Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Goodbye Ginger and Janice

We had the vet come out to put down two goats yesterday.

The first was Ginger. She was Vet2Be's first goat. He bought her when he was 10 with money that he had saved. She was an Alpine x Saanen cross and was one of those goats that you just love. She was sweet and friendly and even a 2 year old could lead her by the collar. A 'wonder goat' if there ever was one.

And besides being so sweet, she gave alot of milk. We milked her through for 3 years. She gave at least 1/2 gallon a day when we were milking her once a day through the winter. Milking twice a day she usually gave more than a gallon.

About 3 years ago she had an allergic reaction on her udder to something. It never went away. Not only did it never go away, some of the sores continued to grow. Then the sores turned necrotic. The vet came out about 2 months ago and surgically removed the necrotic tissue. She was planning on coming back within 6 weeks to remove the rest of the tissue and try some reconstructive surgery. We would never have bred her again, but she was such a sweet goat that we wanted to give her this chance.

But it didn't work. Within a month the mass on her udder was bigger than what the vet removed, and another sore was growing quickly om the other side of her udder.

We did all we could do for 3 years, and it was time to let her go.

Janice was a Saanen. A sweet goat, but not great back feet. We nick-named her "Grandma Goat" because she didn't mind taking care of any of the other kids. She would let kids snack whether they were hers or not.

This spring she had two beautiful kids. But something happened to her hips during delivery and her hips were all 'wonky'. That's the best way to describe it.

She managed okay during the summer, but had a hard time getting up and down. She limped alot. She would sit out in the pasture to graze instead of wandering and grazing. She couldn't get up on her back legs to head butt anyone, either. It's sad when goats can't play.

We haven't had an especially cold winter, but it was still taking it's toll on her. She got very thin. It was time to let her go, too.

I don't have any photos today. They all ended up on a storage/back up hard drive. I'll have to dig it out of the box and post photos later.

Although the day was very sad, both Vet2Be and I cried alot, we were glad that the two people who loved them best were with them when they crossed the 'rainbow bridge'.

We'll miss those two.

They were very special to us.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Preemie Hats Machine Knitting Pattern

These are the hats that Spunky knit for the NICU.

The machine we use is a Silver Reed LK150. It's my most versatile machine and I love it.

The pattern makes a hat that is 10" in circumference and it fit QT's head when he was born 6 weeks early.  Here's a great chart if you want to make a different size preemie hat. Bev's Country Cottage.

Tension 1
Gauge: 5 st/ inch, 9 rows/ inch using fingering weight yarn. We used leftover scraps of baby yarn and sock yarn.

Cast on with scrap and ravel every other needle 52 stitches.
Knit 14 rows, hang hem on empty needles.
Knit 20 rows (you can add a pattern here)
Transfer stitches to every other needle. Put empty needles in non-working postion.
Knit 6 rows
Cut yarn with a 12" tail. Using a double eyelet tool (or chenille needle) remove stitches onto tail. Don't gather yet.
Seam about 2" of the back of the hat, then pull and tighten the hole at the top.
Finish seaming and bury yarns in brim.

We decided to not knot the yarn, every loose end is either woven in or buried in the seam.

Please let me know if you have any trouble with the pattern. I'll do my best to clarify or help.