Friday, February 26, 2010

No Power

we've been down 17 hours and I just lost a long boring post about the whole thing, beginning with how dark it is here in the middle of the night without power, etc, etc. I am on the laptop, battery power, and accidentally hit something that wiped out the whole post. Well, we have all had that happen, but it took my steam away and I don't want to eat up the battery trying to recreate the post.

I got a great pic of the trees on the line that blew the power after midnight. They were still there at noon. It's not just my road, but more or less around the corner and there are not a lot of us on the end of the line here, so we will see how long we are out...

We had a pile of rain from the storm-the pond is over the top of the dam. A lot of snow is gone. It was 44F here this afternoon.

The weather has been absurd this month.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I woke an hour before my alarm this am to pounding rain and howling winds. I was so warm and snug in my bed! I was glad I didn't hear a drip drip of a leak. (which can happen this time of year)

I could hear the big gusts coming from a long way off-a low rumble building to a crashing crescendo when it arrived at the house. I was amazed we still had power and school hadn't been called off yet. We have an alert system that automatically calls if there is a closing or late start.

We had a lot of rain. R and I raced through barn chores and he did most of the outside stuff while I stayed warm and dry in the barn! When we had to go on the hill the rain had slowed so we didn't get soaked getting up there.

We couldn't clean very well at the bucks since they wouldn't go out of the barn! It wasn't raining that hard, but they weren't going out! Usually weather doesn't bother them, but the wind and cold rain was too much for them, I guess.

Once back at the farm, R went to bring in wood and it started pouring! I have been helping him with the wood but I shared out some raisin bread to the main herd in the barn and snuck out early! I had to go to the bank and I didn't want to get there totally soaked smelling like a wet goat! So I just went smelling like a wet goat and mostly dry. :D

We are supposed to get a lot more wind and I think more rain tonight. There is a lot of ice around the house and the Firebird just took a fall doing night chores and soaked his butt. I hope he doesn't get lame from it. I swear when I had piriformis syndrome it was caused by a fall on ice at the farm. The piriformis is a muscle in your rear and the sciatic nerve runs over, under or through it, and if that muscle gets damaged it pinches the nerve and causes excruciating pain. I sufferred a year with it and then it just went away!

I would lie on a tennis ball on the sore spot and deep massage it to get blood flowing in there, and it helped a lot. The dog wasn't too happy I was lying on a tennis ball, though! LOL

Well, we are having hamburgers tonight. I have been craving them since Dave over at Dave's Cupboard blogged about flatburgers. And then R said he was going to Rockland today to get a hamburger for lunch and that did it! Burgers for supper! :D

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


My oldest, The Boy Who Lived in the Tree, is working at the farm with me. He is supposed to be extra combing help, but the two days he has worked, the goats have been too wet to comb, so he has been learning farm chores.

He's working really hard and seems to enjoy it and is showing some enthusiasm. Even though the weather was a freezing drizzle today, he kept up with R and I and got the job done. He's very smart and I hope he isn't getting too annoyed with me being too detailed oriented! I am so used to working with his younger brother who needs explicit directions and then still wanders off in the opposite direction! The Firebird is smart, too-both smarter than me most likely-just the middle one has some challenge with direction.

So, I'm pretty tired! I thought I would go back to my regular hours this week, and then Boss asked if I could pull extra hours combing and I said, sure, everyday but this Tuesday (yesterday) and I think she took that literally! Well, P is also taking the rest of the week off to make up for extra hours last week, so even if it rains I still am pulling the extra time.

Not to complain! Jobs are hard to come by and the extra money I can put towards a million things! Mostly I need to start saving for another vehicle since mine , well, I never know when it might be its last trip...and I'd like to have some cash put by for that inevitability!

let's see, what else, the farrier came by to the farm Monday. The filly, Estrella, was terrible! She just about laid down in the crossties. I had BWLT holding her head, and I ended up pressing my body against her shoulder and chest, with one hand rubbing her back and the other looped around under her neck, basically holding her up and to prevent her from leaning forward. The little brat!

The farrier is relatively new-she does a good job, but doesn't know how to lay down the law. My old farrier wouldn't put up with anything and they stood stock still til he was through. One of my mares broke a rope once, and after that he tied her around the neck so she couldn't do that again. He's retired now or I would try and get him for the farm horses.

Trying to think of a clever note to end on and I just don't have one! So that's it for now!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday...just Friday?

Here is a pic I took yesterday of the farm dog Balloo and one of the cats. Before the cat snuggled down for a nap, he sat on Balloo's fluffy tail and kneaded it.

Another busy day, bones are tired. I want a hot tub for about two hours. But I have to log off and slog through and feed my own goat herd.

Warm and sunny, though!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Still out straight. We didn't get that snow AT ALL. We didn't find out it was missing us until the evening news. The weatherman was a little shook up. Willow even said it sounded like he was crying. Well, now he is explaining our unusual weather pattern and not attributing it to El Nino. Apparently we have a low stalled out over Maritime Canada and a High above it near Greenland, forcing all the storms to our south, bring in warmer air from the Atlantic; circling down over the Northwest, which is usually Arctic air from that direction this time of year.

So here we sit nice and warm and spring-like in the middle of February. Everyone else is getting clobbered.

The Firebird and I had a touch of food poisoning. Bad sausage. Willow had the good sense not to eat it, and I honked down eight of the little devils and the Firebird had three or four. I had just bought it that day from Hannaford. I woke up in the wee hours Wednesday thinking too much rich food...and got violently ill. No snow day to call off work, so I staggered into the farm for another hell-bent-for- leather day with young R. By 9 am my legs were shaking and I was seeing spots.

I toughed it out and stumbled home at 11 to the phone ringing. Company coming in an hour. The house was a wreck! Willow was down on the couch fighting off a cold, the Firebird and I were shaking, sausage sick. We scrambled ourselves into action and put the house in order and had a delightful visit and cruised through our own afternoon chores. I cooked supper and promptly fell asleep on the couch.

Still dragging today, I rushed back into the house before leaving for the farm this morning for my cell phone... just as it started ringing. P was calling to say R called in and she would be in at some point to cover. Oh joy.

That left me the cats, dogs, pig, and chasing the stupid chickens. The pig was so bad she got into the grain room and started scarfing the dog food before I could shove her dish in her face and get her out of there.

Then I grained the wethers and had half the main barn grained before P made an appearance...Phew. Still, we made it through, although poor P took a bad fall on the ice in the driveway lugging the water to the hill. We've all been busting tail this week, literally.

Home again, then off to take the kids to see Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Lightning Thief (see review on my other blog). Home late, more chores here...Thank goodness we are all full on movie theater crummy popcorn and I can do a late light supper.

Two more farm mornings before I catch a break on Sunday-and then it will be another catch up day here...but summer's coming!!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Phew, been working hard. Bosses are on vaca at the farm, been pulling shifts with young R. Willow has been doing some combing. A few of the does were on to her today, and they wouldn't come into the barn for their grain without persuasion. As Boss likes to say, "oh, no, the combing lady!"

Anyhow, R is tough to keep up with! We have been doing chores in record time. I think P thinks we have been taking it easy since we finish early (P is on night chores)-but the fact is we have been busting tail to get it done!

I took the kids and dog to the beach today. The dog was psyched! Dog biscuit at the bank drive through (the kids got lollipops and I got some cash so I guess I won't sweat not getting a candy too). Then he got a dog biscuit at the transfer station, a burger at McD's, and we found a hairless tennis ball in the seaweed at the beach.

Willow grabbed up many many shells and filled a bag. I picked up a big tangle of trap rope-can never have enough rope-The Firebird got wet feet.

We are due for an Alberta Clipper tonight-hard to believe we are getting snow after this big lull and warm temps. Most places the snow has melted-not our lawn, we're the last to melt, I think. The snow must blow down off the pond and settle there. We are forecast for 4-8 inches tonight, but nothing yet. Seems warm for snow, but those can be the nasty kind of storms, wet heavy stuff that's hard to shovel and drive in, but good for snowballs and snowmen. And great for covering up the animal mess that the melting snow has uncovered.

So, I may get snowed in in the morning. One can always hope. :D

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Picking Fiber-Cashmere

I spent several hours today picking though Obiwan's fleece from the last two years. The pic doesn't do it justice-the table is about 3 foot diameter, and I filled three gallon ziplocs at the end, stuffed full.

Technically Obiwan is most likely an Angora cross goat-his fleece has a buttery feel, long staple, and not a lot of crimp. I can't tell you the diameter-the crucial test of true cashmere, but Daphne's is a lot finer fiber than Obi's, but hers is very short. I will most likely have them blended together at the mill.

Most goats that have cashmere have it as an undercoat, with coarse guard hair covering it. Obi wears his angora style-on the outside. He does have course guard hairs mixed in, which true Angoras don't have.

His type of fleece is a chaff magnet-shavings, hay, even the outside of beech buds were all through it. So I worked through a handful at a time with a pair of long tweezers, trying to get at least the shavings out. Tough stuff like that can bind up the processing machines and a heavily contaminated fleece might be refused. I thought it looked pretty good at the end-the pile on the left in the pic.

Then I did Daphne's, and hers was almost totally clean. She is a pygmy goat who happens to put off some nice cashmere, although short staple. I picked out a few shavings and some hay and crammed it in the bag and ran out of good light to go on. I can't wait to see how much fiber we have in the end!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Monday

Here is a pic from yesterday. We took a hike up the pond and had a picnic on top of this huge boulder that is surrounded by water. The wind was cold!

There were about a half dozen groups ice fishing on the pond. We saw quite a few pickerel and one huge yellow perch dead on the ice. I know most people consider them trash fish, but not sure why they leave them on the ice. I do know the bald eagles and coyotes, also bobcat and foxes will probably eat them right up. Funny the people that complain most about coyotes are probably the ones that dump fish and deer parts!

Speaking of coyote,I saw tracks down towards the stream yesterday, and then they paralleled the electric fence, and then went UNDER the fence and across the back pasture!! I don't have wire fencing in the back so something could walk right up into the pen from there...I had extra fencing and that was on my to-do list for the fall and I never did it! And now I have used most of it patching places.

Last night just as dark was falling, Moonie was out! The brat! He has always been an escape artist! I thought he jumped on one of the house roofs and jumped the fence since it was sort of crunched there, so I had the Firebird help me add another four foot piece on top (the original there is six foot) First I tried a rope strung above, and that was a bad idea! Two of the wethers started standing on the fence to check out the rope! So they would have shacked that in no time! Plus I was worried about Moo hanging himself on it. So, I patched in some fence and it was cold and I was swearing at the goats!

Well, when I got home from the farm today, Moonie was out AGAIN! So I patched another piece out back where I was sure he was getting out, and then I realized there was a gap at a gate (which the Firebird said last night and I ignored him) so I fixed there, too! If he gets out again....grrrr!!!! IT better not be through the electric fence since that will be hard to fix with the snow on the ground. I had to disconnect a couple of the bottom lines. They were shorting out in the snow-that's how the coyote got in, a dip in the ground there. The terrain is very uneven so in the upper pasture I disconnected two lines, and the lower one three, but like I said, it is uneven so some places the hot line is not very close to the ground. So we shall see.

I will throw some urine up in the big hemlock to mark the territory and say a prayer the coyote likes fish better than goat!

Saturday, February 6, 2010


Well, I worked hard at the farm this am. A visitor is coming to stay over and claim back two of her bucklings, now wethers. So just Boss and I, and we wanted things to look nice so we did some extra cleaning. Plus the Hill and Prescott were a mess and I took out two big wheelbarrows out of both. After all the carpentry work yesterday, I am feeling a bit sore!

But....the two boys came home! I am a little worried since Piper, for all his scrawniness, has turned into the dominant one, and claimed the house! Everytime Badger goes in, Piper kicks him out! That is why I have so many shelters for the big goats! I am hoping once night falls (and it is a red afterglow as I type this) Piper will lie down and not object to Badger joining him.

The rest of the herd was pretty funny-they share a fence, and the "big" goats were all stalking around with their hair sticking up. But the newcomers were relieved to see other goats! Hopefully their banded parts will fall off soon and they can join the rest...although Badger is a wimp so I hope he makes out ok.

Ok, the good part-PIX! Here are Badger and Willow. The light color on his back is his cashmere fiber-he has a lot, but it's not good quality, which is why he most likely would have gone for meat-but he is so sweet-tempered! Maybe Boss would have kept him...but I couldn't chance it! The long dark hair is his guard hair-both his mother and grandmother have very long guard hair ( his grandmother went to slaughter last year-Uud)

Here is a close up of Piper-I took like ten picks he kept sticking his face at the cam it was so funny!

And here are the two-Piper standing guard in the house and sweet Badger.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I finished getting ready for Badger and Piper! I built the little house today, and put the gate up in the car, put some hay in the back, and readied two little collars. I say readied because both of them had been chewed past the buckle holes so I melted the ends and used a hot nail to melt more holes. Burned my thumb-same one I smashed three times finishing the house! LOL.

I was going to buy them new collars but forgot to stop on the way home yesterday. Well, I am going to worm them too so I might get new collars when I buy the wormer. I am keeping them separate in an adjacent pen... hopefully until they are totally healed from the banding. We'll see-I have some bored big goats that will delight in tearing down the fence that separates them...I know, it has been patched many times from previous new arrivals! LOL

When little Anna was born, I had her and her mother separate from the rest and came home and the other goats had torn down the fence between them (different pen) and had taken little Anna in. Apparently Daphne was NOT to be denied her rights as grandmother! (she is the father's mother and treats Cricket like any good MIL would-she beats the hell out of her!)

I had some trouble with building the new house. I bought the better grade kiln dried 2X4's from HOme Depot for about $18 for 7 of them. I was swearing at HOme Depot this morning! yep, right out of the gutter! They were splitting to pieces and one of them was so warped the whole frame was crooked. I was fussy when I picked through them, I promise, I just forgot to check for warp since so many had bad ends. I would hate to build anything more than a mini goat house with them-in fact, I didn't care for using them for that, but I figured it would make the house lighter and easier to move.

I used rough cut hemlock the last time, and those are twice as big. I just feel it is over kill for a small house. The house is 4 feet long, 37 inches deep, and 2-1/2 feet high-well, from floor to ceiling. That sounds small, but I have another about the same size and three grown goats will crawl into over the larger for two little guys this should be roomy. IN fact, once I integrate them, I bet my bigger goats will take over that one! LOL.

I was out about $25 for the lumber and nails, and I scavenged the roof, floor, and siding from the big house I am tearing down. I could have used pine logs for the frame, but I thought it was too labor intensive to bother. I have a lot of small diameter softwood around...looking back on it, I sort of wish I had done it that way, but it is (usually) much easier to nail 2X4's-when they don't split and warp!!! LOL.

Well, I am starving! I didn't stop for lunch and had four pieces of raisin toast for breakfast. I still haven't picked the shrimp! I was going to do that this am while waiting for the temps to warm up, but I vacuumed instead. That took forever and already looks like I never did it...well, not really, but it was bad. Woodstoves and pets and hay chaff make messy rugs!

Food...I am thinking leftover pork roast sliced thin and slathered in a good barbecue sauce on toast, with mac and cheese and green beans...yum! *runs off to rummage the fridge*

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I worked the farm this am and combed Beatrice. Then I lugged four bales of second cut hay up on the hill. Well, I lugged four bales out of the lower barn and tossed them over the fence-and broke part of the fence in the process. Along with the broken post from yesterday, that pen needs some work!

Then I loaded two bales at a time on a plastic tobaggan, secured with a bungee cord, and pushed it up the hill. The bucklings were very excited about that! Then P and R showed up with the grain so that distracted them long enough to stow the first load and go back for the second. I said goodbye to Feisty-he and his brother were leaving for their new home this afternoon.

While I was hugging him, he whipped his head back and I took a horntip in the crease of the nose! Ok, Tonia, horns do hurt!

R and I hauled some brush and gave a big load to the main herd, so it was pretty uneventful. We cruised through the bucks and I quit early since I had to run some errands. I picked up the 2X4's for the little shelter, so I hope to do that tomorrow and bring my two new boys home after work on Saturday. I hope that all goes well, since my herd has settled nicely since Nic is gone...of course I can't stand peace and quiet, so I have to go get two more goats! LOL

I got some good filly loving today, too. She got kicked out of the barn while the aisle was getting grained, and since she can duck the chain and I had just arrived, I took the opportunity to distract her. We have a good rapport. I am a horse person first and foremost. She is young and full of it and wants and need the attention.

I like to rub her face with my hands-I brush the crud out of her eyes, and rub her forehead, and behind her ears, and her cheeks, and her nose, and she mouths me back. I like to wrap my arm around her neck when she lowers her head and wrap my other arm around her nose and scratch her between the jaws.. Sometimes if we have enough of that, I give her a hand curry on her back to fluff her hair up.

I miss having my own horses.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


We moved two loads of hay today. We have had light snow all day, and that pressed us to early action on moving the hay. Boss was driving the old farm truck. I had the easy job of catapulting the bales down the steps to Boss and R. I only caught R in the face three times.

Good thing I wasn't loading it on the truck, I guess, since I felt R was rather conservative with 25 bales on the first load and 18 on the second. I would have gone for at least thirty if not forty. But perhaps R realized we were riding with Boss. LOL.

On the way back with the first load, the road was already snow covered, and Boss was straddling the center line. On the part of the road I hate the most, a big dip, we met an oil truck coming the other way. It was close. I gasped and was surprised she didn't lose a side mirror.

Back at the farm, R and I pulled the gate and Boss drove in to be met by the hungry herd-"what's this, green hay on a truck?!?"

Boss went to back up to the lower barn, and P was standing on the off side by the door, and I was standing by the barn on the drivers side. Boss started to back up, and P said, "Ok, Ok," while I stood there like a dolt and watched Boss slam back into the door breaking off the board with the latch. OUCH.

We unloaded the hay, and I grabbed the board and took it to the garage and realized all the screws were stripped, so I went to the tack room for the hammer and returned to find R whaling away with some kind of mallet-like a hand sledge-no idea what it is called-breaking off all the old screws. I was impressed. I left him to it, and he had the board back on in ten minutes.

So we three went and fed and cleaned the bucks, and went on for another load. This time when Boss went to back up to the barn, she was too far over and gunned it and went flying back and broke a fence post. OUCH! I have never owned a standard, and P and R pretend they can't drive the truck, so we let poor Boss do the demolition work. LOL.

Well, then I found out two of the sets of recently wethered boys on the hill are going this week, and mine were banded first, so now I am under the gun to get that house built and get mine over here. I can't wait! I have a lot of running around to do this week but hope to pick up the few two by fours I need for the shelter and maybe bring them home this weekend! Pix to follow-if I can find where I put the camera this morning! Oh yeah, I need to pick up the house too! hehe

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I worked the farm this am. I was supposed to be third and help move some second cut hay from a barn down the road, but P didn't work, so that left R and I. After the Hill, R was bringing in firewood and I headed across the pasture for some hemlock branches for the bucks. They have been logging the lot next door, and we are scavenging brush for the herd.

The bucks especially need it, since we bait them out of the fence with the brush so we can clean- without a bunch of bucks fighting under our feet.

The main herd is getting hayed down back under the pines, but there is a rail gate down that allows access to the upper pasture. Over the weekend, S and I hauled some hemlock through the gate for the main herd, but today I was only concerned about the bucks.

I walked across the packed snow, hopped the fence, crawled over the slash, and found a huge hemlock top. S broke the loppers so we have been trying to scavenge what we could drag, and I thought I could handle the top. Well, I tugged it through the slash, dragged it over the fence and two stone walls, and headed across the snowpack. About halfway I had to stop for a breather, and then I heard a sound and looked up.

Yep, I had stopped across from the gate, and the wethers had seen me. All of a sudden it was a race-me dragging a twenty foot hemlock top and 37 wethers and does chasing me across the snowpack. R saw me and helped me haul it over the fence just as the herd caught up to me. PHew! A few of them nibbled the needles that had been stripped, and the rest looked around and headed back across the pasture...en masse, leaving one greedy wether all by himself until he realized he had been abandoned and let out a cry and went off in hot pursuit=back to their hay.

I wish I had it for You Tube.

The next big event was something sad. Boss had asked R's Dad to cut off Lar's horns, and he couldn't do it, so she said, just give the saw to R, he can do it. Well, R was horrified. He had been taking care of that buck for four years and he confided it was like cutting up your pet dog and strewing him around the yard.

Before we left, Boss asked me if I was ready to help R with the task, and I said fine, but R is freaked out since he liked Lars. R was determined to get the job done, and told me to go out when he started-I am not sure if he was trying to spare me, or if he didn't want someone watching him commit the heinous deed. I heard the saw quit and stuck my head in and asked it he was through, and he said yes, but I am suprised he didn't throw up. He pulled the rack away and was horrified it still had an ear on it and plunked it down outside the gate, and Boss, just returned from the Post Office, whisked it away to the Subaru.

Then R feverishly started digging into the manure pile, and he had brought two forks, so I helped him dig it out while he sniffed=due to the cold or not, I didn't dare look at his face out of courtesy, and tried not to stab him in the foot or face as it was tight digging.

R had trouble getting Lars just so in the hole, since he had frozen with his legs extended and they were sort of sticking up, but I positioned the sheet over the legs and told R once the pile started to heat up again, the legs would soften and fold right down. Then I said goodbye to Lars and Boss said goodbye, and R said nothing, and R and I covered him back up with the pile and left him.

We finished up and I combed Hjalmar a bit on his neck, and then I asked R if he wanted to take the cap off the truck instead of waiting until morning, since it was warmer near noon. He agreed, so we went back to the farm and pulled the cap off the truck and R seemed in better spirits when he left, but I feel bad for him.

Now I have agreed to work tomorrow and try and get the hay then. I had other plans, but strike while the iron is hot, as they say...