Sunday, January 29, 2012

We've Moved

As many of you may know, I have another blog. I've decided that I'm going to do my updating there from this point on. If you are interested in following my crazy adventures in farmish things, you can do so there. You won't be disappointed. My first set of kids is coming in April. Who knows what will happen with that! Thanks!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where There is Smoke...

Woodlands Fire
This is a cross post from my dairy goat blog.

These past couple of months have been eventful to say the least. In August, we finally finished the new pen for the girls just in time for school to start. I've changed grades this year from 4th to 2nd and have been happily adjusting to my new routine. Just when I thought things had calmed down, the whole area went up in flames!

Magnolia Fire
On Labor Day (Thanks Caroline) , I headed out to feed the girls early at about 3pm. I noticed the huge plume of smoke in the woods behind the barn and was immediately concerned. Since we've been in this horrible drought, there have been a few forest fires near the barn, but none as close at this one was. The barn owner, Mike headed over to check it out. I spent the rest of the evening waiting for an evacuation order. Hours later, it came. There was ash in the air, when Chris and I loaded the girls up and headed for our closest goat neighbor at Blue Heron Farms.

Maximum Security Goat Pen
Goats are not easy to keep in a fence, so I couldn't take them to just any farm. Unfortunately, Blue Heron had a wild fire in their area as well. Their fire was much larger, but not as close, so we decided to risk it. By the next day, our fire was out, and the Magnolia fire was huge. We couldn't get in to get the girls and bring them back and I was panicking. Blue Heron had taken in over 100 goats, most of them lactating. The last thing they needed was my girls.

Tuesday was spent driving all over the area, trying to find a road that wasn't closed so that I could get my girls and hopefully help in any way I could. Blue Heron was very nearly under mandatory evacuation. It was tense. Luckily, I was able to get the girls late that night and find our way back home through the confusing maze of closed streets, and the smoky haze.

Baby Patron With His Chicken Friend
My ordeal pales in comparison to what farms like Blue Heron, Swede Farms and Brushy Creek Farms are still going through.

In happier news, my girls got appraised this weekend. I was very happy with their scores.

Valerie was rated +V++
Leda was rated VVVV
Valencia was rated VVVV
Sandra was rated +VV+

Now that I've got a better idea about their strengths and weaknesses, I've selected a buck for them. His name is TLC-Farms NAN Patron. He has great bloodlines. His father Nick At Night appraised very well and his mom looks great too! I'm so excited to move into the next phase of goat keeping.

I am sad to report that I have an additional update. While Louie, our recently ill pug, is doing fine, our other pug, Dupree, died on Tuesday. We're completely heart broken and can barely even speak about it right now. I'll post soon to honor her memory. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Old Dogs and New Tricks

Louie and Dupree
As many of you may know, Chris and I have five dogs.  These dogs are all firmly suburban dogs. They are smushed nose breeds, so air conditioning is just as important to them as it is to me. Coli and Louie are the oldies, both out-living their breed expectations. Dupree is our bratty middle child, then Petey our special needs girl, and finally, our baby is Winston. We planned on stopping when we had two dogs, then when we had three, and again when we had four. Now I promise we are stopping.

Our engagement photo with Louie
When you have a really old dog, specifically one who everyone says should be long gone, there is a constant nagging worry. It doesn't help that the old dogs start losing their hearing and can be pretty difficult to wake up at times. Even when you think you've prepared yourself, things can hit from out of the blue. Louie starting having accidents in the house, which isn't like him. I figured that he was losing control of himself and would need some medication, and planned on taking him to the vet. I took him in this Saturday, only to find that he wasn't losing control, he was completely blocked, his bladder was on the verge of bursting. He needed surgery.

Baby Winston
Old pugs don't typically survive anesthesia, but we didn't really have a choice, so we took the risk. Since it was the weekend, we had to have the surgery done at the emergency vet. Luckily, he made it through the first procedure, but on Monday we'll have to take him in to discuss further surgeries. At the youngest, he is 16 years old, possibly even 18. He's survived seizures with medication, arthritis with medication and cancer with surgery. It seems like an easy choice to just let him go, but it really isn't. Louie's lab work shows he is strong. His quality of life is great. He is happy and still doing well. These costly surgeries could kill him, or buy him time. Who knows how much time or if the time would be good time.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've got Winston. He's only a year and a half, by far the youngest and healthiest dog Chris and I have had together. He's learning the ways of our family, and getting away with more than the other dogs do in the process. I'm glad he is here now, because he reminds us how much joy dogs bring to us and that even though there are tough decisions to be made, and the endings are brutal, owning a dog is a wonderful thing. They give us so much, that even with the pain and sadness, it is totally worth it.

We'll probably take another risk with Louie tomorrow, knowing that if we lose him, at least we tried. If the time comes when he is hurting, or suffering, we'll have to make the hardest decision of all. Wish me luck in these complicated times.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Winston and Valerie

We have a new dog named Winston. He is a French Bulldog/ Pug mix, and he is adorable. When he was just a tiny puppy, we watched him for two weeks while his owner was out of town. My husband got really attached to him. When we heard his owner had to find him a new home, we were happy to take him. Our other dogs are taking to him pretty well. He is very sweet and fun to be around. 

 TLC-Farm Dear Valerie Plame has finally come home too! I'm so happy to have all four of my goats under one roof. The girls are getting so big we're going to double their pen next month.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Haflinger Plush Toy

I thought my Haflinger Friends out there might appreciate this cute little toy I made in honor of Morrissey. I think it might even be a little bit cuter than the plush goats. Shhh! Don't tell them!

I still miss her so much, but I'm sure she is having a good time with her new owners. There are several new boarders at the stables right now. We have a Mustang and a Percheron. I always thought my haflinger was drafty, but this girl puts her to shame. Her name is Zoe. I've never been around a draft horse in person. She is so big that the word that comes to mind when I see her is  always "dinosaur". 

In goaty news, my final doeling for this season will be coming home next weekend. Her name is TLC Farm Dear Valerie Plame. I can't wait to have all my girls in one place. I am crossing my fingers, hoping that the four of them will get along.

New Official Site

I'm very happy to announce that my dairy goat herd, Gray Stables, now has an official site. It isn't completely finished, but it is presentable enough for now. Feel free to check it out!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Shape Shifter

Valencia is keeping a secret and her shadow is telling the truth. She's not a goat after all. She is a bunny!