Friday, March 30, 2012

Kids, lambs, general chaos

 good morning, Brina!

Wednesday afternoon,  Kevin left in a rush for Georgia. A very good friend of his passed away, and it was important he make the 1,200 mile trip to get to the funeral. I couldn't have gone even if we had been able to get our caretaker here in such short notice because my passport is being renewed and doesn't come back until next week, and of course, Brina the goat is still in the house and needing me to make sure she gets over the hump.

In the seven years Kevin and I have been together, we've rarely been apart. We do most things together, and I can count on one hand the number of times he's been away or I've been away, alone. He'll be gone until Sunday evening. No big deal to be honest. I have no way off the farm but I've spent an entire month here alone with no way off the farm before, and if everything falls apart, I have a constant supply of fresh goat milk to keep us going ;) I have no problems taking care of myself here.

That being said, it's unreal how something always happens... Wed afternoon I mostly worked inside and kept the fire going so it would be warm in the house since it was damp and raining outside. Brina had a terrible day Tuesday,  and I thought I might loose her. She couldn't pee. I knew the day she was born something wasn't quite right but she had a traumatic morning so I gave her credit. Tuesday morning she woke me up at 7 AM and I thought it was great, she must be hungry. Nope. She wouldn't eat. She was running around the house playing, and was quite happy but she refused food. This went on for half the day (and I was worried, and trying everything I could) finally she flooded the place with pee. and as soon as she did, she wanted food. 

This was the first time I've ever had a kid with trouble peeing - pooping yes, that's why I was so relieved when she starting pooping on Monday, and Tuesday she continued to do so, but refused food. I wasn't 100% sure she hadn't peed, I have a lot of straw in her box and I kept feeling in case she peed in there but couldn't find any, so I was suspicious, especially since she spent 90% of the day roaming around the house - if she had peed, I would have known about it. The strange thing was, other than not eating, she showed zero signs of being in pain or distress, she was climbing furniture, playing with the dogs. 

Thank heavens she finally let the flood gates open because ever since she's been 100%, eating well, peeing well, pooping well, and looking for as much trouble as she can get her cute little self into. She thinks it's great to sleep in the easy chair in my lap, she must have got that tip from Sammy because none of the other kids have done that after the first day. Most of the time she sleeps on my feet.

So Wednesday evening comes around, time to do the evening chores. No big deal. I bring in my firewood for the night, plan on a nice relaxing evening by the fire with the dogs, and Brina... 

I head out the basement door to get the mule to carry hay in, and Torn Ear and Deer Norman are standing in the yard. Usually the deer wander off by this time of year, but we still have about seven hanging around. But wait... What's this in the juniper fields behind the barnyard? Something big and white I see? Not a deer... something bright white... Bright white like a Saanen goat.

Hmmm... it is a goat. Yep. Buckwheat. And who else? EVERYONE else. For the first time in 6 years, somehow the goats knocked the barnyard fence down and got out hours after Kevin left. It's like Murphy's law that something will happen. The electric fence is off but that's not unusual- and I'm not sure what happened to cause this, or really, whom. But they were out. Thankfully, the only kid out in the barnyard, Blodwen did not go over the fence with her mother, because that would have been a disaster, and Henrietta and Brie (Buckets kids from last year) stayed inside the barnyard with both dogs - and all three sheep and turkeys. But five goats (four more were in the barn) were out roaming about. They didn't go away, that wasn't my concern, I knew they wouldn't take off... But they could be eaten. Plus I don't really want to promote fence wrecking behavior and give them grand ideas of just strolling around the fields here at their leisure. That's lovely for goats in some other place in the world where there are not coyotes, wolves, and bears who just woke up from hibernation lining up for an evening buffet.

After I said a couple of words under my breath, I called them, and Sammy came right away. He's a good boy. He looked guilty as a Chihuahua caught with his head in a feed bag, but he came as soon as I called.


 After they were all safely in the barn in their pens, I inspected the damage to the fence, since Izzie the Jersey stays in the barnyard overnight and the dogs do as well - I couldn't leave the fence down. It was only one post they pulled out of the ground and then they just pushed the fence over... it was lying down, not flat, but enough that they just jumped over, but up enough it still looked like a barrier to a few of the other animals... that or they just wanted to get extra treats for being the good critters (which they all did.)

I have been walking Izzie on lead everyday to a paddock across from the barnyard. The sheep usually use it in the summer, but for now, it works for Izzie since she cannot be near the sheep or she'll hurt them. Since I have been walking her on lead - she's turned into the sweetest girl, even better than before. It took a while, at first she hated it and fussed, but now she's calm, and loves her morning cuddle, she loves when I scratch her neck and she stretches it out so I can rub her good before she has her breakfast. I can see now that he recent bad behavior has been caused by dominance, she figures now that she's big, she can push everyone around. I'm really pleased with our relationship right now. At night I bring her back into the barnyard so that she is safe with Max and  Flav. The problem is, I've got her this far and then in May, I'm going to leave for a few months and she'll be on summer pasture - so I'm sure she's going to need a reminder when I get back, but that will be just fine, the bugs will be down, and I'm going to take advantage of that time to start taking her on walks on lead.

So after my inspection of the fence, I knew there was only one thing I could do without an extra set of hands... I couldn't use the fence post slammer because for one I'm not tall enough to reach the post above my head, and for two I can't do anything to potentially hurt myself, rule number one when you are alone on a farm.

So I knew I had to go home and start the tractor. Without it, I couldn't have got the post back in the ground, I would have had to prop it up somehow and it would have been just as easy as before to knock over, if not easier. So I came home, started the tractor, and drove up behind the fence. I propped the post up so it would stand on it's own, with logs and then positioned the bucket of the tractor over the post and slammed it down into the ground. The first time, I hit a rock so the post only went in a little ways... I pulled the post out and moved it to another spot and tried again. Second time worked like a charm and that post went into the ground fast and hard - and there is no way anyone is going to be pulling it out by hand for a while now.

I love that tractor. 

I'm curious as to what happened. Often the goats with horns stick their heads through the fence holes and when they pull their heads back through, they pull the fence with it. So that's one possibility... I don't think it was intentional, I think someone had their head through and things just worked in their favor. I worked out a plan to wire the fence with a hot wire to keep them from even getting near the fence,  but decided to leave it alone and watch what happened the next day when I let them all out.

Once the fence was fixed, I brought Izzie back in the barnyard and gave her dinner. Back at the house, a lot later than I had planned, I sort of rested with the dogs and Brina. Brina had her last bottle which she sucked down and we watched T.V. for a bit. Kevin called at 10 PM as he said he would, but not because he'd found a hotel room as planned but because he was going to keep driving into the night until he couldn't anymore. He was in Harrisburg PA at 10 PM and just the trucks were out so driving was easier.

I damped down the fire and put Brina to bed... she didn't want to go, since she thinks she should be with me every minute of the day... But I waited a bit and eventually she lied down and got herself comfortable. The rest of us called it a night and halfway through a program about Montezuma and Cortes, I fell asleep.
It was a pretty sleepless night, as my guard was up, trying to be prepared for potential problems. Yesterday morning, it was overcast and still cold outside, the temperature has been sitting at or just below freezing for a few days now. 

 When I got up to the barn, everyone was talking as usual, I can tell all of their voices apart. Well I heard Lila the ewe as usual, but her voice was strained. I walked the length of the barn to have a look at her and see if she was alright before I started letting everyone out, and sure enough she was just fine, but she'd recently had a lamb. Standing beside her was a healthy black ram lamb.

I went ahead and let everyone out, leaving Lila and her lamb inside for the day to rest, and also leaving Mini Nut and Blodwen inside in case the fence went down again. Bucket and her twins are doing well, but they are still inside, the kids are too small to be outside, especially in the cold weather. And poor Beatrice is inside on baby watch still.... I know she'll kid soon and I want her in a safe and dry place.

Lila's ram lamb, few hours old

Then I had a good look at the possible fence wreckers, before I headed home to hide and watch with my binoculars who tried to mess with the fence.


Does this face look like the face of a fence wrecker? The obvious culprit was Sammy... he likes to get into trouble because he knows I'm extra forgiving with him.


The next potential criminal was Bulrush - he's the biggest of all the goats, but he has no horns to get caught in the fence. He does look a little guilty though don't you think?


Buckwheat, the one who was happiest to get out and the last to come back in once caught....

So I waited and watched from the house, where they couldn't see me. It took a while, but Sammy was the first one to go check out the spot in the fence where they got out. He just looked though, fairly quickly and conspicuously, and then he walked the fence line and slowly walked off.

Buckwheat never went near the fence that I saw all day.

But guess who spent a great deal of the afternoon at the fence, sticking his head over it, poking around looking for weaknesses? Bulrush. I yelled twice from the house and he just kind of looked at me wondering what the heck the crazy woman was yelling about now and didn't even move away. But eventually he went and lied down inside the turkey house. 

No one tried to push it over again... so I think it was an accident. The post was one of two weak ones, so I don't think someone actually did it on purpose. I haven't turned the electric fence on yet, but I will. I don't think I'll need to set my traps however since they seem to be leaving it alone for the most part. But I'll be keeping both my eyes on them now instead of just assuming everything is fine.

It dawned on me today that I had completely over looked Mini Nut - who has horns. I left her in the barn yesterday and the fence stayed up. I let her out today, and I noticed she spent a great deal of time at that post, inspecting it. So it's possible she was the one who did it and not the boys at all. As a matter of fact, she's there right now poking around.

The three kids in the barn are doing well and growing.

Blodwen who is growing like a weed

Bucket's little boy who was weak, he's still teeny, but he's growing very strong and playful everyday

Bucket's little girl who was stuck, she's doing really well 

Having a scratch

Yesterday afternoon friends called to see if they could come for a visit. They came over about 6 PM and we headed up to the barn to see all the new babies and they ended up staying until about 9:30 and then Kevin called, and I still had to go to the barn and do the milking. I ended up sitting down to eat my dinner at 11:30. So it was a pretty long and late night.

When I milked Biscuit in the morning, I got pink milk. Which can be a few different things. I saved the milk and when I milked her last night again, I got more pink milk, but it was lighter.

Thankfully today, the milk is clear. It must have been the switch in her milk and she is a very high producer so it's common in them - but it's the first time she's ever done it to me. This morning the milk was perfect again. Biscuit is a purebred Alpine and she's giving me a little more than 2 1/2 quarts of milk a day.

pink milk on the bottom, clear milk on top

Brina is enjoying her freedom in the house and has pretty much taken over.

 it's exhausting being a little goat...

yes, I know I'm adorable...

Last night at midnight, I couldn't find Brina. She just vanished. I looked everywhere. I was exhausted and running on fumes and I thought for a second I must be loosing my mind - how is it possible she wasn't anywhere in the house? I looked everywhere under everything, behind everything... I was calling her, no answer.

I started to panic even though I knew it was impossible she was gone. But the fact I could not find her anywhere was really starting to get to me, especially since my brain had pretty much quit for the night...

Suddenly on my way back into the living room she appeared in the middle of the room out of nowhere. I had no idea where she had been. I'd looked everywhere.

Well, everywhere except for one spot.

This afternoon she vanished again, but this time I figured out where she is going.



She's been going into Douglas house and lying down on the blanket in there! Apparently she thinks she needs a house like that. Thankfully I have a big one that's sitting empty, Sammy used it when he was a baby. I'm going to clean it out this afternoon and set it up for her so she can come and go from that house as she pleases. She's lying down in Douglas house right now, not that he seems to care since he's sleeping on the couch.

Now it's time to bring wood in and start preparing for evening chores. Hopefully tonight I'll eat a little earlier than 11:30 tonight! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

Back online and kid updates

Blodwen

On Thursday, we got a new satellite system installed for our Internet. It ran alright for a bit but then crashed on Friday and it hasn't been working all weekend. Finally Kevin's desktop computer came back online, but my laptop still couldn't find the wireless router, and even Mozilla crashed for some unknown reason. After trying everything he could think of, thankfully Kevin figured it out. He hooked my laptop up directly to the new modem to bypass the router, and that's when he realized it was the router... after leaving it plugged in for a bit, the laptop found the signal of the new modem and now it's working just fine. For some reason the laptop couldn't find the new system when it searched for it, but it's found it now, and so far, so good.... hopefully it stays that way. 

Blodwen seems to be sticking as a name for Mini Nut's little doeling, who is doing wonderful. She had her first day outside with the rest of the family yesterday and she did great and had a lot of fun, she's like a rocket running around and she has no fear. She's a real handful for her mother who has to chase after her everywhere to keep her out of trouble.

 
On Friday morning, I knew Bucket was finally going to kid that day. She was showing every sign, and in my gut I just knew it had to be time. I spent a great deal of time sitting with her, waiting.... watching.

 this is a goat who is very close to kidding

All afternoon I was on watch... meanwhile, Blodwen and her mama roamed around the barn, looking for goodies and in Blodwen's case, trouble.

 hmmm what's this?

I feel like jumping around!


 passing some time reading



 After coming home for a short break, I decided I better check again. I was glad I did - fluid was just starting to come out.


It took a long time for her to kid, usually once it starts it's very quick in her case, so after a while I started to feel like something must be wrong. 1/2 hour in, I was nervous, more nervous than usual. Finally she started pushing and out was coming one little hoof, and it was going back in. I could see she was in discomfort and she wasn't pushing, for some reason, she couldn't push the kid out. I realized I better do something. I reached inside and felt the kid which was indeed, positioned wrong. I couldn't feel his second front leg.... it was way back behind the first and stuck and his head was positioned wrong. I moved the kids position and got a hold of both feet, which I slowly pulled towards me. The kids nose started to come, tongue complete hanging out. Bucket couldn't push, the kid just kept going back inside her and she'd just quit. I knew it was time, and I grabbed the kid and pulled gently, but at the same time with all the strength I could muster.... Once the kid came out and into my arms, she wasn't breathing. Her tongue was hanging all the way out the side of her face. I started clearing her nose and mouth and cleared it, and she took a big breath, much to my complete relief.

Seconds later, the second kid came, easily, without a problem. The second kid was breathing, but was very, very weak.

Bucket started cleaning them both right away, she's always been a good mother and has never failed her kids, or me. I stayed for a while and the little doeling I pulled out, finally started trying to stand. The second kid, a buckling, couldn't stand, or hold his head up, and his ears were down and his nose still cold and black.

I cleared the wax plugs from Bucket's teats so they'd be able to nurse, and I helped the little girl get in position, which she did quickly. The little buckling couldn't stand for a long time, most of the evening. I held him up for his first feed, and then again a few times throughout the evening... I held him up so he could nurse, he couldn't stand and drink at the same time without falling over. I checked on him at midnight the last time and his tummy was full, but he was lying alone and shivering. I gave him extra straw and stood in the barn for a long time trying to decide what to do next. The kid was eating, and had a full tummy. He was weak and still not standing well on his own after a few hours...  my gut told me to just trust Bucket, this time... if he was going to make it, she would take care of him. At times like this you have to use your past experience and also trust your gut, when deciding how best to proceed. I've had lambs that seemed to be nursing just fine one minute, but the next were not... Goat kids that just were not strong enough, and normally wouldn't make it, but could with human intervention. Either way, it means not a lot of sleep and a lot of monitoring to make sure you don't need to take action.

It was a restless night. I've been through enough lambing and kidding now to know that I cannot always control the outcomes of situations. It's very difficult. I want every kid and lamb to be strong, healthy, and I always need to know I did everything I could to give them the best possible chance. But it's not always so easy, and often even though you did do everything possible, sometimes you still end up feeling like it wasn't enough.

Thankfully the next morning, he was indeed standing, and nursing, although still weak and falling over. Over the past couple of days he's grown stronger, although he's still pretty wobbly. The little doeling is doing very well, and Bucket is taking good care of them. At first the two kids didn't lie together, which surprised me, since twins are always very close. This made me think maybe something was wrong with the little guy, but now the two kids are lying together and snuggling, which is positive and the little buckling, while not a bundle of energy, is full, and warm... and able to stand and walk on his own.

 and so it begins...

cleaning her babies

 the twins this morning

Today it's really cold outside and so windy you can barely stand up without holding on to something for support. Over the weekend however the above seasonal temperatures remained. We took advantage yesterday and pulled our taps and buckets and washed them all outside. 

 putting a new salt block out for the deer in one of the fields, the last one is completely gone and they have been digging looking for more

 the soft maples have budded

starting to pull the buckets and taps

turtles out in the sun in our turtle pond

 first flowers of spring!

 our washed buckets drying in the sun

our pond in front of the house today

 Last night at about 11:30 PM the temperature started to drop and the wind came up. The wind tore through here all through the night, roaring through the trees and taking everything not nailed down with it. I had hoped by morning, the wind would have calmed down, but we were not so lucky. The sky is blue today and the sun is out but the wind is terrible, and it's freezing outside. It's a more seasonable temperature but after so many days of 70 and 80 degrees F, our bodies forgot it still gets chilly this time of year.

This morning when I went up to the barn the first thing I noticed was that Bucket's kids were both up walking around, which was a very good sight. The second thing I noticed was, the two black squirrels I've been trying to keep out, were back in the barn and wrecking everything, buckets turned upside down, stuff knocked over, and the two of them were standing on the roof of the turkey coop, looking down at me, snickering.

When I was about to announce to them that I didn't appreciate them knocking all my stuff over, and I was going to be calling in the recruits (I.E. Max, head of the Great Pyrenees squirrel control unit) I noticed something in Buckets pen that I didn't see the first time my eyes passed over it... Wait a minute...  That can't be right.... Bucket has three kids? What the.... 

How is that possible? Bucket had three kids in her pen with her. THREE.

 I went down to Biscuits pen at the other end of the barn and saw that there was afterbirth there, uneaten. Biscuit is the goat that never accepts her kids - ever. She tries to kill them, so I put her in a pen they can get out of, if she has them when I'm not there, which she almost always does. What I couldn't figure out was, how did this kid get into Buckets pen? I had it blocked with straw bales so Buckets kids couldn't get out. Her getting in the pen meant she climbed over two straw bales to get in there, right after being born.

Bucket wasn't beating her up, but she wouldn't let her nurse and gave her a tap every time the little one tried to get milk.

I couldn't believe this kid was that tough, she got out of the pen with her mother, ran the entire length of the barn (there are four more goat pens, a sheep pen, and the turkey coop in between her pen and Bucket's) and jumped over two straw bales to get in with Bucket, whom she hoped would let her nurse.

I picked the doeling up and put her in Sammy's pen while I worked since he was outside already. I came home to get a bowl for the milk and a clean baby bottle. After I milked Biscuit, I took a bottle of milk down to the little girl and after a few seconds she took the bottle quickly and drank. She was cold, she hadn't been cleaned, so she was wet. I grabbed her up in my arms and brought her home. Kevin wasn't even remotely surprised, he just went outside and brought more wood in to get the fire going so she could warm up.

I cleaned her up a bit, and wrapped in her a blanket and we sat by the fire to warm up. After a while she stopped shivering and spent a few minutes getting to know Douglas, who was overjoyed he had a new friend. Norman just gave me a dirty look and wandered off to lie in a sunbeam, he's seen this scenario play out a hundred times before. 

I finally got her to sleep so I could go to the barn and finish my chores, and milk Biscuit some more.
 Douglas wondering why she's sleeping again

 Douglas says "chase me!"

he's making that face because she's sniffing him - he's the submissive one in this household- to everyone

 Norman and Brina sleeping in a sunbeam this afternoon

Brina

 She spent the afternoon checking out the house, climbing on stuff, and following Douglas around, in between taking naps by the fire. She's drinking well and she's pretty strong so I'm hopeful. For now she'll stay in the house until she's a little older and stronger and it warms up again. It took a while, but finally I got her to have her first poop after a few times of working to get things going with a warm cloth. That gave me a huge sense of relief, since now I know her little system is working. Now I can sleep tonight and not worry.

Tomorrow Kevin will be away getting the truck fixed (hopefully fixed) and I'll stay home and make sure the baby is fed and hopefully fix a few things in the barn. 

There is just one more doe to kid, Beatrice. It's her first time, so I'm anxious. Only one ewe this year to lamb too, which is easier than last year. Lila is always a good mom and thankfully has never had a problem with lambing. 


Now, the chores are done, supper has been cooked and eaten. Brina is sleeping at my feet, while she waits for her next bottle, which is cooling off because I warmed it up a hair too much. I gave everyone in the barn extra bedding to get them through this cold snap, and in the house the fire is burning to keep us comfortable. 

Before sleep tonight, I hope to enjoy a hot cup of tea, some silly movie, watched in the easy chair with a baby goat, a jealous Pug, and an indifferent Chihuahua. 

Norman just hopes there will be popcorn. 

Internet problems

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, I've had plenty to share but no way to do it. We got a new satellite system installed and ever since I've not been able to get online at all (I know, it's been horrible!). We think we've got the problem solved - paws crossed. We'll know tonight!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Babies and sunshine


The morning after our new baby was born,  I rushed up to the barn to check on the baby and her mama. At last check the night before, around 11 PM, everything was fine and mama definitely did not have another baby in there. It turns out, Mini Nut put on A LOT of baby weight!

In the morning the new baby was up playing and bouncing around. She came over to see me, but then went off to go about playing and I couldn't stand it any longer, so I scooped her up and kissed her little head about a thousand times before letting her go back to her play. She is full of P's and Q's and as most baby goats are, the best possible medicine... you can't help but smile when something that cute is jumping around. She is by far the tiniest kid we've ever had - even when we've had triplets and twins. But she is strong and healthy, and full of life. Mini Nut is by far one of the best mama's here... she's very attentive and the only thing that bothers her about me showering her baby with affection is that she gets a wee bit jealous and needs some cuddles too.

It has been warm for the past few days, and by warm, I mean between 70 and 80 degrees F, which is unreal for this time of year. The tress have budded, and everywhere spring is singing her lovely song. We have been sleeping with the doors and windows open and it's the best possible way to sleep. I sleep my best when I can breath the fresh air (never mind my allergies are killing me) and listen to the frogs... it's a little difficult to sleep because currently we have multiple pairs of geese fighting over who will have our pond this summer, and that gets a little loud... but that's alright, it only goes on half the night and not all of it.

The other morning, after I let the animals out of the barn and saw they got food and water, I came home to have a cup of coffee on the porch with Norman & Douglas and read a couple chapters of my book in the sunshine. It was heavenly. The dogs had fun playing on the deck and I indulged in my coffee, the sunshine, and a story of adventure and love. Really is there a better way to start the day than with baby goat kisses, sunshine, happy dogs, and a Welsh love story complete with tall dark and handsome sword carrying Welshman? I can't think of one.

We've been running around a lot this week. Kevin had to take the truck in for some repairs in the city, it's not finished, so we'll have to go back. We had to run to New York State for some errands, and today I spent the morning and most of the afternoon in Ottawa with my girlfriend, shopping in Chinatown and enjoying lunch in between a couple of other less fun, but important, errands. I had Pad Thai, which is one of my favorites. In the market I picked up some red bean cakes, Japanese eggplants, Mangoes, and dragon fruit.

When I got home I checked on the goats... Bucket is ready to pop out some kids at any minute and has been for two days... the licking of the side, the pacing, the wanting me to cuddle her constantly, started two days ago. Yesterday her sides sunk in. I figured last night, but as of this evening, she's still holding them in. She always starts showing signs early - everyone else pretty much shows the signs and kids quickly, Bucket always starts 3-5 days ahead.... I think she likes the attention. 

I've been letting Mini and her baby spend time free in the barn with me while I do chores so I can get the little girl used to being around me. She's really a sweetheart and comes to me quite willingly and likes to nibble on my nose. Besides, she's just so much fun to watch.

what now mama?

 she is white, but has a dusting of brown on her, which I hope stays and doesn't fade as she gets older because it's really quite cute.



Mr. Pickles and Blueberry having an afternoon snuggle

Frisco sampling his hay

Outside, everyone has pretty much just been relaxing in the sunshine.... 

 my two boys sharing a snuggle

strutting around

the only one here who wishes winter was back, he much prefers the cooler weather

Brie, getting ready to roll in the dirt to cool off

ohh this feels good...

smiling Max waiting for a tummy rub

Snick says, "I'm bigger than both of you!'

sleepy Beatrice

Sammy Saanen, relaxing... he has a hard life

Flav & Max

thinking about taking a dust bath

lazy afternoon


Sammy & Bulrush

both of them are just big babies

Buckwheat decides he's going to join the group

much better...

turkey dust bath time



the best way to spend the hottest part of the day

It's very unusual to be this warm in Mid-March and also for us to be getting thunder storms, although thankfully mild ones. It is supposed to cool off this weekend, to more seasonal temperatures which will be a real shock to all of us who are now getting used to it being about 75 degrees.

Last week, we got all our maple syrup properly bottled as well - I still have to make some candy once we get settled again and I'm not occupied with kids.

setting up our new caner we went to Vermont in Feb for

 bottling the syrup

Now it's time for me to head to the barn and do the evening chores. It's so nice to do the evening chores right now with the warm weather and few bugs - they have started to come out but slowly... this is my favorite time of year, early spring and fall, when the weather is cool but not cold in the evenings and the bugs are few. I linger doing chores, cleaning pens, giving everyone extra bedding and treats...

As for the little doeling... I can't decide on a name. I'm usually so quick. I'd like to stick in her case with my B theme... only a few get non B names for different reasons. Because I have been reading a Welsh story I'm partial to Blodwen, which means "white flowers" But I've also just been calling her a million cutesy names, Bambino, Bumble, Bitsy....

For some reason I've been unable to decide for sure... yet. 
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