End of the Summer

 

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The ram lambs left on the 12th of the month, so the flock is down to the girls all dining in the Donkey Pasture, and the boys, banished to mow the lawn and subsist on shrubs in the periphery of the fields.   The guys were quite large when they left, and I’m looking forward to a goodly amount of Chorizo sausage in the near future.  You should be, too – let me know if you’d like some!

We sheared Fred and the ewe lambs on the 21st.  I am gradually getting better at shearing, though I’ve only done it assisted by some sheep-holder-downers.  With Phoebe, Matt and my parents involved, we were still not actually overstaffed for the project.  The first two sheep looked a little gnawed-on, but the second two looked great.  Now that I feel comfortable with the blade, I’ll work my way up to doing it mostly on my own!

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We had a good scare from little Fred.  We FAMACHA’ed all of the lambs, and his lower eyelids were WHITE.  I’m not sure if the recent rains gave him an extra large dose of worms or if he has lower innate resistance, but some giant doses of dewormer and some NutriDrench seem to have straightened him out.  I was pretty worried for the first day or so until he really brightened up.

While I’m going to start flushing the ewes (feeding increased nutrition to help stimulate large lambing rates), I am also starting my preparation for the Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival.  Because Michael is having knee surgery, it seems uncertain as to whether I’ll have raw wool or yarn to sell from the Cormos, but I’ll have some gorgeous, cuddle-able BFL on offer at the show in any case (unless it vanishes first- I sold a pound of it today!)

Even though having only three ram lambs for meat sales means that this year will be a wash financially, I’m still really thrilled to be poised for good lambing and a better showing next year.

 

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A Goaty Interlude

Last weekend, intern Phoebe and I trekked up to Westfield, Vermont to work with the goats of Lazy Lady Farm.

I always know I’m close to my destination when my phone receives the “Welcome to Canadian Cellular Networks – Texts and Calls will now cost a Small Fortune” message.  Lazy Lady Farm is situated up on Buck Hill, where Laini lives off-grid using only solar and wind power.

We have come to do two tasks – the goats have some parasites, so we will be giving Copper Wire Oxide Particle (COWP) boluses.  The boluses travel down the throat to the rumen, where the outer layer dissolves and tiny wire particles lodge in the stomach wall.  Ugghgh.  While they probably cause a minor tummyache, the dissolution of the copper makes the stomach toxic to parasites, so a die-off of internal parasites happens rapidly.  Unlike with regular wormers, the copper doesn’t introduce medication to the whole goat, and the milk is still pure and fit for consumption.

The biggest obstacle to using COWP, then, is convincing goats to take pills!  That’s where I come in.  Convincing a goat to do what you want is 50/50 muscles and psychology.  It helps to be strong enough to hold the goat’s head so that it can’t escape, and more meaningfully, to hold it so firmly but calmly so that it forgets how much it wants to leave.  You have to hold the goat without alarming it.  Not an easy task, and definitely more straightforward with the first twenty-five goats then with the last few, when you’re tired and they’re alarmed.  Nevertheless, we got pills into every goat with only a few dropped pills.

The second task was the fun one.  The Lazy Lady Farm website needs some updating, with better pictures of the new, young goats who’ve joined the herd and more complete information.  Taking standard pictures of each goat helps potential purchasers compare animals and choose well.  We want to show the structure of the goat, the quality of the udder, and the conformation overall.

Some of Laini’s beautiful gals:

We topped off the day with a trip to Cajun’s snack bar, where goat-wrasslin’ put me in the mood for a corned beef sandwich.  Yum!

I will be showing off the new Lazy Lady Farm website as soon as it is completed.