It’s been almost two months since the last blog post… and for many reasons. I have been putting off writing this post now for weeks. Not everything goes as planned in life and especially on a farm. We wanted to start this blog to share with our followers what life is like on a farm. This includes the good…. and the bad. So while I have hesitated to share the last few months of farm life, seasons change and we want to share it all. It has been a blur, so I’m sure there are things I will forget to include.
Rain. Rain. And more rain. Did I mention rain? Some years we pray for rain, this year we prayed for the rain to stop. The amount of rain we got in September was ridiculous. Our yard is a mess, projects got pushed back and worse yet, animals got sick.
As winter is approaching we couldn’t put off fixing the broken barn water line any more, but the rain wouldn’t stop. So amidst the rain we geared up and shuffled the goats around – leaving just the bucks in our barn that needed the line fixed. What a tight squeeze it was with almost all of our goats in one barn. I think we lost our hearing for a minute. Wow. A metal sided barn with close to 100 hungry goats in it is amplifying. Next we needed to take down our fencing outside of the barn for the excavator to get in and dig up the water line. The days are shorter now and head lamps ended up being a necessity to get the job done. The workers had already dropped the excavator off and time was limited. It continued to rain but the water line was still fixed in a day….. but this is where things take a turn for the worse. One problem fixed, three new ones added.
The workers hit the power line to the barns so we ended up being with out power for a week. Now we had 100 loud hungry goats and no light. Terrific. Pull the head lamps back out!
We are so thankful to have the water line fixed before winter but it was still raining. Slippery deep mud and a water bogged down yard put a huge halt on returning things back to normal. Because of this we haven’t been able to put the fencing back and haven’t been able to haul gravel in to fill the hole for the new water line. (winter, please hold off for a few more weeks!)
The rain also brought health challenges to the animals. Warning! Insert death here. Now just because the weather changes or it is a wet year does not mean there will always be death. This year just happened to not be a good year. A common health problem with goats is internal parasites or better known as worms. We have always done our best to stay on top of the problem before it becomes a problem for the goat. Checking eyelids weekly is just a normal routine for us. (Eyelid color indicates any anemia the goat may have from a heavy parasite load.) What we were not prepared for were the goats drinking out of water puddles in the pasture instead of returning to the barn for fresh clean water. This is where we think our parasite issue was liver flukes (a worm often found in wet areas). We didn’t do any testing so we can not say for sure but it seems like a likely source. Sadly we lost three goats after a multitude of life saving measures were taken. We are thankful that other goats whom showed symptoms responded well to treatment and are doing great today.
Amid the ill goats our llamas also took a hit with the parasites. We lost our llama Ivy – the one who does not have a baby. Though we are uncertain if this is the true cause of her death. She did have some odd behaviors after we brought her to our farm which made us question her health in general. Llama’s are a tricky one. There is not much information available in books or online like there are for other animals. In the past we have contacted multiple vets in Minnesota and even in North Dakota with not much success. Vets with a large knowledge about llamas seem far and few between. (If anyone knows of a vet or well experienced llama owner please pass the information along, we’d be so grateful!)
While mentioning the llama’s I can’t forget to mention Cora, our cria (baby llama). She is doing so great! Little miss independent as we like to call her. So full of energy and growing nicely. Here’s a recent picture of her to show just how much she has grown. Her winter coat is filling in and she is quite the little fluff ball. 🙂
October comes with it’s own “to do” list. The time of year when it is “put your nose to the grind stone – winter and the holiday’s are coming!”
The bathroom remodel has been on halt since the beginning of September. Outside projects are priority as we have already had a handful of days with snow. 😦 However, the shower and the flooring are done. All that is left are the walls and light fixtures. I must say, after months of using a camper shower we LOVE having our shower back again!
Snowy days are opportunities to get caught up on soap and lotion orders. With the holiday’s coming this is our busiest time of year for our goat milk products. We had hopes to attend a few vendor events but with the farm in disarray and a few family emergencies these were put to the back burner. Hopefully another year will work out!
Looking ahead, as it is November…. (yikes, where did October go!?!) we are starting to prepare for the goats breeding season. This is quite exciting as this means soon their will be kids back on the farm! Since August/September the ladies have been coming into heat which has lead to an unexpected problem with one of our bucks. We have four breeding bucks, two of which are new to us in the last year and the issue is with one of them, Jett. Jett is our Saanen buck (a dairy breed). He is the biggest and the oldest and boy is he in charge. So when the doe’s are in heat, he is the one that gets to be by the fence – not the other bucks! So here is where the problem started…. as all of the females are in one barn right now Jett decided he wasn’t going to stay in his own pen but needed to climb the fence and get to “his ladies”! Umm, sure ya go right ahead with that. No problem at all Jett. Seriously, wrong answer! Now we have good fencing, at least we would like to think we do since our goats never get out…. so how on earth is he getting out of the fencing!?! Mind blowing to us that he actually CLIMBS the fence. No real jumping, just climbing. If we didn’t see it with our own eyes we wouldn’t have believed it. So add that to the list of projects – even higher fencing. Thanks Jett!
Jett from this summer. The only difference, he is now almost black…. because, you know…breeding season. Just look it up if you don’t! 🙂
I realize now there aren’t many pictures. Hopefully you weren’t expecting pictures of the water line fix and the goat shuffle. Rain, mud, uncooperative goats, possibly swearing… no time for the camera. Trust me. It wasn’t pretty any ways! 😉
Oh, I always forget to mention the ducks. They are doing great. They will be getting their own dedicated post in the coming months so stay tuned!
Here’s to hoping there won’t be a white ground when the next post comes out!