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.