Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Welcome to Legal Tender Farm

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The End of Kidding Season

Finally!  This has been an exhausting and long season.  I was able to be present at the labor of all but one of the does and saw all but four kids born.  Sixteen kids, eleven boys, and five girls.  Last year I got lucky and had mostly girls.  It's difficult to sell the bucklings.  Most people just want one buck for their herd, but several does.  So unless someone is looking for a herd sire, it's hard to find a buyer.

This was the last doe to kid.  She's one of the does that I bought from a dairy last year.  She's a couple of years old, so I assumed she had kidded before.  But, I noticed towards the end of her pregnancy that her udder wasn't getting nearly as big as the older does.  So I started thinking that this might be her first time.  She had a harder time giving birth than the other does and had to push very hard.  Then when the kid was born, her behavior just confirmed to me that it was her first time.  She seemed shocked that a baby had just appeared and was unsure what to do about it.  

She finally figured it out and was an old pro by the time the third one appeared.

A boy and a girl.

And this little boy.

Since the doe is kind of an unusual color (registered as grey, but she's actually kind of a taupe color), I was hoping for some kids that looked like her.  I was disappointed that all three look very much like the sire.

Go Pro

Tom bought me a GoPro video camera for my birthday in January.

It's a cool little gadget, measuring about 2 1/4 by 1 1/2 inches.  I thought I might like to video some of my experiences around the farm, but so far I've done nothing video-worthy.  Or, if I have, I've forgotten to bring the camera.

People attach them to all kinds of things to video their activities.  I've seen videos from GoPros attached to surf boards, helmets, bikes, animals, all kinds of vehicles, etc.  I opted for a gadget that straps onto the head so that the camera is pointed at whatever I'm looking at.

Tom has used it more and familiarized himself with it more than I have.  Unfortunately, I don't really like to learn to use new gadgets.  I just want them to work and be intuitively useful.  "Point and click" is the way all techno gadgets should be.  That is not the case with the GoPro.  Well, you can just point and click, but your results won't be very good.  

As cool as this gadget is, I must say, it is made for young people who are techno savvy and have good eyesight.  Seriously, I've had to get a magnifying glass to see the settings on the tiny little screen.  But, I shouldn't complain...how big can the screen be on a camera that's only a few square inches?

Most of our videos so far are of either Tom's face or my face, up close and personal, just trying to see if the camera is on.  As one might imagine, once the camera is on your head, supposedly looking at whatever you are looking at, you can't tell if it is on or if it is aimed into outer space or your feet.  There's also the problem of turning it on, putting it on, then forgetting if I turned it on.  So, is it on or is it off?  Is it recording or is it not recording.  **sigh**

Fortunately for us...there's an APP for that!

You download the app onto your smartphone and then you can operate the camera with your phone and also see on your phone's screen what the camera is looking at.  Very cool.

So, here is my first official video using the camera and the app together.
I still have to learn how to edit it and other things, but consider this a test.

My moonspotted doe wouldn't let her kids nurse, so I had to go in several times a day to hold her still for them.

video


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I'm Seeing Moonspots

Hey, more babies were born yesterday morning.  See, I was waaaay off on the due dates (21 days!) for the two does that I bought last summer.

I had to go to court for my CASA volunteer job in the afternoon, but I could see that she was in early labor in the morning when I went to the barn to take the goats out.  Also, she didn't want to go out, which is very unusual for her.  So, I spent the morning watching her.  I was afraid I was going to miss it, but she had her first one about 15 minutes before I had to go get ready to leave.  Thankfully, daughter-in-law was willing and able to take over my midwife duties and she made sure the second was born safely and I didn't have to worry about losing any.


First one born.
These babies were from a doe with what is called "moonspots".  People who have goats seem to really like the moonspots.  The are pretty cute.

Second one - black like Billy, moonspotted like the mom.

 
Aw.  I *heart* him.

Will have to come up with a flower name that also has "heart" in it, but all I can think of is a Bleeding Heart.

Oh yeah, and...

The guineas started laying eggs this past week.  The eggs are about half, maybe three quarters the size of chicken eggs.  I haven't eaten any yet, so I don't know how they compare.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Yum, Bacon

Because everything should taste like bacon.

We have this shop in town that is a discount grocery.  The owner buys up lots of products from other retailers that, say, might be ready to expire, or the packaging might be damaged, etc.

He gets weird and unusual stuff and it's fun to shop there every once in a while.  I can try out different products without risking too much money if the product is no good.

I bought this bacon salt yesterday.  Had it on my popcorn last night and, oh yeah, it was good.  So, I had it on my egg this morning.  Also, yummy.

I had a bit of an intestinal problem this morning, but didn't think much of it.  As I was eating my bacon flavored egg, I got to thinking, "How do they make salt taste like bacon, anyway?".  I read the label.  Which is something I always do before I buy something, but for some reason, I didn't even think about reading the label on this impulse buy.  Uh, mistake.  Ingredients:  seat salt, paprika, corn, syrup, wheat flour....  Who puts wheat flour in salt?  

J&D's Down Home Enterprises does, that's who.

And, yes, people, apparently just a few shakes of seasoning salt containing wheat (gluten) can mess with a celiac's gut.  

Ugh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Entryway Landscaping

I'm finally getting started on the landscaping for the farm entryway.

This is the before picture.  When we had the columns rebuilt, we discovered landscaping timbers, long buried, from the original owners landscaping 30 years ago (you can see the straight line in front of the columns).  Tom pulled those out, then dug out all the weeds so I had a clear area to work with.

I used 8x12x2 concrete blocks to edge the area that I'm going to fill with plants.  Hopefully, this will keep the grass from encroaching too much into the planting area.

I'm going to fill it mostly with an ornamental grass and could use some suggestions.  I just need one kind of grass - one that looks feathery and soft and grows about two feet tall.  I thought I had it figured out and was going to use Mexican Feather Grass, but apparently, that can be invasive because it reseeds itself.  Livestock doesn't eat it, so I can't have a grass like that reseed itself onto our pastures.  I need something that will grow in clumps, but not be invasive.

Any ideas?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Who Vacuums Their Barn?

I do.  Yep, don't be hatin' on me.

After hours of mindless waiting, sitting on a stool or standing by the wall watching goat's behinds, it finally occurred to me that I could actually be getting something done while I waited.

Those of you who know me, really know me, know that I love to organize.  Give me something to organize and I am a happy camper.  I don't like mundane, ordinary house cleaning, but I like to take a big mess and make it orderly.

So, my mind started thinking, "Which big mess, out of all the big messes in this barn, can I tackle and actually get done before the kids are born?"


I considered the tack room.  Oh, how I'd love a tack room that I can actually walk into and find what I need.  I could actually store...tack, or feed, or other livestock stuff.  But, sadly, that is a project for longer days and requires men to move boxes. 

 So, we have this little shelf right outside the tack room that Tom has been piling things on for five years.  It was covered in dust and debris and spider webs and I didn't know what else because I have always been afraid to touch anything lest I touch a spider.    


So, I dug around in the spider and junk filled tack room for one of the old drawers I saved from the old kitchen and I hung it right above the little shelf; stacked Tom's cans of stuff on that, rearranged stuff, threw stuff away, cleaned the webs and dust off, and voila! Nice and tidy.

I was on a roll, then.

Dust covered spiderwebs abound up in the rafters and they coat the stall walls.
**shudder**

I couldn't take my shop vac into the stalls with the goats in labor, but I vacuumed what I could reach. Just look how clean those poles and rafters are!

Clean stall doors!  Aaahh, that feels good.

Now that some of the goats are out in the pasture with their kids, I can get in there and vacuum the rafters free of their spiders...and hope one doesn't land on my head.

But, before I can do that, I have to wait until Tom finishes his task.

Cleaning a mountain of poopy bedding out of the stall.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

More of That Long Sixteen Hours

Next up was the grey Kiko.  Last year, I thought she didn't get pregnant, or might have miscarried because she never did get big or look pregnant.  But she surprised me and had twins.  This year, she really surprised me and had triplets and she still didn't even look pregnant.

Thankfully, I recognized her signs on Friday morning and stayed in the barn, ready to assist if necessary.

**Warning:  Graphic pictures ahead.**

This is after a few minutes of pushing in earnest.  What can be seen at this point is the sac containing the baby and the fluid.

What we should be seeing here, within the sac, is little white feet (the kid's feet always have little white caps on them that fall off later).  We are not seeing the feet here because...

oops, this baby is breech.  She came out rear end first, but it didn't seem to bother the momma.

Now, here you can see the little white feet.  This was barely four minutes after the first was born and momma barely got the face of the first one cleaned off before she had to push this one out.

And, plop, he landed on his head, but at least momma wasn't standing (as they sometimes do).  As you can see, he is fully encased in the sac.  Sometimes, the sac breaks before the baby is all the way out or as the baby pops out.  Sometimes, it doesn't break at all and, if the momma is busy with the previous baby, she might not get to the other one, just born, and not able to breathe.  That sac is tougher than it looks.  I ended up breaking this one and clearing the face just enough for it to cough, clear it's nose, and start breathing.  Then the mother took over.

About 20 minutes later, surprise!  She started pushing again and out came a third.  She was standing for this birth, so I kind of caught the baby on it's way down.  Her sac broke, but it broke across her back, leaving her head still completely covered.  Momma started licking her, but as soon as one of the other babies made a sound, she was instantly distracted and left the newest just lying there.

This one, just minutes old, started nursing while momma was cleaning up the third.  

And, that distracted Momma who went back to licking the nursing one.  Evil goat showed some uncharacteristic tenderness and helped clean the newest one, who, coincidentally, looks exactly like the baby that Evil lost, although I doubt that means anything to a goat.

Just a few hours later, everyone is cleaned up and dry.





A Busy Sixteen Hours

As predicted, Evil goat went into labor on Thursday night.  When I went down to the barn at around 9:00, she had triplets.  Sadly, one of them had died.  It was completely encased in the sac, so I'm sure it must have suffocated while she was busy cleaning up the first two.  She had triplets last year and did fine without me.  I think I have finally learned my lesson...even though they do fine with multiple births during one kidding season, that does not mean they will do fine the next time.


As usual, she positions herself between me and the babies.  

Evil was in the stall with Buttercup, who was, herself, in the first stages of labor and aggressively trying to steal the babies for herself.  I had to get Husband to help me move her to another stall.

Having learned my lesson about leaving them to labor alone, I stayed with Buttercup (aka Butterball, Buddha, Big Bertha) until her babies were born.  She had her standard chunky twins.  They're almost identical.  Hers came about 45 minutes apart, so there was no danger of neglecting one.  I helped clear their heads from the sac anyway, just to be safe.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

More Kids

Well, just when I think I might know a little about animal husbandry and goat kidding, the goats have shown me that I don't know as much as I think I do.  I was congratulating myself on pinpointing the exact date of the first goat's kidding, but I'm completely off on all the other goats.  Daisy the Nubian kidded yesterday, the 12th.  She's the only one I thought I wasn't sure about.  I had estimated she was due either on the 3rd or the 11th and was supposed to be the last to kid.  Ha.  None of the other goats have kidded yet.

In previous years, Daisy has always had triplets and sometimes some of them die.  I wanted to try my best to be there at her kidding so that I could make sure the babies survived.  It was a long ten days of checking on her every 2-3 hours.  Finally, when I checked on her at 7:40 in the morning, it was obvious that she was in labor.  So, except for a few quick dashes to the house for a bite to eat, I stayed in the barn with her until the kids were born...

  the first one, a male, at 1:45 (not quite dry and trying to suck my finger*)

and the second one, a female, at 2:00.

  No triplets this year?!  Too bad, because I have a buyer for two of this doe's little girls.

 * Daisy's teats are so enormous that it's hard for the babies to suck right away.  So, each year, as soon as they start trying to nurse, I help them by holding the teat at an angle that is easier for them to get their mouth on.  I have learned that this is as good as bottle feeding them, without the actual hassle of bottle feeding.  They end up associating me with feeding and it makes them very sweet and tame.


I call this wide load Boer doe Buttercup, but Buddha or Butterball, might be more appropriate.  She has got to be at least two feet across.  Even though she is pregnant, there is no reason why this goat should be this big.  She's pretty enormous during the summer when all she gets to eat is pasture.  I think if a Boer breeder sees this, I might get hated on.

And, here's Evil the Kiko.  I can't believe how big her udder is this year.  It looks like she could be carrying a kid or two just in her udder.

She'll probably have her babies tonight.  Some signs that labor is imminent:
(1) udder fills up.
(2) the spot right in front of her hip bone hollows out (you can see that in this picture, see the indentation right in front of her hip, below the spine?)
(3) doe hunches up like she's going to urinate, but doesn't




Saturday, March 08, 2014

Pics

Just like to share pics of the new babies 'cause they're so cute.




Friday, March 07, 2014

Feetie, For Warm Feet

Husband is an inventor, has several patents, and works with lots of patent lawyers.  One of them sent me a gift...one of his own inventions.

It's like a Snuggie for your feet.

The package says it has "patented radiant barrier technology", that you can "take it anywhere", you can "Feetie with friends" (You know, sit around with your friends with Feetie on your feet.  I plan on trying that this weekend), that "one size fits all" and that they are "warm and cozy", oh, and you may have "seen it on TV".  Yes, I can attest to the fact that their advertising is true and correct.  Well, except that I'll have to get my son-in-law to try it, because I'm not sure his feet will fit.

The Feetie even comes with instructions.

1.  Sit or lie down in a comfortable position.
2.  Place both feet fully within the Feetie comforter, and snap the opening closed between your legs. (Unless, of course, you're like me and like to cross your feet at the ankles or knees while they're resting on the ottoman).
3.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy the comfort and warmth.

And, a warning!

1.  Do not walk or stand while using your Feetie comforter.  (I should have read that warning before I used my Feetie.  Believe it or not, I did try to stand and walk with the Feetie on.  I didn't crash and burn, merely shuffled along, but I can tell you that you do not want to forget that you have it on your feet and then try to get up and walk away.)
2.  Never place the Feetie in a microwave oven.  (I can assure you that I will not try to cook my Feetie, but someone out there just might.)

Now...if they'd just put a pocket for the remote control on it, it would be perfect.


What the Dog Drug Up.

We currently have two large skulls laying about in the yard that the dogs brought up and chew on from time to time.  Ginger is still in her chewing puppy phase so skulls are not enough for her (and neither are boxes, boat covers, flower pots, plastic toys, old sheets and towels, etc.).

So, this is her latest chew toy.

Thank goodness, nobody is home.



Thursday, March 06, 2014

The Big Thaw

Whew, we just had a big freeze on Sunday with lots of sleet.

This looks like snow, but it was actually a hard crust of ice, in some places a couple of inches thick.  I felt sorry for the birds so I tossed birdseed out onto the ice.  We had tons of birds all over the yard.  Of course, most of them flew out of sight every time I tried to take a picture.

We couldn't leave the house for about two days because the roads were treacherous.  It stayed below freezing for more than 48 hours, which is unusual for east Texas.

It finally warmed up enough to thaw the ice and looks like spring.  That's winter weeds, though, and not grass, so I'm not getting too excited.  We still have a bit of winter to go.

The dogs are sunbathing.


Monday, March 03, 2014

The Midnight Trouble Makers

Two days old now and very active.  They like to sleep under their heat lamp and stay cozy.

This is the one whose little ribs I felt in the uterus because she was blocking the way.  What a sweet little face.

I'm thankful that the weather was not like it is today on that midnight run to the vet.

And here's that silly hen that was lost.  She's quite happy in the barn.  If she was sitting on a nest, the eggs won't be viable now because they'd have gotten cold while she's out gallivanting around.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Bizarre, but Good!

Our Blue Andalusian hen is not gone after all!

We have all our pregnant does tucked away in the barn because they're all due to kid in the next few days and we're having below freezing weather and sleet.

I went out to the barn to do the last labor check of the night.  When I walked in the barn, I heard a hen clucking...walked over to take a peek at the baby goats and there was the lost hen, just scratching around like she belonged there.

The only reason I can think of that she disappeared for that many days (aside from going on 'oliday) was that she has some eggs that she's sitting on up in the hay.  She either lost interest or came down for some food and drink.  I just left her in there.  If she's gone again in the morning, at least I'll know where she is.

Yay!

Broody Hen

My Copper Maran hen (at least, I think that's what she is.  She accidentally got thrown in with a group of Black Astralorp chicks last summer) appears to be broody.  She's been sitting on a nest for three days.  I decided to slip a few eggs under her yesterday.  She tried to peck me, but didn't jump out and go running off in a huff.  That's a pretty good sign.


Daughter-in-law has been thinking about trying to raise some chicks, so she might move this hen and her eggs into a separate cage and take over her care.

Unfortunately, I lost one of my hens this week.  She was my one and only Blue Andalusian (such a pretty chicken) and I hated that I lost her.  Coyote must have snuck up and took her because she has disappeared without a trace.  I'm especially bummed because she had just become of age to lay eggs.