Friday, February 24, 2017

Animal Teeth

Welcome back!

Your teacher told me that February is Dental Health month in First Grade.

You learned a lot about teeth this month. Strong teeth are very, very important for people and animals. Keeping them clean is an important part of keeping them healthy. Eating properly is also an important part of keeping teeth healthy and strong.

Matt used to work at Timpanogos Animal Hospital in Pleasant Grove. He used to help the techs. One of the things he got to help with was cleaning dog's teeth.

Did you know that it's important to clean your dog's teeth? Most people don't like to brush their dog's teeth because dogs hate it! We use a special treat that cleans the dog's teeth called Dentastix.

People dentists like our dentist, Michelle Jorganson, like to clean people's teeth twice a year. Dogs should get their teeth cleaned once a year.

This dog has dirty teeth. Some of his teeth are infected and broken. Dogs don't take good care of their teeth. Do you see all the yellow stuff near the dog's gums? He also has a broken tooth on his top jaw near the red plastic tie.

Are you wondering what the tube is? It goes down his throat towards his lungs and carries a special gas that keeps the dog asleep. Dogs don't like getting their teeth cleaned. People can sit in a chair and have a hygienist clean their teeth, but a dog won't do that.

Here is the other side of his mouth. Can you see the teeth that are flat towards the back of his mouth? They shouldn't be flat. Sometimes dogs chew on rocks. If one tooth breaks other teeth wear down. All the brown and yellow need to be polished off his teeth.
All clean! Can you see the spot on the right side of the photo that is missing teeth? How many teeth are missing? Check the photo right before this one.
If you look closely you can see stitches where the teeth used to be.
Those teeth were infected and needed to come out.
All clean on this side, too!
The next thing that happens is that the tube comes out of his mouth and then the put the dog someplace comfortable while he wakes up.

These are Scout's teeth.
He is a good dog to let us hold his mouth open!

Here are JJ's teeth.
She's a good dog, too.

This is Misty.
She has all her adult teeth.
Misty's teeth look different from JJ and Scout's teeth.

This is Annie.
She has all her adult teeth, too.
Is there a difference between goat teeth and dog teeth?

Annie loves Matt!
She still gives goat hugs after Matt is done holding her mouth open for pictures.
Scout and JJ have pointy teeth because dogs eat meat and dog kibbles. He needs sharp teeth to chew. They have teeth on the top and bottom of his mouth so they can chew his food properly. If you want to learn more about what dog teeth look like you can click here.

Here are River's teeth.
Do you see how small they are?
She's getting ready to loose the two center front teeth.

Adult goats have 8 front teeth on the bottom. They don't have teeth on the top in the front.

Goats have 32 teeth total in their mouth. They have 8 in the front. How many back teeth do they have?

Goats use their back teeth for chewing, just like you. They don't need top teeth in the front because they use their front teeth for biting leaves, branches, and hay. 

Children have 'baby teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. You've probably already lost at least one tooth!

Baby goats have 'milk teeth' that fall out. Adult teeth take the place of baby teeth. 

If you want to learn more about goat teeth click here.

How many teeth do chickens have? Scroll down for the answer.

Chickens don't have any teeth!
They have a beak!
They need their beak to peck food into small enough pieces for them to eat.

You've learned a lot about teeth this month. Look at the animals you see this week and check out their teeth. Think about what shape and size their teeth are, and what type of food they eat. I'm sure you'll notice that their teeth are just right for the food they eat!

Friday, February 17, 2017


Welcome back!

Do you remember last week when I told you it wasn't good for animals to eat foods that they aren't used to because they might get sick?

Echo accidentally got into the barn and found a few bags of sugar that we had tucked away in the back corner of the tack room. She tore one open with her teeth, and ate most of it.

It's really bad for a cow to eat that much sugar!

Animals are like children. They need to be protected from doing things that could hurt them. We have fences to keep them in places that are safe, we have doors to keep them out of the barn where they might get into trouble, we have gates to keep them from wandering around town and getting hit by cars.

We want Echo to be safe.

What a mess!

If an animal like a goat, cow, or sheep gets food they aren't used to they can get really sick. I happened to be in the right place at the right time to notice what Echo had done.

We always have baking soda in the stalls in case the animals have an upset stomach.
It's one of our daily chores to make sure there is some in each feeder.
Farmers call it 'neutralizer' because it neutralizes the acid that may cause bloat.

Even having baking soda in the stalls wouldn't have saved Echo's life. I could tell right away that her stomach was getting very big! She was bloating! That's dangerous for cows. It means that her stomach is making more gas than she can burp or pass quickly. It can cause a cow, goat, or sheep to die.

This is the medicine we give our goats, sheep, and cows if they start to bloat.
It's called TheraBloat.
We mix up the right amount in water, then fill a huge syringe with the mixture.

The long tube you see attached to the syringe gets put in Echo's mouth and down the left side of her throat. It's very important to get the tube down the left side, if it goes down the right side of her throat the medicine will go into her lungs, not her stomach, and that would kill her.

Matt and I worked very quickly to get Echo the medicine. She was a good girl and it wasn't any trouble. We don't have photos because it was just the two of us and there was no one to hold the camera.

It's very important for you to know that if you are passing by a farm and you see cows, goat, sheep, horses, or any other animals that you don't feed them anything unless you ask the owner. You might give the animal something that would make them very sick. If the owner isn't around to check on them, that animal might die.

Our friend has a horse that can't be ridden any more because someone thought it was okay to put grass clippings from a mower over their fence to feed the horse. The horse got very sick. She didn't die, but she can't be ridden anymore because it made her so sick.

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I'm having some problems with photos today so I don't have a video that I planned to share.

Quin and Xander came this week and were helping. I wanted to show you some chores they help with when they are here.

One thing they do is feed the chickens.
Xander is filling the bucket.
Quin is strong enough to lift the bucket and dump it into the feeder.

Quin is also strong enough to help put the milker on Echo. He's not afraid of Echo because she's so nice!

They are strong enough to help carry buckets back into the house, too.
Quin has eggs in his bucket. Xander has dirty washcloths.
Xander isn't careful enough to carry the eggs yet.
Matt feeds the hay to the animals.
Quin and Xander aren't strong enough for that, yet.

There are lots of things that Quin and Xander can help with. They are learning to work hard and help around the farm. They like it most of the time, but sometimes it's hard and they don't want to help.

That's normal, there are times we don't want to do chores, too. They are good boys because they do what needs to be done whether they want to or not.

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Bryon got our Christmas tree planted this week!
We hope it grows tall so that the animals will have shade in the pasture.
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Our old cat, Stinky, is finally friends with Bubs the new cat.
Cats don't make friends very quickly.
Neither do most animals.
People are much better at making friends and being kind to others than animals are. People are smart and can think things through. Animals aren't like that at all, even if we want them to be!

I hope you have a wonderful week! I hope you make friends with someone that you don't know very well. I hope you work hard even when you don't want to.

All of those things will help you grow into a wonderful adult! That's what your parents and your teachers want most for you!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Happy Birthday, Echo!

Welcome back!

Do you know someone with a birthday today? I do!

It's Echo's 3rd birthday today!

She had her first calf when she was a little over 2 years old. She should have her new calf close to the end of the school year. She will be 3 years old when she has her second baby. Animals grow to be adults much faster than people do.

Cows don't get cake for their birthday.

People can eat many different kinds of food.
If animals eat different kinds of food they can get sick.
Echo's birthday treat is a loaf of bread, a few stale rolls,
a cut up banana, and a few carrots.
She gets bread almost every day, so that isn't very different.
She gets banana peels almost every day, too.

Does it look like Echo liked her treat today?

Here's a picture of Echo when she was a baby.
Echo just finished eating a delicious dandelion. 

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It's not a surprise that Punxsutawney Phil, the groundhog, is wrong about spring being 6 weeks away. He's wrong most of the time

Did you know that there is a tortoise in California that can predict the weather, too? Her name is Maxine. She came out of her burrow on February 7th at 12:06 pm. Maxine thinks winter is over.

We find about 10-12 eggs every day.
We find a duck egg almost every day. I think Quin's duck is laying the duck eggs because she's the youngest girl duck that we have and they usually start laying before the older duck does.

Spring is right around the corner according to the ducks and the chickens!

We'll have to wash these eggs off. Sometimes they are dirty when we pick them up.

One of the good things about Spring is that it's warmer outside.
One of the bad things about Spring is it's muddy in the pasture.
The chickens and the ducks don't mind. They like the puddles.

We like the chickens because they lay eggs. We also like the chickens because they clean up the little bits of grain that get spilled inside the barn, and around the barn yard. Chickens love to scratch the dirt and dig. They help spread the poo around so we don't have to clean it up in the barn yard. 

The turkey helps clean up the grain, too.
Can you see him in the back?
He would much rather share breakfast with the goats because the
grain is easier to get in the feed tub.

The chickens like to share breakfast in the feed tubs, too.

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We plant seeds when we think Spring is close, too.
I planted some herb seeds a few days ago.
I'll let show you some pictures as they grow.
I'll be planting some tomato seeds soon, too. We have special lights and a set of shelves that help us start growing seeds indoors before we can put them in the garden. It's too cold and wet to plant seeds in the garden right now. If we plant them inside then they will be ready to go in the garden about the same time you are out of school.

The goats love to play in the spring. They love to bang their heads together. I'll try to get a video so you can see them playing.

Once in a while one of the goats get hurt when they are playing rough. Clover's leg got hurt this week. She had to spend 2 days resting in a stall by herself until she was strong enough to play outside again.

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No, we don't have any fish right now.

This picture is from last year.
We had fish in the fountain during the summer.

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Stew is 4 years old.

Thank you for the questions!

I hope you have a wonderful week of learning and playing and enjoying the nice weather!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A Few Old Tools

Welcome back!

I hope you enjoyed Parent-Teacher conferences with your family. It's been a busy week for everyone!

It's been more busy than usual for our family so today I have a few photos from the farm that you may enjoy.

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Do you like to build things? Do you like to play with tools?

Quin and Xander like to play with tools, especially the tools in the old tool chest. We don't use these tools very often, but they are a lot of fun to look at!

This is an antique carpenter's chest. It was owned by a carpenter a long time ago.
It is so old that when the chest was built cars hadn't been invented yet!
Do you know what a carpenter is? It's someone who builds things out of wood.

Quin and Xander like to take the tools out of the chest and pretend to build with them.
What is Quin doing?
Quin is using an old folding ruler to see how long the piece of wood is.

Quin is having lots of fun drilling holes with my drill.
I have a nice, small battery-powered screwdriver that I can put drill bits in.
It's just the right size for small jobs, and small children.

Xander likes to use the hammer.
It's a small hammer that's just right for small indoor jobs, 
and it's just right for small children.

Quin and Xander's dad and mom both love to build things with wood. That's why Quin and Xander like pretending to build things. That's why they like using real tools instead of toy tools.

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We hadn't seen the turkey hen for a while.
She showed up again earlier this week.
I think she was living in an old pile of brush and weeds
in the neighbor's yard.
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The chickens ate all the hay in their nesting boxes.
Did you know chickens eat hay, too?

They are so excited to have hay to eat today!
I think they miss scratching around in the grass.
Do you miss playing in the grass?

I filled up their nesting boxes with hay, too.
I'm sure they will eat all of it within a few days,
and I'll fill it up again.
They like eating the hay, and they like laying their eggs in the hay.

The chickens have started laying eggs again so spring must be coming soon. The ducks are laying eggs, too! I know Punxsutawney Phil said we would have 6 more weeks of winter, but the ducks and chickens don't believe him.

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I heard that you enjoyed watching the dogs play in the snow last week. I thought you might like to see what they do every morning. I don't have to whistle very loudly for them to hear it and come running to me. They know when I say, "Ready!" it means to run to the barn because we're ready to do the chores. They run fast!

They don't care if it's warm or cold outside. They love living on a farm!

Next week I'll show you what it's like to do all our morning chores. It's a lot of work, but we enjoy it.

Friday, January 27, 2017


Welcome back! Happy 100th Day of School!

I hope you had fun playing in the snow last week. There was a lot of it!

Your teacher told me that the only questions you have been writing down are, "Do you have a pig?" and "Do you have a horse?" Since I've already answered those questions I won't take time to answer them again.

You are all smart enough to think of other questions!

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Wow! It's cold outside! It's a nice day to do chores, then work on indoor projects.

I thought you might like to see some spinning so Matt took a few short videos for you to look at.

This video is really short. Can you see my foot pedaling? It's making the wheel on the spinning wheel go around and around. 

The wheel is attached to the pedal by a short cord.
When my foot works the pedal, the pedal pushes the wheel around.

This is what happens to the wool when I'm spinning it into yarn.

You'll have to watch very closely to see how the yarn winds onto the bobbin.
When the bobbin is full, I take it off and start a new bobbin.

Today was a short post, but it took me a while to put it together. I had to take my spinning wheel out, clean off all the dust, grease it so that it would spin, and put on a new cord! I haven't had time to spin on my spinning wheel for quite a few years. 

Every year at Christmas I spin on a drop spindle at the Alpine Living Nativity. It's a lot of fun to answer people's questions and let them watch me.

Here is a 'fun fact' 
Did you know Mrs. Hahn used to spin, too? She did! She wanted to learn how when she was younger so we both took a class together on spinning wool into yarn.

If you have questions about spinning, I hope you write them down and send them to me. Or if you are reading this online, please ask your question in the comment section. I'd love to answer you!

Have a great 100th Day of School, and have a great week, too!

Friday, January 20, 2017


Welcome back!

I know I was going to show you more about wool and my spinning wheel but Matt has been sick and I haven't had any help with the chores. Matt is good taking pictures and videos, too. Since he was sick there wasn't anyone to take a video of me spinning. I'll try again next week.

Sometimes things don't work out the way we planned so we change plans and do what we can.

We had snow this week, just like you!
I love it when it snows because it's so quiet when I head out to the barn in the morning.
It may be cold, but it feels a little cozy because we feel like we live out away from town.
We don't, we live in the middle of a very big town, next to a very busy road!
The snow quiets everything and it makes the farm feel peaceful.
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Guess what Stinky caught!
One reason we like having cats is that they can find and catch mice!
Mice are smelly, they carry diseases that will make you sick, and they make a mess when they get into food.
Good job, Stinky!
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You already know that a rooster sounds different because he crows, and hens cluck. Did you know that boy ducks and girl ducks sound different? Your mom and your dad have different voices, so do ducks!

The boy duck has a darker head, and the girl duck has a light colored head.

Listen closely and you can hear one duck that quacks, and one duck that has a quieter, funny sounding quack. Quin thinks that duck has a broken quacker!

He doesn't have a broken quacker, he's a boy duck! Boy ducks are called drakes. Girl ducks are called ducks. Watch and listen to the duck with the dark head, you'll hear his voice. Watch and listen to the duck with the light head, and you'll hear her voice. 

The next time you are at a park or a pond with ducks see if you can hear the ducks and the drakes. 

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Here is another new hen.
She is fluffy and black!
Her name is Lucy. I think she's pretty with all her fluffy feathers.

Lucy is drinking out of the waterer. It holds about 3 gallons of water so the chickens always have something to drink. It's always a good idea for the chickens and other animals to have water, but sometimes they are out of the coop and they don't feel like walking all the way back to get a drink.

What do you think a chicken does when it doesn't have water close by?

They eat some snow!

It's still important to make sure the animals always have water to drink, but animals are resourceful and they will eat snow if they don't have any water around. 

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Do you have a dog or a cat with a collar?
Do they have a tag on their collar to tell someone who to call if they get lost?
So do our goats!
Look closely at River's collar and you'll see part of my phone number.
If she ever gets out of the barn yard and gets lost, whoever finds her will have a phone number to call.
Goats can't talk, they can't tell someone where they belong or give someone a phone number.

I hope you have a phone number memorized so if you get lost whoever helps you can call your mom or dad.

I hope you have a great week! I hope you have some time to play in the snow!

Friday, January 13, 2017

Jake Attacks!

Welcome back!

I hope you've had a great week.

Did you figure out what we use all the poo for? If you thought that we use it in the garden, you're right. We have so much poo that we share it with other families that want it for their garden's, too.

Would you like to meet some new animals?

I thought so!

This is Storm.

This is Fern.

We don't usually name our chickens. Our friends are moving and so they gave us all their chickens because they can't take them to their new house. That's so sad!

These two chickens are really friendly! I love the fluffy feathers on their heads. They are Polish chickens. Chickens have different breeds just like dogs.

Do you see the cage wall? It's about half-way back in the chicken coop.
Chickens aren't very nice to new chickens. When we get new chickens we put them in the back and shut the little door between the two rooms in the coop. We make sure the new chickens have food and water in the back room. We keep them in the back room for two or three days.

Chickens aren't very smart, either. Once the old chickens wake up with the new chickens in the back two or three times they think the new chickens are part of the same flock. Then the old chickens won't pick on or beat up the new chickens.

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We have new ducks, too!
The ducks really belong to Quin and Xander but the ducks are happier in our barn yard than they were in the little chicken coop they were in.

Can you see the difference between the two ducks? What things are the same, and what things are different?

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Thank you for writing me questions! I think your handwriting is getting better.

Annie was born 25 March 2010.
Misty was born 26 March 2011.
River and Serenity were born 9 April 2016.
Can you use a calendar to find out how old they are?

Echo was born 10 February 2014.
She had her first calf on 25 April 2016.
How old is Echo? How old was she when she had her first baby?

Sometimes I wonder why we have lots of animals! We have lots of animals for a few reasons. We like the milk from the goats and the cow. We like fresh eggs, they taste better than eggs bought in a store. We like the things that we learn while we're working on the farm.

We like having animals because most children don't get to see what farm animals are like. Our neighbor children love to come over and visit the animals. Pre-schools, scouts, Activity Day girls, and families love to visit the farm, too. We love being able to share what we do with other people.

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I have some sad news, too.

We have to get rid of Jake, the duck. He was such a nice duck but he has turned into a bully. We can't keep a bully on the farm. It isn't safe for us, or our visitors. Jake will find a new home this weekend.

Can you see him attacking me?
I have layers of winter clothing on so it doesn't hurt. 
He has a strong beak, and long claws on his feet so he could hurt children that come to visit.
We found a new home for him on a farm that doesn't have visitors.
I'm sure he will be happy there.

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Here's a fun picture of Stew!
His coat is so thick that he doesn't mind being out in the snow.
His wool has something called 'lanolin' in it. It's an oil. Oil and water don't mix very well so the snow stays on Stew's back until it melts and drips off. He doesn't get very wet when it rains, either. The water can't stick to his fleece!

Next week I'll show you a little more about wool. I have a spinning wheel and some wool from our sheep. It's so much fun to spin wool into yarn!

Have a great week!