Small farms: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Apr 27, 2024

Happy Saturday friends!


This has been a whirlwind of a week with having three new babies on the farm. We had to make a lot of short term changes as Parsley and Rosemary were gaining their legs, baby proofing various areas and creating a smaller pasture within the mom/baby pasture so they were safe. Now they are fully out and zipping around in the mom pasture with their mother Dancer. It's a daily shuffle figuring out what experiences I want them to have and if they are old enough yet to even have them! They have hit their jumping bean phase, a few days later than most baby goats I've had but lord are they cute, leaping about! It's so funny to sit with one of them in your lap, having them just relaxing and being quiet, when all of a sudden it's like they've had a jolt of electricity run through them and their little body just jumps! They are beautiful and precious:

Dancer is such a good mom, always alert to danger:

In less than a week Parsley and Rosemary were able to jump nearly two feet up to get into this little storage stall in the girl goat barn!

They won't be introduced to the herd until I know they are fast enough to get away and under something like the milking stand and sturdy enough to take a hit. It's horrible to see the adult girls teach them the ways of herd dynamics. It sucks.

One day this past weekend, we had put the three babies in the birthing pen and left Dancer out with the other girls. When I came out to take Sage back in and put Dancer in with Parsley and Rosemary, I found Rosemary OUT OF THE PEN and in this corner! I about had a heart attack! She had shimmied out of the birthing pen under the gate. So that was the next baby proofing I did lol. She was fine by the way!


And while all this beauty was going on, little Sage was getting worse, not better. She was drinking and sleeping like a champ but her wobbliness was still there. At about day three she lost eyesight in one eye but was still spending some time with her sisters every day and exploring around the house when she was inside (you can see how her blue eyes went cloudy):

A couple days later she was completely blind in both eyes. When she would wake up she was unable to tell which way was up and would thrash around so we would help her stand and gently hold her until she was able to feel secure. I took to carrying her in one of those baby wraps (the kind I used to carry ManChild around in when he first came home from Ethiopia at seven months old.)

And even started doing chores with her like that since she wasn't comfortable being with her sisters anymore:

And keeping her close and warm while I was working at my desk:

B-Rad and I were so tired from the worry and the constant care. She was being fed every 2-3 hours for the first half of the week and then 3-4 hours for the second half of the week. ManChild and B-Rad were able to separate themselves emotionally from her, knowing that she might not make it.

I was not able to distance myself—she and I bonded hard:

But by Thursday, when the babies were a week old, I was at the NC State University vet hospital having a workup done on Sage. Being totally blind made her not want to walk anymore and while I could coax her a few steps, she just wasn't doing well. They found her temp was the high side of normal, her respirations were higher than normal and her heartbeat was double normal: 240 instead of 120. Their thoughts/best guess about the thrashing around, without an MRI, was that she probably had cerebellar hypoplasia. That's a condition where the part of her brain that deals with coordination isn't fully developed. She looked exactly like this cat when she was getting ready to eat or just waking up from a nap. They did some testing with her eyes and found no bacterial reason for the blindness and surmised it was just something she'd have, no way to fix it. Also, no way to fix the cerebellar hypoplasia either. She could live with both but never in with other goats. A rescue suggested that we make a pen next to the girl goat pen so she could live alone but close by her goat family. That didn't seem like quality of life to me. She could live in the house but with two dogs that already didn't get along and needing to be separated during the day, that wasn't a viable option either. The Polar Bear was ok with her but I Love Lucy was not being very loving and instead seemed to think I brought her a live squeaky toy. Every time Sage would make her sweet baby sounds, Lucy's eyes would dilate and her whole body would quiver on high alert for a snack. Gulp. That was disturbing.

And so, I made the hardest and worst decision I've ever had to make. I've helped so many animals cross the rainbow bridge but never a baby. If I had just not had any dogs, I would have taken on the challenge of helping her live her best life. We would have worked it out together. She was such a sweet being. She loved being snuggled up in my arms. She was happy as a clam in her wrap. When I touched her, her little tail would wag. I'm just sad. She's buried here on the farm. She has a huge heart rock on top of her grave and I will plant some flowers there too. She was only a week old and she was so loved.

I have some clips that I will put together in a little movie soon I hope. In the meantime, if you're interested, you can see the triplet's births here.


And as it does in everyone's lives, life here on the farm went on. Earlier in the week I found a new vet that does both equines and goats and I set up an appointment for Friday thinking they could check out Sage too. I wasn't ready to deal with anything else Friday after losing my sweet baby Thursday but I suppose it was a good distraction from my emotions.

I really like this vet, she explains everything she's doing and let us stick our hands in our horses and donkeys mouths to feel around as she was doing dentals on them:

Equines lower jaws are narrower than their upper jaws and so they can end up wearing some sharp points into their teeth that can rub the insides of their cheeks and cause pain. She uses this tool that grinds those points down. It's pretty cool, you can touch the tool with your finger and it doesn't hurt so it doesn't hurt the horse's mouth.

Wynter is so big that she had to go way up there to check his back teeth:

THE UGLY--ewwwwww:

By the way, the horses were sedated for this! Once this was done, she cleaned the boys sheaths. Bleh. Look it up if you want to know more. It's pretty gross, even for me who is used to gross.


There was a stair demon in my first Colorado house and I couldn't get up those basement stairs fast enough! However, I never thought this was what it was going to do lol:

Let's talk about the Women's Group I'm starting SOON! For those of you who are thinking about it, would you answer these questions for me:

1. What interests you most: 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks?
2. Are you only interested in an in-person group, an online group, or either?
3. If in-person, would you prefer daytime or evening hours?
4. If online, would you prefer daytime or evening hours?
5. What is your biggest fear for attending a weekly group?
a) fear of strangers/talking about your life to strangers?
b) fear of art/perfectionism/newbie?
c) fear of committing to how many weeks the group is held?
d) fear of being out at night?
e) I'm a little nervous about new things but I've been following you for awhile and I can't wait!

Just reply to this email to tell me you are interested and/or to answer questions! THANK YOU


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