Thursday, February 28, 2013

Wonderland

The big kid is back in school after four snow days. I'm thankful to be back on somewhat of a schedule, even if that schedule has me waking up at 6:30 in the morning (boy did I cherish all those days of sleeping in). I just filled out the paperwork to enroll the youngest child in preschool this fall. It's hard to believe I will have two kids in school this year.

After the new storm came on Tuesday I went out with the camera and took some pictures of the fresh snow. It was beautiful. Now it's mud. Everything is mud. I will not complain, at least too much, since any moisture is good moisture. I'm praying for no drought this year.







Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Cabin Fever

I honestly don't know how you folks in the northern states deal with all the snow. These two storms have practically shut us down. Stores were running out of food, people were scrambling to get fuel and reserves to be able to survive until the snow was done. I found it all pretty entertaining. I wonder if most people only keep enough food on hand for one or two days? Oh well. The second wave came through last night and dumped a measly 4 inches more of the white stuff. Definitely not the blizzard that was predicted. It was effective at closing the schools around here for the last four school days. My children are antsy. Cabin fever has set in. They are getting on each others last nerve which has resulted in crying fits, hitting and many many time outs. We all need a break. I'm praying school is back in session tomorrow. I desperately need out of this house, I'm actually looking forward to my gynecological visit on Thursday (TMI?). That should tell you something.

I'm anxious for all the snow to melt so I can transfer the chicken brooder up to the bird room (one of the small bedrooms that I commandeered as my sculpting room, which has since been taken over by the cokatiels and tortoises).  I'm ready to go pick out some chicks. It's time to replenish my flock. I started out with eight hens in the spring of 2010 and am down to three. I've lost none of them to predators surprisingly enough, they just die for no apparent reason.

 I visited the feed store last Friday and they have baby chicks but they are all straight run (boys and girls mixed together). I'm unwilling to take the chance on getting all roosters so I'm forced to wait until they get sexed pullets in. Or I could try this fancy chick sexing method I found online. Apparently you can sex chicks by the feather formation

(Source)
Isn't that fascinating? I sure find it cool. What I really want to do is go man handle some of the day old chicks at the feed store and see if I can identify males vs. females. I doubt they'd let me. So for now I'll just get the brooder ready and impatiently wait for some pullets to arrive.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Ready for round two

Oh golly, here we go again! The second round of snow is headed our way. Weather dude is saying 9-15 inches by Tuesday on top of what we got on Thursday. We thought we'd better get the driveway cleared  for the fresh stuff in case I have to get out in the Volt, which has about 2 inches of clearance (I wish I was kidding). So Sean went out and got the little John Deere tractor going in hopes of plowing the driveway with the blade on the front. Sadly, without chains or weights it hardly got itself out of the shop. So he switched gears and got the snow shovel and spent most of the morning clearing the 300 foot driveway. Poor guy is feeling it tonight.



This evening we were rearranging stuff in the shop trying to make the tractor accessible when Sean decided to try some "homemade" weights for the tractor (buckets full of the kids wet sand from the sandbox). Naturally they worked great and allowed him to plow quite a bit more snow (I'm sure he was wishing he'd thought that up before clearing the driveway by hand).  Those combined with the chains we just ordered will make quick work of any future snow.



Of course after all that was done we got the call from the school saying school was cancelled for yet another snow day tomorrow. Which is good since Wesley has been throwing up off and on since Friday (twice on Friday and once early this morning). Probably wouldn't have sent him to school even if it was in session. He seems to be feeling fine today so I hope it's over. I hate seeing my kids sick.

 Yesterday, when everyone was feeling well, we took the kids out and spent some quality time in the snow. Of course there was a lot of whining about how cold they were and several trips back into the house to warm fingers and toes. We had fun building all sorts of things including snowmen, forts and even a little yorkie. We've got the cupboards full of food, the animals are all bedded down, we are ready for the second round of snow. Bring it on!



Thursday, February 21, 2013

Snow Days!

Finally we get some of the white stuff! The first real snow storm of the season hit us yesterday and today and Wesley got a snow day today and tomorrow. Sean even got to work from home yesterday and today (and probably tomorrow). It's nice having all of us together safe and sound in a warm house. The snow is beautiful, all 10 inches of it, and the kids have already gone out to enjoy it. They lasted about twelve minutes before complaining that they couldn't feel their fingers, so in we went.




Sean said he got more work done at home than he did at the office. He locked himself up in Wesley's room to keep the kids (and their screaming, crying and all around loudness) at bay. Greta did manage to go upstairs and put her hat on him, which he wore around most of the day. Doesn't he look fabulous? I think he should work from home every day but sadly I don't think they'd go for it. 

I did quite of bit of preparations outside for the impending storm.  Lots of straw being put down in the shed, stock tank heaters/chicken water heaters plugged in and feed stocked up on. Sometimes you never know how long it will be before the roads get plowed out here. Winter feedings require many layers of clothes, warm gloves, buckets of hot water for the spoiled rotten goats and pockets full of treats (a can of cat food in one and a syringe of molasses for Dym in the other). I can't wait for Spring.



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

For the love of applesauce

Having a three year old in the house is an adventure. She makes me laugh daily. Today she had me chuckling at lunch. We recently found out about this magical substance called squeezable applesauce. It's just applesauce put into these pouches that have screw top lids, unscrew it and squeeze the stuff in your mouth. They come in tons of flavors and my kids are in love. It's still a new concept so my kids are ubber excited about it (they're simple kids). Greta can't leave a simple drop of this flavored gold in the pouch and will spend five minutes trying to Hulk out the last little bit. And I do mean "Hulk" it out. She squeezes so hard her arms shake and her eyes bulge. She does everything but turn green. It's too funny not to share. I have to tell her to stop so she doesn't have a stroke. That's my silly girl.




video




Saturday, February 16, 2013

Killing time

I am really looking forward to this three day weekend as a way to relax and have fun with the kids. It's been go, go, go for the last couple of weeks. We all had a nice Valentine's Day. I got to go help out with Wesley's Valentine's Day party. His school has a no sugar rule for the Holiday parties which really surprised me. When I was in school it was a sugar free for all! Perhaps I was just remembering the Birthday parties (which sugar is allowed for at his school). It's been difficult planning a party where sugar was not invited. Ended up doing fruit kabobs and popcorn which the kids enjoyed. Room mom Jessica did another smashing job planning and executing the party, the kids are lucky to have such an involved helper in their class. Wesley's teacher told us that Wesley has "come out of his shell," which I assumed is a good thing (?). She said this as he was running into cabinets and desks while falling over and laughing. What a nutty kid.

We've had an adventure these past two weeks shopping for a new mattress. We've had our old one for about nine years and it was time for a replacement. My back has been hurting for about a year and it's gotten to point I could hardly walk when I first got out of bed in the morning. Lower back pain is for the birds! So I went out alone shopping for a replacement with very little knowledge of what I wanted. A nice salesman educated me about spring mattresses and foam mattresses and I decided on a Serta memory foam mattress after trying out pretty much everything in the store. This monstrosity is just what the doctor ordered, firm and supportive for my back. It was so odd to get out of bed and have no back pain. We have noticed that they run a little hotter than normal spring mattresses so I just got done ordering a wool mattress cover. They are supposed to allow your body to "breathe" and keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It wasn't cheap so I'm hoping it will work. It's so odd to be excited about a new mattress, I think I'm officially a grown up now.

The kids are happy and healthy. Greta is obsessed with baths at the moment. Yes, bathing. I kid you not, she asks at least 20 times a day "Can I take a bath?". She spends about an hour in there playing and swimming....it's her favorite time of the day. The water cools down so I have to put fresh hot water in there at least once. I take that time to play on the tablet and do whatever research I'm into at the moment. We returned the "el cheapo" tablet we bought after Sean used it and declared the battery life not acceptable (I was fine with it). He replaced it with a Google Nexus 7 tablet which I must admit is much cooler, more responsive, 8+ battery life and it's much prettier (yes, that was a chick review).  It's purpose for me is to play Netflix during my treadmill sessions, which it does smashingly well.

The bath crayons were a hit, thanks Noni.
Wesley's obsessions still lie in computer games. He loves getting on my facebook page and playing his games. Games like Magic Pets and Social Wars. He doesn't use the interactive part of the games (using neighbors and friends) so I don't care if he plays them. The kid nearly knows his way around a computer better than I do. I've been checking out Playstation3 games from the library that are geared towards kids and playing them at home. He's not interested in playing them yet but he loves watching me play them. In particular "Plants vs Zombies". Yeah, zombie games probably aren't appropriate for their age group (it says 10+ on the box) but we checked it out before hand and it didn't worry me. The zombies are cartoon and comical, no blood and do pretty funny things (re: disco zombie who dances under a disco ball). The kids love this game and we've had a ball playing it. You place plants in your yard, each plant does something (pea shooters shoot peas, venus fly traps gobble zombies) and you are trying to prevent the zombies from entering your house. It might be depressing to add up how many hours we've put into that game over the past few weeks.  Fun times!

Check out Plants vs Zombies for a great way to kill a weekend (or two...perhaps three).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Goat Aftermath

I think I can say Miss Dym is out of the woods. She's back to her normal, goaty self. That was a close call, I was pretty sure it was the end of the line for the old gal. I can officially say I've never been so happy in my life to see a goat pee and poop.

I went into the local vet clinic yesterday and picked up the dewormer (albendazole) for the other three goats. The vet also wanted me to give each goat a shot of B-12 daily for the next three days to aid in their dealing with the vicious worm load. I had to explain to him that one of the goats is a 250 pound, evil Boer wether that would rather gore me to death than let me worm him. The vet ensured me that I could do it (get as much help as needed) and that it was important that all goats were treated. So I got home, climbed into my coveralls and boots and had a little talk with GoatMan through the fence. I told him to prepare himself, I was going to get that dewormer down his throat. He just watched me with his red Satan eyes while planning my imminent death. I have to admit I was nervous, that goat and I have had many bad run ins with each other most of which usually ended with me having a greenish purple bruise where his horn intercepted my thigh.

So into the corral I went. I crept up to him quietly while praising him (Ha!) and quickly grabbed the base of the nearest horn. He did not like this and proceeded to take me for a ride around the pen. About this time I decided perhaps this wasn't the brightest idea, after all I was home alone with Greta and if anything were to happen to me it would be hours before anyone would find my mangled, gored body. But it was too late at that point I was going to get this done. By golly I did not let go of that horn. GoatMan has a good hundred and fifteen pounds on me but I knew he'd get tired of dragging me around at some point which he finally did. I squirted that dewormer down his throat and exited the corral but not before throwing my hands in the air and yelling "Victory!".

That's about the time I realized I have to repeat the deworming in 21 days. Sigh.

Oh and I thought I'd share what the garage looked like after three full grown goats were housed in it for less than 24 hours. So much poo.....

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Goats in the Garage

I wish my animals could just always be healthy and happy. But alas, that doesn't happen. Dym (our nubian senior doe) went off of her food Friday morning which is never a good sign. She does this once or twice a year and I can usually nurse her back. In the past it's generally been warm outside when she does this. This time round it's blustery, raining and 40 degrees (I'm thankful it's not 20 degrees out). I took her into the shop, got the two space heaters going and tried to get her to eat. She was shivering and her body temperature was a low 98 degrees (normal is 102-103 degrees). Once she warmed up a bit she got hungry and ate some alfalfa pellets and carrots. The sun came out Friday and she even grazed a bit in the back yard. I dosed her with some MAGIC (molasses, corn oil and corn syrup), oral B-12 paste, probiotic paste and put a fleece jacket on her. That usually brings her back from past experience.


 Then last night she got cold again, but was still active but not eating this morning. Of course the weather went to crap today too. Cold rain and heavy winds just didn't help. She seemed to have an appetite but would eat a bit and shake her head violently. She would nibble at hay one moment then go stand painfully in the corner shivering the next. I was stumped so I called the vet. The nearby town just recently got a set of new vets. One does horses and the other ruminant animals. He showed up, took her temperature, gave her a shot of B-12, wormed her and took a fecal sample. He thought it looked parasitic to him. He left instructions to warm her up. So I walked back in the house and decided to brainstorm with the men on ways to warm a goat up. My idea was to bring her in the house. Seriously. It was the house or the shop (with space heaters), and the shop is currently housing Sean's corvette in various stages of restoration.  Although the thought of putting a 160 pound goat in with the 'vette crossed my mind.....I decided I cherish my marriage.  Sean didn't think bringing the non potty trained goat into the house was a good idea and mentioned the garage. Bingo! Why didn't I think of the garage?

So cars were moved out (hey, they needed a wash in the rain anyways) and goats were lured in. I had to bring her two grown kids with her for comfort and support....and the fact that they are inseparable. With the help of the space heaters it is currently 62 degrees. Dym is no longer cold. She's downright perky and eating(!). In fact she's eating everything. I sat out there with them this afternoon for a couple of hours and in that time they ate a flap off of a cardboard box, the sticker off of the trash can and a strip of tape from a box (that I had to fish out of it's mouth because you know it's plastic and all). Then I went inside and came out to find they had gone through the trash and recycling bins, eating only God knows what. They will stay in the garage tonight and I'll evaluate how she's doing in the morning. I'm hoping she's back to her perky self.


Begging for a fruit snack....which she got and LOVED.


The vet called this afternoon with the results of the fecal, she has barber pole worms. Nasty little red and white worms that suck the blood from the lining of the stomach. I'm hopeful the worming the vet did today will take care of her worm load. I intend to call on Monday and talk to him about reworming and/or doing another fecal soon to see if we got them all. The other goats will be getting treated this week as well. Miss Dym is 11 years old (we think), life span of a goat is 12-15 years. We are hopeful we'll have her around for a few more years.

This experience made me realize I have to take better preventative actions with my animals. My twice a year worming is apparently not effective. I've been interested in learning how to run my own fecal slides to look for worm eggs and I think it's time to gain that useful skill. I'll leave you with a parting shot of Heston "smiling" for the camera.


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Proof

One of the fun parts of having children is trying to explain everyday things to them. Things that I thought everyone knew.....even little kids. Things like: the fact that your eyes are closed when you sleep. Wesley doesn't understand the concept. He swears up and down that he sleeps with his eyes open. We tell him repeatedly that his eyes, are indeed, shut when he sleeps. He doesn't believe us and demanded proof. So for the last few mornings he runs up to me and eagerly asks if I took a picture of him while he was sleeping. And for the last few mornings I had to admit that I forgot to take the picture (oops).

But last night was the night. I snuck up there with my camera, flash on, ready to blind the poor child. Unfortunately I failed to realize the new camera shines a rather blinding orange light right before it takes a night picture. It woke him up. I snuck out of the room vowing to return another night. Before crashing for the night I mentioned this to Sean and he recommended using the old camera. I told him he was welcome to try it, so he did. He gathered the proof:



This morning Wesley groggily asked me if I took a picture last night (I think he was giving up hope that I'd remember). I showed him the picture and he stared at it puzzled. I could tell the gears were moving in his head, trying to come up with a valid reason for why his eyes would be closed. Finally he looked up at me and said "Well they must have been shut because I was dreaming, I shut my eyes when I dream.....but not when I'm just sleeping." 

Sigh. I think I'll just let him believe it.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Weekend plans

I know it's only February (barely February at that) but I am so excited for Spring. I've got lists and plans for all the things we need to accomplish around here. The garden planning is in full swing. The Burpee catalog has post-it note bookmarks throughout and I'm excited to try some of the new plants they are offering. I went out back with the kids and cleared out all the dead plants and am ready to rent a rototiller. It's going to be an even bigger garden this year. So excited!

Jessica and her clan came over to play on Saturday. We haven't seen much of each other since cold & flu season is in full swing and she's trying to keep her newborn healthy. The kids had a blast together and it was nice seeing everyone. Evie is a little over two months old and is a smiley, happy baby.

Jessica and Evie, she's starting to smile and is getting big! Such a cutie.
Sean and Rich spent a lot of time out in the shop doing man things. Sean is finishing up the fuel rail for the corvette (see I actually listen when he tells me what he's working on!). Rich got a bike rack that goes on the back of his truck and makes it easier to load and unload his bike.



Since I can't post a blog without pictures of the kids, here is Wesley doing what he loves best...playing internet games on the computer. Greta incapacitated her Dad and then sat on him. I thought it was picture worthy. That was our weekend.

Still in love with his beloved Night-Night Doggie. It doesn't get washed anymore in fear that it will disintegrate.