Thursday, April 30, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy and off again to Gray TN!

The fair was a lot of fun and I got to see customers both old and new....delightful!  The weather was beautiful! I think it was probably the best weather we have ever had during this festival.  Very hot and sunny!

Lots of vendors! Beautiful weather!

Josiah sold a lot of bean pole tee-pees and old fashioned fishing poles.  People stopped to take their picture with "Tom Sawyer"...Josiah says that if he could charge for the pictures he could make a lot more money :) He was also interviewed by a local radio station that was doing a live feed from the festival. My shy on the air!

Tom Sawyer!

Jeremy sold a little bit of his hand-beaded jewelry!  He will be doing one more festival and then trying to sell the remainder of his creations online.  Now that he is graduating from high school, he doesn't feel he will have the time to invest in jewelry making, so he is selling it!

That Bead Guy!

and Elijah...well..Elijah made a killing selling ice cold bottles of water out of an old fashioned wash tub!  Actually, Josiah helped him sell, Jeremy helped him sell, John the beekeeper in the tent next to Elijah helped him sell, Mom and I helped him sell and some people took water and tucked the money in the pocket on his chair.....why did Elijah need so much help selling this water?

Well....because Elijah was very busy!  Everytime I looked at him he was learning something.  There was a young man there who taught him how to finish the end of a rope....even how to place a handle on it.  This young man loved the Lord and he and his wife took a shine to Elijah.

Then I found him doing this..

.Creating a Whimmy Diddle!

Elijah is sitting here with Will Hines...the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle World Champion!  Elijah asked Will if he would teach him to make a Whimmy Diddle.  Will was happy to oblige.  He believes that Elijah is a "natural" Whimmy Diddler.  They spent a lot of time together while Elijah learned this craft.  Will is a White Cooper.   I didn't know what a White Cooper was.....if you don't know either, you can find out by visiting Will's website here.  Looking at Elijah's face, I'd say he is having a lot of fun!

Then before I knew it, I found Elijah working with Bob...

The beginning!

Elijah spent about 3 hours on this creation throughout the day...

Working hard!

He may have found a new vocation....

Fun tools in a shady spot!

Can you guess what he made?  I'll show you a picture next time!  Not trying to be a stinker but I simply haven't taken a picture of it since we got home!  Why you ask?

Because I've been very busy!  We came home and everything put away the next day and hit the garden.  We supposedly had two days of sunshine before 6 days of rain arrived.  There were lots of plants in the greenhouse that needed to get in the garden before that rain!  We have spent the last few days planting tons of cabbage, broccoli,  cauliflower and preparing more beds.  I've come up with an idea that I hope contains my out of control mint....I am trimming back some over zealous medicinal herbs and preparing some areas to plant some new ones.  I am trying to expand my medicinal herbs this year...seems there is a big interest in medicinal herbs....thanks to our nation's economic woes.

We are loading the truck today to head to Gray TN for the other festival I do each year.  I'll be at the Appalachian fairgrounds on Friday and Saturday.  I'll be teaching on herbs each day...once on cooking and once on medicinal herbs.  Then life should settle back down and we can concentrate more on our garden...until Josiah is ready to do farmer's market.

Each year I have been offered to join the festival circuit....traveling to a new venue each weekend and setting up to sell.  I just don't have an interest in that.  I can't imagine how I would have the time to make the things I sell.  I make it all in small batches by hand.  It takes a lot of time.  How would I do this....or care for my home, my boys, my garden.....and I'd miss my church family way too much!

I do two local festivals a year and am evaluating those this year to see if it is worth it to continue.  It is a lot of work preparing for the festivals.  We've made good friends at each one and the boys and I look forward to them each year.  However the thought of doing that several times a month doesn't thrill me at all!

My ultimate goal one day is for the boys and I to build a little shop here on the farm where I can teach classes, sell fresh and dried herbs, essential oils (at reasonable prices!) and of course my soaps, medicinal salves and teas...perhaps even some soapmaking supplies for those who want to make soap for their own families!  The plain truth is that I like to be home....I'd rather serve my local community than travel the nation.  I take any and all opportunities to speak in my local community....I am often stopped and asked "Hey! Aren't you the herb lady?"  And that's o.k. by me!

Now, I'm off to pack the truck one last time....


Friday, April 24, 2009

Join me in Kingsport TN?

For the next two days we will be attending the Spring Garden Fair at The Exchange Place in Kingsport, TN.   It is a lovely Spring festival held every year on an historic farm.  There will be thousands of plants for sale…all kinds….and many activities for children.  You can read more about it here.  I'll be speaking Sunday afternoon - I think they have asked me to teach on making compresses and poultices.

Both Josiah and Elijah will be entering the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle contest for Eden's Ridge  on Sunday afternoon.  They will be defending their titles that they won last can read about that here.  They have also volunteered to teach anyone who wants to learn on Saturday...just drop by and see us - we will be in the old School House.

It should be a beautiful day!  Hope to see some of my local readers there - please be sure to introduce yourselves!

I'll be back next week with plenty of pictures!


Monday, April 20, 2009

It was a lovely tea party!

We had a lively discussion about our Constitution and the Bill of Rights on the way to town.  I wondered if our small town would have a decent turnout.  I was thrilled when I turned the corner to our courthouse square.  There were many people... all ages...all walks of life...many carrying signs.

Fed up!

Filling the square!

Gettin' riled up!

Here is one of my favorite ones!

Mr. Schumer...TAKE NOTE!

The arrogance of many of the politicians....seems that they forget that WE pay their salaries...perhaps it is time to pull that plug for some of the socialist/marxist candidates during the next election!

We had some wonderful speakers - warning about the implementation of the communist manifesto here in our beloved country, the dangers of the thefts bailouts, and explaining to people that the Federal Reserve is no more federal than Federal Express and also explaining how dangerous this banking cartel is to our economy.

One of our former Representatives, David Davis, spoke eloquently and was well received!

David Davis (in light blue shirt)

One of the speakers asked for 12 volunteers and then explained exactly how much a trillion dollars is...


3 of my 4 boys are in this picture...everyone is getting into position....and once they did the picture made the front page of our local paper.

People were kind, polite, and respectful....they were also fed up, angry, and demanding know that thing the President promised..."change"....well what he is delivering isn't measuring up to what our Constitution promises and what the people want.....and they are beginning to let him know!

Our area is already calling for a repeat on July 4th...sounds like a plan to me!

So, how did your party go?


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Join us for T.E.A.?

We invite you to join us for a T.E.A. party today...Taxed Enough Already! that is!  The boys and I will be attending our local tea party. I am sure there is one near can read below to find out more.  Let me know how your party went :)
Today I'm writing to ask you for a very important favor.  It's not a favor for me but for you, your family and our nation. On April 15 there will be taxpayer tea parties literally across this nation.  I'm asking you to attend one of these taxpayer tea parties and bring as many friends and family as possible. For a list of these important rallies, please visit You'll be able to choose the one closest to you.

These tea parties will be closely watched by the media, by elected officials and by the Obama Administration. We must demonstrate that hundreds of thousands of Americans are willing to take time out from their work and from their busy lives to stand up for our economic freedoms. At Americans for Prosperity we know the power of grassroots Americans. You've seen it yourself in recent months. These taxpayer tea parties are the biggest opportunity we have to show the grassroots fire against the spending, debt, tax increases and freedom-killing big government. That's why I need for you to attend one of these taxpayer tea parties. If you're willing to come, please click here to let us know which one you'll be attending.

In addition, we'll be offering anybody attending a tea party the chance to win $1,000! AFP Foundation and Heritage Foundation have joined forces to launch the Stop Spending Our Future initiative, which offers four contests and $5,000 in total prizes. Our "Spread the Word" contest will award $1,000 to the individual that collects the best video testimonial from an attendee at one of these tea parties. For more information, please visit

We are going to win if we stand up and fight every day.  These taxpayer tea parties are just the kind of fight we need. I hope to see you at one of the rallies.

Tim Phillips
President, Americans for Prosperity


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Kidding Surprises

We plan our kidding times very least we think we do!

It is our hope to have kidding season begin at the end of winter.  We don't want does dropping babies in the field at night when the temperature is in the 30's....too easy to loose babies in the cold.  However, the weather doesn't always cooperate and it certainly hasn't this year.

Our next doe kidded on a cold, overcast and rainy day.  Her name is Baby Girl.  She is an Alpine doe who had a rough start herself and is a bit on the small side.  She is, however, an excellent and experienced mama.  We knew she was close and we were checking frequently throughout the day.  I told the boys that I just thought it might be "today".  We checked her shortly after noon and then got busy on a project outside.  I think we checked again about 3 hours later.  I was helping with something at Mom's house when Jeremy came in to tell me she was in labor.

I went home to change into chore clothes and Mom beat me to the barn, as did all the boys.  When I got to there, I found out that Jeremy was wrong - she wasn't in labor - she was working on the afterbirth!  There were already two babies on the ground!


But, there were problems.  They were very weak.  I didn't know how long it had been since she had given birth - she was in a pen in the barn but it was still very cold.  They were shivering and unable to stand.  I had never seen such weak babies in all the years we've done this.  I truthfully didn't expect them to live.

Mama was doing the best she could to stimulate them and clean them up...

Mama hard at work!

The red topped container is a Betadine solution to dip their umbilical cords into - to prevent infection and encourage drying.

First feeding!

Josiah is trying to get this little buck to take some colostrum. It is very important for the babies to begin taking colostrum shortly after birth.  He's not much interested....he'd rather be sleeping.  We finally got a syringe and began force feeding them a little at a time to get a few ounces into their tummies.

Sound asleep!

They both curled up on Josiah's lap and fell asleep.  We decided that it would be way to cold to leave them in the barn overnight.  I made a quick run to the store for some powdered colostrum, just in case, and a nipple for weak kids.

When I got back we encountered another problem!  I found that one of them was bleeding out through his umbilical cord.  It was difficult to see since he was still covered with blood from his birth.  It appeared that he had developed some sort of hernia just past his belly. We sterilized some string, tied it off in two places(one as close to the belly as possible and one an inch or so further down...just to be sure) and covered it with alcohol.  The bleeding stopped! We took turns staying with them and their mama until about 11:00 pm.  Then we brought the babies in, milked mama out and brought in her colostrum. The boys took turns looking after them and feeding them through the night.

My mother came over to offer babysitting services while the boys did chores and I got a few things done.  They were very contented on Grandma's lap.


Their ears droop down, instead of the normal "airplane" ears you find in Alpine babies.  The boys named them Droopy and Floppy, I don't know if those names will change if their ears stand up.  It appears that one of them has some sort of issue with one of his eyes - it almost looks like a cataract.

We are placing them with mama on the warm and sunny days (few and far between) and in the house with us when the weather is nasty.  Our prayers are that they will survive and grow strong and healthy.  Our plan is to wether one so that our buck has a companion and to sell the other.

This agrarian life has ups and downs...but we rest safely in the knowledge that He holds everything in His hands and that the promises of Romans 8:28 are true.  He is a loving and faithful Father and His desires for us are for good and not for evil.  No matter what....we trust Him.

We will keep the goat nursery open until they are able to get around on their own and we'll keep you informed of their progress!


Friday, April 10, 2009

Limited Government? The Enumerated Powers Act!

Bet you haven't seen this on the evening news...or at any other time either!  What a great idea!  Everyone....EVERY ONE... of the congressmen and senators have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution.  Therefore...why would ANY of them have a problem with this bill?  If you don't find your representative on the list of co-sponsors, call them today and put the pressure on....this just might reign in the abuses of power we are seeing on a daily basis.

Rep. Shadegg is a patriot for attempting to get this passed.  I had no idea that he has been doing this every year....let this be the year it succeeds!  Call and ask why your representative hasn't signed and ask them to...continue to call until they this, email this, blog this.... Let's be a part of contributing to that massive public pressure!




Posted: April 09, 2009
11:00 pm Eastern

By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

As a reminder of the federal government's limited powers, 20 representatives want to ensure that every single piece of legislation passing through Congress includes a statement citing specific constitutional authority for enacting it.

Sponsored by Rep. John Shadegg, R-Ariz., H.R. 450, or the Enumerated Powers Act, states, "Each Act of Congress shall contain a concise and definite statement of the constitutional authority relied upon for the enactment of each portion of that Act. The failure to comply with this section shall give rise to a point of order in either House of Congress. …"

When he introduced the proposal Jan. 9, Shadegg gave a House floor speech reminding his colleagues of limited authority granted in the 10th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

It states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

"What that means is that the Founding Fathers intended our national government to be a limited government, a government of limited powers that cannot expand its legislative authority into areas reserved to the states or to the people," Shadegg said. "As the final amendment in the 10 Bill of Rights, it is clear that the Constitution establishes a Federal Government of specifically enumerated and limited powers."

For that reason, Shadegg said he has introduced the Enumerated Powers Act each year that he's been in Congress.

"This measure would enforce a constant and ongoing re-examination of the role of our national government," he said. "… It is simply intended to require a scrutiny that we should look at what we enact and that, by doing so, we can slow the growth and reach of the Federal Government, and leave to the states or the people, those functions that were reserved to them by the Constitution."

Shadegg said the act would perform three important functions:

1. It would encourage members of Congress to consider whether their proposed legislation belongs in the federal level in the allocation of powers or whether it belongs with the states or the people.

2. It would force lawmakers to include statements explaining by what authority they are acting.

3. It would give the U.S. Supreme Court the ability to scrutinize constitutional justification for every piece of legislation. If the justification does not hold up, the courts and the people could hold Congress accountable and eliminate acts that reach beyond the scope of the Constitution.

John Shadegg, R-Ariz.

He said the Founding Fathers granted specific, limited powers to the national government to protect the people's freedom.

"As a result, the Constitution gives the Federal Government only 18 specific enumerated powers, just 18 powers," Shadegg noted.

Beginning with President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal, he said, Congress has ignored the 10th Amendment and greatly expanded federal government.

"Let me be clear," he said. "Virtually all the measures which go beyond the scope of the powers granted to the Federal Government by the 10th amendment are well-intentioned. But unfortunately, many of them are not authorized by the Constitution. The Federal Government has ignored the Constitution and expanded its authority into every aspect of human conduct, and quite sadly, it is not doing many of those things very well."

While many believe government "can do anything," that is not what the Founding Fathers intended for the nation, Shadegg contends.

WND columnist Henry Lamb has been urging voters to contact representatives and ask directly if they will co-sponsor and vote for the Enumerated Powers Act, or explain why not – in writing.

The legislation has 19 co-sponsors – all Republicans.

Lamb suggested the act become the theme song of the tea parties taking place around the nation.

"Nothing short of massive public pressure will force congressmen to take a position on this important bill." Lamb wrote. "Nothing short of a return to the Constitution can save this great nation."

Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., chairs the House Rules Committee, and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairs the House Judiciary Committee – where the act was referred Jan. 9 and remains today.

"Both of these committee chairs should be bombarded with phone calls and e-mails asking that H.R. 450 be brought to the House floor for a recorded vote," Lamb wrote.

Shadegg said the federal government has acted too long without constitutional restraint and has blatantly ignored principles of federalism.

He urged his colleagues to join him in "supporting a review and a criticism and an evaluation of the proper role of the Federal Government in order to empower the American people and to distribute power as the Constitution contemplated it."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

10,000 Bees in the Snow!

Yesterday was unbelievably hectic.  I didn't plan it that way but that's how it turned out.  I had a speaking engagement for a local gardening club.  I took Jeremy with me to help tote things back and forth.  We set up our demonstration table in a beautiful home.  Behind me was an antique apothecary cabinet - filled with antique bottles of medicine, mortars and pestles and was LOVELY! I think I covet.

So good!

Then the phone call came and the chaos began.

Just before I began to speak I received a phone call from home. Therein the trouble begins!  Josiah called to tell me that our bees were in.....OUR BEES WERE IN!  I took down the phone number and called to make sure....yep...they were in.  I didn't think I could get there before they closed so they said I could pick them up in the morning....that they were in a cattle trailer outside covered with a tarp.  Hhmmmm.....

The ladies arrived and I began to teach, and cook and demonstrate using herbs in all areas of your home.  These ladies were SO interested, they asked questions, they took notes, they whispered among themselves, they asked more questions....then when we were finished they began to purchase....there wasn't as much to tote back to the car which was a good thing.  They have decided to book a class on my farm to learn more about herbal medicine.  It will be a fun group and I'm looking forward to that!  But all of this was taking time and I was thinking about those bees...

Jeremy and I packed up and headed out to fill two propane tanks so we could heat the greenhouse that was predicted to be below 28...not good for my baby tomatoes!  I thought about those bees....and 28 degrees....and an open cattle trailer....  The propane guy told Jeremy that it was snowing on Viking Mountain - just a few short miles away.

We ran to the lumber yard to pick up a sheet of plywood for a birthing stall....and I thought about those bees.....

The lumber yard was already half way to the bee farm....and it was beginning to snow!  Yes dear readers, I was driving around in a raging SNOW storm....I just couldn't believe it....and I couldn't stop thinking about those bees.

I called the bee farm to see if someone would still be there and they said to come I did!

Now, I have to tell you that this is not how I planned to pick up bees.  It is an hour from my house and the thought of 10,000 bees in my car is a little unnerving.  Someone (or several someones) ALWAYS escapes!  I planned to take my veil, and my gloves and a large cardboard box to put the boxes of bees in....just in case!  I didn't have ANY of those things with me.  But I just didn't think it would be good to leave them outside overnight in weather that would be below 28!  Let's just say that Jeremy wasn't too thrilled either...bees are not his thing.

We got to the bee was busy...lots of people picking up bees!  And boy was I thankful for the pouring snow!  You see, cold makes bees lethargic...they form a ball to keep each other warm and then they take turns being on the inside and the outside - sort of a revolving ball....really neat! And quiet!

Normally when I pick up bees, they are buzzing...and sound angry.....and I am sure they are devising a jail break!  They were SO quiet....because it was SO cold.  We picked up our 3 packages and stopped to brush off strays that were clinging to the outside of the boxes - an easy job in the pouring snow.  They weren't stinging, weren't flying, weren't was great!  We put them in the back of the van and didn't hear a peep out of them all the way home.  No need for gloves or a veil.  Jeremy was thankful...the thought of riding home with his Mom wearing a beekeeper's hat and veil along with elbow length gloves was embarrassing - he was sure I'd get pulled over by the police.  I figured if a cop stopped me he'd understand when he saw the bees - in fact I figured it might be the shortest stop in history!

The bees were placed in my Mom's basement where they will stay for the next couple of days until it warms up enough to put them in their hives.

10,000 bees!

It is warmer in my Mom's basement....within just a short time they were beginning to make noise...I'm sure they were complaining about the cold....and they sounded angry....

Do they look angry?

I think I'll stay out of the basement for the next few days!


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Garden in April

*The following information is excerpted from my Perpetual Gardening Calendar.  I’ll let you know when the print run is done and it is once again available for sale! Until then I will be posting the “what to do in the garden” portion of the calendar right here each month!*

Depending on your zone, it is time to get your beds ready for transplants!  If we are planting pole beans or climbing peas, we put our trellis up right after direct seeding.  This way we can make sure the plants have something to climb and we aren't untangling vines in a few weeks and trying to train them to climb....not a fun chore!

Plant your first stand of corn after your apple trees bloom and then plant again every two weeks.  Don't forget to plant a succession of corn.  Although it is good to be able to harvest bushels and bushels of corn for canning, we like to have it to eat fresh for as long as possible.  By planting a little bit each week it lengthens our season.  We also plant different varieties with different growing times.  It allows us to sample different flavors too!  We are trying to decide what our favorite heirloom variety is so that we can save seed once we figure it out.

Our biggest predator for corn is coons - we lost our entire crop one year to coons!  You can plant squash or melons along the edges of your stand of corn.  Several rows of these prickly plants help to deter coons - they don't like to walk over them.  An electric fence works wonders also.  I also know of several farmers here who stake their dogs out at night in their corn fields.  Please remember not to plant squash and melons next to each other - choose one or the other.  The cross-pollination that takes place can leave your melons without that sweet flavor you are looking forward to!

Plan on saving seed this year, that is if HR 875 doesn't pass which will make that illegal! (If you haven't written or called your representatives about this bill please stop and do so right now!) There are many good books on saving seed and I'm sure plenty of information on the least while it is still legal!  Saving seed is very easy to do and saves you lots of money....start with something this year and then add to your knowledge each year.

If you have fruit trees, now is the time to put out sticky traps - dont' wait until they bloom!  You can buy expensive traps or you can purchase some Tanglefoot and paint some index cards or small round, red balls and hang them in your trees.

Start the following seeds under grow lights or in a greenhouse or sunny windowsill: Cantaloupe, cucumbers, melons, okra, peppers, summer squash, tomatoes.

Direct seed the following:  Arugula, beets, bush beans, carrots, corn, dry beans, lettuces, greens, potatoes, pole beans, radishes.

Transplant these if you started seeds last month: celery, leeks, lettuces, shallots, strawberries, herbs.

If you've really been diligent you can harvest the following this month: arugula, asparagus, cabbage, greens (all types) kale, lettuce, mache, onions and radishes.

Don't forget to grow a wide variety of herbs for cooking, medicine and teas.

Don’t forget to inoculate your legume seeds (beans, peas) before sowing to be sure that nitrogen-fixing bacteria will be present in the soil.  You can find it in garden catalogs and in garden centers.

Be sure to succession plant for longer harvests.  For example, sow lettuce seed every week or two so that you have a continual harvest.

Plant nasturtiums with squash, marigolds with beans, and borage with strawberries to repel bugs!

Remember!  If you have planted directly into the garden and find you are facing an unexpected cold snap, cover your plants with row cover for protection.  Last night I put heaters in the greenhouse because it was SNOWING!   IN APRIL!!

I hope the above helps you keep on track for April.  I will continue to post my garden calender to do list again at the beginning of each month until my calendar is finished and available for sale once again.


Monday, April 6, 2009

Odds and Ends and Snow??

Thanks so much for all the encouraging comments and emails!  I DO love this life...I tend to wonder about that at times...not often mind you... but occasionally....especially at  midnight when I'm damp and cold :)

The last two days have been beautiful spring days.  I was able to spend a lot of time outside and in the greenhouse.  Little green sprouts are popping up all over the greenhouse!

Today, they are calling for snow.  SNOW??!!!!   Sigh.....winter just can't give up its grip.  It is cold, windy and dark looks like and feels like it might snow!  I'd call this blackberry winter but the blackberries aren't blooming....perhaps it is apple winter since my apple trees are just about to bloom.  I am praying that this freeze (28 tonight) doesn't kill our apple crop this least not all of it!  This is one of the reasons it is good to have variety in your orchard.  You don't want everything blooming at once..sort of like putting all of your "eggs in one basket"!

Josiah and I will be grafting 10 more trees this week to add to our little orchard.  Lovely apples with names like Garden Apple, Horse Apple, Green Limbertwig, Strawberry Apple....and the list goes on.  All old varieties from this area.  My mouth is watering already!

I am placing some propane heaters in the greenhouse for the next few nights to protect all my plant babies!  And, I'll be spending most of tomorrow down there...planting more varieties.  I think I have done about 600 tomatoes this year....some for a plant sale but most of them will be going into the ground here....about 400 I am thinking....

I am off today for a local speaking engagement.  I speak a lot locally this time of year.  I will also be speaking at the Exchange Place in Kingsport TN the last weekend of this month.  Hope to see some of you there...please introduce yourself as a reader if you come...I'd love to meet you all!  It is a lovely Spring festival held every year on an historic farm.  There will be thousands of plants for sale...all kinds....and many activities for children.  I know my own boys will be participating again in the Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle contest on Sunday that weekend.

This evening I will post the April Gardening Calendar page...stay tuned for what you should be doing in your garden this month!

I'm going to go find my mittens....


Friday, April 3, 2009


I'm a 52 year old woman.

I love my life.

I love my farm.

I have a cat with a broken pelvis in my house (did I mention I'm allergic to cats?)

I have a goat in my house (another traumatic birth and rejected forthcoming).

It has been very cold and rainy (winter is still hanging on) ...everything is muddy....the barn is freezing.

I have been in the barn a lot recently, either babysitting sick kids or monitoring pregnant does.

Did I mention the barn is damp.....and cold?

Recently I was in the barn shaving goat udders at midnight!

I just returned from the barn with a baby so he could attempt to nurse his very uninterested mama.

It is midnight again.

It is cold.

Would some one please remind me why I love this life....

Tune in Today!

Tune into the 700 Club today at 10:00 am or 11:00 pm to hear my brother's story of his death.....yep, he tells it himself!


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Common Sense on Steroids!

I wish every American would watch these videos.  We need to reign in our government before it is too late. Please take the time to watch them both! Watch them with your spouse, with your children, post them on your blogs, send them to your friends....send them to YOUR representatives...and remember...KEEP THE PRESSURE ON!

I will say that I don't agree with his statement about the Electoral College - other than that I think he hits the nail on the head!


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Field Surgery!

During our recent "barn raising", we had a really amazing thing happen.  I sent Elijah out to feed the goats while we were working.  I noticed that one of them didn't appear when the feed hit the trough.  That is never a good sign.  Our girls ALWAYS come for food.  I sent Elijah out to look for Mocha.  Mocha is the daughter of our doe that recently died.

Elijah came running back into the barn to tell me that she was laying down in a field and wouldn't get up.....also not a good sign.  I went looking for her and found her in labor....a bit early I thought.  The boys reminded me that she had managed to sneak out of the doe's field to visit the buck a few weeks before we actually put them together.  When I checked my calendar (always make a note of those things), I found she was right on time.  But, did she have to do this in the middle of our barn project?  On a very cold, overcast day?

She, of course, had shown none of the usual signs of a doe about to deliver.  There are things to look for....lack of appetite, pawing the floor and moving hay around to make a "nest", the udder bagging up....evidently none of our goats read these wonderful books that are published for farmers.  I can't think of a single doe that has followed the "rules".

She progressed VERY quickly to the screaming pushing stage.


This being Mocha's first birth, we knew we would be looking at one baby.  Twins are normal after that.  Mocha was not exceptionally large so we expected a fairly normal sized baby and were praying for a girl.

However, things went crazy very quickly.  It was evident that Mocha was pushing really hard but making little progress.  I was thinking it was a breech birth (also not unusual the first time).  Mocha was stretching her neck out and screaming as she pushed.  It was evident that she was completely freaked out by what was happening.  I yelled for help, asked the boys to bring the medical box and tore my coat off to try to help her.

Sorry, at this point I wasn't thinking about taking pictures.  The boys and John came running from the milking parlor.  By this time we were able to see the tip of a hoof but no nose.  Usually you will see two little feet quickly followed by a nose.  The baby was a bit bigger than we expected and Mocha appeared to be a bit smaller than normal or perhaps things were progressing so quickly that she wasn't dilating as quickly as she was progressing.  Josh was able to help the tip of the nose emerge so we could begin was filled with fluids and the baby's tongue was a dark purple color - both bad signs.

Josh began to gently pull during the contractions....very gently.  You have to be very careful with this....if you don't know what you are doing you can damage both mother and baby.  She still wasn't making any progress and I was afraid we would loose them both.  She didn't appear to want to stand but I though gravity might help her.  John and the boys lifted her to her feet but that didn't seem to help.  Mocah was screaming so loudly that I thought the whole valley would show up.  The other does and even the guard dogs were getting upset!

I decided we needed to do an episiotomy.  I say that like I knew what I was doing.  Let me just confess right now that I didn't have a clue how to give a doe an episiotomy!  I just knew that the opening wasn't big enough for this baby to pass through.  I sent Elijah running for the alcohol and I grabbed for the medical box. I knew I had a scalpel in there somewhere.  John and the boys laid Mocha back down.  I couldn't figure out how to get the blade onto the handle and I handed it off to John....I knew he would be able to figure it out and he did.  I informed Joshua that he would be doing this.  He looked at me like I had lost my mind! And he informed me that he had NO CLUE how to do this.  I just told him to make a very slight incision to release the pressue....very slight!

We poured alcohol over her and the scalpel and Josh made the cut.  He did it perfectly!!!  The baby slid right out, and Mocha immediately quit screaming....I could relate!  We applied pressure to the wound to stop the bleeding.  Although the cut was very small, there was a lot of blood.  As soon as she could, Mocha jumped up and ran to the other end of the field.  It was obvious that she had no clue what had just happened.  Josh continued to suction the baby which by now had started to shiver a lot.  I grabbed some clean rag towels and began to briskly rub the baby dry.  We decided to get mama and baby into the barn where it would be warmer.  Josiah and Jeremy ran on to prepare a "nursery pen" with clean hay and some warm molasses water for the mama.  John helped us get everything to the barn and then he went back to work.

We discovered she was a girl and named her Joby Dix (Joby after John and Dix after her grandmother).  We made Mocha stand still long enough for us to help this baby nurse. It is really important that they get the colostrum as soon as possible after being born.  We also dipped her umbilical cord in betadine to prevent infection.

Normally, the mama doe will clean the baby off and in so doing nibble off the umbilical cord.  The licking stimulates the baby to eat, to pass a stool, to breathe...essentially to do everything it needs to be healthy and survive.  Mocha wanted no part of any of this. We mimicked this by rubbing her briskly with a clean towel.

Her name is Joby Dix!

Mocha was not kicking at the baby but she certainly didn't want anything to do with her.  I was hoping that with a few hours of rest she would be more inclined to be a mama to this little girl.  I was thrilled that she looked just like her grandma!


And I just love the Alpine ears!


John and the boys finished up in the barn for the day while I kept an eye on mama and baby.  Mama wasn't being mean but it was obvious that she didn't know what that little thing was or why it was there.  So...there was no other option.  We milked mama out and took Joby into the house with us.  The plan was to take her out to nurse every few hours during the day but from midnight to   6 a.m. we would feed her from a bottle at the house.  Mocha's milk had not come in...her udder was still small and her teats are tiny...making milking difficult.

A goat in the house!

Yes, that is a goat in my house.  It isn't the first time and I'm sure it won't be the last time.  I don't like bottle feeding animals.  It takes a lot of time and effort and the results are never as good as if the mama does her job.  But, at times like these, there is no other choice.  I think I have had every farm animal in my house except for a cow and a horse.  Let's pray it doesn't come to those!

Goat babies are so much fun!  The are the softest animal I've ever felt.  Silky soft.  You can't help but snuggle them, pet them and that leads to spoiling them!  But, it is so hard to resist!

Soft as silk!

We kept this routine up for a couple of days.  The boys took turns at night getting up to bottle feed Joby.  During the day we would put her with her mama long enough to nurse and then take her back to the house where it was warm.  Then it happened!

Three days after Joby was born, Jeremy went to the barn to feed animals.  Mocha was frantically calling and looking for her baby!  I think she was so traumatized from the birth that it took that long for her to realize she had a baby!  Jeremy ran back to the house and brought Joby out.  Mocha immediately began acting like a doe who had just given birth.  Nuzzling the baby, cleaning the baby, "cooing" to the baby.  Joby was thrilled and began nursing on her own, Mocha allowed it without us holding her still and they bonded!

I have never seen this happen in 10 years of raising goats!  Not after three days!  I think it was our Father's mercy on us and on these animals!  What an answer to prayer!  Our lives no longer have to be planned around feedings and having a goat in the house!

Here are mama and baby out for a stroll on the first sunny day after the birth!

Mama and baby!

We praise our Father for his protection during our first attempt at field surgery, for his protection of Mocha and the baby.  And most importantly for His protection over our hearts.  It would have been very hard to loose this pair so soon after our last loss!  I am so thankful that Josh was there to do the surgery and that John was there to help.  All things were in place to make sure that we had the best outcome and I know that it didn't "just happen" that way.  I know it was by His design and was completely orchestrated by my loving Father!

I am ever so grateful!

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