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Monday, May 12, 2014

State of the Homestead

Relocating Greg has proved more daunting than I anticipated. My online time has been pared to the bone, but it's been too long since I've done a homestead update so here I am.

Bear with me. I'm sure things will get back to normal once we've sold the other house and moved him here. If nothing else, you'll be entertained by watching a grown woman cry uncontrollably, live online.

Garden: Everything is blooming. I've already harvested spinach (and peppers that were overwintered). Parsley and rosemary are always on hand. Grasshoppers have finally reappeared. They're not the plague they were last year, but they're still munching on my cabbages and cauliflower. Da bums!

This year we redesigned the main garden with raised boxes. There's still more work to be done there, but one problem at a time. Right? I'll post pictures next month. The new garden is pretty neat.

Chickens: Status quo. But egg production is way down. There's at least one snake who's made a home UNDER the chicken coop. I haven't been able to catch him yet. He's found the perfect safe haven because he's protected from me and one other predator...

The bobcat: I only saw him once in the woods behind the garden. There are a few other clues to his whereabouts such as a paw print in some soft ground, and a rabbit feeder that had been forcibly smacked to one side. He probably terrified my rabbits. Greg's going to invest in a game camera to see if we can spot where the varmint is going and who else he's after.

In the meantime, I'm trying to make as much noise as possible, and allowing the dogs to scent the area more often in the hopes that it'll persuade him to go elsewhere.

The goats: BBQ has gone to goat heaven. He was a mean goat and I'm not sorry he's gone. I still bear the scars of his time on Earth.

Interestingly, the first thing I noticed once he was gone was how calm all the other goats became. He bullied them too so they must've been just as relieved as I was. 

And no, we've not had a taste of him yet. There's not been a moment's downtime since the retirement countdown began.

Ray Charles snacking
Baby goats: As of this post, the babies are now 8 weeks old. There's Ray Charles, the baby born blind (who has since regained his sight), Pandora, the girl baby, and no-name goat (her brother). The no-name baby will probably be sold when he's a little older and weaned, but we'll likely keep Ray Charles and Pandora.

Ray Charles has been sick. I suspect a bacterial infection. Penicillin would probably clear him right up, but I'm trying to get him to resist the infection on his own. Penicillin is so overused that most bad bugs are resistant to it. I'm trying for more homeopathic remedies to help his body combat the infection on his own. It's been slow going, but I think he's improving.

Pandora (blue collar) and little bro
Pandora is the most vocal and skittish, probably due to her taking on the world from the moment she was born. Her no-name brother is very passive. He just follows along with whatever the herd wants to do. But Ray Charles, who had so many problems when he was born and consumed my every waking moment to keep him alive, is my shadow. He follows me around as if I were his second mama. I hope he always stays this sweet, but I know testosterone can make a boy goat do mean things. We'll see.

I'm trying to decide whether to keep these guys at all or switch to smaller dairy goats. It just depends how our joints and muscles hold up. Big goats can be hard to control. It's something I didn't take into consideration when we got these guys. They're young though, so I know even if we have to sell them they'll still have a long life on some other farm.

The dogs: My poor Tank had another toenail snap at the quick. The same one as last time. Lots of blood and pain. I'm going to have to keep his nails closely trimmed from now on. He slips and falls a lot which makes it easy to break a toenail. Poor boy. He suffers so much but he never complains. Greg drove 300 miles on his off weekend to be with him.

Nana has officially taken over as alpha leader, but she's a brash and obnoxious leader and I want to curb her arrogance. The trips back and forth to Casa South have been good for her. We see so few people where I live that she needs to be reminded of the world at large--and that she's not the only one in it.

Question, stemming from Ray Charles' treatment: I have a friend who's married to a doctor. Unless it's a major illness, he refuses to give his kids antibiotics. I, myself try not to use antibiotics unless I'm in a bad way. If my body hasn't fought off the infection in two weeks, I'll go in. How do you feel about this? Do you see a doc right away or try to fight it off on your own?


Angela Brown said...

The state of your homestead is one of constant happening. Snakes, bobcats and other creatures of the wild to deal with. Then you have the animals you've chosen to have that require your energy and time.

I'm glad things are going well with the goats. Oh, peace out BBQ. You live by the bully lifestyle, you got to get dealt with.

Regarding your questions about running to the doctor...I was a little quicker to run to the doctor when my kiddo was really small and I was totally scared. Nowadays, I try to be more aware of how she feels day to day and work on home remedies before I take her to the doctor for an illness. I do the same for myself.

Maria Zannini said...

Angela: I gotta be honest, if it were my child--especially little bitty ones--I'd run to the doctor first. Your first instinct is to protect them at all costs. All you can do is hope that the doc is doing what's right for the child and not his pocketbook.

But you are absolutely right about being aware of daily patterns. That's how I decide about my animals. Since they can't tell me what's wrong, I have to figure it out by their behavior.

Stacy McKitrick said...

I hate doctors, so I don't go running to them for every little thing. I love, though. It'll usually let me know whether or not I should bother seeing a doctor.

Not sorry to hear about BBQ. Hopefully, things will be a little easier (or at least less stressful!).

Maria Zannini said...

Stacy: My life got a 1000x better after BBQ was gone. Imagine being able to visit and feed animals without a rake in my hand.

Michelle H. said...

I'm not fond of doctors, so I usually don't go unless I have to. As for Jaq, if it is something serious, I'll take her. But I usually wait for a bit. She hasn't gotten sick, not even a cold, except for her eczema. I don't care for her pediatrician at all. He is more concerned with getting as many kids in as he can at one time and doesn't really listen to what I have to say.

So glad to hear that BBQ has moved on -- so to speak. That sounded like one dangerous goat.

Do you have problems growing peppers? I know my parents struggle to grow them in their garden. They've even tried growing plantings in the greenhouse and then moving them out in the summer. Yet for some reason, they barely have any pop up.

Maria Zannini said...

Michelle: It's so hard to find a doctor that really listens to you. What a sad state of affairs that is.

Re: peppers
Mine grow great. It's the one crop I can always depend on.

Most peppers need a hot climate and they take a long time to grow if it's not warm morning and night. Most likely the ground cools off too much at night in your parents' garden. I'd try adding thick mulch or black plastic at the base of the plant. That should keep the roots warm enough.

Mike Keyton said...

Ref antibiotics, it's a pretty scary scenario developing out there. Unless something's discovered pretty fast we'll soon be back to the C18th when the smallest infection will kill. If the bobcat don't get the super bacteria will :(

I get more cheerful towards the end of the week. Honest. :)

LD Masterson said...

Thanks for the update on everything. Is the snake under the chicken coop dangerous? I'm guessing you didn't name the last baby because you're not keeping him but couldn't he at least get a nickname? Being the only one without a name could give him a complex.

Re. going to the doctor - I usually try to ride things out. But to be honest, it's more procrastination than avoiding drugs.

Darke Conteur said...

I'm sorry to hear about BBQ, but you're right and there is only so much a person can put up with. Those baby goats are adorable!

As far as your question, I've found there are some illnesses that I took Sithboy to the doctors for right away; ear infection, strep, and the like, but as for colds, no. I try to give him meds but he says they don't work, so I let him stay home and fight it off himself. Usually with food and sleep. I hear all the time about doctors or people who give antibiotics for the smallest illness, and that's not good. You have an immune system for a reason.

Sarah Ahiers said...

i assume BBQ was butchered, right? And didn't die of something weird?

I love how any questions i want to ask, you answer (like if you're going to keep the kids, etc).

I know you don't like snakes but what if you could import some nice garder snakes for your garden to help with the grasshopper population? You'd probably have to make them a nice home to keep them safe from the bobcat. And of course make sure a bigger badder snake doesn't move in.

Also i'm totally jealous. We haven't even planted our garden yet (though rhubarb, asparagus and some green onions we missed pulling up last year are all growing nicely right now)

Sandra Almazan said...

We had to go to the doctor pretty often during Alex's first year, since he caught a lot of illnesses from day care. These days, he doesn't get sick as often. However, we do currently have a case of musical sickness in the family. At least it's not as bad as the strep throat I had earlier this year. I walked around with a sore, lumpy throat for over a week before I realized what I might have. It cleared up within a couple of days of the doctor visit and antibiotics. I wouldn't take them for every little thing, but they do have their uses.

R. Mac Wheeler said...

The babies are cute.

Tank. Slow down.

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I hardly ever go to the doctor, but that's because I hate it so much. :) Good luck with the goats.

Maria Zannini said...

Mike: I need to catch you on Fridays then. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Linda: Nah. It's just a chicken snake. They mostly eat eggs and little chicks. More nuisance than anything else.

Maria Zannini said...

Darke: The baby goats are entertaining as hell. They're always coming up behind you to see what you're doing.

Maria Zannini said...

Sarah: BBQ is in the freezer. As Greg likes to say, he died of lead poisoning (bullet).

I can honestly say it was instantaneous. He was dead before his knees ever hit the ground.

Maria Zannini said...

Sandra: Step is the worst! I always make the mistake of waiting too long to see a doc for strep. Thank goodness it's been a while. It's awful.

Maria Zannini said...

Mac: I wish Tank would slow down. He forgets he's an old man and wants to run with the young dogs. ...much like me. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Barbara: Doctors are so machine like with their assessments. Few of them ever really sit down and talk to you about what's wrong--let alone discuss options. If I wanted cookie-cutter service I could go to the corner medi-clinic.

Rebekah Loper said...

Aww, the kids are looking so good! I'm glad Ray Charles regained his sight! I'm sure dealing with a permanently blind goat would've been quite the handful on top of everything you've already got going on.

Hopefully BBQ is delicious!

I personally hate going to the doctor. I've been to the doctor maybe four times in the past... 10 years, and the only time I went in before a week (or two... or six) of not feeling well was because I was very obviously having an allergic reaction to something. And of those kinds of things don't clear up after a day or so... yeah. Time for the dr. I got steroids that time, whoo! And I stopped using that face wash.

Jackie Burris said...

Antibiotics are a last resort Maria, luckily my immune system has stayed strong and as not exposed often to ill people am healthy most of the year. Last two years have managed to contract a nasty sinus infection, both times one course of antibiotics killed it and nothing much to worry about since.

Funny thing is my Mom and Husband had URI's for months and never caught it from them, knock on wood!

BBQ was retired just in time, you worried me every time you reported his increasing aggressiveness and thankful for all of you it was a quick death.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't required by law for my kids to be vaccinated against X, Y, and Z they wouldn't. I'm the same with Beastie Girl.

If I know/can research a homeopathic option I try that before heading to the doctor. I also select doctors who practice a combo of eastern and western medicine.

So glad BBQ is in the freezer waiting for the BBQ :)

{{hugs}} to Tank and you.

Maria Zannini said...

Rebekah: 4 times in 10 years is a pretty good record. May it always be so for you. As you get older things break down more. :o) Or at least it takes longer to recover.

Maria Zannini said...

Jackie: It was a constant pain to have to defend myself whenever I went in there. Now I can visit several times a day and everyone is happy to see me. Calm has been restored.

Maria Zannini said...

Raelyn: We're a little limited on doctors unless I want to go into Dallas--which is a day trip in itself. I really loved the doctor I used to have until he decided to retire. Now I'm having to make do with what's available.

Tank is sending back a big kiss. :)

Jenny Schwartz said...

You're so busy! I'm sending you good vibes -- this will soon all be done!

A snake and a bobcat seems over-predator friendly, but if that's how you roll, I have some redback spiders I could send you :)

I don't like using antibiotics either. You made me stop and think when I last took some...well over ten years ago. Hey, I must be healthier than I thought! or luckier :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

Wow, was BBQ that old?

The baby goats are so cute!

I do not like to rush and get antibiotics either. Most of the time, I don't have to. I have to REALLY be sick for me to take them.

Maria Zannini said...

Jenny: No, please. No more predators. We're full up. LOL!

A year ago I had heard a bobcat's screams in the night. Now he's a lot closer.

Re: antibiotics
Good for you! That's great. I'll take luck or health as long as it's good. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Jennifer: BBQ was only a little over a year old. The reason he had to go in the freezer is because he was dangerous. He was always hurting me or the others.

Ellie Garratt said...

Oh, my. You have been busy!

You made the right decision about BBQ - he was to aggressive. The fact that the others seem more relaxed is proof of that.

With regard to antibiotics, I totally agree with you. Unless a person or animal already has a serious health issue, the body should be able to fight it off. I had a rotten cold that turned into a temperature and chest infection. I knew that a healthy adult should clear it within 7-10 days, so I decided not to go to the doctor unless there was no improvement after 7 days. It was the right decision, because I was all better within a week.

Maria Zannini said...

Ellie: I'm not sure who to blame about this antibiotic overuse. Doctors prescribe them so readily. Or is the patient demanding the docs do something? Maybe it's a little of both but it sounds like a prescription for future disaster--if it isn't here already.

Cate Masters said...

I get exhausted just reading your posts! I don't know how you do it, Maria, you're a wonder.
I can go years without seeing a doctor. This year being the exception, but I just got sick of being sick. Generally I don't like taking antibiotics because doctors tend to prescribe them too much.

Maria Zannini said...

Cate: I often say the same thing about your writing output. LOL.

You've had a rough year, health-wise. I hope that's it for a while.

Dru said...

Thanks for the updates. I tend to see if I can get better on my own before I call a doctor.