Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Man And His Goats

This picture was too good to not share.
As you can see, Striper, Bunny, Crazy, and Mary Lou are still getting their bottles.  I have been working on trying to get them to eat grain but no go yet.  If they ever start eating some we can start weaning them off the milk replacer.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Next Adventure

E has only been home from college for a week before heading out on her next big adventure.
 She has been a big help for the little time she was home, feeding the goats,
 and doing some yard work.
 But then she packed up the Rav and headed west.
She is doing a 9 week summer internship though the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. The title of her research project is - Alien Invaders: Investigating a novel and recent invasion of an Asian Corbiculid clam in Illinois’ Great Rivers  hosted by the Illinois Natural History Survey.  After a week of orientation in Alton Illinois she will then travel to Champaign, Illinois for the remainder of internship.  For anyone interested here is the description of the project,

Project Description: The genus Corbicula consists of moderately-sized freshwater clams native to the temperate/tropical regions of Asia, Africa, and Australia and contains some of the most common and successful aquatic invasive species to North America. Previously, only one species (C. fluminea) was common in Illinois and found statewide, but a second Corbicula invader was discovered in 2008 (C. cf. largillierti). The Illinois Natural History Survey (INHS) recently discovered a putatively new Corbicula in the Illinois River near Marseilles, Illinois in 2015. Preliminary morphological and molecular assessment have supported the presence of three alien Corbicula invaders, and additional research is critical to stanch their spread (Tiemann et al., In Review). We propose a two-part (field and lab) study: 1) to conduct presence or absence surveys for the novel and recent Corbicula invaders at several locations (determined by habitat characteristics) across the state to determine geographic distribution of the three forms. Locations will include up to four sites near the confluences of major rivers (e.g., near the Missouri/Mississippi confluence, the Kankakee/Illinois confluence, Ohio River), as well as other promising locations known to harbor Corbicula. 2) Specimens collected will be subjected to a robust geometric morphometric assessment and leveraged to develop species-specific environmental DNA (eDNA) assays.

Miss you already E, have a great time.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Feed Sack Tote Bag

I normally don't feed the horses grain.  But this past winter with Hank having lost weight and having a weanling that needed some extra nutrition, I ended up with several feed bags.  I have seen different places where people have made totes out of the old bags so I thought I might give it a try.  
 I picked the most picturesque bag and this is what I came up with.
 E said I could start taking it to the grocery store to eliminate the hundreds of plastic bags that accumulate here. (I do reuse and recycle them)
I thought it might make a nice gift bag at a horse function.  Either way, I think it's a winner.  Looks like they run about $10 on Etsy.  Guess the picture on the bag is going to be as important as the contents in the future.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Teaching Big Sis

 Draper has been so fun to work with.  I have yet to find anything that upsets or spooks her.  She is very curious but also respectful when I ask.
Otoelene however, has always been afraid of plastic.  She will work with it when I ask but has never really been accepting of it.
 Since I have them both hanging out in the barn lot together I thought maybe Draper could teach her big sister a thing or two.
As you can see, Draper is not shy about taking the lead in this situation.  
And for the tarp, I think Draper was an excellent role model.  She is truly "unflappable."

Monday, May 15, 2017

First Ride

The farrier was late last week.  We already had the horses caught.  I told J he might as well go ahead and ride while we were waiting.  
 I have ridden Brother a hand full of times this year but this was J's first time on since last fall.
 I think he was pleasantly surprised at how well Brother did.   He acted like he was ready to go to a show and win western pleasure.  One little bobble about being suborn about loping once but other than that it was 30 minutes of pleasure.   J had to ask a couple of times, "are you sure he is trotting?"
Now that he has his shoes on maybe J can work out some more times to ride.
And for her second trim, Draper was an angel again.  She acted better than some of the big horses.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Just Kit Sunday #119

We have be letting the bottle goats out of the barn during the day in hopes that they will start to acclimate to the herd after we wean them.
 The other goats were off elsewhere but Kit Kat had come to the barn for a visit.
 Mary Lou was very interested in Kit.
 My advise is to watch those squinty eyes.
 There it is.
 No goats were harmed in the filming of this event.
 And on a different note, Happy Mother's Day
What says Happy Mother's Day better than peonies?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

In Bloom at the 4Rs

Between the warm April, tons of rain and now a cold May I thought the flowers might be confused.  But looking back through other years they may be only 7 - 10 days off. 
Old fashion iris,  

 peonies, 
 coreopsis, 
 variegated weigela, 
 more bearded iris, 
 Dutch iris, 
 poppy, 
allium.
The yard is full of color.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Thinker, 4RRanch Style

So today, I thought we could do something a little different, an art comparison.  
Everyone is probably familiar with the famous statue of "The Thinker."
But here are the 4R's we have our own version, "The Goat Herder Thinker."
Compare and Contrast...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Goat Yoga Anyone?

J and I worked the goats Saturday which involved baby goat proofing the barn (so there were no escapes) rounding them all up, banding the boys, deworming the nannies and trimming some of the worst of the foot problems.  It was a tough hot couple of hours but we got through it.  Then on Sunday M and J stopped by.  After a wonderful time on the cruise they wanted to help with some farm work.  
 The point of going ahead and working the goats was so we could get them turned out of the field they had been in for the last month and a half.  They are happier and seem to do better when they can roam around more and get to more brushy type plants.
M and V did a great job helping me round them up to drive them out of the field.  
 I'm sure most of you have already heard about the goat yoga craze, but in case you are behind the times, here is a YouTube clip on the up and coming sensation.
 At $22 per person with a long waiting list, V wanted to see if our goats might be good at it.  This little one was more interested in V's hair at first.
 But finally jumped up on her and patted around for a minute.  
If anyone is interested in paying to have goats jump up and down on you I will do what I can to be accommodating.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Second Swarm

Coming home from Church Sunday I noticed something funny in the little maple tree in Draper's lot.
 On closer inspection we saw that it was another swarm of bees.
 They are  amazing little creatures, hanging on all day through a terrible wind and rain storm.  We were just not prepared to deal with another swarm and our regular bee man didn't want them but gave us the name of someone else.
 So a new bee man came out to get this swarm.
 He said it was just the height he liked to deal with.
At this point J decided he was a little to close to the action.  After a few minutes most of the bees were crawling up into his nuke.  He offered to get it back to us but we didn't have a new hive.   Guess I will have to order another one if we want to keep expanding.  Maybe we could even learn how to do splits to avoid swarming.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Contamination Catastrophe

J has been wanting to move a group of cows that have already calved out to our rented pasture for 3 weeks now.  But the wedding and 4 inches of rain had delayed the process.  
 But yesterday finally worked out to get them up.  We were vaccinating the cows and calves, implanting the steers and tagging the calves.  Everything was laid out and ready to go.
 Then the first group of cows in the barn created the worse mess ever.  One of the cows deliberately backed up to the barrel and let loose.  It sort of ruined my attempt and a clean field for my vet supplies.
 J had a few choice words about that one.
After a couple of buckets of water we were ready to try again. 
It was nice to get one bunch worked and turned out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Two Delays

So Friday was suppose to be a day of light cleaning and getting ready for the wedding rehearsal.and rehearsal dinner.  But we live on a farm.  Nothing ever goes as planned.  The problems started off in the morning after J had checked the cattle at our farm up the road.  There was a cow that was just starting to think about calving the evening before.  When J checked on her Friday morning she was in the same location, no calf and no apparent signs of labor.  In our experience this is usually trouble in the form of a backwards calf.   We got her up and I check and sure enough, backward but the legs were extended back which made things much better than if they had been forward.  I got the chains on while J went to get the truck.  We had left it where the cow started out because we had to drive her to the working pens on foot.  By the time he got back I had the calf 1/2 way out.  He jumped in and we got it pulled.  There was still a heart beat but we never got it to take a breath.  I even tried mouth to mouth to no avail.  We did have a twin we were bottle feeding so we drove back to the house to get it, skinned the dead calf and tied the hide to the graft.  Usually the cow will accept a graft better if it smells more like her own.  She ended up taking it but it was several hours later.   Anyway, after all of that it looked like I was the one that had been pulled out of the back of the cow. 
 Next up was J mowing the yard.  We were still trying to spiff up the house and yard since 40 family members would be coming over after the reception the next day.   The cypress trees are right next to the bee hives and so far that is where they have always swarmed to.   J, unfortunately, didn't see the swarm until he ran into it with he face while mowing with the riding mower.  At first he had no idea what happened.  Then the bees started stinging and he started swatting, finally jumping off the mower and running to the house.
 Since I had a hive body ready, we went ahead and tried to catch the swarm.  I thought the box was too far from the branch for a good shake so we raised it up with some buckets and a board.
 That worked much better and J got a good shake on the branch and most went in the box.
 And while he had his suit on he went ahead and added a honey super to one of the other hives.
After a few hours and some more flying around the bees finally ended up in the hive.  So if everything works out there, we will have 3 hives.
Not quite what we had planned the day before V's wedding.
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