Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Barbara's twins

I really do like having my shed. The goats and sheep are actually going in voluntarily to have their kids and lambs. Barbara went in mid afternoon yesterday. About 4:30 out popped the first doe. She was up and about quickly. Barbara did not do a great job of cleaning her up, so I knew to expect another one. Last year, Barbara was this size and had only one showstopper buck. I was thrilled to see a second doe born. When she did not get up as quickly as her sister, I kept an eye on her. I made sure she got some colostrum, but she still stayed hunched over. Just a half hour in time and a slight drop in temperature had me taking the kid inside to blow dry her to warm her up and then let her take a nap. Two hours later, she was back out with her mom, sucking away. It is amazing how little it takes to change what looks like a really weak baby into a very healthy looking one.

A photo will follow tomorrow. I ended up putting coats on both of them last night, to keep Barbara from discriminating against the one I had taken inside. Went out this morning and discovered that one had gotten hers off and the other one was wrapped up in hers. They were really cute.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Still waiting

When waiting for the doe to deliver, I get antsy and find it hard to stay sitting at the spinning wheel. The needle felting tool I ordered last week arrived, so I experimented on the small scene that I had in an earlier post. I am going to consider it done, so I can finish up a larger one. I am always reading and getting ideas from other sources that I can apply to mine. The last inspiration came from an art magazine that talked about artists taking several different photographs and making their composition based on several of them. I was trying to use just one photo and it was looking dull. The scene is real, but it would not have reminded anyone of the southwest. I needed a pinch of color, so I added ocotillos - although I do not have a single one on my property.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


I noticed that I don't have any photos of what I do with my fiber. I spend most of my time spinning and occasionally knitting. The best sellers in my shop are yarns and the batts like the ones in the basket at left. These batts don't seem to show up as clearly as they do in other programs, so the blog must save space by putting lower resolution pictures on. These are shades of greens that I sell for felting - wet and needle. I have a Patrick Green electric carder, which I really love. It allows me to play around with colors and is professional enough to allow me to produce in bulk. I have to admit that not one of the batts in the basket is the same as any of the others. I use them to make landscape scenes like the one below. I teach wet felting on the last Saturday of the month for free with the purchase of fiber to make a project. My favorite felting is of landscapes of the Tucson area. There is something about the color of the sky here that cannot be found anywhere else.

The small piece above is in the initial stage of development. I needlefelted a basic layout of a sunset from a photo that I took earlier in the month. Seeing it in a photo helps me see where I need to add detail and colors. I plan to make a much larger landscape - 27x28 inches, using the same design. I have been wet felting my landscapes, but started to wonder what would happen, if I needlefelted them first and then wet felted. I have started needlefelting a large one and will leave this one as is, so I can make a comparison. I think needlefelting can become tedious, so I doubt that I will do many this way. Wet felting provides a quicker finished product and I like the surprises that I get in wet felting. I want a little more shape control, so I will try to needlefelt at least one.

Latte's kids

I am already behind! Latte had twins last Friday: a buck and a doe, that my sisters named Almond Joy and Toffee. They are really small. Latte has obviously bonded more closely to the buck. I picked up the doe and held her for people to pet today and Latte was not overly concerned. When I picked up the buck, she about had a fit. They were all three waiting for me at the gate this evening, when I came out to feed. Would have made a great picture, but I did not have the camera!

I am listening to the monitor now, and it sounds like someone is in labor. I was just out there, so will wait to hear something more definite - like the cry of a baby - before I go running out. Too many false alarms, but several are imminent. Nerve wracking! I sure am glad I just have to assist.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I love that shed!

I have been rotating goats and sheep through the large shed, so they will be familiar with it by the time they are ready to deliver. It has really paid off. Saffron went in yesterday to have her kids and saved me a lot of rescue time. Kids, born in the cold and wind, struggle to make it. The sheep don't seem to be as affected by the cold as the angora goats do. Saffron is the proud mama of twin does named Mint and Meltaway. They are my M&Ms.

I will post photos after I let them out of the shed. They certainly look a lot better at three days than when they are first born!

Monday, February 12, 2007


I had five sheep and two angora goats sheared this morning, in between all of the baby activity. I am thrilled with the Shetland fleeces. I hate waiting all year for them, but it is definitely worth it. Spots and Hazelnut were put in the shed. Since they have been sheared, it is quite obvious that they are very pregnant. I predict that Spots will deliver int he next two weeks and probably have twins. Hazelnut is not as far along, but I put her in the shed because they keep each other quiet. Spot's daughter from last year has been running around all day fussing. No udders, but that does not mean anything based on my experience. They fill up quickly with the first baby's cry.
I will have three other Shetlands sheared on Wednesday afternoon, as long as no emergencies arise on my or my shearer's end. Animals seem to know when you have other plans!

Garnet's lamb

This little guy was born this morning, before I had gone out to check. He had already been exploring, because I found him in the Shetland pen. My friend, Debbi, has named him "Truffles." He is a Jacob sheep and I am pretty sure that his coloring is called lilac. He is a quiet and peaceful baby compared to the dairy kids.


This is Cocoa, Habanera's doe. If it does not rain tomorrow, I will let her and her mother out to explore. At the rate kids are being born, I will have to, in order to have somewhere to put the new kids. She is getting quite plump, but no where near the size of Holly's babies!

My new shed

I thought I would post a picture of one of my sheds. It is turning out to be quite useful this year. I hate when babies are born in the cold and especially in the cold and the dark. Tonight Holly, my dairy goat, had twins that are angoara goat look-a-likes. They are huge and heavy compared to the angora goats. I have them in the shed now and can hear them over the baby monitor. I have put them on the mama, but from the sound of it, one of them has not learned how to get back on mom. I will give them half hour.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Habanera's kids

It is depressing to watch a doe grieve over a lost kid. It is impossible to believe that animals don't have feelings and memories. Habanera had twins today - a buck and a doe. They were very different in size making me wonder, if she got pregnant at two different times. The doe is really small and doing well. She is drinking from her mom all by herself now, but is still not cleaned up by her mother, so I did not include a photo.

I took the buck to the vet this afternoon. She took one look at him and said he would be dead shortly. Such a short life. Anyhow, Habanera knows that she had two babies and is mourning for the one that is missing and ignoring the one that she still has. I wonder why the moms always clean and do for the bucks first. I have discovered that does let the doelings die, while they clean a buckling. If a doe has twins, she can switch from one to the other, or just pick one. Habanera totally ignored the doeling after it was born, which makes me think the buck was too big and causing her a lot of pain in delivery. I am going to name the doe, "Cocoa." She is pure black and definitely the tiniest kid I have seen so far.

By the way, Latte and Holly (mentioned in earlier postings) are drama queens. These other mothers are not giving me any warning. I let them out of the pens, since it appears that the mothers are voluntarily going into the shed to have their babies. I am leaving the door to the large shed open, so others can go in. I put a heat lamp in for the kid and she has already found it and gone to sleep under it. I think I will go to sleep also!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


This is Brillo. It is rare to be able to get this close and see her still sprawled out. I managed to see that she has teats, so she really is pregnant. I expect that it will be sometime this month.

Those who have visited the ranch will recognize No Size. He is the oldest buck here and has an impressive set of horns. They obviously make great head rests. I think we all need a set. I dyed most of his last fleece yesterday in shades of orange and green. It is a really nice fleece considering that it is his 5th fleece. Very similar to a kid spring fleece (2nd haircut.) I am debating between lock spinning it and blending it with Shetland wool.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Still waiting

I have decided that goats are drama queens. They like to keep you guessing and demand your attention. I sat out with two goats this morning - Latte from last night - and Holly, our dairy goat. Listening to them, you would have thought that both would have had kids by noon. By 1 P.M. I had them figured out. Holly was confused by Classy trying to nurse off her and thought she was supposed to have had a baby. Latte would be quiet until I turned my head away to look at another goat and then she would start moaning. As soon as I looked back at her, all noise stopped. After the fifth time, I wised up and went back to checking every two hours. It is warm enough outside tonight that Classy and her mother chose to sleep under a Palo Verde. Now I have room for another goat in the shed.

Among other things I accomplished today, was the pick up of 8 boxes by DHL to be shipped to Wooly Knobs in Indiana for processing into roving to be used for spinning and felting. My husband said he would like to see the porch. I was starting to worry about places to put the fleeces that will start accumulating in the next few weeks. I plan to shear three Shetland rams and possibly one buck this week. I need to practice once in a while and the shearer cannot always make it when I need him/her.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

I spent two hours tonight watching an angora goat breathe heavily, moan, groan, and give the distinct impression that delivery might be imminent. From past experience, I know that this can all be a show, but I am pretty sure that this is the real thing, because Latte has almost given up eating today and, as big as she is, I expect twins, if not triplets! I have never had a doe give birth this late in the evening, so I guess she is determined to make sure that I get up early tomorrow.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Baby Season is Here

The first kid was born last Sunday. A total surprise, since I thought babies were not due till after February 14th. I named her "Classy" after the white Classic chocolate of a major brand of Chocolate candy. I have decided that the theme for names this year will be chocolate candies.