Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thank You to YOU!

We have been writing and journaling this blog since May. We have enjoyed chronicling our spring and summer with you; sharing our successes and challenges. Our intent was to invite you into our lives, to meet our family and the animals we care for, who may also provide eggs, cheese, or soap for you.

How could we guage the success of that? One measure was based on the number of visitors to our site. Our goal has been to breach the 2,000 visitor mark in one month. It is with much joy that we have reached that goal this month (October) thanks to the 2,366 virtual visitors to our farm-representing more than 15 countries from Russia to Greece, the Philippines to Malaysia and, of course, dear friends, family, and customers here at home. Thank you all for your interest, your encouraging comments, and your helpful suggestions. Now that we have reached that goal, it is time to set another. Our new hope is to entertain 3,000 visitors in a single month. It is a lofty dream, and one that will take some time to achieve, but worth it.

Another marker is the number of "members" who read this site regularly. We have grown to 32 members- (You are welcome to join this site for free HERE.) What a wonderful beginning! We hope to increase our readership to at least 50 members. If you haven't joined our "regular readers" yet, but you visit us often, what are you waiting for??? We would love to have your company on our journey.

Again, we thank each of you who take the time to check in with us from time to time. Your visits encourage us when the rains come, the llamas rebel, or we lose a chick. Sharing the wonderful births of new fluffy chicks and ducklings and sweet baby kids, exchanging recipes for soap, salsa, and canning goods and sharing a bounty of eggs and produce with you brings us unequaled joy.

Photo Taken By: Beth Rhodes 2009

Thanks for visiting tonight. We hope you'll stop back in soon. ♥

The Twombly Family of Lally Broch Farm

Also shared at: Glued to My Crafts, Social Stack Up Blog Hop.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Look Through My Eyes

Before the rains and storm arrived, Sean and I spent some time with our herd. Hand feeding treats always ensures us a warm and enthusiastic reception. Thursday, we offered raw broccoli, fresh kale and pine boughs Sean clipped. The broccoli and kale were well received. The pine tree branches... not so much. Maybe in time?

Ellie is making slow, but steady progress back to health. We hope that she returns to her full glory. She is a good goat. They all are- in their own ways- even horrible Jedi. I would not want to imagine a life without them. I still love our dogs. And, I am fond of our chickens and geese. But, our goats hold a special place in my heart.

I was finally able to edit the footage from our Thursday afternoon visit. It is not always easy to clip and splice 10 minutes of video to fit 4 minutes of song. As I was sorting through it all, I could not help, but think about how much I love this life. Warm and tender feelings spread through my chest, squeezing my heart tight in their wake. How can I express how thankful I feel- to have found a husband who shares my love of our God, the calling interred in my bones to work hard caring for animals and building together the life we want to live, and finds joy in the journey. Our children may not always appreciate the work it takes to create the life we want for them, (especially when it comes to mucking stalls!) but I think that in time, they will. And, the skills and lessons they are learning, whether they choose to incorporate our dream into their future or start a new dream of their own, will serve them well.

 I hope you enjoy this "Look Through My Eyes."


Thanks for visiting with us tonight.

Sean and Sonja ♥

Also shared with Tilly's Nest Blog Hop #9, Farm Chick Chit Chat, & Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest & Farm House Style Blog Hop. Check them out! I guarantee you'll find lots of interesting articles, recipes, crafts, and stories. ♥

Monday, October 29, 2012

Barn Building Part 4: Hurricane Sandy Preparation

Hurricane Sandy is due to make her appearance in Maine later this afternoon. By the time she comes this way, we are anticipating winds and rain, but nothing like what the folks in the lower coast are facing. I hope that everyone took precautions to evacuate and stay safe. My prayers have certainly been filled with thoughts for their safety.

Around here, there has been a flurry of activity preparing, just in case. Sean and I spent the day on Saturday building a retaining wall from an 8 inch square wooden beam (gifted to us) a little over 2 feet past where the front wall of the tack room sits. We back-filled a 10 foot square area, 8 inches deep with dirt, rocks, and gravel.
Previous build. Notice 8 inch drop
on front left side of building. Not good.
Fixed corner.
Once this was level, we reinstalled the 2 walls that were previously crooked, nice and level (READ POST HERE) and started putting on the rafter supports for the second story.  Originally we thought we could get away with using 2x4's for this job, but with the combined weight of the hay we'll be storing up there next year and the roof, we are going to need to frame this out with 2x6's instead... and, next Spring, we will. As we have written about in the past, this is a "build-as-we-go" project. For this year, we are proud to complete: framing the entire downstairs of the 20x30 building, sheathing the first floor interior and exterior walls, installing 4 windows, building floating wood floors, and securing a flat plywood roof covered with tarp.

Come Spring, we'll focus on removing the temporary 2x4's and replacing them with 2x6's, rescrewing the plywood flooring, framing the second story and roofing and sheathing this. The goal is to have the barn exterior complete by next winter. We spent $110 on a dump truck of dirt/gravel and nearly another $100 on 2x4's. These expenses bring the current total cost for the project (out of pocket) to $799 for materials, well over our original hope of keeping it within $750. READ POST HERE -Silly Us!

By Saturday evening, we had the walls back in place and secure. Much better!


Sunday, we all spent time, digging out the horse stall and refilling it with a new bed of 8 inches of soft dirt. Caitlin and I shoveled dirt into buckets, Sean and Justin dumped the buckets into the stall, and Kristen and Meaghan sifted out any large rocks that had the potential to get caught in Jasmine's hooves. I love all working together and fixing a problem in less than an hour that took all Summer to create. What happened was Jasmine's 10x10 stall already had a slight dip to the ground. Over the Summer as it rained, water would pool in the depression, causing a horrible mess. The more we mucked the stall, the more dirt was removed because it was muddy and nasty, which then made the problem worse with each new rain storm. No good! It rained last night and the new floor held up beautifully; no puddle, no mess. The real test will be what the floor looks like after Hurricane Sandy passes.
By Monday morning, the roofing supports had been secured and a blue tarp screwed into place to help keep the stalls dry. Sean and I are planning a "Stay-cation" the week of November 12th. Rain or shine, this building will be as ready as it is going to be before winter comes. Still lots left to do, but we are really pleased with the dent we have made in finishing it.

And, what were the goats up to while all this was going on? See for yourselves:

Eating, of course!

Thanks for visiting today.
Sean & Sonja ♥

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Buster Brown

Buster is not stupid. What is a dog to do when the weather turns from 70 degrees to 50 degrees? Grab a blanket off the couch, find a warm patch of sun, and settle in. He looks rather satisfied with his clever arrangement of things, doesn't he?

Sonja ♥

P.S. We have been workng on the barn over the weekend and got quite a lot done on it. So much that while I took pictures and video, posting about it was beyond the strength left in me. We also spent some time playing with the goats in the back yard. I will try to write and post about these later tonight. Stay tuned. :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Today In Pictures

Sean and I snapped some photographs of the chickens and goats this afternoon at snack time. We generally feed and water the animals all in the morning. Around noon, Sean or I bring the goats more hay and check the water containers. In the early evening, we bring fruits, veggies, or other treats and refill any water containers that need it. My favorite time of the day is spending that time with each other and checking everyone over. Because we rarely come empty handed (and like our daughters after school, they ALWAYS think they are starving), we are always greeted like a favored member of the family missing for years. This afternoon's treats included 2 small 8 inch pumpkins and 5 pounds of broccoli flowerettes and stems.

The latest chicks joined the flock today.
Sebastian and his pumpkin.

Sitting was not going to work!

Ruby, Sapphira, and Pepper prefer their hay to pumpkin.

Ellie was too happy to have the pumpkin left all to herself.

Everyone was interested in trying their broccoli,
but Ellie remembered what this was and ate hers with
a voracious appetite.
Thanks for visiting today!
Sean and Sonja ♥

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Finally, Sunny Day...

On Saturday evening, the weather finally broke from the torrential rain storms we'd been having and rewarded our patience with the first of several 60-65 degree days. (I had been seriously considering remodeling the barn we've been building into an ark.) No one was as relieved as we were when the rain stopped save, perhaps, the farm animals who don't particularly enjoy swimming night and day. The only ones happy in the non-stop rain were the ducks and geese, who seemed confused by everyone else's distaste and increasingly bitter moods.

The break in weather, coupled with Ellie's steady improvements, meant it was time for Miss Ellie to return to her home and herd. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one side, I do not appreciate the overall aux-de-goat fragrance wafting from my basement. On the other side, having Ellie close made checking on her frequently and monitoring her health convenient. Sean and I had agreed, though, that it was time for Ellie to rejoin her herd.

Before moving her back, Sean and I gave both goat stalls in the barn a thorough cleaning. A week of heavy rains had done nothing to help the cleanliness of the stalls- these were smeared with soggy shavings and bedding- and amplified the muddy state of their fields- yuck! We took time to inspect the rest of the herd for any signs of illness. We piled an extra bale of hay into the does' feeders. And, we gave both Abigail and Asher 1 ML injections of Ivomec, since they were due for one.

While Sean and I were contending with the cleaning of the stall, Miss Meaghan very helpfully played with the does in the front yard for a couple of hours. The girls enjoyed eating the Mums planted on the front deck, browsing for stray unpicked peppers, and dandelions with their bitter greens in the grass. They seemed to make a game of wandering off farther than Meaghan liked, causing her to run after them. I couldn't help capture a clip to share with you.

Ellie passed Monday without incident. And, she looked steady today when Caitlin and I spent some time visiting the goats.  In fact, the only goat causing real trouble at the moment is Master Jedi who insists on escaping his stall and spending time with the girls- against our wishes. Sean returned him to his own stall again at lunch today! He is just too good at being bad! It looks like it is going to be a looooong breeding season!

Thanks for visiting with us today!
Sonja ♥

Friday, October 19, 2012

8 Days Progress (Ellie)

Tonight, when I returned home from work, I was pleased to see Ellie wagging her tail, waiting for me and her afternoon treats. Today I came bearing broccoli and spinach. That she has very much regained most of her strength was borne out by the vehemence with which she tore at the broccoli- nearly ripping it from my hand... and I couldn't be happier. Keep it up, dear Ellie. ♥

She made short order of her treats and was left with only fresh hay with which to console herself.  I love seeing that she is getting back a nicely rounded "hay belly". I want to see her gain more weight- muscle and fat stores- over her haunches and hind legs, though.

Ellie won't be bred this year. We had planned on resting her before this trouble began.
But, with THESE being produced at regular intervals, it is (thankfully!) only a short time before Ellie will rejoin her herd in the barn. And, I am getting more confident each day that she will enjoy a full recovery.
Thanks for visiting tonight.
Sonja ♥

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Broccoli, Spinach, and Cabbage...

Ellie greeted me this afternoon when I returned home from work with anticipation. I would love to believe that she missed my company, but I suspect she was more interested in what treats I would come home bearing.

Today it was 2 stalks and heads of raw broccoli and about 2 cups of fresh spinach. Since, I know that she was deathly anemic just a week ago, I am still trying my best to find and offer foods high in iron to help her get her red blood cells up. I discovered that broccoli, like kale is wonderfully rich in vitamins and minerals. Each bunch carries a whopping 3788 mcg Vitamin A, 542 mg Vitamin C, 618 mcg Vitamin K, 286 mg Calcium, 128 mg Magnesium, 1921 mg Potassium, 4.4 mg Iron, and 15.2 mcg Selenium (the highest amount I found so far). Popeye is not the only one who benefits from eating his spinach (though I question it coming from an aluminum can). Spinach has 26627 mcg Vitamin A, 80 mg Vitamin C, 1372 Vitamin K, 281 mg Calcium, 7.7 mg Iron, 224 mg Magnesium, 1585 mg Potassium, and 2.8 mcg Selenium.

I am changing the variety of foods I offer in the hopes that Ellie will not get too much or too little of any one nutrient. For example, I would be a little concerned about Ellie consuming 26,000 mcg Vitamin A daily for weeks. An excess of Vitamin A in humans can cause liver failure. I don't know of the effects of an overdose on animals, but it seems reasonable to conclude that it could cause problems for them, also. Offering Ellie a variety of foods rich in different vitamins and minerals seems a good way to limit the possibility of an inadvertent overdose.

It seems to be working. Ellie is looking so much better. I want to see her gain a little more weight back before she returns to the barn with the rest of her herd, but all signs are looking really, really good. I keep teasing Sean that one afternoon, we will return from work to find Ellie's hopped the gate, made herself a nice snack and settled in front of the XBOX watching some Netflix. If she wasn't so sweet natured, we would worry that all this fuss is spoiling her for life in the barn.

I decided that since Ellie was getting treats, it seemed only fair to give some to the rest of the herd, too. When the chickens saw this, they immediately began peeping for their fair share. I read somewhere yesterday (sorry, whoever posted about this- I tried looking again, but couldn't find the post to give you credit) about hanging cabbage heads in the yard for our chickens. I tried that this afternoon and they went wild pecking at them. I will definitely do that again through these colder months when greens won't be as available in these parts. It was very funny to watch, but I didn't have my camera with me to share it with you. Next time, though.

Thanks for stopping in today!
Sonja ♥

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

She's Up and Walking...

This morning, I am hesitantly stating that Ellie seems to have turned a corner for the good. She greeted me at the gate across the doorway, eager for some food and company. That is right. She stood of her own volition and was waiting for us at 6 am. And, her water bowl was empty. And, she had piles of solid feces strewn all over the hay and shavings covering her floor. Can you read the smile in my voice? Not out of the woods, but definitive signs of progress.

When all else fails, you do the best you can. When the alternative is certain death, you take maybe even drastic measures. I cannot and do not recommend you follow what we did. I cannot possibly know how your sick animal might react; I write this as a record for ourselves to reference- a reminder of what we did, should we ever need it. I know some of this is redundant, but the benefit of having it all written in one place may be beneficial for future usage.

What we have been doing:

Day 1: Visit to Vet (Dr. Emerson)
Fecal Exam for parasite load
Blood Draw: 11 (should be 33)

Medicine Administered:
Bo-Se injectible
Thiamine .7 ML injection
Banamine injection
2 Pepto Bismal Tabs
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Blanket for warmth

Day 2: Home Care
.2 ML Vitamin 12 3000 mcg injection
SMZ 960 Tab
20 CCs Sub-Q Lactated Ringers injected (x2= am & pm)
Thiamine .7 ML injection (x2= am & pm)
3 ML Ivomec Injection Sub-Q
Probiotic Powder in water 5 MG
2 Pepto Bismal Tabs
Electrolyte Solution in water
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Baby Carrots (8 oz)
Mineral Block

Day 3: Home Care
SMZ 960 Tab
20 CCs Sub-Q Lactated Ringers injected (x2= am & pm)
Thiamine .7 ML injection (x2= am & pm)
5 Pepto Bismal Tabs (3 tabs am, 2 tabs, pm)
Electrolyte Solution in water
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Baby Carrots 8 oz (pm)
1 Banana (am)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)

Day 4: Home Care
SMZ 960 Tab
Thiamine .7 ML injection (x2= am & pm)
6 Pepto Bismal Tabs (2 tabs, 3x day)
ProBiotic Powder in water 5 MG
1 quart Pedialyte (Citrus flavor)
Electrolyte Solution in water
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Kale (1/2 fresh bunch from store)
1 Banana (am)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)

Day 5: Home Care
SMZ 960 Tab
4 Pepto Bismal Tabs (2 tabs, am & pm)
ProBiotic Powder in water 5 MG (refused to drink)
1 quart Pedialyte (Citrus flavor)
Electrolyte Solution in water
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Kale (1/2 fresh bunch from store)
Carrots 8 oz
1 Banana (am)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)

Day 6: Home Care
SMZ 960 Tab
1 quart Pedialyte (Citrus flavor)
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Kale (1/2 fresh bunch from store)
Beets w/Greens (2 medium, slivered-pm)
Pumpkin (1/2 of 8 inch, raw without seeds, slivered-pm)
1 Banana (am)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)
1 TBS Peanut Butter (pm)

Day 7: Home Care
2 ML Ivomec injection Sub-Q
1 quart Pedialyte (Citrus flavor)
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
Kale (1/2 fresh bunch from store-pm)
Beets w/Greens (2 medium, slivered-pm)
Pumpkin (1/2 of 8 inch, raw without seeds, slivered-pm)
1 Banana (am)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)
1 TBS Peanut Butter (am & pm)

Day 8: Home Care- Today
Hay (as much as she wanted)
Water (as much as she would drink)
1 Banana (am)
Broccoli (2 stalks and heads pm)
Spinach Greens (2 cups pm)
1 TBS Molasses (x2= am & pm)
1 TBS Peanut Butter (am & pm)

You may have noticed that as the injections and supplements have decreased, the variety of nutrient rich foods have increased. It is our belief that though medicine is necessary and can be life-saving, our bodies were created with an amazing capacity to heal. And, they were designed to obtain the necessary vitamins and minerals, not through injections or pills, but through eating food. We chose these particular foods to supplement Ellie's diet with because of the unique combinations of specific vitamins and/or minerals naturally occurring in each that we believe will help Ellie to heal.
Pedialyte, Water, and Mineral Block
As a browser, goats naturally eat brush; shrubs, leaves and pine needles, flowers and plants. A good quality hay is fed by goat keepers when these are not readily available in the landscape. As with everything, supplying a healthy diet is about all about balance. Neither "too little" nor "too much" is a good thing. It can upset the stomach, disrupt the normal function of a rumen, and cause more difficulties for everyone. With that in mind, I began looking through lists of food known to be safe for goats to consume. Next, I began searching for the nutrition values of these foods at (These are based on our one stomached-human method of consumption, but I reasoned that these charts gave me a good, rough guesstimate). Finally, I compared the nutrition levels with the vitamins and minerals necessary for goats posted on the Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency List HERE. With this information to hand, we developed a menu for Ellie.

Besides keeping fresh hay available for her to eat, one of the first food additions to her diet were baby carrots. There are not many calories or carbs in carrots, but they are full of Vitamin A (2068 mcg of Alpha Carotene, Beta Carotene, Retinol, and Lutein). Goats with Coccidiosis need more Vitamin A because they have reduced intestinal absorption of nutrients. If we want a healthy goat, the ability to absorb vitamins seemed pretty important to me. Besides that, she loved them and readily gobbled them up and at Day 2, getting anything into her for food was high on our list of priorities.

Beginning on Day 3, we offered Ellie a whole banana each morning. We chose this because it is easily digestible and very nutritious. These values are based without the peel, which most humans do not eat, but a medium banana has about 200 calories, 51 g of carbs (6 g fiber and about 28 g sugars), 806 mg of potassium, 2.3 mcg of Selenium, 19.6 mg of Vitamin C, 144 mcg of Vitamin A (56 mcg Alpha Carotene, 58 mcg Beta Carotene, and 49 mcg Lutein) and .6 mg of Iron. She absolutely loved the banana.

We also added a TBS of Molasses. From past experience, we knew she would enjoy eating it. The goal was to eventually add one tablespoon of molasses both morning and evening, but wanted to make sure she would tolerate it. Molasses is a good source of potassium (293 mg), magnesium (48 mg), calcium (41 mg), selenium (3.6 mcg) and iron (.9 mg).

Is that a smile?
We wanted to offer more nutritious leafy, greens. On Day 4, we limited carrots and added Kale to Ellie's diet. Kale is one of the most nutrient rich plants! Just look at this list: 10,302 mcg Vitamin A, 547 mcg Vitamin K, 80 mcg Vitamin C, 299 mg Potassium, 90 mg Calcium,  23 mg Magnesium, 1.1 mg Iron, and .6 mcg Selenium. And, better yet, Ellie ate it up!

We were happy that Ellie seemed to be slowly getting stronger. Once standing, Ellie had improved to standing for hours at a time, but we were still concerned that she was unwilling to stand on her own. And, we wanted to get more selenium and iron into her system. On Day 6, we added a small amount of beets with their greens, pumpkin, and peanut butter. We chose beets because with 1.2 mg of Iron and 1.3 mcg Selenium, and 44 mg Calcium, it was a good source of these vitamins. Beets are also rich in Vitamins A & K. Pumpkin has 8567 mcg Vitamin A, 10 mcg Vitamin C, 24 mg Calcium, 394 mg Potassium, .9 mg Iron, and .3 mcg Selenium. Since Ellie would not cooperate in eating peanuts, we started offering her a tablespoon of crunchy peanut butter. If she would eat it, our plan was to give it to her twice daily. Peanut Butter has 94 calories per tablespoon and 2.6 mcg Selenium, 7.7 g protein, 14 mg Calcium, of .6 mg Iron.

At noon, I checked our girl's progress. She stood on her own, again. I fed her some kale and pumpkin.

And, then cleaned up this ----> with much  happiness! Those are almost pellets. It is too soon to call her healed, but I am beginning to think she is going to pull through and recover.

Thanks for visiting today.
Sean and Sonja ♥

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nom Nom Nom...

Over the years, Boogie and Tasmanian have developed a complex relationship. What started- when Tasmanian started coming into his own- with random commando attacks on Boogie, has mellowed through the years into a full-fledged cold war. A trip to the vet and the subsequent removal of some testosterone-laden parts has a way of "civilizing" even the most cantankerous male. Oh, Tasmanian is still known to sit inside the house on the backside of the swinging cat door, waiting for Boogie to poke his head through for Tas to swat, repeatedly any time Boogie attempts to come inside. But, it has been a good long time since we have emerged from our basement to find the kitchen floor strewn with tufts of white hair voluminous enough to stuff a fair sized pillow. Boogie, a good ten pounds heavier and covered in a thick coat of impervious fur, calmly licking his paw, not a scratch on him. Tas, young, lean-muscled, and wiry, limping away in disgrace glaring daggers and contemplating his next attempt to try it on with the old man.

With the last four days of almost non-stop rain, the cats have all decided to wait out the wet inside our house. Usually, self-proclaimed "outside cats", they are going a bit stir-crazy. Normally, we feed them on the front porch, but because of the wet outside, the cats are refusing to eat there and have instead begun to stalk anything edible within their reach- including my bowl of ripening tomatoes. Under these dire circumstances, I thought to grab any bowl to hand to offer some food inside, yesterday.

I captured this footage within a few minutes of our cats attempting to eat from it all at once.


I filmed and edited a clip of our dogs at the Belfast Dog Park. I thought it only fair to pay my respects to the resident feline populace. I hope you enjoy!

Good night,
Sean and Sonja♥


Love is in the Air

Jedi is one determined lad.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit today, Friends.
Sonja ♥

Monday, October 15, 2012

Goats, Goats, Goats

I have not had the chance to write in a couple of days; we have been busy on the Ellie front. She is improving... veeerrrrryyyyy slowly... I think. It is so hard to tell. She is eating well and starting to get some weight back on. Her eyelids are still quite pale, but the color is improving slightly. Since we have become so close with y'all, we feel like we can share that she is definitely passing worms in her feces, but they are still not yet regular pellets. At least, they aren't as runny as they had been. And, she is urinating regularly, which indicates that she is taking water in. Ellie is still taking her SMZ antibiotic pill each morning. She has finished her daily course of B1 shots morning and night. We are still treating her with a Sub-Q B12 shot weekly and she is due for her next 3ml injection of Ivomec at the end of the week. I have been supplementing her diet of lots of good, dry hay with fresh cut brush, kale and other fresh, leafy greens. I am also giving her a banana each morning and some carrots in the afternoon.

Like humans, I think that animals absorb the vitamins critical for their well-being better from real food sources rather than in pill form or injected. I have been trying to find foods that are naturally high in the nutrients that she needs the most and are also acceptable for her to digest. Apparently, Sea Lion liver and kidney are both very rich in selenium, which is critical to Ellie's joints and muscles gaining strength. Sean and I agree that as necessary as selenium is to a goat's overall health, attempting to find and then feed Sea Lion organs to our goat is both ridiculous and nasty. Besides, where would I even begin to find a recipe on preparing THAT? Instead, we attempted to feed Ellie some peanuts tonight with every thought that she would love to gobble them up, but she refused to eat them. She spat them out as quickly as I offered them to her. So, back to the drawing board we go.

It is getting late and I am quickly becoming a pumpkin, but I wanted to leave you with some pictures of the goats from this week. With Ellie's illness in mind, we have been vigilant in checking the other goats. Each of our herd was given a thorough once over, including checking: demeanor, general appearance, weight, hooves were trimmed, eyelids checked, and a follow-up wormer given. Both Abigail and Asher's eyelids were on the pink side, so they are both getting an injection of Ivomec to be safe. Everyone else seems to be in great health.

Enjoy the pictures and thanks for stopping in!
Sonja ♥
Jedi eyeing Sapphira's potential. Sorry lad!
She needs some more growing up time.
Come back next year. 

Jedi is checking to see if Leah is in "season."
Who needs an ovulation dip test?

...and Pepper's back hooves.
Sean trimming Leah's hooves.
Enjoying some afternoon hay.

Rudy, Sapphira, and Pepper don't seem to care that this fresh hay is for bedding.
(The plastic bag of shavings did not remain inside the stall for the obvious reason that
goats will attempt to eat almost anything, whether they should or not!)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ellie's Update

I feel like I am neglecting all the other animals in our care, but beyond feeding, watering, and a quick "muck out", I just don't want to spare the time from Ellie. I know it is unrealistic to think I can be all places at once, but that is what we women do; believe we are Superwoman and pile all things on our shoulders to bear. I thank God that Sean is here to temper my "I must do EVERYTHING perfectly right this minute" attitude with some balance.

*Deep Breath*

This morning's update is... hopeful? I don't know. I want so much for Ellie to pull through, but I am trying to be honest at the same time. So, here are the facts. This morning, Ellie's temperature was normal at 101.5, her pulse rate is still high at about 120 beats-per-minute, her breathing is at 12 breaths-per-minute. She is not drinking as much as we would like, but she had emptied her water bowl at some point in the night and she finished another 1 1/2 quarts of water mid-morning. She is eating hay. She also ate some carrots and bread (under the premise that at this point getting anything nutritious into her to get some strength and weight back is a good thing) with great gusto and then, tried unsuccessfully to eat my fingers, too. We are not offering her grain. We plan to add some fresh leaves via brush clippings, courtesy of Sean, this afternoon.

Food is less critical than hydration. With that in mind, we are carefully monitoring her water intake. I don't like injecting her. It is not a fun exercise for any of us, even using the smallest needle we have on hand. Sean did give her more Lactated Ringers this morning, but it doesn't appear to be necessary right now. Though she is still looking thin and her skin feels tighter than normal, she is drinking on her own. According to the Onion Creek Ranch web page, "A 100-pound goat needs at least a gallon of liquid a day to maintain hydration. On average, a ten-pound kid needs about 20 ounces of liquids daily to survive." An article published by The University of Maine Cooperative Extension LINK recommends, "A 110-pound goat will require 1 to 3 gallons of water per day, depending upon diet, intake, and weather." As of 3 pm, Ellie has had a total of about 3 quarts of fluid orally of her own volition today. If she continues drinking at this pace, we won't need to continue injecting her with fluids.

The Ivomec is definitely already working. We have worms present in her feces. This is also good. However, Ellie is back to "cow patty" type droppings instead of the more desirable pelleted version. We are supplementing her with Pepto-Bismal chewable tablets, which she thinks is a great treat, to help get this under control.

Additionally, we added a mineral block to her hospital stall. She was very interested in it and chewed and licked it for a little while.

All told, I think Ellie is holding steady; maybe gaining slightly.

Thanks for visiting,
Sonja ♥

Friday, October 12, 2012

But, She is a Fighter... GRAPHIC PICTURES


Yesterday, Sean came home to feed himself lunch and check the animals, as usual. He found Ellie just outside the barn, laying in a puddle of mud, soaked and miserable. She was shivering and could barely stand. Because we have been treating Ellie for Strongyle worms and anemia for the past month, he knew there was something very wrong and wasted no time in picking her up and getting her to our vet.

Dr. Emerson examined Ellie with her stethoscope and took Ellie's temperature, which was 92 instead of a normal 101-103, an indication (if we needed more of them) that Ellie's situation was dire. After, a brief discussion of all the possible diseases and problems that could be wrong, Sean called me to inform me of the situation. The prognosis was not hopeful. We knew that Ellie had been fighting a heavy worm load for the past month, which was causing her to be severely anemic, but up until yesterday afternoon, she had been walking, eating, and drinking. The inside of her eyelids had started to pink up from the ghastly white they had been. We thought we were winning this battle. We had dosed her with 2 injections of Ivomec at the rate of 1cc each dose given 2 weeks apart. What to do now???

Dr. Emerson suggested drawing some blood to check to see how anemic she was. Her count should have been around 33; it was 11. She also checked a fecal sample for her worm load; it came back with Strongyle and 2 other parasites and Coccidiosis. The outlook was looking more and more bleak. Dr. Emerson said, "her chances are not good. Most people would choose, rather than spend the $250.00 for diagnostic testing, to put her down." She was not hopeful that Ellie was going to survive, regardless of treatment. It seemed to me the only things Ellie had going in her favor was her will to live and ours. We were not ready to give up and call it. First of all, Ellie is a great goat and we love her. Secondly, she is a valuable addition to our herd, losing her is not an option if there was anything we can do to avoid it. We were not giving up on this goat!

I called my sister, Kelli (whom we had gotten Ellie from) and we discussed the problem. She advised us to insist on a Bo-Se injection, Vitamin B injection, CDT injection and about a hundred other things, which I cannot remember now. I appreciated Kelli's help, but felt frustrated for her. It is hard to be on the phone, hearing symptoms and trying to offer advice; much easier had she been there to see Ellie and make a judgement on her condition for herself. But, I listened attentively to the technical and clinical terms she is fluent in and tried to parrot them to Dr. Emerson.

Dr. Emerson administered the Bo-Se injection which is medication for selenium deficiency.  Selenium deficiency shows itself in goats most often in the form of weak rear legs in kids. Older goats look "pathetic," don't put on weight, have weak legs, and generally stay in poor condition and poor health. She also injected Thiamine (vitamin B-1) and gave us doses for a 3 day treatment with this. Dr. Emerson gave Ellie a prescription of SMZ- a Sulfa-based oral prescription antibiotic. It is often used to fight Coccidiosis and can be used to treat watery diarrhea and other gut-related illnesses. A final injection of Banamine; an anti-inflammatory that besides reducing fever (which Ellie did not have), soothes irritation in the gastro-intestinal tract when digestive illnesses occur, relieves pain and soreness- rounded out our treatment course. Dr. Emerson advised us to pick up some Safeguard at Agway or Blue Seal and dose Ellie with it for three days to rid her of the worms and parasites. We were kind of confused about all this, it was a lot to take in. But, it felt good to be doing something that might be helping.

At home, Sean settled Ellie into the basement. She was not going back to the barn and our hospital stall was yet unfinished. The basement has a cement floor which is easy to clean and had the added bonus of having her near to hand for us to watch closely. Once settled with shavings, some dandelion greens (which was the only thing she showed any interest in eating), and fresh water, we left for the store to buy the dewormer medicine.

That was awful! So many products. The only one rated for use in goats was not labeled to deal with Strongyle worms. Ivermectin was available, but only as a cattle pour on solution or a horse paste. We were searching for Injectible Ivermectin for cattle, but they had none. We called the vet's office back for advice. They said, "If you can't find any Ivomec. We have it here." (How did we miss THAT?) We bought the Safeguard anyway to have on hand and some Probiotic powder to assist in getting the good bacteria in Ellie's rumen back to normal and went home.

Ellie perked up in our absence. Her stomach seemed more full. So, I commenced to worry about gas and bloat, which are often side effects of a rumen being unbalanced after a severe bout with parasites until we started to hear gurgling and rumblings from her stomach which indicated her intestines were functioning. Sean offered her a pepto-bismal tablet because it wouldn't hurt anything and might help to sooth her stomach stress. She liked that very much. Then, she began eating the hay we brought her with interest and drinking the electrolyte spiked water. And, the cherry on top- standing again. She was up for several hours, eating slowly, but steadily all the while. She urinated and left us a present of several large blobs of feces. Not great, but this was all movement in the right direction in my book. Would it last? Were we doing the right things? How were we going to give this goat the best shot of recovering?

More research, of course. My two new favorite pages online are:

Goat Medications and How To Use Them
This page lists about 30 common drugs, their dosages and the indications for their usage. Though the author is not a vet, it is extremely well-written, easy to understand and comprehensive. From it, I was able to understand why I was given the medicines, Dr. Emerson prescribed. I also discovered that I needed B-12 injections for Ellie, not Thiamine (B-1) to build her red blood supply back up from the worms. I made a mental note to contact Dr. Emerson to discuss this with her in the morning.

Goat Link
This page is amazing! It lists most of the common problems that goat keepers run into and what to do to fix it. From broken horns and foot rot, to battling and curing Coccidiosis and worming. It lists goat vital signs, goat medications and conversions, goat blood charts and eye color charts. Invaluable information! From this page, I learned about the dangers of dosing a goat with a heavy worm load orally versus using the Ivomec as an injection.

In my earlier post HERE, I mentioned that nearly every site I found suggested giving Ivomec orally. My sister advised giving Ivomec orally. My vet advised us to use it as an injection. In the absence of first hand knowledge, we followed our vet's recommendation. I am so glad we did. It seems that dosing goats with Ivomec orally is what is currently suggested on many sites because of it's rapid effect in a goat's system and because many goat owners feel more at ease giving oral medications rather than injections. 
Photo found on
However, rapid deworming is not always the best way to treat this problem and can be fatal to a goat who is already anemic. Basically, oral administration works too well. What can happen inside a heavily infested goat is that if the worms are killed off too quickly, the worms let go at once, causing internal bleeding which can lead to the death of the goat from blood loss, especially in cases where the goat is already anemic. This is why in a heavily infested goat, it is recommended that you should always administer your dewormer via Sub-Q injection as it goes into the system slower, kills off the parasites slower over a longer period of time, minimizing the risks of the possible "let go" causing internal bleed-out. Makes perfect sense. I wish someone had been able to explain that to me a month ago when I was asking, "Why?"

I read every page slowly, taking notes. Now, that I understood better what it was we were dealing with, I felt like we had some chance to help Ellie heal. The problem is that Ellie has too many worms and parasites feeding too heavily on her blood supply, leaving her very little for her own usage. We need to stimulate her body to help it produce more red blood cells (B12). We need to kill the worms and parasites at a rate that will get their numbers under control and prevent Ellie from losing more blood while giving her time for her digestive tract to heal (Ivomec). We need to keep the good bacteria in her stomach balanced while fighting against dehydration (Probiotics). We need to give her vitamin support for her muscles to gain strength (Thiamine). And, keep the Coccidiosis infection in check (SMZ). Anything else???

We didn't want to leave her to sleep, fearful that she would decline in the night. When morning came at 5 am, she had left us more feces in the form of large piles (think cow patty) and pellets- real pellets for the first time in a month! Any parent with a sick baby can relate to the relief that comes when a fever breaks or diarrhea stops. That is the elation we felt. Not out of the woods, certainly, but we were moving in the right direction, at least. I fed her another pepto-bismal tab, which she loved and slipped her the SMZ while she was still chewing it. Worked perfectly. Sean waited to give her the B1 injection until he could talk with the vet on his way to work.

At first, the receptionist tried to shoo him off with an, "Well, the doctor gave you Thiamine because that is what she wanted you to use." No matter how Sean tried to explain the issue, she seemed unwilling to discuss the possibility of changing medicines. Eventually, Sean scheduled an appointment with Dr. Emerson herself at 9:30 am. After a brief discussion with her, she agreed to sell him a bottle of the B12 vitamin solution. She recommended a course of giving both vitamin B injections. Sean gave those injections at noon. Ellie stood for a while with him, ate hay with a good, steady appetite, and drank about 1 1/2 quarts of water with additional electrolyte support.

While Sean was getting the B12 settled, I found a bottle of Injectible Ivomec at our local Tractor Supply Company. It cost $39.99 for a 50ml bottle, but if it works, it'll be worth every penny and I'll pay it with a smile.

Back at home, I was distressed to discover Ellie unable to stand unassisted and horribly dehydrated. The water in her bowl appeared to be half empty, so I changed it with some fresh water and she drank more. She was interested in eating the fresh hay I brought her, but would not stand. Sean was due home in a few minutes, so I busied myself looking up treatments for dehydration. When Sean arrived, I suggested that we inject some Lactated Ringers Solution from our emergency vet kit. The dose suggested was 30ccs injected slowly into each shoulder, several times each day or via IV. I had no idea- even with the excellent directions I found- how to attempt an IV. So, we decided to try to give her the sub-Q injections. Even though Ellie is drinking, her skin is very tight to her body frame and the skin that should be loose enough to be pulled up for injections, could barely be grabbed. Sean also injected a 3cc sub Q dose of Ivomec. He got Ellie to her feet and she walked around for a little while, continuing to eat her hay and drinking.

While she was up, we checked her pulse rate. It registered at about 110 beats per minute; it should be between 70 and 80. We checked her breathing. It was right where it should be at 20 breaths per minute. Her eyelids are definitely better than they have been, getting more pink in color. Her rumen sounds normal. She left a pile of pellets and a pool of urine for us to clean up.

And, that's where we are.

Ellie is still very sick. We are trying to help her to heal. And, we are praying... a lot.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Barn Building: Part 3

Fall is here with it's lovely colors and crisp weather. As much as we enjoy this time of the year, time is against us. It won't be long before snow will cover the ground. Before the temperature really drops, we have still quite a lot to do to make the barn ready for our herd to spend the winter comfortably.

Last weekend we moved a little closer to our goal of having the downstairs framed and sheathed with doors and windows installed and the second story floor temporarily roofed. We were able to finish sheathing the interior walls of all three of the animal stalls, install a window in Jasmine's stall, and lay a wood floor in the buck's 10x10 stall. It feels good. Real good for the span of time it takes for my brain to remind me that we still have to sheath the other 10' x 30' side of the barn that will house our milk room, tack room, and kidding/hospital stalls.

And, roof this.

And, install the doors and windows.

Before snow falls. Oy Vey! So much to still do before we can turn our attention to continuing the renovations inside our house over the winter months.

I keep reminding myself that we are making progress and we are. I just can't help wanting it to be finished for the year already. To breathe that sigh of relief that everyone will be safe and cozy over the winter months. To be able to turn attention to other things for a little while. To imagine for a minute that day someday in our future where we pull into our driveway to a completed 20x30 barn, painted red, trimmed in white. Our happy herd grazing on brush and greens in one of the multiple pastures fenced for them. The garden raised beds planted to bursting with vegetables and fruit. Our geese and ducks playing in a huge farm pond greet us upon our arrival.

It is a good dream to imagine. One worth working towards.

Good night, Friends.
Sean and Sonja ♥

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home Made Turkey Stock

When the weather grows cooler, thoughts in the kitchen turn to warm apple pie, roasted pumpkin seeds, and family turkey dinners. But, when the family has eaten that perfect turkey dinner and the leftovers have been made into yummy turkey sandwiches and homey turkey pot pies, what is there left to do, but stew the bones down to a delightful broth. Perfect to stick into the freezer for a quick, delicious, cold-weather soup stock. It is so easy to do, there is no reason not to create and preserve home-made turkey broth.

Let's get started!


1 Cooked/Picked Turkey
4 Cloves of Garlic, Crushed
4 Carrots in Chunks
3 Celery Stalks in Chunks
2 Onion in Chunks
2 Bay Leaves
4 Sprigs of Thyme


1. Place the turkey bones, garlic, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, and thyme in a large stock pot. If the turkey doesn't fit completely into the pot immediately, no worries. It will when it cooks down.

2. Fill the pot to within 2 inches from the top with water.

3. Simmer on medium-low for at least 2 hours. The length of time is subjective here. I simmer mine several hours until the stock reduces to about 1/2 the original volume. I also take the time to skim off any impurities that comes to the top while it is simmering.

4. Place a large strainer inside a larger bowl. Carefully pour the contents into the colander and strain out the broth from the cooked vegetables and bones. Discard these, retaining the golden broth.

Strained Broth Cooling
5. When the broth is cool enough, pour it into freezer safe bags or containers. Label the containers with the contents and date and place them into the freezer.

Don't throw out those turkey bones! It is sooo easy to make home made turkey broth. You can add many variations of spices, limited only by your preference and taste. I make mine very basic, so that when I decide to make a soup later, it leaves my options open. And, an added bonus is how wonderful the house smells while this is cooking and for hours afterwards!

Have a great day!
Sonja ♥

Stolen Moments

One of my favorite parts of any day are the quiet moments of visiting with our animals. Every pen has a different personality to it.

The chickens, ducks, and geese are raucous with their greetings. They act as if they haven't seen me in weeks and have missed me so... until whatever treat I bring them has been eaten. Then, they settle down to a dull hum of clucks, honks, and quacks as they melt away to scratch the ground for potential worms and bugs, splash in the swimming pool, or investigate the possibility of romantic interests. As I have none of those attractants going for me, I can spend time watching them play with each other. From time to time, a pullet will wander by to jump onto my lap or shoulder, which is useful as a perch. A few favorite hens will allow themselves to be petted for a while.

On the other hand, we have the piggies. They immediately come to see what is edible in their dish and gobble it up. They grunt and snort. They allow scratches until bored with the attention, they return to their mound of hay and settle for a snooze. Some pigs become very attached to their caretakers and I suspect these were quite smitten with my sister, Kelli. Alas! I am not a fair substitute in their eyes. And, to be completely honest, I am quite okay with that arrangement. I enjoy scratching Patches, but I am not as at ease with them as I am with the other critters.

Then, there are the goats. I just love them. Really, really. They are all as voracious as the others about wanting their share of treats and they know I always come bearing some gift- even if it is only a flake of hay to share- the same flavor and variety as what is in their feed station. They don't care. They act like I have slaved all day, preparing them the finest feast imaginable. They nudge me with their heads, stand on their hind ends with their muddy front hooves on me (something I never allow the dogs to get away with) and stare at me over mouth-fulls of hay with their alien eyes. They are silly and soft. They rub against me and nuzzle my neck.

Ellie has yet to return to her former self and stands dignified and quiet, eating her treats and getting her petting. Pepper is bossy. She has horns and she will use them to get the best of the hay, regardless of who may be there already. Leah and Rachel, always together, work as a team to defend their hay. Abigail shoots in and out of the other goats, grabbing mouth-fulls and darting out of the press to chew hers. She is only slightly smaller than Leah & Rachel now and will butt heads with them if it comes to that. How would Rudy and Sapphira react to eating treats from my hand amidst a throng of busy goats? Would they want to come near or would they be afraid?

Sean took footage of yesterday's afternoon visit. It was not time for grain, but I wanted to invite all the goats to gather around while I pet them, so I grabbed a flake of hay and sat near the doorway. I make it a point to hand feed grain and treats to any new animal until they settle in. This underscores my role as caregiver, treat bringer, and all around "good" person. In a very short time, I find I can win over the affection (or at least tolerance) of most animals this way. To help them learn their name, I repeat it to them when I feed them, brush them, or pet them. I greet them and call them by name when I want them to come to me. I also make sure to handle each animal gently. I never push, hit, or play rough with them. I want them to recognize me and come to me.

It is definitely messy and a bit of a mad house keeping everyone from shoving or pushing their way around. I must have had my pink boots stepped on at least a dozen times. The girls were not satisfied that I had given them all the food I had with me until they put their hoofs onto my empty lap to investigate further, just in case I should be holding out on them. Once satisfied, they wandered off to graze the greens in their field and the hay still sitting at the feeding station or to get a drink from their water bucket. I called them to me individually as they walked past to rub their head or neck.

I only had a spare 45 minutes to sit and visit yesterday before I had to get washed and dressed for our Ministry School meeting. Kristen and Meaghan had both been assigned talks, so we needed to be sure to arrive early for one last practice each.

Stolen moments to be sure... and I loved every one of them.

Have a great day, friends. Thanks for stopping by.
Sonja ♥

Monday, October 8, 2012

Clipping Wings

We do not make it a practice to trim our chicken's wings. Most of the time, it is unnecessary. Unlike our ducks, (especially the mallards) our chickens are unlikely to fly out of their pen. From time to time, though, a chicken will get it into their heads to seek freedom and will fly the coop, quite literally. When this occurs, it is a simple matter to lure them back to home. And having done so, that is usually the end of the matter. Usually.

Occasionally, a chicken will become a "repeat offender" This is a problem for the chicken. They could get injured escaping. They could get harmed by a predator. They could become lost. This could become a problem for us; for all the reasons above and the complications these scenarios would cause and for the additional concern of losing eggs to eat and/or sell.

Sean learned to clip wing feathers on parrots, parakeets, and other avian species when he worked at a local pet store. He taught me the correct way to do this and avoid harming the birds or cutting myself. For me, it is sometimes easier to be see how to do something first hand. For those of you similarly inclined, I decided to video Sean clipping our young pullet, Winona's wings when it became necessary to hinder her repeated escapes.

Besides clipping wings of wandering chickens, Sean and I worked together for 6 hours mucking both goat stalls and the horse stall, installed a new floor in Jedi's stall and finished enclosing the interior sides of all the stall walls, and readied the front raised beds for the winter. And, of course, we spent lots of time with the goats. I took pictures, so you may look forward to seeing these posted later. For tonight, I am tired and ready to rest with Sean and eat my dinner.

Thanks for visiting today, friends.
Sean and Sonja

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Oberhausli Delight

Sean and I have been searching all summer for 2 ADGA registered oberhausli does to add to our herd. We found the perfect match for us this week at River Run Farm in Dover-Foxcroft (about 1.5 hours north of us)-  a 2 year old doe named Ruby and her unnamed kid born April 5, 2012. (This had been Ruby's first kidding and she gave birth to two healthy kids; one buck and one doe.) After talking with Alice on the phone Thursday and again yesterday, we were hopeful that these were going to be the right animals for us, but until we had a chance to inspect them in person, we wanted to wait to post about it- just in case.

They were perfect- everything we could have hoped for.

River Run Farm is beautiful. The goats and sheep in the fields were clearly healthy, well-cared for, happy animals. Alice stood near the fencing closest to the barn and called for the goats to come from the back field. They immediately came to her voice. The sheep pasturing with them thought to come along, too. "No sheep, just the goats." Alice clarified. As if by some magic spell, the sheep returned their interest to the task of grazing, but the goats all ran to greet us.

Alice pointed out Ruby and her yet unnamed doe kid to us. We watched them in the field for a few minutes and then, Alice brought them out for us to inspect. We checked their overall coloring, weight, stature, pastern, gums, eyelids, and udder. Ruby was just lovely. We had decided. These ladies were to be ours or more to the point, Jedi's girls. (Though Jedi is not able to be registered, he is half oberhausli, which will create high percentage oberhausli kids. It is desirable to produce high percentage kids with a sweet temperament, good milk supply, and hybrid vigor.)

We exchanged money and obtained registration papers for our new does. Then, it was time to load the does into our vehicle and say "good-bye".

Ruby's kid is going to need to be named before we can submit the transfer papers. Sean and I discussed potential names all the way home. All of the goats we have named carry Biblical names: Leah, Rachel, Jedidiah, Abigail, and Asher. I suggested Hadassah (Queen Esther's Hebrew name.) All the goats in the new kid's lineage carry "jewel" names: Ruby, Emerald, etc. Sean suggested Sapphira meaning beautiful. It is from the Bible and close enough to a "jewel" to be a good cross over between River Run Farm and ours. I love it.

Conscious that every herd has a hierarchy, I suggested that we make sure to feed our does in the back pasture when we got home before we introduced the new does.

While our girls were busy munching on hay, Sean walked Ruby and Sapphira into the pasture. We let them wander as they wanted. They were really nervous and went immediately into the stall. Our girls noticed the new additions right off and ran to meet them. There was lots of sniffing, touching noses, and "meeehs" exchanged. Jedi came to the fence to stick his lips between the wooden slats of the rail and blow raspberries of welcome to the new ladies. He's such a "playa."

Ruby is still in milk. Our intention is to give her a couple of days to settle in and then, Sean will be on milk-duty again. We are going to try to keep her milking through December because she won't need to be dried off to be bred again this year. That means fresh milk, yogurt, chevre, and soap are again in our near future. Color these farmers EXCITED for that!

I took lots of footage, but it is too late tonight to edit and post. I will try to find time to add that over the weekend, though.

For tonight, we are so pleased to have added these ladies to our herd.
Thanks for stopping in, Friends!

Sean and Sonja ♥