Thursday, December 2, 2010

Brain Surgery for Boy Goats

Hi hi hihihihiiii!  I missed you all so much!
My lady is so busy and never has time to help me type the blog.  It's a sad state of affairs.  But today, we had a special visit, so she said we could blog about it.  My favourite vet came to visit - Dr. Nicholson!  He delivered me out of my real mom, and I would have died it if wasn't for him, so that is why my name is Lucky Nickel, you see?  Anyway, he came over and I was very pleased to see him, and he chatted with me for a while, and then he said to my lady "So we have two boys to do today?" and she said yes, and I thought, what does he mean?  None of the other goats are sick, so why is the vet here?  Even Coffee, who is part Nubian and therefore not all that bright, wondered the same thing.  However, you can see she has a sort of vacant look, like maybe she's forgotten what she is wondering about.
Well, Dr. Nicholson put some things together in a box and I tried to see what was in there but it was a box with a lid and a handle and he gave it to my lady and they went over the fence, all quick-as-can-be, so I wasn't able to try to help any more because I was on the other side of the fence.  Then, my lady picked up Osmo, and she had a funny look on her face because Osmo is a boy goat and she says he smells really, really bad right now.  I think he smells quite interesting, but she wrinkles her nose when he comes near.  She put Osmo on his bum so that the vet could take a look, and I said "Why are you doing that to Osmo?" and she said "Don't worry Lucky Nickel, it's just brain surgery."  Then the vet did something special with some rubber tubing stuff and a metal instrument, and Osmo made some funny noises, and then he got two shots, and he walked away.  I thought he was walking funny though, as if he might have to make goat berries but he couldn't quite do it.

Afterwards, Osmo came over to the fence because he is always interested in talking to me and sometimes I wag my tail at him.
He's kind of cute, don't you think?  Even without a supplemental brain.  It's actually still there, but my lady said it isn't functioning because there is a band to prevent thoughts from flowing to it, or from it.  I don't know what kind of band because I don't hear any music, but I suppose it is a rock band or something and maybe they are on break right now between sets.
Sometimes he sticks out his tongue at me!  See?!
I'm not sure what he does that for.
Unfortunately he's not very discriminating because he also sticks out his tongue at Coffee...and, well...she's a Nubian, as I said.
After his surgery, Osmo and I ate hay together on the opposite sides of the fence, but he was in a funny mood and kept on laying down and standing up.
It's like he knew there was something going on with his supplemental brain because he kept checking it.
And checking it more.
Then he lay down and Springfield the donkey came over to stand with him because Springfield had brain surgery a long time ago but he said he remembered and he felt bad for Osmo.

Anyway, my lady did the same thing with lovely Valentino, and the vet did the same thing, and they were all finished.  I was quite confused, because I thought the boy goats needed their brains to remember to eat and drink and remember my name and everything.  My lady smiled in a funny way and said they would actually be much smarter now than they were before because they were being distracted by their supplemental brain.  I don't think it's fair that boy goats are born with a supplemental brain.  I thought I should have one too.  She said the supplemental brain can only think about one thing and it overrides their regular brain and that's why it has to be removed.  She said a lot of boys could benefit from this operation, and not just goats.  When I learned that, I decided it was OK not to have a supplemental brain.

After that I went and got onto the roof of the vet's truck and my lady scolded me, but the vet said to stay there because he wanted to get a picture, which he did.  It is such a challenge to be a celebrity goat.  The vet left and my lady went back to see how Valentino was doing.

Valentino wasn't very impressed.  He lay in the corner of the barn and didn't want to walk around looking like he was trying to make goat berries.  He said it was just wrong to have his supplemental brain removed.
Opal didn't care about any of it.  She was just enjoying basking in the sun.
Lotus, Horton, Misky and Larke were only vaguely interested in case there might be food.
And then of course there's me - just your helpful barnyard reporter.  Until next time, eat well, stay warm.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I did a quiz too! (and bye bye to llamas)

My lady is very sad today because she had to say goodbye to all her remaining five llamas.  They have gone to live at Hedgeapple Farm, with a lovely family who have lots of sheep and lots of children, so they will enjoy the llamas very much.  My lady was very brave and did not cry until the llamas drove away (oh, the llamas were not driving, the people were driving and the llamas were in the trailer).  Then she had some moments with some tissues and got a splotchy face and looked quite unsettled.  So I said to her that we should do the quiz that Isobelle Golightly did, because maybe it would make her laugh.

Isobelle had wondered what result Val would get, because she is besotted with Valentino, our buck.  However, the quiz seems to be directed only to females, so I had to do it for myself.  My lady read me the questions and I was able to answer all the quiz questions without difficulty, because I am a clever goat.

So, without further ado, I shall let you know that I am indeed....Emma Woodhouse!

Oh yes, and the description to go along with the result was perfectly suited you know.  It said this:

  • You like being the queen of your social circle (small and provincial as it may be), and feel it's your duty to help those less influential than you. 
  • You often meddle in the affairs of others, though you do it with a pure heart. 
  • You are often deluded in your flights of fancy, but your good intentions and creative spirit make you someone anyone could like.

Now really, isn't that just perfectly right?!  I AM the queen of my social circle, which may be a small barnyard circle, but none the less it is mine, and it is always my duty to bring you the news.  I only meddle when it is called for, and while some might think my flights of fancy to be delusional....well....I beg to differ.  And I do have a very creative spirit.  All this led me to think that I really should be named Emma instead of Lucky Nickel.
Oh, did you notice how lovely my fybur looks these days?  Yes, it is getting longer and curlier.  My lady is very excited about it and says I will make great socks one day.  I think she is having flights of fancy but since she is sad, I didn't give her a butt in the leg to make her stop saying such silly things.
I do like to accent my curls with a little hay and weed seeds.  It just adds such a lovely touch, don't you think?

As I told you, my lady is sad to have to say goodbye to her llamas.  She was especially sad about saying goodbye to Stormy and Merlin.  She said I should show you these pictures of them from last week when they were being given their evening snacks.  She says that Merlin had just reached the stage where he liked having neck rubs.  Oh dear, now she's going to cry again.  Well, just enjoy the pictures.

Merlin in the Sunset
 Stormy has a lovely fleece now.
Stormy with his Dad Kahlua in the background.
Merlin gets ready for a nibble of grain!
Oh Merlin, you're so adorable!
 Goodbye little man.  Be a good boy at your new home!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All Things Goaty!

I'm back!  Oh my word, I know it has been a long time since I have blogged.  In fact, some of you may be crying, or even gnashing your teeth with anxiety, wondering what I have been doing.  I, Lucky Nickel, have been organizing things.  Oh yes, it is one of my special talents.  I have many special talents of course, but I can inspire other goats into action.  As it happens, I was visiting a favourite goat blog - by Millie at Eden Hills - and she said that there was "a movement across the goat farming world" and of course, I had to be a part of the movement.  It's possible I started the movement myself...I mean, I'm such a trendsetter...sometimes I start things without even realizing it.  Anyway, I needed to be more involved, since I am a model for other goats.

Yes, so this movement is apparently about goats standing up for peace.  I asked my lady, "Standing up for a piece of what?  Pie??" and she rolled her eyes at me and said "Lucky Nickel, not THAT kind of piece."  Then she furrowed her eyebrows and said "In any event, you are too fat, and may not have pie."
Can you imagine?  She called me fat!  I am not fat!  I am fluffy!  In addition, I have to live outside, or at least in the barn, and the winter is coming, so I need to be well insulated.  Fat....harrumph!!!

I felt it was my duty, then, to have the rest of the goats on the farm all stand up for a piece of pie, errr...I mean, stand up for peace.  So, I told them to do so, and they kind of stood around in a confused group, not being sure what to do.  Sometimes, I really wonder about my fellow caprines.  What is so difficult about standing up for peace?  I had to show them the picture of Marley over at Eden Hills, doing the stand up thing.  I had to stand up myself, even, to show them how to do it, because there was a deep-seated reluctance in the group to do anything at all other than eat and sleep and produce goat berries.  Not the saltiest peanuts in the bag, these goats...

After I did some more explaining, finally, the little goat brain light bulbs began a slow but sputtering glow.  The only way I could manage to encourage them was through the use of some strategically placed attractant.  Here you can see, from left to right, Lotus, Horton and Coffee standing up for peace.  I am in the very front of the picture, just a little bit (accidentally of course) because I had to coordinate the whole event.
After that initial success, we had multiple standing up for peace moments.  Coffee and Horton were really good at it.  My lady said Horton was looking fat too.
Then Lotus managed a semi-standing with Coffee while Horton took a rest.  She can't get as tall as Coffee because Coffee has long gangly Nubian type legs.  Not really something I covet, but she does stand well.
Horton did another stand that I thought was really very energetic and possibly even verging on goat ballet, kind of like Isobelle does, but my lady said "Look at his belly!!" and ruined the artistic moment for me.
Then Misky became distracted by Horton's lovely fybur (yes, that is the correct goat spelling) and there was a loss of focus on the standing matter, and Horton just wanted to show off.
So he pranced about wiggling so that his fybur would look extra curly and special.  That of course made my lady get distracted from the standing too, because she went all googly-eyed over Horton and his fybur and started mumbling incoherently about socks and knitting needles.  I know Horton doesn't want any needles because they are pokey.  If you look at this picture below, and click on it, it will be bigger, and you can see his little curly bits.
So by that point the whole group was off balance and nobody was standing properly and my lady had to go see to the llamas.  She said she would be back in a while, and I had to sit around supervising the other goats because they were so wired about standing and fybur and eating pie and everything.

My lady spent excessive amounts of time cooing over the llamas and giving them neck rubs and other unfair attention, because really it should be lavished upon me, but that is another matter entirely.  She finally came back and I saw her coming over in the oncoming darkness, and I alerted her to a non-conforming behavior.  She was a little confused as she stumbled over in the darkness, nearly tripping on blades of grass and other great distractions.
As she got closer, she saw the infraction for herself.
Misky and Larke were standing on TOP of the goat hut.  Definitely not a sanctioned activity.  The more astute observer would see that they were not alone!
Indeed, they immediately blamed the interloper, and said that he had coerced them into this folly.
At that point, he looked rather affronted and flew out of the goat pen.  Misky and Larke just stood on top of the hut, which is only covered with a tarp, looking sheepish.  Well, goatish, but in a sheepish way.
At that point, Horton and Lotus had to distract my lady by standing up for peace again, or at least doing their best to stand up for something.
Opal got so excited that she couldn't figure out what to do (she gets confused easily) and started doing neck rolls for peace instead.
It's so embarrassing when I am the only smart goat on the farm and I have to watch this sort of thing.
My lady said she thought we'd done quite well with our standing up, at which point I was the one rolling my eyes because she really doesn't have very high standards if she thought this was sufficient.
So I'll be back in the barn, laying on a hay bale, available for consultations or anything else you might need.  Just don't ask me to organize a group of goats.  They're not worth the trouble.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Some good news updates

First of all, I would like to thank everyone who has commented, written emails, written Facebook messages, and otherwise contacted me about my most recent post.  I was both humbled and heartened by the many voices who expressed care and concern, and who wanted to help in any way they could.  I was really surprised by a number of readers who had never commented before - readers I didn't know I had!  It really helps to have positive messages from so many people and places.  Thank you all, so much!

Second, I would like to assure you that I will definitely be continuing the blog!  There will always be adventures of one sort or another going on.  I enjoy writing it and hearing from you, and I will keep on writing and hoping to hear from you.  There are some tentative future plans brewing and there will be furry critters involved, so just stay tuned for more news over the coming months.

Third, I have a number of blog posts waiting to be written - an overdue thanks for a blog award, a recounting of the fun time I had at SOAR (Spin-Off Autumn Retreat) in Wisconsin, and other bits and pieces.  I shall do my best to get to those soon.

Fourth, and perhaps most importantly, I wanted to update you on the situation with my herd/flock/menagerie. I am thrilled and relieved to be able to report that I have already found wonderful homes for many of my beloved animals.  As I had mentioned, my Blue-faced Leicester sheep, and two Icelandics, went to live at a caring and loving farm by the name of Grace Haven Acres in Wisconsin.  Subsequently, the rest of my sheep and Dolly Llama have gone to a wonderful new home right here in Iowa at the Stamps Family Farm.  I am really glad to have met the Stamps family and I know they will provide a great home for all the sheep as well as Dolly.  In fact, Dolly is already eating grain from their hands!

My ducks and goose will be going to live with Maggie and her mom at Prairieland Herbs.  They will have a lovely home to share with some mini horses (who have on occasion been mistaken for goats) and will have a lovely assortment of fresh herbs to snack on in their new surroundings!  My remaining llamas will all be going to live with the Icelandic sheep at Hedgeapple Farm here in Iowa - another wonderful family farm where they will have a great home.

Now, I'm just focusing on finding homes for some goats and the mini donkeys, and also the chickens.  The relief of finding good homes is tremendous, and I feel that I can sleep well at night knowing that all my animal friends are in good hands.

Oh, and Lucky Nickel says hello, and stay tuned for news from the goat world soon too!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sometimes, change happens

This is a difficult post for me to write.  For once, these days, it's not Lucky Nickel's turn to write.  This one is all mine.  It's about change, about decisions, about the course of life.  It's not all happy, but it's not all bad.  It's just a bumpy road sometimes.

As a number of you know, the relationship I had when I started out on Whispering Acres ended many months ago.  Some of you may not know that, but now you do!  For a long and awkward time, however, Kelly continued to live here on the farm, because he didn't have anywhere else to go and could not afford a place to live on his own.  He was supposed to be doing the animal care and taking care of the yard, etc, in return for free room and board.  Things declined, quickly, and the situation became intolerable.  Now, as of quite recently, that situation is also over.  You might be thinking this is one of the sad parts of this post, but really it isn't.  It is all for the best.  Without going into details, I shall just say it was fraught with problems and caused a tremendous amount of stress.  That too, now, is easing.

So, that has left me in a difficult situation - even though I only have 8.5 acres, I have a lot of animals and a lot on my plate.  I work full time, and I was in law school part time.  I said "was" because I made the really tough decision to withdraw for this semester.  Simply put, there is too much on my plate right now for me to continue.  So much change and so much anxiety is too much for school at the same time.  So, I withdrew from my classes about 2 weeks ago, and am still coming to terms with that decision.

I knew I had to reduce my flock numbers immediately, so I was both incredibly fortunate and tremendously relieved when the blue-faced Leicesters found a home at Grace Haven Acres in Wisconsin.  I know they will be well cared for there, and they will go on to produce happy little lambs to delight their new owners.  I hope to see them at future shows.

Now, the really sad part.  I have to sell Whispering Acres.  It's too much work for me along with everything else.  I'm heartsick but I know it's the right thing to do.  As a result, I also need to find homes for nearly all my animals.  I am hoping to keep Lucky Nickel, Marshmallow, and Stormy the llama.  It depends on where I end up.  I will keep those three until the last possible moment.  One thing I want to avoid, at all costs, is animal auctions.  I want good homes for my animals, where they will be loved and cared for.  That is part of the reason I am sharing these changes today.  I hope that by some chance, some twist of fate, there will be somebody that can help with a home, or has a friend who can provide a home, for at least one of my beloved flock/herd/menagerie.

Looking for homes are....
(I know I need more sheep pictures, I'll try to take some soon)
Bianca - a white unregistered full Icelandic ewe, probably about 4-5 years old.
Blizzard - a white unregistered full Icelandic wether, well tempered, probably also about 4-5 years old.
Flurry - a cinnamon (phaeomelanin) coloured unregistered Icelandic ewe with a poor bite (her teeth don't match up to her upper palate) but she had a lamb with no mouth problems.  She is 3-4 years old.
Poppy - a great mother - Rambouillet/Suffolk/Dorset mix ewe - I think also about 4-5 years old.  Mixed colours of black and white.
Cream Puff - white ewe, Poppy's daughter of last year, sired by Blizzard (before he was wethered) so she is 50% Icelandic and then has the Rambouillet/Suffok/Dorset mix genes.  Her ears have tan coloured tips.  She would probably throw coloured lambs.
MB - Marshmallow's Brother.  White, 1.5 years old, half Icelandic, remaining half unknown but possibly Polypay cross.  Has horns.  Fairly small sized wether.
Paddington - Poppy's ram lamb from this year, black, sired by Cragganmore, a black blue-faced Leicester ram.  He is really sweet so far.  He could be wethered easily but hasn't been yet.
Ferdinand - a black Shetland wether who is a real love-bug.  He loves chest rubs.  I may also take him with me because he's so sweet.  If he found the perfect home though, I could part with him.

Also three unnamed lambs from this year - one white ram lamb who is half BFL and two black ewe lambs who are half BFL.  Their sires are not known for sure, although I have my suspicions.

GOATS (all have horns unless otherwise stated)
Coffee - she's a mini-Nubian doe with good milk production.  She had twins this year and is a great mom.  She's black with a light underbelly and brown on her ears.  I think 3 years old.
Misky - Coffee's daughter sired by Val, the angora.  White.  Born in May 2010.
Larke - Coffee's daughter sired by Val, the angora.  White.  Born in May 2010.
Both Misky and Larke are in the picture below to the right of their mother, the two smaller white goats not inside the hut.
Lotus - Nigerian dwarf doe - tan with darker areas and an interesting white design on her side.  Good mother and good milk production.  About 3 years old.  Very sweet personality and easy to handle.  Picture here of Lotus with Horton.
Horton - Lotus' son from this year, wethered.  He is the son of Val the angora buck so he qualifies as a "Nigora" (which is like a pygora goat but from a Nigerian rather than a pygmy) and he is showing a nice fleece that is probably B or C type.  Easy to handle.
Opal - another Nigerian dwarf doe, VERY sweet natured.  I might take her also if I cannot find a home for her.
Valentino - Unregistered full Angora buck, intact.  Hunky!!  Loves head rubs.  White.
Osmo - Pygmy buck, black and white.  Had scurs but they are gone right now.  Might grow back but will likely keep falling off.  Sweet personality.  Very friendly.

Dolly - Dark brown and white female, registered, mother of Stormy.  Not extremely approachable but tolerates shearing.

Hazel - Dark brown solid female, moderately approachable.

Cabernet with Merlin - Cabernet had Merlin a few weeks ago as my regular readers know.  They cannot be separated for about 6 months so they have to go together.  Cab is cinnamon brownish/grey and has a few white patches.  Merlin is a male with a brown head and tail tip, otherwise white.  Growing well - much bigger now than in the picture below.
Kahlua - Intact cinnamon coloured male with a gorgeous fleece.  Could be wethered if desired.

My primary objective is to find GOOD homes.  I am aching at the thought of parting with my animals, but I know it is best for both them and for me.  I need to find a new place that I can handle on my own.  I need to find them the best homes I can.  If anyone can help, please let me know.

I also have a gaggle of ducks and a lot of chickens to part with.  Let me know if you are interested in those too.  If you are interested in a lovely 8.5 acre home in Iowa, let me know that too!

Nothing ever stays the same forever, and life throws us curves that we must navigate.  This is just the beginning of a change in direction for me.  While I am sad in many ways, I keep my thoughts tuned to what my next steps are, and what lies around the corner.  There is always light at the end of the tunnel.  Please send light my way if you feel so inclined - I certainly could use some.