Just another day…right?

Posted By on October 28, 2014

Today was going along great.  We got school done, I got some planting done and watered the new blueberry plants (no photo) and was a little disturbed that something is digging in them already and one was dug up but nothing major.  Jacob had a Dr. appt. to figure out why his wrist is bothering him so much.  I dropped Samuel off with his ride to 4-H and headed off to the appointment.

I got a call from my neighbor, Randy, while I am at the Dr. so I let it go to voice mail.  The Dr. sent us to X-ray next door before the appointment and that is when the crazy unleashed.

I texted said neighbor and got no response and then I listened to my voicemail.  Something about smoke in the hollow between me and him, am I alright?  I texted him that I am not home and please let me know what he finds.  Then I receive a call from my house phone!  What?  No one is home…  It is my other neighbor on the line about fire coming up the ridge and I should come home.  I tell him we are waiting on an x-ray and I can’t.  So I call Quinn and ask if he can go home and explain all I know, which is minimal, but I do know the fire dept. has been called.  To amp up the degree of difficulty I live on a street with zero hydrants.  My neighbors’ barn burned to the ground 2 years ago and they used the tankers all day to put it out.  I know that if the house caught fire it would most likely burn to the ground.  Quinn tells me he can’t just leave work.  Then I get another urgent phone call from my HOUSE that the animals can’t breathe with all the smoke and can I call another neighbor and see if she can help me move them.  NOW I panic!

With as much calm as I can muster I tell the radiologist that there is a fire at my house and I have to leave immediately and could she please tell the Dr. next door that we will not be able to keep the appt.  As I am driving as fast as I can without killing anyone I ask Jacob to call his dad and tell him what we know and that we are headed home.  Fortunately he is also on the way home.  Whew!  I know he will beat me there.  I am still trying to remain as calm as possible.

When I arrive on scene  I pull up to 5 different companies of fire trucks in my yard.  I am so glad they are there and that the house looks to be spared and the barn is still there.  It is pretty smoky but I don’t see any actual fire.  I got an update from 3 fire chiefs.  They had been working on this fire from the bottom of the  ridge and were trying to find where to attack it from the top.  The fire was very close.  It was about a foot away from the back yard fence and ran up the side of the fence line that joined the back yard and the goat yard.  It was about 200 or so feet from the house and the barn.  Very close.

It is still pretty smokey tonight as the stumps are still smoldering. Greenbrier’s Chief told us to stay out of the goat yard because there are a lot of trees that are burned half way up that will just fall in the next few days.  Fortunately I have another pasture and most of my goats are off getting bred so there was far less chaos than what their could have been.

Blessed beyond measure.

CAM00114

Volunteers working the fire at the goat yard fence

CAM00109

Brush jumpers in the back yard

CAM00107

Tankers by the barn

141445312949010

Goat yard

IMG478

Smoldering stumps

IMG476

View from the back porch. Scary close

 

Our history of cows.

Posted By on August 21, 2014

Here is our history with cows. Last year we dipped our toes into the cow business. I got 3 at the sale barn, a steer, a bull, and a heifer. They went straight to the vet and the bull became a steer. Brought them home and the heifer promptly jumped the fence and went to live with the neighbor for about a week before he got her penned up. I sold her for what I bought her for to my other neighbor. In January I purchased 2 more at the sale. One a bull calf and the other a heifer. They came straight home and we put them in the field and they ran to the far side of the fence and proceeded to go “walkabout” through the neighborhood. The day I bought them it was 80 degrees in Jan. The next week while we are trying to catch them it was 18 degrees. Finally caught the bull and took him straight to the vet to be castrated because he was becoming aggressive with all the running around and the little girl was still on the lam. She finally went to the neighbors cows and stayed there about 3 weeks until we could catch her. Sold her to the other neighbor for what I paid for her. In February the little boy died. Still had the two original steers though so in the spring they were sold and went to the butcher.

This spring I bought 6 jersey bulls. They were 8 weeks old and weaned and looked really healthy. I was offered a “free” mule and decided that was a pretty good idea thinking he would keep the predators away because the calves were quite small. Chester the Mule was in the field with them for about 2 weeks when we were doing barn chores one evening and heard this horrific noise. Chester was attacking one of the cows. It was one of the most brutal things I have ever seen. He was throwing the calf around like a sack of flour. After a very stressful evening we got the calves put up while we were figuring out what to do with the mule. Turns out the mule was mean and crazy so we had him put down. The vet came out and checked the calves and gave one of them a shot for pneumonia and the injured calf something for the swelling in his neck. Four days later the calf with pneumonia died. Two weeks later we lost two calves within days of each other with no known cause.

This Monday I went to the sale barn and purchased 2 heifers and brought them home. The largest heifer died late Tuesday night, probably from upper respiratory. So I decided after talking to the vet to take the remaining cows that I had to the vet and have them checked. My awesome neighbors came to help me load the cows and dispose of the one that died. Loaded the new cow into the front of the trailer because I didn’t want her beating the little boys up. Got the boys loaded and I was on my way to the vet. Turns out the sliding door on the trailer was not locked properly so it opened and all the boys jumped out. We have found two of them. They are pretty banged up but remarkably well considering. One is still missing. The heifer made it to the vet and the vet determined that she had some upper respiratory issues that needed treated. Did that and loaded her back on the trailer, triple checking the latches, and brought her home. We needed to find a place to put her out of the blazing sun because the heat index this week is going to be over 100 every day so I put her on the far side of the barn and rigged up at 10×10 stall under the eve of the barn. She is real jumpy and skittish so I crossed my fingers. Last night for barn chores it was pouring rain and the last thing I did was shut the pop door for the chickens and I had to walk around near the crazy calf. Well I slipped in the mud, like my day couldn’t get any better, and spooked her and she managed to push and squeeze her way out. So, now we have another heifer on the loose and I am getting out of the cow business.

I am very sad because my dream when we bought this place was to have beef cows and a milk cow. I was talking to my best friend saying I should have just stuck to the milk cow idea. Her response…” NO! Leave the milk cows alone!” Awesome. Nice to be known as the cow jinx. Done losing money on cows though.

Apple Press

Posted By on August 24, 2013

Last Sunday I was stopped at church and asked by one of our very respected church members whether I had any apple trees. I was happy to say that yes, I did, but that I thought the apples were small and I wasn’t sure how many I had. Last year I had very few apples and the hornets ate most of what I had because I was so intimidated by them. So after church I sent the boys out with the picker while I mowed the pasture. They got a LOT of apples but they said that there were still more but the bees were scaring them off. I believed them since last years bees were so aggressive. The next morning I went out to pick the rest of the apples because I did not have any clients due that day and I was shocked at the number of apples still on the trees! We had a bumper crop of apples this year. I picked until I ran out of buckets and then I promptly called the gentleman that had asked me about the apples. The reason he wanted to know? ….he has an apple press and was looking to find it a new home!

Jacob working hard

Jacob working hard

We picked it up this afternoon and Jacob and I just had to try it out.

After the apples were crushed

After the apples were crushed

It wasn’t as hard to use as I thought it was going to be.

Pressing the mash

Pressing the mash

Squeeze!

Squeeze!

We processed a five gallon bucket of apples and filled the press and after we squeezed all the juice out we had an “apple cake” in the press 1/3 the size. This was the pulp left after pressing. I wish I had taken a picture of “the cake” but we gave it to the cows. They ate every bit. Now we have one gallon of delicious juice.

yumm.

yumm.

I can’t wait to share my nectar with my benefactor. Thank you sir!
Now I only have 90 more pounds to go.
Y’all come back now!

At Last!

Posted By on June 20, 2013

WE HAVE COWS!
If you come to our place during the day you will think that this is just a rumor but it is actually true! I have cows! They just hide in the woods, so far.

three amigos

three amigos

I have been wanting cows since we moved here. I am glad I started with goats. They are much more social from what I have seen so far. My neighbor met me at the cattle auction on Monday and helped me with the bidding. I got three. One heifer, one bull and one steer. I went there for 4 steers but I was quickly convinced that the heifers might be cheaper and that the bulls can be “taken care of”. After the sale my neighbor took them home and left them on the trailer and then took them to the vet the next morning. The bull was “taken care of” and they all got wormed and vaccinated. They were unloaded into the pasture around 11am and quickly disappeared into the woods. I went out at dusk to try to play with them and they were very scared of me. The next afternoon I went out to drive them to the water troughs because they had had nothing to drink yet. I was just a crazy lady walking through the woods to them but they finally went out into the pasture and we were able to “push” them to water. They took a few sips and licked on the mineral block and then promptly went back into the woods, never to be seen again. UGH! I have cows! I want to play!

tasting the mineral block

tasting the mineral block

Off to the woods

Off to the woods

Y’all come back now!

Spring

Posted By on April 23, 2013

Spring is upon us. It has been teasing us with winter every week or so but I think it is finally here to stay.

Herbs are growing

Herbs are starting to grow

Herbs are starting to grow

More eggs than I know what to do with.

Eggs a plenty

Eggs a plenty

Grass is lush and green.

Grass is growing

Grass is growing

Chick Chain with 4-H starts up again.

Chick Chain

Chick Chain

And Projects a plenty!

Fencing!

Fencing!

I like Spring but I sure am tired.

Y’all come back now!

Oops!

Posted By on April 13, 2013

Grass is always greener!

Grass is always greener!

Looks like somebody left the gate open.

breakfast and goats 010

That is the first time they went straight for the grass so it looks like the potash was a good investment.

Y’all come back now!

Present

Posted By on April 11, 2013

my new present

my new present

Look what I bought myself! Just in time for more rain! Don’t you wish you were me….

Y’all come back now!

Service Project

Posted By on April 11, 2013

The local Girl Scout troop contacted me a couple of weeks ago and wondered if I would have anything they could do as a service project. Hmmmm. “Always”, is the answer. It just worked out that I had just gotten a strawberry pyramid and needed that put together. With all the excitement of all the baby goats I had not had time to put it up yet. So, in-between all the rain that we were having they came!

girlscouts and kids 004-2
girlscouts and kids 008
girlscouts and kids 005

finished product

finished product


Strawberries!

Strawberries!


I think they had a good time. The strawberries are in an starting to grow!

Y’all come back now!

All things work together for good.

Posted By on March 26, 2013

Yesterday was a very eventful day. I noticed that YooHoo was acting really frantic when I went to milk in the morning. Technically it was her due date if she was pregnant. I did not think she was pregnant at all. There were no signs and she has never been pregnant since her C-Section 3 years ago. Truth be told she is probably my favorite naughty goat. She is “special” and we have been through a lot together.

Well the day dragged on. I was checking on her every hour and trying to get the boys to do their school work and chores. Plus it was Samuel’s birthday! I made beef tips and rice for him and a Banana Pudding Cake.

At 4:00 pm still no progress. By now I am wearing my friend Karen out. She agreed to come and look at her after her chores. About 6 YooHoo really started pushing. At 6:40 I saw the cord come out and still no baby. I found the feet and pulled with each contraction. It was a giant female kid. She was beautiful but not alive. Karen arrived and helped walk me through what to do. Then she told me to get my bottle baby and bring him to her. While I did that she attended to Yoohoo. She gave me tips to help her accept this baby as her own. It helped everyone. It helped Yoohoo to have a nursing kid to stimulate contractions to eliminate the placenta. It helped her not to greive her lost baby, and it helped a little goat who needed a mother. It also helped me to not bond so strongly to this little goat to the point where I could not sell him. I dreamt all night about Romans 8:28, that all things work together for good, according to His purpose. God is good! I am very sad about the lost kid but rejoicing that she is fostering the other kid that had been rejected.

Baby girl

foster baby

Y’all come back now!

Hermione’s kids arrive

Posted By on March 25, 2013

Stitches’ other daughter Hermione went into labor the day after Lilly. She did not want me around at all. She was in a little distress and I had to help get the foot out on the first kid. He is a boy and probably was deprived of oxygen.

It's a boy!

She cleaned the little boy up a little bit and then had a little girl. There was quite a difference in the two babies. The boy was quiet and sleepy and the girl was fiesty, trying to stand and nurse.

Little girl

Baby love

Hermione was very freaked out by the whole process. She didn’t really understand what had just happened and why. She was hesitant to let them nurse so I moved the family into the stall that had just opened up. She wasn’t sure about everything but she eventually let the little girl nurse but was not taking care of the little boy. I held her while I tried to get him to nurse. It took him an extremely long time to get it figured out but he finally figured it out and Hermione was not happy about it. Every time I had to hold her to nurse him but she was allowing the girl.

lil' man is hungry

Wednesday night everything was normal but the next morning Hermione was clearly not feeling well. She had liquid diarrhea and that is never good in a goat. I isolated her and her girl because she had taken to biting Lil’man. I was doctoring her as good as I could and Karen was helping me out again with that. She showed me how to bottle feed Lil’man and was afraid I was going to have to do the same with the girl. When I went to bed Thursday night I was not sure she would be alive in the am. Luckily she was and I took what I could of a stool sample to the vet and it turns out she was just loaded with worms. He gave me a vitamin B complex and told me what to do for her. After the B complex she perked up enough for me to feed her most of an apple. The first thing she had eaten in 24 hours. By Friday night she was almost back to herself running from me and fighting me. Whew! I am ready for it to be boring around here for a while. No time for that! It’s Spring!

Y’all come back now!