Friday, February 22, 2013

Just seriously we are just kidding...

All I can say is it has been a very busy 24 hours at the farm and it all started on the evening of the 20th February.  Late night checks have been a regular thing over the last few nights as we get closer to Elly and Eva's due dates.  At 11pm I checked on the goats and all seemed well! Elly was laying down but stood up when I entered the goat house and moved around fine with no sign of mucus or babies but I did come back into the house and say to Michael I think she is going to kid in the next day, just had a gut feeling! Well I should have listened to my gut a little more closely!
6.30am on the 21st February I headed out to check on the goats to hear Soren making a lot of noise! When I got in the goat house Elly had already given birth to one kid, so I turned on my heels headed back to the house shouted to Michael who was still curled up in bed (he had been on a late shift last night) and then headed back out to the goat house with birthing kit to find baby number two had been born in 5 minutes.
Elly with kid one! 
Elly was doing an amazing job of cleaning the kids it was cold this morning including the wind chill we where at about -23.  This is our first kidding experience and the second kid to be born was not doing great! We called our friends who said what we thought we were going to have to do anyway which was to get the kid in the house and warm it up.  So in the house it came, I have to say at this point I had not even checked the sex we just wanted to get the kid warm and give it a fighting chance.  The kid was a lot smaller than the first one born.  We laid the kid on top of a blankets with a hot water bottle underneath and then we kept heating tea towels up on the wood stove to put round her body to get her temperature back up.  We took it in turns rubbing the kids body to help with circulation.  I will be really honest emotions were running high but it was amazing to see this little kid start to warm up and gain it's strength and then get too hot and start to kick off all the blankets it was wrapped in.
Kid two after being warmed up.
While warming the kid up we also spent lots of time going back and forth from the house to the goat barn checking on Elly and Kid number one and then back to the house to check on kid number two! While all this was going on Elly passed her placenta and we where then able to move her and kid number one into the summer kitchen under heat lamps.  It is really amazing one how the adrenalin kicks in and how quickly time also goes by, by now it was 10am in the morning we still had not done our chores and our bodies where in need of a large mug of coffee.  
Kid number two was doing great though. We all sacrificed clothing to make little jumpsuits for them to keep warm. We also introduced the kid back to mum who took it straight into the kidding pen and had it nursing within a few minutes.

So now it is time to officially introduce Elly's kids! So that I can stop calling them it and one and two! We decided to choose a theme to help us in naming the kids and a huge thank you to my sister who introduced us to Downton Abbey last year.  We are all great fans of the show so of course we thought it right to name all the kids after Downton characters!  Elly's kids will be called Knotty Ash Branson  and Knotty Ash Violet.  Knotty Ash is our herd name. 

Carson and Sybil with mum Eva
During the day yesterday  Eva started to make alot more noise than normal and for all who know Eva she is a rather chatty goat.  I checked on her at lunch and she had a big goop of mucus hanging! So we were getting ready for her to kid too! We did not want to move her too soon as she did not seem too stressed. The temperature had also warmed up so we let her enjoy the day in the goat house.  After dinner Eva became a  little restless making more noise looking at her side and trying to nest so we set the timer and started to check on her every hour.  At about midnight I came back in and said to Michael that I felt she was getting close so on went all the extra layers for us, Michael started the coffee pot and I headed out to just hang with her for a while.  By 1am Eva had given birth to a little doeling.  Much larger then Elly's kids and also a lot more active.  We assisted Eva in cleaning the doeling and my sister had suggested Sybil for a name so that was made easy for us.  Michael noticed that Eva had another blood sac coming out and then piped up with "I can see hooves!" This is Eva's first pregnancy so we where a little surprised to see another set of hooves coming out.  Not long after out popped a little Buckling who we have named Carson.  Both kids where doing great and once they had been cleaned up by us and mum we wrapped them in blankets and Michael carried Eva and we headed over to the kidding pen where we had heat lamps all ready.  We then spent another two hours just hanging with them making sure everyone was nice and warm and bonding well.  So at 3.30am all was looking good so Michael and I climbed into our bed to get a little bit of sleep! I set the alarm for 5.30am and it does amaze me how men do such a great job of sleeping through an alarm!! I put back on all my layers and headed out to check on everyone.  
I have to say I need not have worried, both mums were and are doing a great job.  Elly is a little quicker at standing and pushing the kids under her to have a drink at the "milk bar" Eva we have to remind her a little to stand up but once she gets the idea she seems to do a pretty good job with her two.  

All is looking pretty good at the moment, it is still early days so we will be keeping a watch full eye on them for a little while yet, Elly's two are complete nutters today jumping all over the place and on top of one another.  Fingers and toes crossed that the kids continue to bloom and do well.  

Next challenge will be milking Elly and Eva so I am able to have some fresh milk in my coffee in the morning! All I can say is watch this space.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Farm Wish List 2013....

After last years response and because we still have people asking us about our 'Wish List" and contacting us about items they have that we might be able to use we are re-posting and added a few more things to an ever increasing list!!!
We actually like the idea of stopping things from going to the dump and if we are able to up cycle what you may no longer need then we are all doing a small bit to save our environment.
So with Spring fast approaching and the to do list getting longer and check list of things to repair starts to grow we have created the wish list.  I have added a few that are on the ultimate dream wish list just for entertainment factor.  
Over the last few years we have met some incredible people (You all know who you are), who have already donated wood, steel roofing, piping, paint and more and we can not thank you enough for that. 

Strattons Farm wish list 2013

Latex exterior paint - this is not for the house but for the bee hives.  Any colours are fine!

Towels - old towels we need for kidding time at the farm - Thank you Marj for our first bundle of towels.

Plastic, stainless steel, rubber pales - Thank You Chris for the buckets.

Old barn boards are recycled onto our animal housing
Wood Wood and more wood!!! (I personally think this is just a man thing when it comes to having piles of wood!)
We need everything from:
old barn boards, to recycle onto the goat house, chicken house, and move able pig huts.
OSB, marine ply for new outdoor pig housing
cedar, hemlock for raised beds, building new washstands, and more stands for Michael's bee hives to sit on.
Planks of wood for building hot beds in the greenhouse.  Not to sound too fussy, if you have short lengths or small off cuts we will not be able to recycle them as we do need longer lengths.

Our cultivator needs new shims.
A homesteader from pioneer (dream list) - Our cultivator is looking a little lopsided at the moment!

Greenhouse grade plastic - for repair, or for creating new ones (another one is also on the dream list)!  

Plastic Vapour barrier - We use this to put over our straw bale seeding beds to hold the heat in over night

EMT galvanised tubing/ metal tubing for hoop houses/low tunnels and also for the new markII version of our movable chickens pens we hope to build this year.

Blue Insulation board - This is to run around the foundation of the greenhouse to divert the frost away from the greenhouse and also to line the bottom of our straw bale seeding beds to help keep the heat in.

Hay tarps

Plexiglass for barn windows

Wire - 2"x4" welded wire 48" high, 1"x1" Washstand tables


scythe (dream list)

water lines 3/4"-1",Elbows, T's and joints

Old utility sinks - for our vegetable wash stands  Thank you to Marj at Amazing Graze Alpacas for the utility sinks.  Even though I have crossed this of our list we can still use another one. Thank You Steph for our utility sink.

Large non working old chest or upright freezers we use these to store animal feed in.
Please don't just dump these, do call ahead! !! 

The list could go on, but if you have something you think we might make use of then please do contact us and let us know.