Posts Tagged ‘farming in Maine’

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Doeling in their hut. 

April vacation started Thursday.  Olive’s due date was Saturday.  Perfect planning…not that I had a whole lot to do with it.  Nature has it’s own rhythm and it worked out to my advantage… so not.

Anyone that owns goats knows that the gestation period for Nubians is roughly 150 days, with the typical goat kidding three days to one side of the due date or the other.  I try hard to schedule kidding during April vacation or as close as I can.  I work with a bunch of really great people who understand my “other” life and I can go home when the deal goes down.

Olive worries me.  She has had milk fever her last two kiddings and needs meds to get up and going. But I have a barn cam and an app on my phone so I can monitor things and run home if necessary  which makes me way less anxious this time of year.

Honestly, things are perfect…great people, good technology and decent timing….

Until Thursday morning.  Olive’s ligaments were gone.  Ligaments are a sure way of telling of impending kidding.  They run along the side of the tail and are usually described as feeling like a pencil  that runs diagonal along the backside below the hide.  In preparation for kidding a doe’s ligaments will soften and “disappear”.  So they are gone.  It is 4 in the morning I have to be to work at 7.  Maybe all will happen in those few hours.  Yeah, no.  So I make a plan.  I will stay home until 11 and youngest son will sign out, come home and be on watch after that.  Remember above when I said that I work with great people…I truly do…but I also work in a district with a contract.  Under that contract I cannot extend a long vacation.  So therefore I felt I needed to be at work at some point during the day. I kind of stress over these things.  I have this kind of guilt not guilt.  I choose to be at the farm but yet know I should be at work….it is a shitty paradigm.

So I check Olive once again, go in the house change into somewhat presentable work clothes, check Olive again, drive to the neighbors and ask if they will check on Olive at 10 and 10:30.  Drive back to the house check on Olive, mind you nothing has changed. Drive to work. Neighbor calls at 10, nothing happening but there is a slime string hanging down.  Neighbor calls at 10:37 very long slime string but nothing else to report.  I continue to pretend to work.  At 11 I sit down with my friends for lunch and check the app on my phone, you know the one that is connected to the barn camera.   It comes onto the screen and I see nothing but here this little, baa….Gotta go.

Seriously, I jumped up grabbed my purse and headed out the door.  I raised home and had a set of twins waiting for me.  All are doing well, but Olive did need her dose of meds.

I truly love the people who make this farming this possible, good friends all!

p.s. Lilly is due next Saturday….

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Sunny, Violet and Claus this spring.

Monday night was load the hog night.  They have to be at the processors first thing in the morning and we always try for the night before, just because we usually have shitty luck loading hogs.

Last time we loaded it was February with snow up to our…well it was deep and Drizella and Anastasia were not budging.  The trailer was backed up to their house and all they had to do was walk up the ramp and voila we would have been done.  But not the way it was to be.  Drizella came out the door and sauntered up the ramp like she was on a runway.  Anastasia  not so much.  FH had to climb into their house and with a large piece of plywood push Ana, mind you she was a big girl, with all of his might until she finally gave in and walked the plank so to say.

FH decided to put the trailer into the pig pasture a few days ahead of time to let them become acclimated with it.  He has done this before sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  This year was a piece of cake the trio of bacon walked right in.  The gate was shut, the truck hooked to the trailer and the pretrip check was made.  We had a flat tire on the trailer.  No problem, send youngest son to get the air tank and pump it up.   apparently, these pigs were smarter than the rest and their way of avoiding market was by eating the freaking valve stem.  They ate the thingy that you need to fill the tire with air.  The whole thing, not just the cap the whole thing.  So here we were with three large hogs in a trailer, hooked to a truck and a flat tire.  Thankfully we had a tire on the snowmobile trailer that would fit. (Mind you we never snowmobile, don’t even own a snowmobile but we have a trailer.)  Some days those random things that are around do come in useful.

FH uses the farm jack, in the very wet, sloppy, odorous pig shit to jack up the trailer, precarious as hell with the now disgruntled hogs inside, changes the tire and we were market/processor bound.  No more problems.

The hogs, Claus, Sunny and Violet on the rail weighed in at 240#, 222# and 214# respectively.  I suspect it was Claus that ate the valve stem.

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