Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tattoo time

No, no, no - not Tattoo from Fantasy Island people! Goat tattoo time!

All of our does are registered with American Dairy Goat Association which means they have registration papers and they must be tattooed.

The right ear gets our farm tattoo so everyone can tell where they came from. SDS1, which I think sounds like a personal feminine spray.

The left ear gets a letter designating the year, 2008 = Y and an identifying number, 1, 2, 3 and so forth. Since we only had three doelings this year, we had Y1, Y2 and Y3.

Oh, wait! Lamanchas have no ears... well, for them, they get thier little tail tattooed. There is extra skin on the tail called the tail web. You pull it to the side on both the right and left sides and tattoo away! In my experience, the goats still jump and shout, but seem to jump and shout less at a tail tattoo vs. an ear tattoo.

I have a little tattoo device that is like a clamp. In the end goes little plastic rectangles that have a letter or number imbedded in the rectangle in metal points. I put all the letters and numbers in the tattoo clamp, I tattoo a piece of paper to make sure all letters/numbers are going the right way and then Furry Husband holds the goat kid and I clamp down. I would imagine it's a bit like getting your ears pierced? Then I squeeze some green tattoo ink paste onto an old toothbrush and I rub the ink into the holes. Usually the kids turn green with ink, I turn green with ink, Furry Husband turns green with ink... no matter how careful you are, green ink ends up everywhere.

The kids don't like the tattoo of course but after it's over, they resume bouncing and playing as if nothing happened. It's quick and over just as quick.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Auntie Em', Auntie Em'!

The above happened to the neighbor behind us - that used to be her hay shed/barn, now leaning up against her house.
The below picture is random debris in another neighbor's yard - stuff like this was all over.

Well the tornado did go thru our neighborhood or near it anyway! Both Kevin and Jim were home (2 different neighbors) when it happened - watched it come in and said it sounded like frieght train! Furry Husband said he was really glad he wasn't home! I was at work watching and seeing the "red cell" over our address, listening to a live news cast online and hoping the animals were o.k. I can't even imagine how terrifying it would be to have been HOME with that thing barrelling down on your house! Nothing you can do with that coming...

Waverly is even in the newspapers as being in the path! Waverly is a blip on the screen and is NEVER in the papers.

We drove around last night and looked at the damage - man. NOTHING like what Windor saw but there were signs of something happening! Mostly people's haysheds and animal lean-to's are just completely demolished. The house across the street from us and then one house over...there was at least a 40' long garage/hay barn. It is just GONE. Gone.

The Irish Cob horse place down the road from us just had a big, new hay barn is also a pile of sticks. A neighbor behind us had a big hay shed and it is just crumpled! A few neighbors that were home saw the barns and big metal/tin pieces and parts of barns/sheds flying around past their houses and then back to where they came from in a big circular motion in the sky -

At Kevin's place - across the street and 2 houses down, there is a 3 stall lean to - steel and wood - it is very substantial - and it was rolled 100-200 feet thru fences and it's laying in his arena upsidedown. Just rolled like it was nothing. He lives across from Barista and Pansy and says he is amazed their house is still there, thier hay barn was destroyed - blown to bits all over their pasture!

There are those big tin roof pieces people use for sheds all over the place - big 20' or longer rectangular pieces of tin everywhere... imagine those flying thru the air and the damage they could have caused! We have one right next to our driveway on the road in front of our house. There is one wrapped like a piece of paper around a metal t-post right in front of our house, across from our front door. Probably from Black's barn.

Both goat quonset huts (probably 150 - 200 lbs each) were rolled like dice and on top of each other and blown into a corner of the goat pen no where near where they normally set. And our gravel paths - you can see where the torrent of water ran...there was a bucket that was in a spot where it didn't get blown away (it was empty so that is amazing!) and it was still sitting there with probably 3 - 4 inches of water in it! Poor outside animals! Had to just deal with it... none of them had shelter cuz all the shelters open to the East or South since weather "never" comes from that direction...but yesterday those were the directions the weather was coming from!

Think that is why so many 3 sided sheds were destroyed...wind went in and could lift them up or wreck havoc! We feel REALLY lucky that nothing was damaged at our place! Not even our trees - Barista and Pansy had a big tree split down the middle - Kevin lost big trees, Andy across the street from us lost big trees and fencing when the trees came down.

We went up to Rex's and one of their lean-to barns was blown over ... they lost a piece from their barn roof that led into their tack room... I took home saddles that had gotten soaked and oiled them last night in the dark with my little headlamp on! Have to say those headlamps we got for Christmas have been the most useful gift we received in a LONG time! Rex had to leave today to go to a horse show in Castle Rock...her husband is home and can repair the roof - we are supposed to get heavy rain this afternoon too... I'll just keep the saddles she gave me for now...

Our power came back on around 9pm...

Everyone in our neighborhood is feeling really lucky! From what we can see and what we've heard from talking to neighbors and driving around to see what happened - no people or houses/livestock/horses/animals were seriously harmed. Just the sheds!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Goat Sellin' is hard!

We put ads in a few publications each year. You have to be a bit picky in placing ads because you could spend all the money you'd make on a sale simply in ads alone. We had the most calls we've ever had this year. Many of them never call back and some say they want one of your kids and then disappear before the deal is sealed. Some of our sales occur due to word of mouth and we in turn do the same for the other dairy goat farms we know.

This year two of our wethers went to a pet home together. One doeling was bought and I'm keeping her until she's weaned at 12 weeks because it's easier for that person's particular set up. That person is sending me a deposit so I know she really is interested and will not disappear into the sunset. One of our milkers and a doeling went to a really awesome young family with three children.

I have one milker and one doe kid left to sell and the calls have dropped off. I'm not so worried about the milker - sometimes through the summer/fall someone is looking for a milker and it's not usually the time people have them available but I'LL have one available for that special someone! And she is a nice doe so she isn't so much trouble to keep around. The doe kid really needs to go... I have someone interested but not sure if that will come together or not. If it does come together, she will be going to an EXCELLENT farm.

There is a Fuzzy Goat Show this weekend in Cheyenne, WY. Fuzzy because the weather could still turn cold and it's too soon to shave the goats for showing as is customary. I shaved a doe too early once ... you shave their entire body... everything.... and then the weather turned cool and rainy. That poor doe stood there bawling and shivering... I put an old sweatshirt on her and went to the thrift store to find a childs jacket to put her in and keep her warm. It worked, she looked awful cute dressed in human clothes and I certainly learned THAT lesson well!

Furry (not Fuzzy) Husband and I usually go to watch the Cheyenne Fuzzy show and say hello to the other goat crazed people we know. We might bring that last doe kid to the show, show her off a little and see if anyone is interested in buying her. It will also let the interested party take another look at her.

If I could have some way of having milk without having the kids... sigh. The kids are cute and fun and all that but they are also a lot of work. They really are the "by-product" of having dairy animals. We are getting better about selling the kids... we still worry about where they go and if they will be well cared for but we are learning to "let go".

Also, no one wants the boys. We had A LOT of anxiety over this the first three years. We knew ahead of time that many of them are sold for meat because we did the research before we got into dairy goats. It doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes we find pet homes for them but this year four of our boys will go to a woman to finish for meat.

Being raised in the city, you have pets. Dogs, cats and you treat them as pets - they are your "friends" and they are in your house, they sleep with you and you would never eat your cat or your dog (in this country). Dairy goats are livestock. There is a world of difference. Yes, I love my does. Yes, they are very similar to pets to me. Yes, they have personality plus and I take good care of them. Furry Husband does most of the bottle feeding for the babies to help me keep that detachment so it's easier for me to sell them.

However, dairy goats are also livestock. We can not keep all the babies, we HAVE to sell the babies. There simply isn't room enough to keep them all or money enough to feed them all. We have to have babies each year in order to have milk.

We keep our herd small and in order to keep animals in the herd that are in line with our herd goals and producing the milk we love, we will sell milkers from time to time. To me, it is harder to sell the milking does because you form a relationship with them - you are there for their kidding, you help them with birthing if they need it, you milk them twice a day, you know their personalities and individual quirks and they look to you for comfort/food/care.

It is a fact that many of the males will be sold for "cabrito" (meat). It isn't easy at all. I am sad on those days, however, they do serve a purpose and function and we give them a good, happy start to life. They have known kindless, good health and love in their little goat lives.

And that is all I gots to say 'bout sellin' goats. Have an excellent day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tree Killin' and "cremains"

Gawd this week has been long.
Mostly because my Dad was moved to Western NE and his Medicaid case was moved to Sidney NE and is now with a complete, heinous, bitch cow case worker named Bernice. Bernice is requesting paperwork from 2005 amoung a gazillion other over the top ppwk requests and is not at all helpful and has stopped Dad's medicaid.

This is what I think Bernice-bitch-cow must look like

Lucky for me, a very NICE woman from the nursing home is helping me with Bernice-bitch-cow's requests. Dad had a dividend paid out of his retirement account that is over the $4,000.00 limit for medicaid. I have to spend this down by May 15 for him to be eligible. Well turns out that he has some burial plot at Hillcrest Funeral Home in Omaha.

I didn't know this but somehow Bernice-bitch-cow ferreted out this information with the single minded determination of a state employee. (yeah, yeah, I'm a Fed, don't remind me)

But all his papers indicate he wanted to be cremated... so doesn't make too much sense to have a burial plot. Sort of "overkill" - pardon the pun.

I'm working with a guy named Dan to transfer this over into a cremation.

First of all Dan keeps calling Dad's final resting place "Dad's new home" - you know, like a gerbil from a pet store. He'll be DEAD for chrissakes... what will he care WHERE his new home is? Anyway, Dan wanted me to put Dad's "cremains".... yeah, not remains but CRE-mains... in this boulder in this beautiful garden and me being a rocky mountain girl I could really appreciate the beauty of such a thing. It is really peaceful and beautiful for all eternity. But you know, I'm thinking of the cyclone in Myanmar and midwestern tornadoes and global warming... how can it REALLY be eternity?

Dad raised me to be nothing if not practical. I opted for the "niche" which is $2K less than the boulder. That way Dad still has $2K left in an IRA for any emergency that might crop up. It can generate interest and if need be, spent down on things for Dad while he's still part of the living.

Dan sounded very disappointed in my choice of niche vs. boulder. He said the niche was in what he liked to call the "heavenly" section, way up high - or nosebleed area. I guess if anyone goes to visit Dad's CREmains, they will need a chiropractic adjustment from looking up that far. Do they have a laser light pointer so you can point out where exactly he is? Dunno, not my problem.

Anyway - I call the NICE woman to tell her I can spend down the money this way and I guess Bernice-bitch-cow is difficult to anyone and everyone. Bernice-bitch-cow told NICE lady that a cremation should ONLY BE $3000 and would not tell NICE lady how much could actually be set aside for burial according to medicaid regulations. Evidently Bernice-bitch-cow has a bit of a power trip and thinks everyone should fit into her $3,000 plan.

I told NICE lady that I'd be happy to send Bernice-bitch-cow Dad's CREmains to save shipping/storing to cut costs. I'm serious. I'd totally let Dad go live with Bernice-bitch-cow. I might have to find her address.... You cannot know how much I truly hate Bernice-bitch-cow right now. I hope she finds herself in dire straights with no one to help other than someone exactly like herself.

Now for the funny part. Dan is SO disappointed that I'm not opting for the boulder (which Bernice-bitch-cow would not allow anyway, so good thing Dad raised a practical daughter cuz I'd be nursin' some big disapointment right about now the way Dan was talkin' this boulder in a beautiful garden for all eternity up)... well Dan was SO disapointed I didn't choose the boulder, that he is going to send me pictures of the boulder and a price plan for two people to go INTO the boulder because "wouldn't it be NEAT if you and your husband could be placed in this boulder and you could set the boulder somewhere on your acreage - under a tree somewhere?"


We live on 5 acres. We have neighbors. Even if we live here til we die, WHO in their right mind would want Furry Husband and my CREmains in the pasture in a boulder?

"oh, honey, let's go down and have a seat on the CREmains boulder of that nice couple, read the Sunday paper and have a cup of coffee"

That is just friggin creepy. MAYBE if we were like Ted Turner and had some 300 acre spread in the middle of Montana... but c'mon... who wants CREmains and a memorial on the place they buy? I think maybe Dan's worked a little too long in the mortuary. Sniffed a little too much embalming fluid.

O.k. speaking of sniffin' too much embalming fluid - our neighbors to the West? The husband told Furry Husband that he'd appreciate it if I didn't spray weeds when it's windy cuz I killed 2 of his trees when I sprayed the fence line last year.

So this is funny for several reasons.
1. I don't spray the fence line anymore and haven't for probably 3 years
2. I can't even kill MY WEEDS, let alone a friggin' tree
3. The wind blows from the West to the even if I DID spray next to his property on a windy day, it'd be blowing back into OUR property not onto his trees further West.

Furry Husband smiled and said he'd tell me. Of course we won't say anything because it's not worth it - pick your battles and all that .... but I know deep in my heart that I did not kill their damn trees.

Friday, May 2, 2008

A little sumthin' called THURSDAY NIGHT

This was our Thursday night. Me, Furry Husband, Divine Ms. K, Big M (of Big M and Little M) and the new boyfriend for us to scope out. Once Little M was in bed, the wine started flowing and before you know it, 5 of us drank 7 bottles of wine. New rule - 1 bottle per person because we are obviously not mature enough to have access to more.
I crawled into my spinning bed at midnight while Furry Husband went out to move irrigation water and pour the cooled pasteurized milk into gallon jugs for the babies breakfast in the morning. Not sure how he did all that?
Ads are out for our goats - selling a couple milkers as well as most of the kids. We will focus on having Lamanchas only - it's harder to have two breeds I think. Have to know even more bloodlines. And for whatever reason, the Lamanchas are the dairy goat breed that clicks with me. It's really hard tho' to sell the adults. After all you formed a relationship with that animal because you milk her twice a day - you know her personality and they are good producers - not like I'm selling them cuz there is something wrong with them. Hoping we get good calls and good homes for our goats!
Also, we had bad wind here today. The biggest gust registered at 71 mph today around noon. (Furry Husband is a weather geek and he got a weather station with software that reads/tracks conditions outside)
When we got home Sera's left eye was swollen shut and eyes aren't something you should wait around on. I called horse vet number one on the emergency pager... 10 min passed with no call so on to horse vet number 2... again, no response from the emergency page after 10 min and on to horse vet number 3... no luck there either. FINALLY talked to CSU vet hospital and tried one more horse vet nearby. They answered and were able to give me advice which was good cuz it was 10pm by the time I got a hold of them!
Dose her with 1000lbs of banamine to relieve pain and help reduce swelling. Because there is no tearing or pus, there is probably not anything in her eye anymore. However, there is probably an ulcer due to something being in her eye at one point so first thing in the morning a vet needs to come over to stain the eye, determine the damage and we can begin treatment. With the wind we had today I guess I'm lucky that all three horses didn't have both eyes swollen shut.