It’s been awhile since I published a ranch update. Lots of folks have been asking for goat news, so I figured I’d better get to writing!
Have I ever mentioned how much I hate winter? It just makes everything so much harder.
Back in the fall, I started keeping an eye on my goats, thinking they would be having babies in September and October. But nope . . . not one single goat produced a kid! Which means that Frankie, being young, got a late start breeding everyone because he simply didn’t know what to do.
I have to admit, his courtship methods leave a lot to be desired. He chases his victim around, yelling and grunting, until he traps her in a corner, then he spits on her head! Not the most romantical! And his poor victims are yelling just as loudly trying to get away from him.
Except for Dotty. Dotty is Frankie’s girl. They’re always together. For her, he completely changes his tactics. He gives her back rubs, and nuzzles her, and croons to her sweetly. It is so comical!
It finally became evident that the nannies were pregnant, and would be having their babies in the winter, something I usually plan carefully to avoid (and thought I had this time, too, but no). The first week of December, Blossom had twins!
A week later, Flower had a baby girl. And there’s my little Ranger!!!
And Ginger looked like she was about to explode, which seriously had me worried. (Isn’t little Buttercup adorable in this picture?) We waited nearly two more months before she went into labor. And she gave birth to TRIPLETS! Things did not go very smoothly, so we had to call the vet out to get them all here safely.
The whole ordeal was extremely difficult for Ginger, and remembering what had happened with Pepper back in the spring, I was really worried. We doctored her, but she was too weak to stand and let the babies nurse. Likewise, the babies were too weak to get up and stand to nurse, so we took them in the house, and once again set up a baby goat playpen in our living room.
I made them little sweaters out of the sleeves of old sweatshirts to keep them warmer!
They turned two weeks old on Thursday, and finally have their legs under them, and are glad to get their bottles, and they eat like little champs. They’re slowly learning to jump, even tho they’re still a bit clumsy, and I’m anxious for warmer weather, so I can take them outside to play so they can really get some coordination and muscle development going on.
And Ginger seems to be fully recovered, altho she gave me a fright the first few days. We’re going to keep her from being bred this cycle, to give her a break and make sure she’s fully recovered.
Two days after the triplets were born, Sugar gave birth to twins!
And Thursday morning, Bella also gave birth to twins!
We have 10 little babies running around here, and Angel is still pregnant! So many babies!
So altho Frankie was late getting his job done, he sure made up for it in quantity! And now, I hope to get everyone back on a regular schedule so that we only have babies when the weather is warm — this is too stressful for me!
In other news around here, Molly, the black lab, who turned 13 back in July, has been diagnosed with Laryngeal Paralysis, a condition common in older Labrador Retrievers, and even tho we used to raise labs, I’ve never heard of it before, or had it happen to any of my dogs.
Our task is to keep her as still as possible to prevent “spells” from coming on, which resemble horrific asthma attacks during which she gasps for air while I cry and wring my hands because there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. It’s horrible terrible awful!
So in the throes of a spell, we’re sure it’s the end, and we debate making the horrible decision to put her down, and before we can do anything, she’s snapped out of it and back to normal. Wednesday, we made the call to the vet, certain we were going to have to take her in, and by the time they had called us back, she had recovered and gotten up and was eating her breakfast! Then she went and got a drink, and went back to the bedroom to lay down like nothing was wrong! So how do you decide “when”, when the situation is like that?
Our vet gave us this web site to visit, where you can gauge how your dog’s quality of life is, and maybe it can help you in making that difficult decision: Quality of Life Scale for Pets. Molly scores in the high 40s, unless she’s having a spell, and thankfully, they don’t last long. However, I feel over time, they will get worse, we just have no idea how fast it will progress.
Also, if you’d like to know more about Laryngeal Paralysis, here’s a good article My Cowboy found.
We opted not to put Molly through surgery because of the extreme chance of aspiration pneumonia and other complications it can cause, and because she’s already so old, it’s risky to begin with. In addition, Laryngeal Paralysis is said to be just the beginning of even worse neurological problems, like not being able to walk, so we don’t want to extend her life only for her to get worse and start suffering in some other, even more horrible way.
So for now, we’re just taking it day by day, giving her the best care we can. She hasn’t had a bad spell since Thursday afternoon, so we hold our breath and hope she continues on that track. She’s eating and drinking and otherwise being her normal self. We just can’t let her help with chores any more, or go outside and breathe in the cold air. It sucks getting old!
Molly and I have argued over who gets my sewing chair for years. I told her she can have the dang chair, if she’ll just live at least two more years! I will gladly give up my chair, if it means she’ll stick around longer.
As for the house, I’m just about done with the utility room remodel. We got a washer and dryer, and My Cowboy got all the necessary wiring and plumbing done for it to be put in place, and this stackable unit leaves me more room than having the side by side units I thought I would get. I haven’t had to go to the laundromat since last June. Whew!
I finished the rest of the room over Christmas break, just before I came down with pneumonia. As usual, there are a few little details left to attend to, then I can move on to the kitchen, which is partially finished. Maybe by 2019? This whole deal is just going way too slowly to suit me, but it takes time and money, and every time we get ready to do a project, something else breaks that has to be fixed, but doesn’t really show that we did anything — like plumbing. Or the furnace or air conditioner going on the fritz. Or having to replace the water heater.
We have plans in the near future of replacing the basement door, repairing the roof, and putting a jack in the basement to prevent further settling. All of which need to be done, but you won’t be able to tell we did anything — yet again!
We did recently have some work done on the barn, which desperately needed help.
We love our barn, and it looks great from the outside, but inside, in the hayloft, so much rotted wood. Previous to us owning it, hay had been left in the loft, and it got wet, and then rotted, and kept rotting, right on down through the hayloft floor. Sagging timbers and broken planks were a danger, whether you were up in the loft itself, or down below. We were afraid pieces would start giving way and fall on the animals below. And if you were up in the loft, there was a high probability of falling through a rotten plank into the barn below!
Here’s another shot of the barn that got included in Ranger’s Christmas photo! Try to look past the adorable little baby goat and you can see the barn:
We had half of the hayloft floor removed, and shored up the support beams and rafters, and had a new roof built over the feed room. It looks so different inside, but I couldn’t get any good pictures to show you. However, we feel so much better about the safety of the building, and we’re also really glad that we could save the original structure, and not have to tear it down. They don’t build barns like this any more.
So there you have all the latest updates, and I’ll be back to posting quilting stuff in the near future (in between bottle feedings). Wish me luck on our future remodeling projects — I need for them to go way faster!