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A “China Anniversary” in the Year of the Pig!

May 29, 2019 was me and Phil’s 20th wedding anniversary. I can’t believe it’s been two decades! Phil and I have officially been married for more than half our lives now. We were reflecting on this upcoming momentous occasion back in March and wondering how we might celebrate when we decided to look up whether the 20th anniversary had any special designation. It does! How many people know that the 20th anniversary is also known as the “China Anniversary”? Phil and I have had lots of theme parties over the years, but never a Chinese party! And to top it off, 2019 is the Year of the Pig!! Bring it on!!!

We borrowed an extra-large pig roaster from the church and enlisted the help of some local friends to supply and prepare the pig. 

We reserved a large pavilion in one of the local parks and decked it out. 

Then we donned our Chinese garb. 

I even wore (very badly done) makeup for the occasion. Remind me never to try this again! 

And invited all the friends and relatives. Phil’s parents flew in from Massachusetts. Phil’s mom shunned the Chinese garb in favor of the Hawaiian clothes she wore for our first wedding celebration.  

Phil’s Aunt Marianne and Uncle Steve came from Arizona wearing their Mandarin best. 

Keep rockin’ that fu manchu, Steve! 

Ah, sisters… Lois to Marianne: “Marianne, what did you do??”

Phil rang the gong and it was party time! 

My parents enjoyed the cream cheese won ton appetizers. 

Alot. 

And then it was time to bring on THE PIG!!!

Do not be fooled by the blackened appearance (it was a black pig)–this critter was absolutely DELICIOUS! Many thanks to Brian and Janette Hastings for supplying, butchering, and roasting the hog. This pork was amazing!! 

My dear friend Tiffany was the Maid of Honor at our wedding 20 years ago. On this day, she and her mother Marian were kind enough to bring all the Chinese food from Kan’s Kitchen in Pueblo. 

The cake was incredible. And it even tasted as good as it looked! 

There were many fun costumes on display. 

And after the feast, the festivities began! 

Phil’s dad is an expert piñata handler, having practiced extensively for our wedding feast 20 years ago. He has not lost his touch.  

There were a few close calls…

…but everyone got a whack at it. 

And no one went home empty-handed. 

After the party, the family and out-of-town friends were invited up to our house for some extra fun, which largely involved holding baby goats. 

The day ended on a beautiful note. 

Springing in the spring snow!

After a brief taste of warm weather at the end of April and early May, the snow came back for a last word on May 10th. 

The kids could not have been more delighted!   

Phil’s parents were in town, and Jim couldn’t wait to get out and play in the snow with the other kids.

Thor helped Jim build a snowman. 
Brownie and Snowball helped too. 

Jim thought maybe Mocha would like to stand on top of the doghouse. Mocha wasn’t too sure of the footing, but the experience left ideas in her brain. A few days later she was the first kid to scale the top–a feat she alone could accomplish for at least two days before the others figured it out.  

Cupcake says, “Wheee!!!” 

The kids could not get enough of Jim. They all loved him, but Brownie and Snowball were especially enamored.   

Brownie posed for a glamour shot. 

Not to be outdone, Yeti posed for an even better glamour shot!   

And then Thor blew them all out of the water with his striking pose! 

“Up? Up?”

Laughing, leaping Yeti and Thor! 

 

 

May we catch up?

Little Yeti attends one of Phil’s work meetings in the office. 

TinCup takes a break in the warm, sunny gravel with her three kids around her.  

TinCup’s kids took their first walk on May 3rd. Poor TinCup looks a little ragged with that old winter coat still clinging. Thankfully she’s gaining weight now that she’s had the kids. 

Little Buster Brown is one of the stoutest kids we’ve ever had. His build and personality remind me a lot of Finn. 

Run Cupcake!!!

This has been one of the greenest springs we’ve ever had. I look out the window and feel like I’m in Switzerland. 

After the first day or two, one of Snowball’s ears started folding back against her neck along a crease it had when she was born. It got worse over the following few days and soon the inside of her ear felt hot and weepy. She kept scratching at it with her hind foot. So I put a cardboard tube on the inside, a short piece of a paint stick on the outside, and duct taped them to her ear to unfold that stubborn crease. I thought it would straighten out in a day, but it ended up taking three days of wrapping before the ear stayed stiff on its own. It still has a funny little fold near the back, but at least she can hold it out now and the air can circulate inside.  

One day I found all six babies curled up inside the small doghouse. What a fuzzy little pile of cuteness! 

Phil and I love to bring the kids into the house in the evenings to watch movies with us on the couch. Cupcake and Brownie have been some of the most fun. They play and play before the show starts, but then they’re both content to settle down and sit quietly when the film starts to roll.  

Brownie makes friends with one of our stuffed goat toys. 

“Oops!”

May Day Eve

Whew! The first three weeks of May were a whirlwind of activity and excitement–so busy that I never even caught us up on the photos from the tag end of April! April 30th was a busy day. It was Snowball’s first day in the Wide World, and the day Petunia’s kids ventured out on their first walk.

Tigerlily had to slowly warm up to her new role as “mother”. She had delivered two dead kids in two previous births and didn’t quite know what to do with a live one. I’m not sure how anyone could be afraid of this adorable piece of dandelion fluff, but Tigerlily harbored a few suspicions. She also kept mistaking me for her baby and would sometimes reject Snowball in favor of me when I would interact with the two of them. She did better when I left her alone. She’s the first goat I’ve had to lock up in a separate enclosure with her kid so they could bond in private. Every time other goats’ babies entered the scene, Tigerlily would go into a frenzied confusion and start butting all the kids away, including her own.

“Look out, Tigerlily! Don’t be fooled by the small, innocent appearance. It can probably smell fear!”  

Tigerlily also had a tendency to abandon Snowball for hours on end as if completely forgetting she had a baby of her own to look after. 

Where’d everyone go? 

I didn’t like seeing Snowball abandoned on her own so I put her with TinCup’s triplets. When you already have three kids, what’s one more, right? 

“Wait a minute, who are you?” 

As long as Snowball didn’t try to nurse, TinCup was happy to let her hang out. Looking at them side-by-side, I’m very glad I induced Tigerlily. Though she was almost two days younger, Snowball was significantly larger and thicker than TinCup’s babies. If we had waited for Tigerlily to kid on her own, this little gal would have had a very hard time coming out!

TinCup’s kids quickly adopted their new “sister”. 

Snowball bears a striking resemblance to TinCup’s first kid, Yeti. In fact, Tigerlily took an immediate dislike toward Yeti and even now, almost a month later, Tigerlily will bite his tail or butt him if he comes too close to her. She doesn’t do this to any of the other kids, so I can only think that she resents his resemblance to her own precious Snowball.

Yeti has the cutest swirl of hair on the end of his nose, just like his mama.  

Petunia recovered very well from her scary bout with milk fever and was looking sleek and fat again by the weekend. 

Buster Brown discovered the joys of jumping and balancing on this wobbly log. 

And realized he could use it as a launchpad to get onto Mama’s back! Mama wasn’t too pleased and sauntered off. 

Meanwhile, Cupcake thought she’d try chewing on mama’s beard. Petunia tended to keep that beard tantalizingly out of reach. 

Cupcake discovered her favorite hidey-hole inside the electrical spool. 

Cupcake wasn’t too sure about Brownie’s wobbly log, but she loved these rocks!  

And on the last day of April, Petunia decided that her kids, just shy of one week old, were ready to accompany the big goats on their evening walk. 

April, fare thee well! You’ve blessed us with green grass and bounding babies! (Including the strange radioactive one in front.)

Snowball!!

Tigerlily finally kidded last night at 10:00, just as I was about to give up and shuffle off to bed. She had to kid during a snowstorm too. But this adorable ball of fluff was totally worth all the nonsense Tigerlily put us through! Introducing Snowball!   

A Triple Helping of Cute!

Morning broke and TinCup decided it was a beautiful time to have babies. And she was absolutely right!

At 6:30 a.m. we had two beautiful bucklings on the ground. First came a very light tan and white with frosted ears and frosting around his eyes who we named “Yeti,” followed almost immediately by a rich brown and white boy we’re calling “Thor.”   

What a proud mama! Good job TinCup! We wanted boys and you gave us boys!  

And they’re big, strong boys too! They weighed in around 10 lbs. each. 

“Go find that milk bar!”

This is how we check for more. What’s that hard little lump I feel? Not another one!? 

Our surprise bonus was a beautiful 8 lb. baby girl! There she is standing out front. We’re not sure of the name yet, but possibly Mocha. 

She has a fun marking on her side that I’ll have to try to get a photo of tomorrow. 

Three little kidlets all in a row.

They dried off quickly once the sun climbed and got warm. That’s all for now, but brace yourselves for many more photos in the coming days and weeks!

Sweet Treats

Tigerlily and TinCup appear to be holding out, so I’d better post these photos before more kids come and steal the spotlight!

We decided to name this little fella “Buster Brown.” I call him Buster and Phil calls him Brownie. I wonder if he’ll be confused? 

And this little gal is named Cupcake! Goes very well with Brownie. 

Petunia is tired and still a bit weak, but she’s been puttering around the yard enjoying the sunshine so I think she’s going to be ok. 

Ooh… a cave! 

Petunia isn’t making much milk after her illness, but for now it seems to be enough. 

She sure loves her little kidlets! 

Finn and Sputnik prefer to keep out of the baby scene.

We had the kids in last night for their first movie on the couch. Much fun was had by all!

2019’s First Arrivals!

Petunia decided to get down to business a day early. The smart little gal set up camp in the official kidding shed where we keep the camera and can keep an eye on her from the house.  

She really built herself a nice nest in there. 

Sometime around 2:30 she started the licking routine. Imminent mamas like to warm their tongues up and get in some licking practice just before the kids arrive. Phil’s hands provided a good workout routine.  

Sometime around 4:00 we had our first arrival–a 9 lb. baby boy! He’s the most beautiful shade of rich, reddish brown.

Good thing Petunia exercised that tongue ahead of time!

Bob Ross is watching you, Kiddo!

And what’s this? A spotted brown sister! Keep workin’ that tongue, Petunia!

After the birth everyone stepped outside for a little fresh air and clean grass while I cleaned the shed. Mama’s still working that tongue. She’s always sure she missed a spot. Did you ever see such a fuzzy brown baby?

Snacktime!

Petunia has the best ears in the world. 

Hi baby!

Aaahhh!!! Attack of the giant baby goat head! It’s so fuzzy!!!

Petunia…

…so precious,

…so noble,

…so kind, 

…so thorough. 

And who is this little cutie-pie?

What a beautiful baby girl! 

What a sleepy baby girl!

This kidding was not as easy for Petunia as her last couple. Her contractions were weak and we had to help pull the kids even though they were presented correctly. We weren’t sure what was wrong except that earlier in the week Petunia had been hit really hard and was bowled over on her back. I thought maybe that affected her delivery but I was wrong.

Next morning Petunia was so sick she couldn’t stand and her lungs were full of fluid. She spent all day looking like each breath might be her last. She was too sick to take to a vet and the mobile vet in our area doesn’t work Thursdays so I had to wait until my neighbor Kathy, the vet at the Pueblo Zoo, got home from work. Kathy came around 6:30 pm and said that Petunia was hypocalcemia, which is a fancy word for a sudden, severe calcium deficiency that can happen after giving birth. Kathy and I spent two hours in the shed with Petunia while Kathy hooked Petunia to an IV drip to administer fluids and the life-saving calcium. This condition can be caused by too much or too little calcium in the diet prior to kidding. The weak contractions should have clued me in, but I was distracted by her accident earlier in the week and didn’t think to give her some calcium paste. I’ll have to think about my feeding regimen because I don’t want to have another scare like this again! I was afraid we would loose our “Pretty Pet”!

As of this morning, Petunia is weak but recovering. Her babies are thriving. I had to feed them bottles while their mama was sick, but they are both good eaters and had no trouble taking milk from a bottle.

Big Fat Pregnant Girls!

I got very behind on my blog following our trip to Texas and now there have been so many things to post that it’s hard to get them all out at once! The morning after we got back from Texas (April 10th) we were greeted by a morning rainstorm with a rare west-side rainbow.

Three days later, that same western view became this fairytale spectacle:

Our girls were looking ripe when we got home! While this is not a great angle to see it, Petunia looked like a basketball with legs! She is due April 25th. 

TinCup is due April 27th, and while she’s not as wide as Petunia, she’s definitely lower. I think this goat needs a belly wheel! 

Tigerlily is due April 26th and as usual she barely looks pregnant at all. I think she’s got one tiny baby in there. 

“Hoofananny”: Final Day

Phil and I headed home in the rain on Sunday morning.

The rain that had come down all night finally petered out just long enough for us to take a short walk along the muddy lake shore. 

Ok, now it’s time for a little show-off session. Or maybe I’ll call it a “training clinic” so I can pretend that I’m not just boasting.  Finn gave us a textbook-perfect example of how a well-trained goat should cross water and I can’t help but post the whole thing.

There was a small corner of the lake that I wanted the boys to wade through. Finn and Sputnik must have decided to trade personalities, or else Finn was trying to make up for his disgrace the previous day because Finn is usually sticky about crossing water and Sputnik generally plunges right in. This time they were the opposite. I grabbed Finn first and he demonstrated the kind of water crossing I didn’t know was achievable with goats!

Finn approaches the water with interest, and while he’s slightly hesitant, he’s not resisting. There is slack in the lead. I am neither dragging nor coaxing him toward the water. 

I have now put a little gentle tension on the lead–enough to show Finn that I DO want him to follow me into the water and not avoid it by leaping over the narrow spot to the left–and he is responding beautifully. He’s stepping down the bank cautiously but without balking.

And here he is, walking nicely across. The lead is short but I have very little tension on it. The bottom is very uneven and I’m not sure whether it might be slippery in spots, so I keep Finn close so I can grab onto him if I lose my footing. 

And we have achieved the crossing! “Good boy, Finn!” He gets a cookie.

Now for the hard part… There is a deep spot right under the wall and I’m not sure if Finn will step down into it, especially now that the water is murky and we can no longer see the bottom. 

“Bravo, Finn!!” He steps right down into the water without hesitation, and he is not startled by the initial depth, nor by the steep, unseen climb to shallower water.

Now it’s Sputnik’s turn! Sputnik is usually not too concerned about water. When we go hiking and there’s a creek crossing, Finn always takes the log bridge or finds a spot narrow enough to jump while Sputnik plows right through the water. But Sputnik isn’t too keen on this pond for some reason. You can see the tension on the lead and Sputnik’s body straining against the pull. 

Luckily, Sputnik is very motivated by food. A treat from my pocket persuades him to plunk those first two feet in, but his braced posture tells us he’s not happy about it.

After that he crosses pretty easily, but not with Finn’s nonchalance. Once again, I’m holding my goat close so we can support each other on the uneven, invisible bottom. I love the way Finn is looking down from above. I think he feels superior. “I did it better, Sputnik!” And I admit–Finn DID do it better. On the way back, Sputnik balked before suddenly jumping down into the deep spot. He made a big splash and soaked the back of my pants, so I got to be wet for the rest of the morning. Unfortunately, Phil did not manage to get a picture.