NC State Fair: Part 2–Goats

For 13 years, we have packed the trailer full of goats to take to the State Fair. In 2015, we maintained our habits, and packed the trailer with goats.Back in our hay day (no pun intended), Alec and I would have 12 goats between us at the fair. We have since downsized our goat herd, but always have something to bring. This year we brought 7 does. Unfortunately, we only showed 6 because Nala decided to lose too many teeth prematurely, making her ineligible to show. Does have to have a certain amount of baby teeth, indicating they are under 2 years of age to show. Nala was indeed under 2, but her teeth told another story. Oh well! She didn’t have to get a bath.

Because Alec had classes, only Isaac, Gideon, and I showed. Of course, Mom and Dad were there too. Our first order of business was to clean-up the girls. Everyone got baths, blow dryed, clipped, brushed, and polished. It takes several hours to do 6 goats. Can you imagine the time it used to take to do 12!

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DSC_0867Fitting involves a lot of detail from head to toe, and yes, even the butts. We get up close and personal!

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DSC_0853As you can see from these pictures, fitting is a team effort. Over the years, the boys have taken on more and more responsibility.  At first they couldn’t exactly wield the clippers. The goats would be a hack job. They have always brushed, washed, and blow-dryed though. Now, they are trimming hooves, clipping, and more. I love watching this progression! Before too long I can just supervise and sit back–not really. I like to be hands-on.

Show time rolled around and started with novice showmanship.My boys did so good in their classes, and were clearly the most handsome 🙂

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It was my last year in the ring with goats. I still don’t think that has registered. It will next year when I’m on the outside looking in. I got to show the smallest goats (poor planning) which were Miracle and Tres. Miracle was a terd outside of the ring, jumping and rearing up. I think she was mad that she had to be on a collar like all the other goats. Yes, Miracle, you are a goat. In the ring, she did great except for gnawing on my thumb the ENTIRE time. Hey, whatever makes her happy and stand still. Tres surprised us all and got 4th! I get super excited when anything we raise on our farm gets in top 5 of a class. I can also say, that she was a dream. Sure she was a little goat for me to show, but daggum if she did not stand there without moving and walked perfectly despite being worked with once.

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DSC_0998Clearly, I have the serial killer look down when showing. I promise I’m having loads of fun. I just like to concentrate.

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And, look who decided to show up.

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DSC_0976For those of you who know Garrett, you know he’s a pig guy. He is not fond of goats, but he came to cheer and help anyways. 🙂

All in all, it was a great day finished off with some spectacular fair food…again. If you ever want to see french fries disappear like a Houdini act, then you should watch us at 8 o’clock, still showing goats, wolf them down to tide us over. No worries, we later got fried pickles and jalapeno, pimento cheese, hush-puppies with sriracha sauce. Holy lanta!

Don’t forget, there is still one more part to the fair–sheep!

Fact Filled Friday: Scrapie Tags *Bonus-Funny Story Included*

 

scrapieYesterday we took 4 animals (2 sheep and 2 goats) to the stockyard to be sold. While the story of getting them on the trailer has nothing to do with the purpose of this post, it is too funny not share, so I’m going to to go off track a bit.

Funny, irrelevant tangent:Our old large buck can be hard to handle. Not in the fact that he is aggressive, but in that he isn’t the friendliest fellow. He likes to be left alone, and is therefore, hard to catch. Well, it just so happened that he was snoozing in one of the shelters, so I rushed to block the entryway to trap him inside. Alec brought me a fence panel to lock him in. The shelter he was in is a grain bin cut in half, and we humans have to do a duck walk to get in there. So here we are– Alec, a 200 pound buck, and me blocking them both inside to duke it out. Alec grabbed the buck’s horns, and when he did, the buck bolted. He began to run in circles with Alec spinning on his butt like a spinning top, holding onto the buck’s horns. It was a funny sight to be sure. I tried videoing it, but was not nearly as coordinated as I needed to be (sorry, no video). The next step was to let the two wrestlers out of the shelter. The buck was pushing with all his might, and Alec still did not have his footing. I grabbed one horn and the buck’s beard, but at this point the buck and Alec were all sorts of tangled, Alec had to let go, and the buck and I went running. Alec yelled for me to let go; however, I’m a bit stubborn, so I held on until Alec got there. We both escorted him to the trailer. Phew!

OK, back on track… before leaving for the stockyard, we had to make sure that all the animals we were selling had scrapie tags. It is required that goats and sheep have scrapie tags so that if they were to come down with scrapie disease, they could be tracked down to their place of origin. The tag not only has a number that represents that individual animal, but it also has a longer number that represents the farm from which they came. Ours looks something like this:

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Not all tags are scrapie tags and an animal can have more than one tag, but a scrapie tag is a must have. Why is this scrapie tag system so important? Well, scrapie disease is a very serious matter. It is the goat/sheep version of mad cow disease. It is degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system that is fatal. There are only two countries that do not have scrapie–Australia and New Zealand. In 1947, scrapie entered the United States through a Michigan flock of sheep. In 2001, the USDA started an aggressive program to help eradicate scrapie. Since that time, scrapie has been reduced by 85% in the US! This has been accomplished through the identification program as well as other measures. According to the National Scrapie Education Initiative, the program includes:

  • Identification of pre-clinical infected sheep through live-animal testing and active slaughter surveillance.
  • Effective tracing of infected animals to their flock/herd of origin made possible as a result of the new identification requirements.
  • Providing effective cleanup strategies that will allow producers to stay in business, preserve breeding stock, and remain economically viable. USDA/APHIS will do this by providing the following to exposed and infected flocks/herds that participate in cleanup plans:
    1. Indemnity for high risk, suspect, and scrapie positive sheep and goats, which owners agree to destroy,
    2. Scrapie live-animal testing,
    3. Genetic testing, and
    4. Testing of exposed animals that have been sold out of infected and source flocks/herds.

As you can see, this is serious business. At the stockyard that we brought the animals to, there is a sign that says all sheep and goats unloaded must have a scrapie tag by USDA regulations. stock

As a farm, we tag anything that goes off of our property. Interestingly, not all states have the same regulations. North Carolina does not require tags for animals that are wethers (castrated male) and animals less than 12 months of age going directly to slaughter; however, other states make no exceptions to tags. Regardless, it is important to not only be aware of your state regulations, but to follow them. In this way, we can help eradicate scrapie in the United States. There have been huge strides made in the last 14 years, and it is up to us farmers to continue those strides.

And that is your fact for this Friday.

Bucks and Trucks: More Than I Bargained For

I was already feeling a bit ambitious, deciding to go 7 hours one way to get a single goat. Little did I know, I would need even more ambition to get back home.

For months, I had been on the hunt for a new buck. We have owned ours for quite a while, and it was time for some new blood. I started to follow various online sales and Facebook goat pages to see if I could find any. Finally, I found one that wasn’t in Timbuktu and was in the budget. After contacting the owners, I made arrangements to pick him up yesterday. He was in West Virginia, towards the Pennsylvania border. I decided I was going to be ambitious and travel 14 hours in a day to pick up a buck I had never seen in person. I’m fully aware I may be a tad crazy, but it is hard for me to pass up a good deal–especially when we are talking livestock.

I persuaded Garrett to go on my crazy adventure with me (he should get some kind of boyfriend award since he did have to wake up at the crack of dawn, ride in the car all day, and pick up a goat when he is a pig guy). He also suggested we take his family’s truck since it had a box in the back of the bed, preventing the need to haul a trailer. We agreed to meet in Rocky Mount at 8 am sharp, grab Bojangles (because that makes any 8 am day better), and head out. Our ETA was 3 o’clock.

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Several hours down the road, we decided to start looking for lunch. I found a sign that directed us to the wonderful Chick-fil-A. This was a no-brainer stop. I cannot tell you how excited I was for my spicy chicken sandwich and waffle fries. We obtained the food goodness and got back on the road. As we were trying to get back on the highway, I turned down a one-way street. As I turned, we heard a noise. I asked what that was. Garrett replied with a shrug (he was focused on his cool wrap). A hundred feet later, we stopped at a stop sign. When I went to go, the truck didn’t want to. I slowly tried again. Still, it wouldn’t do anything. Garrett told me to wiggle the gear stick to make sure it was in drive. We then proceeded to try different gears. After no success, Garrett told me to put the four-ways on. “Where are they?” said a very flustered Risa. Garrett was very calm and told me where before getting out of the truck. By this time, there were a line of cars behind us. I waved them around us. Garrett came back to the truck after investigating and said a very dreaded word–transmission. Now, I don’t know much about vehicles, but I know that when transmissions are mentioned, it isn’t good and $$$ comes up. My heart sank as I looked around. It was hot, we were blocking a road, this was not the best part of town (most houses were boarded up), we were 5 hours from home, and the buck was still an hour away. Suddenly, my enthusiasm for my spicy chicken sandwich was gone. As Garrett called a tow truck (thank goodness he had AAA), he told me to try and eat my sandwich anyway.

SOS...We need a tow
SOS…We need a tow

We waited for close to 30 minutes for the tow truck. While we were waiting, we attempted to push the truck across the road to a parking deck. Even with the help of a couple of ladies, it didn’t go so good. Finally, we were able to back (more like reverse roll) the truck away from the stop sign and onto the side of the road. In one of the houses sat 4 people, who called Garrett over to “just talk” (we were a little sketched out and they were a bit tipsy). Finally, the tow came, and after deliberating which shop was our best bet, we were towed from Cumberland, Maryland to Frostburg, Maryland. tow

We had been told that they could look at the truck and probably work on it that day; however, when we arrived, we were told that they could barely get a look at it and could almost promise that they couldn’t fix it that day. Long story short, we weighed our options, decided against the extortionate tow to another town, and took our chances at the shop. We were hoping against hope that it was a simple fix.

We waited in the waiting room, looking through the window at the mechanics working. The next thing we knew, our truck was cranked and moving! I held my breath as the mechanic came in to talk to us (I swear it is like waiting in a doctor’s office). He said, “You know that slim chance of it just being a matter of putting two hoses back together? Well, you got that slim chance.” The transmission line had become corroded and broke at the joint. It was able to be patched, and the transmission had not been torn up from the incident. I was dancing in my head.

After paying, Garrett asked me if I still wanted to go get the goat or just head home. Remember, ambitious is the theme of the trip, so of course, I said let’s go down the road further and get that goat. Off we went. While breaking down sucked, it was good that we broke down where we did, because further up the road, there was absolutely nothing. It was just backroads and mountains. We finally hit West Virgina and began to climb the mountain where the goat was located. This was a very winding, bumpy road with pot holes like you wouldn’t believe. We had to cross a single-lane bridge, and make a u-turn on the side of a mountain. After the trek up, we finally made it to our destination. Our detour had put us 3 hours behind, so I did not want to lollygag looking at goats. I decided the buck looked good, so we led him up part of the mountain to the truck. It took 3 men to pick him up and load him. After paying and a thanks, we hit the road once again.

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It was a long 7 hours home. Garrett and I kept each other awake by playing road games, singing to the radio, and eating super sour gummy bears. We arrived home at 2:15 a.m. I put a halter on the buck, but when he jumped from the truck, he kept running and ripped the rope from Garrett’s hands. We then spent the next 15 or so minutes trying to catch him in the dark. He wasn’t acting crazy, but was disoriented and wanted friends. Anyway, we caught him and put him in a pen with food and water. Garrett and I dragged ourselves into the house to hit the sack. Our faces looked a lot like the goat’s–we were so tired.buck 5

The day hadn’t gone as planned; then again, it was a Monday. It could have been much worse, though. All I know is, between bucks and trucks, I got more than I bargained for! Maybe I’ll name the buck Transmission. For now, meet our new herd sire, while I catch up on some sleep.

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Name Game and Babies

Every animal (minus the poultry) that has come on our farm has been named. For over a decade, I took the lead in naming everything. I even had a name book and have frequented baby naming sites solely for the purposes of naming animals. Some of my favorite names have been London, Cairo, and Fancy. Some of the more unique ones have been Technical Difficulties (he was always causing issues) and Slim Jim. Naming an animal was always thought out, and often times, they would go days without a name just to make sure their name matched their personality. It is one of my favorite parts of having livestock; however, my job has begun to be taken over by my little brothers recently. That is a tough pill to swallow.

It isn’t that I necessarily mind that they are naming the animals (I make sure I get a few to name), but it is more what they are naming them. The latest twin goats that were born are just an example.

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Lady had her first set of kids this week–two big girls (11 and 8 pounds). They are really beautiful, and I was quite excited about how they looked. I felt that they should have pretty names, but Isaac and Gideon wanted to name them. I was ok with this and was hoping I could throw some good names they liked out there. I was wrong.

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Mud Pie is on the left and Tres is on the right

 

I found the babies and called for the boys to come out and come look. The following conversation ensued:

Isaac: “Lady! Look how pretty your babies are. Aren’t you a good momma? Risa, Lady is my show goat, that means I name the babies right?”

Me: “Lady is yours but the buck is mine.”

Isaac: “That’s true. Can I still name them?”

Me: “We will talk about different names, but you can name them.”

Gideon: “Tres! We should name that one Tres. That is the number 3 in Spanish right?”

Me: “Let’s just wait until tomorrow to name them that way we can think on it.”

The next day while we were feeding, Isaac and Gideon came riding up on the golfcart saying “How are Tres and Mud doing?”

Me: “Who and who?”

Gideon: “That’s their names–Tres and Mud.”

All I could think was dear heavens, I’m going to have pretty little does named after wet dirt and the other after a foreign number 3.

Me: “Ummm… well… I was thinking since the mom is named Lady, we could do something like Duchess.”

Grandma: “What about Maddie and Tae? They are country singer girls that were on TV.”

Gideon: “No, no, Tres. Her name is Tres.”

Isaac: “How about Mud Pie?”

Me: “Why Mud?”

Isaac: “Her face looks like mud to me.”

Me: “Alright…”

Later I went in the house and told Mom: “I need a hug. I have baby goats named after Spanish 3 and mud.”

She laughed.

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Mud Pie has a brown spot on her booty
Mud Pie has a brown spot on her booty

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So, yes, I swallowed the pill, stepped down from my position as namer and relinquished the reigns to an 8 and 10 year old. I’ve had a good run (I’m still adamant that I get to name things; I just have to share, and the boys are good with this), and at least I could name some of the babies this year. Speaking of those guys, here are some updated pictures of all the little ones. They are growing super fast.

Miracle is such a big girl now
Miracle is such a big girl now

 

If we let Miracle out, she likes to run around with the boys.
If we let Miracle out, she likes to run around with the boys.
She even thinks she is big enough to drive
She even thinks she is big enough to drive
Cash man is a stud, even though Miracle is out growing him
Cash man is a stud, even though Miracle is out growing him
Lilly is the diva of the group. She is prissy, loves to climb, and knows she is special.
Lilly is the diva of the group. She is prissy, loves to climb, and knows she is special.
Grover has to belly crawl to nurse from mom these days. He will be weaned before too long.
Grover has to belly crawl to nurse from mom these days. He will be weaned before too long.

Show and Sale 2015: Preparation Days

This week marks one of my favorite weeks of the year–our county’s livestock show and sale. While I can no longer show because I’m an old lady now, I do get to go watch my brothers and other youth younger than me show.Even though the show is not until Wednesday and Thursday, preparations are in full swing.

Prep work for the show starts days beforehand. In reality, it really starts the day we get the animal. From that moment, feeding, training, practicing, and learning are all done in preparation for the big day. It is a matter of hard work and some serious dedication. This week, there has been some added prep work that goes along with the days leading up to the show.

Yesterday, the boys and I finished clipping the goats and pigs. We trimmed the goats’ hooves and horns and then moved on to haircuts. I let the boys trim all they can by themselves on both sets of animals. After they have done all they can, I come in and do the tricky parts and touch-ups. When they get older and more experienced, they can do it all by themselves. Clipping is always an adventure, because the animals don’t always want to cooperate. I was covered in goat hair after the goats. We had to clip the pigs on the go as they walked around their pen. I was standing on my head a couple of times or had to let them chew on my boot to preoccupy them while the boys clipped. It is an adventure that requires an immediate shower afterwards.

Can you see the difference clipping makes?
Can you see the difference clipping makes?

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Today, we went to the fairgrounds to set pens up. The boys picked their pens out, spread shavings, and dusted off the fencing. On Wednesday morning we will go back to weigh in the animals and put them in their pens. Wednesday evening is the goat show, and the hog show will be Thursday morning, followed by the sale that evening.

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Well, that is the latest from the farm. We have a big week coming up. If you are in the area, feel free to drop by the Wayne County Fairgrounds to cheer our showman on! If you can’t come by, stay tuned for updates as the show progresses via social media or here on the blog.

Moonlight illusions–Meet our newest addition

When you live on a farm, there is always something new and a surprise around every corner. I feel like I shouldn’t be surprised when the unexpected happens, but I always am. It is one of the reasons I love living on a farm. No “one day” is the same. Last night, at 1:30 am, once again, I was surprised.

I had just finished painting my nails and watching a movie with Mom, while I finished up some homework (multitasking at its finest). Miracle still needed to be fed her last bottle of the night, so Mom got the bottles ready. She said that she would feed Miracle since my nails were wet, but asked if I would walk with her (keep in mind it is 1:30 am). At this point, let me give you a visual. I am in sweatpants, and my brother’s oversized Croc shoes. Mom is still in church clothes and bedroom shoes. We didn’t bring a flashlight, and Mom was confused as to why I was bringing her down a back way to the goat pen. Quite the picture right?

As we bent down to give Miracle her bottle, I looked to my left in the pen beside us. I started squealing. There in the dark, glowed a new baby goat. Not just any goat, but our Angora’s baby!

Note: In 2009, I bought 2 angora goats as a start in my fiber herd (Angora goats have long locks of fiber called mohair). We went all the way to West Virginia to get them. Many years ago, one died, but my other one has stuck around. She is quite the awkward goat, losing one horn a couple of years ago, and has stretched out skin. She has been very susceptible to parasites over the years, and has come back where most goats wouldn’t. She often has patchy hair, and always looks like a misfit, but she’s tough and quirky.

I ran to the house (as fast as the too big Crocs would allow me) and grabbed a flashlight from Alec’s room. He woke up, and I told him Angora had a baby! Then I left. I ran back outside to see a snow white baby goat standing beside the Angora. I almost peed on myself because I was so excited. I checked to see if it was a doe or buck, and it was a little girl. That made me squeal all over again. Mom is still incredulous as to what is happening, thinking it had to be Cash, Miracle’s brother that got into the other pen. Nope. It is a brand new baby.illy

We began forming a plan to get the new momma and baby situated for the night. We wrestled drop cords, and hung a heat lamp in a shelter. Keep in mind, Mom is still in a dress trying to do this stuff, and I’m slightly hyper. Finally, we got it all situated. We led the pair into the shelter and started to trim the Angora’s fiber so the baby could find the teats. The baby was so spunky, but was still having a hard time locating where to nurse. She went from the chest to the butt and back again. Finally, with a little direction, we saw her nurse. At this point, Angora was quite fed up with us and wanted us out. At 2 am, we decided that they would be fine, and we needed to go to bed. The goats were fine, but my nails were a bit worse for the wear. I don’t know why I even try.

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This morning, Mom and baby were doing great. The baby is already running and jumping. I don’t think I’ve ever had one hit the ground with such spunk before. Angora is being a terrific mom too! We are still in the naming process, but are leaning towards Lunar Illusion and calling her Lilly or just plain Illusion and calling her Illy or Lucy. I’ll let you know.

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I’m sure by now you think I am a crazy person for squealing and getting so excited. What you don’t know, is that for 5 years, the Angora has been in with various bucks, and never bred. Not only this, but 7 years is super old for a goat, so the chance of her catching now, of all times, is incredible. We honestly thought our eyes were playing tricks on us in the moonlight, but no, it wasn’t an illusion. We now have a Boergora goat (Boer/Angora cross).

Wonders never cease to amaze here at Countryview Farms. I’m still in awe over what happened and how spunky she is. Miracle isn’t the only miracle around here anymore!

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Sometimes, our best efforts fail

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, things happen anyway. It is like flu season. You do everything you can to not get sick by washing your hands and staying away from those who have it, and yet, you still get it, despite your best efforts.

Well, despite our best efforts with Miracle, she has hit another bump in the road. Remember how I told you that we put iodine on her umbilical cord to prevent navel ill? Sadly, our best efforts failed. After a visit to the vet yesterday, Miracle has been diagnosed with navel or joint ill. What does this mean, though, and how did we decide to take her to the vet?

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We thought perhaps she had somehow sprained her knee, although the chances of that happening could only have been when she would slip as she ventured off the carpet or towels onto the vinyl. It was swollen and hot, and she wouldn’t put any weight on it. This was causing issues with her mobility as she couldn’t push herself up to a standing position by herself. She could get her butt up, but that’s it. Once we propped her up, she could stand, but was unable to walk. All of this occurred suddenly after she had been walking on her own. We made the command decision to take her to the vet as the weekend was approaching, and we were uncomfortable with her lack of mobility.

When we arrived at the vet, her temperature was 104 (goats are supposed to be around 101). The vet also stuck a needle in her knee to see if puss would come out–it did. They took her to the procedure room to drain the knee. She came back with a pretty gnarly looking knee (it has a drain stitched in). The vet sent us home with instructions to give her daily antibiotic shots, to keep her knee clean, and to come back on Tuesday to remove the drain. After all this, she was pretty exhausted and slept the rest of the day. The vet said only time will tell with her outcome.

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One of the things that I have found important in raising livestock on the farm is to look at the whole picture. As much as I want to just look through the window that says that Miracle will be fine, I know I can’t do that. There is a whole other window that has a bleaker outlook, but is just as realistic. So what are we looking at in Miracle’s situation?

Navel ill is a bacterial infection that can travel, not only through the navel, but also through respiratory and GI ways. Because she got off to a weak start, she was probably more susceptible to getting some kind of infection. Navel ill can affect one joint or many. The fluid that accumulates in the joint often causes permanent damage to the joint. Right now, Miracle only has an infection in one joint. She has a better prognosis because we caught it early, and hopefully, the antibiotics will keep it from spreading to the other joints. We won’t know if or how much her knee is damaged for quite some time. She may always walk with a limp. Right now, our hope is to keep it from spreading to the other joints. If this happens, her chances greatly decrease.

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The good news is, she is a fighter. She is still standing and amazingly will put some weight on her leg and take baby steps. Her appetite is certainly not diminished, and she has a pretty epic battle wound.

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Sometimes our best efforts aren’t enough to prevent everything from happening. In the 13 years we have raised goats, I have never had this happen. Even though some efforts failed, there are plenty more efforts to give 🙂

 

 

It was n”ICE” to have a good day!

Around two inches of ice covered the landscape today. While it was pretty gross to do chores in, it made for some pretty pictures. Enjoy!


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Apparently, Rocket is adverse to going in his shelter.
Apparently, Rocket is adverse to going in his shelter.

twig pig ice arrow chicken coop shep pasture goat and gid monkey graass isicles golf cart sheep issac and all sheep eating


Our little fighter, made it through the night. We have been tending to her throughout the day, giving her bits of milk. While we were amazed that she made it this far, we are not out of the woods yet. The next few days will be crucial. She does not like to suckle on the bottle, but we are working with her. Time will tell, but until then, she is a little miracle that I like to snuggle with on the couch. 20150217_173910[1]

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Farm Day

The other night, the family and I watched Alexander’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and today, I felt like I was in that movie just a bit.

20150216_193432I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised today happened the way it did. I mean it is Monday. In the midst of the string of events, I found myself laughing, though. I think I laughed because it felt better than to cry. I hope you too, may laugh at the events that follow during the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Farm Day.

Turn on the heat…

Currently all my reasons for living in the South in terms of weather have been shot to pieces. It is below freezing, and all water troughs have 2 inches of ice. That means that we are chopping ice with an ax and supplying heat lamps and knee high bedding for everyone. Farm chores can be rough in warm temperatures. They become a bit more difficult when Jack Frost is biting you. However, I will say that cleaning frozen pig poop, is a bit less messy than normal.

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Surprise!

North Carolina is in one of the coldest weeks of the year, and of course, Lulu decides she wants to have babies during this unusual cold snap. As we went to feed the older group of goats, we were greeted by the sound of bleats from two kids. Lu had kidded sometime during the early morning hours, birthing a girl and a boy.

lulu fam

isaac kid

gid kid

While she had done a good job drying them off, they were still understandably cold. We quickly set up a heat lamp andpiled thick bedding in an individual shelter for the new mom and babies. This was easier said than done though. Finagling drop cords and cleaning hulk sized cob webs were in order. We also had to weigh the babies and put iodine on their umbilical cords. We use iodine to prevent any infection or the potential navel ill disease. They weighed 9.5 pounds each, which is a good size for baby goats.

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iodine

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However, even with a good body weight, the little girl was weak and was not terribly interested in nursing. Throughout the day, we kept checking on her… in the midst of other “exciting” events.

Niagara Falls

After lunch, I went back outside to check on the little ones. When I stepped out of the door, I heard water… a lot of it. I started looking around, thinking that one of the sheep was having one heck of a pee break. Sadly, we were not that fortunate. There at the barn, was a regular Niagara Falls.

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The pipeline had burst with the cold temperatures, despite being insulated. I ran out there in my slippers, but quickly traded those in for muck boots when I saw how deep the water was. I called Daddy to ask him which valve I should turn to cut the water off. The valve was under water, though, and I couldn’t see it. I got a bucket and began to bail the water out, but it refilled faster than I was emptying. Dad told me to run to the front yard and cut off the whole property’s water. This finally stopped the water. I called Mom to tell her that she had no water at the house, but I had things under control. I ran back to the barn to start bailing water again. Finally, I found the valve. My hands were blue and frozen from being in the water, and now the valve was stuck. I found pliers and used those. After breaking the tab on the valve, I finally got it turned off just as Alec and Papa drove up to help.

I left them to investigate the split pipe, while I went to hang another heat lamp for the goats. Where one crisis ends, another begins…

The Mailbox Murder

As I was walking back to the barn, I heard a BOOM! I heard Papa yell that a guy had just taken out our mailbox. Two farmers who were hauling large pieces of equipment had just passed our house and clipped our mailbox. I asked Alec to go and talk to them. When he approached them, he asked if their equipment was OK. They said it was. Alec then told them that they did a number on our mailbox. They looked past him and looked wide-eyed at the damage. They didn’t even know it had happened. One of the farmers went on his way, while the other came back to investigate the damage. He believed that the other guy had done it, but paid us for the damage anyway. He jokingly told Alec that if he heard of a commotion in Harnett County, he knew it was about him trying to get his money back from the other guy. Oh lanta!

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Seeing Stars

Sometime during trying to tend to the new babies, Mom and Grandma were breaking ice in another pasture. Somehow the sheep got out and Grandma went to chasing them. Mom is asking Grandma to stop chasing the sheep, telling the dog to get the sheep, and trying to keep the rogue little buck inside the pasture as he rams the gate. After much chasing, the sheep finally were returned to where they belonged. As Mom was fastening the gate, the buck rams the gate one last hard time. The gate hits Mom in the head, and she literally saw stars. It was just one more aspect of the day.

On the Brink

After a nice dinner of taco soup, I went to check on the kids another time. Lulu and the little boy looked fine, but the little girl was not doing good. In fact, I thought she was dead when I got there. Even though, she was in the shelter and in the rays of the heat lamp, she was so cold. I decided to carry her in the house. Honestly, I didn’t expect her to even make it from outside to the house, but she did. I started warming her up with a hair dryer and towels. Her internal temperature would not rise, though. Daddy and I decided to tube feed her, in hopes of A) getting some nourishment in her and B) get some warmth to her insides.

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After accomplishing that feat, we ran a warm bath in the sink for her. This did the most good in warming her up, and she actually started to kick a bit. All of a sudden though, she seemed to stop breathing and became non-responsive. We thought we had lost her. Taking her out of the sink, we wrapped her in a towel, only to have her take another deep breath. She was still alive. Currently, she is sitting in my bathroom with a heater on her, sleeping. I have low expectations of her living through the night, but so far she keeps proving me wrong.

Ice, Ice Baby

Now, as I sit at the kitchen table, looking at the end of this Monday, the ice is coming down outside. All the animals are tucked neatly in their bedding and heat lamps, and I am exhausted. Despite it being a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Farm Day, I am thankful for moments of laughter, the teamwork exhibited by my family, and a warm home. In the end, some days on the farm are hard, and others are fun, but they are all worth it. I’m sure we will all look back and laugh at this crazy day.

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Teeth Tell the Tale

BEa teethWhat does this picture say? Would you believe those teeth tell a tale? Well, they do.

Goats have eight incisors on their bottom jaw. With those eight teeth, we can generally determine how old the goat is. Just like humans lose teeth as they get older, so do goats, except they don’t have a goat tooth fairy. The picture above is of a goat that is over four years old. She has lost all her teeth and grown large ones. If a goat gets past eight years old, the teeth will look worn. The photo below is of Lulu, who is getting close to nine years old. You can see the start of wear on her teeth compared to the four year old goat in the first picture. There is more gaps and her teeth are narrower.

lulu tetth

They will lose their first pair of teeth after turning one year old, and a pair each year after that. The first two teeth to go are the middle pair. This next goat lost her first set of teeth in October. She is already working on her second pair. They aren’t quite all the way in.

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And this little guy hasn’t lost any yet:

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His teeth are smaller and all the same size.

Why is this important?

Although we keep records of when our goats were born and know how old they are, sometimes we buy goats from sales that do not give us records. We can look at their teeth to see how old they are and whether or not they are too old to breed. We also have to know how old a goat is for showing purposes. We are not allowed to show goats over a year old except at the state fair. At many shows, officials will check the teeth of the goat to see if they are eligible or, when at the state fair, if they are in the right class. We have had to change classes at the state fair a few times when the goat was late losing their teeth or lost them early. Silly goats.


Your turn!!

We’ve covered what different ages looks like. Now it is your turn to give it a try. How old do you think this goat is? Comment below with your answers.

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Happy Farm Fact Filled Fridays!