Thursday, February 28, 2013


I have been neglecting my writing. Not because I don't want to write or because I don't have thoughts, plans and ideas to share. I have been legitimately WORKING HARD and by the time I get settled for the evening and have a spare moment, my eyes drift close and morning arrives. Sneaky, sneaky morning! I appreciate that you have been so patient; it has helped me be more productive. Before I share all of that with you, though, first an update on our goats.

On Friday, Dr. Larson came out to the homestead to check the goats for us. We know what happened to Sapphira, but after losing Pepper so abruptly and without warning, we needed a vet call to reassure ourselves and certainly to address any problems within the herd. Dr. Larson was quite thorough in listening to hearts and lungs, feeling over shoulders, spines, and haunches, checking gums and eyelids, and collecting fecal samples. I never find "bathroom" humor funny, but I have to share this gem. Just as we were discussing the need to collect a sample, Ellie decided to oblige us with some fresh pellets. Dr. Larson looked around for her gloves and a sample container and finding none readily to hand, cupped her bare hands and caught the sample she needed. THAT is a dedicated vet! After a hand wash, the exams continued. Overall, the herd looked good and healthy. Ellie, in particular was still underweight and Dr. Larson suggested a Blue Seal dairy goat grain with at least .03 selenium and a higher protein content for all the does. Ellie's fecal exam showed some Barber Pole Worm (Haemonchus contortus) eggs, but neither larvae nor worms themselves. We just wormed Ellie with Ivomec 2 weeks ago, so we decided to administer another dose before Spring to catch any eggs that are laying dormant before they hatch and multiply. (All goats carry parasites. The goal is to control their levels, not eradicate them.) Otherwise, everyone looks good and healthy.

I did learn some new things with this visit.

(1) I learned that a "fat" goat may still be under-weight. All of our goats have great, fat bellies and a good heft to them. I did not know that, like dogs, you judge weight by running your fingers down a goat's spine. It should not feel "bony". Additionally, it is necessary to feel around your goat's ribs. You should just be able to feel them with a nice layer of fat and muscle covering them. Based on these tests, Abigail and Ruby need to put on a few pounds. We increased their grain rations slightly to accomplish this.

(2) I also started to feel a little better about my ability to tell for certain if a doe was pregnant or not. Dr. Larson's first question to us regarding this was, "Has she been exposed to a buck?" All the does had been exposed when Jedi escaped months ago- except Ellie. Dr. Larson checked over Ellie first and stated that she could not be certain whether or not Ellie was pregnant without a blood test. We explained that Ellie has had no opportunity to become pregnant, so that possibility was ruled out. Dr. Larson moved on to examine Abigail. Without a blood test or sonogram results immediately available, Dr. Larson resorted to an old farmers method of bracing her hands on either side of Abigail's belly and giving her a slight shake. According to our good doctor, sometimes you can feel the kids move in this way. Abigail did not appear pregnant based on a manual examination and that her udder has not formed at all. We did not think she was, but this confirmation was fantastic news. Ruby, Leah, and Rachel are all pregnant and are growing the udders to prove it.

With the getting ready for new goat kids, it feels like spring must be just around the corner. We are not alone in this feeling. Our geese, Justin and Caitlin are planning for babies of their own. Caitlin has laid 3 eggs so far. Justin is pulling out his chest feathers to help create a nest for his would-be offspring. And, he has decided to evict the chickens from using the duck/goose house without notice. Actually, he has become quite territorial about the yard in general. He feined at Sean a couple times this week while he attempted to collect goose eggs and outright bit him once! When the weather gets warmer, we will allow them to sit on their eggs, but for now, it is still getting into the low 20's some nights- too cold for hatching eggs outside! The ducks apparently want "in" on this, too. I collected 3 Mallard eggs and 1 Black Swedish egg this morning when I fed them. The first duck eggs of the year!

Along with all these things, we have finally launched our new "Farm Pals" program. I am so excited and proud of this program. It comes as an off-shoot of the idea I wanted to implement of "Farmer for a Day" program for 4-9 year old kids. Basically, once each week through the summer, we would host a group of up to 10 children for a few hours once each week. The "farmers" would  participate in farm related activities like: collecting eggs, help feeding animals, learning about gardening, story time, making cheese, and enjoying a farm fresh snack. Our "Farmer for a Day" program won't be ready to roll out until our barn is complete- hopefully by Summer 2014. This lead me to think, "How can I get children involved now?" and "How can I open this program so that children who don't live nearby can also take part?" And, that is how "Farm Pals" was born. It is an interactive, educational program designed with activities packages full of information about farm life. (Click the link for more information about it.)

If that wasn't enough, we also added to our farm products line available on our Etsy store. We have had available our homemade goat's milk Lally Broch Soap and our Lally Broch Scent Shots (to use in your tart warmer.) We have now started our line of original, custom costume jewelry for the farm chic farm-girl. Our one-of-a-kind, unique, hand-painted Eggshell Pendants are made from the eggshells of our very own beloved flock of chickens, ducks, and geese. Each one is a wearable piece of art. I am so in love with these and I think you'll like them, too!

A final bit of happiness, our selection of organic, non-GMO seeds from Fedco arrived last weekend. In a few days, Sean and I will start our 6-packs for this year's garden. How exciting and what a complete change from the sad events from weeks past.

So, that is the update of what has been happening around here. As Spring blooms, you may look forward to lots of pictures, some videos, and updates from Lally Broch.

Thanks for visiting tonight, friends. We're sure glad you did.
Sean & Sonja ♥

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Finally, a Little Light...

Our First Goose Eggs February 20-21, 2013
          Goose Egg                                        Mature Hen Egg                                      Pullet Egg

We had a bit of good happen today that caused quite a stir here on the homestead. Though our hens have stopped laying (again!) with the bad weather and cold- I attribute this lack to that cause since nothing else in their world has changed- Sean still checks their nest boxes each day with hope. Today, he came in with a HUGE grin on his face and 2 geese eggs in his hands; these from the small duck house. The first of their kind to be laid.

I had heard that goose eggs are large in size, but having never seen one before, I had no idea what to expect. I am still in the process of researching whether or not the size of the goose eggs layed increases as the goose matures, like in hens. If any of you have information regarding this, I would be very interested in hearing from you about it.

Regardless, I decided to record the weight of the eggs collected from our hens to compare to the goose eggs. Our pullets lay smaller eggs and these weighed approximately 1.5 oz. Our mature laying hens' eggs weighed in around 2 oz each. Today's goose egg measured a whopping 5 oz! Basically, one goose egg equals 2.5 regular hen eggs.

Neither Sean nor I have eaten geese eggs before. We are excited to try them out this weekend. I don't think that I will fry them, but I see either some scrambled eggs or omelets for breakfast Saturday morning. We'll be sure to write a review about their taste and share it with you.

It may be only a small achievement, but we'll gladly take it.

Tomorrow, our vet is coming to check the does. I worry about everything- All... The... Time... So, while I am glad she is coming out, I am very anxious about what she might find. Sean has been busy reassuring me that our does are all behaving like normal, healthy goats and that we have nothing to worry about. Sean kindly and firmly reminded me how good it will feel to have some conclusive idea about who really is pregnant (and not just waxing fat) and confirm potential due dates. Maybe, we'll even hear fetal heart-beats. That would be amazing. It is just hard to be comfortable in light of recent events. I know that I am over-reacting; I just don't seem capable of stopping it. I hope this visit will help to bring our life back into some semblance of normal- or at least, what passes for that around here.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit tonight, friends. We're glad you came.

Sean and Sonja ♥

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bring on the Locusts

I feel a bit like Job in his trials. When Sean called today with the latest of things to break, die, go wrong and cost us money, I had tears streaming down my face listening to him. Well past crying, I was nearly hysterical- these were tears of laughter. "I am just going to sit here and wait for the locusts to come." I hiccuped in spurts through the hysteria.

Long story long, since Saturday, we have really had a run of T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E. It began when we lost a young doe and her kid on Saturday to freak complications of kidding- I wrote about losing Sapphira in detail already and can't bear the retelling one more time.

Sean broke the ax he needs to split us firewood to feed our only source of heat.

Winter storm, Pluto settled in, stranding my eldest daughter, her husband, and our grand-puppy here for the weekend. While it was wonderful to see them, with everything falling apart around us, it was not the nice, homey visit they'd hoped for. The gale force winds ripped both the tarp and the 2x4's screwed in to secure it, from the roof of the barn.

The power steering belt broke on Sean's vehicle.

Miss Pepper
We woke Monday morning to discover one of our 2 year old does, Pepper, had died suddenly in the night (still waiting for the results to see from what), but coming on heals of losing Sapphira and her kid, it was a shocking blow. To add to the injury, that brought our veterinary bill to just over $500. Don't get me wrong, our vet is worth every penny, but to spend so much and have so little to show for it is frustrating to say the least.

Sean's husky, Fenn, discovered that he can rip through the fencing in the dog yard and made an escape attempt; we located him 3 miles up the road at a neighbor's home. Sean repaired the fence only to have Fenn-dog rip through it again and beat feet through the woods. He was retrieved, but clearly can no longer go in the dog yard until a stronger fence is built. We have a run from the front steps, so we attempted to tie Fenn out to do his "business", but smarter than the average bear, Fenn promptly slipped his collar and you guessed it, headed North. Once again, Sean found him and brought him home, but this means Fenn has to be walked when nature calls.

Then, came the torrential rains that flooded the doe stall requiring them to be relocated to our basement for their safety (The other stalls all remained dry, thankfully.) For those of you keeping track, that makes 4 goats, 2 chickens, 2 bunnies, 6 cats, and 3 dogs taking up residence with us for the moment. What else could go wrong? Oh wait... there is more. The rain, not willing to concede defeat, melted the vast mound of snow against the cellar door and caused pools of water to collect and sit under the pool table and around the kid's basement entertainment area, which needed to be mopped up. And, the dehumidifier decided it does not want to work, either.

The final straw was Sean informing me that he was on his way to the hardware store to buy some glue and duct tape because his power screwdriver disintegrated into parts when he attempted to use it today.

All that is wanting is a plague of frogs or locusts.

I am bone-tired. Weary. Drained. But, I did not sit down today to spin my tale of woe. Now that all of that has been purged, I can get on with the telling of what else is happening here on the farm. Firstly, our vet is coming back out on Friday to do a "farm visit". She is going to do some blood work on the goats and give them a thorough once over. I will feel better for it, all things considered. Secondly, Miss Orpington is nearly fully recovered of her injuries. I am still waiting to return her to the flock for a bit. As you can see in the image on the left, she is healing nicely with no signs of infection, but the protective feathers over her ear canal are still missing. She'll remain indoors a little longer until either the weather warms or her feathers regrow. Also, our Fedco seed order is here, so I can dig in to beginning some seeds for our garden. We'll also have some 6-packs for sale. Lastly, we have had a lovely response to the products we are creating at Lally Broch. This week alone, we sold a set of Lally Broch Scent Shots (Buy Some HERE or enter to Win Some HERE), 5 bars of Lally Broch Soaps (Buy Some HERE), 3 tulle tu-tu skirts, and 2 hand embellished scarves. It's not as much as we hope to sell in coming months and it certainly won't cover the cost of repairs, replacements, or veterinary help, but it is a sign that the days ahead have some light to them.

And, if those locusts do show up, well, I have a whole flock of chickens that would just love that treat.

Thanks for visiting with us today, friends. We're sure glad you did.
Sean and Sonja♥

PS If you haven't signed up for the free drawing to try our scent shots with the free electric warmer, you still have time. We've had wonderful reviews of them and we know you'll just love them, too!

Saturday, February 16, 2013


 Today I don't want to be a goat keeper anymore. That feeling will pass in time and I will remember instead all the reasons why I love my goats; from their sweet faces and waggily tails to their yummy milk to make soaps and cheese. I will remember how sweet newborn goat kids are and the feeling of joy when it all goes like it is supposed to. But, not today.

Today, I don't want to be a goat keeper anymore.

Today, I lost Sapphira to complications during kidding. We had not planned on breeding Sapphira this year. Though she could be bred, we had intended on giving both she and Abigail another year to mature and Ellie and Ruby a year to rest. However, unsatisfied with three does to breed in his pasture, Jedi had other plans. He escaped his pasture and spent the night with the other does several months ago. We hoped that the does hadn't been bred, but some of them had.

Sapphira did not appear pregnant. We watched for tell-tale signs of pregnancy and seeing none, were relieved. That changed a few days ago when her udder suddenly became enlarged (sometimes called 'bagging up'). We started watching for signs of her going into labor. Last night, Sean came inside to report that labor had begun. We moved Ellie and Pepper back outside into the barn, cleaned the basement stall, put down fresh bedding and brought both Sapphira and Ruby inside with us. Since this was Sapphira's first kidding and she was especially close with her mom, we thought keeping Ruby with her might be comforting to Sapphira.

Sapphira began having contractions, but they were far between. She had a little creamy mucus coming from her, but it appeared to be early still. We slept near her in the basement, checking through the night. Sapphira was eating hay, walking about, relieving herself and sleeping. She had a few contractions, but did not appear distressed about it. She slept most of the night next to Ruby.

In the morning, we expected labor to begin in earnest, but it didn't. A couple of hours passed with no real progress. Sapphira was still eating and walking around. Occasionally, she'd stop for a short contraction, but then continue on. We started to get concerned. This was only the second birthing we had assisted and it was nothing like Ellie birthing Abigail and Asher. Then, we saw one tiny white hoof appear and contractions began getting closer together. I was a little relieved seeing the hoof peek out with each contraction. I thought that she was finally getting down to it and that she'd have her kid shortly. But, she didn't. She still was not having regular contractions and the ones she had seemed too short to do much. I tried smoothing my hands down over her back and belly, pushing with her when the contractions came. I started to fear that the kid had died. Sean called our vet to discuss the situation. Armed with instructions on assisting the kid's birth, Sean worked with Sapphira's contractions to insert his fingers gently into her to try to discern if the kid was presented properly. Sean was unable to get both hooves out. Sapphira needed more help than we could give her, so we had Chris come out to assist.

When Chris arrived, he evaluated the situation, but the diagnosis was not good. He told us the kid was not only dead, but had probably died days ago and had already begun to decay. Sapphira's uterus was not dilating properly. The kid was turned backwards and presenting hind feet first. While Sean and I held Sapphira, petting and soothing her, Chris got to work, lubricating the birth canal and easing the kid from her. It was a very long process and unpleasant for everyone. Sapphira was clearly in pain and scared with what was happening, even with Chris working as carefully as he could and trying to work along with her contractions. We tried to comfort and reassure Sapphira. After working for a while, the kid was delivered, but Chris looked grim. He felt inside Sapphira to make certain but, Chris informed us that Sapphira's uterus was opened into her abdominal cavity. He concentrated and felt some more to be absolutely sure, but I could tell from the look on his face that the prognosis was dire- our worst fear being realized.

Chris said he sees this once every few years. A kid or calf turned backwards, its hooves cut through the uterine wall and pushes into the mother's abdominal cavity. When the water broke, it did not rush from Sapphira, but filled inside her. The kid suffocated inside. Sapphira's body attempted to eject the kid with intermittent contractions, but couldn't because she was not dilating. I don't know why Sapphira was eating and walking around. I don't know why she was not behaving like she was in pain, but she wasn't. I have watched 3 hours of footage of what I hoped was going to be a happy, normal kidding- there is nothing to suggest this. Replaying it all, I looked for it- closely. (Ironically, if the birth had gone well, I would have posted video and pictures from it but now, I don't want to leave you with those pictures, so I posted images of Sapphira from happier days, instead.) Chris assured us that there was no way for us to tell this was happening. That helps a little, but it does not stop my mind from fretting about, "What if..."

If she hadn't been ruptured inside, we would have opted to treat her for the very likely infection from the necrotic kid. Sapphira was clearly in pain and shock, she was bleeding heavily. Sean and I made the decision that we had to let her go. In the end, I held Sapphira's head and petted her while Chris administered the barbiturate to euthanize her. It was terrible, but very quick.

I debated sharing this with you, but this is what happened. This blog is a record of our journey, both the ups and the downs. We have been honest with letting you in and sharing with you all that building this life means for our family. So, we share this with you, too. There will be other births here at Lally Broch and no doubt, other deaths. The pain in my heart for this senseless loss will fade with time- because that is what happens, time heals. But, for right now, for today, it hurts very much.

Thanks for bearing witness with me tonight of Sapphira's passing. I wish with all my heart, I'd had better news to bring you.

Sean and Sonja

You can read about Sapphira and Ruby joining our farm at this post: Oberhausli Delight

Friday, February 15, 2013

Lally Broch Farm Scent Shots

After the wonderful and positive way our all-natural, homemade, hand-poured, goat's milk soap was received, Sean and I thought, "What better way to introduce our new line of scent 'tarts' to our readers and customers than with an opportunity to try them for themselves?" I will explain how you can have a chance to WIN some for yourself. But first, since I am just about to burst with the happiness of it...

We are very proud and pleased to introduce our line of Lally Broch Scent Shots to you.

We use soy wax because it is a completely renewable, non-toxic, vegetable wax made from the oil of soybeans. Soy is longer burning and has the added advantage of no soot build-up. It is Carbon Neutral.

Our organic soy wax scent shots will melt in any warmer, so no worries there. Each souffle cup has enough for 2 uses in most warmers. You can easily cut them to fit your warmer, use the whole cup, or mix your favorite scents together and create your very own signature scents.

Lally Broch Farm Scent Shots are all hand-poured at our family farm. Each scent has been tested by our trusted panel of noses and passed with flying colors. Our Scent Shots have a great scent throw and last all day, without any chemical "off" scent. They provide a nice background fragrance to your home that will not over-whelm you. After your wax has released its fragrance, or if you are ready to try a new scent, just pour it back into the cup from whence it came. It will re-harden and you can use it again and again until the scent is gone. Wipe your warmer out with a paper towel and move on to your next scent shot. If more clean up is needed, use warm soapy water.

Who can choose only one scent?
Fortunately, we don't make you. When you order with us, we'll send you six- 1.5 oz (approximately) souffle cups in your choice of 17 fantastic scents:

Lush Dupes:
♥ Fields Grown Wild (This scent has notes of vanilla, strawberry, jasmine, and violets.)
♥ Flower Child (patchouli),
♥ Greek Isles (The perfect blend of spices and fragrant growing olive trees.)
♥ Honey Bee
Other Fabulous Fragrances:
♥ Cotton Candy
♥ Banana
♥ Mango Tango
♥ Cinnamon Buns
♥ Cucumber Melon
♥ Orange Juice Cake
♥ Apple Harvest
♥ Lavender
♥ Ginger Bread House
♥ Mediterranean Dreams (a lovely, fruity mixture of fig and Mediterranean spices),
♥ Corner Coffee House
♥ Pumpkin Spice
♥ Wild Berry
Can't wait for the contest to end to try them for yourself? You can order your choice of 6 scents at Lally Broch Farm Etsy Store. When ordering, please comment which 6 scents you'd like sent to you. Can't decide? Simply choose "Surprise Me!" and we'll send you 6 of our favorites to try.
And, that brings us full circle to your chance to win some. We'll send one winner a brand new Harmony Home Flame-less plug-in warmer (retail value $14.99) and their choice of 6 Lally Broch Farm Scent Shot fragrances (retail value $9.00). The drawing will take place on March 1, 2013 at 10 am. Each of our "blog members" will be automatically entered for a chance to win. If you already are a member to this blog, you are entered. If you are not a member yet, you can choose to follow our blog by scrolling down the left hand side and clicking on 'join this blog' or follow via networked blogs. Additionally, if you will help us spread the word, we'll show our appreciation by giving you some additional chances to win. You can share our facebook post about this give-away on your facebook page, tweet about it, pin it on pinterest, email it to your friends, or pick up the phone and tell your friends about it. However you can help, we really, really appreciate it.
Thanks for visiting tonight.
Sean and Sonja ♥

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Surviving Nemo...

Hi folks,

Sean here. I woke up today thinking that I heard a plow truck outside. I was correct, but unfortunately, not our outside. The clock read 7:26 am and my fantasy of sleeping in vanished into the ether as I checked the cold wood stove and accompanying wood supply for the day (or rather, lack thereof). Of course, after being dressed, jacketed, and booted for the cold, gathering wood segued into morning chores.

With over 2 feet of snow falling steadily for about 30 hours straight, our animals' welfare becomes a priority concern. Jasmine, by far our most stalwart denizens (as well as the least appreciative of the protection her stall offers), was released first. She didn't take long to voice her opinion of the current conditions which in her mind were obviously my doing. It didn't dampen her spirits too much though, and after a good long drink, Jasmine waded out to the edge of her field to see to the status of her neighbors across the street. They answered her calls from the comfort of their barn and all was well in Jasmine's world. She could now focus on her empty manger and stomach.

The goats were less enthused about my arrival and greeted me from a reclined position where they, no doubt, had lain since I checked them the night before. Their mood improved at the sight of fresh hay and they were quickly on their feet eating with gusto and pushed each other out of the way to get at the hay four inches to the left of the hay they already had available. Because even from the same bale, new hay is clearly superior to what's waiting in their manger.

The flock (chickens, ducks, and geese) are exponentially more vocal than all the rest of our charges combined. The chickens flooded out quickly and immediately regretted their decision. After a quick feeding frenzy, most of them retired back into the safety of their coop. The ducks and geese were much better suited to the record snow fall. They climbed and flapped through it like it was nothing but thick pond water. It's a marvel any of them fly south at all. The hens left us 7 eggs yesterday and another 7 today.
The rooster stall (AKA our tack room), being less than completely enclosed did not keep all the snow out. Fortunately, the roosters were not born yesterday, and decided to take up with the pigs, whose stall proved much cozier. The potbellies didn't seem to notice their presence or if they did, it was far less important than the contents of their food bucket.

As a whole everyone is in good spirits, but quite looking forward to warmer weather on the horizon. At least, they would if they paid any attention to the weather channel.

We captured some video of the snow storm. For our friends in warmer climates, THIS is a real snow storm. We are glad it is over and will be even happier when the thermometer hits the 40 degrees promised by our local weatherman. Thanks for visiting with us tonight, friends. We're glad you came by.

Sean and Sonja ♥

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Longing for Spring

I don’t know about you, but I am done with winter. I am done with snow. I am soooo done with days on end of temperatures hovering around zero and the wind-chill dipping well below it. I am done with chipping out water buckets and frozen manure from stall floors in the hopes of keeping them anywhere near usable. And, I am not alone. Our animals are done with it, too. Though we open the doors to their stalls each morning to allow them free access to their fields to stretch their legs, none do. The poor goats spend their days chewing hay from their mangers looking wistfully at fields covered over. Their eyes cast suspicion at me that I, supplier of food, bringer of petting and comfort, have somehow bestowed these horrible conditions they suffer through. The Vietnamese pot-bellies reluctantly unearth themselves out of their mound of hay just long enough to gobble down their food and then, dig themselves back under. The chickens cluck-cluck-cluck in a tizzy when I check the nest boxes as if to say, “You still have not fixed this! We are lodging a complaint!” The geese follow me around like the coop-yard-police they are, honking for warm water to swim in. Only the ducks and Fenn-dog (our husky) seem not to notice; whether they are truly impervious to the cold or are merely too good natured to complain is debatable.

I was recently reminded that the days are growing longer (we have gained over an hour at last count!) and promised that spring will return to the frozen north in its due time. This should offer me some solace as I, once more, thaw my fingers by the wood stove, but it doesn’t. What did help was an accident. In the course of cleaning out the bazillion images clogging my computer, I found myself mentally transported to last spring and all the new babies born to us at Lally Broch. Their sweet, baby cuteness conjured memories of little peeps, chirps and meeeehs, soft, downy bodies and my lap full of sleepy, warm goat-kid goodness.  

It didn’t seem right to keep them all to myself. So, here are a few of my favorites. If this does nothing to thaw your hearts, you might need to get yourself checked! 
Abigail newly born April 2012

Ellie and Abigail
Asher and Abigail April 2012

Mallard and Black Swedish Duckings
Basket of Chicks 2012

Caitlin Gosling is always friendly.

I love this picture because it looks like Broody hen and chick are talking to each other.

Thanks for visiting with us tonight. We really appreciate your company!

Sean and Sonja
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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Collin's Escape And Miss O.'s Update

Scratch. Scratch. Peck-peck-peck. Scratch.Scratch. Scratch.

Those are the sounds emanating from the larger livingroom pen Miss O. and Miss W. have moved into while completing their recuperation from their run in with our overly affectionate roosters. I wrote about it before and won't repeat myself here, but I did want to update those of you following along with their progress. Miss O. has regained all her energy. She is making up for lost time, eating everything I feed them with a healthy appetite. Living inside, they have been getting more than their fair share of the scraps normally slated for the main chicken coop yard. Her eyes are both open and alert. The left one is slightly more closed than normal, but I see improvements every day. Her feathers are regrowing on her head. Her comb will not regenerate, but it is healed over and the scab that had formed is gone. There is no evidence of any kind of infection present in either her comb area or at the place on her neck which sustained a large and grotesque puncture and tear. All in all, she is looking in fine form. It is astonishing the way our bodies are designed to heal. I shall be sad to end Miss O.'s days of luxury and our evenings cuddled on the couch watching TV, but I am convinced that she would prefer the company of her flock over the comfort of my shawl and I know my dogs will appreciate their ban from the living room being lifted.

I wanted to take some pictures and video of the piggies and goats over the weekend, but to be honest, nothing of interest is happening with them right now. Ellie is still living the high life in the basement. Pepper has been moved inside to keep her company. She is putting on weight steadily and moves about easily now. They pushed over the baby gate to wander the basement at will twice over the weekend. So, just as soon as the weather decides to stay out of the negative temperatures at night, they are both going back where they belong, too. The rest of the herd choose to spend their days inside their stalls, munching on hay. It just doesn't make for good television. As the spring returns, they will venture out more. There will be news and updates on potential pregnancies which will be more suitable to write about. As I have mentioned before, posting takes on cycles and it is just not their turn.

Our resident horde of roosters is another matter entirely. After the fiasco involving Miss O., the lads were moved into what is supposed to be our tack room.  It is still our hope that we find them homes and hens of their own to protect and love. If not, they will find homes in someone's freezer. The area is 10ft square with a glass door and window to provide light. The room next to them is home to our piggies until the weather turns. Beyond that is what will someday become a working milk room. The piggies room is sheathed along the bottom 4 feet on both sides with plywood, but the top is open. I like the openness because I can peek in at the piggies from either the tack room or milk rooms. When the piggies return to their real home in the spring, that area will be even more fascinating, freshly cleaned and prepared for baby goat kids and their Mommas to live in, I can't wait for the babies to come! Not surprisingly, the seven roosters taking temporary shelter in that side of the barn, do not respect their boundaries. So far, I have found them roosting in the garden supplies stored in the milk room, along the tops of the room dividers, and nestled down across the tool crib. This is inconvenient as they are walking poop factories and have made small messes everywhere! And, to add insult to injury, they created a hole in their fencing and escaped last weekend in an attempt to return to the main chicken yard. Collin led the revolt.

Eventually, Sean and I were able to capture them and return them to their proper home and no harm was done. I captured some short clips of Collin trying to lure away some hens from the main coop yard and also, how eagerly we are greeted when we stop by for a visit- freezing temperatures and hurricane-like gusts of wind or no.

Thanks for stopping in for a visit. We're glad you came.
Sean and Sonja ♥