Monday, March 31, 2008


Well, blogger does not seem to want to work all of the time, which is frustrating. I have uploaded pictures twice and they are still not appearing. Figured I would just write, while I am remembering and catch up on photos later.

I let the Badger Doe and her kids out this afternoon.. I ended up putting her back in, because she was not keeping track of her babies and the one she does not like was getting left by himself. Not a good thing on a dark night. Mint's babies keep escaping their pen and everyone was in an uproar about it, when I went out to check tonight. Since hawks have been hovering above and coyotes are making a huge racket every night, I am keeping babies in pens longer. Some are really tiny, while others are huge.

Cinnamon had a doe and a buck, both black on Sunday morning. She is an over protective mom and shoves her babies behind her, whenever someone comes in. The buck has white ears, so he will be easy to pick out in a crowd.

Will post this and see, if I can photos to load. Otherwise, I am done for the night!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Mint's kids

This photo catches me up on the kids to date. Mint had a buck and a doe. They are tiny. I could not believe that she had two in her. She is small and looks about the same size as when they were born.They have the No Size hair and I will probably keep them, so I can see how the hair stays over time.

I only have two/three more white does to deliver, so will know then, who I will keep. Most of the interest expressed has been in white does and I won't have enough of the pure whites to satisfy everyone. Maybe some people will go for the color carriers. They are just as lovely and several have No Size's hair. Time will tell.

My grandmother's irises

I have been hauling these irises around for a long time. My grandmother gave them to me from her garden and I have been digging up a batch and taking them along every time we moved. I have some in my garden, but the rabbits get at them a lot. The ones in the pool area are thriving.
These are Badger Doe's kids. The whiter one is the first born and his mother's favorite. The darker one never got cleaned off. He has figured out that he can drink when the first born gets mom up. Kind of sad to see so much lavished on just one baby and seeing the other be ignored.
Three of the kids playing on one of th etires. Their idea of fun, while their mothers are eating.
Kat's kids are not afraid of us, so Marc was getting a chance to handle one. I guess they still remember me and have not learned from their mother to be afraid yet.

Recent doings

I felted the background for a landscape on Thursday. It is now dry. I don't have a lot of time to finish for the street fair next week, so I really have to make up my mind soon on how I want to embellish it. I used think and thin coiled yarn on it to see how well it would felt and how much texture would remain. Kind of cool. The lighting in the garage was not the greatest.
The above is a closeup of the sky and some of the thread. It is from the middle of the landscape.
These are the yarns that I spun yesterday. They are all from the same dye pot. I used some in the landscape.
This is Kat. I let her out of the pen as well as her two bucks, since I knew I would need it this afternoon. Jalpeno had triplets at dinner time. All three were does. The first appeared dead, Kyle noticed that she was breathing, so we worked on trying to revive her. No luck, so I went on to deal with the other two does - one white and one black. I had to pull the black doe. She weighed 3 times what the first weighed. The second one was somewhere in between. The first was puny, so probably was not right when born. Jalapeno has bonded with the black doe. The white was was too cold, so I just toweled it dry. Mom was starting to lick her, so hopefully they will bond. They are out of Edelbitter. Mom's genes must override his for her to have three does.

The Badger doe has not bonded with her second buck and probably never will. He is cuter and more energetic than the first. They are both available for sale once weaned. Too many bucks.
Took this photo after settling Jalapeno in her pen. Kind of strange looking with the saguaro in the middle of the pens.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Not so shriveled up after all

I had a white buck that we discovered in January with shriveled up testicles. I did not keep him and really wondered whether the does in with him ever got pregnant. Guess he took care of business before withering, because Dark Chocolate had twin does this morning. I bred her to a white with Texas curls, so she had white kids. If I had bred her to the black buck, it would have likely been black bucks. They are cute and already up and drinking. My sister, Paula named the Nightblooming and Cereus. Mom is dark and had them at night.
Saffron had bucks last week. They are both white and out of No Size, not color carriers.
Badger doe can be any time. She has huge udders and no hair around them, so her kids should be able to get right on her. I am hoping that she has twin silver does. No telling till they arrive!
Jalapeno might have triplets. She did not get up to eat, so I have to start worrying about toxemia, if she does not have them today. I am going to take her a handful of grain out shortly and see how she is doing. Her daughter from last year, Kat, is behind her. She is still pregnant also. Both were out with Edelbitter the black buck, so more bucks?

Monday, March 24, 2008

What is on my wheel right now

Gold seems to be a hit right now.Two months ago, I was spinning it other colors and people were saying that it was off. Not any longer. This is red yearling mohair that I dyed with Country Classics. I think it is pumpkin, but I can't remember. And to think that I dyed it yesterday and have already forgotten! I just wanted the color.

Marc and Laura

Marc loves to catch the babies and hold them - as well as listen to them fuss.
Notice that Marc is doing the holding and not Laura. She borrowed clothes to wear.
Laura did pick up and hold Palo Seco. He has now been compared to a kitty and a puppy. Cascabel's mother is now feeding him grudgingly. She will have to stay in the pen for a while, till I am sure that he will be getting enough. He is small compared to the others.

Koolaid Dyeing and a current project

This is the skein of yarn that we dyed during the Koolaid class. It does not look all that impressive hanging to dry, but the skein below is the final project, and a lot more lovely than I had expected.
Below is a small bag that I felted for a workshop that I held today. I needed to know how much fiber was needed to make a bag that size. I finished it by braiding the coiled yarn to make a strap. It turned out well. It also needed only 2 ounces of fiber, which was my goal. The ladies did not want to spend a lot to try out something new. The bag is now hanging in the shop. I have three others that I plan to finish before the 4th Avenue next weekend. It is the right size for a camera, ipod or cellphone.


The same day that I took sleeping baby pictures, I focused on a few faces. This is Classy before her haircut.
Poor Jalapeno is miserable. She is still waiting for her babies. She is out of triplets, so might be carrying triplets herself.
Cinnamon is still waiting also. I am hoping that she will have red kids, since I have not gotten any this year. She is my last chance.
This is Kit. Being a mom is hard work!
Espresso is a keeper. His offspring are mostly male, but his fiber and that of his offspring is superior to Tarragon's so I am keeping him.

Sleeping babies

Babies sprawl out anywhere.
Precious and Willow.
This is one of Barbara's. Lovely ringlets already!
Columbian with two of her triplets. Mighty Mouse's duo.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

And another

I went back out to make sure that the Shetland had passed her afterbirth and was concerned, because she had not. I grabbed a bucket and sat down to watch her. Definitely Cumin. She was fussing nonstop, so I figured there had to be another baby. I got up and massaged her belly. She was pretty skittish, so I decided to see what she would do on her own. It was 2 hours after the first lamb, so I debated reaching in to pull it myself. I did not think about it too hard, since I was home alone and she was not down. Then I know I have to intervene. Fortunately, she started pawing at the ground and got serious. Out popped a fairly large ram. Up and eating in no time flat!

If I had not been out there, I would not even have known that she delivered till later in the day. They were all out of the shed and hiding among the rest of the herd.

It is funny how the same two animals bred to each other can give such different color variations each year. Cumin had a black and a brown lamb last year. Both are those colors this year, but they have a huge white stripe running along their backs. Makes it easy to spot whose lamb belongs to whom. Of course, within two months, they will all look totally different, so it pays to routinely take photos of the babies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


You can't beat the Shetlands for having their babies and doing it all on their own. I knew this Shetland was going to deliver tonight because she was hanging in the shed. I went out and her baby was already up and drinking. I left them alone with food and water. Why mess with a good thing. It is a ewe and she looks like she is going to be black/brown with spots. I am pretty sure that it was Cumin, but will be sure in the morning with better light. I know that it is one of Spot's offspring, because she was hanging out with her.

The Jacob ewe should be next. I will get photos in the morning.

I spent the day felting two small bags and dyeing fiber. I lost 1.5 pounds in the wash with both of the Border Leicester/Shetland fleeces. The white one is really superior, but the black one has some lovely color variation. I plan to spin up some and turn some into felting batts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

No new babies, but..

Mint has still not delivered, but I know how I will be able to tell, if sheep are close. Desert, the Rambouillet lamb is sneaking up on future moms and checking out their udders. The Jacobs ewe finally has udders and the milk must smell, because Desert was trying to sneak a drink. He has also been harassing a Shetland ewe, so I know who to watch. It has been quiet around here, which has allowed me to get through some Netflix and get in some spinning. I decided to try out a new fiber blend to see how well it would felt. To be honest, I loved the colors and I needed to see how much fiber people would have to buy to make a small ipod/cellphone bag. The bag turned out really well, so I spun up some of the red to make a flower to embellish it and then spun up and coiled another batch to use as the strap. Hopefully, I will be motivated enough tomorrow to get it finished.

I managed to wash Pearl's fleece. She is the large Border Leicester/Shetland that was sheared on Saturday. It was 6 pounds raw and it will be interesting to see how much is left after washing. It is gorgeous and a lovely shade of white. It will be gone really soon. The white dyes beautifully. I might spin it up white and then Koolaid space dye it.

Right now I am spinning up the top portion of a batch of kid mohair that was dyed in the remainder of a lot of cranberry. It has a purplish tint to it. Tomorrow I will do the kid mohair that almost looks like cranberry. I am trying to have a variety of colors available for the 4th Avenue Street Fair.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


Penny did a gorgeous job shearing and chatting with the visitors. Chris helping Penny, Amanda raking and visiting, and Julie running the shop; left me free to run around and visit with everyone else. It is nice to have friends willing to pitch in! Lots of lovely new fleeces to check out and one already gone; the loveliest red of them all off Creme de Menthe.

Habanera, one of the black does that had been in with No Size, had a buck and a doe this evening. The buck was first and big and up on mom in no time. The doe is slower, but should get it. I left them to work it out themselves and will go back out shortly. Habanera has had babies before, so she knows what to do. The babies don't always get it. They are both white.

I am beat, but can't go to bed yet. Have to go out and check animals one last time. Saffron's daughter, Mint, is likely to deliver tomorrow. I am definitely going to check the weather from 5 months ago. I bet births are related to cold spells. The badger doe and Jalapeno could deliver at any time also. The sheep, who knows? I will keep you posted.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Life is fragile

If you live on a farm you quickly learn how fragile life can be. At 3:30 this afternoon, Cascabel was up and drinking from her mother. I went back out to feed a little after 5 and found that she had just died. I still had her in the box, since I did not want her mother stepping on her. The swelling had gone down, so I was sure that she was going to make it. It was a shock to find her gone. A year ago, I would have cried buckets over her, but I guess I have learned that you cannot save them all. The best you can do is try all the standard treatments and hope for the best. If the veterinarians were more familiar with goats, less expensive, and not so far away, I might have taken her in to be checked. As it is, with so many others to care for and a poor prognosis, since she was less than a week old, waiting it out was the best thing to do.

Now I have to hope the mom will mourn quietly, since it depresses me horribly to listen to them cry when something goes wrong.

Hope to see some of you here for the shearing in the morning. And I sure hope Penny is feeling better!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Faces and Cascabel

This is Cascabel and her mom, yesterday, before she got bit.

My blog entry today was going to be about the faces of the animals, but I am too tired to be coherent. I took over 80 pictures of the kids sleeping and the faces of the adult goats.
I forgot to mention that the little kid that got bit by a rattlesnake received her name, "Cascabel". It is the Spanish word for rattle, as well as the name of a chili plant, so it fits my desert trees and plants theme. Won't be hard to remember her name!

Palo Seco was allowed out of his pen with his mom, since the other baby needed to go in. He follows me around, so I feed him and Desert at the same time. Desert is jealous and thinks that all of the bottles should be his. He was springing and chasing the other kids tonight, so I shoved him out in the area with the llamas. Brillo and Oreo thought it was great and chased him like he had been doing to the kids. He was too tired, when I let him back in, to mess with anyone else. I might do that on a regular basis. He has no real playmates and is too big to be safe with the little ones. He needs to release energy.

Strange things

The black doe born last Friday got her name today. I fed late, because I wanted to catch a bunch of the sheep and goats in pens for shearing today. I discovered a baby lying flat on the ground struggling to get up. My first thought was that a goat had stepped on the baby, but I felt funny spots on the side of her neck, which really made me think snake bite. I grabbed the baby, gave her a dose of penicillin and put her in a basket, after feeding her some of the goat drench. If she was going to make it, she needed the energy boost. To tell the truth, I thought she was a goner. As the day went by, it became obvious that she had a chance, and I decided that maybe she had been bit by a different type of snake.

When Penny arrived to shear, we sheared the baby's neck to see if we could tell anything. (That was the only thing that Penny sheared today, because she was weaving on her feet and quite obviously sick. I sent her home. Push come to shove, I can shear, if necessary and no one absolutely had to be sheared.) We clearly saw two sets of bite marks. Another friend told me that the rattlesnake is the only snake that bites that way, so I knew what it was. He advised antibiotics directly on the wound.

Marc and later Susan, a friend visiting from Patagonia, helped me milk the mom. I fed the baby a few times and then this evening went out to feed again. I have been keeping the kid in a box in a pen with her mom, so they keep each other company.Since the baby cannot get up and move, I did not want to leave her where her mother could step on her. I sat on the ground to feed the baby, thinking it was going to be another struggle.The mom started pushing the bottle in my hand and that baby started sucking. When she quit, I helped her stand and was amazed to watch her walk under her mother and proceed to drink. She was not very steady, but she has the will to live.

I feel like I saw a minor miracle and that my day has been successful, although I have to admit that I have not accomplished much else! But, a live baby is a good thing.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Quiet Day on the Ranch

All was quiet today. No new babies. I have 20 babies and 19 of them were born over 9 days. Surreal. All of the moms have accepted their babies. The little black one needs to be supplemented, so I have named him Palo Seco (dry stick, for those of you who don't know Spanish or the southwestern trees), because his mother is rather dry. He is really small and about the cutest of the bunch.

Texas Doe and her buck managed to get it going, so I let them out today. Tomorrow I will let out the other two does. Too many out at one time creates havoc. Moms kept losing their kids this evening. The kids were tired and the moms got busy eating and forgot where their babies lay down. Barbara had come out with her two and I ended up carrying them back to the outer shed, so she could drink and eat. She did not want to eat out of the buckets that I had given her. One of her babies wandered into the big shed to sleep and Barbara was frantic because she did not know that.

I have not had a chance to really handle all of the kids, but I was excited when I picked up Barbara's kids, because they have the ringlets that No Size's best offspring have. Texas Doe's both have these same ringlets. I have not seen it in any of the rest yet, but I have not had a chance to play with Latte's kids and I have only held two of Absinthe's.

If I had to make any guesses, I think that the sheep are going to be really active tomorrow. Garnet, the Jacobs ewe was at the front of the pen area, where she never comes. She is groaning, which tells me that she is close.

All of the pregnant does have moved under the mesquite tree at the back to get away from all of the babies. That is where the ewes usually hang out. Lots of grunting going on there.

I managed to wash two fleeces and spin a bobbin of yarn. Lace weight kid mohair dyed slate blue. Someone order a skein and I decided to do a second one for the shop. I have two more skein orders to fill and then I need to start replenishing the shop. I need bright colors!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Not just kids

I taught a Koolaid dyeing class on Thursday that turned out to be a lot of fun. I used a small skein to suck up the rest of the color from a lineup of 11 jars with all of the different colors of Koolaid that I could find in the Davis Monthan Commissary and the local Safeway and Bashas. This is the skein with the 11 colors. I wrapped it in plastic wrap and microwaved it to set the color. It is now hanging outside the shop. It is dry, but I want to photograph it in daylight before I re-skein it.
If you are interested, the reds, blues and purple have the most color in them and will dye more vibrantly than the other colors. Also, you need to watch for the word "invisible" on the package - it means no color - in case you have any doubts! Smells good, but...

Today's kids

The above is Barbara taken 2 days ago. She was patiently awaiting her kids.

Kit, a white color carrier and Barbara had their kids today. Kit had a white buck with a black spot, while Barbara had a buck and a doe.

Kit had hers early, so I was able to have Kyle get her in a pen and hold her, while I got the baby on her. Seems like the two have bonded and the baby is drinking, so that was an easy one.

Barbara was even easier. She did all of the work while I was teaching a landscape felting class. Her kids are huge and drinking off her with no help from me. She and Latte are keepers.

Photos of the above two will be posted tomorrow. I never made it out with the camera, but lots of visitors did get photos.

Latte's kids

Latte deserves a post all of her own.Her kids were born on Monday. I had to pull all three of them, but she did all of the rest. She cleaned them, got them up and drinking, and then supervised them carefully, so I felt able to leave her loose.
Latte is directly to the left of her kids. She is constantly grunting and calling to them.They follow her and have adopted Willow into their circle.
Latte does a head count routinely to be sure that all three of her kids are hanging together. They like sleeping in the feeders that I no longer hang from the fences, because the goats just butt them off. Anyhow, she is an awesome mom.

Baby Pictures

This is Columbian with her three lambs. The two on the left are rams that I will castrate and the one on the right is an ewe. They are really tiny. I doubt that the ewe weighs more than 2 pounds right now. Cute and fast. Colombian is keeping them in line. She was funny to watch chasing them down this evening.
This is Caramel. Her buck is drinking from her, but not getting enough. They are out now and the little buck comes running up for a bottle as soon as he sees me. I plan to try catching her. If she has enough udder, I am going to cut the bottles. He goes under her as soon as I take the bottle away, but he stays there very little.
Precious' kid is inside the bucket.Precious was feeling insecure the first few days. Now she is overly relaxed and only calls Willow when she wants her to drink. Willow is currently running around with Latte's triplets, who were born the same day.
The above is Willow basking in the sun.
This is Mighty Mouse with her twin bucks. They are easy to pick out of the crowd, because they both have tufts of white hair on the crowns of their heads. They are very self-sufficient and have figured out how to stay warm.


Above Texas Doe, the day before delivery. Below her two kids. The doe is the one looking up.

I tried taking a nap this afternoon, but could not stop my mind racing. Took a really hot shower and felt better, so I went out to feed animals. Since there was no pressure to work with new moms, I fed all of the animals and went in the shed to lock Texas Doe's head in the milking harness. I was determined to get her buck drinking on her. I skipped his afternoon bottle in hopes of being able to convert him to the teat. It took 30 minutes of non-stop turning him around and squirting milk from his mother's teat into his mouth before he finally got the message that, if he wanted to eat, he had better start sucking on his mother. Once he got the hang of sucking, I slowly took my hands out. He fell off the teat and then got right back on it all by himself. He drained her and still kept at it. I let him mess around and when he was done, let Texas Doe out. If I see him on her, or feel that he is full later on, I will let them out tomorrow. They have dumped the water several times and I want them out, so I can dry the area out.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Still Tired

Allergies are bad at this time of year and the wind kicking up the dust does not help.

I have been really busy, spinning to fill orders, carding so new felters have fresh choices, organizing for a Koolaid dyeing workshop that I taught today, as well as running out to check on expectant moms and bottle feed the ones' whose moms were not keeping up.

Mighty Mouse had twin bucks and Texas Doe had a doe and a buck yesterday. Texas was pushing against the fence, so it was a good thing I was out there right as she had the baby, because the baby ended up on the wrong side of the fence and I had to push it back through. The buck got chilled, but I think he might be finally on his mom. I will know for sure tomorrow morning.

Caramel, Barbara's baby from last year, seems to finally have enough milk for her buck. He is really cute and has a strong pair of lungs. He has had enough bottles from me, that he sees me and comes looking for one. After he gets half a bottle, he runs for his mother to get more. She has finally relaxed. Sure hope the other first time moms are not as difficult.

I have taken loads of pictures. I will start posting them tomorrow or the next day. I have found that my blog is really useful for remembering dates and events. The bottom line, is that I need to keep it up to date!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Busy Day

Went out this morning and found Columbian with three lambs - an ewe and two rams. All had plump tummies, so were fine.

I also noticed that Latte did not go eat, and she is always first in line, so I was not surprised to hear her laboring at noon. Had to help her with the first baby and after an hour, I could tell that she still had babies, but nothing was happening, so I reached in and found a baby with the head in the wrong direction. Pulled it out and reached back in to pull out another. All three kids are does and doing very well. I had a customer that had worked with sheep as a child, so I pressed her into labor - she held Latte's head, while I pulled babies.

As the three ladies who came to felt got started, I heard another bellow over the speaker. Ran out to find that one of Barbara's babies had had her baby - a really cute black buck. This doe does not have much milk, so I am having to put the baby on her. She is also a first time mom, so no surprise there. She is now standing still for the baby. I plan to give him an extra bottle of milk when I go out before going to bed. He is really big, so definitely not premature.

Pictures will be loaded tomorrow, since I am too tired to wait for them to load.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Absinthe's babies

Yesterday Absinthe surprised me with triplets. Amanda and emily were here raking for fiber, so I let them help me pick their names: Dune (buck) and Evening and Primrose two does). All really cute. She did not bond well with them till this afternoon, when Precious (who was in labor) tried to steal one. Now she knows she has three and does a count every so often.
The babies do not all hang out with each other or with their mother. This is the first time I caught them all in one place. Since Absinthe is more attentive, I will probably be able to get more cool photos.

I had to pull Precious' kids out this afternoon. I hate doing that. The first one as butt first and had already died. I did manage to get the second one out. She looked dead, but I opened her mouth and put my finger down her throat and she coughed and came alive. She is up and drinking and Mom is happy with afterbirth out. I have named her Desert Willow.

Between all of the above and allergy season here with a breeze, I am exhausted. Still have to go out and check moms again. Ii plan to go to bed and then get up and go check in the middle of the night. I mostly worry about first time moms. They don't get it!