Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Summer 2016

Time to attempt to re-awaken the blog! I hadn't felt like blogging too much after we lost Ryan (plus we were so busy all summer), but I think it's time for a summer 2016 update - because oh so many updates!

We miss our Ryan boy like crazy around here. He had such a huge presence and he was the goof to the girls' serious. The first time we went to the river him, Abby and Zoey got all excited after swimming. The normal go-to activity had always been Abby beating up Ryan while Zoey danced around them with a toy in her mouth. Without Ryan, they had no idea what to do with themselves. They kind of tried to wrestle, then just...stood there looking confused. 

They've figured out how to play, now. Still isn't the same without our Ryry. Abby is feeling pretty good on her special kidney diet (it basically consists of cream of wheat, egg whites, some veggies if she'll eat them, and either lamb or pork). 

Shortly after losing Ryan, Erika's Tyler came to stay with us for a week. I'm so glad we got to have him on the farm this summer. He had such a good time. A few days ago, they had to let Tyler go, too. Two amazing boys gone this summer :(

Going back again to July, the baby goats grew up and went to their new homes! The little boy lives as a pet on an acreage iwith a goatling sister. The girls went to a farm to eventually be milk goats. After the babies left, I started milking Pippa (otherwise I think she may have burst!). She produced a ton of milk for such a little goat! I was getting a sandwich bag full every day. After a few weeks I went to once a day, then every other day, and now no more milking. We have a freezer full of goat milk that I've been giving to the dogs. They love it.

Those kids were so much fun - but also TROUBLE! They were pretty easy up until they started eating 'real' food about about 5 weeks. Before that, they'd escape (easily, through any square in the wire fencing) and just jump around and be cute. Once they started eating, though, they'd escape and try to get chicken grain, strawberry plants, etc etc. We thought Pippa was hard to contain - try tiny popcorn goats! Impossible.

But totally worth the trouble.

We had lots of friends come to visit and get used as a climbing gym.

We brought them to the vet to have them disbudded - we couldn't bring ourselves to do with without anaesthetic, which is the norm on farms.

Pippa was an excellent mom. She never minded us or the dogs near her babies, but she was always on alert and very protective of them. When they went to their new homes at 8 weeks, though, I guess she was done...she never even cried for them!

Nom, nom, nom maples!

In mid July, I shocked the sheep and chickens with this:

Introducing Juice! She is an awesome little cat. We set up the pump room for her with a bed, litter box (we kept her locked in for a few weeks so she'd get comfortable here and not run away when let out), food and water. After the first couple of weeks, we'd let her out during the day and then lock her in there at night. Then one night she pulled a crazy cat move and escaped through the roof somehow. We stopped locking her in at night (pointless!) and soon after that:

Juice decided that she wants to be an indoor/outdoor cat. I put a pet door in the back door so that Abby has constant outdoor access (kidney failure = has to pee a lot). Juice decided that a pet door suits her just fine, thank you very much. We actually don't see her indoors that much but I'm pretty sure she comes in around midnight and stays until early morning. She seems to sleep either in the living room in a little dog bed or in my sock basket... 

She is the friendliest little cat - super cuddly - but she's also an excellent rat hunter. For awhile we were finding a Juice kill every few days! Zoey really likes her and they've almost started cuddling together...Abby is not the biggest fan of cats but as long as Juice doesn't come near her bed she mostly ignores her.


Just chillin'

The pond looked lovely this summer!

At the beginning of August, we had an unplanned hatch... well, not quite unplanned. It was more that this duck started sitting on her eggs right when Ryan died and I didn't have the heart right then to take them away. So, about a month later:

Daddy drake:

The sad part about the duckling story is that the mama duck is extremely protective of her babies, to the point where it was almost impossible to get the other 2 female ducks to go into the coop at night. She would chase them around even if they were far away from her and her ducklings. I would keep them separated until dark, and then let the other ducks into the coop so they wouldn't get beaten up. A few nights ago, Victoria refused to come off the pond, probably because she didn't want to be anywhere near the mama duck. I had a bad feeling about predators, but after half an hour of trying to get her off the pond, we had to give up. In the morning, Victoria was gone - we found piles of bloody feathers all around the pond and coop. Poor poor Victoria. She was the best duck!

Nathan with his favourite ram lamb, Block Head.

We had a very productive garden this summer. Our tomatoes this year all came from seeds in the compost! Weed seeds in the compost are a pain when you don't heat it up enough - but tomato seeds were a bonus! So many tomatoes. And look at how many green gage plums (SO delicious) were on this tiny tree that we planted last year:

Partly so tiny because the sheep and goat got to it one day...

I think that's about it! Oh, except for this:

If you made it this far in the blog, you probably already know this news ;)

Our family will be expanding in a big way in mid December! We can't wait!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

The Saddest News

Ryan isn't going to be around very much longer.

This week, Abby was diagnosed with kidney disease. I had brought her to the vet after she peed in her bed, and was devastated by the news that her kidneys are failing.

I had been planning on bringing Ryan in for a 'senior' exam after his 9th birthday in March. When Abby's blood results came back, I decided to bring Ryan right away 'just in case'. He has been slowing down a bit, and last week I noticed that his stomach felt a bit hard/bloated even when empty. He had been sleeping in the hall occasionally, and panting and drinking more frequently. When the vet walked in the room to take a look at him, I was suddenly filled with dread. I looked at Ryan and suddenly knew there was something sinister going on. I don't know why it took until that moment for me to know. After xrays and then an ultrasound, we received the horrible news that he has multiple masses on his spleen and his liver. It's most likely hemangiosarcoma. How can history repeat itself like this? Sam died of hemangiosarcoma 11 years ago. I never thought I'd be repeating it with my Ryan.

He is ok today. We went to the beach and the river yesterday, and for a walk on the docks today. At least I can provide him with his biggest love - food - easily. I've been feeding him non stop and his appetite is still great. Cheeseburgers, cheesy buns, salmon, steak...he's getting it all.

It's incredibly difficult getting such bad news about both of my amazing dogs. My nutty mutts.... I feel ok about Abby. She is acting pretty peppy and I'm really hoping that she can live awhile with her diet managed. I'm making her all kinds of 'kidney friendly' meals that she is loving. Maybe she got sick to try and tell me to take her little brother to the vet.

My Ryan... I keep seeing him stumble out of his crate at the airport the moment I met him, and go rolling around in the grass. He was the happiest from day 1. I couldn't have ever asked for a better boy.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Let the Cuteness Begin

It happened. The cutest event to ever take place on our farm started on May 11th. Pippa had her babies! 

My bet was on two - normally they have one of two their first pregnancy. Not our Pippa! She was up and down all morning and we could tell she would give birth soon.

 At around 1130 she lay down to start pushing..a few horrible screams later and three kids were born, all within a  minute or so of each other! It was amazing. There are two girls and one boy. The tiny white-faced boy was born first, then the Pippa clone (already naughty, too!!) and then the grey/white girl. We spent a lot of yesterday just watching them. At a day old they are already up and bouncing around and very funny to watch.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Spring Fever

The ducklings have all been sold! I felt bad for poor Deedee - sitting on that nest for 35 days and then only a week with her ducklings! We are at maximum duck capacity, though, and it only seemed to take them disappearing out of hearing range before she was back to normal. It was so easy to sell these ducklings compared to Victoria's back in September. I guess spring is when everyone is acquiring new animals. 

Give a duck a worm and suddenly...

This is why my visions of a beautiful garden bed along the side of the house will never amount to anything. Prime dust bathing location...

Zoey was keeping an eye on a bunch of turkey vultures circling wayyyy overhead. Good farm dog.

They have such a good life! 
(...please ignore the fatness of a certain hairy collie)

Fat because it's buzzy-things season and he prefers to hide inside!

Bad photo, but Abby is loving the new farm sport of dock diving!

I love watching all the perennials come back up. I finally did a good job last year of picking the right combination of shade tolerant plants for this spot!

For some reason, our tomato seedlings really haven't done well this year. We've barely had any even germinate! We can't figure out why, since this has never happened before. Instead of selling them this year, we're going to end up having to buy them!

I went in to check the sheep water and was faced with this...

Check out this guy's funny profile! He looks like he's half bull.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Deedee the sneaky duck

So, Deedee the duck disappeared for the last 35 days or so. She appeared at some point during each day to eat and to relieve herself of a giant, horrible, stinky poop (like, seriously - those poops landed a good foot away from her with sheer propulsion). About 15 days in, I managed to follow her...as she hopped over our fence, into the neighbours yard and under their woodshed. I kept putting off going to the neighbours' house and digging around under their woodshed to find her....so I can't really blame anyone but myself for what I came home to yesterday!

Oh, Deedee, you sneaky girl, you! 8 ducklings.

This is where they were when I got home. Enjoying their first mud bath!

Basically the reason for having a pond ;)

I've sold two of them, and hopefully will sell the rest! These funny tiny ducklings pop through the duck house fencing even when their mom is locked in - so then swim around the pond all on their own while she frantically calls them back! 

Abby doing her due diligence of emptying the duck house of all possible future ducklings. She crawls in and retrieves those eggs without breaking them! Ryan got the egg-retrieval job for all of 1 egg (said egg never made it out of the duck house). Zoey still needs egg retrieval training.

I love my Abby.

And to finish, a fuzzy pile of cute!