Kids, lambs, general chaos

 good morning, Brina!

Wednesday afternoon,  Kevin left in a rush for Georgia. A very good friend of his passed away, and it was important he make the 1,200 mile trip to get to the funeral. I couldn't have gone even if we had been able to get our caretaker here in such short notice because my passport is being renewed and doesn't come back until next week, and of course, Brina the goat is still in the house and needing me to make sure she gets over the hump.

In the seven years Kevin and I have been together, we've rarely been apart. We do most things together, and I can count on one hand the number of times he's been away or I've been away, alone. He'll be gone until Sunday evening. No big deal to be honest. I have no way off the farm but I've spent an entire month here alone with no way off the farm before, and if everything falls apart, I have a constant supply of fresh goat milk to keep us going ;) I have no problems taking care of myself here.

That being said, it's unreal how something always happens... Wed afternoon I mostly worked inside and kept the fire going so it would be warm in the house since it was damp and raining outside. Brina had a terrible day Tuesday,  and I thought I might loose her. She couldn't pee. I knew the day she was born something wasn't quite right but she had a traumatic morning so I gave her credit. Tuesday morning she woke me up at 7 AM and I thought it was great, she must be hungry. Nope. She wouldn't eat. She was running around the house playing, and was quite happy but she refused food. This went on for half the day (and I was worried, and trying everything I could) finally she flooded the place with pee. and as soon as she did, she wanted food. 

This was the first time I've ever had a kid with trouble peeing - pooping yes, that's why I was so relieved when she starting pooping on Monday, and Tuesday she continued to do so, but refused food. I wasn't 100% sure she hadn't peed, I have a lot of straw in her box and I kept feeling in case she peed in there but couldn't find any, so I was suspicious, especially since she spent 90% of the day roaming around the house - if she had peed, I would have known about it. The strange thing was, other than not eating, she showed zero signs of being in pain or distress, she was climbing furniture, playing with the dogs. 

Thank heavens she finally let the flood gates open because ever since she's been 100%, eating well, peeing well, pooping well, and looking for as much trouble as she can get her cute little self into. She thinks it's great to sleep in the easy chair in my lap, she must have got that tip from Sammy because none of the other kids have done that after the first day. Most of the time she sleeps on my feet.

So Wednesday evening comes around, time to do the evening chores. No big deal. I bring in my firewood for the night, plan on a nice relaxing evening by the fire with the dogs, and Brina... 

I head out the basement door to get the mule to carry hay in, and Torn Ear and Deer Norman are standing in the yard. Usually the deer wander off by this time of year, but we still have about seven hanging around. But wait... What's this in the juniper fields behind the barnyard? Something big and white I see? Not a deer... something bright white... Bright white like a Saanen goat.

Hmmm... it is a goat. Yep. Buckwheat. And who else? EVERYONE else. For the first time in 6 years, somehow the goats knocked the barnyard fence down and got out hours after Kevin left. It's like Murphy's law that something will happen. The electric fence is off but that's not unusual- and I'm not sure what happened to cause this, or really, whom. But they were out. Thankfully, the only kid out in the barnyard, Blodwen did not go over the fence with her mother, because that would have been a disaster, and Henrietta and Brie (Buckets kids from last year) stayed inside the barnyard with both dogs - and all three sheep and turkeys. But five goats (four more were in the barn) were out roaming about. They didn't go away, that wasn't my concern, I knew they wouldn't take off... But they could be eaten. Plus I don't really want to promote fence wrecking behavior and give them grand ideas of just strolling around the fields here at their leisure. That's lovely for goats in some other place in the world where there are not coyotes, wolves, and bears who just woke up from hibernation lining up for an evening buffet.

After I said a couple of words under my breath, I called them, and Sammy came right away. He's a good boy. He looked guilty as a Chihuahua caught with his head in a feed bag, but he came as soon as I called.

 After they were all safely in the barn in their pens, I inspected the damage to the fence, since Izzie the Jersey stays in the barnyard overnight and the dogs do as well - I couldn't leave the fence down. It was only one post they pulled out of the ground and then they just pushed the fence over... it was lying down, not flat, but enough that they just jumped over, but up enough it still looked like a barrier to a few of the other animals... that or they just wanted to get extra treats for being the good critters (which they all did.)

I have been walking Izzie on lead everyday to a paddock across from the barnyard. The sheep usually use it in the summer, but for now, it works for Izzie since she cannot be near the sheep or she'll hurt them. Since I have been walking her on lead - she's turned into the sweetest girl, even better than before. It took a while, at first she hated it and fussed, but now she's calm, and loves her morning cuddle, she loves when I scratch her neck and she stretches it out so I can rub her good before she has her breakfast. I can see now that he recent bad behavior has been caused by dominance, she figures now that she's big, she can push everyone around. I'm really pleased with our relationship right now. At night I bring her back into the barnyard so that she is safe with Max and  Flav. The problem is, I've got her this far and then in May, I'm going to leave for a few months and she'll be on summer pasture - so I'm sure she's going to need a reminder when I get back, but that will be just fine, the bugs will be down, and I'm going to take advantage of that time to start taking her on walks on lead.

So after my inspection of the fence, I knew there was only one thing I could do without an extra set of hands... I couldn't use the fence post slammer because for one I'm not tall enough to reach the post above my head, and for two I can't do anything to potentially hurt myself, rule number one when you are alone on a farm.

So I knew I had to go home and start the tractor. Without it, I couldn't have got the post back in the ground, I would have had to prop it up somehow and it would have been just as easy as before to knock over, if not easier. So I came home, started the tractor, and drove up behind the fence. I propped the post up so it would stand on it's own, with logs and then positioned the bucket of the tractor over the post and slammed it down into the ground. The first time, I hit a rock so the post only went in a little ways... I pulled the post out and moved it to another spot and tried again. Second time worked like a charm and that post went into the ground fast and hard - and there is no way anyone is going to be pulling it out by hand for a while now.

I love that tractor. 

I'm curious as to what happened. Often the goats with horns stick their heads through the fence holes and when they pull their heads back through, they pull the fence with it. So that's one possibility... I don't think it was intentional, I think someone had their head through and things just worked in their favor. I worked out a plan to wire the fence with a hot wire to keep them from even getting near the fence,  but decided to leave it alone and watch what happened the next day when I let them all out.

Once the fence was fixed, I brought Izzie back in the barnyard and gave her dinner. Back at the house, a lot later than I had planned, I sort of rested with the dogs and Brina. Brina had her last bottle which she sucked down and we watched T.V. for a bit. Kevin called at 10 PM as he said he would, but not because he'd found a hotel room as planned but because he was going to keep driving into the night until he couldn't anymore. He was in Harrisburg PA at 10 PM and just the trucks were out so driving was easier.

I damped down the fire and put Brina to bed... she didn't want to go, since she thinks she should be with me every minute of the day... But I waited a bit and eventually she lied down and got herself comfortable. The rest of us called it a night and halfway through a program about Montezuma and Cortes, I fell asleep.
It was a pretty sleepless night, as my guard was up, trying to be prepared for potential problems. Yesterday morning, it was overcast and still cold outside, the temperature has been sitting at or just below freezing for a few days now. 

 When I got up to the barn, everyone was talking as usual, I can tell all of their voices apart. Well I heard Lila the ewe as usual, but her voice was strained. I walked the length of the barn to have a look at her and see if she was alright before I started letting everyone out, and sure enough she was just fine, but she'd recently had a lamb. Standing beside her was a healthy black ram lamb.

I went ahead and let everyone out, leaving Lila and her lamb inside for the day to rest, and also leaving Mini Nut and Blodwen inside in case the fence went down again. Bucket and her twins are doing well, but they are still inside, the kids are too small to be outside, especially in the cold weather. And poor Beatrice is inside on baby watch still.... I know she'll kid soon and I want her in a safe and dry place.

Lila's ram lamb, few hours old

Then I had a good look at the possible fence wreckers, before I headed home to hide and watch with my binoculars who tried to mess with the fence.

Does this face look like the face of a fence wrecker? The obvious culprit was Sammy... he likes to get into trouble because he knows I'm extra forgiving with him.

The next potential criminal was Bulrush - he's the biggest of all the goats, but he has no horns to get caught in the fence. He does look a little guilty though don't you think?

Buckwheat, the one who was happiest to get out and the last to come back in once caught....

So I waited and watched from the house, where they couldn't see me. It took a while, but Sammy was the first one to go check out the spot in the fence where they got out. He just looked though, fairly quickly and conspicuously, and then he walked the fence line and slowly walked off.

Buckwheat never went near the fence that I saw all day.

But guess who spent a great deal of the afternoon at the fence, sticking his head over it, poking around looking for weaknesses? Bulrush. I yelled twice from the house and he just kind of looked at me wondering what the heck the crazy woman was yelling about now and didn't even move away. But eventually he went and lied down inside the turkey house. 

No one tried to push it over again... so I think it was an accident. The post was one of two weak ones, so I don't think someone actually did it on purpose. I haven't turned the electric fence on yet, but I will. I don't think I'll need to set my traps however since they seem to be leaving it alone for the most part. But I'll be keeping both my eyes on them now instead of just assuming everything is fine.

It dawned on me today that I had completely over looked Mini Nut - who has horns. I left her in the barn yesterday and the fence stayed up. I let her out today, and I noticed she spent a great deal of time at that post, inspecting it. So it's possible she was the one who did it and not the boys at all. As a matter of fact, she's there right now poking around.

The three kids in the barn are doing well and growing.

Blodwen who is growing like a weed

Bucket's little boy who was weak, he's still teeny, but he's growing very strong and playful everyday

Bucket's little girl who was stuck, she's doing really well 

Having a scratch

Yesterday afternoon friends called to see if they could come for a visit. They came over about 6 PM and we headed up to the barn to see all the new babies and they ended up staying until about 9:30 and then Kevin called, and I still had to go to the barn and do the milking. I ended up sitting down to eat my dinner at 11:30. So it was a pretty long and late night.

When I milked Biscuit in the morning, I got pink milk. Which can be a few different things. I saved the milk and when I milked her last night again, I got more pink milk, but it was lighter.

Thankfully today, the milk is clear. It must have been the switch in her milk and she is a very high producer so it's common in them - but it's the first time she's ever done it to me. This morning the milk was perfect again. Biscuit is a purebred Alpine and she's giving me a little more than 2 1/2 quarts of milk a day.

pink milk on the bottom, clear milk on top

Brina is enjoying her freedom in the house and has pretty much taken over.

 it's exhausting being a little goat...

yes, I know I'm adorable...

Last night at midnight, I couldn't find Brina. She just vanished. I looked everywhere. I was exhausted and running on fumes and I thought for a second I must be loosing my mind - how is it possible she wasn't anywhere in the house? I looked everywhere under everything, behind everything... I was calling her, no answer.

I started to panic even though I knew it was impossible she was gone. But the fact I could not find her anywhere was really starting to get to me, especially since my brain had pretty much quit for the night...

Suddenly on my way back into the living room she appeared in the middle of the room out of nowhere. I had no idea where she had been. I'd looked everywhere.

Well, everywhere except for one spot.

This afternoon she vanished again, but this time I figured out where she is going.

She's been going into Douglas house and lying down on the blanket in there! Apparently she thinks she needs a house like that. Thankfully I have a big one that's sitting empty, Sammy used it when he was a baby. I'm going to clean it out this afternoon and set it up for her so she can come and go from that house as she pleases. She's lying down in Douglas house right now, not that he seems to care since he's sleeping on the couch.

Now it's time to bring wood in and start preparing for evening chores. Hopefully tonight I'll eat a little earlier than 11:30 tonight! 


Goodness. I'm glad all is okay.

I couldn't drive a tractor for anything. Well, I could wreck it probably.
Misty Meadows said…
I am glad everything worked out. Hopefully, you don't experience any more trouble. Hope Kevin has a safe drive to Georgia and home again!
Leigh said…
Brina is so cute! All your kids are actually. We're still waiting on our first appearances. Goats certainly are an adventure, aren't they. Absolutely never a dull moment. I have one that tests the chain on a particular pasture gate several times a day. I wouldn't mind if she'd go in there and actually eat. All she wants to do is run over to pull the plastic off a pile of barn cleanings!

P.S. What does cutie pie Douglas think about Brina taking over his house?
Eventful days! I actually crave having home to myself for a couple days...but NOT during birthing season and ONLY if things are running smoothly (if ever!). It's sweet that Brina likes Douglas's man-cave (well, with the pink blanket, perhaps NOT-a-man-cave).
euthymic said…
I think you handled the whole farm amazingly well while you were on your own. I really laughed at the photos of the goats, when you were trying to guess which one pushed the post:)
Chai Chai said…
What does it say about me that I'm not the least bit surprised by a picture of a goat running around inside your house (or anyone's house)?

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