Friday, April 23, 2010

Myrtle bottles a lamb!

When I am needing to go shopping, I usually call Myrtle, my widow friend, to see if she would like to come along - she always does. Myrtle will take any opportunity she can to get out of her apartment do some shopping. :) Even at 101, she still likes to keep busy! (Take note!) :)
Well, this particular day, I was going to pick her up in the afternoon, and it happened to be the same day Milllie decided to have her kids. So I called Myrtle and explained that I was going to be late because our goat had had her kids and I needed to help my children (the three youngest, Mike and Brandon were both working) milk Millie and bottle feed the new kids.
When Myrtle found out we were bottle feeding, she said she would just love to come over and help us. :) When she lived on the farm, they had lambs, and she had bottle fed many of them. So we took care of the kids, and planned to have Myrtle help with bottle feeding the lambs.
After I took her shopping, we came back to the house, drove straight out to the barn, and Emily had a bottle ready and waiting for Myrtle.
She fed that lamb like an old pro, enjoying every minute of it too! :) We showed her the new kids, and the kittens. It was fun to see her enjoying herself so much.
All I can say is...... I hope I am still bottling lambs at 101! :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Your Chickens are here! by, Emily

Last Thursday we had our first batch of broiler chicks arrive in the mail! There is still time for you to order your chickens. By the time butchering day comes, these delicious birds will be fat, plump, and juicy and waiting for your dinner table! Order your broilers today!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


(FYI- Most of our posts get published about a week late) :)

We were anxiously waiting for Milly to have her babies. She was getting huge, and I was checking on her regularly. On Tuesday, which is the day we have piano lessons, I was worried she was going to have them while we were gone. On the way home, when we were about three miles away, Dad told me, "When we get home you better get on your overalls." Quickly I asked, "Why?" "Because you might have to go deliver some goats," he replied calmly. To make a long story short, that two or three mile drive took FOREVER, and Dad was wishing he hadn't told me so soon, I was so anxious! :)

When we got home I had my overalls on and was out at the barn in record time. Milly was definitely looking ready, but not having any contractions. We continued to watch her, but she did not have any kids that day.

The next day, Wednesday, I continued to check on her, but didn't really think she was in labor or anything. Around 11:00am, (it had been an hour since I'd checked on Milly last) I figured I might as well go check on her, even though I was sure there was nothing to see... so Jonny and I zoomed out. Walking around the corner, there stood Milly LICKING A KID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Another kid lay behind her still completely in its water bag, whereas the other one was all cleaned off. I yelled and went running into the pen. I commanded :) Jonny to bring me a towel, and quickly broke the water bag on the kid, then wiped off its nose, while Jonny rode back up to the house to get Mom.

The kid that had been born first and was white with a black stripe going down it's back, black around it's eyes, and legs that were half black. Holding my breath, I nervously "checked" it. A boy...... :( (Anyone want to save an adorable baby from the butcher shop.... pleeeeeeeease?)

Then I looked at the next one, who was doing well and was a tan/brown color with black legs. I gulped. Another boy. After I took care of it, I told Milly, "Well, I'm ready for #3!" Milly's bottom was literally open as she stood there and I told Jonny "I think I see another water bag! Probably two minutes or less after we got there, she began to scrunch up as she stood there, and the water bag came pushing forward and out. I held the fast approaching kid, so that it wouldn't fall while Milly pushed, regardless of the fact I was wearing my good house clothes. ( I was not thinking about keeping my clothes clean at the moment! :)) When it was almost out, I heard the door bang, "You better hurry if you wanna see the third one!" I hollered, but he just missed it!

The baby came out in two or three quick pushes, and I gently set it down, breaking the water bag and wiping off it's nose. "Well, Milly, I'm ready for number four!" I said, jokingly.

Then Ben arrived and as I was taking care of number three, who most happily was a girl (yaaay!!!), MILLY STARTED PUSHING AGAIN!!! (I didn't think she seriously had a number four!) Out came ONE black leg of a kid, and I realized it was a BACK leg. I was a little worried, as Milly took it to her head not to push, when she needed to do it right then! "I have a feeling it's not gonna be alive," Ben said, while I begged Milly to start pushing. "NO, this kid is JUST FINE!" I told him. I wouldn't let myself think that it would be dead. "The power of positive thinking!" I told myself! :) "OK, Ben, go get Mom QUICK!" I told him, trying to remember what I read in the goat book about what to do if one leg comes out. Right when I was getting desperate, Milly pushed and out came the breach baby! I held it and setting it down in the straw, I anxiously wiped off it's nose. For five seconds, it didn't move, but then it shook it's head. "IT'S ALIVE!" I hollered! I was SO thrilled! This one was white with a black stripe going down her back, with tan around her back half too! I anxiously looked at her. A GIRL! YES! The other girl was half black, half white, with a black stripe running down her. I couldn't believe it! FOUR!!!!!!! Thrilled, I gave Milly a big hug and kiss as a reward. :)

Y0u may be wondering how in the world she had FOUR babies. Before Milly was bred, we were consistently feeding her RED RASPBERRY leaves. I had read in a magazine that it helps goats have lots of milk, easy births, and three, or even four babies! As I held the fourth kid, I thought "Wow, I am SOLD on this red raspberry stuff!" (Now I'm feeding it to the sheep and all the rest of the goats too. )

We are bottle feeding the kids again this year. We feed them Milly's milk, of course. We just milk her and give it straight to the kids, no heating up or anything. That way they are EXTREMELY friendly (like little puppies!), and the girls will be easy to handle as milk goats, because they're so tame. We named the white boy Scottie, the tan boy, who is super fluffy and absolutely ADORABLE, Dickie, the black and white girl is Rosie, and we are still trying to decide on the last one..... any suggestions? We'd like to stick with the "ee" on the end. :) ALSO, as I said before, the baby boys, in about ten days, will leave to go be raised on a farm... and to eventually be butchered. They will make WONDERFUL pets, or Daddy goats! Leave a comment or call us if your interested!!!

The kids are all doing great. As for me, I'm SOOOOOOO enjoying my SEVEN bottle babies! (Three lambs, four kids!) Every morning I milk the two goats and bottle them all. I even enjoy getting up at two o'clock in the morning to bottle them! :) ahhh..... this is the life! :)

P.S. Another one of my short posts! :) LOL

Sunday, April 18, 2010


We were so grateful to hear the rain on the roof last night. We need it so badly. This morning when I went for my walk, I noticed that the driveway was covered with night crawlers. I ran back into the house and coaxed Ben and Jonny out of bed, telling them to get buckets of dirt and to come pick up worms for fishing. So by 7:30 a.m. they had their beds made, teeth brushed, and were dressed and out on the driveway picking up worms. :) Now if I had told them we were starting math at that time I probably wouldn't have gotten that good of a response, but it's easy to obey when it's something fun to do! :)

Now we need to go fishing! :)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Shearing Party

Every year around this time we have our sheep sheared, before lambing season begins. To our surprise we had some sheep that had their lambs while they still had all their wool, not ideal. It makes it harder for the lambs to nurse, and sometimes they suck on the wool, which can give them "wool balls".
This year we had a little sheep shearing party. My mom and sister were here, as well as some others who were able to come at the last minute. For as many years as we have seen it done, it is still so interesting to watch.
Our sheep shearer is amazingly fast and is very good at what he does. He is also full of interesting facts, and just fun to talk to. With all the knowledge he has on sheep, we try to get him to predict the due dates of our ewes, even thought we do have a rough idea of when they are due. Most of the time he is pretty accurate.
People always ask us what we do with all the wool. Well, many times we have just sold it back to the shearer, but there have been years where we did some fun things with the wool. We had a wool mattress pad cover made for our bed and two pillows. Another time we had the wool cleaned , carded, and rolled into batts. I have made pillows and quilts with that wool, and plan to make quilts for my children some day, as I still have a lot of it left.
I have to say that I really enjoy having sheep. As a child, growing up in the city, I hated animals. I was afraid of everything that moved! To this day, I am still afraid of dogs. My dog is the only dog I am not afraid of, and to my own surprise, I actually really love him. :) But sheep are never vicious and mean like a dog can be. They are dumb and can drive you crazy with their skittish behavior, but they are easy to be around, especially for children. They also taste great! :) It's probably hard for you to believe that I can say that about an animal that I like, but when you raise an animal for the purpose of food, and you take good care of it, giving it a good life, it's not hard to butcher it and eat it. :) It's all part of farm life. :)

Friday, April 9, 2010

Baby Lambs! by, Emily

Last Friday, me and Aunt Nadine, who was staying with us, went out and milked together at around nine o'clock. (We milked late) After putting Belle back into the pen, I quickly shone my flashlight out into the sheep yard.... not expecting anything, but I did for some reason. The beams fell onto a white blob of something small laying out there with a ewe! I immediately started hollering to Aunty, and overcoming my fear of our gigantic and mean ram, I hopped over the fence, ran right past him, and in a few bounds was in the yard with Nettie, a first time mom, and twin lambs! Aunty was right behind me, and she took one of the lambs, while I took the other. We brought them back, but Nettie, being a pretty skittish ewe, and being it's her first time, was too scared to follow us, so I pulled and Aunty pushed, and we got her into a lambing pen. At this point I raced up to the house, dashed in, and hollered "LAMBS!" and was back out in the barn in the shake of a lambs tail! :)

The lambs, who turned out to both be girls, were really chilled, although they were both dried off well. But after some help nursing, they were doing great. The larger one had an adorable black spot on her leg.... so cute! She weighed barely six pounds, while her little sister (and I mean LITTLE sister!) was four and a half pounds!!!!!!!! The smallest lamb we have ever had! And she is small! We named the one with the black spot on her leg Nay-Nay, because she's the one that Aunty carried in, and Aunty's nick-name is Nay-Nay! :) (Aunty also has black hair, which goes well with the lambs black spot :)) Then we figured we'd better name the other one after Mom (being Aunty's sister) ... so we named it, instead of Mindy, Nindy.... so it's Nay-Nay and Nindy..... and the Mom is Nettie! :) They are doing GREAT now! They love to run around the pen, jumping around and doing all sorts of hilarious antics! :)

Friday night we also put Nancy, (who is the Grandma of Nay-Nay and Nindy) in a separate pen, because her udder was swelling up considerably, and she was absolutely GIGANTIC! I was sure she must have four babies! The next day I checked on her about every half-hour at least, because I was SURE she was laboring. That night around ten o'clock, me and Dad went out to check one her one last time before I went to bed. As I walked over to the pen, I saw that she was licking a LAMB!!! I yelled, "She's got a lamb!" Then raced up to the house to get everyone, coming back with Aunty on the back of my four wheeler. But we were about 30 seconds too late.... number two had arrived in a timely fashion! The first one was a girl, and the second one was a boy. After a LONG time of laboring, and what seemed to be a hard time, Nancy delivered another boy. She licked him off, and promptly began pushing AGAIN! This one was obviously breech, and Nancy did not push it all the way out, so when she stood up, Dad gently pulled it out. But SADLY it was not alive. The little guy was full term, but the birth of the third one really took a long time, and it was breech, so it probably had a pinched umbilical cord. We were wondering what to name them, and I suggested names of gems or something of the like, since Nancy's middle name is Pearl. So, we came up with some different, but cute names. The girl is Amethyst, the first boy is Topaz (we had to get pretty creative for the boys!) and the last one is Emerald.:)

Nancy had mastitis last year, though, and only has half an udder to feed three hungry lambs. After a couple days of observation we realized that they were obviously really hungry and not getting enough, so I got out a bottle and warmed up some goats milk. Going out to the barn I started with Amethyst. To my amazement, she latched right on and drank half the bottle!!! (About two cups). Her brother, Topaz, drank almost as much as she did, but Emerald did not drink much. He was a lot weaker than the rest of them and had scours. But after careful feeding and care, he's doing great now, like the rest of them, and I'm enjoying bottling them all. :)

Milly is due today, and is looking really big, so I'm sure ya'll will be hearing about that soon. Oh, and by the way, the kittens are doing great and there is four girls and one boy!!! (The boy is one of the orange ones.) :)

Saturday, April 3, 2010

YAHOOO!!!!!!!! We've got KITTENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By, Emily ;)

Lately I have been keeping a close eye on Lady, my cat, as she is pregnant and has been getting really big. This morning when I went out to milk, she didn't eat her breakfast of kefir, raw eggs, and oatmeal I brought her, as well as her fresh, warm goats milk. Instead she ignored me (normally she follows me around, wanting to be petted) and went under the feeder in one of the birthing pens. My mind must have been pretty groggy (I had just gotten up, and was really sleepy!) because I didn't think much of it. Later today, around noon, I went out to check on her not expecting anything, but I've been checking on her on a regular basis lately. I made my rounds through the barn... looked under all the feeders, on top of the haystack, etc., and couldn't find anything. At the last feeder, the one she had gone under earlier, I got down on my hands and knees and peeked under. This feeder is completely surrounded by hard packed bedding, except for a little cat sized hole going under it. I called Lady's name and meowed for her a couple times. No answer, and no movement. But for some strange reason, I thought I'd go get a flashlight and double check. So I did. Shining the flashlight underneath, I saw her, and SHE WAS LICKING SOMETHING ORANGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I quickly started to paw away the bedding, but then decided I'd better change first, and zoomed up to the house on the four wheeler, getting on my overalls. Then I used the pitchfork and cleared away all the bedding from around it..... 1...2....3...4....5...6.... SIX KITTENS!!! I was overjoyed! Let's see here.... one gray kitten with a tiny orange spot on it's head, three light orange ones, one of them with a white ring around it's neck, two calicos!!!!! (Lady is tortie) I was THRILLED to pieces! Sadly though, the littlest one, which was orange, was really weak and was not nursing. He just didn't seem to have any energy and was really cold. I wrapped him up in a towl, fed him through a dropper, and had him next to the heater, but he did not make it. :( But I am still sooo grateful for the other five, who are doing GREAT! Lady is doing great too and sure loves all those little kitten! It's so cute to see her take her paws and tuck them all into her carefully, to lick them, and to lay there, all relaxed and purring. She just loves it! Kittens nursing really relaxes her! Sooooooo, I'll be looking for cute kitten names.... boy or girl, as I'm sure there is some of both (I haven't "checked" them yet) and of course, I'll also be looking for good homes for them all.... if any one would like to reserve one now, leave a comment. I'm sure they'll go fast! ......meow, meow, meow!
P.S. Mom told me to make this post short and not to do too much detail.... hmmm.... I'm not sure how well I did on that one! :/

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sugarin' Time

There are many things to love about spring on the farm, but the two most enjoyable events (for me) would have to be seeing all the baby animals be born and making boxelder syrup. I love the smell of the wood stove out on the back patio and the reason for getting out in the cool spring air - collecting sap!

Sugaring is definitely a family event. It starts out by the taps getting pounded in the trees and the buckets getting hung up. Mike and the boys usually handle this job, although Emily enjoys it as well.

Then once the sap starts flowing, it needs to be collected and dumped into the barrel. Brandon does a lot of the collecting with some help from the rest of us.

Mike and the boys maintain their incredible hulk-look by chopping firewood every day during syruping season. :)

Keeping the sap cookin' is an intense job that Mike does well. He manages the fire, making sure the syrup doesn't stop boiling, boil over, or get too low.....usually 24/7! And when Mike is gone during the day, I manage the fire.

Once it's time to pour off the syrup and finish it inside, Mike gets busy with his hydrometer, measuring the sugar content and telling me when to get my jars ready for canning. Mike and I work together canning the syrup.

Of course the most enjoyable part about making syrup is eating it! That is a job we all do well! :)

In order to have a good run, the weather must cooperate. Having cold nights (below freezing) and warm days (in the 40's or low 50's), makes for the best run. Last year we collected about 500 gallons of sap and ended up with about 12 gallons of syrup. This year the weather has not been cooperating as much. It's been too warm. So far we have gotten about 5 gallons of syrup. Hopefully we will get a few more days of cool weather. Next week it is supposed to be in the 70's, so the run will likely be over soon. :( Life on the farm is never predictable. :)

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