Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween Winner!!

Ok, so I'm late as usual.  I was supposed to pick a name this morning.  But life got in the way.

Anyhow, I wanted to say "Thanks" for all the Kitty Haikus, it was great reading them all.  Paul even came up with one, and although he (and Christine) were not entered into the contest, I'd like to share his cat haiku with you:

Cat licking it’s butt
Damn cat get off the counter
Go poop in your box

As you can tell, Paul does not appreciate the cats as much as I do.  

Anways.  What you all came back here today for; the winner of the chocolate kitties!
OMG, I just noticed Evil Kitty in the
background!  Freaky, hugh?!
It's blurry, but the winner is.......

Congrats!  Send me an email with your mailing address to CarolynRenee at centurytel dot net and I'll get the box o' kitty chocolates to you! :)

And, since I couldn't help practically peeing myself after reading Leslie's haiku entry, I'd like to send her a little something in the mail as a Consolation-Cat-Prize.  Send me your mailing address to the email above and I'll dig up something kitty-like to send ya.

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!  See you in November (OMG, I can't believe it's November tomorrow)!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

National Cat Day! ! !

Did you know that today is National Cat Day?!?

And as I'm sure any of you who have read this blog for any amount of time knows darned well that I'm thiiiisssssss close to being one of those crazy cat ladies.  If it weren't for Paul and my reluctance to be served divorce papers, I'd have a thousand cats!   Well, maybe not that many.  But probably more than I should have.

So in celebration of National Cat Day (which I can proudly celebrate because as far as I know, this is not a Federal or even State holiday so no taxpayer funds were stolen from the citizens to promote it) I would like to have a little quick giveaway!

But it's going to cost you something in order to enter.
Some of the Cat-tacular chocolates you - yes YOU ! - could win
from Louisa & Millie's Chocolates!
If you'd like to have some cute little kitty chocolates sent to you by my most favorite chocolate shop in the entire universe, Louisa & Millie's Chocolates, you must post a Haiku about cats in a comment here.


And, just to remind those of you who may have forgotten your third grade Haiku assignment, a Haiku is a short Japanese poem with the following parameters:

Three lines of verse, the first having five syllables, the second having seven syllables, and the last having five again.  For example:

Crazy cat lady
Cat hair all over your pants
You get no respect

I will have one of my personal feline companions pick a winner on Halloween morning and announce it sometime that day.  US residents only.  No immediate family (sorry Christine, go get your own darn chocolate).

Good luck!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Taste of Fall

Fall is most definitely here.  Hot, instead of iced tea in the mornings, oatmeal instead of cereal for breakfast.  Crocs and t-shirts are replaced with boots and a flannel shirt for morning barn chores.

Fall here at Krazo Acres has my eyes, ears, nose and taste buds becoming accustomed to different Autumnal occurrences than what I grew up with back in Illinois.

Up "north", there was a very heavy leaf smell when the trees started dropping leaves, but I only occasionally smelled that here.  Come to find out, that leaf smell was from cottonwood trees and we don't have a single one (that I am aware of) on the property.  There was also that "frozen" smell....and that smell doesn't start here until sometime in late winter.  Here, Fall smells like wood burning stoves and the occasional waft of buck goat piss (I didn't say they were all good smells).
I smell stinky.....Oh so stinky!
Up "north", hearing geese calling all year was nothing new as the Canada Goose population basically stayed (and crapped) throughout the year.  But here, the occasional honking of high-flying geese signifies much shortened daylight and crisp mornings.

The fall leaf colors back home were much more spectacular than here, but the dogwoods, hickory sassafras and sumac add just enough color to make it pretty.
Dogwood spared by the bulldozer.
I don't remember there being a "taste" of Fall back in Illinois, with the exception of EVERYTHING being Pumpkin-Flavored for a solid month, sometimes two months until Thanksgiving.  But here, my new Fall Flavor is Persimmon:

When I bite into a squishy-sweet-spicy Persimmon, my entire being radiates "Autumn".  And since moving here, Fall hasn't officially started until I taste one.  Or thirty.
Some almost-ready persimmons.  For goodness sakes, don't ever
eat a persimmon that isn't totally ripe (i.e. squishy)!  Best bet is to
get the ones that have already fallen to the ground, usually after
a cold snap or freeze.
We probably have two dozen young persimmon trees here on the homestead, and I'm trying to keep Paul from bulldozing them and the animals from destroying them.  For some reason there seems to be a lot of small, dead persimmon trees and the live ones are not more than 4" in diameter.  I'm not sure if the forest is just too dense for them to grow bigger or if there's some weird disease that is striking them (and the sassafras now that I think about it).

I've been harvesting a bunch of seeds (i.e. eating a lot of persimmons) to build up my seed stock for the Seed Swap, and wanted to remind you all of the tab on the top of the homepage.  I'm still collecting some wild seeds, so if you're waiting for your little package of seeds (yes, I'm talking to you Kelly....sorry!!!) I didn't forget about you, really I didn't!  I've got envelopes with names on them, ready to send out once I get all my seeds harvested.

But in the meantime, I think that I should go find me some more persimmons on the ground to eat, I mean, collect seed.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Silence of the Goats

A few weeks ago the lock on the feed room door was compromised (or more likely, not secured by yours truly) and the goats had a grain-orgy.

The dairy gals didn't suffer much as they are used to getting a good amount of grain twice a day, but the Boer gals, Lily and Pickles, got themselves quite an upset stomach.  Neither ended up with bloat, but both had pretty bad diarrhea for a few days.  I withheld grain from them - actually neither of them even wanted to look at grain - and put out a bunch more really good hay to encourage their guts to work on roughage.

Lily cleared up in three days, but Pickles still had the runs bad and she wasn't eating.  Like anything.   And I didn't hear so much as a single peep out of her, which is very, very abnormal.  She was walking around, but not enthusiastically.  She was drinking.  She was peeing, but not pooping much of anything other than a little glop plop once in a while.  I even walked her around the property, offering her just about anything she would normally go crazy over.  A small nibble here, a small nibble there.  And she wasn't chewing her cud because there was no cud to chew.  I'm thinking that Pickles was the one that got into the Chick Starter and that's why she was suffering so much more.

The day after the break-in, I gave the irregularly pooping goats some Probios.  Nettie got one dose, Lily got two doses and Pickles got five days of it.  But Pickles didn't seem to get any better.  I was really getting worried and had to consider taking her into the vet.  Unfortunately, there is only one vet around here that "kinda" takes care of goats.  Not sure why, because it seems that our area has a decent population of meat goats, but maybe us goat keepers are a cheap bunch and tend to only see a vet when we've run out of options.

I did some online research and a light bulb came on in my brain.  A few years ago, Nettie got into something and got bloat.  Besides drenching her with a baking soda / vegetable oil, giving her a dose of Probios and walking her around, I also gave her a couple shots of Vitamin B Complex.  Vitamin B will help a goat that is off it's feed or not eating.  It is a vitamin that will be severely lacking if the goat's stomach / rumen isn't getting enough quality hay or if upset from eating too much of something "bad".

I went to my local feed store to see if I could get an oral version of B Vitamins & one of the ladies there that raises Boer goats suggested a Micro B-12 5X treatment.  I also bought another tube of Vitamin B Complex to have on hand.  When I got back home, I noticed Pickles just mouthing some of the new "good" hay, but only actually eating a few leaves at a time, and still no sign of her chewing cud.  I gave her the entire 6ml dose.  And I swear, within a half hour she was eating hay.  Not like "OMG, I gotta have some hay right NOW", but taking mouthfuls and chewing, then taking another mouthful and another.  I don't know if it was actually the Micro B-12 5X that did it, maybe she was just ready to eat again.  But I can't help but give the B-12 some credit.

Pickles is continuing to eat hay like normal:
What?  Never seen a goat eat hay before?
Take a picture it will last longer.  Sheesh!
And started pooping like normal:
Up close & personal Action Shot!
Finally, some normal looking goat poop.
Tuesday was the first day she actually seemed interested in her grain.  Yesterday, she yelled for her bowl of grain come feeding time.

And this morning, she was yelling again.  Just because.

Well, it was quiet around here while it lasted.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

One of these things is not like the others

One of these things just doesn't belong.....

Can you tell which thing is not like the others 
By the time I finish my song? 

Pretty snazzy red comb there for a pullet, wouldn't you say?
It appears that our order of twenty Rhode Island Red pullets turned out to be nineteen pullets and one rooster. And boy, am I mad!  We had gone into the feed store, specifically requested all females, paid more for them, took them home, cared for them for the past two months and now I find out that there's a stinking rooster in the bunch!  Now I'm going to be short one hen for my four teams of all-hen basketball!  All that money I spent on those pink, teeny-tiny matching uniforms for the gals totally wasted!!

But seriously, I'm not really that upset.  I can handle a 5% error rate on the sexing of day old chicks.  And then if I do decide to hatch out some eggs next year, I'll have purebred RIR's.

And if he turns out to be a pecker-head we'll plop his butt in the soup pot.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Trader of Goats

This weekend was spent finishing up a temporary (yet sturdy) goat pen, picking up two goats from a local farm, receiving one "rental" buck goat at our farm, trading one of the previously picked up goats for the stud service, breeding one of our does to the rental goat and receiving another doe that we had sold last year.

Your head spinning?  Mine still is.

The New, New Goat (as opposed to our not-so-new goat named, unoriginally, New Goat) had been with her doeling up until the day I traded her.  In anticipation of trading the doeling, I locked the kid up in the barn pen until the family who was taking her (and dropping off the rental stud) got to the house.  There was a lot of goat yelling.  And after the goat swapping had occurred and the family made their way home, you could hear the bleating of the little doeling all the way up to the highway.

I also trimmed the hooves of the new new goat, administered meds to both her and Pickles (more on that later) and started training the new new goat to the milk stand.  She's a little bit kicky, but seeing as I don't think she's ever been milked, she did pretty well.

The new new goat on the left, (not so) New Goat on the right.

Olivia was sold to a friend last spring.  She decided that goat keeping was not in her best interest so she said I could have her back if I wanted her.  She had already started drying Olivia up, so I'll just stop milking her and have her bred to the rental buck.

Welcome back to the herd, Olivia!  
She is Annette's kid from Spring 2012.

Merv the Perv (yes, that's his name), our Rent-a-Buck.
The buck we're renting is named Merv and he has already serviced New Goat.  Very enthusiastically, at that.  I don't know if it's Nigerian Dwarf bucks in general, but he and our previous Nigerian buck, Pan, seem to be overachievers when it came to breeding the ladies.  Technically, I've only seen one Saanen buck, one Nubian buck, one Boer buck and two Nigerian bucks doing their thing, but the Nigerians seem to take the cake when it comes to receptiveness and willingness during breeding.  Wonder if they're trying to make up for their small, uhm, stature.

Anyhow, we're still going to keep Merv around for another two weeks to make sure the breeding took.  He's a pretty nice guy, but I'm still going to use a long stick to scratch him.  I forgot how much Nigerians stink.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Yeah, I'm a little late

But in my defense, I did say that I'd announce the winner after barn chores on Saturday.  And barn chores seemed to last alllllll day yesterday.  More on that tomorrow.  But in the meantime, Miss Kitty says the winner of the book is......

Strange, I know.
Number Eleven!  My official name picker-outer is spending the night at grandma's house, so I had to use one of those random number generators from the web.  Not nearly as fun as having a kid pick a name out of the hat, but just as effective I suppose.

Now hold on so I can go back to the original giveaway post and see who number eleven is.

It's Chipmunk!

Yippee for Chipmunk!!  Please email me at CarolynRenee at centurytel dot net with your mailing address and I'll get the book in the mail to you this week.

See the rest of you tomorrow :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

This ain't a normal giveaway

About a year ago (my, how time goes by) I was the lucky recipient of a book from Susan over at e-i-e-i-omg!  She held a giveaway for Joel Salatin's book, "Folks, this ain't normal" and yours truly was the winner.

I finished the book in like three days.  And I think I even read it again.  Then I took it with me to my dentist appointment and let the girls there borrow the book with the only condition that they would pass it on to someone else, and have that someone pass it on to someone else, etc., etc., etc....

My last dentist appointment found the book back in my hands after being read by at least two people.  Not as many as I had hoped, but what the heck was I expecting?  Most people go into the dentist's office with only one thing on their mind; getting out of there as quickly as possible.  I don't know too many people who sit down to have their teeth drilled and dream about happy chickens and pasture raised rabbits, let alone want to read about them.  Anyways.  Where was I?

Oh, the book.

Mama Pea over at A Home Grown Journal just recently had a giveaway for a cookbook (that I didn't win, BTW.  And I was soooo looking forward to getting my hands on that chocolate scone recipe) and Susan just today posted a giveaway on her blog.  If you're a knitting kind of gal, hurry up and go over there and see what she's got!  Oh, how I wish I knew how to knit.  Or even crochet more than a single and double crochet.  If you can knit socks, I totally admire you.  Really.  I swoon over anyone that can knit a pair of socks.  How incredibly awesome is it that you can start with a bunch of twisted animal fuzz, some big pointy sticks and end up with warm tootsies?  I mean, have you bought socks lately?  I can't get a pair of good socks from any store around here.  I must have a pile of old, holes-in-the-heel socks in my rag bag that could choke an elephant.  Like, some people want to climb Mt. Everest or run a marathon or swim with sharks....I want to knit a pair of freaking socks.  Maybe even the ones with the zig-zag pattern on the toes or a stripe on top.  Oh wait.  Where was I?

Oh, the giveaways.

Since Mama Pea & Susan have reminded me how much fun giveaways are (and since I haven't had one in forever) I'd like to pass on Joel's book to one of you!

Make a comment on this post saying you'd like to be in the drawing and tell me something nice / funny / sweet about cats (don't you just HATE it when I put that in there?!?) and you'll be entered into the drawing.

My official name-picker-outer will randomly select a name from a hat, cup, bowl or whatever other empty container I can find on Friday night and the winner will be announced on Saturday morning after barn chores.  US residents only, please.  And although the winner is more than welcome to keep the book on their bookshelf for all of eternity, I do hope that you'll pass it on again so others can read about Joel's personal quest to make "Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World".

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Kid in a Candy Store

Ok, here's the obligatory cute kitty picture that comes up on your blog roll:
You should all know by now that if you see a
so-cute-you-can-vomit picture here, that
the next ones are going to be pretty disgusting.
Because I'm sure you wouldn't want to see THIS on the sidebar of your blog for the foreseeable future:
Goat Poop Picture # 1
Poop on the left: not normal & cause for concern.
Poop on the right: pretty much normal.
This one's even worse:
Goat Poop Picture # 2 (gross, even when out of focus)
Definitely not normal and definitely cause for concern.
So, why am I taking up close and personal pictures of crap, you ask?  We've had family members visiting for the past week and I needed to get out of the house for some "alone" time.  And proclaiming that I was going outside to search for piles of steaming, stinky goat shit seemed to be the only way I could prevent everyone from following me around.

But I didn't post the poo pictures simply for the shock value.  Because honestly, many of my blog readers deal in mass quantities of animal excrement on a daily, if not hourly basis and it really isn't that shocking to you.  This is actually a bit of an informative / educational post on what healthy and not-so-healthy goat poop looks like.  But here's the story that resulted in my search of photographic evidence of the poop.

A few days ago, I went out to do my evening barn chores.  And it was eerily quiet.  Whenever I come outside, Pickles yells.  And when I come outside even remotely close to feeding time, she yells louder.  But there was no yelling that evening.  I open the gate to the goat pen.  Normally there will be a herd of goats crammed up against the fence, waiting to be fed.  But there was no goat herd at the gate that evening.  Then I walk into the barn and find what looks like a scene from the morning after a college frat party.

The door to the feed room / milk parlor was swung wide open.  Which is reason for any livestock owner to utter expletives.

Chop Suey was prone on the milk stanchion, slowly lifted his head and gave me a half dazed look.  Pickles was laying down in the corner of the feed room next to my overturned milking chair.  Lily was underneath the milk stanchion.  Mama Goat and Annette were standing just outside the room, but knew better and exited the area once they saw me.  Normally if I catch any of them doing anything they know they shouldn't be doing (like, say, being in the feed room when one was not supposed to be in the feed room), they would rocket out of there in a flash, fearful of my banshee-like screaming, cussing and broom-swinging.  But apparently their stomachs were so full and they were in such a grain induced coma that they didn't immediately recognize the wrath that was about to descend upon them.

After the goats scattered and the yelling subsided, I went back in to survey the damage.  All three lids from their respective metal feed bins had been popped off, two with visible hoof indentations on them.  Feed was scattered everywhere; it looked as if a bag had actually exploded.   And it was obvious that all three bins were pilfered as you could see the indentation in the heap of grain where a goat had plunged it's gluttonous fat head in to devour as much as possible, as quickly as possible.  The 40 pound bag of chick starter had even been yanked from a lower shelf and munched on as there was a hole chewed through the bottom of the bag.

Needless to say, I did NOT feed the goats that evening.  And I officially started "Bloat Watch".

Feeding and milking were resumed as normal the next morning, but the dairy gals only picked at their grain rations.  The Boer gals and Chop Suey (who only get fed grain once a day as opposed to twice a day like their dairy counterparts) didn't even bother to beg for a morning snack as they are normally prone to doing.  No one had seemed bloaty, although Pickles wasn't as vocal nor as active as usual so I kept an eye on her.

Now, back to the poo pictures.  The first picture shows droppings from two different goats.  The one on the left is from Nettie, the one on the right is from Annette.  Nettie is obviously still getting "rid" of all that grain, whereas Annette either didn't gorp as much as Nettie or has already passed her mass of grain so it seems as if she's pretty much back to normal.  Had I stumbled upon the pile on the left in the goat yard on a "normal" day (i.e. not after a feed room break-in), I would be a little concerned.  But since I knew the reason for the abnormal plop, I wasn't.  However, goat poop picture number two had me concerned.  And it was obvious it came from Pickles as her back end was pretty dirty.

Nettie, Annette and New Goat's diet consist of a fair amount of grain when they are being milked, anywhere from five to seven cups of grain twice a day.  And although they will still run to anyone shaking a bucket of grain, they are nowhere near as desperate for a mouthful of oats and corn as the other goats are.  Pickles and Lily get 2 cups of grain once a day, Chop Suey gets one cup of grain once a day.  I'm assuming that is why Pickles  and Lily went totally gonzo when they found themselves unsupervised in a room filled with munch, yummy, delicious grain.

It's been two & a half days since the Feed Room Break in of 2013 and Pickles & Lily still haven't passed normal poop that I've seen.  I've given both of them two doses of Probios, once each day and they haven't had any grain.  I've also been making sure that the goats have constant access to hay, even going so far as to hand picking the choicest flakes in order to encourage them to get more roughage in their guts.  I also put them out on some green grass hoping that would help a little.  Enough time has passed since the incident so I'm pretty sure we dodged the bloating bullet but I'm still keeping an eye on Pickles & Lily until I see them pooping normally.

I wish they could tell me if it was all worth it.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

One step closer....

Pew-Pew is unknowingly flapping his feet on thin ice.

He's been going after Rhiannon if she backs away or runs from him.  We've been trying to get her to hold her ground, show him up by yelling at him, waving her arms & charging him, but she's not consistent enough.  Paul has said that the goose has charged him before, and claims that Pew-Pew even chases the car into the driveway when he comes home from work.  Paul has also admitted to introducing Pew-Pew to his size twelve boot on occasion.

The goose hasn't charged or bit me as of yet.  But maybe because I'm the one who feeds him and lets him out / puts him back in the pen every day.  Or it could be that I don't take shit from any of my animals.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not an animal abuser.  But I'd be lying if I said I've never drop kicked a mean rooster, pummeled an unruly Nigerian buck goat to the ground, or whacked a biting mini-horse upside the head.

Mean livestock will not be tolerated at Krazo Acres.  Especially since Rhiannon came into our lives.  And I guess one could suggest that it is our own fault for somehow encouraging meanness in our animals by doing something or other, and that we deserve their aggression.  I honestly believe we try to do our best in keeping our critters happy and relatively well behaved.  Not saying that we'll start taking Pew-Pew or any other mean critter to psychological counseling in order to resolve the issues, but we're not purposely teasing or prodding them into aggressive behaviour.

That is the main reason we chose not to bring Pilgrim (click here and here to read more about him) to our homestead, if even for just a few days.  It is also the reason that I sold Pan for two bags of corn, put certain roosters into the soup pot, killed copperheads instead of relocating them (yes, I used to relocate them) and am now considering which grains I will be feeding Pew-Pew in order to make him into a delectable Christmas Goose and side dish of foie gras.

Aaawwww.  So cute.
Too bad, stuff that sucker in the oven.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

All together now

Monday night we hauled Nettie & Annette over to Pilgrim's pad for date night.  Nettie's second round (but actually third time) and a first for Annette.  I had thought we'd just breed Nettie to him, but since Annette came into raging, bawling, tail flagging crazy heat at the same time, we brought them both.

Then on Tuesday, the goat yard was a raging hormone circus.  Nettie was still anxious, although nothing like the day before.  Annette was still tail flagging and grunting pathetically.  New Goat was gooey & tail flagging.  And both Pickles and Lily were tail flagging & yelling.....even though I though we had a good breeding with them last month.

Pickles and Lily I could bring over to Herman that day, but my dairy gals were out of luck.  If it weren't for the fact that I didn't want a Boer breeding my dairy gals, I would have let them in with Herman just to shut them up.  But with all the grunting & moaning coming from Annette, Nettie and New Goat, had I owned any caprine condoms, I would have gladly given them a package and put them in with him. Wonder if there's a market for such a product?

I've never had a doe that we had bred go back into heat.  And this year Nettie, Pickles and Lily came back into heat.  It isn't that much of a hassle to have the Boer does bred (Pickles & Lily) as we have Herman, a Boer buck, on premises.  But having to haul Nettie and Annette to our chosen buck was more than a chore for the buck's owners.  Especially when we had to do it three times.

We actually even had yet another buck come visiting just last week.  I thought that Annette and New Goat were in heat last week.  All the typical signs.  So Paul went after work to pick up a teeny-tiny Nigerian Dwarf buck from another friend.  And Deuce (short...and I mean short, for Deuce Bigalow) wanted nothing to do with Annette or New Goat.  But was ga-ga over Nettie.  He stayed here for an entire 24 hours and went home without any new names in his little black book.

I was able to get some good goat breeding action out of the Boers yesterday though.  Pickles & Lily were more than willing to be led into Herman's pen and Herman was more than willing to welcome them in.  And then the strangest thing happened.  After Herman gave that final "heave-ho" to the does, he completely fell over on the ground.  I though he had a heart attack or something.  The first time he did it, he just lay there with his head up, winky in the hay/dirt, still sniffing the air.  I seriously thought he broke something (and had an overwhelming urge to give him a wet-wipe to clean up his junk).  I took the girls out of the pen and clipped them out to eat some grass.  He got up after several minutes, started peeing on himself again and after a while I took the does back in and both Pickles and Lily got two more good hits.  And each time he fell over.  I guess it was just that good.  I would have gone into the house to get him a cigarette, but we don't smoke.

Hopefully this last round of breedings took.  Or, maybe the other times were successful and the does just wanted some more action?  I don't know. So now my normally precise and spot-on breeding calendar looks something like this:

2014 Kidding Dates
Pickles & Lily
January 30th OR March 1st ?

February 24-25th OR February 30th ?

February 30th ?

New Goat
Not bred yet

That's a lot of question marks.  And I still have to find New Goat a boyfriend....a small statured one because I don't think she's large enough for a standard breed.  Not sure Duece Bigalow is coming back or not.  Size-wise, he's fine, but not sure if he's "up" to it.  We'll see.  By far, this has been the most difficult breeding season we've had.  Potentially unsuccessful breedings, unknown kidding dates, three different bucks, one of them rather unruly, and having to haul the does to another farm.

I almost miss Pan.  Almost.

P.S. - I promise, the goat sex stories will be over as soon.  I kind'a feel like a six year old telling fart jokes whenever I bring up my livestock breeding forays.  Except I'm pushing forty.  And I'm not laughing.