Since my last post, we have had even more babies!
On December 15th, one of the brown eyed girls became a new momma. Unfortunately, she had twins, and the poor thing did not know what to do. We gave it as long as we could, but with the babies fading fast, I made the decision to bring them in to the tub. Both are little girls and here they are two days old.
Then yesterday, December 16th, Beulah had twins. I was so frustrated with her. She wouldn’t have anything to do with them. I took a towel out and tried to clean them up some, and kept taking them over to her. She was not a very good Momma with these babies, I must say. Finally, I had enough and decided to bring them in as well. The House Herd just doubled in size. Of these two, one is a boy and the other a girl. Here they are one day old.
Four babies in the tub is just too many. Hopefully we will get them in a pen outside this weekend. They are getting more mobile and holding their own. The little white one is already trying to jump out of the tub.
Then this morning, December 17th, Black Momma had twins. She is one of our very best mommas and will take great care of her babies. Here they are maybe 2 hours old
Lil’ Bit is one of our favored goats. She is such a cute little thing.
She is a stubborn and head strong little one though, and if you don’t watch her like a hawk, she will inevitably sneak into the orchard every chance she gets. I guess to her the grass DOES look greener on the other side of the fence.
For a few weeks we sat out there with hose ready, and any time she tried to be scoot on inside the fence she got a face full of water. This week we thought we would try it without the garden hose vigil, and while she watches and tries to keep us in her sight, she still sneaks in when she thinks it will go unnoticed.
Once inside, she eats as quickly as possible, and to her credit I must say she does steer clear of the trees for the most part. Now, of course, I am not going to let her stay in there long enough to get real bold and decide to nibble on a tree. As soon as I head in there, and she notices I am indeed inside and might actually try to touch her, she frantically starts looking for her entrance/exit hole.
“Where is that durn hole? I know it’s over here somewhere! Why can I never find it when I need to make a quick escape?”She says. It’s just to your right, honey. You best hurry up or I will come over there and touch you.
Much like a dog, she picked up a stick and is bound and determined to make it out of the orchard safely with stick in tow.
“Oh here it is! If I hurry maybe the girl human won’t try to touch my butt. One day I will be able to stay in here and eat all that I want!”
Like a flash she was out. What I did not get pictures of was when I closed the gate on the orchard, and she was back in there in less than five minutes and we went through the whole thing again. Oh well, keeps me and her on our toes!
True to form, Greedy Gretchen continues to suffer from HTF Syndrome. I really don’t think she will ever learn. To be honest, I have given it some good hard thought, and I do believe that we are, in fact enabling her little habit (heavy sigh). But what to do? Leave her hung up in the fence for hours on end to teach her a lesson? To me that is just not humane. At times, however, it cannot be helped. If we have to go to town, we make sure she is out of the fence when we leave. Generally stopping the truck on the way out of the drive to get her silly head out. Then stopping in the driveway on the way back to the house to get her unstuck, knowing full well she will be hung up in another section before we can even get in the house.
So begins my story. We had a photo shoot yesterday evening, and not ten minutes before we left, I released her from her self imposed fence collar. We were gone a little over three hours. When we pulled in the driveway, we had a little surprise waiting for us. Par for the course, she was hung up again, no big surprise there. The surprise was that she had increased the herd by another little girl!
Now I have to tell you, I felt really bad that she was all hung up in the fence, and had to go through labor that way, and to be honest I am not at all sure how she managed to get the baby so clean. But she is a good sized strong little girl, and was already standing and nursing when we got home.
You see… The last time Gretchen was pregnant and had a baby, she was also stuck in the fence, and unable to tend to her wee one. I happened to be home at the time, and did not realize she had dropped the baby. That baby did not make it, and I have blamed myself for its death ever since. I knew it was my fault. So I make the many daily treks out to the pen to help Gretchen with her little syndrome. Thus enabling her and probably encouraging her to continue with it. The weirdest thing about it all is that when we left the last two days I had this premonition and fear that she was going to get herself stuck again, and drop another baby. That we would come home to find the baby dead because she couldn’t tend it.
But I must say, that Gretchen has had the most beautiful and striking little girl that I have seen born on the farm since I have been here. She is a beautiful, strong girl, and was already beginning to jump and bounce around last night. We have truly been blessed with Gretchen’s gorgeous girl!
I think at last count, the G-Man and I figured up we have 20 goats with the new babies. We lost several over the hard winter, I hear it was a bad year for goats round these parts. In late February, we thinned the herd by relocating several of the billys to a new home. Some of the goats have very creative names, such as Tubby, Crybaby or Fathead. Some have actual names like Todd, Missy, Sam or Bob. Others have names that just kind of stuck based on their coloring, looks or personality such as Black Momma, Tan Girl, Lil Bit & Bitch. There are a few who remain nameless, and as they earn a name, they are so dubbed.
Today is the story of how Greedy Gretchen got her name. I have to be honest here, Greedy Gretchen has an affliction that we have seen in a few other goats, unfortunately for her and maybe more unfortunately for us, with her it seems to be terminal, or at least, there will be no cure for a good long while. You see… Greedy Gretchen has HTF Syndrome, aka Head Through Fence Syndrome. For all her life, or at least ever since her horns grew a bit too long she was referred to in a variety of not very flattering names, most of which started with “Stupid” or “Dufus”. You see, she is the epitome of the saying “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” She is quite skilled at pushing her head through that fence to nibble the greens on the other side. Once through, she is good and stuck, as she is evidently not savvy enough to figure out how to maneuver her horns back through. She has even been known to wander to the neighbor’s and get her head stuck in their fence, thus the names beginning with Stupid.
No less than 10 times a day do we go out and release her from her self imposed fence necklace. Let her out of one side, and by the time we walk around the pen it is a good bet she will be stuck on the other side. I have to admit, if we are super busy outside, there have been times we tell her she just has to wait if she is really that dumb.
I thought I would share her name story through pictures…
It always starts out he same way, she sees them greens on the other side of the fence, and just can’t resist.
I must give her credit, though, she has wised up enough to know she might be stuck for a while, so she has perfected the kneel and eat stance. Some of the others can get their head through the fence, but they generally always get themselves back out.
The other goats move on, and once she has eaten all she can reach, she just lays down. Now she generally always picks the third hole from the bottom. Any lower, and the holes are smaller, and she learned the hard way with a good head and ear scraping that it is harder to get her head out of the fence, and any higher, and she can’t just lay her butt down until her rescuer comes to save her. Please note the goats eating good fresh greens right behind her in the pen. What a dufus!
Most times this is the look I get. As if to say, “Come on girl human, get me out of here”. At first when I tried she would freak out, and pinch my fingers in the fence, but we have a love hate relationship now, she loves me when I come to free her, and will not come within 10 feet of me once she is free. I guess I love her enough to not leave her in the fence for hours on end, then hate it that she acts much like a human teenager, thankful for what you do for a moment, then back to the ungratefulness 2 minutes later. But I just don’t have the heart to leave her hung up like that all day.
She has learned that I cannot get her head out without some help on her side of the fence, and that requires standing up. More than once she got it in her head she knew better, and continued to lay there. I would make the attempt to get her head out, and she would do no work to help at all. Again, slightly reminiscent of the wily human teen, just expecting the adult type human to make it happen with no effort on her part. More than once I told her “I cannot help you if you aren’t willing to help yourself,” and walked off. Now she knows she has to help me help her get out.
Grab her by the horns, and the chin, stretch her head out straight, a little turn to the left, fit the horns in the edges of the fence hole, a little shove to the snout. She pulls back, and viola, she is free.
Now I always talk to these animals out here, I don’t think they really care what I have to say, but I will give them credit, in that they are pretty darn good listeners. Especially Gretchen, when she is stuck. So one day as I was walking up to release her, I says “What are we gonna do with you? You are like Greedy Gretchen always sticking your head through the fence to get them greens.” The name seemed so appropriate, after making the suggestion to the G-Man, Stupid____ or Dufus became Greedy Gretchen. Not to say that we do not still use the terms of endearment in combination with her new name.
It used to be when we would leave the house for whatever reason as we approached the homestead we would take bets as to whether she would be stuck in the fence when we got home. It got to the point that it was a given, so we started betting which side she would be in. Now we are down to exactly which section of fence she has chosen.
HTF Syndrome has really hit her hard, and there is only one true cure for it. That would be for her horns to finally grow long enough she can no longer get them through the hole. There is a short term fix, but I don’t think either one of us has the heart to actually hold her down and duct tape a pvc pipe to her horns to prevent her getting through. She might inadvertently hurt herself or another goat that way. So until she wises up, or her horns grow long enough our days will be filled with dealing with Greedy Gretchen’s HTF Syndrome.
The kids are ready for spring! They romp all around the yard when they get out of the pen. King of the mountain is one of their favorite games, no matter what the mountain is comprised of
Watching the goats is a hoot. They definitely know how to have fun, and keep themselves occupied. This spring and summer should be quite fun. We have one more momma pregnant now, hopefully we will see a baby or two soon from her, then the fun will begin again.
So I am a week behind… I will play catch up today. Seems I am in a slump where my photography is concerned.
Last week had a great Valentine’s Day, got some flowers & the cutest frog EVER! I fixed a special dinner of bacon, steak & baked taters. Then some banana bread as a bonus.
Had a beautiful sunrise with layers & layers of crepuscular rays shining through
Then on Friday, I figured I would try to capture the sunset
Black Momma had her baby.
Yesterday we finally made it out of our driveway, thanks to Gary! We were getting a little low on milk for the babies, feed for the goats, food for the big dogs & Mycat, then of course random fattening snacks sure to throw me into a tizzy over possible weight gain. I took the camera when we went to town, just in case I was properly inspired.
Once we made it to the highway, the roads were not bad at all. Though the clean up is still in full swing.
We got home just as the snow really started in again. The snow was falling lazily, with very little wind. I figured what the heck, why not get more snow shots?
Since there wasn’t much excitement going on around back, I decided to go the the front door and see could I find anything inspiring there. This is the point where the story gets a little interesting, so pay close attention.
Those of you who truly know me will most likely find this quite amusing, and think to themselves, “Only Stacy.” Those of you who don’t let me give you just a bit of insight. I am desperately clumsy, very random, quite the jokester, very sarcastic at times, and it never seems to fail, I seem to find myself in these weird situations at times & wonder “How the HECK did I manage that?”
Anyhow, I head to the front door and take a gander. Bout the only thing I saw right away that was even remotely exciting was the birds, twitterting around in the snow looking quite disgusted the humans had not refilled the feeders. Keep in mind that until the snow came they showed absolutely no interest whatsoever in them feeders. I thinks to myself, “OK then more birds it is.” I decide I need a different lens, shut the door, turn around and go to switch my lens out. It was about that time, I catch a glimpse of something out of the corner of my eye and hear a slight fluttering. Immediately I thought, “what the…” and then what had been a glimpse was now very easy to see.
A female crowned sparrow evidently thought if the humans weren’t gonna bring the seed to her, she’d go into the human’s nest and find her own. The silly thing was flying all over the kitchen and generally freaking out. The entire time I had that oh too familiar feeling of how did I manage to get myself into this situation. I had visions of places like Sams that have little birds in them all the time. Then I wondered now, how I am gonna explain a wild bird in the house to Dusty? I was thinking we have a regular little menagerie starting here.
Once I got past all my initial thoughts, I thought to myself. “You dummass, open the door back up and it might just fly right back out.” Then, ever the documentarian that I am, “NOOOO! Not until you get pics first, otherwise the story will not be as funny.” I know that visual aids help make any story better, after all.
So ever faithful to my passion, I started shooting away. She was working herself into quite a frenzy, and then she fell down here, I decided that was enough (the entire time was prolly less than 2 minutes). At that point, I started having visions of nice little bird droppings all over the place to clean up. That thought had me opening that door up in two seconds flat. As soon as she saw the light from the front door, she was up and out. Crisis averted.
What did I do then? Went right back to the front door and started taking more pictures,of course. I just tried to be more alert in case another little bird brain decided the human nest was the place to be.
“Maybe if we all sit here something will happen.”
“As long as it takes, patience, grasshoppa.”
“Hush up Nancy & bring me some bread!”
Yesterday I heard quite a ruckus coming from the goat pen. thinking I needed to check them anyhow, I grabbed my coat & the devil dog, and headed out. After putting Gus in his pen, I headed toward the goat pen. Immediately they all started telling me in no uncertain terms of their displeasure in the fact that I was not coming to see them with bucket in hand.
I have been watching one wide-bodied girl for a few weeks now, thinking if she got much bigger she might pop like a tick. We decided a couple of weeks ago that she was for sure carrying twins.
When I got down to the pen, she had just dropped her first baby. Tiny little thing it was. With it being so cold I was worried right away. I ran in the house to grab the camera & headed back down. I was glad to see that she was starting to clean the little thing up.
It was trying so hard to stand up, and I was reminded of tubby struggling out there. You can see, she is still quite wide. She kept walking off, having contractions. At first, she just went a little ways away.
It tried and tried, but just could not get the strength to stand. Just ended up scooting it’s little self across the pen. With every five minutes that passed, I could tell not only by the failed attempts to stand, but also by the feeble little cries it was losing strength fast.
At this point, I could not stand it any longer. My hands were frozen, and I knew that baby had to be completely chilled, what with being covered in afterbirth and all. I watched Momma drop number two, and I could already tell that baby was twice the size of number one. It was time to put the camera down & take action. I ran in the house, put camera in my bag, grabbed a clean towel and headed back out.
By the time I got back out there, Momma had dropped number three in the shelter as well. At first she just took care of number two, who was obviously the strongest of all three. Dusty ran to grab feed to distract the big goats, and I clambered to the top of the gate sitting on my perch waiting for him to get the big goats away. I quickly went out, scooped number one up, and took it back to the shelter.
Once inside the shelter, I could see Momma was only tending number two, three was still completely covered in afterbirth. One was weakening by the minute, but when I roughed it up good, it would cry a faint little bleat, and Momma seemed to be going to tend it. I just wanted her to let them all three eat at least once. They need that first milk from the Momma. Three was not quite as big as two, and one was only about half the size of three.
I stepped back & watched from across the pen, silently willing her to take care of all three.
Within a few minutes two and three were standing and nursing. One was just laying there on the ground. I tried one more time to get one to nurse, but I couldn’t get a cry out of it. At the same time, Momma showed a little interest, so set one down, and stepped back some more. No luck, two and three were just stronger and more demanding of Momma. When Dusty finally said we best bring it in, it’s little nose was in the dirt, I scooped the baby right up and headed to the house.
We needed ingredients to make the rich baby milk, but I was able to get a little bit of whole milk in it’s belly. Then, we headed to Atwood’s to get some colostrum, and to the store for rich baby milk ingredients. I was so worried when we got back it would have just not been strong enough. It obviously wasn’t quite done cooking, it’s little hooves were soft and tore easily. I was literally elated to see that not only was the baby alive, but STANDING! YESSS!
So, that was the excitement on the farm yesterday afternoon
I tried to post this yesterday, but the internet foiled me, so am trying again today. Had a couple of 70 degree days Friday & Saturday, so we worked on garden pods. We figure if nothing else we will “will” spring here permanently.
I had not touched my camera all week, was completely uninspired, and had a few orders to work on. I was racking my brain trying to figure out what I was inspired to shoot yesterday. Funny how some things present themselves at just the right time.
Dusty went to let the goats out to graze, since it was so nice, and there was the beginning of my inspiration.
We have 2 large round bales in the pen for them to munch on. Goats can be a very funny lot, they seem to be driven by food. Baby Bud thought he would get the best of the best without competition, and climbed up in between the bales into a hole that had been made. Not sure how long he stood there eating, but obviously long enough to make his belly too fat to get out. This is the scene that greeted us from the front of the pen. Man, he went to caterwauling when all the other goats ran out of that pen.
Of course this was just too funny for words, so I had to walk around the other side of the bales & get a good pic of his mug. Needless to say, he was NOT a happy camper, and telling everyone in earshot of his dismay.
Then Dusty tried to help him help himself, by giving a few little pinches to his hind leg. At this point, he was really wriggling trying to get out. I think he was thinking, “Oh! Something’s getting my leg, my leg, my leg.” Then freedom was achieved. Though he was still a little disgruntled about the whole ordeal. It must not have scarred him, as he quickly found his way out of the pen and was off to find the rest of the herd.
One thing I love about shooting sunsets is that they change so dramatically as the sun disappears. Taking just one shot does not do it complete justice. I feel like I have to keep shooting away, to insure I do not miss that one spectacular shot.
Then back to working on straight horizon (without having to straighten it). I have decided that unless it is just terrible, or completely called for I will not be straightening or cropping any more of my shots. I will work on better framing to begin with.
Very close to being out of my horizon line, I love the affect of the sun through the trees. The purple coloring, while beautiful makes me sad, as it is caused by one or maybe several of the many grass fires that popped up in the last couple of days.
Sun is still visible in the silhouette of the trees, purples are amazing, clouds look spectacular, and sky is quite blue. I just love sunsets here on the farm! Still playing with the horizon here. That seems to be a new thing I want to perfect.
Then back around front to let Tubby out of his pen for a while to romp and hopefully wear himself out. Got some cold wintry weather headed our way & not sure when it will be warm enough again to get him outside.
Then he got down, looked right at me, and at the words “Go see her, ” took off at a run over to clamber all over me. This ended the picture taking, as the first thing he did was try to mouth the lens cap in my hand. Then it was up on my lap, head up in my neck giving little nips to my neck and chin (goat teeth HURT in case you wondered). Then it was head under the arm, and starting to go down my jacket sleeve. Hard not to get attached to the little bugger. I guess I’ll just keep him.