Thursday, November 27, 2014

Double Trouble

Angel and Candor playing in the goat pen.
Two pretty doelings are ready for their close up Mr. Demille!

Sweet little Angel and Candor are a little over a week apart in age, and they are always together.  The day after Candor was born the temperatures dipped below zero.  Angel, Candor, and their mamas spent a week in an insulated shed.  The girls had plenty of time to bond during the deep freeze.  Now I watch them leaping and playing in the goat pen.  They jump into tires, hide in grain buckets, and drive their mamas crazy.

Feeling Creative!

A 16oz. quilted Ball jar is turned into a soap dispenser with some spray paint, Gorilla glue, and a soap pump.
The tired cabinet in our main floor bath is spruced up with some chalkboard paint and newly painted knobs.
I've been collecting scrap wood to make signs.  Now my girls are doing it too!

Lately, I've had a burst of creativity.  It's been simmering inside of me for ages, and I've finally unleashed it.  I think reading The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith helped.  If you get a chance read the book, Myquillyn has some amazing decorating ideas and tips.  That being said, I've pulled out a lot of the odds and ends I've been collecting and turning them into beautiful home art.  Coffee bags a purchased for $1 a piece are becoming sofa pillow covers and covering up a gaping hole we've had in a bathroom wall.  Old cabinet knobs have been painted and reused on knobless cabinets.  I've been collecting scrap wood to paint and write quotes on for whimsical art for our walls.  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Lots of New Life

Newborn Lionhead Rabbit Twins

It feels like spring on the Ranch, not late fall.  Every week it seems like we're blessed with new babies.  My youngest daughter has a female Lionhead rabbit named Gingersnap, my oldest daughter has a male named Skittles.  We've tried to put them together on several occasions, but never thought anything had happened.  Earlier this week I tried to move Gingersnap out of her small indoor cage to our much larger outdoor hutch.  Once the deep freeze moved in, I put Gingersnap back into the house this time in the basement.  I wasn't in the mood to shell out more money for yet another heated waterer.  I visited Nappy (as I like to call her) a couple times a day, making sure she had fresh food and water.  Earlier this morning, I checked on her, everything seemed normal, so I went about my morning ranch chores.  A few hours later I went back down to get the goats a little grain, as I peered into Nappy's cage I noticed several tufts of fur in one corner of the cage and a small amount of blood in the other.  Babies, were my first thought, but I couldn't find any.  Gingersnap hopped nervously around the cage.  Finally two, tiny pink babies started wiggling in the pile of fluff.  I grabbed the cage and made my way upstairs to show the girls the new family.  We brought Nappy back up to the girls' room, where they'll be warm and safe.  I covered the cage with a towel  to make Gingersnap more comfortable.  At last check she was busy keeping her wee ones warm.  I think this is the end of births at the ranch for awhile.  Whew, what a day!

My Little Problem Child

Big Buck Ranch Candor
One week ago a beautiful, unexpected doeling entered the world.  She looks just like her mama.  I didn't realize mama was pregnant until nearly a week before she gave birth.  Erudite is normally a little wide after she eats.  She was supposed to be bred this fall, not accidentally this summer.  Here is her beautiful little girl, Candor, born in the warmth, spending her first week dealing with unseasonably bitter cold.   Thursday morning, I found her shivering, stuffy, and wheezing after a frigid night of eight degrees below zero.  After a dose of VetRx and a little goat coat, she was clear and perky yesterday morning.  Yesterday was a balmy 40+ degrees, a perfect day for a new baby to finally warm up.  This morning, my little surprise goat once again had to deal with the deep freeze, as snow a single digit temperatures raced in.  As  I went around doing morning chores, I discovered Candor with her front feet in the bucket of warm water I had just put in the shelter for her mom.  Luckily, I had a towel in the shelter to dry the wee one off.  Candor seems more fragile than the other babies born in the past couple of months.  She's more wobbly, had to deal with winter right off the bat.  I worry because she's precious.  Hopefully, next week with it's warmer temperatures will give Candor a chance to thrive!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Ewwwwww, there's poo!

Freshly laid Big Buck Ranch eggs.  The green own comes from a breed known as an Easter Egger.

Let's face it, chickens aren't the cleanest animals.  They poop anywhere and everywhere they please.  This includes their nest boxes.  Ugh!  Fresh chicken eggs are not the pristine specimens you find at your local grocery store.  On some occasions it's a rarity to find a clean egg in the coop.  Most of the time the chickens have gotten something on the shell, this includes feather, wood shavings, dirt and poo.  Fear not, this gunk on the shell will not hurt the egg!

I do not like to wash my eggs, much to the chagrin of my husband, I prefer to keep the poo on the egg until it's time to crack it.  The day I use the egg, is the day that it's washed.  When a hen lays her egg, she puts a protective mucus coating on it called the bloom.  The bloom dries in a matter or seconds after the egg is laid.  Chances are unless you've seen a hen lay an egg, you wouldn't ever know that the bloom was there.  The bloom protects the the porous surface of the egg from bacteria.  Soooo, by not washing the egg I keep it a little fresher, a little cleaner, and a little safer.  Bon appetite!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Our Little Angel


Once again, I missed it!!  Sweet Candy, my yearling doe, was due November 1.  Lo and behold, she delivered in the cold two days before her due date.  I had left the ranch to attend my son's last regular season football game.  Sweet Candy was looking big, but she was eating normally and hanging with the herd.  Nothing seemed to be happening.  Midway through the first quarter of the game, I got a phone call from the lone child at home.  Sure enough, Sweet Candy had delivered twins.  The babies were tiny and fragile; the white doeling was alive and well, while the black buckling struggled for air.  My daughter tried to revive him, but he quickly faded.  The game was a blow out on our part, so I cut out during the final minutes of the first quarter to rush home to the new family.  I placed the wee doeling in the warm shelter and had to catch mom to get her in.  We decided to call the doeling Angel, a fitting name with her white fluff and blue eyes.  Mom and baby are warm, snuggley, and doing incredibly well.

The Maternity Ward

Erudite and Sweet Candy in the birthing shelter.

Last Thursday my yearling doe, Sweet Candy, gave birth for the first time.  She had twins, a boy and a girl.  Sadly, the little boy did not survive.  I've been struggling with his death.  I was gone the night Sweet Candy delivered, I keep wondering if her buckling would have survived if I had been there to help.

This morning, I headed out to the goat pens to give them some hay.  Webi and Sweet Candy are currently in one pen with their babies and Pipsqueak, my wether.  The other two does, Dauntless and Erudite, have been moved in with the bucklings for breeding.  I was putting hay in their pen, when I noticed Erudite looked very wide.  I walked behind only to find a swollen back end and what looked like a full udder.  Not too sure who the daddy is, and I'm shocked I completely missed her pregnancy.  I quickly moved Erudite back to the "baby" pen.  This led to a hasty division of my large shelter where Sweet Candy and her doeling are.  Sweet Candy and Webi delivered out in the cold, Erudite will deliver in a warm clean shelter.  I'm not taking any chances!  Once again we're on baby watch.