Archives for May 2011

Life on the Farm Goes On

No matter what drama is unfolding, life on a farm continues.

Construction of the chicken coop began today. While the goat house isn’t complete inside or out, it’s complete enough that they can start the coop and finish that later. I’ve got young chickens in my small coop bursting to get out and I needed that bigger coop yesterday.

The chicken coop now has a floor and two walls

The two buildings will be connected by a "silo" that will be a fully enclosed small chicken run

And this is what it will all look like when it’s done.

Bullet is the keeper of the animals. He takes his job very seriously. He is particularly interested in the young animals. He guards the young chicks in the brooder coop.

And checks in often with the baby goats.

Bullet exhausts himself working so hard and sleeps very soundly

Grace & Kiki are liking their visits to the great outdoors and Melina and Princess Kate are getting used to them.

Mostly Melina and Kate hang by themselves, busying themselves with bush pruning and other important things.

Princess Kate & Melina chillin on some straw bales

Kate doing some pruning

Melina has been seen on the back porch guarding the babies though

The chickens are absolutely fascinated by the new hay racks in the goat house and every day I find several eggs in them.

The chickens are fascinated in general by the new goat house. Wait until they figure out they're getting a new coop!

But with the heat we’ve been having there’s been a lot of lollygagging around and dust baths being taken.

It’s comforting that life goes on in it’s usual pattern here on the farm. It will help me get back into my routine.

A Wyoming Barn

Events like what has happened over the last few days here might make some people give up. Say this "farming" life isn't for them. It makes me want it even more. But not here on my small plot of land. Somewhere bigger. More land. Bigger barn. More animals. Vets that are familiar with large animal husbandry. I love my life with my animals. They bring me such incredible joy and make my children's life so much richer. As for my husband; he's an amazing man just for putting up with me.


Cissy • Born January 27, 2009 • Died May 30, 2011

My sweet Cissy passed away this afternoon. We just couldn’t find a way to treat the toxemia that she’d developed from her pregnancy, although I feel confident that the vet tried every possible course of action and spoke to every qualified veterinarian she could get on the phone for new ideas on treatments. She put up a hard fight, but after over 3 days of being critically sick, she had a seizure and died shortly after that.

She was a sweet and loving goat who gave us nothing but joy and laughs. We will all miss her. She left this earth leaving two wonderful things in my care.

Me with Grace and Kiki

And I will do my best to take the best possible care of them. Melina has agreed tentatively that she might help out.

Melina meets the new babies

Grace and Kiki ventured outside for the first time today

Bleeding Hearts

These bleeding hearts are blooming in my garden. Since I about felt like my heart broke today, I felt they were appropriate.

The Waiting Game

There is still little change is Momma Cissy’s condition. She is still in critical condition at the vets. It is still touch-and-go. I will hear from the vet again in the morning and am hoping to visit her. Of course none of this is made easier because it Memorial Day Weekend and the vet is closed for a full two days. They only have someone in the office every few hours to check on the “patients”.

In the meantime, my duties as Mom to my own kids and the goat babies has kept me running. I cannot remember the last night I cooked a meal. But I have had some quality time with my family, and some times when I’m so distracted I cannot even answer a question. We’ve been blessed with beautiful weather, so lots of outdoor activities have been occurring. Tomorrow Evan and I are hoping to get some garden fencing built and finally get some plants in the ground.

I put together a short video of the goat babies dancing around today in the goat house and of them drinking their bottles. They are absolutely adorable and growing like weeds. Tomorrow will be there first venture outside and they will meet Melina and Princess Kate. Click the link just below to watch the video.

Kid Antics

Speaking of Melina, she seems to be horribly depressed without her best friend. Princess Kate seems unaffected by Cissy’s absence and is just glad that Melina has stopped beating the crap out of her on a daily basis. In fact the opposite has happened – she has suddenly become Kate’s protector, which is so interesting to me.


My sister came down on Saturday afternoon with her two unicycles. We both rode them as kids, but I probably hadn't ridden one in 35 years (give or take). Marissa is significantly taller than I am, and her standard-sized wheel unicycle could not be adjusted down enough for me to reach the pedals, so I was stuck riding this large-wheeled one she had, which is much harder to ride. Determined to prove to my kids that I did indeed used to ride all over town on mine, I did manage to get up and ride it.

Goat Babies and Caprine Toxemia

Cissy had a very quick and easy delivery of the kids. So quick in fact, that by the time I ran out to the goat house at the first bleating noises she made, the first baby was already half-way out and Cissy was still in the stall with Melina and Princess Kate! Melina was very upset to see her best friend clearly in distress. I was trying to get them out of the stall, call Jim and the kids over the baby monitor, and help Cissy all at the same time. I didn’t get a single video or picture of the birth of the first baby. And even with my carefully laid out plans, the video that I did get was, well, simply not the best. I have pieced together the best of what I got starting just after the birth of the first kid. I decided to leave the live audio just as it was. Click the link below to watch. Warning: there is live a live birth shown briefly here.

Cissy's Kids are Born

I have tentatively chosen names:



It has been a very long two days.

Cissy’s condition deteriorated throughout the day Friday. It started with liquid diarrhea that continued throughout the day, but symptoms kept being added as the day went on; labored breathing, lethargy, wouldn’t eat, grinding teeth. By mid-day she way trying to kick the babies away when they tried to nurse and I literally had to drag her off her feet to get her to stand.

The most frustrating part in all of this is the lack of caprine veterinary care in my area. I have two vets that I have used for my goats, but both only know the bare basics of goat care. Luckily I had Karen Elliott of Black Duck Farm. She is the woman I purchased Cissy and Melina from and I got her involved back when I thought Melina was overdue. She and I had been communicating all day long in regards to Cissy’s condition. By evening I knew there was something terribly wrong and we’d come to the conclusion that it might be ketosis as she had many of the symptoms. After calling both of my vets and being referred to the local 24 hour emergency vet clinic I called them. They told me they didn’t treat goats to which I promptly burst out into tears and asked them if I gave them the list of medicine I needed could they provide it for me. The receptionist put me on hold and a vet got on the line and agreed to see me.

Cissy was feeling pretty lousy by Friday night when I rushed her off to the vets.

She has been in critical condition since last night. This morning I picked her up and transferred her to my vet in Wilton. She had a neck tube in where they were pushing saline with glycose all night. She was not a happy camper.

Transferring Cissy to my vets this morning with I.V. tube still in her neck.

Tonight the vet called and said she didn’t hold out a lot of hope. I do feel pretty confident that they tried everything possible. They spoke to my vet in Wyoming, who actually does know a lot about large animal care, and called every large-animal vet they could get on the phone today for help. Nothing had improved her condition. She asked to keep her for the night, but if her condition hadn’t improved by morning she thought we should put her out of her misery.

However, she called me late this evening to say she’d gone in to check on her and she was standing on her own and bleating! I’m trying not to get my hopes up but I can’t help it. I’ll know more in the morning.

In the meantime I have been “mom”. Teaching the kids to nurse from a bottle has been challenging, but they are getting the hang of it.

What in the heck are those and where is mom's udder?

I’m exhausted mentally, emotionally and physically. I’m a mess. The kids are a mess. Melina and Princess Kate haven’t gone back into the goat house since we took Cissy away last night. They chose to sleep outside in the fenced chicken area both last night and tonight. I was too tired to force them. Melina is clearly sad and confused as to where her best friend has gone.

It’s been a long few days filled with great highs and sad lows.

Grace Giving Kisses

Grace is giving me a kiss on the chin.

They’re Here!!!

Update: I’m going to add photos as the day goes on because they are just to cute not to. I’m trying to get them to nurse well and it’s a bit of a struggle. I am covered in goats milk and have just been slapped in the face by a diarrhea-covered tail (Cissy’s got it after the trauma of the birth). Gross. The joys of ‘farming’.

Well the wait is over. Around 8:45 last night I heard Cissy bleating loudly over the baby monitor and by the time I got out to the goat house the first baby was already half-way out! I couldn’t even grab a camera fast enough to get a single picture of the delivery! It was pretty chaotic for the first 10 minutes or so. She was still in the big pen and Melina was very upset and I was afraid she would harm CIssy or the baby, so while this poor baby is half-way out of Cissy I’m trying to shove a distressed Melina and Princess Kate out the stall door, call Jim and the kids over the baby monitor and help Cissy all at the same time. Once all that was done I could settle down to help her. She hadn’t even finished cleaning the first one off when we were delighted to see another one coming. This one was much smaller than the first, and looks very much like Cissy. Both are girls and are doing well. Cissy seemed tired but content. I’ll write all about it tomorrow, but I just wanted to post a few photos.

Two girl kids arrived last night safely - and quickly!

It was truly amazing to watch, and I am so happy that Jim and the kids got to see it too. They were so excited to see them born.

This was the first girl born. She's a beautiful red color with white markings.

She was completely worn out from the ordeal of being born and once she'd had a little milk she took a nap under the water bucket.


The first of two kids born last night. Isn't she adorable!