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winter

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Goats: 2014 Naming Convention

An FYI before you read: there is a graphic description of a health issue we are experiencing with one of our does. No pictures, just a description.

Well, here we are the end of February and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the goat kids. These girls are heavy with kids. Really heavy. They are mad that the weather is bad and have been making a break for greenery when the snow clears enough to see the ground. We have started doing midnight checks on them to make sure we don't miss a kid that may get cold in this weather.

While we believe in a generally hands off method of livestock rearing, we have seen a complication arise in our sweet Wild Flower that may require us to be present during her birth. She is showing signs of vaginal prolapse, meaning the lining of her vaginal walls are being pushed out by the kids getting ready to be delivered. This is not uncommon, but it is a potential for infection if not kept clean. The prolapse is not complete, meaning it comes and goes depending on what Wild Flower is doing. If she is standing on all fours or lying down, she's fine. If she is standing on just her back legs (like she standing up reaching for hay or forage: see below) the partial prolapse appears. So for now, we are doing what we can to keep her on all fours and stay calm during these last days of pregnancy. 

Photo taken February 17, 2014. These girls are getting big, but not ready for kidding just yet. 

Photo taken February 17, 2014. These girls are getting big, but not ready for kidding just yet. 

While we wait, I am trying to pick out some names for these impending goat kiddos. I have read a little bit about naming conventions for goats and would love some input on name ideas. Some breeders name kids using the first letter of the dam (mother) or sire (father). Wild Flower (dam) on the left, Deirdre (dam) on the right and Fergus (sire, see below). I would like to keep the wild flower theme for Wild Flower's kids. I've thought of Clover or Tansy, but they do not use the first letter of dam or sire. It needs to be something the is no more than two syllables, something easy to holler across the pasture. Any ideas? Post a comment below and let me know your suggestions!

Our herdsire Fluirse Feirm Fergus. What a sweet, sweet boy. Fergus likes long walks, sweet treats, and scratches behind the ear. 

Our herdsire Fluirse Feirm Fergus. What a sweet, sweet boy. Fergus likes long walks, sweet treats, and scratches behind the ear. 

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Winter Weather

We are at the tail end of some extreme temperature lows for the northern intermountain west where we live. Five days of below freezing high temps, and single digit low temps at night are both a blessing and a curse on our farm. The rabbit waters freeze within minutes of putting out, the chickens molt, and the row cover freezes to the ground which means no more greens for us until it thaws.

On the bright side, we anticipate these low, low temps to kill off some of the pests we have and in the last few years have had larger and larger populations of. Specifically the Green Soldier Bug or green stink bug (Chinavia hilare) which is a sucking insect that has some pretty detrimental effects on the cosmetic value of tomatoes, peas, beans and other more succulent crops. If populations are high, a significant portion of the crop can be affected. We estimate that nearly 30% of our tomato crop was damaged enough that we wouldn't sell the tomatoes. So as with lemons and lemonade, we made tomatoes into salsa. 

Hannah is helping too.

This winter weather is giving us a chance to sit down and start planning for 2014. The seeds catalogs begin to roll in this time of year, so its easy to start dreaming. One of the important things that we do is to replay the year in our heads and talk about what felt good or what needs changing. We do this causally over coffee or while driving to/from family visits. Its easy to sit down with a notebook of details from the season, look at harvest records, seeding charts and organize thoughts based on that. But its also good to pick out what our feeling were over the season and make changes based on fact and feeling. 

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