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Life goes on

It’s still sad times here at the Manor. I keep thinking I need to check on Aida and give her meds or food or fresh water and of course, I don’t. Wherever she is gone, she definitely does not need me to pill her anymore. The other critters don’t miss her much, since she went out of her way to not interact with them unless it was to yell angry Siamese curses at them, but the people sure do.

But life goes on, as the title says. Tomorrow the eggs in the incubator go on lockdown, with hatch scheduled to start the 15th. I’m hoping for a good hatch out of these eggs, they are my beautiful Feltner line Pumpkin Hulseys. The little brooder is currently full of Old English Game Bantams who will need to be moved to the big brooder, which will be set up in the shed, in order to make space for the new little guys.

Josie’s babies are growing like little quadrupedal leaping weeds, getting braver and more ambitious in their shenanigans by the moment. Miss May, my gentle giant of a Nubian, is an excellent Auntie who tolerates their hijinks right until they decide it would be a good idea to nurse from her capacious udder, at which point she sends them off with a lazy swing of her massive head. Esk and Annabelle, on the other hand, seem to be more intrigued by the notion that here are two goats smaller than them that they can pick on. The babies are too fast for them though, especially now that Esk and Annabelle (Annabelle especially) are beginning to get heavy with pregnancy. Annabelle, in fact, is getting huge with still half her pregnancy to go.

In other news, I need to pick out what classes I’m taking next semester and register for them so I can finally graduate with my Associate’s, which I shall then follow up by getting a bachelor’s degree. In, um, something. Maybe history. Maybe English. I have not yet decided.

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I know, I vowed to be a better blogger

But then life got the better of me, as it does. Josie did have babies, two of them! They are adorable, now the ComfortCam is our pick for the best wifi baby monitor that way we keep on eye on them all the time. Pics later, I need to take a few more. She presented me with two little doelings which is quite nice as they will be easy to sell.

Chicken plans are in the works, and the brooder is full of week-old Old English Game Bantams at the moment in crele and black-breasted red. The incubator is full of Feltner line Pumpkin Hulseys, the most gorgeous of the American Gamefowl I have ever seen. I’m planning on getting out of silkies entirely, which means I need to sell them all off, and for that matter need to set up a “for sale” page here to publicize the chickens and goats on offer.

Last weekend I was at WisCon and had an absolutely amazing time and spent time with wonderful people. I worked Sid, it was more or less his graduate-level Final Exam and he passed with flying colors except for one incident when applause startled him out of sleep and he barked twice.

The cats are all doing well with the exception of Aida, who has been very ill but is hopefully on the mend now.

Tink, Beowulf, and Zille are their usual wonderful selves.

I’m trying to decide what classes to register for this fall.

More updates as events warrant.

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Josie is enormously pregnant and filling her udder, but not showing signs of imminent labor, like softened tail ligaments. The suspense is killing me as I anxiously await my first goat kids!

Meanwhile the garden is growing like a very leafy army, the chickens and quail are laying like mad, the latest set of eggs hatches in nine days, and we’ve begun collecting eggs from the Old English Game bantams again to set as soon as the incubator is empty. Which will be in six days, since I picked up a second incubator to use for hatching.

The magnificent Miss May continues to give us 3 quarts of milk a day, and I’m getting quite good at cheese making. The chevre May and I produce is frankly amazing, if I do say so myself.

I am woefully behind on pictures and have plans to correct that.

Anyway, if you’re in the area on May 5th, come on out and see us at the big Gilmanor sale, where we’ll have baby crele Old English Game Bantams to brighten up your yard or cop!

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Gosh, I’m all official

Got my herd name registration back from the American Dairy Goat Association today. Baby goats born here and registered with them will have the herd name prefix MixedBlessings!

I’m still waiting to hear from the American Goat Society about my herd name with them. Hopefully it’s the same or dual-registered babies will have two different names depending on which studbook you’re talking to.

In other news we’ve added a breeding group of coturnix quail.

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May, clad in cloth of gold

My leetle flock has received its second to last member, a mostly-Nubian doe named May. She has a beautiful glossy red-golden coat and is an absolute treasure. You see, she’s in milk, her young son having just reached a good age for weaning, and Miss May patiently stands for me to milk her by hand, three times a day.

It will probably get down to twice a day when my hands get some strength in them, but we’re doing all right for now and Miss May has given us about two and a half quarts of milk today. She’ll probably give us another quart and some change at evening milking, which means I need to start making cheese and soap before she floods us.

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Being a lady of leisure is not as fun as I hoped.

I’m two days into unemployment and already looking for ways to get myself in trouble. Next week I’m probably going to start Siddy on herding. We enlarged the goat paddock today and could definitely have used a good herding dog’s help! So Sid shall become a dual-purpose dog, hopefully.

In other news, Annabelle is currently shacked up in connubial bliss with a blue-eyed boyfriend, which means kids from her in September. Once she’s knocked up, Esk will go done and spend some time with a buck, and be due to kid in October. Our winter milk and cheese supply is therefore assured. Josie, due in late April or early May, continues to inflate like a hairy balloon on legs, and her udder seems to be filling.

Meanwhile I’ve applied for unemployment and am waiting for the determination letter to tell me how generous (HAHAHAHA) my payments will be. And Daniel has secured perhaps the coolest part-time job ever being a bad guy for the FBI. So we’re doing all right despite it all, but given my boredom levels I think I might reconsider my plan to take this summer off from school.

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And my little empire grows…

Made arrangements today to get Annabelle and Eskanazi bred this spring for fall babies, so there will be milk and cheese this fall! Unfortunately I can’t sell it, not having access to USDA-approved dairying facilities (or the money to build my own — anyone want to give me fifty grand? Didn’t think so.) but Daniel and I will be well-supplied with dairy products.

Meanwhile the ten bantam Sumatras and two Madagascar Game Fowl in the big brooder will be moving outside in another week or so. They’d go out today except that the temperature tonight is supposed to drop down to around freezing and they’re not old enough to handle that yet. There’s eggs in the incubator due to hatch in two weeks, we set a dozen from Merlin and his ladies so we should have a good set of bouncing baby crele Old English Game Bantams. Another set will go in the incubator at the end of this week — the other ‘bator doesn’t have a turner, so I’m waiting until I’m off work as the eggs will need to be turned by hand. Then when it’s time for the eggs in the Brinsea incubator to go on lockdown, they’ll be moved into the non-turning incubator and the eggs in it will move to the one with the auto-turner, and life will be much easier.

May 5 is the big chicken and small animal swap at Gilmanor Farms, so the crele OEGBs we hatch, all but one of the distinguishable banty Sumatra roosters, and the random bantams I had picked up to keep a lone banty chick company last hatch will be going up for sale there. I’ll probably also have a couple adult silkie roosters in blue. The swap is at 12187 Chewning Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23059, if you’re close enough to get to it and looking for poultry or small livestock (someone had a pony last year!) then you really ought to stop by and take a look. There’s a lot of sellers there with all kinds of things ranging from chickens to pigeons, cage birds to livestock guardian dogs, goats to ponies… Despite the misleading title of “swap” it’s actually a market, and you can purchase animals with cash money.

In other news, I’m seriously looking forward to being off work at this point and just going to school. It’s going to make life much, much easier on me, I tell you what.

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Poor lawnmowers, excellent edgers!

All right. So I did pick up two tiny adorable Nigerian Dwarf goats, and then as things do they kind of got out of hand and I picked up a pregnant Oberhasli mix doe who is a year old. This way Daniel and I will have milk and cheese this spring, summer, and fall, and the little girls get a chance to be a year and a half old or so before I breed them, which I think is better for all concerned.

Things I have learned about goats:
They make very poor lawnmowers. Well, I knew that from my reading and talking to other goat owners. They do, however, make excellent edgers. They’ve been living in the backyard while the goat fence got installed, and during their free-range time they have been working in a very dedicated fashion to clean up the dead leaves piled along the fence and also the dried grass stuck in it. What good goats. But what you actually wanted was goat pics, right? Right. Let’s see if I can make this work.

Two tiny goats, not more than knee-high, stand with their heads turned looking at the camera.  The one in front, slightly smaller, is white with orangey-red spots, while her sister is mostly white with a pale creamy red stripe down her back and patches of the same color at her knees and ankles.
That’s Eskanazi, affectionately known as “Esk” in front with the spots, and Annabelle in back. They’re the Nigerian Dwarf does I picked up last Friday evening. Esk loves people and loves to be petted, while Annabelle is a little shy.

A close-up of the face of a doe.  She is mostly a russety goldeny red-brown, with a black muzzle and black stripes at her eyes and on the front of her face.  On top of her head is a perfect halo of russety goldeny red-brown surrounded by black.
And this is Josephine, who should give birth towards the end of April or beginning of May. She’s an Oberhasli mix. Oberhasli are an alpine dairy breed whose milk is mostly used to make cheese. I am so looking forward to home-made cheese!