Winter Strikes Again

The snow filled up our rain gauge.  Twice.  So I guess we got at least ten inches so far.

And it’s not supposed to stop till midnight.

It’s supposed to get down to 11 degrees tonight, which sounds pretty cold, but they say it’s 13 right now.

Won’t be much different I guess.

The animals are all inside, or at least most of the way inside. I can see Amira's butt sticking out. Their funny like that. As long as their heads are not getting wet, they forget about the rest of their body parts. The goats of course, do not come out in rain or snow. Never. We even dug them a foot path. Forget it.
"snow in virgina"
This is the boys hut. They have have hay inside in a feeder and a small cooler of water that doesn't freeze. I put extra hay on the wooden floor for warmth. They are very comfortable today.
snow covered tree in virginia
We can't see any farther than this tree. It's going to be a looonnnngg day.

Luckily CG got a bunch of movies, since we don’t have a TV at this house.  We have a kerosene heater and plenty of fuel to last until tomorrow if we lose power.  We have food, fresh eggs and plenty of off-flavored goats milk. (still okay in coffee, but not yet for drinking)

Mikey, who freshened last week with quads, and who has always had great tasting milk, is suddenly giving milk with an off flavor.  I did a CMT (california mastitis test), and that came up negative, so I’m going to take a milk sample by the lab on Tuesday for a culture.   They will  do a more comprehensive mastitis test and  check the somatic cell count.   I’ve had this happen with a couple of other does, right after freshening, and their milk did turn sweet after a few weeks.

The snow is really starting to blow.  So far no ice.  But it really is a mess out there.

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2010 Weblog Awards

I didn’t even know these existed until last night.

I was reading my favorite blog, The Pioneer Woman, and she included a link her post yesterday to the 2010 weblog awards.  She’d been nominated, (and deservedly so) for a couple of awards in a couple of categories.

The bloggies is a neat site to visit. It contains the top blogs of 2009.  There are categories for humor, best writing, italian blogs, asian blogs, sports and alternative lifestyle blogs, etc.

I didn’t see a category for farm blogs.  But, Ree got nominated, so I guess people are reading farm blogs.

Or maybe it’s just ranch blogs.  She does have a lot of heavy equipment.  And then there is the food.  Lots of food on her site.

If you make it over to the bloggies site, be forwarned that not all of the blogs listed, although they are considered the best of the best, are necessarily something all of us would want to read.

Many contain curse words.  My blog will never purposely contain curse words.  Of course I say them accidently, but fortunately here I have an edit button, I can unwrite it.  I can’t unsay a word, but maybe that’s why I’ve always liked writing.  I get the opportunity to look at what I just wrote and trash it if necessary.

Anyway, check out the 2010 weblog awards site.

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Hot Heads!

I know you all are just dying to see what newly disbudded little goat heads look like, so I thought I’d show you!

All three of the little girls were done yesterday and are doing great!  The iron (held in place for about 15 seconds) destroys both the horn bud AND the nerves in that area, so not only do the goats not grow horns, they also do not have any pain in that area once it is done.  Sometimes bucks, especially Swiss breeds like Alpines and Saanens tend to grow a little curly “scur” out of the base that they usually knock off during regular play fighting, or sometimes a wire saw or pair of nippers will have to be used to trim the scur to keep it from growing back into his head or eye.   Does and wethers rarely grow scurs….lucky for me!  I only have to deal with one buck and we do have to trim his scurs once a year.

See, if you stick around awhile you will know all sorts of things about goats that you never even wondered.

goat disbudding
Hot head #1
dairy goat disbuddding
Hot Head #2
goat kid disbudding
Hot Head #3
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What a Difference a Week Makes!

I had three human kids and it took me a lot longer than this goat to regain my figure.  Course now we’ve got to get her headed in the OTHER direction, weight-wise.  Lots of grain, free choice alfalfa pellets, full hay feeders….it’s still often-times a struggle with high-producing dairy goats, to get them up to a good weight in time for appraisals, shows, and farm visitors.  The goal is to feed them really good while they’re  pregnant,  so they’ll have a few extra pounds after giving birth.  You can see that everything Mikey was ingesting was going to produce those 4 kids she had last Thursday.  And now she’s milking 8-9 pounds per day and it increases by a few ounces each day!

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Weekly Giveaway Contest

It’s that time of the week again.  Last week’s contest winner of two bars of handcrafted goats milk soap is Sharon Ramey!  The soaps Sharon will receive are Coconut Lime Verbena and AppleJack and Peel.

This weeks contest winner has to answer a question.  To answer that question, please respond in the comments box for this post. Only comments made on this post count, so make sure to post it here.

This weeks question is:

How long is the normal gestation for a dairy goat, AND, how many months does a farmer normally milk a dairy goat during the year?

I will post the proper answer next Monday…but I’m sure many of you know the answer to this one.  Next week I’ll try and post a much more difficult question.

Oh, this weeks giveaway prize is two bars of handcrafted goats milk soap, Sex on the Beach, and Cleopatra’s Treasure.  Please do include your email in your entry so I can get back to you.  No need to send me your address now, I’ll get that privately if you win.  Meantime, if you don’t win, and still want soap, visit my ArtFire Shop In fact, visit my shop anyway and send your suggestions.


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Green Ears and Spam

alpine goat kid
Green Eared Monster #1
alpine doe kid
Green Eared Monsters #2 and #3

I think I finally found out what caused my computer spam virus meltdown last week.  It was these three GREEN EARED MONSTERS!  Their brother was most likely in on it too, but he left for a new home today with a cute family with FOUR kids…and they home school, and they were really, really nice.

They named him Chevy Silverado.  Isn’t that just the cutest name for a little silver buckling?

(The green ink in the ears is tattoo ink. Each registered kid is tattooed with the breeders registered tattoo number in the Right Ear.  Mine is SHTA.  The left ear is tattooed with the alphabet letter that corresponds to the year the kid was born.  This year we are using the letter “A”.  So in the left ear my kids were tattooed in the order they were born, A1, A2, A3, and A4.  The tattoos MUST be readable by the judge if you show your goat.  If the judge cannot read the tattoo, any wins will be forfeited.  This happened to me one year with a doe who I tattooed.  Since then I’ve been very, very, careful with  my tattoos. )

three alpine dairy goat kids
The three GREEN EARED MONSTERS strike again! Hide your computers folks, these girls aint got no mercy!

Don’t you all love my important sounding tags?

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Colostrum In Your Coffee

My advice?  Don’t try it.  It’s not good.  I don’t care what the baby goats have to say about it. They don’t drink coffee.

Anyway, just thought I’d remind you, in case you happen to have some colostrum sitting in your fridge, or have some frozen in the freezer and run out of milk and cream for your coffee, even in a pinch,

DON’T DO IT!  And if you do it, remember, I told you not to do it.

Happy Sunday Afternoon.  Must get started on my taxes now.

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Get Up Already!

baby alpine dairy goat
I'm a showgirl already.

It’s Sunday, what else have you got to do?  I’ve already milked some goats and fed some horses.  I’m feeling really farmerish right now.  Yesterday I also got up to milk at 5am.  I guess that’s why I was soooooo tired yesterday afternoon at 4 o’clock.  I couldn’t think of a thing to do.  CG was in bed asleep and I didn’t want to wake him up.  He had to work third shift last night.  Just for one night.  I don’t know how he did it.  I would have fallen asleep on the time clock.  It’s a good thing I don’t have to punch one of those things anymore.

Actually, I’d like to punch one, only not with my badge, but with something more substantial, like a baseball bat.

All of this farm-type stuff is  much more fun without a full-time factory job to hamper me.  Course, we’re in the middle of moving and everything I need here is over there, and everything I need over there is here.

Right now I don’t know what I need.  Maybe more sleep?

Alicia update:  No kids, thank goodness.  I don’t know her kidding history as I’ve had her less than a year.  She kidded here on our farm last July, but I luted her (farmers term for artificially inducing labor), so  I don’t know how natural kidding normally goes for her.  Most goats seem to repeat the same things at kidding each year, even down to the time of day. I’ve never seen one of my does lose their mucus plug without going into labor soon, or being in labor when it is lost.

Course, Alicia’s plug has disappeared now, I watched it fall to the ground last night when she peed, so I probably just always miss it.

Who knows.

(blogger geek stuff follows, may not be of interest)

In case you’ve wondered about the links you see in my post, well, they have nothing to do at all with my blog or my posts.  I downloaded this new tool from Firefox called Zemanta, and it automatically makes some of my words into links.  They link to Wikipedia or something like that and tell you a little more about the subject at hand.  Not that I won’t tell you a great deal myself.  But, if I forget not everybody’s a farmer, and mention something like “Lutalyse” or “CDIR” and forget to tell you what it is, then you can just look up the link, although apparently Zemanta doesn’t know what those terms mean either.  Well heck.  I still like it.   And it looks like it’s going to link to Zemanta, so if you’re a blogger, you better click on that one.

It also automatically suggests tags based on post content.  Tags that I would never have thought of.  Tags that will suggest your site to other people who otherwise never would have seen it.  It’s trickery if you ask me.  But I like it.  It’s fun.  And that’s what it’s all about.


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Mucus Plug Gone in Alicia

I went out tonight to milk Mikey, and brought raisins for everyone.  Alicia was kind of off to the side of the barnyard, but eagerly ate the raisins out of my hand.  Wow, I noticed she really has gotten big.  And she looked a little funny….kinda hunchy…so I checked her hind end.  No udder at all…but a big glop of white gloop was hanging down.  Hmmm, the mucus plug….oh, heck, that means MORE KIDS!  And I haven’t even got the first set out of the house yet.  (CG and I did work on a kid pen today in the shed.  It will be heated for a couple of days while they adjust, but we didn’t quite get it done.)

We were not planning to be here for kidding season.

But here we are.

And I am apparently not going to get much sleep tonight.

I just went out and checked Alicia again.  I could see her from inside the house.  She had been licking a salt block for like 15 minutes….maybe it wasn’t a salt block?

Well, it was just a salt block, and no more glop, but her tail ligaments are gone and she’s stretching like crazy.  Looks a little contracty.  My guess is early labor.  I should be getting good at this guessing thing.

I guess.

This is Alicia, my other favorite doe. She's miss elegance. I'm keeping all doe kids she ever has, forever. So don't even ask. You can't have them, they're mine, ALL MINE!

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