Tuesday, January 3, 2012

This, I Resolve...

I assume some of you are familiar with the "This, I believe" series on NPR. Well, I am trying to sit down and whittle down my very long list of things I should probably do this year to something that is not so daunting I get discouraged before the middle of January. In addition to my New Year's resolutions that don't involve the farm (I resolve to be a better parent, to get a teaching job, to remain patient as I deal with an aging relative's dementia) I also have a few for the farm, and some will be a challenge, to be sure. As get down into the short rows of the first set of does' pregnancies, we are hoping for a good kidding season, and spending some time planning for warmer weather and the year ahead of us.

1)I resolve (make that WE resolve) to get at least one more area fenced on the farm. The entire front of the farm has been leased out for tobacco for years and years, but there are many acres of woods on the back side of the farm. Considering how exposed the top field is to brutal heat in the summer and to chilling winds in the winter, we need to have a wooded area for the goats to be in during the extreme seasons, simply so they have some natural protection from the elements. This will require clearing a fence line through the woods, and that will require a lot of hard work on Chuck's part, and a lot of single parenting on mine as he does it. Then, of course, there is the whole cost of the fencing thing. Money (or lack of it) can be such an annoying little speed bump along the road to easy farming.

2)We resolve to get birth, 30, and 90 day weights on the goats this year. I would add 60 day but I am trying to be at least somewhat realistic. This also will require some of that hard to come by green stuff (other than hay) because we will need to purchase a scale that can accomodate more than a 50 lb goat.

3)We resolve to fix up the existing fences so they are more critter proof. This will require probably a strand of barbed wire along the ground and hot wire inside or at the top of the field fence, all the way around.

4)We resolve to cull even more strictly this year, and only sell the best of what we've got as registered stock.

5)We resolve to not get in a hurry and do stuff halfway when the research tells us better (any more than necessary - again, trying to be realistic).

6)We resolve to do "something" about the muddy road. We're not sure what yet, considering the price of gravel, but we have to do something before we start catching things like the LeBrea (sp) tar pits. You can see I also have glorious laundry after the kids spend a day at the farm, because they can't resist the mud, and Chip can't help but fall down in it and get his boots sucked off and socks soaked. If we come to your farm, you'll have to be sure we don't start carrying off your gravel in our pants cuffs like in "The Shawshank Redemption."

7)Blogwise, I resolve to try to add something helpful to each entry - for instance, this time, I will mention a product we came across when trying to save a llama from meningeal worm. Since everything with a ruminant begins and ends with the rumen, keeping that rumen from shutting down is vitally important when trying to treat any serious problem. There is a product called Fibrevive that is specifically designed to get a sick animal eating, and to keep the rumen functioning to facilitate recovery. I don't think I have ever had a sick animal totally refuse it. It smells anise, or licorice-like. It is timothy hay based, and can be fed as a slurry, or tube fed, and we have used it in little cakes. It's one of those things you might only need once every five years, but when you need it, you need it. I've thought about buying a tub and keeping it around, so if anyone around here had an emergency we could have a scoop to lend at the ready. I also hope I never need it again.

Lastly, and certainly not least, I would like to wish all of you a wonderful 2012. I hope this one will be full of joyous life, abundant love, good fortune, and good goats for all of us.

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