Catching up

It’s been six days since I last wrote and that’s just not good.  I use this journal as a means of tracking what has gone on in my life.  I often don’t remember what happened yesterday, never mind what happened a week or a month ago.

As always, however, it has been busy.  Let’s see if I can recall enough to recap.

When Wally and I went up to look at dairy goats belonging to a woman in Fallston we both really liked a LaMancha/Nubian cross named Leeann.  Unfortunately, Leeann was already promised to someone else and I bought Champagne, whom I’m very happy with.  I stayed in touch with this woman and like her a lot.  I’ve been looking for a dairy goat mentor and that’s essentially what she’s become.  We’ve had Champagne now for about a month and a half.  Every time I’d call the woman (“J”) and asked if the man had come to pick up Leeann, she’d tell me no and she hadn’t heard from him.  Leeann was paid for, but the arrangement was that J would keep Leeann until he was able to get his fences fixed and go on a family vacation.  He was supposed to come and get her the third week of June.  Here it was after July 4 and he hadn’t come to get her and hadn’t contacted her to make arrangements.  J had misplaced his telephone number so she couldn’t contact him.

I told J that I would still be interested in purchasing Leeann.  I liked her that much.  Finally, J managed to track down the man and he said he’d try to make arrangements to get out and pick up Leeann.  He wouldn’t commit to a particular date or time.  J told him that she had someone very interested in Leeann and if things had changed and he didn’t want her, then she’d give him his money back.  He said to go ahead and sell her that he wanted to get a purebred LaMancha.  J called me back and told me that it was a go.

I had a young couple who were coming out on a regular basis to buy goat milk.  They were considering getting a goat of their own.  I called them and asked if they’d be interested in Penny.  I liked Penny very much, but her teats are short and it was hard on my hands milking her.  They came out that evening and bought her.  The plan was that J was going to drive out the next day and deliver Leeann and pick up some alfalfa hay on her way home.  I called J several times throughout the day to check to see when she was going to come out, but got no answer.  Finally, around 5 PM J called and said that the man who bought Leeann called and said he was coming out to get Leeann.  He was very belligerent and ugly about it.  J felt terrible about the situation, especially when I told her I had sold Penny in anticipation of getting Leeann.  I was so upset, I cried on the phone.  This was Thursday.

Wally and I discussed the situation and agreed that we’d look around for another dairy goat, but a good dairy goat isn’t easy to find and this time of year, most people do not sell them.  On Saturday I said to Wally let’s drive out and look at Angel, another goat that J had that I liked, not as well as Leeann or Champagne, but her udder was easier to milk than Penny.  I called J and let her know we were going to come out.  It was then that J told me that she felt terrible about what had happened and that she was going to make three other goats available to me who were previously unavailable, one of which was a purebred LaMancha who was one of her son’s show goats.

We got out there and I milked all four goats.  I really liked the LaMancha’s udder and her general appearance and structure.  In a goat now, I look first at the udder, then at the goat.  I would have gone home with that goat, although I would have felt guilty taking one of her son’s show goats, but she kicked a lot on the stand and managed to dump over the milk bucket twice.  J milks with one hand, using the other hand to hold a plastic pitcher so no matter how much the goat kicks or fusses, she can’t dump over the bucket.  I prefer to milk with two hands in a bucket.  Then I milked Angel, who is a Saanen/Nubian cross and then Lilly, a purebred Saanen.  Angel is just that, a perfect angel on the milking stand.  Unfortunately, her udder isn’t all that easy to milk out.  She’s got a soft udder (Penny’s would get very hard which made it really hard to milk given the short teats) which makes milking short teats easier, but it still took me a long time and bothered my hands.  Lilly had a lovely udder, but she was very tense on the stand.  While she didn’t kick, I was afraid taking her to a new environment would be enough to send her over the edge.  Then we looked at the fourth goat, a Nubian.  Both Wally and J knew that Nubians are not my favorite breed, but I milked her.

Oh, she’s lovely, every bit as nice as Champagne.  Her registered name is Daddy’s Girl, but J called her Little Girl.  She’s not a big Nubian and is pretty lean.  According to J, she puts every bit of the food you feed her into making milk.  She’s had triplets the past two kiddings.  We brought her home and call her Lil.  She’s a very flashy paint and is fitting in very well.

Interestingly, when Champagne came her, she got the crap beat out of her by all three LaManchas.  Granted, Rain has kids to occupy her, but I have to wonder if Penny wasn’t the instigator in the aggression.  Luna is a bit of a bitch, but she doesn’t seem to be so nasty now that Penny is gone.  All four goats are milking well.  Champagne’s production dropped off a bit when she got her, but she’s now pouring the milk.  I’m back to milking twice a day, which I don’t care for, but until they kid next year, that’s what I’ll have to do.  Even Rain and Luna get milked.  Rain is still giving about two quarts per milking and that’s with two kids on her.  Luna doesn’t give much in the evening, but gives a solid two quarts in the morning.  Both Champagne and Lil are wonderful on the stand.  Luna can still give me a hard time and Rain is a bit nervous being on the stand and leaving her babies behind, but she’s not bad.

Rain’s baby with the bent legs is doing better.  Her legs are gradually straightening.  Now that I know the term for her condition: “contracted tendons” I did some research.  They don’t know what causes it, perhaps crowding in the womb.  You can splint the legs, but given it’s both her knee and ankle joints, I don’t think splinting is an option.  Another possible cure is tetracycline binds calcium which in turn softens the tendons and allows them to stretch.  Use of tetracycline in young animals is contraversal because it can interfere with bone growth.  She’s nursing and getting around so for now, I’m waiting to see how she does.  I surely hope she recovers as I’ve become quite attached to her.

On Thursday I bought three geese.  The reason for this is two fold.  One, I like them and have wanted geese for some time now.  They are nice to work the dogs on too.  They work more like sheep than ducks do.  The second reason is that hopefully they will act as watch-animals in the duck and chicken pasture at night.  I believe I mentioned I had some issues with my half grow chicks getting killed.  I’ve lost three, but none since the geese have been in there.  I have two ganders and a goose (a female goose is just called a goose) and I’m looking for a second goose so I’ll have two pairs.

The hens with the chicks now sleep in Gel’s run.  Poor Gel, his run has been used for everything but him lately.  We had Rain in there for a few days after she kidded and now the hens with chicks.  If we try to put them in the hen house, they beat up the chickens and ducks, which isn’t fair to them.  The hen with the five chicks goes up on her own, the one with the single chick insists on trying to spend the night in the nesting box, but she’s easy enough to move when it’s time to put them up.

Gosh, I wish those chickens would go up sooner at night.  There are some nights, lots of nights actually, that I’d like to go to bed at 8 or 8:30, but I can’t because I have to close up the chickens and ducks.

Last night I tried to set up the course I mentioned last week (or was it the week before) and was not successful.  I can’t set courses, I don’t know why, but I can’t.  It’s just as well, I don’t need to set up whole courses, I can do sequencing.  I plan to try to get to agility Thursday morning.  I hope I can make it.  On Saturday, my instructor is running a seminar on contacts.  I’m training running contacts with Fern on both the dog walk and A-Frame.  So far, she’s doing quite well, in fact, she’s got a blazing fast dog walk.  I’d like a bit more direction in training her and think the seminar would be useful.  Again, hopefully I can make it.

This is the last week of working 30+ hours at Wal-Mart for a while.  I so need a break from it.  I’ve been applying to quite a few jobs, but so far, nothing.  The interview that was supposed to have been scheduled fell through the cracks.  I need to re-contact the company to see what happened.  A paralegal position in Lincoln County came up on Craigslist yesterday, which I applied to, but I’m not so sure Craigslist is the place to look for a job.  If I have to remain at Wal-Mart on a close-to-full-time basis after my unemployment runs out, I will have to get used to not having two days off in a row.  That doesn’t happen for cashiers.  It’s hard having just one day off, you are not able to get done what you can’t get done on days you work and you don’t get much time to rest and recoup.  I guess I’ll worry about that when (if) the time comes.

I guess I had better get back to getting things done.  The weather is lovely today.  It would be a good day to take the dogs for a run.

Until later …