Monday, March 19, 2018

Preparing for Kids

According to my calculations, they should be arriving any day! Fortunately the weather has started to warm a little and the sun has returned. I always get nervous when the kids come in bad weather. Last year our mama goat went into labor during an ice storm. She was very experienced and handled it fine. But this year I have some first fresheners and I'll take all the good stuff I can get. To prepare for the new kids I tend to concentrate on three different areas: food, shelter, and health.

Obviously the best food for new kids is colostrum from mom. If the experienced mom kids first, I will sneak some of her colostrum to have on hand in case the first fresheners have problems or reject their kids. Worst case scenario, I will have to use the powdered stuff since I don't have any frozen. This year I will put some in the freezer, also. Since we are planning to sell the kids as bottle babies, I'll be transitioning them to whole cow's milk once they've had a good day or two of the colostrum.

When it comes to shelter, not having a barn with kidding stalls is going to be the biggest obstacle. Instead of penning up the laboring moms, I will be constantly checking the bedding condition in the run-in shelter. Once the kids are switched to the bottle, they will be penned in the dog kennel where we have two large doghouses full of fresh straw. I expect there will be a lot of bawling (from babies and moms) until we get them taken off to the auction. I might need to add earplugs to my shopping list!

Health is always a big concern. The most important thing I can do to ensure we have healthy kids is to make sure all the moms are healthy during pregnancy. Good nutrition and minerals are very important. A few years ago I had to put a newborn (one of triplets) down because he was suffering and not going to make it. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. So I do all I can to make sure they have a fighting chance at the start. I keep iodine on hand for the umbilical stumps and vitamin E and selenium on standby for mineral deficiency. I also give a nice molasses and warm water mixture to a mom who has just delivered. Then I spend the next several days watching her for signs of infection. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with that.

After all the excitement of kidding is over, comes the fun part- bouncing baby goats! They're so much fun to watch! I'll be sad to see them go. So maybe I might possibly just keep one. Maybe. EEEK! Goat madness!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Oh, Boy!

This morning while I was feeding the goats I did the usual udder check on the does. We are getting close to having kids! Oh, boy! If they took on the date I think they did, they are due next Wednesday-ish. This will be my first time to have more than one doe in milk and I'm scared to death a little nervous. In the past, my one doe was milk stand trained and an experienced mom. I could leave the kids on her and still get plenty of milk for our needs. This time around I've got two newbies. And all my well laid plans for milk stand training went out the window when the fence broke and my MIL went into the hospital. I had managed to get them on the stand to eat but we never got around to udder touching. Oh, boy! The plan is to sell the kids as bottle babies and train the first fresheners as milkers. And I am fully prepared for the first days (or weeks) to be a rodeo. Oh boy!

Another thing- do you remember a couple years ago how excited I was because DH was going to fashion us a sort-of milking parlor? I was tired of milking in the rain (which ruined the milk) and having the wind blow "stuff" into the bucket (which ruined the milk.) Well, that never happened. Since these does won't have kids on them, I will have to milk twice a day. And since they're not trained, I don't expect the process will be fast at first. Oh, boy! Well, today I decided to fashion my own sort-of milking parlor. I already have a frame (a nice sized dog kennel) in the goat pen. The milk stand is already inside it and the does have no problem going in and out of it. All I need is some kind of rain and wind protection- easy-peasy, right? Oh, boy!

This weekend I'll be playing with my grandson and getting the spare bedroom ready for the son who has just finished up his time in the military. And I'll be searching the internet for the best way to cover a dog kennel and block the wind. If you've got ideas to share, I'd love to see them! 

Also, the good news: We found out this week that in August we are getting another GRANDSON! OH, BOY!!!!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Eggstra Eggshells Giveaway

 Who's swimming in eggs?

 Longer daylight hours equals more eggs and more eggs equals more eggshells! We put them in our compost, feed them back to the chickens, and plant them with our tomato plants. They're quite handy. Lately I've been looking at other ways to use them and I came across lots of suggestions for decorating blown eggshells. There are tutorials for decoupage, markers, paint, and bling galore! At first I wondered why someone would want to use blown eggshells instead of just regular eggs. But I quickly realized that blown eggs are keep-able. Many people want to save their creations instead of peeling off their artwork or tossing it when the egg rots. Soooo.....

 I've been blowing out some of our extras to sell to crafty people in my area. It's been a fun hobby- once I got the hang of it. Our eggs are naturally colored in a variety of browns, pinks, blues, and olive. The sizes range from very small Silkie eggs to largish Orpingtons. The differences make each one unique and so blowing them out is different each time. They don't always come out perfect. But I keep the ones with minor flaws that can be hidden with decorations.

Blown Eggs Drying
 Now I'm offering a few of those imperfect ones to a lucky blog reader. If you'd like the chance to win some blown eggs to decorate, leave a comment on how you use up your extra eggs. I'll do a random drawing from the comments on Sunday, March 18. That's not much time to get entered but I want to get them in the mail before Easter. Don't delay with your comments!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Unfinished Business

I've got a ton of projects on the back burner. I almost mean that literally because the weight I feel mentally when I pass something I've started is tremendous. So this next few weeks I'm going to dedicate to finishing some stuff! The garden seeds are all started, the kitchen remodel is on hold while DH is away, the goats aren't due to kid for a while, and the cold winter weather is hanging around. Perfect!!

The baby blanket I started crocheting last year is first on the list. It's a large, extra thick one so even though the baby is now 8 months old, he will still get some use out of it. Then the bag full of roving I purchased last year is going to get spun. We had the spinning wheel stowed away to make room for the Christmas tree but now it's back in it's permanent spot. When I get that done, if there is still time, I'm going to do a trial run of canned water in my pressure canner to get a feel for how it works.

Now that I've dedicated my free time to finishing up those things, let's all cross our fingers and hope I didn't jinx myself into some other time-sucking disaster! And if you're feeling really lucky, check back Monday for details on a giveaway!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Back Home

In my last post I asked for your prayers for my mother in-law who was in the hospital and for us as we tried to stay by her side. This post is to thank you for those prayers. On February 25 she went on to her forever home. After all that time of traveling back and forth to the hospital, we found ourselves busy with funeral arrangements. Now we are back to our home. But things don't feel settled yet. It will take some time to get used to her not being here, needing us to pay her bills, take her to a doctor appointment or to get her hair done. We're glad that she is no longer suffering. On the day of her funeral the sun came out and the sky was a pretty blue. The warmth of the sunshine had the birds singing and a promise of spring was in the air. It was the kind of day she would have loved, sitting out on her patio and calling me to talk about our garden plans. I'm holding on to that promise of spring!