"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Playing Catchup

I just noticed that it's been several days since I last posted anything. I guess I've been too busy to get to the computer! Let's see....

Iris is still pregnant, although she looks like she's about to pop, the poor thing. She waddles everywhere and I swear she's wider than she is high. Triplets, I think. Flopsy, however.. I still can't say for certain if she's pregnant. If she's not pregnant, then she's damn fat. But there's no evidence of an udder yet, and she ought to be due only days after her mom. Wait and see. Either there will be babies or there won't. 

The grass which I sowed in the back pasture did in fact sprout, and I'm happy to say that I think that pasture will be greatly improved over last year. However, there's still a whole lot of the "bad plant" aka poison hemlock. This afternoon I was talking over the back fence with my neighbor who was out pulling hemlock from her pasture, and I felt compelled to apologize even though it was the previous owners who allowed the hemlock to flourish. I did tell her about my newest find: a cool tool for digging out long-rooted plants like hemlock and burdock. It's a bulb-planter; meant, obviously, for planting bulbs. But it works very well for removing long roots. It's like a shovel, but where the blade of a shovel would be, there's a sharpened tube instead, about three inches in diameter. You can just line it up over the center of a bad plant and step on the crossbar, driving the tube a foot into the ground, then lever the root out and toss it away.  There's far too many hemlock plants to remove them all this way (maybe a thousand?) but I can work on it little by little, and use the gas powered weedeater to prevent seedheads from forming on the ones I can't root out.

I tried to introduce Xana and her babies into the herd. They need to get integrated soon, because Iris is going to give birth any day now and she will need the private space of the mama barn. At first, it seemed to be going well. The other goats checked out the babies perfunctorily, then ignored them and they all grazed peacefully for a couple of hours. Great. I went inside. But when I came back out to check on everybody a couple of hours later, I found a gory scene. Xana had knocked off her scur, most likely in the defense of her babies, and was bleeding fairly profusely from the head. She is also still bleeding from the other end, from kid-birth, so she really presented a grisly picture. She looked like the goat that crawled up from hell. Poor thing. 

On the advice of my vet, who said yeah, it really is kind of an emergency, Rowan and I spent a half an hour attempting to get a pressure bandage on her head. Turns out, that goat is stronger than the two of us put together. After our best efforts, we were panting and liberally streaked with gore, and the goat was thoroughly freaked out, but no bandage had been applied. I did manage to dribble a little iodine on the wound, and I decided to call that good enough, figuring that a goat as feisty as Xana was unlikely to die overnight. And she didn't; she's fine. 

Yesterday was a new record high in eggs: seventeen. That's the benefit of having dispatched the egg-eating hen, I guess. I also collected a pint of milk from Xana. I figure I'll be making my first cheese in about a week. Hooray! 

I brought the baby goats in to Hope's school to show to  her class. I put them in a cardboard box, and as I passed the front desk, I tipped the box towards the secretary  and the various scholastic functionaries to show them the babies. A collective feminine sigh went up and suddenly I was like the pied piper. I was surrounded by a crowd of middle aged ladies as I progressed down the hall to Hope's classroom, where I was enveloped by an equally adoring crowd of kindergartners.

Farming has it's rewards. 


Ruth Trowbridge said...

First time visit here - excellent post - - we are on our 13th year of new to farm life - you are doing a great job - peace for all

Aimee said...

Thank you, rose! I'm going to check out your spot, now.