28
Jul 16

Chicken Doctor

13. Sitting prettyChicken Doctor is my new role around the farm. You see when chicks cost $2 you don’t spend $40 to take them to the vet. So when I discovered my Brown Leghorn Rooster was limping I decided I would do the best I can to help him recover.

These days though it is much easier with the help of the internet. Just in case you didn’t know; the lowly chicken has become very popular recently and there are many websites dedicated to taking care of your backyard chickens.

On one of these websites I saw some had made a sling for their chicken and I thought I’d give that a try for our rooster that we fondly call Roo. I used an old bathing suit I hadn’t gotten around to throwing out yet. That worked well for over a week but then he got feeling stronger and no longer would stay in the sling. He is still in isolation because chickens aren’t very nice to their wounded friends. He is getting lots of TLC , baby aspirin 3 times a day and watermelon. He really likes watermelon.

We have lots of chickens and probably a few other roosters, but Roo is the only Brown Leghorn rooster and I would really like to try to save him if I can.


30
Mar 16

View from my window – Goodbye Ruth

Ruth

Oh Ruthie, we are so sad to see you go and you will no longer part of the view from my window. You were always curious and adventurous, keeping us on our toes. Ruth will be missed.

A raccoon with rabies wandered into our paddock, right next to the goat hutch to die. Discovering the raccoon first thing in the morning I had no idea when it arrived and what had taken place before I saw it. I followed all the right protocols to isolate our animals from the raccoon and had the vet out the next day to give Caddy and the goats their booster rabies vaccine just as a precaution.  They were still current, but I wanted to be sure.

I was reminded a few days later by the Health department to keep an eye on our goats for neurological symptoms, as there is no rabies vaccine approved for goats. I wasn’t worried though. My goats had been vaccinated every year with the approved sheep vaccine. Although the vaccine is not approved for goats, it is because of lack of research to prove it’s effectiveness on goats, not lack of effectiveness.

Then on day 19 since the raccoon visit, Ruthie was laying down in the barn and in obvious pain. Just shy of her 11th birthday, I assumed she was sick with a digestive upset. I offered her some baking soda, ( I know right?, but goats seem to like it when their tummy hurts), she wasn’t interested, but Allie ate some! I petted Ruthie and brought some hay and water, but she wasn’t interested. I went in and thought about what could be wrong. Then I saw she was stumbling around out in the paddock. Oh no I thought, that is a neurological symptom and I wondered could she have rabies?

By the time I got out to the barn she was laying down again pressing her head against the wall ( head pressing is another neurological symptom).  I alerted Dean to what I suspected and called our vet. I moved Caddy and the other goats and kept checking on her until the vet arrived. Of all the goats, if one would go investigate the raccoon it would have been Ruthie! But even so, I was sure the vet would tell me that he didn’t think it was rabies.

Ruthie was standing up when he came, she was head pressing, wobbly, drooling a little bit and in obvious distress. The vet had seen a lot or rabies, but never in a goat, but he really thought that was what he was looking at and said she should be euthanized. And so she was and a brain specimen sent to the lab for testing. Thankfully the results came back negative. I don’t know what she had but I don’t regret euthanizing her to have her tested. At her age I don’t think she would have recovered and I don’t think I had a choice considering her symptoms. We are all relieved to know she didn’t have rabies and can still be confident in the rabies vaccine.


30
Dec 15

View From My Window – Making Memories

12I loved making memories for our kids and now our grand kids too. It helps give everyone a sense of family identity and feel like they belong. It also builds excitement and makes the holidays so much fun. Though once you get married you have to figure out how to compromise if you have conflicting traditions.

It took a few years but we have been able to do that without too much upset. One of my favorite memories was seeing our tree for the first time on Christmas morning. My dad got a tree on the way home from work on Christmas eve and they put it up after they came home from midnight mass and we were all fast asleep. So we never saw anything until Christmas morning and it was always so magical to see it the first time. Christmas eve my mom always read the story of Christmas from the book of Luke in the bible. Then we hung up stockings over the fireplace and went to bed.  My mom also made tons of cookies with her best friend so there were plenty to share with Santa and carrots for the reindeer.

Dean’s favorite memory is helping put the tree up weeks before Christmas and seeing the growing pile of gifts under the tree as Christmas morning grew near. Dean, being a morning person ( no, really a morning person, he gets up at 3:45) there was no way he was going to put a up the tree and decorate it on Christmas eve after the kids go to bed. So I had to give up sharing that magical morning and put up our tree a week or so before Christmas. But I have noticed they are still excited Christmas morning.

I have added new traditions too, Dean and I make cookies with the grandkids and one of my favorites things I added is an advent wreath. We do it on the four Sundays before Christmas at dinner and we light a white candle on Christmas morning called the Christ candle. It helps us refocus the morning on Christ’s birth. The grand kids wanted to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus afterwards and that was pretty cool.  We added a lot of other things like going to Dean’s brother’s Christmas tree farm for our trees which is always lots of fun.

Our kids and grand kids gather at our home after church on Christmas eve to have appetizers and hang up stockings which is almost too exciting. Dean’s family always had the same breakfast for Christmas, eggs, bacon and hard rolls. Our kids come to our home after they make their own Christmas memories at their home and Dean makes breakfast for everyone.

And then there is this; I have a Christmas stocking that I bought around the same time we got our dog Chia, it has a poodle on top and sings Christmas songs.  Chia loved it and instead of being just a decoration it eventually got hung up with all the other stockings and got a treat for Chia in it. She watches as we hang the stockings and just can’t wait to see what she got, but she knows she must. A stocking for the dog? I wonder if I’m making memories that our grandkids will think back and think grammy was crazy?


27
Nov 15

View From My Window – Trigger

View from my windowOur son and his wife and their little baby girl all headed down south to visit with family for Thanksgiving. Their dog, Trigger doesn’t get to go, but he did get to stay here on the farm with us. He is a good boy and loves it here even though he does miss the family. Believe it or not; this is his happy face :o)


30
Oct 15

View From My Window – Teach Them Well

Teaching gardeningTeach them well.  Just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, we really love having our grandkids come up and hang out here. Dean would tell you that we like the free labor.  But anyone who tries to get work done with 4 kids, between the ages of 2 and 6 would tell you it is more work to have them “help” then if you did it yourself.  But we just enjoy having them around.

I saw something recently that reinforced what we did with our kids, and now teach our grandkids too.  What am I talking about?  Getting kids involved in work, creative activities that are a reward in itself.  Teach real life skills like gardening, raising animals, repair skills, sewing, cooking, camping, hiking, exploring and helping others. Things that shape them. These things give kids a real feeling of accomplishment and are important life lessons.

Working with your kids and grandkids on projects, adventures and responsibilities like these not only teach useful skills, they also instill values, self-reliance and caring for others. We enjoyed our kids when they were little – not to say we don’t enjoy them now too :o) – and they worked along side us and also learned to like the things we liked, x-country skiing, rock climbing, camping, horseback riding etc.  I think letting your kids be involved in your life is one of the best things you can teach them.