Well, it finally happened! After 147 long days of waiting, Karen finally gave birth to a healthy, beautiful doeling on June 18th! The labor and delivery was textbook, and I couldn't have asked for it to go any better. She was showing signs of passive labor the whole day - her ligaments were gone, her udder was full and tight, and you could tell she was occasionally getting some contractions. She was however, being her typical self and pushing everyone else around, gorging on hay, and showing no signs of slowing down. I kept my eye on her and was popping in and checking on her every hour or so throughout the day without any signs of her progressing.
During my evening chores, when I was doing my feedings and milking Audrey I noticed a long, gloopy string dangling from her backside. This was right about the time that the skies were parting, a torrential downpour started, and lightening and thunder was cracking and shaking the barn. She was losing her plug which meant that it was time for me to hunker down because babies were on the way! She almost instantaneously started showing changes in behavior. She was clearly uncomfortable, bedding down, getting up, pawing at the ground, and occasionally pushing her head against the wall to brace herself during contractions. I didn't know how long it would it would take, but I was mentally and physically prepared to be there for the long haul and sleep in the barn if need be. In between the cracks of lightening and rumbles of thunder, she bedded down for the final time and started to push...
I have a problem...I tend to get a little overzealous and excited, want instant gratification and maaaaaayybe cut corners just so I can get something done. All so I can step back and marvel at my completed project. Sometimes my short cuts come back to bite me in the ass. This happened in the early stages of my Potager. I didn't necessarily do things "wrong". I was just so anxious to get my pea gravel and wood chips laid I didn't go through all the prep work that I could have done to prevent weeds from popping up. Live and learn.
Fact: you may think that several inches of pea gravel and/or wood chips will keep any grass or weeds from popping up, but sadly it does not! I laid my pretty gravel and woodchips, and within a matter of merely a week the grass and weeds crept their way through to say hello. I needed a solution to my problem. An organic way to kill the grass and weeds running rampant through my walkways and along the outside of my beds. Something that could kill some pretty thick and stubborn unwanted greenery, that wasn't Roundup. Once again, vinegar to the rescue!!! This incredibly easy and highly effective solution has completely eradicated anything and everything that I have sprayed it on with only one application. It is amazing, and I can't shut up about how fantastic it works. So please, ditch the Roundup, buy yourself some vinegar, and destroy those unwanted weeds and grass that are plaguing your beautiful garden the organic way. Read on.
Since constructing our Mini Dairy Goat Barn last fall, we have certainly gotten some use out of it! We have added three new does and Karen is due to kid next month. While we got it constructed and set up "good enough" to get us through the winter, we have have taken the past several months to work on the finer details. Because it's mini, I have to maximize every bit of space I can for storage and to allow me to be more efficient...but still have room to move around. I have to walk a fine line between storage and efficiency, and making it over cluttered Since my last post, additional stalls have been built, shelving put up, sliding doors added, and a milk stand constructed.
Aside from some finishing trim work, adding a roof extension/canopy, and running electricity (aside from my ghetto extension cord) down and installing some outlets, I am calling it "done". I've said it before and I'll say it again, you can do a lot in a small space with a well thought out design! I am more than happy with how this has turned out, and the girls seem more than content in their new digs.
I have been milking Audrey loyally everyday, three times a day now for about a month. We have developed a nice little routine that I truly enjoy and look forward to. I bounce out of bed first thing anxious to get down to the barn, and am chomping at the bit to get started in the evening. It may lose that new feeling after a while, but that whole fresh milk everyday part will never get old.
When you first start milking a new dairy goat or cow, it can be stressful. You may have issues with them being uncooperative, or you fear did I milk them enough? Am I taking the proper precautions? You don't want to inadvertently cause production to drop by not emptying their udder, and of course mastitis is always a concern. Because we drink our milk raw, sanitation in the process is of the upmost importance because I don't have pasteurization as a safeguard. I have to prevent it from getting into the process in the first place, and this is where a routine comes in very handy. If you take the necessary steps and precautions everyday, two or three times a day, it becomes muscle memory and eventually you don't even have to think about what you're doing. The routine becomes second nature, and I take comfort knowing I can safely drink my raw milk, while doing everything possible to keep up maximum production and Audrey healthy.
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