The morning glow was so
beautiful Thursday that I had to pause in my chores to rush and get the
camera. I was glad I did since the light was fleeting and rain had
returned an hour later.
I'm thrilled with my spring cabbage and broccoli this year. Starting the seedlings inside with heating pads and lights
got them out in the soil extra early (under row covers). The result is
big beautiful plants before the cabbageworms have even been spotted.
These broccoli will likely start heading up any week now.
(In case you're curious, the bucket brigade in the background is providing frost protection for our tender tomatoes.)
We built a 2x4 grape arbor today to help elevate our vines to avoid any blight.
Mark has a very gentle
touch that makes him the right choice for protecting tender spring
growth from late freezes. He wrapped both young grapevines in front of
our trailer in preparation for the cold spell, covering up all of the
stems that have flower buds attached. Fingers crossed the plants inside
those bundles will make it through Blackberry Winter unscathed.
Lots of little fixes and improvements here and there over the past couple days.
The main thing was fixing several bugs with adjusted branches and Windows. They seem to work now, and commits made on the adjusted branch are propigated back to master correctly.
It would be good to finish up the last todos for v6 mode this month.
The sticking point is I need a way to update the file stat in the git index
when git-annex gets/drops/etc an unlocked file. I have not decided yet if
it makes the most sense to add a dependency on libgit2 for that, or extend
git update-index, or even write a pure haskell library to manipulate
index files. Each has its pluses and its minuses.
Aurora has bounced back from her disbudding thanks to some TLC from Artemesia.
Look who's awake! Corn, beans, and cucumbers are up and running a little early this year.
...Just in time for blackberry winter to come calling. Will a 43-degree forecast turn into a light freeze that nips all and sundry? I'd like to say no, but we'll still spend the day covering everything up anyway.
This is the time of year
when the weeds sometimes begin to feel overwhelming. It suddenly began
to rain at the same time I started turning my energy to summer
planting...and the result was an explosion of green in all the wrong
The photo above shows
normal weeding pressure around here. I set out these onions five weeks
ago, and they could definitely use a weed and mulch. But they'll be okay
for another week or two until I get around to them. (Fertility source:
This carrot bed, on the
other hand, is what I think of as a weeding disaster. My homegrown
compost was a little weedier than I would have liked this year, but it
didn't cause much trouble elsewhere. Amid the slow-growing carrots,
though, the weeds are terrible.
Some people would just give up on the crop, but I'll relentlessly handweed for a few hours until it's back into shape. After all, there's no way to go back in time and replant the spring carrots if I throw in the towel now. Still, next year I'll try to be smarter and plant my carrots in completely weed-free ground. Maybe Fortier's occultation would be a good trick to try for these very slow-growers.
At this point, I'm not particularly suprised when a program turns out to utterly fail at SSL cert validation. Because that seems to be how SSL libraries are designed to be misused. OTOH, this is a program I've entrusted with a few thousand dollars in the past. If I own bitcoin again, I'll have to think twice about using Electrum.
Sometimes, I think I get
more of a kick out of anticipating coming attractions than I do out of
eating the actual fruits. Then I remember the glories of strawberry
season, sitting in the grassy aisles and gorging on drip-down-your-chin
juices. Nope --- consuming the real fruit is even better than eating the
developing berries with my eyes.
But this is eye-candy season only, so I thought I'd share the joy. In addition to the baby apples I posted about last week, there are scads of berries beginning to bulk up on the vine. Our dependable gooseberries
and northern highbush blueberries chug along with no help from me, and
the equally dependable raspberries are getting ready to bloom.
And, even though it's not really a fruit (unless you want to put cucumbers and butternut squash in that category), our first tomato is blooming too. So many joys ahead in this gardening season!
We've hit a dead end on our quest to buy
The nice guy at the Japanese factory stopped returning our emails.
We might need to plan a trip to Japan to make it happen?
I'm starting to realize
that kidding season is similar to strawberry season --- our impassable
floodplain suddenly doesn't seem so difficult for visitors. Which is
great since I hate to leave the farm and love seeing family and friends.
Thanks for coming, Joey and Mom!
The more Anna uses the Harvest
Sickle the more she likes
It's the perfect tool for cutting handfulls of rye to take to your goat.
Wear a glove because it's extremely sharp!
This year, I'm using all of the experiments that I summed up in Small-Scale No-Till Gardening Basics
to streamline our vegetable garden without ditching the biological
imperative to keep the soil happy. To that end, I'm applying wet
newspapers beneath straw wherever possible, which means all I have to do
is weed the small area right around the base of each plant rather than the whole bed before mulching.
While the method doesn't save any time in the short term, it does seem to reduce my need to weed dramatically over the course of the year. That said, if you live in a windy region and have relatively high raised beds, I'm not sure I'd recommend the trick. Last month's newspaper mulches blew all over the yard during what turned out to be the windiest month our farm has had in a decade. Hopefully the current lull will extend for long enough to let the paper meld to the soil below and the straw above, preventing my hard work from blowing away.
The kids were jumping from
the milking stand into our
mineral feeders using them like a sand box.
Crossing my fingers that moving them to another wall will put a stop to it.
A week after the birth of her first kids, Artemesia has already given us nearly half a gallon of milk. Yes, I know you usually don't milk a goat so soon and the milk does
have a slightly bitter colostrum taste to it. But it was necessary, as
you can see by peering at our doe's udder in the photo above. Artemesia
is so productive that the kids are keeping fed by drinking nearly
entirely from her right teat, so it's up to me to keep the left half of
her udder drained every night.
I would worry that the
kids aren't getting enough to eat, but their bellies are often full and
their energy levels are always high. Well, until they suddenly decide
it's time to nap, at which point the buckling settles down in my lap for
an extended petting session while Aurora snuggles up against her
Artemesia is a joy to
milk compared to Abigail. Her huge teats allow me to use two fingers
instead of just one, and the milk squirts out about five times faster
than it did from our other goat.
Lest you think Artie is invincible, though, I feel obliged to mention that she had a fit during her first two milking sessions. Despite all of my pre-milking training, when it came time for the rubber to hit the road our doe fought the headlock, stamped her feet, and tried to sit down to hide her teats.
Then, two days later, it
was as if a switch flicked on. Or perhaps the change occurred because
the kids were getting old enough to jump on the milking stand and hang
out? Whatever the reason, the milk started to flow fast and furious and I
haven't had any trouble since.
(Well, yes, it is a constant necessity to watch out for flying goats. But such is life on our farm.)
git-annex 6.20160419 has a rare security fix. A bug made encrypted special remotes that are configured to use chunks accidentially expose the checksums of content that is uploaded to the remote. Such information is supposed to be hidden from the remote's view by the encryption. The same bug also made resuming interrupted uploads to such remotes start over from the beginning.
After releasing that, I've been occupied today with fixing the Android autobuilder, which somehow got its build environment broken (unsure how), and fixing some other dependency issues.
cabal update Downloading the latest package list from hackage.haskell.org cabal: does not exist
I'm trying really, really
hard not to get my hopes up about non-berry fruit this year...and
failing miserably. The deal is --- we still have 2.5 weeks until our
frost-free date, so anything could happen.
That said --- look! Baby apples! This is the moment of truth, when old flowers drop off the trees if they were damaged or went unpollinated. And, yes, the earliest blooming variety lost all of its flowers and even the later bloomers lost up to three quarters of their potential fruit due to a 21-degree night in early April.
Luckily, trees make many more blooms than they could ever turn into apples. So, barring a late, hard freeze, this might be a good fruit year after all.
Our apple flowers seem to
pretty reliably turn into fruits if they're not nipped, but I'm having
to rein in my excitement a bit over our grape vines. The seedless
varieties we like to eat are very sensitive to fungal diseases, so I
planted a few vines right up against the sunniest sides of the trailer
a few years ago in hopes of creating a dry microclimate they can enjoy.
This is the first year I've seen bloom buds on those trailer-side
vines, so just maybe this year we'll actually get grapes. Fingers
Six months ago I received a small grant from the Shuttleworth Foundation with no strings attached other than I should write this blog post about it. That was a nice surprise.
The main thing that ended up being supported by the grant was work on Propellor, my configuration management system that is configured by writing Haskell code. I made 11 releases of Propellor in the grant period, with some improvements from me, and lots more from other contributors. The biggest feature that I added to Propellor was LetsEncrypt support.
More important than features is making Propellor prevent more classes of mistakes, by creative use of the type system. The biggest improvement in this area was type checking the OSes of Propellor properties, so Propellor can reject host configurations that combine eg, Linux-only and FreeBSD-only properties.
Turns out that the same groundwork needed for that is also what's needed to get Propellor to do type-level port conflict detection. I have a branch underway that does that, although it's not quite done yet.
The grant also funded some of my work on git-annex. My main funding for git-annex doesn't cover development of the git-annex assistant, so the grant filled in that gap, particularly in updating the assistant to support the git-annex v6 repo format.
I've very happy to have received this grant, and with the things it enabled me to work on.
Our early tomato plants are
too big for their britches.
We decided to risk a killing frost and put 6 of them in the ground today.
Are you sick and tired of
hearing about goats? I'm sure I'll stop posting cute kid photos
eventually. But in the meantime, here's a shot from elsewhere in the
homestead to round things out.
In the garden/kitchen, we're eating asparagus almost every day, we got a small flush of shiitakes after the recent rain, and we're gorging on lettuce. We're also starting to mow and weed like crazy as we prepare for the biggest planting push of the year around our frost-free date.
In other words --- business as usual at this beautiful transition season midway between spring and summer!
The problem with taking three posts to tell you about Friday is that I now have three days worth of goat excitement to share with you in one post. Let's see if I can be succinct....
Reader question 1: Do the kids look like you thought they would?
The buckling (left) looks almost identical to his father and just like I
expected. He does have a tiny bit of white frosting on his ears and
maybe a couple of moon spots --- it's hard to tell because he's already
so pale. The doeling (top) is a bit paler and has a hint of a dark line
down the middle of her back.
Reader questions 2 and 3: What are you going to name them? Are you going to eat the buckling? The girl got the name Aurora when she was in the womb and it stuck. The boy might be dinner...or the farmer who sells us our straw might want the buckling to replace his current herd sire. Until we know for sure about the little boy's future, we're keeping him nameless.
Now moving on to my own observations....
Artemesia is the world's most protective goat mother, and she actually takes it almost too far. Even though Lucy is extremely sweet, Artie is afraid to let the kids get close to our canine companion. Instead, she stashes the twins in a hidden spot like the one shown here (or, previously, on the milking stand) before she goes out to graze. I'm slowly working on making Artemesia feel more able to bring the little ones with her so she'll eat more non-hay.
the meantime, I'm stuck bringing the fresh portion of dinner to her. To
that end, I'm spoiling Artemesia with her very favorite types of tree
branches, which I attach to the side of an IBC tank for easy leaf
picking, and with armloads of freshly cut rye stems. On that diet, she
seems to be bouncing back from her pregnancy very fast.
Now for a pop quiz --- can you tell who's in the picture on the left? And which is the doeling in the photo at the top of this post?
We attached some panel pieces to close in a gap to finish the new goat pasture.
I'm on a long weekend. This did not prevent git-annex from getting an impressive lot of features though, as Daniel Dent contributed https://github.com/DanielDent/git-annex-remote-rclone which uses rclone to add support for a ton of additional cloud storage things, including:
Google Drive, Openstack Swift, Rackspace cloud files, Memset Memstore, Dropbox, Google Cloud Storage, Amazon Cloud Drive, Microsoft One Drive, Hubic, Backblaze B2, Yandex Disk
Wow! I hope that rclone will end up packaged in more distributions (eg Debian) so this will be easier to set up.
git-annex just got support for storing content in Amazon Cloud Drive, Backblaze B2, DropBox, Openstack Swift, Microsoft One Drive, Yandex Disk. Without my lifting a single finger. https://github.com/DanielDent/git-annex-remote-rclone
If you've been following along, you'll recall that I began Friday morning checking on my very pregnant goat before dawn. A second check at 8 am and a third check at 10 am showed her much the same. But after hiving a swarm of bees, the 11:30 am check presented a very different picture:
Some goats may lie like
this normally. But, to me, the visual was an obvious sign of labor.
Artemesia had made a little nest in the new hay I'd laid down the night
before, and her hind legs were stretched out rather than tucked
underneath. Then, as I watched, she experienced a minor contraction. The
time had come at last.
I rushed back to the trailer and grabbed the bare minimum birthing kit
--- two old towels, a watch, a notebook, and a bite of lunch for me. I'd
offered Artemesia a portion of Nutri-Drench
that morning mixed with molasses and oats just to be on the safe side
and she'd only eaten half of it, so I knew I had some emergency
sustenance on hand for the mother-to-be.
When I returned to the goat barn, it felt like Artemesia had been waiting for me. Her contractions came closer and closer together as she began to push out what looked like a scary big, dark thing...but which was actually a liquid-filled membrane.
The beginning part of her
labor was a bit slow, giving me plenty of time to second-guess
everything up to and including getting my favorite goat knocked up in
the first place. But she didn't appear to be in pain (although she was
Then, right at noon, Artemesia began pushing in earnest. She cried a couple of times...and out popped kid number one. I didn't know at the time, but this was a baby girl.
I only had time to pull
the doeling's nose out of the sac of liquid (which hadn't entirely
burst) before Artemesia was licking her...and pushing out kid number two
(a boy) at the same time.
proved to be the world's best mother immediately. She licked and licked
and licked at those kids, not even taking the time to stand up and get
the placenta the rest of the way out for quite a while. (It had mostly
passed and clung to her butt for about an hour anyway, so I guess there
was no hurry.)
I helped her out by drying the kid she wasn't currently working on, then swapping them around so each got a bit of towel action and a bit of motherly TLC. That's when I took the time to peer at the kids' privates and discover that the first kid --- a little paler in color with a subtle dark streak down the middle of her back --- was a girl. The redder kid who turned out to be a bit more adventurous was a boy. Maybe you can tell that the boy is the one in my lap in the photo above while the girl is shown to the left?
Finally, Artemesia decided she could lick just as well standing up as lying down, and I began pushing kids toward her teats. Unlike Abigail,
Artemesia wasn't averse to the idea of having her teats tugged on, but
she was so intent on licking that she didn't give the kids much
opportunity to drink. The youngsters also had a little trouble figuring
out how to push those tremendous teats into their tiny mouths.
But after a short while, I'd seen milk go down both kids' gullets. I breathed a big sigh of relief --- my job was pretty much done.
Actually, I planned to go
home and rest for a while. I'd woken at 5:30 a.m. worried about my herd
and now I felt like I'd been through the wringer even though Artemesia
was the one who did all the work. Plus, my hands were covered with goop
and I wanted to bring the new mother some molasses water to round out
the Nutri-Drench, alfalfa pellets, and hay she'd immediately started
glomming down once the kids were licked dry.
But my darling doe didn't want me to go. She'd barely made a peep during the entire birth episode, but as soon as I headed to the door she began to cry. "Don't leave me!" (Yes, her sentence was entirely understandable even if she didn't use words.)
I plugged my ears and left anyway, though, and Artemesia figured it was worth it when I returned five minutes later with that after-birth pick-me-up. And, speaking of after-birth, the placenta had fallen away from her rear end while I was gone, allowing me to scoop it out to Lucy...who'd been waiting patiently in the wings the entire time.
I sat with our new family
for about another hour while everyone slowly got to know each other and
then finally succumbed to exhaustion.
And once the cuddle pile
was fully formed, Artemesia let me leave without crying. She and her
twins were ready for a good long nap.
Baby goats' first day out in the big world was brief due to a nervous Artemesia.
I'll bet you thought today's post was going to be about goats, didn't you? After checking on Artemesia Friday morning
and finding the kidding signs ominous but not necessarily imminent, I
decided to fill my day with small chores that could be easily
interrupted by trips to the goat barn. "Maybe I'll start by pruning that
grape vine I've been putting off since March," I said to myself.
Heading over to the vine with clippers in hand, I was surprised to notice bees hanging out on the outside of one of our hives. If it had been a hot afternoon, that could have been cooling behavior. But the morning was chilly and drizzly. Uh oh --- looked like in all of my goat obsession recently, I'd allowed the hive to swarm.
But this time, the swarm was neither gone nor on a branch fifty feet above my head. Instead, they'd settled on the U-post onto which Mark had attached a trellis wire to train the young grape --- yes, the precise plant I'd come out to prune.
Mark was in town filming a
student project, so I called my beekeeping mentor instead. Frankie's
primary role in this project was calming me down --- I was pretty
jittery between my pre-dawn goat-barn visit and thinking through trying
to catch a swarm on my lonesome. But my mentor also gave me good advice
--- don't forget to put a sheet underneath the new hive (I used row
cover fabric) and shake the post rather than trying to brush the bees
into the hive.
Thump, thump! The mass of bees fell (mostly) into the deep Langstroth box exactly as planned. But when I looked more closely, I realized the ones outside weren't crawling in the way they should have if the queen was inside the box. And when I braved the honeysuckle to look at the indented side of the U-post, I saw that a considerable amount of the cluster was still hidden in that cavity.
So I thumped again, gnawed on my fingernails, called my beekeeping mentor...and was ecstatic when a trip to the hive half an hour later found the box humming with life and nearly every bee inside. (Yes, I'd inserted the frames and put on the lid earlier.) Success!
Or so I thought. After watching Artemesia deliver two healthy kids (more on that in tomorrow's post) and spending a few hours cleaning the twins up and making sure they could nurse, I went back to check on the bees. The box was empty, my swarm fled. Yet again, I'd lost our hive's propagule to the wilds.
What would I do
differently next time? First, I would have listened to my beekeeping
mentor and my gut and checked out that hive earlier in the week. But all
I could think about was goats and gardens, so the bees once again ended
up on the back burner.
Second, once I saw that the new hive contained most of my swarm, I think I might have blocked off the entrance for a day. Surely that would have helped them decide the box was home.
Third, if it hadn't been raining, it might have helpted to take a comb of brood out of the mother hive and insert it into the swarm box. After all, they say bees won't leave brood.
All of that said, two bouncing goatlings are quite a consolation prize. And one of these days, I'll catch...and keep...a swarm.
Artemesia likes to have her kids on the milking stand for easy protection.
For me it's less pictures and more abstract things. I can picture my mom's face right now, but it's about things like the quality of her gaze, tilt of her head and not an exact shape or image. When I imagine a beach I remember vividly the salt air, the warm sand, the waves rumble, the horizon all around, but it's not any kind of photorealistic picture. A sufer is a vague shape, maybe a human outline, plus movement vectors for the surfer and the waves.
I also have dreams that include complete source code to programs that I can edit in my dreams (and often works if I type it in, unless the programming language was also dreamed up). And I can visualize entire routes on well known roads and trails (hours and hours of them), but it's all about the turns, the rises and falls, the outlines of the view at any point along the way, the feeling of a place, but never any images.
Never any colors, come to think of it. Triangle? Sure, and I can rotate tetris peices in my head and slot them into place. But red triangle? No, it's just 3 angles with lines.
How It Feels To Be Blind In Your Mind Fascinating.
Do you see images in your mind's eye, or only abstract things? Colors? Or nothing?
Played M.U.L.E. for the first time last night. Would have so loved this in 1983. Better late than never.
Monte's mom called up Wednesday to remind me that Artemesia could start popping out kids any day now. I was already a ball of nerves, but had to be impressed by the personalized attention. Clearly Artie's boyfriend comes from good stock.
Since then, I've been waking up way too early to check our first freshener's butt by flashlight, but Artemesia is taking her late pregnancy in stride. Well, except for begging for me to scratch her neck for a pretty much indefinite amount of time every day.
Between the yawning and the stretching and the mucous plug slowly oozing, signs of birth are imminent. But after reading that average goat gestation period is shortest for multiples, in the middle for male kids, and longest for females, I'm rooting for Artemesia to hold out a little longer. I still have my fingers crossed for a girl.
So I watch her tail positioning and the color of her mucous, but try to keep patient. It has to be soon, though. Our poor doe's udder is so humongous she can barely waddle and her teats are already about twice as big as Abigail's were at their peak. My hands are definitely breathing a sigh of relief. (What, your hands can't breathe?)
... And contains nearly as many lurking nasty things.
Something that has come up repeatedly is that
git annex reinject is
too hard to use since you have to tell it which annexed file you're providing
the content for. Now
git-annex reinject --known can be passed a list of
files and it will reinject any that hash to known annexed contents
and ignore the rest. That works best when only one backend is used in a
repository; otherwise it would need to be run repeatedly with different
Turns out that the
GIT_COMMON_DIR feature used by adjusted branches
is only a couple years old, so don't let adjusted branches be used with
a too old git.
git merge is getting a new sanity check that prevents merging
in a branch with a disconnected history.
git annex sync will inherit that
sanity check, but the assistant needs to let such merges happen when eg,
pairing repositories, so more git version checking there.
First a girl, then a boy.
Mother and kids are happy and healthy. Details to come.
From homemade pepper spray to herbal remedies and compost teas, Jill Bong's Medicinal Herb Gardening has it all.
I particularly enjoyed the way Jill focused in on ten high-quality plants rather than trying to include every potential medicinal species known to man. I often get lost in guides to edible and medicinal species because I don't know which ones are worth trying and which ones are just maybe worthy of using in a survival situation. Jill cuts through the vast array of information to focus on a double handful of plants --- cayenne peppers, comfrey, elderberry, garlic, marshmallow, peppermint, red raspberry, sage, stinging nettle, and yarrow --- that will definitely make the cut.
Then she expands out to growing, harvesting, and preparing those plants to keep your own medicinal pantry alive throughout the year. Perfect for prepper, homesteader, and interested layman alike, Jill's offering one free paperback copy to a lucky reader. Just comment below with your favorite medicinal herb then enter using the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
I thought those of you
making a tree-planting decision might get a kick out of this visual of
two apple trees of the same variety planted on the same day and starting
at the same maturity level.
On the left, we have a dwarf tree (Bud 9 rootstock). The dwarf is shorter than Mark but is absolutely coated with flowers. On the downside, nearly half of the nearby dwarf trees perished during their first two years of life --- they are much less hardy while getting established despite my careful weeding and mulching of the high-density row.
On the right, we have a semi-dwarf tree (MM111 rootstock) that has been trained in the same manner as the dwarf. The semidwarf is so tall I've already started it on a size-restriction campaign (cutting off the central leader). In terms of fruiting, this second tree created its first small flower cluster this year, which you may or may not be able to see in the upper left corner of the photo.
In case you're curious about whether all of these beautiful blooms are going to turn into fruit, I'd originally thought that our recent hard freeze did them in. But a few of the later-opening flowers appear unnipped (based on the color at the center of the bloom), so I'm keeping my fingers crossed but trying not to get my hopes up. I'd love to be able to show you a photo of the dwarf trees dripping with fruit in a few more months!
The past three days have felt kind of low activity days, but somehow a lot of stuff still got done, both bug fixes and small features, and I am feeling pretty well caught up with backlog for the first time in over a month. Although as always there is some left, 110 messages.
On Monday I fixed a bug that could cause a hang when dropping content, if git-annex had to verify the content was present on a ssh remote. That bug was bad enough to make an immediate release for, even though it was only a week since the last release.
We got our latest goat gate
at Tractor Supply for 90 dollars.
Installation was smooth once we got our hinge holes drilled straight and true.
I think the increased longevity will be worth the extra money.
I've watched neighbors mow for the last two weeks, but didn't particularly think our "lawn" needed to be cut until now. But there's nothing like a
preparatory pass of the lawn mower through the aisles to make cleaning
up a garden area seem much more feasible.
Actually, I left the grass to continue growing on both ends of the mule garden so I could tether the goats there for company while I weed. Good thing no one except you can see how I cherish our weeds rather than cutting them down.
Before kicking Abigail out of the goat shed,
Mark took a couple of minutes to cobble together a basic, temporary
shelter for her. It's been awfully dry lately, so I think between the tarp and the IBC tank our doe will be fine for the next week.
I was actually more worried about how the ultra-social Artemesia would respond to being neighbors instead of roommates with Abigail. To my surprise our first freshener's reaction consisted of chewing her cud and taking advantage of the peace and quiet to sleep in the next morning. Maybe Mark's gut reaction to separate them weeks ago would have been the right decision after all.
Cutting this tree adds some
of the finishing touches to our new goat pasture.
The goal is to have a fresh new pasture for the upcoming kid delivery.
Mark detests bullies. As a
result, he was fully willing to take Abigail to the butcher --- or at
least to separate her into a different pasture --- weeks ago. But
Artemesia seemed to like being close to her herd mate, so I left the
This weekend, though, something shifted in Artemesia's behavior. Depending on whether she takes after her father or her mother, she's due Thursday or a week from Tuesday. And with kidding so imminent, our first freshener suddenly stopped wanting to go back in the coop with Abigail after grazing and feeding times. Instead, she kept trying to walk down one of the fallow pastures toward the trailer as if maybe it would be okay to move in with me instead.
Unfortunately, Mark's not
quite soft enough for that to fly. But since Artemesia appears to
finally be sick of her bullying herd queen, we separated Abigail from
If Artemesia continues to prefer solitary confinement to life around a bully, we may even see if we can step up our butcher appointment to this week instead of next. In the meantime, we'll continue to coddle Artemesia as much as possible while we wait for her kid(s) to arrive.
Today's the day our batch
of Australorps gets their first chance to roam outside.
We leave the door open in the morning and it usually takes a day or two for one of them to work up enough courage to see what's beyond their comfort zone.
Of course it's very important to remember to lock them back in at night.
A huge thank-you to reader (Another) Julie who suggested turning one of my own favorite treats into a delivery method for our goat's bolus. (Okay, my recipe has cocoa in it and differs a bit in other areas too, but still....)
For the goat version, I mixed peanut butter, molasses, and oats in the right proportions to get a rollable ball. Then I split the bolus contents into three of these "cookies," keeping the balls small enough to be goat-swallowable but big enough to completely engulf the copper rods.
Artemesia gladly scarfed down the first one, willingly ate the second after clearing her throat with some alfalfa pellets, and will hopefully eat the last one today. Based on this website's goat x-rays, it sounds like the in-food feeding of copper rods should be just as effective as the scary bolus-gun method. Fingers crossed this will help nip our parasite problem in the bud!
Every place I've posted in the past 2 days is within 1.5 hours of my hometown. And every one, I've never been to before. Whole lotta hidden amazing stuff in these hills.
Celebrated my 40th biking the Virginia Creeper Trail with sibs. 17 miles downhill; ~30 trestles, hours and hours of beauty.
List of feeds:
- Anna: last checked (25 posts)
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