News From the Ranch, Episode 1792

Posted on June 17, 2020 by prairiemoonquilts in Animals, Prairie Moon Ranch

It’s been a rough month of June here on the ranch, and June is only half over. Like My Cowboy says, “When it rains, it pours.” We seem to go along real smoothly for quite awhile, then a bunch of bad stuff happens all at once.

Back in the winter, when I had my foot in a boot, and My Cowboy was having to do winter chores all alone, even tho he’s the one with congestive heart failure, we had a serious discussion about downsizing our little ranch. We decided to get out of the cow/calf operation. So we sold our pregnant cows.

On June 1st, they went to their new home. And it’s a good home, so I’m really OK with it. They will be well cared for, and happy. We still have three little heifers here, and we will wait until fall to decide what to do with them. We usually babysit a few head for a friend of ours at different points throughout any given year, and we may raise some feeder calves next summer, but we believe this will make next winter a lot easier to get through.

Have I mentioned how bad it sucks to have to “get your affairs in order”? We work on this every year, and with my brother’s sudden and unexpected passing, and the COVID-19 threat that doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon, we’ve stepped up our efforts so as not to leave a mess or a burden behind for those who love us. It’s hard, and it’s not fun. But I highly recommend doing it anyway.

On June 3rd, nine of my goat babies went to their new home. While that’s all right, since I know they’re going to a good home, it still hurts my heart to see them go. And I kept six of the babies.

The saddest part of it all was selling Wyatt, my billy goat. He’s been the best billy goat we’ve ever had, and no matter how hard I tried not to get too attached to him, I still fell in love with him, simply because he’s such a sweetheart.

Billy goats are not generally sweethearts, but Wyatt is different. I had two choices: castrate him and keep him for a pet, or sell him so he can keep on being a baby daddy. He produces such wonderful babies, and he’s only 2 years old, so I decided to let him go so he can keep doing what he does best. And I know where he is, so if I really wanted to, I could go see him. But that would probably just make me sadder.

Because here at Prairie Moon Ranch, we are also getting out of the goat breeding business as part of our downsizing plan. This spring’s perfect batch of 15 sweet little babies was the best luck we’ve ever had with a baby goat crop, so we’re quitting while we’re ahead. It’s too hard on my heart. I worry about the pregnant mommies, I lose a lot of sleep while it’s kidding season, and then I worry a lot about the babies until they’re at least 6 weeks old. Then it comes time to send them out into the world, and that completely breaks my heart. I can’t do it any more. And I super worry about what will happen to them if anything happens to me. Have I ever mentioned that I’m simply a worry wart by nature? It’s stressful.

So the goats we have left are the only ones we’ll have here from now on.

And here’s a goat fact: Goats prefer to eat weeds. They only eat grass as a last resort.

And we only have 3 little calves left. So we have more grass here on this farm than our animals can keep up with. So My Cowboy bought me a present!

Meet Sir Lancelot and Merlin:

These two little guys are hair sheep, meaning they won’t need to be sheared, and they like to eat grass! So hopefully they’ll be earning their keep around here, by eating the stuff the goats won’t. Merlin, the gold one, is a little sweetheart, while Lance is a bit more stand-offish yet. I’ll eventually make him love me, tho!

My Cowboy wants to call him Marty because the look he always has on his face reminds him of Marty Feldman! Too funny!

And altho that’s happy news, this is not a happy post. Just in the past week, something got hold of one of my little kittens and injured it’s arm really bad, so I’ve had her in the house in a cage to doctor her. I just yesterday set her loose back in the barn, and as of this morning, she’s still getting around and doing OK. When it first happened, I took her down to my sister’s house so she could help me assess the situation and get me started on the right track with her recovery (especially since she’s the one who gave me the kitten in the first place).

I took the dog, Abby, with me, because she loves to go play with Katy’s dog, Mojo. They play so hard it wears Abby completely out.

When we got home, Abby got impatient, and bailed out of the truck too soon, and as she did, she got her foot caught in the seat somehow and injured herself, so she’s still limping around and not able to walk right. We’ve had her on painkillers, but it will simply take time to get better. And telling a dog they need to rest their foot is impossible, but we’ve been trying to keep her more still than usual. She doesn’t seem to mind laying around inside in the AC!

And for the last two weeks, my precious girl, Sissy, has been sick.

After trying everything we could think of, hours of research online, hundreds of dollars on meds, some advice from our vet (who isn’t a goat expert by any stretch of the imagination), and round the clock treatment, we lost her yesterday afternoon. She left behind her devoted sister, Sassy, and her two little babies, Agnes and Arthur.

For those of you who followed the journey of Sassy and Sissy since they were born on January 25, 2018, here’s a little recap photo album of Sissy’s too-short life . . .

They were born as a set of triplets, and rejected by their mother. They lost their brother, Hunter, at three weeks of age. Sassy and Sissy lived in the house for about 6 months, spoiled rotten and raised on bottles. They were constant hilarious entertainment . . .

. . . good kitchen help . . .

. . . trash can raiders . . .

. . . and loved to chew on everything.

They also loved cardboard boxes, and playing with all the cat toys. For a long time, I’m pretty sure they thought they WERE cats! They were just so stinkin’ adorable (as baby goats tend to be)!

Spring came, and it was time to introduce them to the outside world. On their first outing, they had no idea what to do. They just stood there!

But they got the hang of it pretty quickly, and graduated to eating real food outdoors.

And when they were 6 months old, it was past time to wean them off bottles completely, and let them start living outdoors permanently. This was my first attempt at leaving them outdoors all night. They looked at me through the window, and cried a little, and I went and got them and brought them right back in!

But we kept trying, and eventually, they managed a full night outdoors, and grew up fast.

Sassy and Sissy were always together. Sissy had such a meek and timid personality, and was very prone to stress, so it was difficult for her to be part of the larger herd because she got bullied a lot. Sassy, however, protected her from all that. Without Sassy, Sissy might not have made it this far, or I’d have just had to keep her indoors forever!

Best friends, always together.

Their first Christmas:

Cowgirl Sissy:

Their first birthday:

Troublemaker Sissy!

They were great photo shoot help:

Their second birthday, January 25th, 2020:

Then . . . I discovered that Sissy was pregnant, by accident, because Wyatt broke into the goat pen when he wasn’t supposed to be in there. I never meant to breed her, so this, naturally, worried me greatly. But she did really good, and had these two cute little babies.

And she was a good mother.

This is the last picture I have of her, taken just 3 weeks ago. She was doing fine.

Since I’m such a worry wart goat momma, I keep a really close eye on each one of them, so we noticed right away when she started having issues, and started doctoring her immediately. It is often said, tho, that by the time a goat shows any symptoms of being sick, it’s too late to save them. It was certainly true in this case. I feel like we treated her like a pincushion the last week or so — so many injections, and poking meds down her throat. She got to where she’d try to escape if she saw My Cowboy coming, because she knew what time it was!

We managed to halt her decline, but were having trouble getting her to improve. Just yesterday morning, she showed a couple signs that she was making a turn for the better. She ate some food I hand fed her for lunch, and drank a good amount of water. But none of that helped in the end. With her sister and her babies close beside her, she simply gave up.

We buried her under the tree where they had their first outdoor outing.

Thank God for Sassy, who has taken over the care of those babies like they’re her own. She can’t nurse them, but they were pretty much weaned already, and at least she can offer them protection and consolation; and they love their Aunt Sassy, so that makes me feel a lot better, even tho my heart is broken for Sassy and the babies and myself.

I’m sure everything will eventually be all right, but for now, I’m sad and broken hearted.

I don’t like to post sad stuff here, but I also can’t pretend that everything is always sunshine and roses here at the ranch, because it’s NOT. So thank you so much for reading and being a part of the entire saga of Prairie Moon Ranch. And after two really sad “News From the Ranch” posts, I’m really hoping that the next report is a happy one!

It has cheered me up to be getting happy mail from so many of you, tho! I’m getting lots of signature blocks in the mail, so thank you so much to those of you who have sent them, and if you haven’t yet, don’t be thinking it’s too late because I’ll be collecting for awhile. I hope you will make one and send me! You can find the info HERE.

Until next time . . . happy stitching!

44 responses to “News From the Ranch, Episode 1792”

  1. Judy S. says:

    So sorry about all of your goat problems. I know it was so hard to part with them, especially Sissy. Maybe her babies will console you.

  2. Bev says:

    Oh, Shelly, my heart aches for you! Such a loving tribute to Sissy. One thing is for sure…she was loved!

  3. Darlynn Venne says:

    Oh stink! goodness. God have mercy. heart is sad. tears are streaming. oh stink!

  4. Rose Marie Smith says:

    I love the reports from the Ranch. I am not nearly as devoted as you are but if I were in the same place as you, I might learn to do what you have done. But as long as I have known you, I do know without doubt that you have a very lovely and tender heart. God notices and smiles.

  5. Sandra Famuliner says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. You provided a wonderful life for her. Hopefully down sizing will lessen your worries all the way around.

  6. Randy Menninghaus says:

    it is really hard. Goats are so special. I loved our herd even when they regularly broke out and devastated my gardens. You have made some wise choices as far as making life a bit simpler around the ranch.

    My love and socially distant hugs from Maine

  7. Candy says:

    Shelly, I can hear your tears. It even made me sniffle. I’m sorry – it’s so hard to lose a good buddy. Do you still have the babies from the last pictures?

  8. Maxine E says:

    Aww. It’s so hard to lose a “pet”. All your animals are a part of your family no matter what. I am sending you hugs. and lots of kisses to Sassy.

  9. Ginabeth says:

    So sorry for your loss. I have lived on a farm and understand loosing our farm friends. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻 For your ❤️

  10. Mary Kolb says:

    Hope there are happy day ahead Shelly.😘

  11. Allie says:

    Nothing can break your heartlike farming…but it is still such a privilege to live the life. So sorry for your loss!

  12. PAULA says:

    I am sorry for your loss Shelly. Your not alone in it being a tough month, sending love and hugs….

  13. Raewyn says:

    So sad to read your post Shelly, and heartbreaking to read of your loss. It sounds like you are doing the sensible thing in downsizing however tough that may be. Glad to hear you found good homes for your loved animals. I hope your new sheep do a good job of keeping your grass down – and I’m sure it won’t be long until they find a way into your heart too.

  14. Fran says:

    I am so sad for your loss of Sissy. I know you miss her so very much. Thanks for all of the beautiful pictures of her.

  15. Ceil says:

    Oh Shelly, so sad to hear about Sissy. I hope her babies and Sassy can help you over the loss.

  16. Marcia in TX says:


  17. Becky Collis says:

    Oh Shelly! I feel your pain. It’s no fun getting older and having health issues. My hubs health wouldn’t allow us to keep our big animals another winter, so they went south to Hickory county, where they are a big hit with the locals. The longhorns are bred and expecting in September, and my horse gets ridden on a very regular basis. I get updates and pics from the rancher that took them in, and that helps ease the pain slightly. Next winter will be so much easier for you. Hang in there sister, it gets better.

  18. Paula Mullet says:

    It is so hard to loose a beloved pet. I know you have lots of wonderful pictures and memories of her; maybe it is time to make a small quilt with photos? You will be in my thoughts.

  19. Barbara Wellman says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Sometimes life on a farm sucks….. For all the joys there is heartbreak too. Take some time for you and your heart. I hope the rest of the month is much better.

  20. Jocelyn says:

    Oh Shelly you have had a load to carry. So very sorry. We are also trying to do some downsizing as we are getting older and it’s harder to keep up. We are traveling with our travel trailer, and I just said to my hubby, it’s time. It’s just getting to be too much. So we will try to sell the Airstream. I also am trying to sell my HQ Sweet Sixteen. It is too much machine for me and I get frustrated every time I try using it. It’s a beautiful machine and only 1 1/2 years old, but I am losing my joy of quilting. I would like to send you a signature block, but not until we return home. You can send me an email and remind me 😉

  21. Karen E. says:

    I’m sending warm wishes that better times are ahead! Hang in there.

  22. Cindy says:

    Shelly, this was fascinating, as well as heart breaking. Sending hugs from California.

  23. Paula Hedges says:

    Shelly, I am so sorry about Sissy. I lost a little goat many years ago who lived in the house as she was so young when I got her and she was convinced she was a dog. Loved car rides. She got many strange looks from other cars when she would look out the window from my lap (her favorite spot no matter where I was). Without any signs she was not doing well, we woke to find she was no long with us. I know your pain. It has been a rough month for you. Sending you virtual hugs and an ear to hear you when you want to talk.

  24. Kerry Leach says:

    Oh so sad, and she was so pretty. They shared a birthday with my dad!
    You are downsizing and we are only just starting! But the field is just over 3.5 acres, so it is a little homestead. Happy news is 10 days ago my hen hatched 3 ducklings. Poor thing kept calling them away when we gave them a little pool. In the end with them all in the water she gave up and just drank from it. It was a small container which only took one at a time, so we added a pie dish and now we are on a baking dish – they are muscovies and are growing so fast. Part of me thinks that’s awful to see them in the cookware, but I’m keeping these three – one is from my Daisy who was taken by the fox last month. Today the Dixie Chicks are making an appearance. Out of 15 (5 eggs from each duck, and Daisy’s last offerings) we can see possibly 6 so far but she’s such a feisty mum that we might not see them until they are running around. Then Cooter is currently sitting on 6 of her own. Duke needs some bromide in his tea, so he now has a batchelor pad in the chicken run. So I hope that news lifts your spirits a little. The Ducks of Hazzard dynasty begins!

    I love your Lancelot and Merlin – how pretty. I would love a greyface Dartmoor sheep – they have long curly wool and teddy bear noses. But I would really love alpacas – just 3 whethers to be fox guards to the birds. Then I think I have enough, what with the veg too.

    There are cows in the dairy behind us, sometimes they are in the next field and they are so nosy that they come over to watch me in the veggie patch. Of course I have to go and say hello to them too. Makes my day when I can scratch a head or a cheek. Sadly we won’t have cattle here, but our friends have Dexter cattle across the other side of the valley and we can visit them too. Now they are cute – especially the miniature one.

    So you take care of yourselves and just think how happy your animals have been, how well looked after they were – and for those on field trips elsewhere, you know they will be looked after just as well. Can’t do better than that! xxx

  25. Diane says:

    You need a bigger umbrella. So sorry for your losses. I truly hope this streak of sadness is over for a while. And soon you will be able to put your umbrella away and let the sun shine on you.
    I agree with your observation that it is a challenge to “get our affairs in order”. I’ve been working on that this year after dealing with the passing of my dad last fall, and my mom and stepmother 2 years ago. None of us want to leave our loved ones with the responsibilities of making decisions about our wellbeing and our “stuff”…and the death of a loved one and this Covid situation brings that home.
    Peace to you, and keep up the good work.

  26. Wanda says:

    Shelly you are a trooper. You are so warm hearted. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sending warm hugs & thoughts.

  27. Sharon Gratz says:

    So much to endure at one time…..special hugs to you.

  28. Candice says:

    Such a hurtful loss! Sending my warm wishes across the miles!

  29. Mary Delia says:

    Here’s hoping things will get better for you all really soon. So sorry for your heart break.

  30. Wendy says:

    Oh my, Shelly. You have been through a lot of tough stuff lately. I’m so sorry about these tough decisions. You take such good care of your cowboy, and your animals. I can understand how difficult it was to let them go, and then to lose Sissy. Sending big hugs your way! (I hope you kept Ranger??)

  31. Sherry V says:

    Oh Shelly, I am so sorry. Being a good animal owner always brings such joy and such heartache.

    Sending good thoughts for comfort and peace.

  32. Laura says:

    I’m so sorry, Shelly. I’ve not been able to cry in years because of my antidepressant meds. Today I cried.
    I love/loved your goats and you.

  33. Janet M Smith says:

    Shelly, I’m so sorry for all the sad news. You are a wonderful loving and compassionate mother to your animals and they are lucky to have you. I’m sending you a hug.

  34. Mary D. says:

    So sorry to hear of your troubles. Hope you have smoother sailing from now on.

  35. Alice Allinson says:

    I am so sorry, Shelly. What a crazy year this has been. You are such a caring person and things will get better. Hang in there, girl!

  36. Angela says:

    I have no words … 😥😥😥

  37. Angie in SoCal says:

    Gentle hugs, dear Shelly. I remember those days when getting attached to the babies caused heartache down the road. You’re wise to pare down the work now.
    Blessings and gentle hugs,

  38. Sharon Sauser says:

    So sorry for your loss of Sissy. Growing up on a farm, and still having pets, I understand how hard it is. I’m hoping for the best for you and your cowboy, and hope things get better very soon.

  39. Carole S. says:

    I’m so sorry, Shelly. You are so strong to keep going. I could never do the things you and your cowboy do. And I wouldn’t want you to share just the happy pretty times with us. Real friends are there for the bad times, too.

  40. Marlene says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. The plain and simple truth is that they are our children. We go into the relationship knowing that their lifespan will likely be shorter than our own. We go in knowing that we will love them with our whole hearts for as long as they are with us. We go in knowing their love for us will be complete and unconditional. We go in knowing there is every possibility our heart will be broken, our tears will flow, and they will never be replaced. Still, we do it. Because we need them every bit as much as they need us. Because without them our life is just not nearly as complete.

  41. Johnna Clarke says:

    My heart is broken. I could just feel your pain as I read this. I know how it is to get attached to animals. I’ve had cats all my life, and I ache as each one leaves our family. Saying I know how you feel is little consolation, but I know how you feel. It takes time. Love on those babies. It will help you some. Take care.

  42. Celia says:

    Shelly, I am so sorry for all of your loses, especially Sissy. You have such a tender heart. I know that making your life easier by having fewer animals will be good in the long run but the change is hard. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care.

  43. Robin H says:

    Too much change all at once, ack! But I’m sure, as others have said, next winter will be easier for everyone. Babies just don’t stay babies long enough. I’ll be thinking of you! ((HUGS))

  44. Shelly my heart hurts for all you’ve had going on and losing Sissy is so sad.

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