Thursday, February 28, 2008


I took half a day off this morning so we could use our county burn permit to do some much-needed burning before weather makes it impossible.

It was a perfect day for it -- very little wind; just enough to keep things going. There aren't many good burn days in Kansas.

We've had a major problem with a poison ivy infestation in the meadow (or what we call the "orchard" because it is where my grandparents had a 100-tree apple orchard, and where Steven is trying to create a new orchard). So we really needed to get this area burned off to get it back under control. It had thick matting of heavy grasses.

In addition, we had a large brush pile from where we had cleared out some volunteer elm trees and cedars where we didn't want them growing.

Hopefully this will then become another rotating pasture for the goats. We might use temporary fence for this year, but we would like to eventually be able to keep them in here for extended periods of time to also help control the growth of the area, as well as giving them a fresh pasture often.

Friday, February 22, 2008


Well, apparently Bobbie Sue (the older doe) gave birth yesterday morning. Steven didn't call me at work and tell me about it because the triplets she gave birth to all died. :(

Two were stillborn, and one was barely breathing when born. He was right there and did all he could to revive it, but couldn't keep it breathing. The triplets were two males and a female.

Obviously, Steven (and I) are very discouraged by this. Probably more so for him, because it really sets him back in his plans for his herd; plus there is just the emotional letdown when you try so hard to revive a baby animal and give it mouth-to-mouth and everything, but just can't will it to live. Since this was the first of his herd to give birth, it makes it hard.

We could have had a 100% increase in our herd yesterday (we have three goats now, this would have added 3 more all at once) but instead got a zero gain.

For good news - at least the doe appears okay -- no excessive bleeding or acting like she is hurt in any way by the birthing. Theoretically, she will probably go back into heat with 30 days, and maybe the next birthing will be in the warmer months of August/September. It was so extremely cold yesterday morning, what with the sleet coming down and all -- but we don't think that was an issue. She was in the barn in the straw and Steven was there to warm them - they just weren't viable right from the start. From all appearances (of them) they seemed fully formed and full size and healthy -- nothing to indicate stress in the womb. We will never know why they didn't make it.

Although I remember having this type of thing happen back when I was a youth raising sheep -- it is very disheartening for it to happen the very FIRST time one of your new herd gives birth. I'm sure Steven is hurting (although he would never show it); I know I cried like a baby when I was a teenager if I lost a lamb.

We're not even sure if the other doe is pregnant -- we think so -- but she's not nearly as big as #20 was. Hopefully if she is, then maybe she will just have a single. I would rather have a live, health single birth that triplets or twins that don't make it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

It feels like spring!

Wow, I should really update more often, huh?

Well, we really enjoyed having President's Day off to do some work around the farm, and were blessed with wonderful weather to do it.

In the morning, we decided to make a trip to town to get feed, gasoline for the tractor, and other stuff. However, on the way there, I ran over some debris in the road which included a nail that embedded in my right front tire (and damaged, a bit, my right fender). So we ended up having an hour cut out of our day while waiting on the shop to fix that.

Then Steven and I began working on fencing the holding pen corral. All that is left of that corral from years-gone-by were the posts - none of the board fencing or the ramp/loading dock. We enclosed it all with woven wire, and plan to use it as a small holding area for the buck; or maybe for a doe and her babies; or whatever we need to keep separate until we get the rest of that second pasture finished.

The older doe should drop about any day. Steven is checking her often, and she is huge; but so far not acting like she's ready to delivery. The younger girl is not as big -- not sure what her schedule is going to be.

I've been meaning for some time to post this photo of the hay feeder Steven made. It didn't end up exactly the way he originally planned it, but it has worked quite well this winter. He will probably do some modifications on it before next winter.Steven's Hay Feeder

He used logs (trees he cut from the grove) to make the bottom stability posts, and the uprights and the cross-beams on the top. He used wire then (he originally planned to use young branches stripped) to make the upright lattice work to hold the hay. He never really got the "tray" beneath finished -- and they keep breaking it off anyway by climbing on it. Anyway, this was about as low budget as you can get -- he cut all the wood himself, and the wire we had around, so there was no cash put into this, and it works fine.

Later in the day yesterday, we tore apart all the plumbing to the bathtub in the house, because the lime build up has really made for water flow problems. I'm going to pick up new hardware on the way home today, and hopefully put it all back together tonight.

This weekend we plan a controlled burn of the orchard meadow, and some brush piles, weather permitting. Try to get the poison ivy problem under control.