We have had a predator attack. It is with heavy heart that I tell you that my darling Willow, my Willowmina, has passed away. She was 4 years old and a stunning Akbash. Akbash are a breed of Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) from Turkey. Willow guarded her goats and was always in the middle of a pile of them. Read more…
We have had some new Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat kids born 11 days ago. This is from our new doe, Meg’s Mini Rachelle, and our new buck, Amasanti BB California Gold (aka Fred).
I in particular was looking forward to this breeding with great anticipation because Rachelle is a Swiss marked Nigerian and I have never had one of those before. Fred is a Gold and I haven’t had that one before either. I have had a cream, possibly a gold but never in a buck. Fred is from a buck recently imported from California and Rachelle is also from lines totally new to my herd. I researched the lines and have brought in some pretty goats but only after making sure they are from very milk producing lines.
I bought several new bucks this year and a few does as well. The bucks specifically are from proven milk lines and should be of the quality that my does are. In the past, I believe my bucks were more neutral when it came to milk production and now I have bucks that are as high or higher in milk production than my already high producing does. I am hoping that it will breed my does, who are already high producers, up even farther.
My goal is to have my does and their daughters all be half gallon or 4 lb a day milkers or better….always. I don’t want average milk production or low production that so many Nigerian breeders seem to think is standard. I am not focused on only pretty faces or eye colors. I have pretty faces and fabulous eyes but not at any expense in the milk pail. Dashing colors and sparkling eyes do NOT put milk in the pail. Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goats are just that….DAIRY GOATS!
I have been a closed herd since moving back from Colorado to Michigan. We did our testing and with the herd negative on their tests, it is now time to close the herd back up.
I have a few photos of these lovely little darlings. We were lucky and right there when mama went into labor because she went EARLY! and she had triplets and if we had gone into the house even for that hour or so before coming back out to do evening chores, I have no doubts that we would have lost two of the kids. She popped number 2 and 3 our in about 30 seconds total at once after having had kid 1 about 15 minutes prior. She was a bit dazed, I would have been also with two kids popping out in 30 seconds, so she couldn’t react quick enough to get the sacks off their heads. That left me with towels in hand to help her. I was her labor and delivery nurse. Kid 2 was the only doe in the lot. 1 and 3 are gorgeous bucks.
Kid 1 is a black and tan Swiss marked boy. He was the smallest of them all. I think he might have only been a pound and so tiny. But he was strong and up and nursing about 3 minutes after she had his sack off before he was even dry. And 11 days after, he is one of the bounciest of the three!
Kid 2 is the doe. She appeared white. But a couple of days ago, I realized she is not all white. She is a Cou Blanc!! I am so excited. I have one Cou Blanc in my herd currently, but Sweet Pea is 13 years old and has never thrown a Cou Blanc herself. This little darling is white head, white neck and white shoulder area and color on the rump. I can see the distinct line mid back where a buck skin pattern would break except her color placements are the opposite of a buckskin. Where a traditional Cou Blanc has white on front and black on rump, this little gal has white on front and pale gold on rump. So I am guessing that Gold is her color family and Cou Blanc is her pattern. She has the little gold strips in the same spots on her nose and face as Sweet Pea has her black strips. The only thing that Sweet Pea has that this little one does not have is any gold strips visible yet on her legs. Her legs currently just appear all white. Oh and she doesn’t have Sweet Pea’s wattles.
So after three hours of unplanned goat midwifery, we returned to our normal lives….minus the hours lost playing with the new kids over the last 11 days. but…..Aren’t they all just so cute?
It has been ages since I have posted to my blog. There is a reason. I had an accident in February that crushed my head between and beneath about 40-50 pounds of wood, ice and snow. I dropped the wood box lid with all the snow and such on my head when my head was in the box. It crushed my head in between, hitting me both in the back and front of the head, broke my nose, split my face open and required stitches and an emergency visit. That has all healed up, but the head injury part did not heal as quickly. It has been a long hard six months but I am starting to feel better and starting to create again. Before this it was very hard to be on the computer, type, text, talk on the phone ect. Just too much input causing too many headaches. That is why I have been absent….along with a smart phone and internet that has refused to play nice….or smart!!
This last week, we have been building stone dyke walls outside around the flower beds. Dry stacking sand stone and doing some in round field stones. It will make it much easier to strim and mow. I have found that all my lovely plants do not always obey and stay in their beds. Some of the plants like Lily of the Valley in particular, like to wander out of their beds all over the yard.
We have had some super fab lilies this last week pop their flowers. I love my double and trumpet lilies. For a week, every time I walked past the studio the scent in the evening was almost over whelming. Their blooms are past now and I am finding I am missing their scent.
The Sunflowers have started to bloom. I planted a lovely variety of RED sunflower that I am still anxiously awaiting to open. They are sooooo close. The birds however, planted loads of Black Oil Sunflower seeds absolutely everywhere and those have been blooming ….well…everywhere!!
I have been working on my final project and should have it finished shortly. The Fiber Face piece is complete. The backing is sew together, hemmed, pressed and sewn to the front Fiber Piece. I have to add two more tabs to finish out the top and steam block it. Than it is done and photos will follow. I stitched the entire backing, tabs, and hems with my new to me 1954 Singer 99K. I adore this sewing machine and with it being a hand crank, I can go as slow as I want to. It is wonderful. I have been afraid of sewing for years and avoided it since my childhood. It is so good to be creating and making things that I want to. Isn’t this machine gorgeous?
I found two lovely hand cranks. This 1954 Singer 99K and also a 1957 Singer 15K-80. Charlie has used the 15K-80 to sew himself a felt quilt padded pouch for his new lap top that is too big for his old computer bag. We went to the Hen House on the east side of the state and met a lovely group of ladies that were quilting. One explained to Charlie how to do a “french seam” and he did it for his first piece. I didn’t pay any attention to them as I was more focused on sewing a regular seam somewhat straight and not my fingers included. I thought he could show off if he wanted to.
I did get several other sewing machines as well. Five all total. I already showed you and told you about the 1926Singer 31-15 treadle. She is an industrial sewing machine. I also got a 1941 Singer 66 treadle. I will use these two once I want to go faster than my hand cranks allow.
Last but not least, I got a 1949 Singer 15-91 electric for when I want to go really fast. All told I bought five vintage Singer machines and have plans to get my sewing, weaving, and spinning nook sorted soon. Currently they are spread out all over the place and it looks like a fiber and sewing shop exploded in the house.
Good News: we finally located my brand new never been used Juki Serger and the box of all the threads. We haven’t been able to locate it in the storage units or semi for the last two years. I was convinced that it was in a specific storage unit which was the only one of our units that was broken into last fall. I was correct and it was in that unit but was not stolen thank goodness. It was just very well buried and hidden….enough so that in about 4-5 trips both Charlie and I couldn’t find it. It is found now so more progress and learning is on my horizon.
Goat Kidding Spring Season was in May. We had five kids total born this May, with three being sold to new homes. Fall Kidding season is about upon us. I have several goats getting ready to kid at the end of August and into September. Sweet Pea had a single doe in June and it was a hard one for her. Her milk didn’t come in as good as it should have and the doe kid was very weak. I was out there when she delivered so I sat with the kid wrapped in a towel zipped inside my carhart for hours.
She was so weak she would have died had I not taken her into the house for two days. She is now fat, sassy and running around every where. A blue eyed blue pinto roan off one of my best does. Her name is Aileen, which is Gaelic for “sunbeam”. She is Sweet Pea’s last kid as we will be retiring her and finding her a pet home for her golden years.
All the llamas that we gave away have all come back to the ranch. We decided to get two of them back around Thanksgiving and let the other two go for good. However, those two also recently came back to the ranch. All of them we think may well be pregnant. So we are watching them as certain ones are getting rather plump and heavy.
It has been very busy here on the ranch. Trees coming down, walls going up, flowers being planted, weeds being dug up, goats coming and going, llamas coming back. So much activity.
I have started to learn how to sew with a vintage hand crank machine. I did my first quilt bit that I made to be a pad under the dog’s water dish for drips. I have been spinning. Finally I have made three scarves with the Broomstick stitch in Crochet. I had planned on doing that several years ago but moving state and injuries got me side tracked a bit. Now that stitch is super fun! I have woven for the first time with a bulky weight single ply as my warp and silk hankies shredded and used for weft. There has been so much going on I forgot to tell you all about it. I know that this is a feeble catch up for so many months of silence but I will do better as I am able to put in more computer time. Off for now…..