Monday, September 28, 2009

Farmville addiction

So I have to confess that I have become addicted to Farmville. Tom really does not get it (and I am not sure I do either). But I think it's because to me Farmville represents the idyllic, mythical aspects of farming without the dirt, work, tragedy and odors. So it is a nice break for me from the hard work and emotions I have been dealing with lately. The side benefit I have found is that I get to play with people from all over the world. There's 1,000,000 players so I guess I am not the only one who likes this kind of escape. Check it out at Farmville

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Winterizing the herds

So we stopped working on the barn for a long day to winterizing- the critters that is. The first step is shearing the animals that need it before the cold temperatures hit. There's 5 sheep that need shearing twice per year: our double-coated mioget sheep (before and after)and our Finn-Gotland sheep.

Then there are our fiber goats that need twice per year shearing: our Angora goats
and our Cashmere (before and after).

Then all of the sheep need crutched,
all the sheep, goats and cows need Nasalgen vaccine,
all the sheep and goats need their hooves trimmed,
and the breeding rams and bucks need their junk checked.

Now with sorer backs we can work on the barn some more- yeah!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sunrise on the pasture

What a gorgeous sunrise this morning while I was doing the animals chores! Now we are off to "Do the Puyallup": eat scones, caramel apples and fried stuff, look at animals and crafts, go on rides, and see a concert- all in the sunshine!!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

If it's not one thing....

Things keep getting in the way of our working on the barn. First was that when I went to catch our new buck in his quarantine pen to trim his hooves and deworm him, I found out he can jump over our pen's door. So he was loose among the goats for quite a while, and I was chasing him around, devising tricks to catch him. After banging my knee pretty good and getting plenty of exercise, I finally caught him after about an hour. Then I drug him back to the pan, put him in the stanchion, and nailed more wood above the door.

The next day, I noticed Lou's broken horn was oozing quite a bit of blood. I did not want him to bleed out slowly so I caught him, trimmed the tissue, used blood stop and pressure for quite a while. No luck there. and I managed to get soaked with his blood. Finally I went to the house, scavenged our first aid kits and devised a pressure bandage which seems to be working. Good thing too because the next plan was cauterizing it, no fun for either of us.
Next day this storm came a brewing. Slowed progress on the barn even more.
This is one wall of the hay loft we managed to get up despite all the delays.
Here's a view from the outside:
No much progress, huh?

I forgot to include the INJURY REPORT: On top of the bruised knee mentioned above, I have managed to cut myself three times (nothing major) on the edges of the tin sheets. I thought without a hammer I couldn't hurt myself, but I was wrong. The klutz strikes again.

The east wall of the hay loft is done! Doesn't look like much, but it'll keep the rain and wind out,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Toward a more positive farm blog...

I am trying to focus on the positive things here. First is that our woefully neglected garden is producing an abundance of food. This is an example of one days harvest- there's ears of corn on the bottom of the bag, green and purple beans in the next layer and tomatoes on top.
Here's 5 tons of hay going into our new hay loft.
And here's my new breeding buck Dean.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

More trauma on the farm

Physical and emotional that is.....

So yesterday I was canning peaches that were overdue,, and I heard the dogs barking. Nothing unusual so I finished my task in 5 minutes and went out to check on the commotion. I found what I thought was a dead goat hidden in the grape vines. When I kicked the two dogs away I found our pygmy goat Fern there, breathing hard but alive and under and behind her was our baby goat PeeWee. I kicked the dogs away some more and hauled Fern and PeeWee through the nearby gate. PeeWee was just fine, acted like nothing happened just a spot of blood on one ear. Fern was breathing very hard, looked bloated, and did not want to stand. She eventually walked wobbling twice to get farther away from the dogs near the fence. I could not find any wounds on her, just a 1 cm hard knot, under her skin near her left shoulder. She was soaked with saliva though. I called the vet. I did not see a way I could take her by myself through the dogs and load her into my commuting car, and the vet could not come out until 7PM. So I watched her and investigated. I found the front gate had a hole dug under it from the outside, I presume by our digging dog Josie. The goats must have gotten out this hole into the front yard to get to the hazelnuts, blueberries and comfrey on the other side and been scared by the dogs and ran toward the other gate where I found them. Her breathing improved, but her bloating looked worse, and she still would not stand or walk. I was scared to give her any oral medications while she was breathing so fast. She cried out twice like she was in pain. As time went on her eye lids and ears looked droopy. She did nibble some grain I offered to her so I thought that was a good sign. Tom came home at 4:30 so we loaded her into the truck and brought her into the vet. He examined her and felt that she had a broken shoulder blade, a swollen knee and swollen rumen. Her lungs sounded good and he did not think she had any internal injuries. So she received banamine, activated charcoal (in case she ate something she should not have) and magnalax. She was brought back home and placed in a pen on straw. She was not interested in eating hay at that point. Overnight she seemed to do OK, she had moved in the pen, but was not active. Then Tom came home from work today and found her dead.

I feel sick about this in so many ways that I will not belabor here. She saved PeeWee's life for which I am so thankful, but I hate that she suffered and died in the process. The two dogs involved are going to need to go to new homes without farm animals. We already graveled the gate better where the hole was dug. This is again the heart breaking side of having animals, but I am not sure how many times my heart can break anymore.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Crabapple trip

For Christmas my mother and step-dad gave us a gift certificate to Sun Mountain Lodge. So we used it last night on our way to our annual crabapple picking. So we had an extravagant start to our journey. Here's the lodge:

Here's the view from our room:
So after an amazing dinner and great night's sleep, we headed to Orondo to pick crabapples. Our trip was complicated by a large thunderstorm in the morning and the fact that the Beebe bridge we normally take is closed after a tragic accident. But we made it there, and here's the orchard:
And here's a crabapple tree:
And here's my car full of 206# of crabapples (and 2 boxes of peaches for canning):
And here's Orondo's incredible salsa and apple slushee for the ride home:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Barn, rabbit hutch, pheasant, and lamb news

The barn roof is basically done!!! We have to get on our long extension ladder to finish both ends is all. The next steps after that will be putting walls and windows in the loft walls and doors on the barn.

I also managed to finish the rabbit hutches finally. They look a little homemade (which they are) but they are colorful. They are also sturdier and should last longer. Hopefully the bunnies are happy with their updated digs.I had an awful day yesterday. It started out OK with gardening, selling Dinah to Eliz, and catching Dixie and Jemima. Then I got tin sheets ready to finish the barn and did the animal chores. I moved the sheep and goats out back where there is plenty of grass. So far, so good and I had time to mow the front pasture that is being taken over by thistles. So I am on the tractor mowing in the sunny warm weather which is one of my funnest things to do- believe it or not. I noticed our loose pheasant hen hanging out where I was mowing but did not think much of it- just assumed she was eating the bugs that were being disturbed with the mower. Then she ran into the thistles ahead of the mower but again did not think much of it- assumed she was hiding in the tall thistle when I made passes near her. Then I almost ran her over- had to stop the tractor to make sure I did not hit her. I did not notice anything so kept mowing. On the next circle I noticed a dead chick. Then I finally got off the tractor and took a closer look. I had mowed her nest and 5 very young pheasant chicks with it. I was so upset. I had to pick up the dead chicks. There was still one unhatched egg. I tried to make up the nest nice so maybe she would sit on it and get one chick still but she did not. I finally put the egg under one of our broody hens so hopefully there will be one saved. I felt just traumatized the rest of the day. I kept kicking myself for not stopping and looking around more why she was acting so oddly. The thought that she had a nest or chicks never crossed my mind but really should have. I hate being the cause of the deaths of those cute, innocent chicks. It would have been such a pretty sight seeing them walking around after their mother in the pasture. I just feel sick.

Anyway, Tom came home from work and we finished the barn roof then I went for a long drive. Came home, ate dinner and went to bed early with a book. I do not think Tom really appreciated how hard I took this. Today I checked out my two ewe lambs which helped a little to cheer me up. At least I do not kill every young cute animal here.

Dixie's fleece:
Dixie's face:
Jemima's fleece:
Jemima's face:

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"