With the problems here in the last week or so, I have a new URL for my blog.
Sorry for the inconvenience, and I hope you found me.
Look what is growing underneath the old gas tank where I hang the bird feeders for the wild birds. Evidentially, someone forgot to tell the seeds they were supposed to be sterile. I’m okay with that, but I’ll have to take it down before the seeds spread because farmers really do not like those big things clogging up the combine.
This week is the Central Iowa Fair. It’s not such a big deal to me since my son is grown, but my sister is still very active. She is a 4-H leader and also does other work for the fair. She started doing it when she worked for the extension office, and she continues even though she doesn’t work there anymore. This was my contribution:
She didn’t have time to make cakes for the cake walk, so I did these and mom did about the same amount. What a fun way to spend the morning: marathon cake baking.
Jilly still hasn’t had her baby.
Jill is five months pregnant. Our heat indexes across the state today ranged from 110 to 119 degrees. Jill is miserable. She spent a lot of time today laying under the workbench. Her breathing is just so fast with the heat and humidity.
I tried convincing her she would feel better if she went outside in the shade where she could get a breeze, but she didn’t listen to me. Finally, she did make it outside.
Usually, I do a great job of coming up with due dates for my girls. This winter was hard to know when they were bred, however, because of the many storms. Jilly was given the due date of June 11. By the time we got close to that, I had figured out she wasn’t really going to be due yet. I looked at the calendar and added three weeks because that is how long their heat cycle is. That meant July 2 would be her due date. Well, obviously, we’ve passed July 2nd.
Since I have no idea when she is due, I have to rely on the physical and behavioral signs. While every goat is unique, there are some signs that you can look for. Many of these are similar to humans.
1. They will lose the mucus plug. This might be up to a week before they actually go into labor, but it is an indication that they are getting close. A lot of times, you won’t even notice this. They might have extra discharge for a week before giving birth.
2. They will begin to spring. They are springing when their backside looks all puffy. I never really understood springing until I was due with my own child. Probably the best way to figure this out is to compare the unbred doe on the left to Jilly on the right.
3. Her pelvic bones are going to look more prominent. She’ll develop a hallow spot right in front of the pelvic bone as the baby (or babies) moves down towards the birth canal.
4. Obviously, they are going to get an udder as they get closer to delivering. One word of caution. If they are due in the winter when it is cold, they will not get as much of an udder. The milk tends not to come down until after the baby is born when it is cold. Just before they go into labor, their teats are going to become very tight and almost point outward. This is more noticeable on first time moms.
5. I just came across one indicator of impending birth at Easy Living the Hard Way. The condensed version is that the doe has to loosen her joints to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. This can be seen by checking how far around the tail you can reach. Again, a comparison is the easiest way to see this. With Stormy, on the top, I am simply feeling the base of her spine. With Jill, the lower picture, my finger and thumb meet with only her skin between.
Because of these indicators, I know she is very close, so I am checking her frequently. Last night, I was up late because she was standing, raising her hips, tightening the muscles. She was having contractions, but about four in the morning, she laid down and went to sleep. She was having false labor or Braxton-Hicks contractions. When she is really starting to go into real labor, she’ll do the same thing: lots of standing and peeing. She might talk like she will talk to her baby when it arrives.
For Jilly, I’m guessing she’ll really go into labor and deliver tonight. The final reason for this is the severe storms in the forecast. It seems like I always end up in the barn whenever we have thunderstorm or tornado warnings. It would be nice if the severe weather missed us and she did have her babies tonight.
Do you know of any other signs a doe is about to give birth?
My sister has some chickens (a lot of chickens). Some are those wonderful Easter egg Araucanas. Every once in a while she gets an egg that is inordinately large. Well, she cracked one open and it had the normal white and yolk. It also had another kind of egg in it.
Look at that. Have you ever seen anything like this that came inside an egg? All I’ve ever found in an egg is yolk, white, and chick. Any ideas what causes this?
We cracked open the little thing. It’s shell was very fragile, and inside was all white. Again, eggstremely weird!
I seem to be experiencing some problems with my blog. Please be patient. I’m looking into solutions to get accessibility back and my pictures back and hopefully we can get things resolved soon.
I visited my mother’s garden and walked around. The fairies and many different flowers make this a magical place. Some are elegant and showy while others are merely weeds. She can see their beauty while most people mow them over.
In my mother’s garden as a young girl I learned how much work a garden was. We had a fairly large vegetable garden, and with our hard work it produced much of our food throughout the winter. Hard work is still needed for productivity, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
Her garden is where I learned that the daffodil is my favorite plant. It’s bright yellow bloom signals the return of the sun and longer days. It is a hopeful flower that makes me smile to this day. Just as the cold bleak winter will surely leave, all things will change with the rising and setting of the sun.
It’s where I learned that the same treatment for two individual plants did not produce equal results, and now I know that is true of people also. Some will flourish with normal care, while others require much more to support them and help them produce.
It’s where I first took a chance at growing my own fruits and vegetables. It’s where I first experimented with herbs. In my mother’s garden I had the freedom to explore who I was and draft who I wanted to become.
In my mother’s garden I became observant trying to distinguish weeds from wanted plants. I try to take that same observant nature with me everywhere I go. I find it helps me cultivate a better life for myself.
In my mother’s garden I learned that dreams are like seeds. Both need to be tended carefully and fed lovingly to sprout and mature. It is only with tenacious care that they will bear fruit.
In my mother’s garden I learned that the seasons will come and the seasons will go. As surely as a seed sprouts, the plant will eventually die. Sometimes, it is only for a long rest; other times it is until their own seed sprouts bringing a part of them back to life.
It is where I discovered a love of the secret wisdom of plants. They are filled with tons of information and miracles if we take the time to ask. Not all learning can come from a book; sometimes, we must look elsewhere for our information. Perhaps we get our answers from plants, or for some we must look within ourselves for those answers.
In my mother’s garden I learned that no matter how short I might be I can still stand tall for what I believe in. The characteristics of a living thing are more important than the size. A dwarf tree can produce quite well.
It’s where I first tasted the sweetness of a strawberry straight from the plant–warm, juicy, seedy. It’s the epitome of a successful gardening season, the fruit of the flower harvested and enjoyed.
It’s my fantasy that some day a grown man will look back and remember what he learned in his mother’s garden.
It is a zoo around here, and all the animals have gone crazy. It started last night when I got home from putting up the electric fence around the sweet corn. As I pulled in the driveway I heard Big Red. I’m used to his scream. I hear it two or three times a day. It’s his signal that his head is stuck in the fence. That’s why I don’t feel too bad that I made him stay there and get his picture taken.
I don’t get it. Most of them don’t get stuck ever. Sugar went through a three day spree of getting her head stuck, but she seems to have it figured out now. Red needs to get this figured out. After releasing him, I went to the house and fixed the bottles for Flower and Bud. Of course, they were right there and ate no problem. However, while they were eating I saw Beau and Bambi in the pen with the billy goats.
Now, that wouldn’t be a problem except Beau seems to think he’s big enough to challenge the big boys, and Mason was rubbing Beau’s face in the dirt. I haven’t had time to spend with the kids, and Bambi and Beau don’t like me. It wasn’t too bad to catch Bambi, but Beau was a pain. He’s bigger and stronger and wiggly and totally re-injured the bruise on my hand, but I got him out. Just about then, I heard Pistol with the, “Help my head is stuck in the fence and I want you to come get me loose,” yell.
Isn’t she cute? She’s cute until she sticks that head through the fence because I’m late bringing her hay. Keep in mind that there is some green stuff and hay left over from yesterday, but she hadn’t had the fresh stuff yet today. See that bare spot on her ear in the picture below? That’s how tight of a fit it is to get that head back through the fence. I don’t know how she can get it through there to start with.
Anyhow, after removing her head from the fence, I went to get her hay. I stepped out of their pen and saw Rooster Boy. I just gave him a look and said, “Don’t even think it.” He must have known I was serious because he left me alone. I got the hay, was putting it in the tubs and saw this.
Notice how there is a fence between them? There isn’t supposed to be. I still don’t know where the hen got out. I know the pen is in bad shape, and it is on my list of things to do, but I seem to be rushing from one emergency fix to another. I put the little lady back and headed for the house.
Somewhere in there I had the thought that I hadn’t seen the ox, cow and baby bull in a day or two. That’s not completely out of the ordinary because they have about thirty-eight acres of hills to roam. I made a mental note to make a point of seeing them the next day. About 11:00 the next morning I got a phone call saying the bovine were in the neighbor’s bean field.
I rushed out the door to go retrieve them and heard Red’s help scream on my way. I figured I’d be back soon, so I kept going. Well, two hours later with the help of my son and two nephews we finally got them back in the field. Turns out I missed a huge (forty foot) section of fence that is basically gone. Since we mowed the hills, they decided to munch on the new grass and kept munching their way out of the field. They just didn’t know how to get back in. I’m not sure how long they had been out, but my poor ox was worn out. He was hot, panting and just plain exhausted.
We got them to the crossing and he just laid down as soon as he hit the shade of the tree. I removed Red from the fence again and went to fix fence. I decided I need more fencing supplies, so after letting them rest under the tree Caleb and I brought them up to the barn and they are shut back in my little pasture. Of course, my cattle tank isn’t in yet, so I had to fill a tub of water. Hopefully, Maxine can handle that (she’s deficient in drinking from buckets).
I did have a small break in the chaos. Then when I was doing chores it started again. I let my two goatie girls, Stormy and Litha, into the duck, peacock, and chicken pen to eat like always. This time, they scared a peahen and I noticed nobody was on the nest. I continued doing chores and came back to get the girls out and noticed the hens were still off the nest and the chickens were hanging around it. I went over to make sure they weren’t pecking holes in the eggs that were due to hatch this coming Tuesday. There was an empty egg shell. Well, after a quick search around their room in the barn, I found this.
Both hens were off the nest and had left the baby in the middle of the floor. They were not taking care of him. When I tried getting them to take him back, they pecked him in the face. I know peafowl are not the smartest birds in the barnyard (brain to body ratio size is enough to figure that out). I’d read that it might be necessary to take the first hatched babies so they will stay on the nest. I couldn’t get either one to go back to sitting on the nest.
There are another eight eggs that are due to hatch within two days, so I called my aunt. She came over and got the eggs to put in her incubator, and the hatched baby will stay in the pen under a heat lamp. I just got a call from my aunt (about an hour after she took the eggs), and she can hear them cheeping inside the eggs. When they are done hatching, I’ll bring them back and try to find homes for them. I wasn’t even sure the new peacock would be able to breed the girls because he’s only two. He seems to have done a good job.
After my aunt and uncle left with the eggs, I finally got around to going up north and feeding Cutie and her girls and Pam. Well, Pam had her head stuck in the fence too. Unbelievable!
Tomorrow morning I get to go to town first thing to buy feed for the baby chicks and all kinds of fencing supplies to run an electric wire all along the west fence. I’ll probably have to remove a head or two or three from the fence some time too. Oh, and today is Jilly’s due date, so I keep trying to find her and make sure she’s not giving birth and having problems while I’m frantically running around. I really hope things calm back down for a while.
We have about an acre of sweet corn planted at my mom’s house. See all the little tassels? There’s going to be a lot of corn. Jeremy is planning on having someone sit on a street corner by a truck full of sweet corn in a garden chair under a tiki umbrella drinking rum, I mean selling the corn. It won’t be me selling it–I don’t sit that long.
However, it’s always a challenge to keep the raccoons from getting all the corn. When I would plant a small amount of corn in my garden, I didn’t have problems because of my big dog. But at Mom’s house, there’s no dog. We set live traps to protect the corn. We did catch a raccoon, but the other trap didn’t work so well.
The way the wire is ripped back made us decide that it must have been something bigger than a raccoon. We think it was a cougar or a black bear that escaped. We also found evidence of their horrible deeds.
The corn is not quite ready yet, but those wily little critters have been checking it. Today, the boys and I put an electric wire around the whole field. That’s a long ways to put two strands of electric wire.
Brandon had to bring more posts, insulators, and wire when he came home from work. Dad finished mowing the rest of the way around the field. I even suffered an injury. While pounding one of the posts into the ground, I missed the post and hit my hand with the hammer. It hurts. I do not recommend trying it yourself. Trust me, it hurts. I only blame the lack of depth perception and not any lack of coordination. Finally, we got the wire stretched around,
Now the corn should be nice and safe. At least that’s the theory. We did decide that CJ, Mom’s cat, better find a different area to hunt for a little while. At least he needs to watch his fluffy tail when he goes in there.
I can hardly wait to taste the juicy sweet corn. I can almost feel the butter dripping down my chin.
While I have your attention, I’d like to invite you to visit Millie’s blog. She is one of my milking goats, and she has been writing on her own blog for a while. She’s decided to host a giveaway to reward her wonderful fans. Don’t know why I’m advertising for her because everybody seems to like her blog better than mine anyway. Is that bad when I’m jealous of my goat? Anyhow, check out her giveaway. Make sure to tell her I sent you.