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Monday, August 16, 2010

30 days and counting...

And we're still going...30 days of rain showers non-stop. I used the tractor and put fresh sand in the sheep paddock, they are very appreciative of the drainage too! No more standing on any wet manure or dirt. I hope this ends soon tho........

Friday, August 13, 2010

We broke the record!

Oh just lovely! We broke an all-time record here -
27 days in a row that there has been measurable precipitation.

Yeah, it's rained 27 days in a row.


Highs in the upper 50's low 60's, low's in the lower50's and upper 40's.

Gee, isn't that exciting................ not..................HA!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Puppy pics of Anna's litter!

Puppy pics I took today! They were born starting Friday night, August 6th, 2010.
Below, the 2 girls - plain face top, eye spots below.

3 boys below - 2 are red with half masks! The blue is plain faced.

And here is the whole crew, all 5 taking a snooze!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ahhh, another day another thought...

It's good to have some time to think. Sometimes when you run a farm, and things go upside down, you don't have time to think - you just 'do'.

I get time to think when I milk my goats. It's a very special time, one that is all my own to spend with the girls and enjoy them. Why would anyone scream and yell and yank on dairy goats (except for when one kicks the bucket over, then of course there's a few minutes of choice words to be shared)? What good does it do? Why bother to own them and milk them if that's the norm in your barn?

Life is short, we have to enjoy the moments when we get them. My moments come during barn time. To that end, I decided that more than 10 years of a crappy radio with a tinnie sound was going to finally be retired. I bought a nice radio. With a big Sub Woofer. And big side speakers. An iPod dock. A CD player. And no one to tell me TURN IT DOWN!

I put it together and set it up where I could use the REMOTE (oh yes! It has a REMOTE! WOW!) from where I sit milking. I turned that puppy up full blast. The goats ran to their corners, and I walked around and told them it was OK. Then I started dancing in the barn aisle. They ran to their corners, sure their mom had gone daft. I called to them and told them they were fine. Flower looked at me with her head cocked sideways...she must have seen Carol dance in the milk room when she used to live with her! Eventually the girls all did their own little dances in the stalls, finally relieved that all was well, mom was just happy, and they too could enjoy themselves.

My thought today is that although things get a little wild and weird now and then, and sometimes downright depressing, we have to take the good moments when we can and truly appreciate them. I hope you had a good moment today too.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The puppies...

The puppies are doing very well as is momma Anna. We still have the little one that is hanging on, but she is so very small compared to the others and she was the one stuck in the birth canal a long time, so I am guarded as to her potential survival. This line is my best herding/working line, also incredible in structure and movement. That said, the girls always take their time having their puppies. Anna is my 3rd generation since 1997, so I know the line well! Never a problem with contractions, just how LONG they take to have their puppies. Anna has had one litter before -in November of 2006, a long time ago in dog years! In her first litter she had 10 puppies.....over a 24 hour period! UGH! Her mother's sister once had a litter of 3 puppies.....then TWO days later delivered the last 2 in the litter!

This time Anna took her time and drove me nuts. The first 2 puppies delivered within 1 hour of each other, but BOTH were feet-first breech births. Those are VERY hard presentations for the mom! Both were boys, born at 9 and 10 pm Friday night. Then nothing........she slept, cared for her 2 boys, slept more. I stayed up with her all night of course and got no sleep. At 4am she delivered a puppy with a disconnected umbilical, so probably got caught up with other puppies in there. Sadly, the little girl was DOA. I was so dismayed, and began to get worried. But, at 6am, contractions began again and a healthy screaming boy was born without incident!

Since Rick was home and is GREAT with birthing animals, and Anna was once again resting, I decided to take the girls to the last big dog show of the year only 30 minutes away as planned. I kept my cell phone on me, rushed to the show grounds, ran into the show ring, ran back out and drove home. I was gone for maybe an hour and a half! I kept in touch with Rick and Anna was still just resting and feeding her babies. So I unloaded the girls, changed clothes, and sat with Anna. By 1pm I was not only tired but telling Anna I was getting tired of waiting and starting to worry if the other 3 in there were alive. I now always take a pregnant mom in for an x-ray before birthing due date - it will help you make informed decisions! And worth every penny as these puppies are precious lives! I called the vet, told the details, and said I wanted to come in and check the heartbeats on the remaining 3. The ultrasound showed 3 heartbeats - 2 very strong and 1 a little weak as it was sitting in the birthing canal........not a good place to be waiting. We decided on going for the c-section, and I'm glad we did. 3 girls were waiting in there. The one in the birth canal was the very tiny girl - all the others weighed 350 - 400 grams but this girl was a tiny 250 grams. No wonder Anna was 'stalled' - it was so tiny it didn't stimulate the birth canal hardly at all!

She's a tiny girl and it took a very long time to revive her. Because of this, she may also not be a 100% baby either. Not all babies are perfect, and we are wrong to assume all will be! It's impossible to know at this time if she had any oxygen deprivation or if she was ever meant to be in the first place. She is often on her side as the others crawl on their bellies to eat, so it's possible she wasn't meant to be with us long. I am making sure she gets plenty to eat. So only time will tell. I hope she's going to make it, but I am not God nor do I play Him on any television shows. Only He knows if she is a temporary gift!

So you could say this weekend, along with the "Ram Lamb Affair", was a very loooooooooooong weekend! By yesterday I was exhausted with little sleep for days, but this is the life I chose and I am happiest here with my animals. There will be time later to catch up on sleep. I'll take photos of the new kids when I'm sure we've made it over the hump. They are all white teddy bears right now anyways, since ACD puppies are born white then color in weeks later. Off to check on the little one.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What a week!

Well, if you're on the Shetland list, you know all about that! UGH! If not, go take a look at my post there. UGH UGH UGH.....

Today the sheep pen got a cleaning. We have been under siege with rains since the middle of June, in a place that only gets 32 inches of precip a year. 2 months straight, it's rained, showed, the sun peaks out, goes away, and rains again. Not even 3 dry days to cut and bale hay SINCE EARLY JUNE! My poor sheep have had 3 'hills' and one dry shed to go into, but they are muddy. All of them. We have been battling the rains with our soils that don't soak in rain here, it just runs off downhill. We're on Glacial Moraine, lots of the state is, and why there are so many tiny lakes too......the ground doesn't soak up much water. So my sheep pen is no different. THANKFULLY Rick decided to bring down some old trees with the big excavator, and I talked him into removing the overburden in the sheep pen down to the sand I had trucked in for them in years past. So I just let them out and they are running in the sand and feeding at their round bale, quite happy. I don't expect them to be any less muddy, well, ok, maybe a LITTLE less, but they will be happier. And now the hayfields and pastures are full of mushrooms - good and bad mushrooms. So no pasture for the sheep! At least we can walk around the herding arena and PICK all those mushrooms and get them out of there......sigh...and no change in the forecast either. Rain and mud until freeze up ........I hope not, but it isn't looking good! Pray that we get a week's break later this month to bale hay, there's a huge shortage of it here locally since very few fields ever could get baled.

Went to the dog shows this weekend, and my blue girl Mimi took 2 3-point majors so she did well! And Roisin took the Reserves, good girl.

And Anna had her litter of puppies - 3 boys and 3 girls - starting Friday evening into yesterday. Momma and babies are all doing fine so far! But I'm pooped having stayed up all Friday night with her...phew!