The Mootel and kids
It was a pretty busy weekend here. April seems to be going by so fast, and we have a tremendous amount of work to get done around the farm before mid May, when we are hoping to hit the road and head for Alaska. Brina is doing well, three weeks old yesterday! She has been sleeping in the barn now and I don't think she really minds although I miss her. She comes to visit the house once a day and see the little dogs. She has made friends with everyone in the barnyard and for the most part is fitting in with the herd faster than any other bottle baby we've had - usually they are outcasts for a very long time.
The weather has been more typical of April, mostly meaning, strange. We've had cloudy days with a little rain. Last night when I was doing the barn chores I noticed something was biting me, and quickly saw what it was... black flies. I was slightly surprised to see them out, but it was quite muggy and humid yesterday which they love. Today it's cooler, but still a nice spring day. The barnyard crew is anxiously waiting for the gates to their pastures to be opened up so they can devour the fresh green grass.
Bucket and her kids
Lambie says "what? what is it?"
Do you have treats or what?
The goats are just starting to loose their winter coats. We've seen a lot more activity in the bush lately, turkeys displaying and gobbling, the Partridge are out, and lots of other birds. My turkeys so far are not fighting. I have ended up with four Toms so I've been waiting for my cue to separate them but so far, after only one day earlier in March of a problem, they all wander around together and don't show any aggression towards each other.
Maybe it's because Snick is still the biggest that they are not fighting yet? I only have four females, so I don't imagine that's enough for the lot of them.
Little tiny Tim is growing! Both of Buckets kids are doing really well.
he sure is a cutie..
Basswood, Snick, and a young Tom
The ducks taking an afternoon nap while keeping an eye on me
yesterday I saw my first Flicker! The first of this spring... he was by the tractor
looking down part of the trail to the mootel and big pasture
On the weekend Kevin and his son, who is visiting from Ohio to help with some of our bigger projects (thankfully) got most of the Mootel finished. Kevin and I will just have to put the dividing wall in it (to make two pens) and put hinges on the doors and finish the roof so it's water proof.
It's on our biggest pasture (about 10 acres) which is around the other side of the pond from the house. She'll need to be inside at night to protect her from predators, along with Jack, the miniature horse, who will be out there with her.
We've had these old doors lying around forever - amazingly we've finally found a use for them! That's why it's always good to keep stuff on a farm, you never know when you might just need them.
Brina running towards her ma... she is a wild one! When she sees me she darned near jumps straight up into my arms
This is the best time of year to start walking in the evenings, which I've been trying to do - since all the animals are starting to come out. Last night I saw a woodpecker, deer, and a couple of porcupines. This is also one of the best times of year to see Partridge since they are mating. A couple of days ago the fruit trees started to blossom... now through the still mostly bare forest you can see little pockets of white flowers.
I saw Leo near one of our apple trees behind the house. His coat is changing and he looks a bit like a Dalmatian with his white spots. I've seen quite a few deer in the forest lately, but most of our friends have wandered off for the summer now that there is plenty to eat and it's easy to move around. Leo however is sticking close to the house since his accident - whatever it was. He vanished for a long time this winter, a couple of months, and when he returned early this spring he had healing wounds on his side and at his mouth. He holds his mouth open and drools a lot. It almost looks like he was shot there - but it could easily have been from a coyote attack as well. Either way, he's survived but he's not very strong yet.
Sunday was a very stressful day for me. My last doe to kid, Beatrice, did so. I found her minutes after she kidded standing by the shed in the barnyard with blood on her legs. The first thing I did was bring her inside the barn and then I went back outside to find the baby. He was lying in the corner of the shed.
This is Bea's first kid and he's late. She was bred at the same time the other does were and they all kidded nearly three weeks ago. He was warm, but limp. I brought him inside the barn and put him and Bea inside a clean dry stall. She wasn't very interested. He couldn't stand. I tried to hold him up to nurse but he wouldn't drink. So I milked Bea, and tried to feed him a bottle, but he wouldn't nurse. I spent a couple of hours doing this. He was very weak and quit breathing on me a couple of times.
Amazingly that evening, several hours later, he decided he better give it at least a little effort and he stood up. His legs are incredibly long, he's a huge kid, and Bea is a tiny doe, she's barely bigger than my Pygmy Hilda was... He couldn't seem to hold his legs right, and he could stand but couldn't walk anywhere without falling over. But he was sucking the air. Excellent. Bea didn't really want him to nurse but she stood for me, after I placed one hand on her, gently, she stood without a fight. The little guy could not find the teat but once I got it in his mouth, with me completely holding him up and his head onto the teat, he drank.
Yesterday he showed some improvement but still couldn't stand. He nursed when I held Bea and held him up to get the milk. Bea is not trying to hurt him but just basically ignoring him.
As I was sitting with him in the afternoon, he was standing in front of me, and he wanted to jump around and play, but couldn't, so his whole little body would just shake and he'd toss his head. My heart was so happy and so sad at the same time to see this little guy so full of life in his spirit, but so weak in his body. When I did chores late in the evening, I walked away from the pen with him nursing from his mother. She was distracted by a treat, but also standing for him.
This morning, he was standing up in his pen with her, very happy to see me. He is a little too happy to see me... I'm afraid he associates me more with food than her - although he does know where the milk comes from. She offers him little affection, so he seeks that from me. He drank well this morning and was even playing without falling over - which was a sight for sore eyes. She is not refusing him, I have seen him nurse briefly twice, but I don't completely trust her yet, so I'm spending a lot of time making sure she is letting him nurse. I want her to accept him and care for him, instead of me just taking him and putting him on a bottle, but I will do that if I have to.
For now, I see him growing stronger, slowly, but he is making progress. He had a wonderful first poop yesterday and his system is working. He is still walking with his front legs slightly bent, but he's able to get around with falling over. His name is Melvin. I didn't want to name him yet, but Kevin said it to me on my way to the barn last night and I thought "no way." And yet it stuck.
He's a fighter, and he is nursing. As long as he can keep his strength up I'm hopeful. The next few days will tell.