An awful lot going on lately …

I only have a few minutes to write this morning.  As soon as it gets light enough to see without a headlamp, I’m going to go out to milk.  Milking Angel has been difficult, to say the least.  I thought she was being difficult because she didn’t want to leave her babies so I placed her buck baby as a bottle baby (more on that later).  As it turned out, she’s got some lumps in her udder which was making milking painful.  I’ve been treating her homeopathically and massaging her, but it wasn’t getting any better.  I let the buck baby go on Friday; luckily I was able to get him back yesterday and she accepted him back.  Now I’m going out every few hours and holding her still while the babies empty her udder.  I’d rather she kicked them than me and she’s much more tolerant of their nursing than she was of my milking her.  Not much makes me more angry than a doe kicking over the milk bucket.

On Friday, one of my favorite ewes had a very difficult delivery.  Luckily Wally was around and between the two of us, we were able to deliver the lamb.  Amazingly, he was still alive and even more amazingly, they are both still alive and seem to be doing okay.

On Friday, a woman drove up from South Carolina to meet Dream.  She took Dream home as well as two goat babies, one of them being Angel’s buck baby, the other was Addie’s buck baby.  Addie wasn’t allowing him to nurse properly.  I brought him in on Thursday and started him on the bottle.  He took to it like a champ and hasn’t turned back.  Angel’s baby wasn’t doing as well on the bottle and given Angel’s udder issues, I was lucky that this woman (Melissa is her name) was willing to drive halfway back up here and bring him back.  I thought Angel might take him back and I was right.  Melissa got here around noon on Friday, just in time to see Fennel’s new babies (both bucks) and to help with the ewe’s delivery.  The ewe was formerly known as #78 is now named Melissa.  Poor Melissa (the human) got hit by the farm big time.  She was thrilled and has been saying all along, I’m coming back and spending the day.  Her visit was a bit of a whirlwind.  This has turned into a wonderful placement for Dream.  She’s living with another mare who is a bit too much for Melissa and her children to manage and ride. The goat babies were going to be used as props for Easter pictures (Melissa is a photographer).  Addie’s baby may be returned to me when Easter pictures are done; that’s up to Melissa and her family.

What a relief to not have to worry about Dream getting enough to eat or being able to get into the shelter when the weather is bad.  Merlin isn’t too happy about the arrangement, but one day, he’ll get another companion, one that is able to stand up for him/herself when the rotten beast (Merlin) tries to steal food.  Fencing the back 12 acres is still on the to-do list.  My book is selling well and maybe with this month’s royalties, we can get it done.  I’m a bit afraid that if we let Merlin loose out into the 12 acres, we may never see him again.  Maybe after we get through the storm that is on its way today and tomorrow, I’ll be able to get out and ride.

I met Melissa on Carowinds Boulevard in Charlotte.  What bittersweet memories that drive brought back.  I drove that route every day for three years to work.  I haven’t been down in that section of Charlotte for about three years.  It’s changed tremendously, very, very built up.  Melissa and I had a nice lunch at Fatz.  Know how it is sometimes when you meet someone new and realize they are long-lost friends?  I feel that way about Melissa.  We took up as if we have known each other for many years.  She carried Angel’s baby up in the back of her Geo Tracker in a large cardboard box.  He seems to be none the worst for wear for having been carted from North Carolina to South Carolina and then back to North Carolina.  I hope that when I go out to check on the goats that I see Angel’s udder is slack (rather than hard and full) because if it is, then I’ll know she’s been letting her babies nurse.  Angel is a bit of an over achiever in the mothering department.

You live and you learn and I think next year I might hold off on milking the does for a long period of time than I did this year.  I have to wonder if the stress of having her babies put up away from her at night didn’t cause her udder issues.  It isn’t as if the babies are in a place where she can’t see or touch them: they are in a pen right next to their shelter, but she was very, very reluctant to leave them when I wanted to bring her in to milk.  The rest of the does are very happy to leave their babies to come into the milk parlor for grain, but not Angel.

I was disappointed to discover that both of Fennel’s babies were bucks.  She had one colored like the father.  The other is solid black with a white star on his forehead.  I so wanted that to be a doe, but oh well.  I lined up a goat milk source for Melissa.  There is a chance I might trade Angel’s doe baby for an Alpine doe from that dairy.  I need to write the owner and give her the pedigree information in the parents.  That would give me a nice outcross.  We are keeping Billie’s baby.

While I was disappointed to see two more bucks added to the total, in the long run, it is a good thing.  Those goat babies are earmarked to be used to finish Split’s training.  It is going to be a long time before I can use the sheep flock to train her.  We still have three more experienced ewes to lamb and then four more from last year’s crop.  We are going to be lambing for at least another month.  Until the lambs are up and moving around well and the mothers are not so attentive, I’ll need to use Gel to move them.  I’m watching the weather carefully and expect I’m going to have to bring the sheep down here this afternoon so they’ll have shelter.  That’s always a production given I need to make sure Liath is secured and Buster is in a place where he’s not going to cause a problem.

While doing my job search on Thursday, I discovered the local Tractor Supply was hiring for team leaders (their term for an assistant manager).  I filled out an on-line application and on Saturday, Wally and I made a trip to the store.  I talked to the manager and he said that he had received my application.  That may be a good option for me.  If I’m going to work in retail, what better place than Tractor Supply to work at?

Well, I got more written this morning than I expected.

Until later …