Monday, August 31, 2009

Prayer Shawl Number 2

I was able to finish the second Prayer Shawl while I was in Massachusetts. My Mom loved lavender, the flower, the smell, and the color. I left this one with my Aunt. She often gives Prayer Shawls to those in need. The church she used to belong to had a Prayer Shawl Ministry. She is so far away from that church that she is currently looking for another one closer to where she lives. I told her that she could either keep the Shawl herself if she wanted to, or she could donate it to the Prayer Shawl Ministry at her new church.

Lavender Prayer Shawl

On this Prayer Shawl I slipped the first stitch of each row as if to purl. The last stitch of the row I knit through the back loop. Now that I have my camera back, I'll try to take some photos of how to do that and post it. I love the way the edge turns out this way. It is so straight and even!

Me and my Aunt. She is wonderful!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Planting Flowers

Yesterday I planted flowers. Six chrysanthemums and one Hibiscus. The Hibiscus was given to me by my friends who bought it for me in memory of my mom. Hopefully next year it will have beautiful flowers. I planted it in front of the house near the front door. I placed some of my mother's ashes in the hole before I planted the bush. Perhaps her green thumb will nurture the flowers better than I can.

The Hibiscus my friends gave me is planted in front of the house near the front door. The blue flowers are from a bush directly behind the Hibiscus. I will move it in the fall when the weather is cooler and easier on transplants.

We don't have much late summer and fall color in the flower beds. Hubby and I went to the store and found some beautiful mums. I love these pink ones with yellow centers.

Hubby loved these red and yellow mums. They are planted at the end of the driveway near the mailbox. Hubby will see them every time he pulls into the driveway.

Weeding is not my favorite hobby, but I can effectively take pictures are parts of the garden that are weed free right after I've weeded! Hopefully by the time winter comes I'll have all the beds weeded. Maybe next year I will have more time to take care of the flower beds and the vegetable garden.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Remembering stuff....

Here is an article that I found on a veterinary medicine website called dvm360 If you scroll to the bottom of the current page you will find a link to an article titled

Help clients remember parasite preventives

Clients tell us they forget to administer their pets' monthly heartworm preventive or flea control—even when they put a reminder on the calendar. To help increase compliance, we recommend they program their cell phone to remind them. The phone alerts them on the day the medication is due. I do this to remember my own pet's medications, and it works great.
Dr. Melisa Hicks, Long Beach, Calif.

I think I will give this a try. We usually remember when to update vaccinations and administer other routine 'drugs' because we have a calendar out in the barn that we record milk production on, but I think this will give me one more reminder so I don't forget!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

JB Stick!

Our aluminum strip cup handles were not doing well at all! After 3 years of milking and running it through the dishwasher the handles were weak and the welds were starting to break.

I happened to have some JB Stick as well as a cheaper version on hand for fixing the patio table. The plastic supports on the patio table legs were broken and I was curious to see if I could fix them with this type of glue. Last night I decided to try a some of the cheaper brand on the aluminum strip cup since I had used all of the JB Stick on the patio table.

If you haven't used these products before, I highly recommend them! It is a putty type 'glue' that you mix like clay. Make sure your fingers are wet so that it is easier to blend! It is a steel reinforced sealant that works on all sorts of surfaces and sets in about 5 minutes. It is supposed to handle heat and weather well, too.

You can see how much I used to strengthen the cup handle. I did this to both handles. The large handle is the one that had cracks in the welds. If it doesn't hold up well in the dishwasher, I'll let you know. This morning it was wonderful to have sturdy handles on the strip cup again!

The JB Stick brand is grey. I used the JB Stick on two legs of the table. The white color in the other photos is the off brand. Both are easy to work with and they seem to hold up the same.

Here is the off brand that I used on the other two legs of the patio table. The table is outside on the patio and gets hit with the sprinkler every day. It isn't in the sun very much each day because we have trees in the yard. I'm very interested to see how well this stuff holds up through the winter.

I'm glad I bought the off brand as well as the JB Stick and used them both on the patio table. I can do a side-by-side experiment and see how each of them holds up through the winter. I'm also curious to see if it holds up to the dog who likes to sit on the table in the winter.

Tipsy, the dog who loves snow, sitting in her favorite spot on top of the patio table after a storm.

I bought the JB Stick at Wal*Mart and the off brand at the local grocery store that also happens to have a small hardware section. I've got to go buy some more to have on hand. I think it is a great product to have on hand all the time.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dehorning the Buck

My camera is on its way home from Gloucester MA, so I don't have photos of this, but that is probably good since the procedure was not for the faint of heart! Don't read the rest of this post if you generally have a queasy stomach. Dehorning a goat, although necessary from time to time, is not an easy or pleasant procedure.

Vet2Be's buck was not properly dis-budded (removing the horn buds of a goat kid before or soon after they erupt using a disbudding iron) so his horns were growing at awful angles. (The buck came to us when he was about 6-8 months old. This was not one that we had disbudded). One horn was growing into the back of his eye, the other was growing into the back of his head. We had to saw them off about every 4-6 weeks to keep the horns from piercing his skin. All the other goats at the farm have no horns, the buck was the only one with horns. It is preferable to have either all horned goats or all goats with no horns in a herd. So this guy's horns needed to come off.

Here is a photo from last year after he got sprayed with the hose. If you look closely you can see that his horns are malformed. We kept them trimmed as short as we could, but the older he got the more the horns grew in towards his skull and the back of his eye.

Don't read any further if you have a queasy stomach!!!
When the vet got here he told Vet2Be that he might not want to be a vet after he saw this. But Vet2Be didn't mind watching. We've come to the conclusion that animals do feel pain, but not in the same way people do. Vet2Be does not take procedures personally--that means that he doesn't look at the procedure as if it is happening to him, he looks at it as if it is going to help the animal in the long run.

The vet decided he would rather give the buck a sedative through the fence. The buck isn't all that hard to handle, but he is a little 'pushy' when it is breeding season, and it is breeding season! He's starting to rut and get stinky!

When the buck looked good and sleepy, then fell over, it was time to go to work. The vet trimmed all the hair close to the horns so that he could see the skin. Then he used a scalpel to cut the skin down to the bone close to the bucks skull.

Next the vet used a wire bone saw to saw through the horn. One horn was a real horn, malformed, but it was growing firmly from his skull. The other horn was a scur, it was attached but moved when you pushed on it. It was not as firmly attached to his skull.

It took a while to get the wire saw through the real horn. There was plenty of blood, but it didn't seem as if there were too many 'bleeders' (blood vessels squirting blood). The vet worked up a sweat getting the first horn off! The scur was quite a bit quicker to cut through.

The vet packed the opening (the holes go into the bucks sinus cavity) with gauze and covered it with more gauze. Then he sprayed the wound with BlueKote to reduce the chance of infection. We also gave the buck a shot of Tetanus Antitoxin just in case he might get tetanus. It is always better to be on the safe side.

Vet2Be checked on the buck every 10-15 minutes from 7:30 PM until midnight. Goats have to remain upright. If they lay on their side for too long they cannot belch gas and will bloat. We ended up having to prop him up with an old bale of grass hay on one side and a stump on the other. We had plenty of fresh straw under him so that his head wouldn't be on the dirt. We also covered him with an old wool blanket because it was getting slightly chilly last night and there was a little light rain. By the time midnight rolled around his head was up, his eyes were open (sort of!), and he was munching on some of the hay that was next to him. It took about 5 hours for him to come out of the sedation enough that we felt we could leave him the rest of the night.

When we checked at 6 AM this morning, he was in his goat house and he seemed fine. He has been a bit slow today, but he doesn't really seem to be bothered by the surgery last night. He is eating and drinking normally.

We are very glad the weather is cool today. Hopefully that will keep the flies down, we'll spray with fly spray if we need to.

Not a pleasant procedure, but a necessary one since the buck's horns were growing at the wrong angle. I am very grateful for vets who will come out to our property and do the procedure here. I think it makes it easier on the animal to be in a place they are used to.

When the camera gets back I'll take some 'after' photos to show how the skull is growing in over the holes and how the buck is doing.

The moral of the story.... if you choose to disbud a goat make sure that you do it properly so that you don't have to dehorn them later.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Although we only have 3 people living at home right now, I need a dishwasher that can take a beating! Ours runs at least twice a day. Sounds like alot for only three people, but I have to wash and sanitize the milking supplies twice a day.

I have a few requirements for dishwashers. My dishwasher has to be able to stand up to heavy use running at least twice a day, it has to have a sanitize cycle, it has to be fairly quiet since we spend much of our day in the Great Room near the kitchen, and it has to hold a BIG milking pail and lid.

In May our old dishwasher (an LG) needed repaired again. That was it's death sentence. So Hubby went to Sears to look for a new dishwasher. He has done plenty of research on dishwashers (see our experiences with other dishwashers at the end of the post), and decided to give Kenmore a try.

After almost 4 months of use I still LOVE my new dishwasher! It holds big buckets, the top rack comes out if I need to clean larger items, it is quiet, it washes extremely well. I've never had a dishwasher that cleans dishes and kitchen items as well as this Kenmore does. I only scrape the dishes--I never have to rinse them before loading. It washes lasagna pans and plates that have cheese melted on them. I can use any type of cheap dishwasher detergent and they all work well! I can't say enough good things about this Kenmore dishwasher!

The buttons are on the outside. I have friends with young children that like their buttons on the inside of the door so they are out of reach of the children. The buttons are fine for me. Easy to see, easy to push, and easy to clean. I wish that the dishwasher had a 'time left' indicator but that is the only thing I would change.

See how much it holds! The bucket is a 4 gallon bucket that has a lid (you can see the lid to the left of the bucket). The large bucket is our holding bucket that sits in a bucket of ice-water. That is our VitaMix blender to the right.

Another view of the bottom rack. You can see the smaller milking bucket (it holds 1-gallon) behind the large bucket. The small bucket will also fit on the top rack. We milk into the smaller bucket and transfer the milk (after weighing it) into the large bucket to bring into the house after all the milking is done. You can also see some of the containers that fit into the dishwasher. We use 1/2-gallon glass containers most of the time, but sometimes we run out and have to use plastic.

Our Dishwasher Experiences
We have had a number of dishwashers in our 29 years of marriage. The first one was a Maytag and lasted for about 12 years. It started it's life as a portable dishwasher while Hubby was getting his Ph.D, and was later installed in our first home. It worked for the new owners for a few years after we sold the house. It was a great dishwasher. Since Maytag is now made by Whirlpool, we decided that Maytag was not an option anymore.

The second dishwasher was a Whirlpool. I will never buy another Whirlpool dishwaser (or refrigerator) again. Although some people love theirs, I did not like having to scrape and almost clean dishes for 7 people before putting them in the dishwasher! It lasted about 8 years, which is a good amount of time for a dishwasher, but it never did a great job on the dishes. It was also very picky about which dishwasher detergent worked best. (I love my front-loading Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer, though!)

The next dishwasher was an LG. Hubby researched with Consumer Reports to find out which dishwasher was recommended. The one he bought was highly recommended. I think we got a lemon. It had to be repaired in the first 3 months of life. It was big, and quiet, but it needed repaired three times in it's two years. Not a good track record! I had to use Cascade Complete to get clean dishes. I prefer to use whatever dishwasher detergent is on sale or least expensive.

My aunt, who is retired, bought a Kenmore similar to mine. She loves hers, too. If you need a new dishwasher, I'd give Sears and Kenmore another look.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Matitis Vaccinations

Glacier. She was named because she got frostbite on her ears when she was a kid. We didn't own her at the time, it happened at the place she was born.

Vet2Be gave Glacier her second set of mastitis vaccinations the morning of August 12. She was a bit sore that night, but other than that, she seems fine. We'll see how she does with the mastitis through the rest of the fall and next spring since she has freshened with mastitis the last two year.

Both vaccinations ready to go. We prefer the 22 gauge 3/4" needles for IM injections, but all we have right now are 22 gauge 1-1/4" needles, so Vet2Be doesn't put the needle in as far.

Vet2Be gave her the shots intermuscular and in her front 'quarter' instead of her hind legs. He prefers this area for IM injections because it seems as if there is more muscle there and less chance of them kicking while he is giving the injection.

This is where Vet2Be likes to give intramuscular shots.

We used both the J-Vac and the Lysignin vaccinations that are for heifers. We used half the dose used for the heifers since the dairy goats are probably less than half the size of heifers. Vet2Be used a different needle for each injection and put each injection into a different area.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dragon Fly

A few weeks ago Vet2Be found Midnight (the barn cat) chasing a beautiful dragon fly. Of course Vet2Be chased the cat away and brought the dragon fly over to show me. It is beautiful and I thought I would share it with you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mixed Up Chicken

Just a quick post about our mixed up chicken. (S)he's cute, but she hangs out with the turkeys still. (S)he won't have anything to do with the other chickens. Hopefully we will find out soon if (s)he is a rooster or a hen! Roosters don't get to stay here long since we already have two. But hens can hang out for quite a while!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Daisy's Bad Haircut

Here is a photo of Daisy right after we hacked her fleece off. I wish I had gotten a before photo so you could see how much she had rolled in the pasture! She was full of foxtails, dirt, grass, hay, and sticks. It didn't get really bad until we had so much rain in June. I'm glad she'll grow another fleece! I hope to spin it one day since it is so soft and beautiful.

Poor thing, she is probably very embarrassed by her haircut! But I am sure she appreciates having less of a coat for the rest of the summer. Hopefully we will be able to even her out soon.

Here is a photo of our llama chute. Nothing spectacular. My friend, who gave Vet2Be the llama, also gave us their chute. They had gotten it for free from someone else and never used it. It was a bit big for Daisy, but we liked the idea that she could stand up in it and that we didn't have to stretch her out on the floor.

Udder Rash

Ginger, Vet2Be's favorite goat, has had a rash on her udder for more than two months. It hasn't gotten worse, and it hasn't gotten better. None of the other goats have it.

We tried Fura-zone Ointment for a week... no change.

We tried Blu-Kote spray for a week... no change (except she had a blue udder for a week!)

We tried Colloidal Siver for a week... still no change.

We tried Neosporin for a week... yup, no change.

We even tried 7% Iodine for a week.... nothing.

Our next course of action will be mastitis vaccinations. She doesn't have any symptoms of mastitis, but the J-Vac is a vaccination information says it is effective against E. coli mastitis, and the Lysigin is said to be effective against Staph aureus. So, maybe Ginger has something on the inside that is manifesting itself on the outside of her udder.

The rash on Ginger's udder. It doesn't affect her milk production. She is still milking between 6 and 7 pounds per milking, but it bothers Vet2Be and me that we can't get rid of it and don't know what it is.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Healthy Poultry

I found this link in an ad in the current Hobby Farms magazine. I thought some of you might find it useful, too. (Hobby Farms is one of my favorite magazines.)

Biosecurity for Birds
"Biosecurity For Birds is an initiative to help you keep your birds healthy. On this website, you will find useful information about infectious bird diseases such as avian influenza (AI) and exotic Newcastle disease (END), as well as important information on backyard biosecurity practices you can use in your everyday routine of caring for your birds."

You can pick and choose between quite a few different materials to learn how to recognize signs of infectious poultry diseases and ways to keep your birds healthy. It is all free--just pick the materials that you would like, and they send it to you. Well, not totally free, I'm sure that it is paid for with tax dollars.

I'll post when I receive my materials and let you know what I think of everything.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hive Check!

Vet2Be and Hubby went to check the hive today. They added a Ross Round super 2 weeks ago. The bees have been so busy that the comb is 70% drawn out on that super already! The Ross Round frames are really fun! They are round so when the bees are done filling them with honey, Hubby and Vet2Be will take out the round honey-comb and it will be ready to sell. A Ross Round is a about 5-3/4" deep.

They added another medium super today. A medium super is one of the white boxes that sit on the beehive, just shorter than the deep boxes. They are 6-5/8' deep. They hold the same number of frames (8 or 10 depending on the size of your hive) as the deep supers (or deep hive body which is 9-5/8" deep), but they don't weigh as much when they are full of honey. When full of honey a medium super can weigh about 40 pounds.

Interested in building your own hive? Look at Bee There are plans there for different styles of hives, extractors, solar wax melters, plus lots of information on raising bees. Interested in learning more about bees? Check here:

Next thing on the list to buy will be a honey extractor. We'll need that within a month or so when it is time to harvest the honey.

Even though we put the bees in the 'wrong place' this year, they are doing extremely well. The hive population is bigger than expected, they are producing more honey and wax than expected, and they don't seem to have any trouble keeping cool in the hot desert summer.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Comfort Shawl

I finished the first of three Comfort Shawls in memory of my mother. This one is white because she used to wear a white, gauzy, flowing outfit and dance through the room. She was kinda kooky, but lovable.

A Comfort Shawl is very simple to make. I used the pattern that says to knit 3, purl 3 for this shawl. But I have also made shawls that are knit every row, making the shawl in garter stitch.

They are also called: Prayer Shawls, Peace Shawls, or Mantles. Here is a link to Prayer Shawl Ministry. This white Comfort Shawl will be donated to the First Congregational Church in Watertown, CT. Many churches have a Prayer Shawl Ministry. Check to see if yours does, it is a wonderful way to donate time to someone in need. If you google 'prayer shawl pattern' you will find a number of sites that have free patterns and ideas for these lovely gifts of comfort.

I decided to make three in memory of my mother for a number of reasons. My sister's church gave her and my nephew each a shawl when my nephew was diagnosed with Crohn's disease earlier this year, the first shawl will go there. My other sister said that her church handed shawls out to those in need, too, the second will go there (it is a lovely lavender color--my mom loved lavender.) The third shawl will go to my Aunt who was the one who taught me about Prayer Shawls a number of years ago. She will pass it on to someone in need. That one will probably be green, because I love green.

Although the church I belong to does not have a Shawl Ministry, it does many other good things in our community and throughout the world. Since I know that shawls comfort and help those in need, and I know that God loves everyone no matter what church they belong to, I am happy to knit shawls for others and hopefully bring joy to someone who is in need.

Here is another photo of the shawl laid across the bottom of my bed. Stinky (the cat) decided she liked it, too. Guess I'll have to wash it before I send it off just in case the recipient is allergic to cats! You can see that the shawl is just a large rectangle
--easy, peasy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

GoD And DoG by WJ Francisco

Just what I needed to see today!

GoD And DoG by WJ Francisco

I haven't watched all her videos, but I needed something uplifting today.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Udder Rash

Ginger, Vet2Be's favorite goat, has had a rash on her udder for more than two months. It hasn't gotten worse, and it hasn't gotten better. None of the other goats have it.

We tried Fura-zone Ointment for a week... no change.

We tried Blu-Kote spray for a week... no change (except she had a blue udder for a week!)

We tried Colloidal Siver for a week... still no change.

We tried Neosporin for a week... yup, no change.

We even tried 7% Iodine for a week.... nothing.

Our next course of action will be mastitis vaccinations. She doesn't have any symptoms of mastitis, but the J-Vac is a vaccination supposed to be effective against E. coli mastitis, and the Lysigin is supposed to be effective against Staph aureus. So, maybe she has something on the inside that is manifesting itself on the outside of her udder.

The rash on Ginger's udder. It doesn't affect her milk production. She is still milking between 6 and 7 pounds per milking, but it bothers Vet2Be and me that we can't get rid of it and don't know what it is.