Archive for March, 2010

Thank you all for your support…

Can you read the label...Love My Goat red

I just wanted to take a minute to thank all of you for all your kind thoughts, and comments over the last few days, both here, and on facebook and ravelry, and in real life.  All of your support, sympathy and compassion means more to me than I can possible say.  While this has been a difficult time for me, I’ve been feeling the love from all over, and this has been an amazing balm for my weary soul.  

My lovely friend and neighbor Erica left this little bundle of sunshine in the barn on Monday, and I found it when I got home and went to feed and check on the rest of the herd.  I think she’ll miss Pedey as much as I will, she often stops in to visit with the goats on her daily walks with her children and dog.    I know they love to see her cuz she gives good treats.  Thanks again Erica, for all that you do, every day.

03/31/2010 at 11:02 am 3 comments

Hard lessons learned.


They say that you’re not a real farmer until you’ve had a birth and a death on your farm.  I’m saddened to find myself halfway there.   On Saturday afternoon, little Pedey passed away.   I am completely heartbroken.

Pedey 3/10/10

Little Pedey has always been small and frail and weaker than the other goats, and because of that I’ve felt very protective of him.  Unfortunately, as a new goat owner I missed some important signs of how really weak he was.  Goats have an amazing ability to hide their weakness, and I didn’t see the signs for what they were until last weekend. 

I noticed that he was really weak and skinny, and thought that he just needed to get some probiotics into him, to get his rumen working again, and get some weight on him.  So, I made up a little concoction of yogurt, liquid vitamins, herbal tonic and probiotic mix, and started drenching him with that 3x day.  I also gave him some homeopathic treatments.  He immediately perked up, started eating, started to put on some weight, I really thought he was improving and would be okay.  But, by Saturday he was down again, and he wouldn’t or couldn’t eat, even the yogurt mix that he had grown so fond of.  When I took his temperature expecting him to have a fever, it was really low instead.  I missed the fever, if he had one, altogether. 

I started the phone calls at that point, and couldn’t find my vet, or his covering vet, or that vet’s covering vet.  I tried to reach Susie Gibbs for advice, but the cell number didn’t work, and I couldn’t get my hands on the farm’s number (thanks rural living, no internet).  I did finally reach my friend Kim at Grandview Farm.  Her thought was to get some penicillin into him, and she kindly made up a needle with a few doses for me, and I drove out to her place to pick it up, an hour away.  I got home, found a message from a far flung horse vet (thanks to Nell at my dog’s vet) giving dosage info, and I gave him his first shot of penicillin.  Made him comfortable on a blanket, wrapped up in a down vest, separated from the rest of the goats with a little barricade and tried to get him to drink and eat.  He still couldn’t or wouldn’t.  At this point, I paged the horse vet, as she had suggested that I do, and she advised me that yes, I was doing everything that I could, but to be prepared that he still may not make it.  Goats hide their illnesses, and go downhill very fast once they are down and you notice.  Sure enough, within a couple of hours he had passed. 

It was heartbreaking, both watching him suffer, listening to his cries, and finding him after he had given in.  I haven’t cried like that in years.  I managed to clip some of his fleece with scissors and lots of tears.  But I knew that if I didn’t I would regret it one day.  As my Mom said, it was his last gift to me, and I couldn’t waste it.  That was a very difficult undertaking, and a few people offered to help me with it, but I know that death is part of the deal we make as animal caretakers, and I needed to find my own way to cope with that.  

On Sunday, Brad helped me carry his body up to the woods across from our house, where he will continue the circle of life, by providing nourishment to the ravens and their young, and feed the soil etc.  I know it sounds harsh, but it’s what the farmers around us have done for years and years, and the ground is still too frozen for burial.  We both wept as we left him there, it was the saddest walk in the woods I have taken to date. 

So, farming of any kind is full of lessons, some are harder to learn than others.  I’m hopeful that this experience will help me to develop a more discerning eye for the health of my herd.  I will pay closer attention to those small details, and act more swiftly to counter those changes.  The other goats appear to be healthy, normal temps, pink mucous membranes and eyes, good eating, drinking, pooping, and energy.  They don’t seem to notice Pedey’s absence too much, though I feel it accutely every time I step in the barn. 

I’m trying not to beat myself up about it.  I feel like I let little Pedey down, that  I should have done more, sooner, paid closer attention.  But, I know in my heart that I did my best, all I could do, and this time, it just wasn’t enough.  It’s part of the process, it hurts, but I know I’m growing from it. 

I thank all my friends and family who have been talking me through this the last few days.  I appreciate all your support, your kind words and thoughts, your prayers, and your encouragement.  I am sad, but will move ahead, and shower the rest of the herd, my dogs, and my husband with a bit of extra love on Pedey’s behalf.  Someday I’ll use his fleece to make something really special, he’ll always have a special place in my heart, as a great teacher.

03/29/2010 at 1:37 pm 22 comments

Seymour has new family

Seymour - 6:45 a.m.

As a newbie in the goat raising world, I opted not to breed my does this year.  I thought it prudent to spend some time getting to know my goats, both as individuals and as a breed, to learn what was normal behavior before I got into what is normal pregnant goat behavior.  

I’m still certain that it was the right choice, however, I’m green eyed with envy over all my fellow yarn farmers on ravelry having lambs and kids all over the place.  There is surely nothing cuter in the world than baby goats.

Juniper Moon Farm had it’s first set of twin kids on Sunday, born to Seymour’s mama, Hannah.  They are Gonzo, a buckling and Camilla, a doeling.  All the kids born this year on their  farm will be named after Muppets, which I love.  I’m hoping for an Oscar and a Cookie Monster (which is very apropo for goats by the way).  Have a little look at her blog post for pics of the cutie pies, they have a lamb cam set up in the barn too, so you can watch the babies and the mamas to be 🙂  

Click on the Juniper Moon Farm tag on the left there, I can’t seem to get the link to show up here, cuz I’m technologically challenged.

03/16/2010 at 2:45 pm 3 comments

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