by Maryclaire Mayes
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die…”
It seems lately it has been a time to die with a few of our animals. It started with one of our chickens. Of course it was the friendliest chicken we called Brownie. For some reason she started to molt during the coldest weather. I researched what to do and most experts advised she would be fine, but she didn’t make it.
Then our goat Allie, (short for Alabu) that we had bottle fed as a baby and she amused us with her antics and affection for the past 13 years. She succumbed to old age. Her teeth were bad and for the past few years lost some weight over the winter when there was no grass and weeds to eat. I tried to make up for that with other things she would eat. But last month she was down and couldn’t get up. We called the vet and she rallied. She loved all the extra attention she was getting, from fresh veggies, blankets and even heat via large jugs of hot water. But then at last she gradually stopped her interest in food. There wasn’t anything I could entice her to eat. She was getting weaker and wasting away, so we had to make the decision to call the vet for her again. This time we knew we had to let her go, it was her time to die. We didn’t have any regrets, about not making the decision earlier, she really seemed to enjoy her last few weeks on earth.
At the same time, our dog Chia had been struggling with arthritis in her spine for the past month. Our small animal vet had been treating her for it. Chia would get better and than do something she shouldn’t like try to jump on or jump off our bed and then she would get worse again. This had been going on for the past month. This time she couldn’t stand at all and I had taken to hand feeding her with a syringe. We couldn’t take her to our regular vet as she was closed due to her own health issues. We had planned for the large animal vet that was here for Allie to also put an end to the suffering of our much loved dog. But after examining her and the x-rays we had, he thought a shot of cortisone might be all she needed. We were happy and relieved and Chia slowly made progress to back to her happy somewhat active self. But in a few weeks she went downhill again fast. We took the long ride to our other vet to see what he thought we should do. He did tests for tick diseases and she tested positive for one. He gave her some powerful antibiotics. The next day she was a little worse and we went to the vet again and he gave her more antibiotics. That night it was obvious she was in pain. Chia’s last night was the only time we had ever heard her whimper or complain in her whole life. Every time she would, I laid down next to her and she would stop. I was relieved she was comforted by my presence, but heart broken we had let it come to this.
The next morning we let the grandkids all come to say goodbye to her and then Dean and I took her one last time on the long drive to the vet. We stayed with her and told her she was a good dog. She always liked to hear that. We know she was just a dog, but she was a very good dog who warmed the hearts of all who met her and left a hole in ours. Good Dog Chia!!
by Maryclaire Mayes
We are a small hobby farm. We recently almost lost our aging goat Alabu ( Allie for short). Allie is 12, old for a goat, but not unusually old for a well cared for pet goat. A week ago I went out to the barn in the morning to find her laying on her side moaning and flailing and unable to get up.
Goats don’t do well laying on their side. Gas builds up in their rumen and it is very painful and fatal if left untreated. I ran to the house and told Dean I thought Allie was dying and he came out to assist me. Then we had a decision to make. Do we call the vet for an aging goat?
But goats ( Allie especially) are much like a pet dog. They are smart, funny and crave your affection. I really didn’t think the vet would be able to save her, but at least we could give her a peaceful end. If we were a real farm I’m not sure we would call a vet for an aging animal that cost less than a vet visit (although a real farmer would have know what to do when they found her in distress).
We decided to call our large animal vet and he told us he couldn’t get here until around noon. I asked what I could do until he gets here. He said to prop her up with a bale of hay, take her temp, warm her if she is under 100 degrees and give her a solution of baking soda and water.
Dean helped me prop her up and give her the baking soda solution. I took her temp and yikes it was only 95! So we piled on blankets and a warm rice bag. I called my friend Kris, ( a real farmer) who owns a dairy farm about 20 mins away. Kris is the most generous, amazing person I know. She is the next best thing to a vet. I asked if she had any suggestions and she said she would come over.
So Kris came to Allie’s rescue and was able to make her more comfortable. After Allie’s pain was relieved, she still seemed so weak, I still didn’t think there was much hope for her. When the vet came he gave her more pain reliever and antibiotic. He said that was all he could do but he thought she might make it and she did! In her struggle to get up she had been rubbing her head on the stall floor and managed to damage her eye. So I have been caring for that to prevent infection, but her appetite is back and we are hopeful for a full recovery. At least I have learned how to respond if it happens again and I keep a much closer eye on her.
by Maryclaire Mayes
It’s been a year since we introduced Tut’s Soy Free Soap last January, so I thought a little update would be appropriate. Tut’s Soy Free Soap is an extra- moisturizing unscented formulation made without any soy oil. It is the brain child of one of our favorite customers, a gentleman from Alabama affectionally known as “Tut” by all his friends.
Tut wondered out loud to us if we could make a soap as moisturizing as our Baby Me soap, but without any soy, which his doctor suggested he might try to avoid. We thought it was a great idea since we know that some folks are trying to avoid soy these days. I made a batch and used more olive oil in place of the soy oil. We were excited with the results. It is a very mild, moisturizing cleansing bar. When we sent some samples off to Tut, he said he liked it too; as have many of our customers. So much so we sold out in December.
Tut’s Soy Free Soap is great for extra dry, sensitive skin. It has a nice lather that will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth. But take note, it comes to you in it’s birthday suit; no wrapper! We hope you will give it a try, we think you will like it too!
(3.25 oz) Made in the U.S.A.
Ingredients: Saponiified Olive Oil, Cultured Goat Milk, Saponified Coconut Oil, Saponified Shea Butter, Saponified Cocoa Butter, Saponified Castor Oil.
by Maryclaire Mayes
It’s winter and it’s cold Brrrrrr! I can’t remember where I heard that little jingle but it rings in my head almost every winter. I sang it to my kids when they were little and now my grandkids. This winter the chickens and our old goat Allie and singing it to me when I go out to the barn.
We are in the middle of a prolonged cold snap, although cold might be an understatement! I’m trying to keep the critters as comfortable as possible. Our nights have been below zero and some days never rise out of the single digits. For the chickens, I have a heater in their water bucket, it keeps it from freezing but some mornings the lid is frozen shut, making it difficult to top off the bucket with warm water. I have to open the door to the outside pen to help remove moisture from their coop or they could get frostbite. If the sun is out they enjoy basking in the sunshine in their pen. I also give them a sunflower seed snack at night to help keep them warm.
Our old goat Allie has been showing signs of being cold, so I bought her a custom made goat coat just before the temps really dipped down. It is nicely made but just not warm enough for her. I saw the same company sold fleece belly bands and neck bands for added warmth. I new I wouldn’t be able to get them here before the weather got even colder. I had an old fleece neck gator I made for myself but seldom used. It fit her fine and she seemed to like it. Next I went to Salvation Army store and bought an old fleece shirt. I cut off the sleeves, cut them open and sewed them onto the body of the shirt. The result is a nice long belly band for her. I’m not positive but I think she likes the result.
by Maryclaire Mayes
My younger sister lost her short battle with cancer in the middle of October. It was very sad but also very heartening to see so many of her friends and family be there for her and loving her.
Then our son’s family woke up in the early hours of October 31st to banging on their door to ” Get out there is a fire!”. I am so Thankful all the families in their apartment building were able to escape. I am so grateful our kids are safe and for the outpouring of help and well wishes by our small community to all those affected.
But things have a way of piling on and catching up with you. So I have in a bit of a funk ( do people still say that?) with all that has happened. It is so helpful to see our 6 grandchildren getting excited about Christmas. It is quite contagious. Oh did I mention we now have a 2 year old and 7 month living with us? We offered for our son and family to stay with us till they figure out what they want to do next. We are so thankful we still have room in our home for them. Our Little Miss Number Five loves helping me with barn chores, especially the chickens. So amid all the busyness of this most blessed season, we are holding our family a little closer and we are treasuring them all the more.
Wishing you a very Merry Blessed Christmas Season!