driveway. They both hate coming down here already.