Monday, April 30, 2012


The Mini-Barn that we ordered was delivered last week. I found the trailer that they used to deliver and unload it to be quite ingenious. It sure saved the builders a lot of time.
The sheep and goats have all checked it out now, but the angora goats are going back into the main barn to sleep at night. We are going to have a fence installed around the barn, so we can leave doors open. Up until this past weekend, I have been running out to herd the animals in when it rained. It does that frequently here, so the fence is going to save me a lot of time. The blue panels are working for now, but it will not be long before the alpacas realize that they can jump the fence.
This is a project that I started a week ago. It is going to be a freeform slouch hat. It is going quickly, because I am motivated by the need to have something to wear that a little nicer than the red Santa style hat that I gave my son years ago. It is bright and I can be seen from anywhere on the property.
 A close up of the hat. I plan to use the matching elastic yarn to gather the edge and make it sturdy enough to hang properly. Pixie (one of our cats) bit the elastic yarn - so I can't sell it.

The two yarns above are going to be listed on my etsy shop. The top one has knots in it that can be shoved to give the appearance of a bullion. I used this style of yarn and a single to make the freeform hat. The elastic yarn below is core spun and the colors match the knotted yarn. The two will make a lovely hat. I have stretched the elastic yarn so you can see what it will look like knitted up - just like any other yarn!

Saturday, April 21, 2012


The photo of the geese is dedicated to my son, Kyle. He said we should get geese for the pond. A few mornings ago, Marc came in to tell me that geese were in the pond. I went out to look and found 4 geese. These two have remained. They were mating and have created a nest in the pond area. We don't know whether they are migrating or native to the area.

Yesterday morning I woke up to fog. It had rained the day before and we ended up moving all of the angora goats back into the barn. The kids were soaked and had to all be towel dried. None got sick, which is a blessing since I have been bottle feeding two and will probably have to bottle feed the buck born yesterday. He pushes against his mom's teat, but will not suck.

The white buck that Marc is feeding is named Orphan. He has a mom, just no interest in her. You can just barely see Flower, a black angora doe, wrapped around Marc's ankle. They both had pneumonia and are doing well. Flower is the sweetest.

This has been a year for bucks: two white does, one black doe, and 5 red does. The Shetlands have given me two ewe and the rest rams. I have three more Shetlands to deliver and two Merinos. The goats are done, thank God! The last to deliver were first time moms and had to be sheared before the kids could find the teats. I sheared the last three immediately and still have yesterday's buck that will not suck.

Here you can see the variation in shades of the red angora kids. This photo was taken right before letting the goats back out.

All of the rain has meant that the grass is starting to grow. Marc and I are already plotting which area we can fence in next, so we have less to mow. We do have grass eaters, after all! We are thinking of a fence around the front of the barn, so the animals can roam and get back in the barn when it rains.

The goats were not eager to leave the barn - but they finally got the message that the pasture was waiting.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


The alpacas and Merinos were fascinated by the machinery that the fence guys brought into the pasture. Thanksgiving is always looking for a handout and was not shy about approaching these guys. This pasture is half fenced and will be finished tomorrow. I threw the does who lost their kids out into the blue panel area outside to give more room in the pens. They will go in the pasture in the morning.

The kid in yesterday's post did not make it, but I did figure out what was causing my problems. It has gotten cooler and the barn feels wet and damp. Usually the moms clean the kids' nostrils out enough that they would dry out on their own. These babies are raspy, so their lungs are filling up with fluid. I lost 4 this way. Today I managed to catch the little black doe below and another white doe in time. The white doe is huge, so I left her with her mom and she is fine. Flower, the black doe, is going to stay inside and become a bottle baby. She weighs exactly 3 pounds and is half the size of the rest of the babies. She is now out of the box and has found a dark quiet spot.

Her place in the box has been taken by a white buck born late this afternoon. Talk about a casual teenage mom. She had the baby and walked away to eat. I thought he was dead, but he was just too cold. My neighbor, Harry, came over and helped me get the buck to drink off her. We sheared her udder area and I will milk her for a few days. He is obviously going to be a bottle baby also because she has shown no interest in him at all. In fact we had to catch a few goats to figure out who the mother was.

I am just going to add today to the chapter in my book labeled teenage pregnancy and what can go wrong with birthing. I have several pages of anecdotes already!

And, I cannot wait for that pasture to be fenced! The Great Pyrenees opened the barn door this morning by jumping and bringing the handle down. I heard a bark at the bedroom door at 5:15 a.m. and looked out to see Left and Right eating out of Shep and Herd's storage container on the porch. Fortunately I had bought collars for the Pyrenees. Left destroyed Right's collar within minutes on the day that I bought them, but she still had hers on. I got a lead on her and walked behind her patting her rear (which she did not like) and managed to get her back to the barn. Right is a follower, so he was right behind her.

Talk about a strange start to the day. I am so grateful that they did not head to the street - it is way busier than Thornydale and cars are whizzing by at 10-20 miles above the speed limit. I quit walking Shep and Herd up there to pick up the paper because I thought Herd was going to get sucked under a truck the last time I took her.

Hope those of you in Tucson are enjoying the heat. I could use a few of those degrees!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

It Never Fails

I am never going to be allowed to forget how fragile angora kids are. This baby was one of a set of twins. His brother has already died from pneumonia as a result of the amniotic fluid getting into his lungs. This little guy is going to be a bottle baby, since it cannot suck from its mother. I treated the first one with antibiotics which did nothing and decided to just use the power punch and baby bottle for the this one. He appears to be recuperating, but he does not suck voluntarily. His mother is bellowing in the barn, but she has almost no milk and he could not get it, so I have moved him into the house to keep an eye on him. It is also a lot warmer inside. The wind here has been wicked ever since our household goods were delivered. I am hibernating!

Above and below are two of the five yarns that I listed on etsy today. I have spent almost all of my stash on shelter and fencing, so I have to get back to work! I am dropping the prices on some yarns to compensate for the shipping.

Fences go up tomorrow, so the older babies and moms can go out. The Shetlands are going to be thrilled. Columbian sure has a set of lungs!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Settling in

This is the view from the top of the largest pasture. Huge and gorgeously green!

Our new home is lovely. The exercise room, living room and kitchen are set up. My books have filled two book shelves in my studio and I still have several boxes of books to unpack.

The guys came today and assembled my loom, assembled all of the exercise equipment and took my carders out of the crates. The Elsa carder will require that the electricity to the red barn be restored. Our telephone is now on: 410-795-6070. Call, if you like. I have kept my cell 520-401-6117, but our reception is pitiful. We have bought a cell phone booster, so that problem will be fixed.

I thought I would share photos from the move.

Tor, his friend - Steve, and my son - Kyle ran panels to guide the animals to the truck. The first batch to be loaded were the Shetland sheep. Pearl is the one being shoved up the chute. Sometimes the lambs followed, but more often they had to be picked up and thrown in. The chute to the upper story of the stock trailer was a very efficient way to get the animals on. If they had had to be dragged individually, it would have taken forever. The farm equipment and the animals were loaded within three hours.

You can see the downstairs is layered with hay. The alpacas, Merinos and all of the males rode on this level. I did not catch a photo of Mounds being loaded, but it was funny. Between being so big and having a full fleece, Kyle had to pull her and Tor had to shove from the rear. I was afraid that she would not make it!

The does on the top level kept looking out. I expected them to jump, but none were that stupid.

Brazen just had to take a last taste of Palo Verde before saying goodbye to Arizona.

The process was reversed when they arrived in Maryland. The animals had gotten so used to being in the truck, that they had to be hauled out.

The alpacas and Merinos went straight onto pasture. The Shetlands and angora goats went into the barn since they were still pregnant or had small babies. Net week the pasture fences will receive a 3 foot tall stock fencing along the inside. These fences were designed for horses and would not keep any of the goats or smaller sheep in.

The red barn is my future shop. I usually crop out the solid areas like the green, but felt that it represented what I really wanted - the green stuff!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Animals Here Now, House Stuff Tomorrow

I am using my husband's computer until our satellite is installed on Tuesday. No photos since it will all take too long.

I do have some awesome photos of the animals being loaded. Only one mom delivered on the truck - the last day. She dried it and recognizes it, but did not have enough milk to feed her baby, who will only take a bottle now. 12 more babies have been born in the last 36 hours. Barbara has twin does this evening. They are delivering at the same times that they were delivering in Arizona with a 3 hour time change. Most of the moms do not have enough milk, so I am supplementing several of the babies.

The white angora goat today gave me twin bucks. 70% of all of the babies are now male. Kind of sad, but it will help me keep my herd to a reasonable size until I figure out how many the land can support.

We have already met some lovely neighbors and one is a spinner, which is very exciting.

Things are moving along. I have ordered an Amish barn for the large pasture and the fencing needed to keep the younger goats and babies in. The males, alpacas and merinos are already out on the pasture and the previous owner was lovely and left us some hay, so the feed has not been an issue yet. There are all sorts of small adventures like learning not to drive on grass, not to let the dogs roam too much (the Great Pyrenees found the pound), and that Charcoal and Emerald are more domesticated than we thought - they will not be barn cats!

The barn is nice and warm - the goats generated so much heat that it is like a sauna. Good for the babies so they will not be chilled. It was horribly cold the night before.

This is sounding disjointed, but I have had so many emails, I figured I needed to update - even without photos. Have I mentioned how much fun I am having?