Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Saturday, February 28, 2009


Help me convince my husband to build me some gates.

More of The Visit

So here's my little entourage. And what's farming without a stylish hat?

Outlaw's Visit

I usually hate, hate, hate to have my picture taken and certainly would never voluntarily show a picture of me to anyone. So why am I posting pics of me for the whole world to see...assuming the whole world were interested in looking at my blog?

Well, my in-laws came to visit and they took a bunch of pictures of me, the animals, the farm and one of the back of Tom's head. So, either FIL is a terrible picture taker (sorry Sr. Tom) and didn't capture me close enough to make me look awful, OR he's really good and made me look halfway decent. Anyway, for your viewing pleasure...A little game of goat jump-rope and a surprisingly squeamish Anne helping me doctor Rose.
And since I have not yet figured out how to post pics with captions under them, I'll continue the pics in another entry.

Baby It's Cold Outside

Bleh. Even though the sun is shining bright, it's cold here today and the wind is howling. Tom and I went to the First Monday Tree Blowout sale to buy some fruit trees. They advertised that all trees with white tags were $10. What they didn't advertise that the fruit trees with white tags were $15. That was kind of a bummer.

We tromped around in the howling wind and chose two Barlett Pear, two Bruce Plum, and two Golden Delicious Apple trees. When we got home, I looked in my Texas Organic Gardening book (Howard Garrett) to see of there were any special planting or care instructions. The first thing I read was that we should avoid planting Barlett Pears. Hmph. Well, it's too late now. I guess we'll just plant them and see what happens. Apparently, they are very susceptible to a disease called fireblight. There's nothing like doing your research after a purchase.

It wouldn't be so bad if we had made the mistake for just ourselves, but our neighbor wanted us to get some trees for her, too. She originally just wanted some oaks, but when we told her we were getting fruit trees, she changed her mind and told us to get whatever we were getting for ourselves. So now we each have two problematic, possibly useless, pear trees.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sing Along

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can.
Spins a web, any size. Catches thieves- just like flies.
Look out! Here comes the Spiderman.

Morning Walk

Everyone eats grass on our morning walk to the goat pen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Got Milk?

Hmmm, I think milking is a bust this season. There is so much that we don't know.

It's been hard to get more than a few ounces out of Hyacinth. In my reading on goat websites yesterday, one of the dairy owners said that she doesn't even bother to milk her first time "fresheners" (to freshen is to have a kid and start producing milk) because they often only produce enough to feed their kids. She waits until their second or third freshening. Then she can usually get up to a gallon a day from the good milk producers.

So, I should have gotten a doe that has had kids before if I wanted milk this season, which I did. I'm wondering if after the kids are weaned, I can continue to milk a little from her until it's time to dry her off?

Also discovered that you cannot stagger the does so that you have one in milk all year. They are seasonal breeders, so after they are bred, you have to stop milking them until after their kids are born. Basically, there is no milk production during the winter. Which is a good thing, actually, because who wants to get up on freezing cold winter mornings to go milk goats? Not me. Also, the milk can be frozen up to a year, so it is possible to store up milk for the winter.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

...Later That Day

Larry and Terra came over this afternoon. Terra raised goats in high school, so we asked if she had any ideas on how to get Rose to eat. She did and she did.

Terra had several little tips and sat down with Rose to feed her the bottle. She discovered that Rose had a HUGE wad of cud in her mouth/throat, so Terra dug it out. We don't know if that was the whole problem, but Rose was able to finish the bottle, with Terra's help after the cud was removed.

So, she's better for now. At least she has milk in her tummy. We'll see how she does tonight.

ETA: After church, Tom, Meagan, and I went out prepared to milk Hyacinth and give Rose a bottle. But Rose jumped up on the milking stand with momma and started nursing. We decided to see if she could do it. She was having a little trouble, so I stuck my finger in her mouth and pulled out a wad of cud about the size of a muscadine. After that, she was able to nurse almost normally and filled her little belly.

I'll talk to the vet about why she's having problems with the cud. Maybe her rumen (whatever that is) isn't working properly.

Still Standing

Rose is still standing... like a little scarecrow. Meagan thought we may be able to dribble milk into her throat with an eye dropper, so she has gone to town to get one.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Trouble in Goat Land

Rose has had a setback and is not doing well at all. I'll be surprised if she lives.

Wednesday and Thursday, she was perfectly fine, frolicking all over the place. But Friday morning, she was very lethargic, huddled in one spot and shivering just like before. She is very skinny and is not growing like Cosmos is. I don't know how much milk she is getting since Hyacinth won't stand still for them to nurse whenever I'm around. I thought she was probably letting them nurse when I wasn't there because the babies seemed to be thriving.

I held Hyacinth still (no small feat) so that the babies could nurse and I could observe them closely. It looks like what is happening is that Rose is not getting the whole teat in her mouth and it keeps popping out. So while Cosmos is sucking vigorously, Rose is constantly searching for the teat and only getting a little sip every once in a while. Then when she actually latches on tenuously, Cosmos will shove her out of the way and take the teat that she had.

I'm not sure why she can't seem to nurse effectively. Maybe something is wrong with her mouth. Tonight I noticed that her jaw feels a bit swollen.

I've tried bottle feeding her, but she won't take a bottle. I've tried separating Cosmos from his mother and sister so that his sister can nurse without his interference, but Rose won't attempt to nurse unless Cosmos does. I am able to get her to nurse if I put Hyacinth on the milking stand so that she can't get away, but she still doesn't get enough because Hyacinth will wiggle and kick, which makes it even more difficult for Rose to keep the teat in her mouth.

At this point, I have done all I can. I called the vet today and I've done everything he suggested...and then some. It's very sad to watch her standing there all forlorn and shivering. If she makes it through tomorrow, I'll take her to the vet so he can check her out again.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Recovery Is Underway

I took Rose to the vet. Her head was a little infected. The vet said that when she was disbudded, the iron must have slipped a little bit and too much tissue was involved in the wound. Actually, her eye narrowly escaped being damaged or put out. We put a heat lamp in the goat's stall as per the vet's instructions to keep them warmer.

She got an antibiotic shot and I was given a steroid/antibiotic ointment for her. I've been treating both babies just in case. They both are much better today - came out of the barn leaping and running as we made our way to the goat pasture. They spent the day outside and everyone is happy.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wait a Minute

I didn't sign up for this, not the brutality of farming.

Warning: Soft hearted or squeamish might not want to read this. I don't want to write it.

All the goat websites tell me "you do not want to own a goat with horns". Goat dairy goat farmers all say that the goats should be dehorned, debudded, disbudded. They can be dangerous; goats fight each other and sometimes will gore each other; even a docile, friendly goat might hurt a person accidentally; horns get caught in fences; especially Billy goats get aggressive and may use their horns, etc.

So following the prevailing advice, I arranged to have the babies disbudded yesterday.

It was horrible, brutal, terrible. I cried. I shouldn't have watched. But I thought I needed to so I could learn to do it myself. Now that I've seen it done, I know that I could never do it myself.

I chose the disbudding iron method (all methods are horrible). It's like a soldering iron, but it has a ring on the end rather than just a point. The iron reaches over 2,000 degrees. It is heated up, then pressed for 7-10 seconds onto the base of the horn bud, which is a little larger than a dime. It sizzles and sputters, burning through the flesh to the skull. The baby screams, but I discovered it's worse when they don't scream. The woman who performed the disbudding (a goat farmer herself) does an extra step because, "every time I didn't the horn grew back". (Horns that grow back are called scurs. They can cause problems because they are deformed and can curl up, growing into the skull of the goat and must be either removed or trimmed regularly).

That extra step is to take the end of the iron and burn/dig the little nub of horn until it pops off. Horrible.

After the deed was done, we put the babies back in with momma. They were quiet. Dazed. But they did nurse a little. That seemed to comfort them.

When I went to let Hyacinth out to graze yesterday evening, the babies were perky. They were running and playing at top speed, climbing whatever they could find to climb, leaping into the air like little jack-in-the-boxes. So I thought all was well. The only sign they showed of possible pain was an occasional pause and quick shake of their head, like, "ow, what's up with that?" then they were off again.

This morning, everything was not rosy. Baby girl is standing kind of huddled and shivering. She didn't come out of the barn when Hyacinth was let out. I gave her a few hours to perk up, but when I checked on her this afternoon, she was the same. Her little horn spots are not clean and healing like Cosmos' are. The top of her head stinks. Cosmos' doesn't. I think she has an infection so I'm taking her to the vet in an hour.

In the pictures, you can tell which is Cosmos and which is Rose. Yes, that is skull that you are seeing.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

What Am I Doing?

Sometimes I have moments of clarity and I wonder, "What am I DOING?" I had one of those moments yesterday.

It took thirty minutes to move Hyacinth and her babies, Cosmos and Rose, from the barn to the pen. She wanted to browse along the way, which is fine, but...browse while walking, already! No, she wanted stand and browse, take a step, stand and browse, take another step...

And if I tried to drag her, she fell to her knees like a martyr. If I didn't give in, she flopped down on the ground like a beached whale, laying on her side, still grazing from the prone position. She wouldn't get up until all the grass around her face was eaten. **sigh** I need to learn to carry my camera.

Finally, I got the bright idea to loop the lead rope, which was attached to her collar, under her chest behind her front legs. I could prevent the falling-to-the-knees and belly flops and drag her along at a reasonable speed.

By the time we made it to the pen, the babies had given up and laid (layed? lain?) down in the grass to take a nap. I shoved Hyacinth in the gate and ran back to get the them, while Hyacinth made a dash back out of the gate. Thankfully, she's not one to run off (like Pansy) and the lead rope was still on her so she was easily recovered.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Knock Down Drag Out

OK, Tom and I are butting heads over names. I told him, after he named Buffy, Hilde, and Billy that his naming days are over. All of our goats (except Billy) will be named flower names starting with Hyacinth and Pansy. He is insisting that we name the goats after some friends from church, Jack and Tammy. But I'm the one with the registration powers and the babies will be named Cosmos and Rose.

Jack, if you read this and have any inclination to have a goat named after you...just remember that you owe me one for including the herd of goats in the mural.

Oh, and BTW, we were mistaken, there is one boy and one girl. Don't laugh.

Friday, February 06, 2009

So Far, So Good

Tom and I went to bed around 10:00 last night after dealing with the babies all evening. Then we got up at midnight to go check on them, expecting to have to hold Hyacinth still so they could nurse. We crept quietly into the barn, peeked over the stall door and saw that one of the babies was nursing on it's own and that momma was standing still. We decided that we'd leave well enough alone - after all, God created them to do that kind of thing without our "help". So we went back to bed.

I've had what I think is an awful reaction to my tetanus shot - terrible nausea, chills while feeling hot, and horrible aches and pains. My whole body hurts, even my skin. I've diagnosed myself with the aid of google, but I could be wrong and actually have the flu. I haven't had the flu since...well, I can't remember the last time. Anyway, I'm so glad that Hyacinth has taken to her mommy duties. Tom and I went out to the barn to check on her around 7:00 this morning and both babies were nursing on their own. Thank goodness. I don't think I could handle this situation feeling like I do. I could barely drag myself out to the barn and have spent a good deal of the day laying on the bed fretting about all the things I had planned to do today.

I called the vet this morning to ask about the one baby's ankle. He told me to splint it with a piece of PVC pipe, leave it on for 24 hours, then take it off. Since we had already splinted it with a toilet paper roll, and it was holding up good (she was able to walk on it this morning), we just left it on and will take it off tonight and see how she does.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


Hyacinth had her babies today. They are tiny and cute. Of course, I was in Dallas tending to the other house. Tom was at the farm alone with everything happening at once - repairing the truck, receiving the piano that I had sent with the movers today, trying to get the babies to the barn. He missed the actual births, just heard the tiny bleating out in the pasture, went to check and there they were.

Hyacinth is not being a good mother. We're having to hold her still while the babies nurse. I don't think they've had their fill yet, but with Hyacinth kicking and wiggling and the babies not strong enough or adept enough to nurse efficiently, it's impossible to get their tummies full. As far as I can tell, both the babies are girls (good for resale value) and they are almost identical, except one is bigger than the other. The bigger one has a problem with her front foot. She can't hold it straight to stand and walk and ends up walking on the front of her ankle. Tom and I put a little cardboard cast on it. We'll see how that works.

I think tonight, maybe the next few nights will be typical new parent nights since we'll have to check on the babies and see that they haven't starved to death. Bad Hyacinth.