Friday, August 31, 2018

Starting Calving and Feeding

Our fall cattle have started to calve. 
 Looks like the Hereford bull did his job.  Now J has to drive to JJ's daily or more to check on things.  This is a first calf heifer and J said you can't even tell she calved (other than there being a calf there of course).
The other night I mentioned that the calves grazing behind the house looked pretty, green grass, blue sky, healthy cattle.  These are the ones we just sent to feed in Nebraska yesterday.  J's comment was, "I think they will look a lot prettier in the bank account."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Draper's First Trail Ride

Looking back at all I had done with Otoelene as a 2 year old, I saw that I was sorely lacking in Draper's training.  So J was wonderful enough to take the day off and haul us to the woods for Draper's first away ride.  
 Granted, it is only 5 minutes up the road, but it still involves loading and unloading, and getting ready in a strange place.  Being the middle of the week we didn't expect to have many other horses for distraction.  We got off to a great start, no problems with hauling or saddling.  J rode Hank since he is our most steady and predictable horse.
 I lunged Draper for less than 5 minutes and decided she wasn't upset or nervous about anything, and got on.  I was glad that I changed the reins out from the short barrel racing reins I have been riding her with.  I thought she might put her head down more to check things out and sure enough, she spent a lot of time checking out piles of horse poo, leaves, rocks, it was nice to have the longer reins.
 I love how she was listening to me with that left ear.
 J and Hank took the lead and we headed up Horse Heaven.  This is the easiest, obstacle free local trail so I thought it would be a good place to start.
 Hank was his usual Steady Eddie self, maybe even a little too calm and slow.
Draper did great following but wanted to walk faster than Hank.  Sometimes I would get in front but then she decided there were scary things that she needed to stop at and inspect, like that scary rock.  I don't understand how some rocks and logs are scary and others aren't.  But she never shied or spooked at anything, just stopped and looked.  
 It was a beautiful day, but got a little hot toward the end of the ride.  And maybe I got the combination of fly sprays right because they didn't bother us too bad.
Coming down the back side of the mountain, Draper was more brave and stayed in front better.   
  Then J took over the camera and actually got photographic proof of Draper's ride.
 We did run into one couple up on the trail going in the opposite direction.  Their horses were giving off some bad energy while J was trying to talk to them so we didn't dally long.  Then, once we were at the trailer and had unsaddled, they passed by again.  This time they hung around longer to chat.
 Draper was a champ the whole time.  I think it helped to have Hank there with his calm energy.
Then it was home to unload and eat lunch.  But wait, there's more, J even took a video.

We were almost back to the trailer at this point after a wonderful 3 hour ride.  Who's ready for the next ride?

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Draper Update and Bottle Goat Walk

I am having trouble getting any photographic evidence of how Draper is doing, so you will just have to take my word for it that she is wonderful.  I did have a slight set back a couple of weeks ago when she wanted to start rearing up at the canter.  It was very confusing because I wasn't pulling, just asking for forward motion.  When she would start to rear I would pull her around to the side because I was afraid she would come over backwards.  Since I have never had this problem before I did what anyone would do, search Google.  One solution that I came up with was to just keep asking for her to go forward.  It seems counterintuitive to push forward when a horse is acting up but it seems to have worked.  No more episodes like that.  
 Then I was lucky enough to have V visit yesterday.  I have only been riding Draper around by herself so I thought it would be good to have V ride Hank with me.  We rode around it the barn a little bit then headed for the outdoor arena.  This was the 3rd time I have taken her over there.  She really did great.  She got a little excited when I was cantering and Hank cantered past but nothing out of control.  Looks like the next step is hauling her somewhere.
 Then in the evening J and I had to walk across the hill to try to get a calf.  It was a beautiful evening.
 And the bottle goats took the opportunity to walk with us.  I know this give J much joy and happiness.
 The goats enjoyed eating on the taller weeds further away from the barn.
 I never got around to trying to name any from this batch.
We had no success getting the calf to come across the hill so we headed back with our little band of goats.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Raking Grass

Unbelievably I have been having to rake the grass when it has been mowed every week this summer.
 This is unprecedented.  We have had so much rain that I have lost track.
 I still put the clippings in the garden.  This is where the broccoli was.  The grass will help keep the weeds down.  Maybe I won't have as much chick weed in the spring.
 Whenever I am raking the grass I think about my grandmother and all the raking she did in their large yard.   Grandpa would mow the grass, then go back over it to put it is wind rows so it would be easier for grandma to rake.  Even after they got a grass catcher for the mower, she would still be able to find something that needed raking.
She had a rake that was shorter than most which suited her since she was shorter than most.  It is hard to tell from the picture, the the tines have been worn down until they are almost flat.   That takes a lot of raking.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Red Barn and Turkeys

The red barn has been falling apart for some time now. 
The roof has blown off part of the shed and barn.  Now pieces of plywood are falling off.  The cinder block foundation is toppling.
Termites and powder beetles are eating the wood.
In short, it's a disaster.  I have been slowly removing anything I think I might be able to use. 
It's pretty empty now compared to what it once was.  J contacted a man that has a hobby of tearing down old buildings and reselling what he can.  He came out a couple of weeks ago and said he would start last week.  We have not seen him again.  I am still hopeful he will show up.  It would be nice to have the barn gone so we could think about putting up something better.  The only thing we need the barn for is to give the goats a little shelter on occasion.  They really like getting up under this one at times. 
Then, because I had left my camera in the truck, J took some turkey pictures as he was going down the driveway. 
We have been seeing turkeys and deer pretty regularly. 

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Sheep And Goat Club Farm Tours

V had us join a local sheep and goat club last year but we never made it to any of the meetings.  So when they had their farm tours yesterday, we thought we would go and see what was going on with the club.  
 Our first stop was at an Amish farm where the family ran a store/restaurant/cabinet making shop and had a few goats.  Their landscaping and flowers were beautiful. 
 You can't really tell from the picture but the tomatoes are woven through a corral panel.  J would like to try ours like this next year.  Maybe it would help keep the tomato jungle under control.
 They had flowers everywhere. 
 I think he said there were 31 goats total on the farm.   They started out with Boer goats but have switched to Kikos.  They felt the Kikos were more resistant to worms and foot rot.
 They had 3 billies.  These two were older, the white and brown one was 9 years old.  We had a wonderful dinner at the Amish Diner then on to the sheep stop. 
 These were new producers that have only had sheep for 2 years.  They have 10 acres and 21 ewes. 
 But they have a lot of equipment, fences and pens.  They had gotten 2 Great Pyrenees dogs six months before they got the sheep.  Then, when the sheep arrived they turned the dogs in with them and they attacked the sheep.  So now they have the dogs in a separate field and they got guard donkeys for the sheep.
 The highlight of the tour was the Roll O"Matic.
 It is a sheep/goat chute that will rotate and lay them on their side so the feet can be worked on.
After the tour the club president asked if they could tour our farm next year.  It will be a big contrast to all the equipment this farm had.  We have no goat specific equipment other than the hook attachment for J's catch pole. 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Coupon Saturday #15 and For Fun

I have slacked off some this week.  I mean, really, who needs all this shampoo and soap.  But to curb my addiction I did get a couple of free things. 
 At Family Dollar, the Beneful medleys were $1.75.  There were digital and printable coupons for $2 off.   FD does not give overage so they were mostly free, just tax.
 The cans are small and my dogs are big, so I just donated them to the clinic for the hospitalized dogs.
 Then there was a Bic coupon for $3 off any bic disposable.  Walmart had these for $2.97.  So free again, just tax.
 I have been looking for a rug for the den for a year now.  J has been patient but the other day sort of wanted it done.
 I found this 8x10 rug at Lowes, originally $229, marked down to $159, then again to $139.  And I had a $10 off coupon from where J bought a drill last week and it printed out on the receipt.  I don't think that was too bad of a deal.
Then just for fun....I went to a continuing education meeting yesterday, (not fun) but one of the speakers had this slide.  These are microscopic images of biopsies.  Had to laugh at Cookie Monster.  Looks like I am not the only one that collects faces.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Deworming The Goat Kids

All this rain has been a blessing and a curse.  We have more grass than we have ever had for this time of year.  But goats don't thrive in wet.  They are arid animals for a reason.  And the reason is The Barber Pole Worm.  It is a blood sucking killer.  Normally, we just deworm the nannies when we turn them out after kidding.  Then, if something looks thin or has a messy rear end we will spot deworm it.  But this week, we lost 3 kids that showed no sign of a problem until it was too late.  J found one dead and two that were too weak to keep up with the herd.  I tried treating them, but they died also.  They were white as a sheet, but no diarrhea and at the bigger end of the kids. So we decided to get everyone up, check eyelid color, and deworm the pale ones.  This is the FAMACHA theory.  If you are interested in the details you can read more HERE.
 So, J and I got up early and walked up and down hills for 2 hours to round up all of the goats that were spread out over at least 4 different fields. 
 We then got them crowded into the barn and the hard part started. 
 J had to catch each kid individually,
then I checked the eyelids and decided if they needed deworming.  Over 3/4 of the kids failed the eyelid test.  We spot checked a few nannies and they were all ok.  To deworm the kids,  I used injectable ivermectin but gave it orally at 2x the cattle dose.  This is off label usage, but there isn't much that is labeled for goats that actually works anymore.  104 kids later J's hand was bruised, cut and bleeding but we got it done.  Depending on how they do, we might have to repeat the process in another 2 weeks.
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