Thursday, July 7, 2011

And now, the details.

As my friend, Sylvia, said, that back business was god's way of saying, "SLOW DOWN!"  Amen.  But, as you ALL know well, that phrase is not used often on the homestead.  It's more of a "giddyap".  Here's the loooong weekend, as it happened on the homestead.

Friday, the lovely woman (and her brave husband) who sold me the Nigerians, met me in the afternoon to band the ram lambs.  Kay volunteered to cut her spinning group date short to help, too.  We rounded up the youngsters and, to give it a literary bent, it was the Three Bears all over again.  Linden was too big for the equipment and a larger elastrator must be found.  Juniper was too small, and gets a few weeks reprieve.  Banyan was just right, and walked funny for a couple of hours.

Saturday was F.U.N.  I was up early and had chores finished by 7:15a, so I could drive over to a little dairy goat farm to try my hand at milking.  I didn't do too badly for my first try.  My very generous and patient teacher was Mary Lou, who raises Nigerians, milks them and makes cheese.  For fun.  She lives on a beautiful place with a big pond, nine goats, 20 ducks and 2 geese.  I had a wonderful visit and am invited back whenever I want.  Then came my weekly sojourn to Vermont, where I ran a few errands (goat treats, mineral block, groceries), did some planting for my mother, had lunch with my parents, trotted back to the homestead, started on the chicken coop (two loads down, 30 to go), raked llama beans and spread them around, fought Japanese beetles, reinforced the gate on the hoop house, did four loads of laundry, and let the tweenage pullets out with the big girls for the first time - under supervision.

Sunday was back to monsoon season.  The dogs and I got caught halfway between home and farm and were soaked to the skin by the time we hoofed it back home.  For added enjoyment, there was thunder, which meant that Bernie was a sodden hysteric on the end of the leash.  After toweling us all off and letting Bernie under the bed for the duration, I retired to the kitchen to bake two pies for the library function (pecan and peach custard), brownies for the barn crew, and a peach/blueberry/raspberry cobbler for a cookout on the Fourth.  I also made a large batch of Scandinavian-style egg salad (horseradish/capers).  Then I cleaned the house and delivered the pies.

Monday morning was a frenzy of getting everything together for the shearer.  I take full advantage of having the sheep on their bums and planned on Cocoa's CDT vaccination, hooves trimmed, wormer where needed, and I wanted to check Flora's temperature.  She was sounding like a steam engine - she's 10 and tends to have respiratory problems.  When it gets hot and humid, she starts wheezing.  Melanie arrived early to help and we had a very nice sit-down visit until Kevin arrived at 11.  I had just tricked them into the hoop house and slammed the gate shut behind them.  This left poor Melanie to scramble in and out of my convoluted gate system to get the tarp, plastic bags and medical kit.  (Thank you, Melanie!!)

Flora as a bean bag
I love to watch Kevin work - so careful, gentle and methodical.  He knows sheep and can let you know if there is something lacking in their nutrition (poor fleece growth), whether they look wormy or not (they all did), and anything else you may or may not have noticed.  The sheep are so relaxed while he shears that they just sag around like lanolin bean bags.  I noticed that Cocoa was much calmer this year and wonder if it's due to a second round of lambs.  Flora was kind enough to deposit a nice pile of sheep beans, which I scooped up and put in a baggie for the vet.  Then Kevin looked at Hoosier and said, in his lovely Gaelic lilt, "so, are you planning to shear that llama?"  Well, yes, but I hadn't thought to ask if he sheared llamas.  There aren't many around who will.  It turned out that, yes, he did indeed shear llamas.  So off I went to grab Hoosier's halter and lead, and we got him tethered to a tree in the shade.  What a transformation.  And what fiber!!  Little did Hoosier know but, until that fiber hit the ground, he was two steps from the exit door.

Hoosier, as an Alien Giraffe
 After I hauled up the little fleece that I can use -- most was mulching material -- I figured I had an hour and a half before I had to get ready for the cookout.  So.....I decided it was enough time to squeeze in more shoveling out of the chicken coop.  Wrong-o.  Never, I repeat, never rush a really physical job.  As I twisted around with my heavy shovel-full of gak, a nice hot pain went up my spine and I was down for the count.  I hobbled into the house, took a bunch of ibuprofen, grabbed the phone and took a prone position on the floor.  Where I instantly became (and remained) an object of feline fascination. I called in my regrets to the cookout hosts, left a message for the dairy farmer to stop by and pick up the cobbler, and watched Murder She Wrote DVDs until I could hobble out to do rudimentary chores, close everyone up, and take more ibuprofen.

I am back to about 90 percent.  Live and learn.  Of course, one would think that, having lived through this more than once, I would learn more quickly. 

Sage, looking sage-y
Enough of that!  Now for the goatie announcement!  After trying out at least a dozen names on them, meet "Chicory" (Chickie for short) and "Sage" (not short-able).  Kay came up with Chicory (although, I am surprised it wasn't Garam Masala, hehehe), and Sage is one of my favorite names (and herbs).  She seems rather serious for such a pixie-like creature.  Chickie, the little dear, responded to every single name I called him.   He is not particular, as long as he gets a treat and attention.  Sage actually took four goat treats out of my hand this morning!  Progress!!!  Thank you to all of the creative minds that offered up wonderful name ideas.  I was tempted to give them multi-hyphenated names (Chicory-Homer-Snow-Vern-Billy-Janus-Honey-Sam) or (Sage-Fern-Suni-JudyJetson-Houdini-Aster-Thunder-Hester).  But, then, I have trouble remembering my own name most days.


  1. Love the names! I'll have to keep Judy Jetson for my goat someday LOL, oh my but Sage is CUTE! You were just slam-busy this weekend, funny how the back injury waited until you were almost done with the weekend - hope you are feeling much better.

  2. Chickie and Sage it is,after that barrage of names I just might forget mine , funny tho but your spine thing and back problems-not funny. I too have many backaches. FEEL BETTER

  3. Once again, I do not know how you accomplish all you do, Girl! You're lucky your back (or some other rather relevant part) doesn't throw in the towel completely.

    LOVE the name you ended up with for the goaties. They seem perfect for the personalities you've described to us.

  4. I have to imagine that everyone was very pleased with the summer haircuts. I love Hoosiers dapples, he looks like a weird fawn. Remember -coops kill. Thats why I put off that job as long as possible ;)

  5. All you need now is that other 10% of your back to finish out the healing process. Feel better soon.
    Love the names. I know how it goes - the name has to fit the personality.
    Does Hoosier now have a reprieve for a while?? He looks nice and cool.
    You just reminded me that I need to clean my coop too ... bah!

  6. Erin - Isn't she the cutest thing? Still thinks I am the devil's messenger, but she is eating goat treats from my hand.

    Judy - I think back things are the worst. Luckily, if I start treating it right away, it usually doesn't hold me down too long.

    Mama Pea - Mostly by not thinking too much about it. But there are times that I would like to just stand outside and scream.

    Jane - He does, doesn't he? He's so tiny after that shearing. I'll have to photograph the pile of fiber that came off of me. Coops kill - I may paint that on a board and hang it over the door!

    Yvette - Just remember Jane's words - Coops Kill. Yes, Hoosier, the eater of my apple trees and demolisher of my fences, gets to stay for a while.