Sunday, April 25, 2010

Small Town Living

A friend sent me the link to this delightful blog called Small Town Living.

They had a wonderful article on growing up in a small town.

I grew up in a small town, too. Although my small town wasn't as small as the author's, sometimes I reminisce about playing for hours in the shady woods behind our house or cross-country skiing through the same woods in the winter.

We moved to our small town almost 20 years ago. It was more of a rural farming community with some homes in small sub-divisions. Our older children would often play in the fields. We used to shoot off rockets, fly kites, and go for walks in those same fields. Our daughters loved playing down in 'the gully'. The river would run through the gully in the spring and there was splashing and playing for hours! In the heat of the summer there were trees to climb and shady places to sit and play.

Once they found a kitten and kept it as a pet for a while. We didn't know about it because it was down in the gully. They kept the secret for many years!

Our daughter used to ride her horse through the paths in the field and then up into the mountains.

They would walk down the road to the gas station and get penny candy--really! The store still had penny candy in 1992! When the children got to the four-way-stop, the cars always let the kids walk across the street, making sure they made it to the other side safely. They lived here, too, and let their children do the same. The gas station was the only business in town.

That's why we moved here. Space, safety, room to roam for the children, and people looking out for each other.

Like most small towns, ours has exploded. There are no more fields. They are now filled with big, fancy homes and sub-divisions with restrictive covenants. There are no spaces for the kids to roam, and there is no opportunity for them to walk to the gas station for penny candy.

It's a big town now, with big ideas. Big grocery stores, banks, fast food stores, and a new five-lane highway being built at the end of our block. The four-way stop has a traffic light with a left turn arrow. In fact, there are now four lights in our town. There are doctors offices, dentist offices, a tanning salon, a hair salon. Domino's Pizza and Papa Murphy's Pizza both have store fronts here! And they are expanding the mall on the north side of the road. Our small town has come far in the last 15 years. From one small gas station, to over 50 businesses and store fronts.

We have a beautiful barn, which according to the new city ordinances, would never be allowed to be built. It is too tall and has too many square feet for our little, old house. We now have to apply for permits to put in or replace fencing, to put a shed on the property, or to do any number of other small improvements, too. Often it feels as if it is the 'new' people versus the 'old' people when it comes to city expansion. Most of the people who live in older homes moved here for the same reasons we did. Most of the new people have moved here to 'live in the country' and to have a reasonable commute to the two large cities nearby.

When we moved here there was one elementary school. Now there are two junior high schools, a high school, and four elementary schools.

Some days I think it is time to move because I feel so claustrophobic. Most days I have to wait about 7 minutes before I can turn left out of our street because of the traffic.

But, most days I am still grateful that we live here because we have such good friends and neighbors. Our kids are still relatively safe, and we love the church we attend. Maybe one day it will be time to move, but for now I will enjoy the good people around me and the little farm hidden in our back-yard.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Visiting the Dairy

Vet2Be gets to work with a vet who owns a goat dairy. He only works up there once in a while when the vet is in town. He lives and works in another state and his family runs the dairy.

He is a great guy! Very nice and kind. And he loves goats.

This past weekend Vet2Be got to trim udders with him. And he also got to see an ultra-sound. One of our friends loves to work at the dairy when the vet is there, too. She asked if the vet would check to see if her goats were really pregnant, so he got out his ultra-sound and headed out to her place.

Vet2Be was invited to come along. The vet is really nice, while he was checking the doe he saw that she was pregnant! Our friend was really excited, but what excited Vet2Be more was that he got a chance to look into the ultrasound machine (it had goggles, not a screen, for the ultrasound machine) and see the unborn kid, too.

What an awesome weekend for Vet2Be.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Janice and Copper

Janice, one of Vet2Be's sweet, old goats, has always had a very hard time keeping up on her copper. Her nose is bald and she always has a bald spot on her head.

Lately she has had a harder time jumping up on the milk stand, too. Poor girl! She is such a sweet goat and is a wonderful mom. She'll let any baby nurse from her!

We've bolused her a number of times with the Copasure copper bolus that we've re-dosed into smaller capsules. It doesn't seem to matter how many we give her, she just doesn't get hair on her nose! In the spring she sheds until she is almost bald, too. The first year it really worried me. But we've had her for a few years now and it was normal for her to shed like that, so I didn't worry quite as much.

Hubby mixed up some copper sulfate into some brown sugar. Vet2Be is giving her 3 ml a day now. We'll see if that's enough to get enough copper into her. We can't put the copper sulfate into the water because we have sheep and llamas. They can't tolerate that much copper. The nice thing about having a small herd is that we can manage nutritional needs on an individual basis. That is not something that is possible in a large herd or a commercial operation.

One thing that I noticed within three days was that she has a much easier time jumping up on the milk stand! It is a wonderful sight to see her hop up like she used to.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Growing Projects

Son1 is helping around the farm. It's wonderful! He's 6' 2" tall and can work really hard! He's always been a hard worker and it is nice to have him helping around here again.

Vet2Be is feeling better and received the 'all clear' from the doctor. He's a hard worker, too, but not quite as intense as his big brother!

We also have our un-official foster-son here. He is in the Army Reserves and will be here until he goes to drill. He is trying to find a paying job close by so he can move his wife and son up here. He is helping, too.

The project is long, as projects often are. And one project seems to lead to another, which often happens, too! Son1 and ArmyDad (our un-official foster-son) used the jack hammer that Hubby bought last year to take out the old satellite dish post that has been in the yard since we moved in. That took most of the day. There is a man who recycles metal in our area. He came by that evening and picked up the pipe along with other metal junk we had laying around. The cement is gone, too.

Now we have a hole in the back yard that is covered by a wood board. We are planning on moving a tree into the hole as soon as...

The shed gets moved...

which will happen as soon as we get the dirt moved....

Son1, Vet2Be, and ArmyDad removed the sod from the spot that the shed is going to. We recycled the sod into a spot in the yard where there used to be a free-standing pool for the kids to swim in. Vet2Be is 6' tall now and so the pool is gone.

Our job this week will be to move the dirt into the dry-lot in front of the barn. Eventually this area will be planted in grass so that we can reduce our feed costs next summer.

Son1 is on a business trip this week, so it is up to ArmyDad, Vet2Be, and I to move the dirt. When Son1 gets back we will lay gravel and sand. Then we'll try our hand at laying pavers.

When the pavers are laid, we'll empty the 8' x 10' shed onto the new pad.

More projects will follow moving the shed. The tree will get moved into the hole left by the satellite dish post, the flower bed that the tree came from will be turned into a parking area, all the extra dirt from that flower bed will be moved into the dry lot, and then the dry lot will be tilled and planted with grass.

The projects around here remind me of the book, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie..." because one project always leads to another!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Hypothermia in Kid Goats

We have some goatie friends who live close by. They have two Saanen does, one kidded a few days ago in the wee hours of the morning with triplets. When our friend got to the barn to check on her doe, the little doeling was cold and in need of some care.

They called us late in that evening to see if we had some penicillin because they thought that she might have pneumonia. She was breathing heavily and noisily. The dad came by about 10:40 PM and picked up some penicillin. I gave him a kid sweater to keep the kid warm, too.

I didn't realize that the kid had hypothermia because they had brought it in the house and warmed it up. They didn't know the kid with hypothermia, either. Although they did their best, the little doeling died this morning. We are all so sad! I hate that part of raising goats!

We had a kid with hypothermia a few years ago, for some reason we took care of the kid in the 'right order'. I don't know why, but we were very grateful that we did.

Here is what we do whenever a kid is born:
  1. Dry the kid with clean towels
  2. Blow dry the kid to make sure it is really dry
  3. Put a sweater on the new kid
  4. Make sure the new gets some colostrum from the mother
If the kid doesn't seem interested in eating, then we give it a squirt of Nutri-drench. I noticed a few years ago that the Sheep Nutri-drench and the Goat Nutri-drench both contain the exact same ingredients in the same proportions. I buy whichever is less expensive, but I always check the label to make sure that the manufacturer hasn't changed the formula!

We also provide a plastic dog house in each stall so that the kids can go inside and be a little warmer. I find them at yard sales and thrift stores for around $20. I suppose you could build something out of straw bales with a wood board on top that would serve the same purpose. We've found that keeping kids warm is extremely important!

When Mandy (the bum lamb) came to us, she was in a box that also had some soda bottles filled with hot water because she was hypothermic when she was found. Her owners spent two hours warming her up with a blow-dryer before they could feed her. After they thought she was stabilized, they put her in a box with the 'hot water bottles' and brought her up to us. She is doing fine!

Here is a link to some more information in case you ever run into hypothermia in newborns:
Goat World

There are also many great articles on health problems of neonates on the Maryland Small Ruminant Page:
Maryland Small Ruminant Page

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just Part of Raising Animals

This morning we loaded Whitey and Long-tail into the truck and said good-bye to them. They are off to the meat processing place about 40 minutes south of us. We still can't bring ourselves to butcher our own meat. So we send them off and get them back in little, white packages. They really are little packages, too! We have Navajo Churro sheep and they tend to be a bit smaller than other breeds. They are easy to take care of, so that's why we like them. And their meat is very, very good.

Long-tail was a ewe and not as big as Whitey. Whitey was a wether (or whatever you call a neutered sheep.) Whitey was bottle raised, so he was easy to catch. Long-tail took a few minutes longer to trap and get in the truck.

Sometimes it's hard to raise your own meat. It's hard to say good-by to an animal that we've raised even when we know the reason we are raising it. We don't even process the old hens--we just give them away to someone who wants them!

Vet2Be shared some of his lamb with some friends last week. They homeschool and wanted to teach their children about the Jews and Passover. A few days later they asked if Vet2Be would mind raising a lamb for them to put in the freezer next year because the lamb tasted so good. He has done that before. But it doesn't make him any money! Most of the time the people pay for the processing, but tend to forget that it costs money to feed the animal and raise it up. I suppose that if we butchered in the fall it would cost much less because they are raised on pasture, but the Churros seem to need a full year (or more) to grow big enough.

On the bright side, Mandy, the bum lamb, is doing well. She isn't on the processing list. We will hopefully breed her this fall and start using her lambs for the freezer. We have good friends that own rams and are willing to let us breed her. One of their rams throws great colors, the other tends to throw size. We haven't decided which to try yet.

We aren't processing Blackie, either. He's too friendly and too small. Since we love having visitors, we keep the animals that are friendly. We like to give visitors a chance to get as close as possible to the animals. Blackie loves people and loves attention. He was great at the Live Nativity we took him to in December. I'm sure that Vet2Be will be invited to another one this year, just because the sheep he brings love people.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Vaccination Fridays

Friday is our 'shot' day. Unless we have to give shots at different intervals we decided that we would label Fridays as the day we would do vaccinations. Picking a specific day will make it easier to remember. Two Fridays ago we started the J-Vac vaccine for mastitis on all the does except for Ginger. She has been milking 3/4 gallon or more each morning all winter. She doesn't seem to have a problem with mastitis. If we ever decide to freshen her again, we will probably give her a course of vaccinations, too.

However, we had a bit of a mastitis scare with Clover and Janice when they kidded this year and immediately started them on PenG. I don't mess around with mastitis anymore after almost losing one doe two years ago. The day I saw a speck of blood in Clover's milk, she got two shots of 10cc PenG, followed by 4 days of two shots of 6cc PenG. When Janice showed the same signs after she kidded, she got the same treatment.

As soon as they were done with their antibiotics we decided to treat them with two different mastitis vaccinations that are used for heifers. We also decided to vaccinate both Kathy and Pearl, the two yearling does due to kid in April.

The first vaccination we used was J-Vac for mastitis caused by e. coli. It seems to cause quite a bit of discomfort for some of the does. When Clover received her second dose this Friday, she was very sore in the evening. Sore enough that Vet2Be gave her some ibuprofen stuffed inside a strawberry. We used this reference (Fiasco Farm) to decide what we could give her for pain since we don't have any Banamine on hand. However, this morning on Goat-Link I read that you should never give a goat anything other than aspirin. Both sites differ in the recommended dosage of aspirin. From now on, we will treat according to the Goat-Link site as that recommendation seems more reasonable. Clover is fine, by the way--she didn't seem to have a problem with the ibuprofen.

The other vaccination we are using is called Lysigin. It is to vaccinate against mastitis caused by staph. I am most worried about Kathy since her mother is the one that had trouble with mastitis. The 'old wives tale' is that if the mother has trouble with mastitis the daughter will, too.

We also gave Ginger a second shot of IvomecPlus to hopefully get rid of the mites that have been bothering her udder for months. We have not been successful with any other treatments we have used. We waited to use the IvomecPlus because the milk withdrawl seems to be so long. We wanted to make sure we had milk from the other two does before we had to throw away Ginger's milk. We found unofficial withdrawl information on Goat-Link.

We used Safeguard 10% Oral on all the other goats. We haven't seen any mites on them so we didn't feel the need to use anything stronger than Safeguard. However, we will worm twice more as per the Goat-Link site for a total of three times, each dose will be given about 10 days apart (throws off our Friday idea, but we will write on the barn calendar when the next doses are due so they are easy to remember.) The label directions say 'not for use in lactating animals'. Almost every reference on the internet tell me that using Safeguard is fine in lactating animals and that there is no milk withdrawl. We have not had any problems drinking the milk after we have used Safeguard, and there is not weird taste in the milk either.

It would be nice to have a veterinarian close by that knows about goats and sheep! At this point, we often research on the internet to learn what experienced goat owners have done in any situation.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's!

We woke up this morning to snow on the ground! It is a beautiful site--no mud!

This afternoon the snow is gone except for a few places on the north side of rocks and trees. It's nice to see it in the morning and have it gone in the afternoon.

Poor little Rosie (one of the goat kids) was shivering when I went out this morning. I covered her with my coat for a little while. I think she was cold because she wasn't really used to the snow and blowing. She still has her sweater on, although it is getting a bit small for her. My good friend said that someone did a study with sheep and found that it was helpful to keep them in 'lammie jammies' or 'wool-overs' until they were a month old. After a month, there was no difference in growth pattern. We've always kept sweaters on for two weeks. This year we're leaving them on for a month.

It was a nice morning for a fire in the woodstove! Son1 lit the fire, and Vet2Be and I enjoyed the warmth. Vet2Be has lots of work to catch up on. He's still a bit sick, but he is on the mend! His cough is almost gone. I milked on time this morning, but being the mean mom that I am, I made the animals wait until Vet2Be could get out to feed and water them. Don't worry too much, they all had food and plenty of water from last night. I think it is good for Vet2Be to work a bit when he is sick. Most adults have to, and if he wants to be a veterinarian, he's going to have to learn how to work when he is a little sick.