Tuesday, April 7, 2015

A Mystery of Sorts...

We knew it was coming within the next week or so and even watching for it, we missed it by about an hour. After this morning's milking, Sean checked all the stalls to give everyone a quick once over and say, "Good morning." Everyone looked fine. No signs of imminent kidding from Bailey and Lilly or Haddie and Salome. (There is some question as to whether Haddie and Lilly are bred. I am of the mind that Lilly might be; Sean insists neither are.) Judah's scouring is completely resolved. Jem, Ellie, and Cassie are all putting on weight. Lilly is up and walking around normally again. I meant to write a bit about her injury last week, but hadn't yet done so.

Here's the snapshot... Lilly injured her right front knee a couple weeks ago playing with Bailey. It became swollen and was difficult for her to put her weight on it. There was no sign of infection. We gave her a shot of Banamine the first two days and wrapped it with gauze and Vetrap to help stabilize the joint. Lilly preferred to lay down most of the time and she went off her feed which caused us more concern. We talked with our Veterinary and determined a course of treatment. Banamine was discontinued in favor of one 325 mg aspirin each morning and night. To help stimulate her appetite and get her back to eating, we gave Lilly 20 cc of Propylene Glycol morning and night orally and injected 5 cc Fortified Vitamin B each morning. For a boost of vitamins and to tempt her palate, we added extra fresh veggies (spinach, peas, banana, and apples) in addition to her grain. This did the trick. Lilly resumed eating within 24 hours and slowly began putting her weight on her leg. It took about 7 days before she was walking more regularly. By day 10, she met me at the gate and gave Bailey a shove to push her out of the way to get to her morning grain. The bandage came off and I am happy to report there seems to be no lasting damage.

There is no way around it- being cooped up in the barn is extra hard on good herd management. Even with the doors open to snow covered pastures, no one is willing to spend much time outside. So many animals confined to the stalls in our barn is a recipe for the spread of germs and injuries to occur. I cannot stress how often and vehemently we pray for this weather to break- for all of our sakes.

We thought last winter was long and hard. It made me wonder if I was remembering years past with rose-colored glasses. So, I took a look back and this is what I found:

April 2012~
Ellie and Asher April 11, 2012
At the beginning of April, notice the goat fields are completely bare of snow.

At this point, Ellie had just kidded Abigail and Asher. Jedi, Pepper, Rachel, and Leah were all yearlings. Young days for us on the homestead.

April 2013~

Ruby with Haddie and Salome, Rachel and Keren and Leah's son, Judah all playing on the front lawn, picking at the grass beginning to already green up and grow!

April 2014~

The beginning of April last year saw still some snow in the pastures, but it was melting quickly. Much of the pasture was open for Jane and her buckling, Jesse to wander about in.

Melted snow water collected in low spots and took a little longer to be absorbed into the earth. There was nothing to eat in the pasture areas, but there was sun and room to stretch legs and bounce around in play.

It snowed another inch over night. Add that to the 2 inches from Sunday night and I am almost convinced that we are never going to see the ground again.

Levi is romping in planters that at this time last year already had mint and chives emerging. Several inches of snow are still covering my herb garden beds. 

Phoebe is standing where the kids of 2013 were romping on green grass. There is no green grass. There is little hope of green grass coming even in a short while. And all the farms around us are suffering in the same boat. Our regular hay supplier ran out long ago. Our back-up supplier ran out of hay mid-winter. Our most recently found hay supplier brought us an additional 120 bales and ran out of hay to sell until June- if the snow is gone by then. I think I am joking. We called seven hay suppliers this week searching for more hay to get us through the season. We were blessed to find it and thankful. Just another symptom of how bad this year has been for man and beast.

For us, we have committed to growing CSA shares for 5 families this season. To that end, Cameron DePaola is busy starting the non-GMO organic seeds we provided him. He'll start those that need a jump-start like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, spinach, and watermelon in his aquaponic system. With success, we'll expect about 157 six-packs back from him in 6-8 weeks. That is a lot of veg- even to support six families. It is more than we'll plant here at the homestead, but we'll offer the extra plants for purchase in the early weeks of our attending Bucksport's farmer's market. In addition to what Cameron will plant for us, tomorrow, I will start dill, cilantro, basil, romaine and red romaine lettuces, kale, and spinach inside. If the weather ever does decide to turn, we will be ready to transplant our seedlings and direct-seed more hearty crops of corn, beans, peas, beets, pumpkin, onions, garlic, potatoes, carrots, and radishes.

I began this post talking about something that happened in spite of our watching for it. Instead, the thoughts and worries of the day needed release. They bubbled forth and took over my fingers leaving me at peace to sleep tonight. While that is well and good for me, I am not so heartless as to leave you hanging completely unsatisfied. Here is a glimpse of what tomorrow's post will look like... 

This is Benjamin. He and his brother, Jacob, were born today. I'll introduce Jacob to you tomorrow and share the pictures I captured today. ♥ Mom and boys are doing great.

Good night, my friends. See you in the morning.

~Sean and Sonja ♥

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