Sunday, August 18, 2013

And the Beat Goes On

  • I reached my 100th milking a couple of weeks ago.  I only know this because I ran out of filters and had to open another box.  100 milkings.  It's not many, but it seems like a lot.  I've learned a lot as well, like:
    1. Minerva is a terrible milker, owing to her CAE.  She's had mastitis twice, and she gives very little.  However, she's the best one on the stand, and is the easiest to milk out.  She goes right up, settles in, and stands like a trooper.  Unfortunately, since she's not a good milker, she will not be bred again.  I'm going to continue to milk her until Dulcinea has kidded and is in milk, hopefully early next year.  Then I'm going to let her dry up and that will be that.  The good news?  Her cart goat training has begun.  She sucks at it.  But knowing Min, she will get it soon and be awesome.  I just have to persist. 
"Look at me!  I'm so smart!"

    1. Lilly is an amazing milker, despite her CAE.  I guess hers will not manifest itself in that way, and I'll have to be watching for however it does manifest.  If I get to Lilly before the vampire child named Tallulah, she's good for (I think) about a half gallon+ a day, which I think is pretty good for an FF.  Only every once in a while do I catch Lilly before Tallulah has been there and sucked her dry.  Lately, I haven't been able to do that at all.  Usually I catch her after Tallulah's had a bit, and then Lilly's milk numbers are down.  Tallulah is now 7 weeks old, eating and drinking like everyone else, so I'm going to wean her, and then I'll see.  That kid can drink!  30 seconds on the teat and Lilly's on "e".
    2. Lilly also enjoys holding milk back for Tallulah, which makes things especially difficult.  This morning she was pretty full, and I was looking forward to a nice milking.  But I guess Tallulah didn't get enough, according to Lilly, so getting that milk out was a pain in the neck.  I bumped and massaged, but I only got what she was willing to give, which was an ok amount.  I can always tell when Lilly's holding back on me.  Not only can I feel it, but she actually changes position on the stand when she thinks I'm done, and her udder goes up.  It's funny, but annoying.  Needless to say, this morning, after I had gotten everything I could and could get no more, Tallulah ran right up to Lilly and STILL had a nice meal.  Gah!!
    3. Lilly was hobbled on the stand up until a week and a half ago.  She was horrendous to milk.  Dancing every which way, and then bucking straight up in the air when she was done with me.  Now she dances much less and when she's annoyed with me paws the stand with a front foot, instead of stepping in the milking bucket.  I know that once Lilly stomps, it's either time to hurry the hell up, or give her something yummy to distract her.
    4. No matter what, it's a two week time span of hellish milkings for an FF, until they get the routine and milking can start in earnest.  The first two weeks, though, I just want to cry.  Afterwards, it seems to just be routine and adjusting.  Thank goodness!
Um....yeah...that's pretty much Lilly in a nutshell. 
  • What else did I learn?  I hate getting up that early in the morning.  Hate.  It.  But I gotta do what I gotta do.  Still, though...UGH.
  • Dulcinea is a "stealth heat" goat, and it's been very difficult to judge when she's in the "mood" to be bred.  When I think I have it, I put her in with Stewart, who is very willing to oblige, and she runs like an axe murderer is after her.  But she's a tease.  He can sniff, she lets him do that, but once he starts blubbering, she gets annoyed, and if he tries to mount, she runs like hell.  It's very annoying--to ME.  She's now in the boys' pen every day, and will stay there until I decide that her will has broken or that she's actually in heat.  She has to earn her living.  As I told her, being sausage-shaped is not a career path here.
"I swear; I will live and die a virgin!"

  • Olive is still here, and is not going anywhere.  Despite dropping the price on her a million times, no one was interested.  What did everyone want?  One of my girls already in milk!  Ha!  In your dreams, people!  I assume that all the newbie suburbanite farmer wannabees who contacted me don't want the work of dealing with a goat kid and raising them up until milking age.  Unbelievable, because she's weaned, CDT'd, dewormed and de-coccidia-fied.  Oh, and disbudded.  I did all the hard work here!  Gotta love the lack-of-work ethic.  Anyway, the price got so stupid that I just pulled the ads.  At that point, the milk Olive will someday make (yes people, I can wait, go figure) will be worth so much more than I was going to sell her for.  She stays.  The goat number is now at 9, with 7 girls and 2 boys.  It's a good number right now, and I'll see how it works out.
Still adorable

  • The Muscovies (look, I changed the subject!) are very large and very cool duck-goose guys.  They come up to us and wiggle their tails and don't run when you look their way.  It's a nice change from the domestic ducks, who run when the wind blows at them.  I like them, and I'm glad they're here.  They eat bugs out of the air!  Lots of them, too.  That's pretty cool.  Definitely they are a valuable animal.
  • The meatbirds are at 4 weeks now, and growing pretty well.  With the cold weather, it is difficult for them to get really big.  This batch is funny, and very adventurous.  Yesterday, unfortunately, we had a hawk attack and one female was injured.  She's possibly recovering, I'll have to see.  Luckily Cassio was in his run at the time and made a ridiculous amount of noise to alert me (and anyone in the area), so I came out to look.  It could have been worse. 
  • I have decided the backyard bunnies need to leave.  Since my analysis, I have realized that they serve no real purpose, so away they need to go.  How to do that?  I'm not sure.  I'll let you know...
  • The vegetable garden is in it's death throws--about a month too early.  I got nothing on that one.  As I walked through it last week, I could swear by the shape the plants were in it was early September not early August.  Very weird.  It may have something to do with the fact that several nights and mornings as of late have been of October ilk, and definitely not August.  Long sleeves?  Yup.  As of now, I have whacked the heads off of all the tomatoes in order to get any at all to ripen, pulled some things out of the ground that were just done, and put the eggplant under plastic to try to salvage some of the small fruits that were developing before October showed up.  It's a very strange year.  I'm wondering if I should have known when one of the pumpkins in the garden had turned orange by the fourth of July.  Maybe that should have been a tip-off?
  • However, the good news is that I have been able to plant nice fall crops like broccoli, cauliflower, peas and lettuce.  I've put more carrots in the ground as well.  Today I will plant spinach.  All is not lost.  But it was not a tomato year, that's for sure, and I got 0 melons.  Next year I will be putting some things in low tunnels to keep the heat up. 
And I think that's about it.  The beat goes on.  And I need a nap.  Take care!!

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  1. Jocelyn, this was the most informative post... and it made me laugh and laugh. Thanks for sharing the great pictures and captions!

    1. Ah Mary Ann my friend, thank you! I hope you are feeling better.

  2. Um...if we were closer and if we had the space, we totally would have taken Olive. People are silly fools.

    Thanks for the update on everything! And yes, 100 milkings is definitely a big deal! Congrats!

    1. Thanks, Melissa! Olive is adorable, and I would have given her to you in a heartbeat. I know she would have been happy and well cared for.
      When the last person who didn't want her emailed to say "forget it", I really wanted to write "Your loss!". People can be so stupid. I guess planning for tomorrow is too much work!!


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