Thursday, August 27, 2015

Luna update...

Several people have asked about Luna Goat. Luna was our first goat, and is one of the sweetest spirits I've ever met. She had a difficult pregnancy this winter, was off her feed a lot and caused me many sleepless nights. Luckily she kidded fine, producing two healthy babies to delight us. I had the vet out to see her shortly after that, because she was losing weight at an alarming rate. She took some tests, we wormed her, we treated her with antibiotics in case she had some infection lurking. She continued to fail. For weeks I began each day thinking I'd find her dead. But she tenaciously hung on to life. I did lots of research and treated her with everything I could think of. Vitamin drenches, mineral supplements, pro-biotics to help her her digestion, special treats, special foods to tempt her appetite. She began to be a bit perkier when I began giving her a new supplement that has iron, cobalt and other wonderful things in it. The vet came back out last week, and we treated her again for internal parasites, and I began giving her daily injections of B complex vitamins. The vet said, "Inject her every day until she runs when she sees you coming with the needle." Tonight she ran a little when I came at her, but I was able to catch her so I jabbed her! She is eating well, has been more active the last couple of days, and still rules the other goats quite firmly.

She never lost her winter coat this spring, and looked scruffy and dirty compared to the other sleek, shiny,goats. All of a sudden about 3 weeks ago her coat began to fall out in huge clumps, leaving her pink skinned and pathetic looking. But it is growing back in, and you know what? I am feeling hopeful. She is terribly thin, but has a light in her eye and a determination to live that is encouraging.



This goat has brought me a lot of joy in the 4 years she has called FairWinds home. I am glad for every day that she greets me at the pasture gate. I hope there are more greetings in our future.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Canned duck...

I stepped out front this morning and heard a little splashing sound. I looked around and there was one of my naughty brown ducks,out of the pasture, AGAIN! She was splashing about in a watering can I'd left in the driveway. Why this was more appealing than her wading pool, I do not know, but she spent a long time there, and seemed content.



First she'd dip her graceful head into the watering can. She'd bob up and down, then turn her head to wet the feathers on her back.





I had to stand and watch her a while... the entertainment at FairWind's knows no bounds.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Broader horizons...

A few years ago the property behind and beside us was sold to people that live out of state. I was a little heartsick, worried they'd build a house in the wild meadow behind our place. Instead they made a driveway into the woods down the road a bit and cleared some trees. After a lot of nagging from both my friend and my daughter I contacted the people and asked if they would consider letting us put up temporary fencing in the meadow so our hoof stock could graze there. To my delight, they happily agreed. Ever since then we've been trying to find a free afternoon to put fencing up, and add a gate to our existing fence for access. Today, finally, was the day.

Chris started off by putting 30 or so poles up for electric fence. I joined him and put the sunshine yellow insulators on the poles. Then we strung two strands of electric wire all around. Next, Chris brought out his weed wacker and trimmed all the high grass and weeds and vines from under the new fence. The goats knew something was up, and called to us, out there in the field. They watched with great curiosity as we worked in the hot sun.

Once the area was enclosed, we cut a wide opening in the existing wire fence. Luna goat, who had been napping in the shade all this time, walked purposefully up to where we were working. It was very clear that she knew something BIG was up. The moment the wire fence was open she stepped daintily into the new enclosure, and began to eat. The other goats were not so brave, grazing in the old pasture and keeping a sharp eye on Luna as she ranged into new territory. I brought Chanel, the horse, down. She carefully observed the new opening, and was wary. I led her through the gate and took the lead rope off. She snorted and tossed her head and trotted happily into unfamiliar territory. The sun glistened on her back, and she happily explored the wonders unveiled.





The other goats joined in, once they saw their friend and protector out in the tall, tall grass.



The goats are here, in this picture, but the grass is so high you can't even see them. It is a hoof stock smorgasbord!

Chanel did a good bit of running around in her exciting fresh pasture. I sipped a glass of chilled wine and enjoyed seeing my critters having a grand time.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Unpredictible...

One thing about living with animals... they are certainly unpredictable. This is not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it means a hardy and delightful laugh is lurking unexpectedly.

This morning I was a little groggy when I stepped out to milk goats and do chores. The morning was damp and misty, and I moved slowly to take care of things, enjoying the scenery of misty meadow and a day painted in shades of silver gray.

I recently moved the milking stand outdoors. The real reason I did it was because my cousin was coming to visit and wanted to try her hand at milking, and the garage where I normally milk is an embarrassing mess. It is also hot in there this time of year, so I thought perhaps I could enjoy milking outside during these fine mid-August days. So far, the experiment has been a success, and it's nice to see yard while I milk instead of garage doors.

I filled the feed pan that attaches to the milking stand, and opened the gate from the pasture for Celeste. She was waiting there for me; such a good goat, and well versed in the rhythm and routine of our day. She hopped nimbly up on the stand, I hooked her in and sat down. Just at that instant the rising sun peeked out from behind the veil of mist that it had been behind, and I saw a large, orb spider web, glistening with dew, on the fence. The spider that spun it has left a web there each morning, but the light has not been cooperative and previous photo attempts have been a bust. I decided Celeste could entertain herself for a second or two while I tried to capture the wonder of wet web in morning light.

As I approached the fence, I realized that little Jane Doe was adorably posed just behind the web. If I could get to the correct vantage point in time, I could, perhaps, snap a shot of the web, in focus, with little Jane framed whimsically behind it. I hurried, but Jane saw me coming and trotted to meet me. I was disappointed, but moved in to take the photo of the web, sadly goat free.

And then this happened!



Ella, sporting her new pink bandanna, approached the fence. She saw me looking at the spider web, and focused her attention there as well.
And being a goat, she explored it with her mouth.



To my surprise, she seemed to find it rather tasty!

The unpredictability of my animals, it makes my day.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Crickets and chrysanthemums...

It is with mixed emotions that I hear the hot summer air filled with the songs of crickets. They herald the end of the season, and though I love the sound of them, I'm not ready for summer to be over. Then, today we drove past a farm stand that had rafts of chrysanthemums on display. Fall flowers! I lazily let sunflower seeds germinate and grow under my bird feeder, filling a little garden I had hoped to do other things with. Now that their wide faces are in bloom and nodding beneath my window, I rather like them, but they, too, remind me, the season is nearly gone. Sadly, summer is on the wane.



I am grabbing onto the last of it greedily. We'll go to the beach at least one more time, and I have simply got to get into my kayak a bit more.

The hummingbirds will be winging to warmer climbs soon. According to migration studies,some head south as early as mid-July, but most will stay in Maine until late August or early September. They do not tolerate cold at all, and tend to migrate when there are still plenty of flowers and some bugs for travel food. For now our feeder is bustling with activity as the wee things store up the easy energy I provide for them.



The days are busy and full, and speeding by too swiftly. I wish I could hang on to summer a bit longer.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Cousins...

I've been blessed with some terrific family.

My cousin Chris, along with her sweet husband of 40 plus years, came from New Hampshire for supper tonight. We served them dip made from my own goat cheese mixed with garlic and basil, pork chops from a home-raised pig, fresh corn on the cob and yummy sauteed veggies from our favorite neighborhood farm. Dessert was sweet, fresh, Maine berries with fresh whipped cream (the cream was also from a local dairy.)

Under a post-storm rainbow, cousin Chris helped me milk the goats. She shares similar interests with me, and has raised her own pigs, lambs and chickens for meat in the past. She also had a family cow for many years, and utilized the milk to feed her kids home made dairy products.

Tonight we sat around the supper table a long time, swapping stories and laughing. It was so good. We don't see each other often, but the times we do get together it's a lot of fun. I'm so glad they came to Maine!



Monday, August 10, 2015

Bird shots...

I have a little free time this morning so I took my camera out and plunked myself down on the chicken coop steps. The ducks were cleaning themselves up after a busy morning terrorizing the neighborhood.


After a nice splash they preen in the sun. The two naughty little brown hen ducks are beginning to moult. That means they lose their old, battered feathers and grow pretty, fresh, new ones. Their feathers were in hard shape when they arrived this spring, and I am anxious to see how they look when they have on their new "outfits." I suspect they will look much darker and more sleek.


Meanwhile the new layer chicks are busy, busy. They are excellent bug hunters, and are ranging all over the pasture dining on succulent greens and things that crawl or fly. They spot a bug and are off, running on their stout legs. I think they are going to be an excellent addition to the place.