We've got some magic happening in the land of the birds this summer. My 4yo red Ameracauna has been a great broody hen over the years. I'm beyond thrilled to see her back in her element this year... mothering 4 guinea keets that I got from Margie and Tina. The interesting part is that 3 years ago this hen hatched a nest of 14 guinea eggs and raised them as well. She must have liked being a guinea mama to adopt this batch of adolescents, who were already being fathered by our resident guinea cock. He hadn't any of his own species here for quite awhile... it was really fun to see him take charge of these guys. And now that the hen has stepped in, they are quite the inseparable family. On a separate but related note, here is one of my older dark cornish hens who has adopted our Freedom Ranger meat chicks of various ages. Fun.
Hunting * Fishing * Trapping * Gardening * Gathering Wild Edibles * Raising Livestock * Building by Hand * Homeschooling * Flying * Backpacking * Dog Mushing * Cheesemaking * Rock Hounding * Backcountry Living * And Other Old Timey Stuff
Ahhh... this morning we woke up to the sweet pitter patter of spring rain on the roof. I was surprised to go out and find that the rain barrels were already filled and overflowing. The cool wetness made for a lazy start to the day, and when I finally got outside to feed the big goats in preparation for milking I found that Guava was dripping mucus.
She was getting ready to give birth. In fact her water broke while I was scraping the barn floor. So I stepped up the morning events and called my Mom to come up and help. I plopped Miekka into the Bumbo seat in the milkhouse and started gathering goats. In between every goat or two, I'd dutifully check on Guava, but progress was slow.
Halfway through milking, my Mom arrived and took over kidcare while I finished up. I was surprised that Guava didn't finish before I did. Finally, after much watching and waiting, some feet poked out... hind feet they were- I could tell because they were upside down. She'd push the feet out almost up to the hocks, and then after awhile they'd slip back in again.
Guava's sister (Mango and her yearling daughter (Ava) never left her side. The daddy buck (Sasquatch) was there for the whole thing as 0well. Taslyn and I made alot of trips out to check on her, but not much was happening. Contractions seemed to be a long ways apart and not that productive.
After a couple hours of it, I gave a tentative tug on the feet. She was in there pretty snug. A few more tugs while Guava was pushing and the baby started to move. Guava seemed appreciative of the assistance and worked with me. And before we knew it, a baby was on the ground.
Since she came breech- and very quickly at the end, she didn't get squeezed enough and had mucus in her airway. Massage, positioning and homeopathics got her the help she needed to pull through. And 5 hours later she is nursing like a champ, with a dearly attentive mama. All's well on the mountain...welcome Rainy!
I stepped out onto the back doorstep this morning without noticing anything out of place. After getting the baby goats some alfalfa hay and goatmilk for breakfast, I returned to the cabin and found this surprise waiting for me.
I scooped it up and brought it inside for closer examination. I knew immediately what it was... a gift from our farmcat Taiga2. Each bead on the string of 7 is the size of a kidney bean. Of course, I had to open one up to satisfy my curiosity.
So here's a closeup of a tiny vole fetus... love this stuff!
After a one year hiatus (sorry I didn't warn you ahead of time), I've returned to log our farm adventures to the world. Life on the mountain is very very similar to where we left off last May... except for one.remarkable.addition.
Our family has been blessed with a sweet and happy baby girl who will be three months old on Wednesday. Three months already! Welcome Miekka Kluane...
I consciously chose to reserve all my creative energy for growing this child. And now that we are approaching the end of our fourth trimester together, I'm really pleased with that choice. No regrets at all.
Otherwise, I can honestly say that not much has changed. I'm still milking a zillion goats a day and the chickens are out everywhere. Ben is gone hunting, and my Mom is here to help everyday. Interns continue to come and go.
Even though we had a tremendous snow year, it somehow didn't set back our growing season. The first violets have just bloomed on the mountainside, rhubarb is up and the greenhouse is warm. Life is good.
Now I'm looking forward to wonder what the next year will bring for our family. Change is in the air... but which way the wind blows us remains to be seen. Stay tuned!
Well, we've made it through another inbetween season. This one was pretty rough, with more mud than I can ever remember. Add to that the fact that I have more than twice as many goats as last spring and probably 5x the shareholders/responsibilities... and let's just say it's been fairly exhausting.
But we made it! Yesterday I got the pump installed at the pond and sent a glorious 250 gallons up the mountain. Today I expect to fill the 500 gallon goat tank. Not having to haul endless loads of water frees up time and energy to do other things- like build some large new raised beds with the winters poopy bedding. Yippee!
Honestly, I don't know how I would have gotten everything done this year without lots of volunteer help. My Mom has come up almost everyday to fill the cracks, and I've had several visitors from across Alaska who've donated hard labor to keep me caught up. Thank you Universe!
So far we've had 31 kids born, with just one more doe to go. Frannie's due date is in 5 days... and then we'll be done kidding until fall time. It's been quite the season. I've kept most of the girls for now, and sold most of the boys- at this moment I have 20 kids in the yard. Actually, there are 15 in the yard, and 5 in the house.
The weaning pen is almost ready- I need to pull the biggest 5 kids off the milk bucket, move the smallest 5 kids outdoors, and remove about 7 from their mamas. And we're headed into the large milk surplus time, so I've got to get things ready for a piglet... maybe two piglets. Whew.
We've had some excitement and some sadness this spring. Three sets of triplets, all from my most senior does. Farlight had two boys and girl with no complications. Guava had two boys and a girl, but I almost lost her to hemorrhage. She's nursing her 2 week old kids now, with plenty of milk surplus and is doing great. Finally, Iris had 3 girls! But she went downhill quickly, and I was unable to save her. She kept pushing after the birth and completely exhausted herself. She gave me 4 beautiful doelings and a stunning buckling in the 14 months she spent here. Maybe she'll come back as a butterfly.
And this is what it's all about. You work hard, bring lots of babies into this world, do your best to help them live healthy and productive lives, and then you lay them to rest. I'm not sure why as humans we live so much longer than our family of animals, but c'est la vie.
Summer is a busy time on the farm. I guess I better wrap things up here and get back to work. Peace.