Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Thursday, July 18, 2013
Full report to come later.
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The Risks of Animal Husbandry
We've had a very difficult and sad day on the farm. For the first time we lost a kid to illness. One week ago three of the six kids, one from Rosemary named Alpha and two from Chestnut named Mocha and Americano, developed some severe diarrhea. The sort of thing we have seen before when a goat eats a little of a bad thing or too much of a good thing which imbalances their digestive system. We did what we could at the acute phase then waited it out overnight. They were much better the next day and more improved the following day. They were even nursing from the moms again.
Then yesterday Tim noticed (remembering in hindsight) that the moms had more milk than usual. Some variation is normal and it wasn't enough at the time to trigger any special warnings.
This morning when I peeked my head out there to give them vegetable scraps I could tell something was wrong. The two older ones were sluggish and the youngest didn't even stand up to come over. Alpha was dehydrated and surprisingly skinny. If you think you can handle animals on an average day don't forget to take into consideration the very sick days. Water, bottle feeding, and warm mash for three hours was too little too late. As I carried him out of sight of the herd with my .22 ready he breathed his last in my arms. I was even too late to pull the trigger.
We have lost two adult goats to accidental poisoning but to lose a little one to illness feels very different. Things have been crazy around here including spending a lot of time in the garden several blocks away and I just didn't go see the goats regularly. There are standard tasks twice a day, every day, and recently Tim has been doing both instead of just one. I probably would have noticed something was wrong sooner since Tim has no experience with such animals but...
This is not the first time I've dealt with goat illnesses but the first where I missed the signs and intervened too late.
Mocha and Americano are looking the same or slightly better than this morning after a dose of probiotics, three bottle feedings of milk, offerings of fresh alfalfa, water, and baking soda. I am hopeful about them.
Thanks to a co-worker needing to trade shifts I got tomorrow off and instead work on Saturday; a huge blessing since time flew by and I didn't think to call my boss to request tomorrow off until after hours.
I'll definitely update you on the status of the kids tomorrow.
Pic #1: the healthy kids. Very difficult to get a picture of since they're constantly moving and coming up to me.
#2: poor Mocha.
#3: Americano resting after his second forced bottle feeding session.
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
(Cooling in a non-drafty place)
Saturday, July 13, 2013
More Fruit Tree Pests
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Monday, July 8, 2013
In any case, though I don't intend to poison anything, I still desire to have more than 50% useable area of each piece of fruit. The old apple tree on my property had not been tended for at least 10 years before I moved in and I'm slowly working to revive it. The fruit is so worth it. Small and tart, they make the best apple sauce I've ever had! After several years of heavy trimming, soil amending, and thinning, it is finally worth it to begin focusing on the fruit itself...it is still possible that I will invest in making a cutting and having it grafted onto a dwarf rootstock to restart the species from "seed." In any case, I must deal with the heavy apple maggot damage to have any chance of useable produce so I began researching. There are three main organic methods for protecting fruit from the most common pests with which I am familiar: traps, nylon socks, and kaolin clay spray. Last year I tried using the nylon bags with excellent results. This week I got around to slipping them around my first little orchard produce on the Harris lot (a couple of weeks late so there is already minimal damage).
Saturday, July 6, 2013
First thing in the morning we presented her with the gift from us: a lovely find at the twice-yearly consignment sale. Lightly used, with lots of dishes, linens, and velcro veggies.
|Shoshana got a new kitchen from Mom & Dad|
I'm not a real fan of cake, and neither is anyone else in my family, so I don't have much experience with baking such things. Honestly, though I'm sad we ran out of time to actually make Minnie Mouse bows out of fondant I'm just glad they look somewhat iconic. The fact they also resemble a ladybug doesn't bother me. They are baked, they are cute, and they are yummy! Definitely a hit. Betty Crocker cake mix, buttercream frosting from www.foodnetwork.com, and fondant also from FN. Katherine helped me with the fondant since she had made it once before but our inexperience led to putting in too much powdered sugar which made it too dry and brittle to shape into bows though we easily punched out polka dots with the back end of a cake decorating tip.
I managed the food scene while Tim played with the kids including cousins from both sides and friends from church. They enjoyed the swings, slide, pool, bubbles, and rockets. I tried to keep it simple and free play since most of the kids would be age 5 and under and it seems that people, big and little, enjoyed themselves.
Some of the attendees had never seen my parent's property what with the garden, orchard, chickens, ducks, berries, and multi-generational living situation so I also gave a few tours. My Peruvian brother-in-law was happy to hear that I am attempting to grow quinoa.
Mostly, I've been contemplating the meaning of birthdays a lot since Shoshana's was rescheduled. We are celebrating her life, her growth, her impact on our family. The one day when the focus can really be on her. In this case we are acutely aware that she might not have made it to see her fourth birthday. And I am so glad she did.
(I will upload more pics later but my comp is wigging out and I need to go to bed.)
Update:Photos from the birthday party:
|Jessie boots from Toy Story. Thanks, Chelsea!|
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Fall and Winter Garden
Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Showers of Blessing
For a little perspective: one artificial light unit requires a ballast, a hood, a bulb, and optionally a timer. Around $250. I got 12 sets. Four for each greenhouse. Not to mention the fans, ducting, air purifying, timers, monitors, wiring, chain, hooks, bamboo... can you say, bounty? And we didn't have time to grab or the room to transport the backup units.
This is yet another example of how things are moving so quickly for Sustainable Renton. We can barely keep up with the demand for plots, the outpouring of equipment and gifts, the specialized volunteers, the potential grant applications, etc. We can't do it! I am so happy to be a part of something that is such a need and a desire in my community but I won't hesitate to say that we need more volunteers! We need people to maintain the four beds under Sustainable Renton; two for the Renton Food Bank, and two for the Red House restaurant. People to come out in force for work parties; we have a mostly finished pallat board shed and half finished deer fence. People who can write business plans, grant applications, people with expertise and connections. So many people are interested in helping Sustainable Renton grow with information and things but we need right now is more people to help manage those resources.
After these bounties of blessings I relieved Chris Conkling at our booth at the Renton Farmer's Market and spread the word of what we're doing. Many people went home with little planted peat pots thanks to the friendly looting earlier. We filled up two pages of people wanting to be added to our e-mail list and had some very thought provoking discussions. I am really excited to see how those connections grow into something earth-moving. Maybe Renton-moving?... Nah. I'll have to think up something more catchy.
If you are interested in being a part of this organization please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and/or find us on Facebook.
If you are interested in greenhouse equipment please e-mail Angie Sowell at email@example.com to arrange a pick-up time.
Thanks to the above and a few donations we are set to build our family farm greenhouses. The first will be an "atrium" style attached to the sunny rear of my house. That will keep the most delicate things more accessible. Once the plants are hardier they can go to the main garden location where sometimes they don't get watered as often as they should or equipment falls and doesn't get noticed for a while. The second will be a free-standing 10x20 on the main garden site.
P.S. check out the new Family Farm member born on Sunday!
Monday, July 1, 2013
- Beans and arugula planted
Updated to-do list:
- weed blueberries
- weed corn and apply another layer wood chips
- plant sunflowers among corn rows
- mound chips around potato sprouts