Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Do you know what I saw this morning?

...a real live crocus! A few of them actually! Do you know what that means? SPRING! The flowers seem to realize that the snow is (hopefully) gone for good. Nervously, I checked the forecast this morning and saw this:

50's and 60's and we'll pretend that the 48 on Saturday will actually make it above 50. This is very exciting to everyone in Ohio (and I'm sure elsewhere too). We've been kept inside too long. We're all cranky. We've gained too many extra "winter pounds". We need to be in the dirt, dirty hands, dirty feet, sweaty foreheads. This is the time that we stretch out from underneath our woolen blankets and do something. Although, if you ask my dogs (both asleep in separate chairs, breathing that heavy sleep breathing) they are hoping for a couple more days of hibernation. LOL. 
This weekend had its ups and downs. Mabel, our very experienced dairy goat, had some issues with her delivery this weekend. She was working and pushing and just could not open up to get her baby out. We called the vet and she came to delivery a dose of oxytocin - it worked, she opened almost immediately. Unfortunately, the one fetus that she had was already dead. Not from the delivery, it was already dead and from the look of the placenta, it had been dead for a couple of days (which explains why Mabel was trying to expel the baby, even though her body wasn't really ready for delivery). The baby was deformed though. It had more of a fur-like fiber, than the regular hair that I'm used to seeing - it also had an extended lower jaw and missing teeth. This is two babies now lost. It's sad, so sad. This is not what we signed up for...ok, I guess it's all part of being a farmer. But last year births were so simple - most giving birth when we weren't even in the barn, they would just sneak and drop a baby and we'd be like - who does this one belong to?!?! So far, two births have ended with two calls to the vet, one c-section, two dead babies. Disheartening, to say the least. I spoke to someone else at Mark's work and she too is having issues with her goats - in fact, she has lost three of her nannies - UGH! At least we still have our girls - just wish they had their babies too. :-( Hmmpht. We still have 2, maybe three more girls that should deliver, although they are our angoras/angora crosses, not dairy. We are having an autopsy done on this fetus though - just to figure out if there is something going on with the entire herd - or if it is just a fluke. Either way, I'm kinda done with all the death we've experienced this year. I wonder how many others are having goat abortion/deformation issues out there??
In good news - with this warm weather coming and, frankly, the date on the calendar is telling me we are about 7 1/2 to 8 weeks away from Mother's Day...also known as my preferred planting day! My goal is to have our seedlings ready to be put in the ground that weekend...which means we need to get the seeds started inside in the next couple of days! In years past, we have tried a number of different methods to starting seeds. We've tried setting up a table in front of our front window, where the morning sun shines through...but we ended up fighting the cats for that space - who, apparently, thinking that our seedlings were planted for them to lay on. Grr. We tried planting in the basement, but got some funky mushrooms trying to fight for planting space. So this year, we built a seed starting rack.We built a simple rack, made from 2x4s The rack has four shelves - each shelf is 4 ft. long by a foot deep. The bottom shelf is about 6 inches from the ground, shelf two is 18 inches above that, shelf three is 18 inches above that and shelf four is 2 feet above that. The bottom threes shelves have shop lights, on chains, so we can adjust the distance above the seedlings. The top shelf doesn't have the lighting, but we can put more shade tolerant seedlings up there and just set the rack near a window. Another great aspect - we added castors to the bottom of the rack - then we can move it around, as needed (including to the porch to harden the plants). Today, my plan is to mix some dirt, with peat, alpaca poo, bunny poo and compost and get ready to plant - although Mark and the kids will likely help actually plant the seeds. Time to make a plan for what needs to go in first! I wonder how many seedlings we can actually get on there!? Hmmm....more details to follow on that. 
Enjoy spring everyone! We deserve this one!!!


  1. You forgot to show the picture that you put on facebook of your seedling thingy. Its really cool. I remember last year you having nice little surprises in the morning. It is a worry isnt it. Gosh Vets, , C Sections and Autopsies cost money and that must hurt. Check out my seed tape option post.

  2. Oh, our max today in Melbourne is 84.2F and our min 48.2F. Ive had to do conversions. We use celsius here.

    Its probably my favorite time of year.