Sunday, February 10, 2008

Moving Day

Welcome to the new home of the Farm Update. This blog is entirely dedicated to communicating with you, our shareholders. 

There are a couple of cool things about doing the update this way. First of all, because it's web-based, I can update it from anywhere. I'm hoping this translates into several "mini-updates" every week. I also really like that you all can make comments directly on the update and others will be able to see them, but don't let that stop you from emailing me. I really enjoy getting emails from you with questions or comments, so keep 'em coming.
If you look over on the right side of the screen and scroll down a bit, you will find a super-cool list of shareholder's blogs, shops and websites. I found all of these in your ravelry profiles and thought some of you might want to get to know your fellow shareholders a bit. What a talented bunch of people you are! If I missed anyone's website or blog, shoot me an email and I'll add you to the list. Of course, if for any reason you don't want to be on the list, let me know and I'll take you off. 
But the best thing about this blog vs. the old emails is that everyone will be able to see the photographs. I am going to keep posting lots of pics to flickr but I am going to keep a few special ones out every week for the update and you'll find them here. This is the picture of the dogs from last week's update that about 1/3 of you didn't get to see. 

This week was a crazy-exciting, fully chaotic one on the farm. In addition to the birth of our very first kiddo of the season, today was the day we made our move from the Farm Institute to Felix Neck.  More on that later though.
Our little one is absolutely thriving! She is eating well, which is the biggest concern at this stage in her life. One of the things that goes wrong with new kids and lambs most frequently is that they can't find their mother's udder easily. I am particularly worried about this happening this year because we were unable to shear the nannies bellies before kidding began. This is called crutching, and we've never skipped it before, but the absence of an on-Island shearer made the decision for us. With Angora goats there is the very real possibility that the kid with latch on to one of the ringlets of hair and think they are nursing. Then they wear themselves out trying to get milk from it and lack the energy to find the teat later.
But this wasn't a problem for this kid. I worried about it (because I am a world-class worrier) until I saw her nurse a couple of times. Even if you don't see the kid nursing you can tell if they've been eating by picking them up. An empty kid and a full one feel totally different, but they in-betweens can be vexing.
I guess it's time to give our first little one a name. The winner of the "What should we name the kids?" primary is ....Herbs and Spices! There were lots of votes in the other categories but Herbs and Spices won by a pretty good margin. I am taking the liberty on naming this kid Thyme.

We moved some of our chickens into the hoop house with the 10 (now 9) pregnant nanny goats this week. The thinking behind this was that the chicken will help keep the parasite load in the hoop house down, which is important when you have goats in such an enclosed area for so long. The only problem is that our beautiful rooster, Dan Rather, has apparently gone insane!

Just after I discovered that Mary Poppins had kidded and was checking out the new baby, I heard flapping behind me and turned around just before Dan Rather attacked me. It sounds kind of funny- I mean he's like a foot tall- but he wasn't playing around! He kept coming at me, jumping in the air and ruffeling out his neck feathes while making a terrible screeching noise. I had to kick at him several times to get him to go away. The next time I came in to feed though, he did it again. I was holding the lid to the metal trash can we keep the feed in and I actually hit him with it in mid-air. It was like a cartoon; it made that hilarious thwong-ong-ong-ong noise. 

I moved Biscotti over to the kidding barn today and she seems to have cooled Dan Rather's jets although he now he is crowing constantly! Like ever minute constantly. Dan Rather is a beautiful rooster and I really want to enter him in the fair this year, but if he doesn't pull himself together he might wind up in a lovely coq au vin!

Today we finally made our big move to our new home, the Felix Neck Audabon Sanctuary. Felix Neck is one of the best kept secrets on the Vineyard. 

We were really excited about the move, and had twice had to reschedule due to bad weather, so we were determined to get it done today. Unfortunately, this was one of Patrick's long weekends in New York with his kids, so I was on my own. 

Well not completely on my own. We paid someone with a big trailer to move everyone at once and our good friend Mark Defeo and his brother Pete volunteered to help. 

I had been awake all night Saturday going through all of the things that could go wrong. What if the dogs got out at Felix Neck and ran around like maniacs? What is we couldn't get the flock in the trailer? What if the guy we hired didn't show up? What if the weather reports were right and we had a snow storm?
The move couldn't have gone any better. The sky was clear blue for most of the move  of the day, most of the  sheep and goats walked right on to the trailer when promised grain and we only had to chase one sheep, the trailer guy was only a little late. Everyone really behaved beautifully.
Felix Neck asked us to bring our flock there to help them reclaim some land from invasive species and Hannah got straight to work on the oriental bittersweet. This picture totally cracks me up. Her lips are just hilarious!

That's all for today. I am completely whipped! I will send out another alert if and when the next baby comes. In the meantime, check back here from time to time this week and I'll send out an email when I post the next big update next Sunday.



rubycakes said...

Thanks for setting up this new blog for us and for keeping us so up-to-date.

Happy to hear your move went well.

Anonymous said...

I think this blog is a great solution to the email problem, and I've already added it to my feeds so that I don't miss a single update.

I just love the pictures of the new baby - you take such beautiful photos, and it's so neat to think that in the Fall I'll be getting a bit of yarn from that very kid!

mira said...

I'm so glad you've set this up and have added it to my blogroll. The pictures are great and thanks for putting so much effort into keeping us updated in between everything else you have going on.

--Deb said...

So, so cute. (And that pic of the dogs is great, so I'm glad I didn't miss that, either.) I've added you to my feed reeder so I won't miss an update--whether you email it or not!

snowman said...

Good job, Susan. I am so proud of you, you really worked your butt off. I am sure the animals are happy. Patience with Dan Rather, mabe now he will know he is not the boss!

Angela said...

I think this blog is a great idea. I really enjoyed reading this post and seeing the photos.

smplfied said...

Thanks for all the hard work keeping us up to date. Love hearing how things are going (Dan Rather is a beautiful bird)and the pics of the dogs and sheep are such fun.

Terry said...

This was a great idea. I can now add you to my Google Reader, so I always know when you have made an update.

I was so excited to see the pictures of Thyme. I made my husband sit down to look at them and told him that our share investment helped to keep her safe. I am really looking forward to the births. Keep taking those wonderful photos.

SeDress said...

Thank you for setting up this blog. I made everyone in the office come see the pictures of 'our' new baby. Didn't get out cigars, but I did start sorting through my knitting needles. I've got my fingers crossed, hoping that Thyme is soon joined by a shopping list of other little herbs and spices. Do you have a list of possible names? Just wonder if you're going to stick with the common kitchen herbs or are going to branch out into some of the more exotic spices or medicinal herbs? I'm really partial to Alchemilla [Lady's Mantle] myself.

Susan said...

Oh, that's a beautiful name although I haven't a clue how to pronounce it. I hadn't thought too much about which herbs to use- I chose Thyme for the first one because of Jenibug's ravelry thread. I probably should have saved it for a buck kid since it works for either, but I couldn't resist.
I really like Saffron for a doeling and Lavender (is lavender an herb?). My sister, suggested Corriander, which is awesome.
Please post your suggestion...

Rebecca said...

Dan Rather? That has to be the best name ever. He is too funny!

Thanks for the update, I love the blog format. :)

AN said...

Welcome to the blogosphere!

Writer bug said...

I love the new blog! It's so great to read about your adventures on the farm, and now I'll get to read comments from other share holders, too. What fun! And please add me to your blog list! (I am on the ravelry wait list, still!)

Caitlyn said...

Just one great idea after the other :) Thank you for working so hard to keep us in the loop! Your updates are really a wonderful thing to start my week with.

Glad to hear the move went smoothly!

SeDress said...

Alchemilla: just think Al + Camellia. And Lavender is an herb, at least according to my medicinal herbal book. Coriander's not in it, since it's a spice, but there are some other lovely names: Althaea [officinalis], Coltsfoot, Angelica, Meadowsweet, Salvia. Oh, Basil would be good for a buck, wouldn't it? or Sage?
Have fun naming!!