Monday, January 24, 2011

Life Goes On

If you look closely, you can see the legs of the nursing calf

Sometimes I am still am saddened by the sick little calf who is no longer with us.  So this morning when I looked outside, I was cheered by the sight of another tiny calf who was standing with his mom and getting the nourishment he needs.  There may be saddness and loss to endure on a farm, but life goes on and new babies are born who are healthy and thrive.

We continue to encounter the mangy racoon every day.  He has discovered our bales of hay outside which Brian arranged and covered with a tarp as a cozy place for the cats.  Each morning Brian goes outside to get hay for the goats and finds the racoon staring back at him from behind one of the bales.  At the beginning of the week, the racoon ran quickly away when he heard Brian coming.  This morning, he was in no hurry to go anywhere and Brian had to scare him off with a rock.  We are still contemplating on how to deal with our new friend.  We would think him more of a menace if he did not have wounds on his back and legs from some kind of animal attack.  He is sadly pathetic and seems to be harmless in his current condition.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Poor Bea

A quick update on how things are progressing here:

Bad Bea couldn't help but lick her stitches until they were infected.  We opted not to put cones on both dogs from the beginning because they didn't seem to be interested in licking.  That decision really backfired when yesterday we noticed the flaming red skin next to Bea's incision.  She bought herself a week of antibiotics, anti-inflammatories and a really ridiculous looking cone.  It has been nice to spend so much time with the dogs since it is so easy to visit them in the garage.  They would really love to come inside and hang out with Arthur.

Speaking of Arthur, he and Betty White are becoming better friends by the day.  Arthur continues to spend his time snuggling with anything warm.  His two new favorite items are his snuggie and an electric blanket.

Rambo has become more elusive as Arthur has developed a habit of chasing him all around the yard.  And we have recently met a rabid looking racoon that looks like its been attacked by something.  Amazing the critters that come out as soon as the dogs are out of sight.

In sadder news, the baby calf I wrote about last week has not been seen again.  I like to think he has gone to a better place.  He has gone to greener pastures.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Girls in the Garage

We have been dreading this week for a long time.  Since the day we brought our white polar bear puppies home, we knew that we needed to have them spayed (although the temptation to breed them and have more white polar bear puppies did cross our minds...).  We also knew that it would be a challenge to keep our filthy and active outdoor puppies clean while their incisions healed after surgery.

Brian came up with the ingenious idea of turning our garage into something resembling a horse stall.  He fenced it off and added lots and lots of hay.

We are currently on post-operative day number three.  According to the vets' instructions, the girls are supposed to be kept inside and quiet for two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!!!  After only two days, the girls are sprinting around the backyard when let out to pee and wrestle ferociously with each other when locked inside. 

The good thing is that they do not seem to be in any pain and their sutures are still clean and intact.  Although it is already getting difficult to get them back into the garage and they have started to attempt to dig their way out (which will hopefully not result in major damage), these long couple of weeks will be bearable as long as both girls stay healthy and (mostly) happy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Too soft for the country life?

Last night Brian and I noticed that one of the neighbors cows was persistently "MOOOOO"ing at the corner of his property.  On closer inspection, we found the source of her distress.   Her calf was standing near the fence, looking feeble and cold.  We looked at each other and both felt concern for the well being of this baby animal.  As I put on my jacket and headed out the door for work I said a silent prayer that the calf would make it through the night.
I drove up to the house this morning, with Pepper chasing the car down the dirt road, and I eagerly looked for the little calf.  Sure enough, his mom was standing nearby the corner of our neighbor's property, still with "MOO" after "MOO".  I saw a tiny black blob on the ground, unmoving.  I felt sick in the pit of my stomach.  Running inside, I told myself to calm down and not to wake Brian with the news of a potentially dead baby cow. "I think something's really wrong with the calf!" I blurted.  
We agreed that I should call our neighbor, who immediately drove down to take a look.  I walked with him to get close enough to the calf to see what what wrong.  I breathed a sigh of relief as he turned his tiny cow head to look at us.  Our neighbor told us the calf had been born only a few days earlier and that he might be sick and that there wasn't much we could do.  All we can do is wait. 

I looked at my own animals in thanks, both goats standing on the tiny structures in their pen and the dogs full of rambunctious energy.  Although I am thankful our animals are healthy and happy now, I know I must prepare myself for the difficulties and sadness that comes with raising livestock.  Many farmers have been raised to accept the loss that comes with animal husbandry.  The difference is, all my animals have names.
We begin to prepare for the dogs to get spayed on Thursday.  They will temporarily be living in the garage to keep their sutures clean.  Wish us all luck in this potentially disastrous adventure!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Happy New Year!

We hope everyone's 2011 is off to a good start! All is well here at our tiny farm. No new animals escapes or unwanted creatures to speak of. Our biggest challenge so far has been the fog and the freezing temperatures, with the hose and the animals water frozen solid every morning. But it certainly has been beautiful. I had no idea things could get this white without any precipitation!

Bea, Great, Weekend and Maia have all been tolerating the cold weather well.  They have finally starting using the dog house that Brian built over the summer for them.  It is the warmest shelter available to them, complete with a window and even big enough for Brian and I to visit them! 

The goats are still savagely attacking bark of the fruit trees and gorge themselves on hay at every opportunity.  One of my favorite things is to watch the goats drink water.  I was so surprised to see that they sip, as though through a straw, rather than lick the water like dogs do (someday I hope to catch this on video...)

2011 promises to be a busy year for us.  With Brian's seasonal work finished, we have many projects planned around the house.  We look forward to sharing them with you (and maybe even some cheese by the summer!!)