Wednesday, July 2, 2008

When it rains it pours...

Well the suck week from hell continues. 

Saturday morning while Patrick and I were getting ready for the Farmer's Market we got a call from a volunteer at Felix Neck. All the sheep and goats were out. Out of their new fence. The one I had just paid $1500 for.
We rushed up to there and found that he was right, they were out. Patrick used grain to lure them back to the pen but when we got there we found Nanny McPhee all tangled up in the new fence. It was wrapped around her neck multiple times and it was a miracle that she hadn't choked to death in the night. It took about 20 minutes to free her from the fence (a section of which was all but destroyed BTW) and the whole time I kept thinking that something wasn't right. Nanny McPhee had been trained to the fence for more than a year. Sometimes a new animal will challenge the fence but it just seemed really odd that an animal familiar with it would. 
We got her loose and she was fine. And then I noticed that all the clips that run from the electric fence charger to the fence were uncliped. All four of them
There wasn't much time to think because by then we were running massively late for the Farmer's Market. But on the way out we ran into Suzan Bellicampi, Sanctuary Director at Felix Neck.  Long story short, it turns out that someone, probably kids, broke into Felix Neck the night before, did doughnuts in the parking lot, chased our flock and left. 
I can't begin to tell you how angry this makes me. Just writing about it makes me see red.  Okay, I get it, they were probably teenagers and didn't think they were hurting anyone. But Nanny McPhee easily could have died, either by having her air cut off by the fence or from the stress.  
So the gate at Felix Neck is now locked at night.  I am comfortable that my flock is safe. But I really didn't need the added stress...
The next couple of days were blessedly uneventful. We moved the sheep and goats to a new area to eat. They are in a very brushy, overgrown area right now, which makes moving the fence a big project. It took Patrick and I almost two hours to set up the new fence, trim all the vines and branches around the fenceline and get the flock in, but it was totally worth it. 

Patrick  pretending to  be annoyed about all the work.

He goes first, crushing down the brush with his giant feet and dropping a fence post every 8 feet. I follow behind setting the posts and making sure there are no gaps for the escape-minded goats to sneak though.

The bittersweet vines make great eating for the flock but making fencing a pain.

Ta Da! Here is our beautiful, virgin fenced area. All we need to do now is add sheep and goats.

Remember that scene in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when the kids get their first look at the room with the chocolate river running through it? I'm talking about the old school Willy Wonka, the Gene Wilder version.  Everything in the giant room is eatable- the trees, the giant mushrooms, everything, and all the kids spread out and start eating. That's exactly what it's like when we let the flock into a new fence.

No matter how long a day it's been or how late it is, Patrick and I always stay for a while and watch them eat. They are just so happy. 

The day after a major move is really easy. All we have to do in the evening is feed the dogs, feed the bottle babies and give the flock a little hay to keep their rumens functioning properly. Last night when we gave them hay everybody came running over to the hay feeder and were quietly munching away when I heard a baby goat crying. I figured one of the kids had gotten left behind when their mama came to get hay. I went looking for her and found Rosemary laying on her side with a broken leg. 

We called our vet but his answering  service said he was off Island and had the on-call vet meet us at the animal hospital. We brought Bay Leaf along for companionship. Goats get very stressed when they are away from the rest of the flock and we wanted to minimize her discomfort.  

Dr. Atwood was great. He took x-rays and confirmed that Rosemary did indeed have a broken leg. The break was clean through just below the growth plate.

Dr. Atwood decided that the best course of action was to keep Rosemary and Bay Leaf overnight and set the leg in the morning when he has a vet tech on hand to help him with the anesthesia . 

Rosemary came through the ordeal just fine. Because she is growing so quickly I will have to bring her in to get a new cast once  week until it heals, but Dr Atwood thinks she will recover completely. But she can't rejoin the flock until her cast is off in six weeks since it will dissolve if it gets wet. "What you have here," Dr. Atwood said, "is a house pet." 

Rosemary seems to agree. She is sleeping on Gulliver's dog bed as I type and she has taken to a bottle like she's been doing it since the day she was born. You'll notice that in addition to a cast Rosemary is sporting a diaper. That is my concession to Patrick, who doesn't really like having a dog in the house, let alone a farm animal. 

Dr. Atwood thinks Rosemary got her leg stuck in a hole or a tangle of vines and panicked, breaking her leg in the process. Their bones apparently aren't that strong because they are still growing. He is a great vet and even helped us by keeping the bill under $500. Still, most farms probably wouldn't spend that kind of money on a kid, so I keep reminding myself how lucky we truly are. If it weren't for the shareholders we would have had to make a very tough decision last night. 

I hope you all know how grateful I am to you for investing in our farm. Sincerely and deeply grateful.

If you are a current shareholder and haven't yet emailed me about purchasing a Spring 2009 share (and you want one) please let me know ASAP. There is supposed to be a big magazine article coming out about the farm this weekend and I am listing some of the remaining Spring 09 shares on etsy. I've saved a few for shareholders but I need to know who you are.

Also, I'm told that the video that was shot when Salina gave birth to Truman will be posted on etsy a week from Friday. I'll post a link as soon as it's up.

In other news, I am going to be holding a raffle this weekend to raise money for a super-worthy cause. The grand prize winner will be receiving my entire stash of non-MVFF yarn. Yup, the whole kit and caboodle. I'll explain all  in my next post but I promise you won't want to miss this one.

Keep your fingers crossed that the rest of the week is uninteresting please!


Maggie said...

Several things:
1. What jackasses! I distinctly remember the half dozen baby pygmy goats we had at the 4-H center who died of heart attacks the night a fox came by their pen. I want to shake the teenagers very very hard.
2. While I am very sad Rosemary broke her leg, I can't say I'm sad at the prospect of a housegoat during my visit!!
3. I'm very excited about the raffle as well (though not as much as a housegoat!).
4. I hope you're bored to tears over the next week or two!

Perry said...

What a stressful time, poor Nanny McPhee and Rosemary... and Susan! :)

I'm glad it's a happy ending.

Did I tell you that I'm interested in the 2009 spring share? If not, I am!


Ulli said...

I am glad that nanny mcphee made it through that horrible night. there is no excuse for this kids.
rosmary looks like she is enjoying her retreat.
i wish you and your flock some calm time said...

It's so great to see photos of the goats and sheep I met last week at Felix Neck! I feel like I know them. I'm glad that none of them were hurt from the teenagers' thoughtlessness. I hope you have an uneventful week. I am sure Rosemary will since she is getting some TLC at home!

Diane said...

"We brought Bay Leaf along for companionship. Goats get very stressed when they are away from the rest of the flock and we wanted to minimize her discomfort."

When I moved from Southern to Northern CA, I had two "kids", one in 3rd grade, the other in 9th. I brought two best friends for companionship during the move. Made things MUCH easier! Good thinking, Susan. Here's to some uneventful days for while!


JJena said...

May all the excitement be over....for a while any way!
So glad Nanny McPhee and Rosemary are doing well!
I send hugs and wish you lots of uneventful days.


themamajama said...

Wish there was a way we could sign her cast.
hugs from glassneedle

Pumpkinmama said...

How awful - the vandalism and the injury. Glad little R. will be ok.

Christina said...

I'm so sorry to hear things have been rough. There should be heavy fines for teanage stupidity -- it makes me mad too, so don't worry, you're not alone.

I do hope Nanny McPhee recovers well, along with sweet little Rosemary.

SeDress said...

When all the goats and sheep leave the pen, what do the dogs do? Just tag along?
Poor Patrick. He does look sorely overloaded. Do the fence posts have to be pounded into the ground?
Has anyone else noticed what seems to be the "Scarborough Fair" Curse? First Parsley, then Sage, both dead. Now Rosemary with a broken leg. I think you should keep a very close eye on Thyme! (Not that I believe in curses, you know, but it does seem a little strange, doesn't it?)
And not that it's any consolation, but it has been "weeks from hell" in many places. Must be some strange arrangement of the stars or something, but it seems as if all the nuts are out all over.
I hope things turn around for all of us soon!

Jean said...

I'm with Maggie in wishing you a boring day, since I don't think a boring week would be possible. I am even happier about having bought shares now knowing that it helped with Rosemary. I hope both she and her humans survive the inpatient period.

ellie phillipo said...

How awful that that's what teens consider fun...scaring helpless animals. UGH!

I look forward to seeing you on the 17th.


Leah Bonebrake said...

I would consider purchasing a 2009 share, but have never received any notice of the Spring 2008 share which I purchased in the fall of 2007.
Could you please explain again how your farm share system works?

Writer bug said...

How sad and angry-making that kids would do that. Yes, teenagers are stupid and deserve some slack, but scaring innocent animals? People of all ages should know better!

On a different note... we're getting angora bunnies this weekend! And you definitely inspired us to follow our Barnyard dreams (albeit on a much smaller scale than you).

And did y'all see this article about Barnyards in Suburbia?

Jenibug said...

Poor Rosemary! A broken leg, a cast and a diaper all in the summer!

And poor Susan and Patrick. A broken leg, a cast a diaper, a baby goat with all that in the house in the summer.

And I thought it was absolute nuts here in Kansas!

Good luck and lots of good and warm wishes your way!

Susan said...

Hi Leah,
I have posted several times about what's going on with the Spring 2008 shares. Unfortunately, the email list of shareholder's isn't broken down so it isn't possible to write to just the Spring 08 shareholders to update.
The spring fleeces were shorn on April 18th and sent to the mil the following weekend.
The mill- one we had used in the past with enormous success- did a couple of unusual things that really shook my confidence in them. I also heard a very disturbing story about a friend of a friend who had just gotten a fleece back from the same mill destroyed.
Needless to say, I asked them to stop where they were and we picked up the fleeces.
I spent the next two weeks trying to find a mill that could process our fleeces well and in a timely manner. Because it was now late in the season most mills were on a 3 to 5 month wait! I finally found two mills with excellent reputations that could get the job done in 5 to 10 weeks. Both sent me sample of their spin which helped me select one of them.
The fleeces were shipped to the mill on 6/12. (Incidentally, getting 400 pounds of raw wool and mohair to Canada and through customs isn't nearly as easy as NAFTA would lead one to believe.)
I am terribly sorry for the delay, but I made the decision that it would be better to have the Spring 08 shareholders wait to get their shares than to give them an inferior product. Perhaps I should have consulted the shareholders before making that decision and for that I apologize.
It take an incredible amount of work to raise animals with fine fleeces. I just couldn't bare the thought of the resulting product being mediocre. The fact that we've already been paid for the yarn is completely irrelevant to me. I want our customers and shareholders to get a one-of-a-kind product that is worth all the effort we put in to it.
I have a call in to the mill this morning and will let you know where we are in line as soon as I hear from them.

I am posting this in addition to emailing you because I think your public question deserves a public answer.

Valerie said...

Wow! What an awful week.
Here's my wish for you as you'll probably be fortunate to have a few quiet days, but probably not weeks without some problem.

May God give you...
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

Jenny said...

Poor Rosemary does look very adorable on that doggie bed. You have the most difficult, heartbreaking, incredible, wonderful job in the world, you really do, and I LOVE that Wonka Factory comparison, it looks just like that!

I am so happy and proud to be one of the people helping support the farm, and it makes me feel good that the money from the shares made it very easy for you to make the decision that you did with Rosemary.

eochu said...

I'm glad that both Nanny McPhee and Rosemary are all right after their ordeals. I think it just reinforces the genius of your CSA model, if the security it provides makes it possible for you to go to extraordinary measures to keep each precious creature healthy and happy.

And I know that Cini and Biscotti have to be very tolerant of humans as part of their jobs, but I couldn't help wishing they might have been just a tiny bit ferocious with those nasty visitors. Then again, maybe they were and we have them to thank for the fact that the outcome wasn't worse. I also wonder what they do when all the animals get out - do they follow them, or stay in the pen?

Wishing you all the uneventfulness you can handle - Erin

--Deb said...

Poor Nanny McPhee--that must have been such a scary experience for her! (The rest of the flock, too, of course, since they were all scared, but she's the one who was in mortal peril.) And I had pointed out the Scarborough Fair thing, too, and now I'm a little worried about Thyme, also ... though Rosemary looks so darn happy on that pillow with her leg up, she might almost think it was worth it.

Oh, and yes, I DO want a Spring 09 share, please....

joanb said...

Susan - I echo what everyone else said. Poor Nanny McPhee and Rosemary... and Susan and Patrick too.
Hopefully you'll be stress free for awhile.

Jenny Girl said...

So sorry to hear you misfortune had continued. Hopefully that is all over for now.
Rosemary looks very happy to be on that pillow despite the broken leg.
Hope all goes with her healing.

My goodness you two work so hard! It is amazing.
Happy 4th and hope things calm down.

Shirra said...

I believe the word I would use for those youngsters are (and I hope I don't offend) bloody hooligan wankers! Now that I have that off my chest, I am so glad that everyone is doing alright.

Poor Rosemary, but lucky Rosemary to be so well loved. Kind of fun to have a goat in the house again? Thank goodness for animal diapers!

woolies said...

Rosemary looks very very happy on her doggie bed!!!
Such excitement! I'll keep my fingers crossed for a boring next few weeks for you!

Quirkles said...

Oh, Susan. I'm just catching up on your blog. What a rough patch you, Patrick, and the animals have been through. I am so glad that it seems that everyone made it through this last bit and am thankful to be a part of the support system. I hope for smoother sailing going forward. Sending love and hugs your way!

Megan said...

Poor Rosemary and Nanny McPhee! They are awfully lucky to have you to look after them. Take care!

habitual said...

Poor Nanny McPhee! I couldn't stand reckless teenagers when I was a teenager. Now, I am certain they should be shipped off to a remote land, only to return at the age of 24. I'm so thankful Nanny McPhee was not killed. And I am thrilled that little Rosemary came through her treatment so well.

What does Gulliver think of her in the house? Maybe it will help acclimate him to the goats a little more (didn't you mention once that he's not a big fan?)....

Anyway, I wish you an uneventful holiday weekend!!

sarah said...

You really DID have a sucky week! I'm glad you decided to save Rosemary - what a sweetie!

BTW, Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka? Pure gold!!!!

choo choo knits said...

My in-laws are VERY good friends with Suzan Bellicampi - and she's come to visit us when we're up visiting. She is a great lady. (My in-laws are Brian and Maryann - they're friends with Steve Bocelli too). Maryann (or Nana as we call her) used to work at Eden's Garden Nursery. What a small world. Hope all the sheep are ok - and that your Uncle is getting better. Sue Roth is a friend of mine and mentioned she made a donation - she's always doing such nice things like that - gotta love her!