Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Howdy from Texas!

Howdy from Texas! I arrive here last night after 11 p.m. and slept until almost 10 a.m. this morning- something that does not happen at my house...well...ever.  And you know what I did this afternoon? Don't tell anybody, but I took a two-hour nap!

My mom took me to get two of my Christmas presents this morning. A flu shot and a pneumonia shot.

Probably a good idea seeing as how I've had both every year for the last three years.

We followed up the shots with a trip to the best Mexican food restaurant in Texas- or probably the Universe- Joe T. Garcia's. Joe T.'s is usually my first stop when I arrive in Dallas and my last stop on the way to the airport when going home. 

So far it's good trip, made all the sweeter by the fact that I came with in a whisper of canceling  it altogether. It seems like every time I plan a trip out of town the animals have some sort of crisis. Salina was attacked by a dog while I was in New York and when Patrick and I took the kids to Lake Tahoe for a week at the end of summer all the baby goats got sick.

The stress of shearing, followed two weeks later by moving the whole flock from the Vineyard to New York was really hard on the kids and lambs. After just a couple of days in New York they had lost a lot of weight and were just skin and bones. We immediately started treating them for coccidiosis - a single-celled parasite that live in all sheep and goats but can become dangerous when an animal is over stressed. We had just wormed the whole flock just before leaving for New York, so that wasn't so much of a worry, although we wormed again using a product that specifically targets tapeworms, just in case.  

The treatment combined with making sure everyone is warm and dry (the goat sweaters have made a return) and has plenty of fresh, sweet hay and an unlimited supply of high-protein grain seem to have done the trick. The kids are slowly regaining their weight, but it was a very scary couple of days.

Once I felt we had the kids on the road to recovery, I noticed something strange with the nanny goats. It started when I saw Fran (#8) standing by herself in the run-in shed when everyone else was out grazing- not alarming in and of itself- but when I saw her in the same spot later that day it made me wonder if she was okay. Before I got close enough to check her I could smell some kind of infection coming off her.

Long (potentially disgusting) story short, Fran and all the other nannies have Chlamydia. Most likely, one of the goats got it from a tick (or other source) and, since we are in breeding season, the others got it as well. Luckily we caught it now, because the disease can lead to late term miscarriages (called "abortions" in farm animals) or the birth of weak kids. 

Because I was alone on the farm on Sunday I gave most of the nannies an injection of antibiotics myself, and Erin and Patrick finished up the rest of them today. It had been ages since I worked the animals alone, and although it was a lot of hard work, I enjoyed it immensely. It's amazingly good for my self-esteem to be able to care for them on my own. That being said, I am grateful to Patrick and Erin everyday for their help!

Both of them insisted that I go on my trip as planned and leave the flock  to them, and I know they are in good hands. Erin has gotten up to speed with them so quickly, and has taken over so many functions that I used to perform on my own (like the endless shipping) that I don't know what I would do without her anymore.

[Speaking of which, no that we have moved and everyone is settled I really have to buckle down and finish writing the manuscript for our book. As much as I love getting your emails - and I read every single one of them- Erin will be taking over all the administrative-type emails for the next month. So if you aren't getting your farm update emails, need to change your mailing address or anything else, please email Erin at carib_erin AT yahoo DOT com.]

Breeding seems to be going very well with the goats. I won't be so crude as to post pictures of Buck Fifty and his girlfriends in their more intimate moments here, but it's hard to get a picture of anything else! Everywhere I look there is a nanny goat wagging her tail suggestively at Buck Fifty, trying to get his attention.

Lincoln, our Cormo ram, seems a little confused by the goings on and we haven't actually seen him getting busy with the ewes yet. When I get back to New York we will be putting the new cormo ewes in with him and taking Buck Fifty out, so hopefully he will get the idea that it's his turn at bat. Sicily and Salina, the two ewes he has bred with before, spent days trying to get his attention only to be rebuffed. 

Thanks so much for your feedback regarding the email issue. We have decided to continue the emails alerting you all to the big farm update for now. Eventually we will have the list broken down into "email updates" and "all other correspondence" but for now, please don't opt out of the list! I will continue to put "Farm Update" in the subject line of the update emails, so you can just delete those without opening if you don't need them. Any other business will have a different subject line. Technically, it is illegal for me to send you ANY other email if you opt out of the list, and I need to be able to get in touch with you from time to time.

For those of you who are only checking the blog, you might want to put us on your daily bookmark list, because I often do unannounced giveaways and I'd hate for you to miss out!

That's all for tonight. I will be posting the Spring 2009 Share Certificate PDF file here this week for both the Martha's Vineyard and New York Farms, so check back in a couple of days. I also need to announce the winner's in the calendar giveaway from way back. Tomorrow, I promise!



Jean said...

See... I was sitting here, half an hour away, doing nothing Sunday. I could have helped out... somehow.

Tracy at woollies.wordpress.com said...

Oh, Joe T Garcia's! Your pictures made me so-o-o-o hungry---I'm from Fort Worth and used to go there all the time. Nothing quite like it here in my part of upstate NY (southern Finger Lakes).

I'm enjoying your blog immensely!

Jenna S said...

Thanks for the update - sexy or otherwise!
Have a nice time in Texas! Get lots of rest!!


--Deb said...

Well, that's a Christmas gift that keeps on giving!


you didn't say how long you will be here! or where in dallas you are! i know that at least rwo of us would love it if you could join us at our knitting meet up on tues night!

puddle duck

Amber said...

Poor girls got the Clap! The things you never think about as a hazard to farm animals, and from ticks too! Enjoy your time in Texas, I definitely have to try to make it up to the farm some time this winter :)

Turtle said...

lol at amber's Poor girls got the clap! comment!! (i was thinking the same thing when i read it)

The authentic mexican food looks soooo good!

I am so bad, every year hubby wants me to go and get the shots but daughter and i have avoided them. We pay later on as we both end up sick but..

go relax!