TinCup to the rescue!

We had a near tragedy yesterday, but our dear gal TinCup saved the day! I was down at the saddle club when Phil decided to go out for a hike. He was about to get in the truck when TinCup came racing up the driveway by herself. The goats were all down in the horse corral and Phil could hear a baby crying. Usually mama goats run TOWARD crying babies, so this was unusual. Phil almost ignored the incident, passing it off as goats being noisy (or dramatic as babies sometimes can be), but TinCup baa-ed urgently like she had something important to tell him. So Phil walked toward her and she ran off down the hill toward the other goats.

When Phil got down there, he could clearly hear a baby screaming and he realized that little Sadie had jumped into the horse trough! It was too deep for her to stand but too low for her to climb back over the side. If Tinny hadn’t alerted Phil, or if this had happened while we were both gone, no doubt Sadie would have drowned.

I feel awful because I’m aware of the danger and I’m usually much more careful when we have kids this age. The water tubs in the goat pens are low so babies can see over the side, and so they can climb back out if they do happen to go in. Usually I don’t keep a horse trough filled during baby goat season for this exact reason. My horses have access to a pond and I make them use that when we have babies. But we’re having terrible drought this year and the pond is very low with deep, squelching mud on all sides. It’s difficult and dangerous for the horses to access it right now, so I went into auto-pilot and have been keeping their trough full without thinking. Yikes! This was a good reminder that I need to do something different while we have little kids running around.

Anyway, we’re very thankful for a happy ending. Good job TinCup!!

And here are some fun baby goat pictures!

Sticking with the Beatles theme, we’re thinking about “Wild Honey Pie” for this one. Her eyes were very blue when she was born, but they’re already turning brown. She looked like a little Nigie baby with her flashy markings and the eyes! Also, we’ve had a wonderful variety of ears this season. This little gal has Fox Terrier ears like Finn.

And our “Boer” baby. I’m calling her “Dear Prudence”. With all that white, this one’s going to be hard to keep clean.

And because she’s still the most adorable goat in our herd, here’s one of Coral. She has the most innocent, disarming smile I’ve ever seen. It makes her absolutely irresistible. I can’t wait to see what her and Sox’s babies look like! She’s due in about two weeks.

Trot out the ladies!

We had a couple of new arrivals today, and I’ve gotta say–we’re really having a bumper crop of girls this year! Two more doelings popped into the world around noon right on their due date. Tinny pushed the first kid out without trouble. Then she decided she was done and wouldn’t push out the second, so I reached in and found a nose in the passage. I reached a bit further, found a foot, and gave a little tug, at which point TinCup decided she should help and pushed kid #2 right out. I kind of think if we’d left her alone for a while she would have delivered just fine on her own. The kid was in the right position, just with the front feet pulled back a bit behind the nose. I think she’d have sorted herself out on her own if I’d been a little more patient.

Doeling #1 is a beautiful reddish bay with gorgeous markings. She gets the red from her dad, Rocky, and the striking black legs and dorsal stripe from her mom.

Look at that sweet smile!

And doeling #2 looks like a Boer! I’m not sure where all this white came from, but we have a white baby with a roany-red head. At least she has black on her front legs to keep her from looking completely Boer.

Phil brought the new babies into the office this afternoon to show them off to his co-workers over video conference.

Nauti Karate, or Poor Little Pink Belt

We had rather an exciting day. I was outside at around 11:00 a.m. when three Air Force fighter jets flew right over my head, so low I was almost afraid they’d clip the top of my hat! And boy were they LOUD!!! A short while later I had Nauti up on the stanchion to be milked. She’s producing far more than her two kids can drink yet so I’m milking out the excess for now. Phil came out to pet her and the new babies and he was alarmed to see a huge tear on her right flank. I had only seen Nauti’s left side and didn’t realize she was hurt. It was very fresh, so I’m pretty sure she panicked when the jets flew over and caught her side on something. It was pretty nasty but it looked like it could be stitched if I could keep it clean and moist until we got her to a vet. I slapped on some gauze soaked in Vetricin as well as lubricant jelly while Phil wound a whole roll of VetWrap around her middle to hold it in place. She looked very comical. Early this afternoon I was able to get it stitched up and hopefully it will heal without incident. Luckily it doesn’t seem too painful for her. I’m just glad she didn’t do this while she was pregnant. The vet would never have been able to stretch her hide back over that hole! As it is, having recently given birth, the skin over her flank is pretty loose right now and it stitched together easily.

And here are some of today’s photos of the new babies, who we’re calling Sadie and Max (for the Beatles songs “Sexy Sadie” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”).

Why do babies love to curl up inside feeder tubs and tires? I don’t know, but it sure is adorable!

Unfortunately, they’re already too big to both fit. Looks like Big Brother got kicked out!

Babies find the funniest secret places to hide.



Catching up

Penny loves to be picked up and held. Rita loves to tease and play but doesn’t usually want to be held. She’ll sneak up behind you and grab your hair or poke you with her hoof and then race away in glee–mischievous little stinker!

But once in a while Rita sees Penny sitting cozily in someone’s lap and she has to climb up too so it’s fair. At a month old, sharing a single lap at the same time is getting pretty crowded!

I can’t get enough of Rita’s EARS!

When she’s not imitating a Texas longhorn…

…she looks perpetually surprised or alarmed.

And little Penny is just sweet and friendly. She looks like a little deer fawn, and her soft, sleek brown coat almost invites you to stroke her.

Baby goats love this big rock that we pass on our daily walks. We call it the “baby goat rock” because from age two weeks to about two months, baby goats can’t pass by without leaping up and treating it like it’s their “fort”.

Challenge all comers!

This downed tree is also fun to explore!

Sometimes I love to sit on a rock or stump and wait to see who comes over to investigate. “Hi Rita!”

Phil has decided we’re keeping Skeeter. She’s too pretty to sell. She looks like Finn AND Sputnik, and her conformation is turning out very nice.

She just recently discovered the joy of cookies!

Sputnik doesn’t miss a trick. “Did someone say ‘cookies’?”

Look how similar these two faces are!

“Sorry guys… all out of cookies!”

Chaos Reigns

Skeeter and Blackbird are maturing into beautiful, sleek young does. They are over three months old now and way too big to be sitting in laps any more, but it’s hard to say “no” to critters this cute!

“Hey, wait a minute!”

The situation rapidly deteriorated. Finn showed up and demanded attention by grabbing Skeeter’s ear while Blackbird distracted Phil. Phil had little hoof-shaped bruises on his back that night!

Alright, back under control… more or less.

Blackbird had to have a turn on Phil’s lap too.

What a pretty girl she’s becoming! I shouldn’t have trouble finding this lovely doeling a home eventually.

Now it’s my turn to play with the goatlings!

“Gah! I’m under attack!”

“Not the hat!”

“Ah, sanity returns.”

Here Comes the Son… and the Daughter

Yesterday was a gorgeous day for a kidding. The air was balmy and there was a gentle breeze. When I went to let the pregnant girls out of their pen, I could see that Nauti had dug herself a sunny little hollow in the dirt and was laying in it with her belly spread out wide on either side of her. She looked at me over her shoulder and baa-ed softly when I let the other girls out, but she refused to move. I checked on her and she seemed very glad to see me and immediately began to push. But since nothing was peeking, I decided I had a little time so I fed the other girls their morning grain and I went across the pasture to let the other goats out of their pen.

When I came back to check on Nauti, things were definitely happening! Nothing was coming yet, but she was pushing in earnest and she seemed quite distressed when I left her to run down the hill and fetch the hot water and towels. I called Phil down while I filled the water buckets. He grabbed the kidding box. By the time we got up there, we had a kid on the ground and Nauti was already cleaning him off. Phil came up the hill with the towels just in time for the second kid to pop out. What a wonderful, quick, easy kidding it was!

I put down a couple of puppy pads and scattered clean straw over the top so the kids wouldn’t get covered in dirt. Then we helped Nauti clean them up. They dried very quickly in the warm sunshine.

The little buckling needed help getting started at first. Phil had the magic touch.

His sister was on her feet and eating faster than any kid I’ve seen. She barely even had to figure out her legs and only fell down a couple of times. But soon both of them were up and nursing on their own.

And mama was tired!

I love new baby cuddles!

A curious crowd gathered outside the pen during the proceedings. Once the kids were up and dry, I let them investigate.

We haven’t figured out names yet, but I’m sure we’ll have some in the next day or two. We’ll likely continue with the Beatles theme.

Naughty Nauti!

Phil and I got a load of pictures of the older babies yesterday and I had grand plans of bringing everyone up to speed. But Nauti threw a wrench in the works by going into labor around 9:45 this morning. By 10:00 she had two strong, wriggling little kids on the ground which she delivered unassisted. In fact, naughty Nauti delivered the first one so fast we missed it! I went to fetch a bucket of warm water and some clean towels and by the time I got back, Baby #1 was on the ground and getting cleaned off. Number two came about five minutes later. We’ve got a tan and white buckling and a black and white doeling! I only have time to post one photo today, but everyone is doing just grand. So really I should say, “Good Nauti!”

Packsaddles, Pirates, and Neon

Saturday Phil and I went to the Weld County Goat Extravaganza in Greeley to give a talk on packsaddle fitting. The class went well and I felt very prepared, but unfortunately only one family showed up. Finn and Sputnik were model citizens as I whisked saddles on and off of them, but any time we left the two of them to themselves they would troll each other. I tied them far enough apart that it was difficult for them to interfere in each other’s space. But Sputnik would back up almost to the end of his lead so he could put his tail as close as possible to Finn’s area. Then Finn would stretch to the end of his tether and bite Sputnik’s tail. Sputnik would get riled up and act like he was being horribly tormented, but then he would back right up into Finn’s face again. And of course Finn stood as close to Sputnik’s side as possible so as to be sure that Sputnik’s hindquarters could reach his face. It was hilarious to watch them.

I love that when we take Finn to goat shows, we have to remember to bring our “tiger cage” panels to boost up the height of his enclosure. He’s too good a jumper and far too curious for his own good. Sputnik could leap out if he wanted to, but he doesn’t have Finn’s insatiable desire to be involved in “people activity.”

I had so much gear I needed two long tables to fit it all! And look how far apart my goats are tied. Is there any reason whatsoever for them to get in each other’s way? I ask you!

This gentleman and I critiqued the fit of a vintage John Mionczynski saddle on Finn.

One of the fun diversions of the weekend was a pirate-themed murder mystery dinner theater. One of the girls we know from goat showing was in it (top row, left-hand side), so Phil and I checked it out. We were the only customers that dressed according to theme. Phil was a nerd pirate. Check out his t-shirt!

Now for the best part of the show…

Every year when we go to the Weld County Goat Extravaganza, we end up staying about twenty minutes from the show grounds because there are no hotels closer to that end of town. Except this one…

I noticed the “Rainbow Motel” last year when we took a different route to the show grounds. It’s only about 2-3 blocks away and it looks like the kind of seedy establishment that Phil and I love to investigate. The sign was not in good shape last year, but new managers took over this past January and restored it to its former glory. Phil and I love a good neon motel sign!

We checked in mid-afternoon before we settled the goats at the show, which is usually a safe time of day at any motel. It turned out much safer than I realized! No sooner had Phil and I pulled in than a police car pulled in right after us. While I was checking in, the safety level continued to rise as four more police vehicles filed into the parking lot. It took me a good half hour to check in because the manager was talking to the police about certain creepy guests in the room next to the one Phil and I had reserved. It would take too long to relay the entire story, but apparently the mother of one of the men had paid for the room and then left. The motel common areas are under 24-hour surveillance, and during the night the men had been going back and forth to their car. One of them went across the highway toward the railroad tracks with a duffel bag. Next morning they drained their car fluids into the parking lot. The manager thought maybe they’d been cooking meth in their car and called the cops to be there as a “presence” while he kicked them out.

We still stayed there. Good location. Good neon sign. And the creeps had been evicted. Apparently the previous owner had let the place become a total dive and would even rent by the hour. So I’m glad we didn’t stay there on our previous trips to Greeley. Although I’m sure the stories would have been very good if we had.

Goats get Trashy

Phil and I planned all week to take our boys out for a drive, but we changed gears at the last minute and decided to do a cleanup project instead. I’d been noticing a lot of garbage along the road going into Rye, and spring is the perfect time of year to pick it up before it gets buried in grass and other foliage. Finn and Sputnik stepped right up to the task. In less than a mile of roadway, we picked up 12 bags of rubbish totaling probably close to 250 lbs.! I was planning to weigh it when we got home, but a very kind fellow saw how full our truck was getting and he offered to dump it for us.

The funny part is that I didn’t even realize yesterday was Earth Day until we were half-way through the project. Someone drove by and hollered “Happy Earth Day!” at us, but I thought they said “Happy Birthday!” I was confused until Phil asked, “Oh, is it Earth Day?” I didn’t know, but when I got home I looked it up and sure enough it was Earth Day. Nice coincidence!

We found an old couch cushion and I was able to roll it up and strap it down on Sputnik’s saddle.

We found a lot of bottles. Plastic water bottles and glass Bud Light bottles were probably the most common, but we also found whiskey bottles, and most of all we found dozens upon dozens of tiny plastic peppermint schnapps bottles. I wish we’d known ahead of time to count them because Phil is certain we collected over 100. We joked that some poor chap was downing a drink every night before going home to face the wife, and he was chucking the evidence of his alcohol problem out the window. We also found a quite a few jumbo Bud Light cans. It’s scary to think so many people are drinking and driving on this one little road! By far the most disgusting things we had to pick up (even worse than the two dirty diapers) were the baccy bottles half-full of spit and chunks of of tobacco. Blech! Blech! Blech! Why can’t those guys toss their horrible spittoons in the trash at home?? After picking up a couple dozen baccy bottles (some of which were leaking), Phil declared that chewing makes smoking look like a virtue.

But “yuck factor” aside, it was a great project. Finn and Sputnik got to work on their leash and packsaddle manners, and it was a beautiful day to be out in the fresh air. Oh, and I found a dollar!