Saturday, January 31, 2009

Night Glitter

To update my previous post, all of my hens came home wagging their tails behind them. I don't know where they have been the last few days but they seem to be fine. I would imagine that they were just under a shelter of some sort. Then the snow piled up around them and they couldn't escape until the sun came out today and warmed things up.

I had a most amazing walk that I was going to blog about and forgot. It got really cold last night and after I got all of my feeding and milking done and had gone into my toasty house for the night. I remembered that I had forgotten to feed Angel and Abby. Well, there was no hurry, I warmed up and did a few things inside. Later I wrapped back up, fixed their food and went back out into the frigid night.

I had my headlight on which gives you a new prospective on things in the night, all of the animals eyes glow because you have this bright light so close to your own eyes. But what was so amazing about last night was that there was a freezing fog.

Oh my, it was the most beautiful thing. The air temperature was so cold that the fog was freezing into tiny, sparkling ice particles floating in the air. Wow! It was like walking through suspended glitter and it was everywhere. I could have stayed out all night if it hadn't been so cold, but if it hadn't been so cold it wouldn't have been such a glittery world. And to think that I would never had experienced it if I had just had a flashlight in my hand.

Thawing Chicken

Awhile back my Hubby thought that I had some missing hens but it turned out that they were all here. This time I hate to say that it is true. On the night of the big snow and ice storm the chickens had been in the barn all day. That evening my DH herded them out of the barn and sent them on their way to the goat/chicken shed. We were on our way to the neighbor's for supper.

They always go to the goat/chicken shed without any problems, so we didn't think to check on them to make sure that they all had made it. I really don't know why they didn't make it to the shed but we didn't know there was a problem until the next day.

My Son came to get one of our blazers and when they dug it out of the snow, started it and moved it into the driveway, a Barred Rock Hen ran out from under it. Her feathers were ruffled and she was covered in ice. My Husband caught her and took her to the shed and placed her on the roost.

A short time later my Grandson was out playing in the snow when he came running into the house saying that Elvis, my Polish Rooster was in trouble, he thought he was dying or dead. My DH went out and found him lying in the snow barely alive. He brought him to the house and he had so much ice on his head that his neck could not support it. He would not have survived much longer.

My Husband discovered that he might have missed his calling, maybe he should have been a chicken stylist.

After Elvis was thoroughly thawed out, he was immediately back to his old self and jumped on a hen.

After the Barred Rock Hen was thawed out with the hair dryer as well, I went to count heads. We were missing a Silver Laced Wyandotte Hen, we searched under everything that we thought a hen might hide under from the freezing rain and sleet. As you can see, it was hard to look everywhere.

I guess that when they had tried to make it back to the goat/chicken shed that night they just chickened out and didn't want to walk through the freezing rain and sleet, so they just hid under something, then the snow that night trapped them.

I counted heads again last night and one of my Golden Comets is missing too. I must have overlooked her the other night when I counted. I guess we won't find them until the snow and ice melts, there might yet be hope if they are under the goat/chicken shed because grain falls through the cracks in the floor.

This morning my Mille Fleur Bantam Hen was bleeding profusely from her toe. I brought her in the house and her toenail as well as the tip of her toe was hanging loose. I tore it the rest of the way off and tried to stop the bleeding but it was hard to get stopped.

The temperature was -10 here this morning. I am thinking that her foot must have gotten frozen to the roost last night. After about 30 minutes of bleeding I finally got some cobwebs, wadded them up and applied them to the toe and that did the job.

-10 this morning and 45 degrees this afternoon, this must be Indiana. Angus is doing very well, he has a wonderful appetite now and I am trying my best to keep him from scouring. He keeps wanting me to play with him and I am just not up to it.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Angus Antics

Angus found his voice this morning and he was crying for food. My DH woke me up to let me know that the milk was definitely getting through, he had a BM all over his bedroom and my wonderful Husband told me that Angus would have to have a bath. Then my wonderful Husband kissed me goodbye and went to work.

I got up, fixed Angus a bottle and was waiting while it warmed up, it wasn't completely warm when he started crashing through the barrier that I had put up in the doorway to his bedroom.

I grabbed the bottle and moved the barrier, it was obvious that he had gotten a good night's sleep. He galloped to me and started butting me with his nose. He nearly knocked me down before I could get the bottle in his mouth. He drained the quart of milk in about one minute and was wanting more.

When his bottle was empty and I went for more milk, it was "bull in a china shop" time. He started running, leaping and bucking all through the house. He knocked stuff over and kicked and ran into everything. Then he would run over to me and start punching me to get more milk.

His next feeding will have to be with the two quart calf bottle and I am going to have to get some milk replacer fairly quickly because my little doe is not going to be able to support this boy.

I realized rather quickly that poor Angus was not going to be able to be a house calf after all. I ran out the door leaving it open behind me, he ran out in hot pursuit. I can't put him back in the stall with the Does, that would just be to cruel for them. He would pester them into anemia. So he is just running loose out in the barn and getting into everything that he can find to get into.

I must now go tackle the mess that he left in his bedroom, while his next bottle of goat's milk warms in hot water. It is certainly amazing the difference one night can make in a calf's life.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have kept you in suspense long enough. We went to our neighbors on Tuesday night for supper, it was the night of the ice storm. We feasted on tender Pork Roast that is like no other, fried plantains with garlic and salt, beans and rice cooked to perfection, boiled potatoes and squash, followed by wonderful lemon meringue pie.

The neighbor mentioned that he was afraid one of his cows was going to calve that night. He really doesn't have a good place to get a cow up and with the weather like it was there wasn't much he could do because all of his pasture is on a hillside.

The next day we got a call saying that she had a bull calf and she was rejecting it. My DH went to help him get her up and try to help the baby nurse. The calf was chilled, weak and covered in ice and mommy just flat didn't like him. She was under the distinct impression that one of the other cow's calves was hers and they could not convince her otherwise.

The calf was given to me, my Husband carried it home wrapped in a wool blanket on his tractor through the ice and snow. I instructed him to bring him into the house to thaw him out.

He thawed out nicely. He accepted a couple of syringes of warm goat's milk to get him kick started. I had some powdered goat colostrum that I mixed into a quart size bottle of warm goat's milk. It wasn't long before he was dry, warm and on his feet giving the house an inspection, he found it to be calf friendly.

With the weather and roads so bad, we had to go to another neighbor's to bum some cow colostrum and an antibiotic as a precaution against whatever might attack him in his weakened state. His nose was already dripping snot on assorted family members.

All went very will and he drank a quart of the cow colostrum from his bottle with so much gusto that he collapsed the bottle at 11:00 last night after we moved him out in the stall with my two does.

The does were not happy campers but we didn't have any other choice. They thought that he was most certainly a fanged, clawed, goat eating predator of some sort. They totally panicked every time he moved. It is a very large stall but they kept trying to run through the walls and jump over the gate. I don't think either of them slept a wink all night because they both had to have both eyes on him at all times in case he made his move.

My problem started this morning, he wouldn't take a bottle. I kept trying all day and could only get a couple of ounces in him at a time and he didn't want it. He laid and trembled.

I was home alone and there was no way I could get him up or carry him but he finally got to his feet and I guided him back into the house at which time he peed on my best rug which made me feel much better because it let me know that he was at least getting something. My estimate was that he relieved himself of three gallons at least.

He did finally drink about a pint tonight and I think that he will drink more later. I know he isn't getting enough and I suppose he will stay in the house. He is laying in front of my refrigerator right now and I can't even get myself something to drink.

More later...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Weather Update

I measured 6 inches of snow yesterday morning in our driveway. Then the freezing rain started, we got around 3/4 of an inch of ice before the freezing rain and sleet turned back into snow overnight. When we woke up this morning we had an additional 6 inches of snow on top of the ice.

When I went out in the sunshine early today I could stay up on top of the ice, so I was only wading through six inches of snow. Later on the ice didn't hold me up so well and it got a little treacherous. My feet would sink softly into the snow then the ice floor would break with a thudding sound and I would sink down another six inches.

The problem with this was that you had to concentrate on stepping straight up out of your ice footprint or your toes would catch under the ice layer and you would fall on you face in the snow. This was something that I had to keep reminding myself of.

After paths were made in the snow and it all got packed, I could walk across the bottom strand of electric fence wire without lifting my feet to step over. It wasn't even visible. I also had to bend down to unhook the top gate wire. The stone step into my goat/chicken shed was level with the packed snow, so all in all I felt a little taller today than I have been feeling.

I took on a new rescue responsibility today and if it lives through the night tonight I will share the story and pictures with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


As I sat here reading different blogs and message boards tonight, I found that most interest was centered on the weather. We are currently under a Winter Storm Warning and are suppose to get up to three inches of snow tonight, three inches tomorrow and so on.

I just went out to see how that was coming along and discovered that there is already three inches of snow and ice on the ground here at a few minutes after midnight, so that means that it will have to stop snowing immediately for the weather predictors to be correct. I looked at the radar and it doesn't seem that we are being skirted by this storm, so I think that for once they have underestimated this storm for our area.

Normally they tell us that we are going to get 10 to 20 inches and that we will be trapped in our homes with no electricity, food or water for many days and we wake up the next morning to see the pretty snow and not one flake has fallen. I remember one year that the predictions were so bad that schools totally dismissed classes before one flake fell and it never did snow that day or the next or even for the rest of that winter, if my recollection is correct.

Perhaps the Predictors are tired of getting caught with egg on their faces, so they just didn't tell us the terrible truth this time. It will probably be the worst snowstorm in decades and we will be unprepared.

Just in case that happens, I am filling all of my pitchers with water, that is about all I can do at this point. I am also blogging now in case I have no electricity tomorrow.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Height Challenged

Dare I use the politically incorrect word, "Short"? That is what I have become. Short or shorter, a short person. I got new glasses and they have made me so much shorter that I am stumbling over my own feet.

I got my second pair of no-line bifocals five years ago. They were wonderful when I first got them. But lately they just were not doing me much good. My DH never complained about his glasses except for the scratches, so I hated to complain about mine. We finally went to the eye doctor and she told my dear Husband that his prescription hadn't changed but mine had.

She told me that it would take my brain awhile to get use to the new glasses because it was adjusted to my old glasses. She didn't tell me that they would make me shorter. She said to give my new glasses at least a week and then if they were still bothering me I could come back and she would try to readjust them.

When I first put the new ones on, I was so happy, I could see again. While riding home in the truck after picking up my new glasses, I started getting a headache. I had to take them off and put my old ones back on.

I tried them again when I went out to feed and that is when I realized that someone had cut my legs off at the knees. I am 5'6" and I felt like the ground was just so much closer to my face that I kept stubbing my toes. I could not distinguish the uneven ground which made me stumble. The end result was the my head was pounding and I was throwing up.

I did persevere and conquered the motion sickness and the headache. I guess that I will just have to accept my shortness. The good news is that everyone else looks tall and thin.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mouse Follow-Up

I knew that my last post would provoke feelings of sympathy in folks of a more gentle nature. The comment was made that mice have a purpose, this is true and I can even tell you what those purposes are.

Mice provide protein for other living creatures, they are on my cat Garfield's preferred delicacy menu. Followed closely by beautiful song birds. Mice also provide nutrition for snakes, foxes and hawks to name only a few.

They are also used in research for diseases, product, pharmaceutical and food safety, they are sacrificed for our well being and the well being of our pets.

You could say that the mouse is a very useful creation, he is also noble to give up his life for the benefit of others.

That said, I do not condone the use of mice or the killing of mice strictly for human entertainment, even though I do admit to laughing when the chickens are fighting over one.

I have not been able to photograph the feeding frenzy that a group of chickens will lower themselves to when one catches a mouse. It is just too comical to see the owner of the mouse run for it's life with 25 other chickens in hot pursuit.

The mouse is usually stripped away several times and the pursuit changes direction with each steal, the pursuers sometimes lose track of who they are suppose to be chasing. It reminds me of a football game.

I have been able to snap a picture of the capture of a frog but when a hen is running for it's life, it is very difficult to get the shot while running with the rest of the chickens, they don't play fair, they try to trip you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Better Mousetrap

In my opinion, it has finally happened. Someone has finally built a better mousetrap. Now if you have had these mousetraps in your home for years, you will have to excuse me, because I don't get to town very often and these are new to me.

When we bought some sacks of grain cheaply at Orscheln because they had holes in them, we became inundated with mice. I believe that these were foreign mice who came here from Orscheln in the feed sacks. Where they came from before that, I do not know.

This theory is supported by the fact that while at Orscheln, I seen mice in several different locations scampering about. As a matter of fact, I was surprised by the fact that I didn't hear people screaming all around me but then I think we were the only customers in the store.

This may have been a good sales gimmick used by Orscheln to sell mousetraps. There was just something about the store that made you remember to pick some up. I had three choices:
  1. The traditional, wooden, finger crushing traps that bring fear to my heart every time I see one.
  2. A newfangled plastic clothespin type trap
  3. A more expensive, more complicated plastic trap.
I chose number two and here it is:

All you have to do with this trap is smear some peanut butter up under the top lip and the little mouse comes along and while trying to reach the peanut butter with his tiny mouth, he steps on the metal trigger and SNAP, he is history. This trap is easy to bait, set and empty, they come two in a package.

Since I was so happy with this trap, I thought that I would try the other plastic trap the next time I was at Orscheln. So, I bought them last night and have them set but haven't caught anything yet. But I haven't seen or heard any mice in a long time, they must have all heard that I got some new, more sophisticated traps.

Here is the other trap:

Now with this trap, you put your bait of choice into the well in the center of the trap by raising the lid on the well, as seen in the second picture. Next you close the lid then pull up the spring loaded bar by the handy loop provided, this sets the trap.

The tiny mouse comes along, smells the bait, hears his little tummy growling and sticks his twitching nose into the hole on the front of the lid over the well. As he sticks his nose farther into the well the lid lifts up and springs the trap. The bar then SNAPS down onto the cute little mouse and he or she is history also.

I should be ashamed of myself, I should have compassion. Who am I, that I should judge the life of a tiny mouse as less valuable than the life of any other creature. I should get live traps and relocate the cute little mice to your house.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Missing Hens?

My Husband came in last night after feeding my Buck and gathering eggs to say that he thought that perhaps we had a chicken thief. He proceeded to give me a head count. I believe he suspected Barney Google, at least that is what he said.

That set me to wondering, is Barney Google where "Google" got it's name? I have tried to think of any similarities and wasn't able to come up with much. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I wasn't even sure that Barney Google was a chicken thief. I believe that it was his cousin Snuffy Smith that is the chicken thief and moonshiner. But wait, I don't even think that they are cousins, maybe just friends? If I really cared at all, I would just Google them, but I don't really care.

I do care about my chicken population, so, how to figure out if any chickens are missing? I do not keep a written record of how many chickens I have and since many of them look alike, they don't have names. Some do have unique features that I recognize and a few lay odd eggs that I miss in my egg basket at the end of the day but it would be hard for me to say that this certain hen is missing.

Ahhh.... I know how to figure out if any hens are missing! I don't have to Google for the answer, I just have to go back through my old blogs. Sure enough there is a blog with the number of each breed of chicken that I have. Though one has died of natural causes and I have given some away.

I will update my numbers here, so that if this question ever comes up again, I will have a record. 2 Rhode Island Red Hens, 3 Golden Comet Hens, 6 Barred Rock Hens, 7 Silver Laced Wyandotte Hens, 2 Mutt Bantam Hens, 2 D'Uccle Hens, 1 Barred Rock Rooster, 1 Polish Rooster, 1 D'Uccle Rooster and 1 Mutt Bantam Rooster.

I am happy to say that all hens and roosters are present and accounted for. I really didn't think that anything could steal my chickens with Angel and Abby on guard 24/7. My DH even commented the other day on what keen eyesight they have, they can spot a squirrel a mile away. They even watch the sky and bark at birds. They do tend to be a little intimidated by the military jets that fly low over the farm though.

I know what you are thinking, why does she have so many roosters?? You were thinking that, weren't you? This is a question that my DH asks me quite often. I keep Rocky, the barred rock, to father future generations. I keep Rudy, the D'Uccle, for the same purpose. I keep Elvis, the polish, just for fun and I don't have a clue why I keep the bantam mutt but he does have a great banty rooster attitude, I suppose I should name him or give him away. Anyone want a tiny red banty rooster? I might have to do one of those blog giveaways or a contest of some sort.

Monday, January 19, 2009


We were on our way to town today, when I noticed smoke on the south side of our property and pointed it out. My DH was not concerned and was turning in the opposite direction when he reached the road at the end of our driveway.

He thought that is was a brush fire started by one of the neighbors and not our concern. He always tends to look at things in a positive way, expecting the best. I, on the other hand, tend to look at things in a realistic way and expect the worst. He constantly reminds me of this fact, only he calls me negative instead of realistic.

I finally convinced him that the smoke looked like it was actually coming from the corner of our property which now belongs to our youngest Son. Still staying in positive mode, my DH then suggested that it was probably our Son because he had the day off today. He did however reluctantly turn in that direction.

When we got closer we realized that it was a neighbor's field that was on fire and there was no one there watching over it, so it must have been an accidental fire of some sort. If left to burn it would quickly reach the woods and then it might be pretty hard to get under control.

We called 911 on our cell phone and got a neighboring county who quickly transferred our call to the proper county. I guess we are using a cell tower in the neighboring county, so that is something that you need to take into consideration when calling 911.

We placed the call at 2:00, the first fire truck arrived at 2:07 and they had the fire completely put out by 2:13. I was impressed, they put out the fire around the telephone poles first, then just drove around the field with two trucks spraying water on the flames.

We probably don't think much about our local volunteer firefighters until we need them. They do a great job and are taken for granted most of the time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

PayPal Chargeback

It had to happen sooner or later, because I use PayPal a lot. I got an order for CRS Gold DFM, a horse probiotic, $60 for a 10 lb. pail. The order was paid by charge card and it was an instant payment, so we shipped out immediately. Four or five days later I got a notice from PayPal that the funds were being held because the issuing Bank had denied the charge.

The email from PayPal included a warning not to ship the item but it was already long gone. They asked for detailed information about the transaction, a description of the item, the name and address of the buyer, any emails that we had exchanged, a phone number where I could be reached and all of the shipping information if the item had already been shipped.

It was shipped out by UPS and we did have a tracking number, that is what saved us. After around five days I received a notice that it had been an unauthorized purchase but that it was covered under PayPal's Seller Protection Policy and that because I provided a tracking number and it was valid, my funds had been released from the hold.

The moral of this story is: If you sell online and use PayPal, make sure that you have a tracking number for each shipment.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wind Chills

Not looking forward to the weather for the next few days. It is currently snowing and sleeting here. We are under a wind chill advisory for -10 to -30 from tonight through Friday. I know that is not as cold as it is some places and I don't mind the cold but I don't care much for wind chills.

It is hard to keep water to everyone, we have a big heated tank for the main pasture but with so many horses they can drink it dry in a day's time. Which means that it has to be filled everyday, even in subzero temperatures. The problem, of course, is the hose. Yesterday it was warm in the morning but the temps dropped all day and I didn't think to top off the big tank before the hose became frozen, so I had to wind the hose up and bring the whole thing into the house. We have a hard time remembering to unhook and drain the hoses.

We have to provide water in nine different places, two tanks are heated but require hoses to fill them, two tanks are not heated and required hoses, the others are small and we can carry the water.

I carry warm water in my little red wagon to Cooter, Angel and Abby, I also carry warm water to three different places for the chickens. The does in the barn are not hard to keep watered because it is normally warm enough in the barn to prevent frozen water but last night I brought their bucket into the house after they were bedded down. I will have to remember to do that again for the next three nights and probably most of the day tomorrow, I will just have to take the water out for them to drink and bring it back in.

Our biggest headache is the two tanks that are not heated, I usually take a splitting maul and drop it down on the ice to break it for Badger's water and for the young horses that are separated from the main herd. It will not be an easy task to keep them watered for the next couple of days. I will also have to keep breaking and refilling for Cooter, the dogs and the chickens. I break their ice with a hatchet and scoop out the ice with a very handy kitty litter scoop that I bought for that purpose, then refill with warm or hot water.

So, while some of you are sitting inside your warm, cozy houses listening to the wind howl, think of me trudging across the hard frozen ground with a bucket or splitting maul in my hand fighting against the icy wind. We will also have to feed and milk in this cold, it is all part of the joy of farm living and I love it, my eldest son and his family got me a new face mask for Christmas, so I am prepared.

We have been getting around 8 eggs per day but the temperature took a nose dive yesterday and we got 10! I don't think that I will ever understand chickens. They might all lay tomorrow since it will be so cold and there will be nothing else to do.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Lemonade Stand Award

For the first time in my life I have won an award!! Well, actually I won a trophy for teaching once, but it was a group award and I never even got to look at it closely or touch it.

Thanks to Shiloh Prairie Farm at Goats in the Garden for this award and the kind things that you said.

Lemonade Stand Award

The Rules:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate 10 blogs that show gratitude or great attitude or both
3. Be sure to link your nominees within your post
4. Let them know they have received this award by commenting on their blog
5. Share the love and link this post to the person whom you received your award from

My nominations are (not in order of appreciation):
This wasn't easy for me because the blogs that I read mostly had already received this award, so if any of you have already received it, I am sorry, but you still have a great blog and you still get a link.

I am not able to keep up with as many blogs as I would like too. Too busy and connection too slow.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Goat Milking Tips

This blog is mainly for Chris at Johnson Family Farm, he wanted pictures of my milk stand, but you all can read it too. I found that I didn't have any good pictures of just the stand but came across some photos that I thought might help Chris out with his new milking dilemma, some helpful hints.

The picture below was the best that I had available of my milk stand, which inspired the following tips:

1. You should teach everyone in the family plus all of your friends to milk your goats because you never know when you may become sick, injured, imprisoned or otherwise discouraged. The point being that just because you aren't available to milk the goat, the goat still must be milked, not milking the goat is not an option!

2. Hobbles are sometimes necessary, they may look cruel but they can actually be the kindest gift that you can give your goat, they protect your goat from things that might happen to her if she sticks her manure covered foot in a full bucket of milk right before you are finished milking her. They also protect her from things that could happen to her if she spills a full bucket of milk all over you right before you are finished milking her.

3. Do not be afraid, they will not explode when squeezed

4. Your aim will improve with time but while still in the learning stages, it is best not to wear your best Sunday clothes.

5. Do not become discouraged if someone only a year older than you gets the hang of it before you do. It is normal behavior for a person who masters milking to show off by squirting everyone else.

6. With time and patience, you too will learn a skill that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Remember practice makes perfect and before long you will perfect your aim and be able to hit any target.

So easy a four year old can do it!!

**NOTE: No Goats were injured in the construction of this Blog

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Production Up

I don't know what is going on around here but both egg and milk production has gone up. We have gone from 5 eggs per day to 8 eggs per day. I have also been getting more milk from my doe. I don't know what has changed other than the year. Perhaps my hens and doe made New Year's resolutions to provide more for the humans that feed and care for them.

I milk using a hand spray nozzle, if you didn't read my blog about it back in June of 2008, here it is: Easy Goat Milker. I sold the goat that I was milking at the time of that blog. She gave more milk than we could use and we had to hobble her because she would occasionally kick up a hind foot.

I am milking her daughter now, who is a dream to milk. She had been giving around one and a half quarts of milk per day. She would give more if I milked twice per day but I am lazy and don't need the extra milk anyway. But for some reason she is giving a full two quarts now.

I have gone through two spray nozzles since I started milking with this milker. They just eventually wear out. The last one wore out last week and when my DH went into town to pick up a new one he couldn't find a good quality one. So he brought home a cheap, small one.

I didn't think that it would work but since I didn't have another choice, I hooked it up. It doesn't have enough suction to start the flow of milk but if I hand squeeze the syringe full of milk before attaching it, it works just fine, in other words it has to be primed each time, whereas the better quality nozzle is a self-primer.

It also takes me twice as long to milk with this new nozzle because it doesn't have the same long draw that the better one has. It shoots the milk out in shorter streams. My fingers are getting some arthritis in them and hand milking is hard for me but the main reason that I like this milker is because I can keep the milk clean.

Calico gives extremely good tasting milk like her mother did. I have tasted milk from some goats that just wasn't good. I know that milk flavor can change with diet or even with milk handling but I also believe that different goats can produce a variety of flavors because of fat content.

I am having a glass of milk while I am typing this and it is perfect. However a few days ago I had to give a whole milking to the dogs because the taste was off. It was the first time I had ever had to do that with Calico's milk. I have no idea what went wrong with that batch other than we had changed feed brands. Needless to say, the horses got the rest of that sack and we went back to the old brand for Calico.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Cooter's Adventure

The thing that you fear the most is that goats will learn that they can jump, climb or crawl under fences. All of my goats were very respectful of the electric fence until one day Collette discovered that she could crawl under the fence. Then because Paris didn't want to be separated from her best friend she learned to jump like a deer.

Cooter had never acquired this knowledge of escape until the bottom strand of the electric fence went missing. He found that he could just walk under the top strand without getting shocked. This was great news for him, he could visit all of the places that he had only dreamed about.

His first destination was to visit with the does in the barn stall, but alas, there was no way to get into the stall with them and no way to get into the grain either. So his next destination was to find out why all of those horses stood around those big round things all day long and fought for position.

The best way to get the information that you need if you are an athletic billy goat who does not know fear, is to just jump right into the middle of the action.
The horses were totally repulsed by this stinking, ugly, egotistical animal jumping right into the middle of their supper. All of the horses stepped away from the ring not knowing what to do. Buddy, (pictured above) who is quite fond of his food was the most repulsed of all and decided to take matters into his own hands.

My Husband told me that the horses would eventually snatch him up and give him a good shaking and might even injure him. I didn't think that they would bite into anything that smelled like that. I was wrong, Buddy, who is a big strong gelding, viciously grabbed him by the neck and shook him like a rag doll. Cooter didn't mind at all, he just went right back after Buddy thinking that he wanted to play. Cooter left a bad taste in Buddy's mouth it seems because he wouldn't do it again.

After several attempts to engage Buddy in play, Cooter got bored and left the hay ring and started singling out other horses to play with.

First he chose Dan, the alpha gelding, the herd leader and protector. Dan just totally ignored him, so he went after a younger male, Naylor. Naylor was intimidated by him and went for reinforcements.

The funniest part of all of this was that Angel was with him, growling at the horses that he was challenging. She tried being diplomatic about it and tried her best to talk to him about size and strength but he wouldn't listen, so she had to stand her ground, growl and threaten the horses about minding their manners.
Because at the end of the day, Cooter is still her responsibility after all, it is like being the body guard for a spoiled young prince.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Disappearing Wire

For those who have horses, you know how deadly a stray piece of electric fence wire can be. We have had our worst horse injuries come from a piece of wire getting loose in our pastures. Electric fence wire can escape the fence posts in a number of ways but usually it is the horses themselves that break these devils loose with their own foolishness.

On one occasion we found empty t-posts right before dark where one strand of wire was missing. While searching the field for the wire my DH discovered a very horrible leg injury on my gelding, the injury was so bad that he couldn't walk and we had to take the trailer to bring him to the house for first aid. Darkness fell before the wire could be found and the search was to be resumed the next morning by me.

As soon as dawn broke, I was walking the grid in the upper pasture until I came to a group of horses with a young filly's leg shooting blood out two feet with every heart beat. I summoned help, got a disposable diaper (a must for all horse owners) and some vet wrap and returned to the scene. Once the bleeding had stopped and I knew help was on the way, I left the filly standing where she was and started the search again. My top priority was finding that stupid piece of wire.

It took a long time to find it but I finally did and we doctored the two injured horses several times per day for three months. Both fully recovered with only slight scarring. Time and space does not permit me to tell you the endless heartbreaking stories of horses that I know of who have been injured and even put down because of electric fence wire and high tinsel wire.

Alright, now that you understand the dangers of wire around horses, this is what happened on Saturday morning. When I awoke, I heard banging around in the barn. I looked out to find Cooter in the barn wrecking havoc. I snatched him up and drug him back to the goat lot only to find that the whole bottom strand of electric fence wire was missing between his lot and the lower horse pasture. Gadzooks! I said, and turned him loose in the lot anyway.

I started searching for the missing wire immediately and could not find it, it was not in any of the usually hiding places. Now bear in mind that the lower horse pasture is where the big round bales of hay are fed and we have had a lot of rain. There was no way that I could walk out in that deep mud soup to look for a piece of wire.

I went to the house and got my binoculars, I stood out there on firm ground for about an hour combing the pasture. First I searched every horse's legs with my super vision because that is always a good place to find wire. No luck, I couldn't see it anywhere.

When my DH got home he started walking through the mud looking for the wire, he walked back and forth many, many times without finding the 100 feet of wire. I suggested that perhaps it was buried in the thick mud but he doesn't think that there is any way 100 feet of wire could be totally covered with mud.

So now we have a mystery, what happened to the wire? Neither of us will rest easy until we figure this one out.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Good News and Bad

The bad news is that I found Bootstrap dead yesterday morning. I had commented that he really had a good day on Friday and acted nearly normal. Then yesterday when I went out to do my morning chores and was in the goat/chicken shed, I remembered that he hadn't said anything to me before I went out. So I came back to the house to check on him and was shocked that he had died.

The good news is that the red paint on the styrofoam forms worked. I even found one place where the chickens had scratched at the dirt around the base of the forms to uncover the unpainted surface and had pecked at that. I covered it back up and took that as a good sign that they will not be eating any red styrofoam. Hopefully the forms are now safe until we can get them covered properly.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Recent Events

Where to begin? Yesterday my DH had the day off because it was New Year's Day. He made good use of the day by working outside. I made good use of the day by staying inside. I kept hearing this annoying sound and so I finally gave some thought to what I was hearing, it was Paris outside my door, in the stall, screaming her head off. I asked myself this question, "Why is Paris screaming her head off?" Then I answered myself, "It could be that she is in heat, dummy."

I ran to the calendar and looked at the date that I last suspected that she was in heat, low and behold it was twenty days ago. So, I opened the gate and let her out, she did not pass Go or collect $200. She ran straight as an arrow to Cooter's pen and didn't wait for me to catch up to open the gate, she just squeezed through it.

He was pleased to see her again and they spent the rest of the afternoon together, when she got tired of him, she squeezed back through the gate and came back to the barn and that was that. So now I have a firm date on when Paris was bred, it was on New Year's Day, easy to remember.

Bootstrap seems to be improving everyday and he wants out of his cage but I tried letting him loose again today and I later found him hiding in a corner with a tiny banty rooster, half his size, plucking all of his feathers out. There were feathers everywhere, he just doesn't have any fight in him.

We have had another chicken problem that I hope to have fixed today. The house part of our barn was made with Foam Forms, they are styrofoam forms filled with concrete and in a few places around the outside and the entire interior wall still has some foam forms exposed.

The problem is, chickens love styrofoam. It is like one of their favorite foods in the winter time. During the summer they never touch it but right now, I cannot keep them away from it. They are literally eating us out of house and home. It isn't that they are hungry because they leave their corn, sunflower seeds and chicken feed to feast upon our walls.

We had some cans of red spray paint, so since I can't keep continually chasing them with a broom. I started spraying this evening, they stood back and watched, so far, so good, they looked at the new color and cocked their heads from side to side, but no one tired it. I am anxious for tomorrow to get here, to see if this has solved the problem.

Now on to my New Year's Resolution. I only made one resolution last year and almost kept it, however, I did falter from time to time. That resolution was to blog everyday, well, I never said that I was perfect.

In keeping with the tradition that I set forth last New Year's, I have again resolved only one resolution this year and that is to quit griping at my DH and be kinder and gentler to him. He does not deserve my criticism most of the time. He has looked at me several times today and said something about it not even lasting 24 hours, but these things do take time and patience. Old habits die hard, I can't just flip a switch and be sweet.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Year

We made it through December! My DH loves to sing that song all through December, then on January 1st announce that we have made it. I tell him that December isn't the hardest month for us. He gets really down in February, because by then he is tired of feeding hay and our hay supply is getting low. It is either really cold or really muddy in February and he gets very anxious for Spring.

The old year went out on a bad note for me. I was sick all day yesterday. I ran a fever and was so weak that I couldn't even set up to read a book. My dear, dear, wonderful Husband had to hold a glass of sprite with a straw for me because my arms were so weak that I couldn't even hold the glass. I don't have any idea what the problem was but I couldn't eat anything until late afternoon and then I could only eat chicken soup.

I chilled and kept covered up all day until about 11:30 last night when all of the sudden my fever broke and I started sweating. As soon as my fever broke, I felt so much better but even after sleeping all day yesterday, I still slept well last night.

Things are looking better for 2009, we got 8 eggs each of the last two days. It got down to 17 degrees last night, so I don't know how egg production will be today.