Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Signs of Kidding Season

You know, besides all the baby goats running around wanting to be fed, and the lack of sleep, regular communication with friends, and extra curricular activities.

*You have to vacuum out your washing machine on a regular basis. From laundering all the towels you use to dry off wet baby goats, obviously.

*You find yourself asking loved ones "Does this poop smell funny to you?" presented with an offering of a sample of the suspicious material.

*Alternately, you may hold a kid's back end up to their nose while asking a similar question.

(Side note: it is so WEIRD to me how important the consistency/smell/color of poop is in goat keeping, especially considering I grew up in a family that basically pretended bodily functions and fluids were myths not to be mentioned/acknowledged. Ever.)

*The amount of time you have to consume your first cup of coffee/breakfast is determined by how long it takes to warm up milk for bottle babies.

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*Towels often go directly from the dryer -> use -> back to washing machine without being folded, because that's how quickly they'll be used again.

*Clothes often follow the same pattern because you can only wear shirts and pants from a messy birthing for so long before hypothermia sets in.

*You find yourself creeping around the house first thing in the morning because if you make a floor board creak, the bottle babies will realize you are awake and start screaming for you to feed them NOW. (Not too bad with ten to fifteen bottle babies, but we rarely have that few).

*Acne revisits parts of your face because baby goats will take a rubber nipple more easily the first few times if they can mouth your chin/nose/cheeks first.  Apparently, a mixture of colostrum and baby goat spit is not meant to be applied as a tonic.

*All activities are scheduled around when bottle feedings need to be done.  Which means few activities are scheduled off the farm.  In fact, you are surprised by how much seasonal change has happened since the last time you left the property when you finally have to go into town.

*Empty feed bags aren't thrown away, but set aside as "barn laundry bags".

*Your daily outfit is determined by how many stains you think are possible that day, and by how willing you are to get more bleach stains on that particular piece of clothing.

*You find yourself so tired that even microwaving a meal feels too much like cooking which feels like work, so...cheese and crackers is a well rounded meal right?  Eh, I'll have to wash the knife and cutting board...cereal straight from the box it is!

*Getting a shower in feels like a minor victory.  Notice I didn't mention how often you are getting that shower.

We are currently at light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel time, where we only have a few more does left to kid, which means that at least there will stop being an ever-increasing number of mouths to feed, and the goat population will start to go on a downward trend as kids head off to their new homes.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Day at the Coast

Note: I wrote this last year, and it would seem that I never actually published it.  Since it is once more January, this seems like a good time to go ahead and get it on the blog.
My birthday is sometime during January, and the only good thing about a January birthday is that kidding has not yet started, and it is a good time to visit the coast.

For my birthday, I decided to take myself for a ten mile hike on one of my favorite trails.  One of the best parts was seeing a stream that actually had running water in it.  This should be our rainy season, but we are in the grip of an epic drought in California, and the thirteen months prior to this hike are the driest since records have been kept.  This drought is in fact, the worst drought the state has seen in over 1,200 years. I stood on a bridge over this creek and absorbed all the babbling creek sound I could.

It didn't have as much water as it should at this point in the year, but it was still refreshing to see any kind of flow.

I love the quiet of the forest, and of course, bird watching along the way.

This view is what my mind's eye sees every time I think of this trail.  It is such a great mix of tall trees, native shrubs, and annuals.

Our native blackberries, which have much, much smaller thorns than the invasive non native species, also have bright pink flowers when in bloom:

California blackberry flower
The area that I hiked in was off limits to dogs, but the day was mild and since Stella has been doing so much better in the car, I took her with me on the drive with plans for a post hike, dog-inclusive adventure. My idea was to take her to Stinson Beach and blow her little mind by introducing her to the ocean, which I know she's never seen before.

To make sure she treated the ocean with respect, I told her a story of a creature...

Me, as I whisper the Legend of The Kraken in Stella's ear.

Apparently, I was a pretty convincing story teller, because she seemed to believe me...

It's right behind us, isn't it? I can feel it watching us...


Stella, what would you do if the Kraken got close to you?

I'd make this menacing face and scare it. Grrrrr!

I'm sure that would work splendidly.  Hey, I need to tell you something.

Watching for emerging Krakens! Can't be distracted!

Look at me when I am talking to you, please.

Okay! I'm all ears.

The Kraken isn't real, it's just a story.

I knew the whole time! I was just playing along to make you feel better.

Sure you did.

Somehow, once I told her it wasn't real, she was much better about posing for a nice picture with the ocean.

We wrapped up the day by enjoying the view of the Pacific and the setting sun.

Some people were flying fighting kites on the beach, which was the most fascinating thing in the world to Stella.  Way more interesting even than the ocean with it's waves that chase dogs up the beach.

Staring at fighting kites, then staring some more.

Could. Barely. Pull. Her. Away.

What an all-around wonderful day, and one of the best parts was how well Stella did in the car.  She's always had a combination of anxiety and motion sickness that has made it difficult to take her with us on car trips.  For our coastal sojourn, she spent at least four hours in a moving car, and didn't throw up or anxiously drool at all, and actually sat and looked out of the window for most of it! Life's little victories, still happening every day!