Sunday, December 29, 2013

Happy New Year!

Annalee and I did make it to the Christmas Eve Moravian Lovefeast.
If it seems like I missed Christmas, you aren't far off the mark.  I was so happy to leave work Friday afternoon before Christmas - my students had for the most part held it in the road and didn't get too crazy anticipating the holiday.  I had so much to do.  I needed to do all my shopping, decorate the house, and of course, catch up on grading for school.  Nowhere in my plans was time budgeted for what got me Friday night - the same horrendous stomach bug that had been causing student absences on and off all the previous week.  Lovely.  Chuck had been fighting a sinus thing and trying to get all the farm work done after work, which doesn't always work out too well, as our broken hay feeder can attest.  He tried to get the round bale in the center of the feeder out in the dark field, but he missed and managed to knock the bolts loose, so it must be repaired.  The goats are working around it, and a few really like hiding under the trailer.

We meant to get the hay off the trailer but Chuck broke the hay feeder trying to aim at it in the dark...
As it turns out, I had a minor Christmas miracle as I felt well enough Christmas Eve to pick up some food to cook on Christmas day, and to buy my gifts.  Christmas morning, I realized I might have overdone it with my trip to the Mall with Virginia, who had scooted on her back across the floor like a deranged crab/inchworm at several stores when my hands were too full to hold her in my arms, and who had me darting through clothing racks hot on her trail as she ran away from me, giggling with glee.  Virginia was a very easy baby, but I am really paying for it now that she is two.

Wondering if this mom and daughters (best of 2013) are bred.
So, as the Grinch discovered in the Dr. Seuss classic... Christmas came just the same.  We managed to visit my Mom at her assisted living before the end of the day.  Santa Claus made it, so it all turned out okay in the end.  As of day before yesterday, I was actually able to eat real food again, which was a welcome development indeed.  I am a week behind in the work I needed to do for school, and we haven't cleaned out the barn to prepare it for the kidding does since Chuck won't be able to check the farm as often as he used to before getting a retail job.  The barn is an absolute wreck.  I have told Chuck a few times I am going to tote off all his chickens myself.  Since the chickens and turkeys have run of the place and they aren't potty trained, it is pretty gross.  We also had a few of the goats who broke out of the field over the past few months go in and complete the job of trashing the place.  Very little was left standing.  I have a plan for what I want to do in the barn to create two separate goat areas completely shielded from the weather while retaining most of the space for storage, but since I was sick for most of Chuck's days off, it doesn't look like it will happen any time soon, and certainly not soon enough to be of use for kidding.  It would appear from looking at some of the does that their kids will be like Christmas - they are going to come, just the same.
Brown doe looking a little grubby, but bagging up.
I'm still not ecstatic with the does' condition going into kidding.  They have adequate weight and for the most part the Famacha scores are really good, but several look kinda grubby.  I've added some black oil sunflower seed to see if it will add what they need and improve their haircoat.  I also want to be sure they have a milk booster since there is nothing green growing at all.  We caught does and gave CD&Ts to anyone showing signs of an udder.  There are several who appear to be gearing up and I am looking forward to seeing what they have this time.

Different ages from the same mom - one Boomer's and one Ace's.
I'm really able to see the differences in the kids sired by Boomer and Ace now that I've seen what several does produce with each.  Boomer adds length but not height.  His does have nice udders, and they have remarkably good feet, as in never having to trim but always look perfect feet on a couple of his does.  Ace, on the other hand, adds height, bone, and bulk.  Even his doelings are little body builders.  He also adds a tremendous amount of hair.  I don't know if this is really a desirable trait or not, but in the winter, I don't worry about the Ace doelings being cold.

Mudbug, an Ace doeling sporting the Ace body and hair.

The white one is bagging up, but I'm not sure the biped is still bred.
Right now, the odds are on this white doe to be the first to kid.  She is one of the does Chuck bought at Cream of the Crop, and she was confirmed carrying twins by ultrasound.  I'm not sure if the brown and white doe standing against the fence (she stands a lot) was ultrasounded, but she sold as exposed/bred, although I'm not thinking she still is.  Oh well.  It happens.  Since this white doe is new, we know nothing about how she does with kids, but she is at least still in the small quarantine pen.  This is a doe I wouldn't mind getting a buck from, although I usually want does.  She is a Raiz-N-Kane daughter bred to Cherokee Fiddler, a Loverboy son, so her kids will be very heavily Loverboy.  This could produce a nice buck to use in the future, but only time will tell.  Right now just getting the kids here healthy and in an uncomplicated fashion would suffice.  That may be a tall order if January and February prove to be wet and icy.  Cold, they can handle, but wet and cold is another story.  Here's hoping for a little dry weather! 

Here's also hoping for a wonderful New Year for each and every one of you.  The New Year is really something I have started to appreciate.  It is carte blanche to leave behind anything that wasn't working in order to improve and be our very best.  Life is mighty short.  We might as well really make it count.