A family farm

Friday, March 30, 2012

ok, better now!

Amazing the changes this past week. Luke, our German Shepherd, is feeling much better. It was very strange. Last Thursday, he didn't get up all day, didn't drink anything, didn't eat anything, didn't even go to the bathroom. Friday morning, he was up and at 'em, drinking water, going to the bathroom, and for the first time last week wanting to eat something. He ate again later. Now, his only problem is that he can't bark and his back legs are too weak to get him up onto the bed. I still have to be careful about not leaving anything out on the counters because you just never know. It was a tough week last week. I do believe that Luke was the worst of it all.

The calves are all doing fine. Their poos are a little runny, but they are alert, playful and constantly hungry. This morning I realized that I left their bottles in the barn last night so I had to clean them out in the house before I could refill them. I went about and did all the regular chores first. They were not happy with their milk replacer mamma going around them and doing everything else without giving them a bottle first. They mooed and kept their eyes on me as I did everything.

Finally, Kellie is in a blue cast. Many of her friends have signed it already. She's happy to have it, but really annoyed that she still has to put bags on it before she can shower. It just can't get wet or by the end of four weeks it will be smelly and moldy. Ew!

Friday, March 23, 2012

What a Killer Week!

This past week has been just plain awful. It did start with a wonderfully pleasant Sunday. I had let the goats out of their pens, first the 3 boys and Jade on long ropes so they could munch to their hearts content, but I could still keep track of them and keep them contained. Then I let the 3 girls out and I just watched them as I did the evening chores. During the midst of all this, Luke started to get sick. Luke is our German shepherd. He's eleven years old, skinny as a rail and his hips have been disintegrating for some time now. He started vomiting foamy water, so I put him out in the backyard for awhile. As I monitered the goats, he remained in the backyard and the vomiting continued. Chris came home and we fed the dogs, but Luke wouldn't eat. He couldn't even keep water down. We started to wonder if this was the beginning of the end.

Wednesday brought more trouble as one of our calves came down with scours and stopped drinking anything. We were afraid we would have to force fluid down him with a tube. Chris was home from work that day, and I was at work and called the vet who told us to tube him. I was so worried. I had so much work to do, and I was freaking out just a little. It wasn't pretty. Finally, Chris called me around 3pm and said he went into the pen to work on some of the wiring by the light fixture that's overhead and Chuck (the sick one) came up to him and starting to suck on his jeans. Chris tried the bottle and Chuck drank it right down. That made my day. I had been planning on stopping by TSC, purchasing the appropriate tubing kit and some medicated powder to ease the calf from scours, but Kellie and I were able to continue to church instead.

Kellie went to youth and had dinner, and I went to the sanctuary to practice the piano. I was going to play for the prayer meeting later on, and I wanted to be able to play and sing at the same time so I really needed to practice. We also have our Art Night happening on Saturday so I needed to go over the classical music I was going to start the night with. Around 7pm, Chris comes into the sanctuary with Kellie balling her eyes out following behind him. She had tripped backward over her own feet and landed full force on her left hand. We were afraid of a fracture so I took her to the hospital. Sure enough. After two hours, we found out that she did fracture her wrist in two places. After another half hour, she was fitted with a splint, and another half hour we left with instructions to see a specialist. Oh, what a fun week this has been.

Now that it is Friday, I'm happy to report that Chuck, the calf, is doing much better. He's not scouring and tonight he'll have his milk replacer. I have started all three calves on calf starter pellets as well. They LOVE the bottle, but they have to actually start eating solid food. I can't help but think of how we can be as new Christians, or young Christians. It's nice to get caught up with being fed a sermon and lessons (the calves' milk in a bottle), but we have to grow up and start making decisions about our lives and doing to help others as well. We have to learn to teach others. We have to latch on to the new, solid food and start eating that. It might not be as nice or as easy as the bottle that we eagerly suck down. It might be a little difficult to swallow, but we need to grow and move on to better food. The sweet alfafa and clover is next, and we don't want to miss out, but we will if we only have our eyes on that bottle.

Luke, also is rallying. I thought for sure he wouldn't make it through last night. I'm not saying he'll recover, but he was looking better. I'd really prefer he just die at peace at home rather than bring him to the vet to be put down. As long as he wants to live, I will not have him euthanized.

I'm still waiting for the scheduler to make the appointment for Kellie's wrist, but that, too will come.

Art Night is going to be a BLAST!!!

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Farm Grows

We have added 3 new additions to Decker's Acres! Meet Chuck, T-Bone and Sirloin! We had decided to purchase a couple of Jersey bull calves (they were only $25 apiece), but then a friend of ours decided he wanted a whole cow, so we purchased 3. Half a cow will remain ours while the other 3 halves will go to others who have joined our little cow-op.

The baby turkeys are growing fast and fine! I did try to put Miracle Max and the 2nd oldest in with the big birds, but Georgie and Lucy just chased them around pecking at them. I'll have to reintroduce again soon. They are getting big so fast. This behavior is very much not like those two big hens. I really don't know what has gotten into them.

On a sad note, our beloved German shepherd, Luke, is in his final stages of life. He started vomitting up saliva and foam yesterday and can't keep anything down today. He's 11 years old. He was a rescue. We took him when no one else wanted him and after he'd been wandering around for 3 months in Cascade. I can't say that he's been the best behaved dog I've ever had. He probably was the worst, but he loved big, too. When my Sam died, he took over and tried to fill my Sam's shoes. When Luke dies, there will be a big hole there. The silence of saying "Luke, quit!", "Luke, get out of the kitchen!", "Luke, lay down!", "Luke, get back here!", "Luke, stop itching!", "Luke, stop scratching!", "Luke, why do you have to poop all over!", "Luke, get that out of your mouth!" (get the idea?) will be deafening. When he was younger, he was always on patrol. As an older dog, he was always on patrol for something to eat. He ALWAYS just wanted love. So, when you are home, hug your dog. Give him/her a petting and let them sleep in your bed.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Little Ginger

We weren't sure if any of our goats were pregnant, but it looks like little Ginger, our smallest goat that still looks like a kid herself, will kid sometime in the next couple of weeks. Her udder is just barely starting to swell, and her back end is swollen as well. She'll probably just have one. I do pray that all goes well!

Oh, and the early spring is fantastic! So much for that groundhog's predictions!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Yes, we're expecting again ... We're on a list to purchase 2 Jersey bull calves from a farm around here as soon as they are born. I'm a little trepiditious about this whole experience, even though I grew up on a dairy farm. I'm terrified, actually, of losing one right off the bat. I watch our critters for signs of illness all the time. We'll have to bottle feed these calves colustrum for the first few days and then bottle feed them milk replacer after that. I know that all the calves born to my grandpa's farm were bottle and then pail fed milk replacer. He did not leave calves with their mommas at all. A few of them didn't make it including my beloved Albert. I'm also afraid of my husband becoming too attached to these bundles of beef. I'm just going to have to remind him that they are cute now, but they will be tasty later. Any advice on what I should do to keep them healthy the first few weeks? I do work full time so I can't stick around the farm every day, but I will be stepping up the doing of the chores, especially now that it's warming up - over 40 degrees F today!! In Michigan!!!!