Goat Yoga at GlennArt Farm comes to ABC!
A new chapter of our lives now occupies our weekends until the end of July. The ever changing weather conditions have caused David to swiftly manage rescheduling with our very flexible instructors and participants. With the cold weather the first of May, we were forced to reschedule a number of classes. Two weekends ago the weather turned into an August heat wave. Yet yoga participants kept coming! We held four classes this last weekend as the temperatures rose. Our classes were held at the Waller pasture under a black shade tarp cutting the heat by 5 degrees. Many people so enjoyed the interaction with our goat babies, made it worth the efforts to keep the animals cooled off. This last weekend of June 9 and 10 were only 2 days of a five day cycle of rain. Although we managed to hold two classes, three were rained out. Last weekend we have endured a heat dome in the 90s at Garfield Park classes.
This coming weekend seems comfy though we have decided to purchase and set up a pavilion tent to help us mitigate changes in temperature and rain.
O Chicago, the windy city brings such different conditions daily.
Two weeks ago, Thibout, our volunteer, called me to the porch. He said there was a cat sitting on the chair who purred and sat with people on the porch. I said hello to the gray tabby, telling her "NO you cannot stay." We have three cats in the house. No more cats. To add complications, this young female appeared pregnant as well. Not a good scenario for us.
David waited a few days when the cat continued to grace us with her pleasant presence. He said, "We need a 'barn' cat who can fight the rat war in the alley." She would be a great deterrent. So we started to feed her in the garage. She appears every day when we do chores, and likes to eat with the chickens and goats.
My priority for the last 20 days has been goat health. We have begun milking and goat yoga classes. Both of these activities require healthy animals. Please only read this if you are interested in goat care. It is a bit detailed.
When a goat becomes sick its stomach, the systemic health of the animal dives towards illness. What does one do when five out of 17 animals are ill? Three baby kids and two mommies caused me distress. While I am not an animal husbandry specialist, my degree is in Library Science. So I researched, using materials on the internet as well as my vet and mentors. Dr. Vigil came to burn horns for Gracie's girl. We discussed the possible illnesses. While here he took a lab sample of one of the kids. With his oversight and recommendations for the coccidia parasites in the babies, I began a routine of medication using DiMethox brand of sulfadimethoxine (40% liquid). It is an injectable medication given orally to goats. After two days it did not appear to help in two of the kids, both orphans.
Last May 31, Dr. Vigil suggested a larger dose. I chose a more radical action. Two of our orphans had volcanic diarrhea from the time we brought them home. In my research one suggestion was to take them off milk for two days. So I mixed the 911 (trademark product) electrolyte powder and fed them this jello type stuff for two days, small doses of 4 ounces every two hours. The diarrhea stopped. Their digestion systems were re-started with a little bit more of milk for three days, six times a day. They began to chew cud and digest more slowly. I gave them full milk after a week. It was a very deliberate hand-on process, which I do not suggest lightly. We are back to three feedings a day. They have had no problems since.
Typical to intense management of many goats in a small space, other babies became ill. Last Sunday we had four kids with problems. So Monday, June 10, we reorganized the sleeping space for babies, which sleeps twelve growing kids. They have now over 100 square feet of space. Peptobismol (yes the stuff you buy at Walgreens) is given three times a day helped. Cross contamination is slower. Today, only two slightly poop messy bucklings showed problems.
One of our milkers, Destiny, remains weak; however she is slowly recovering her usual cheeky self. I learned to take a temperature when a goat is facing away from the herd, lies down a lot, and walked slowly. The fever broke with antibiotics, accompanied by B complex. Dr. Vigil provided followup via phone on Monday. We have been very fortunate to have him.
In these situations when one cannot see the outcome, gratitude and hard is imperative, along with prayer. I was very thankful that Dr. Vigil provided text support, as well as my mentor in Wisconsin. Our Wwoofer volunteers Thibout and Apoovra cleaned goat mess caused by bad poops every morning for two weeks. I also appreciated the documentation which is found online: Fiascofarm.com and Onion Creek Ranch http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/. My evening reading involves animal care with a study of The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Julliette Blaircli Levy. Our farm in the city of Chicago is always a learning experience.
Here they are these sweet fraternal twins. At 2:09 p.m. on Friday May 18, Gracie 'freshened' or gave birth to a couple of giant babies. The boy weighed 11 pounds at birth and the girl 9.2. Mom and kids are safe and beautiful.
With the arrival of Gracie's kids, we could use your help. GlennArt formally has opened the Name the Kid Contest! Please follow the link to contribute your names for babies. We close the contest on Friday May 25. Our impartial judge will announce the name of our dozen babies on May 26.
Since the end of April, we have received a number of babies to our farm. Destiny gave birth to twin girls on Sunday May 4. They are beautiful with each a different ear type.
Esther surprised us on May 2 with just one baby girl, a BIG baby girl weighing in at 10 pounds. We spent several concerning days evaluating Esther's condition because she has had multiple kids in previous years; last year she produced a group of four kids. As our best milker, she also lost use of her left udder. Fortunately the baby modified eating habits. This kid is our first goat with waddles in five years. Esther always was unique.
With Esther's condition unknown to produce milk, and her one kid, we decided to seek help. We found Judy and Terry in Harvard, who had a number of orphan babies. We adopted three kids, as seen above. Because of overcrowding where they were born, they were quite thin. In addition, we found Abby, seen to the right. Her baby boy show above is quite fat. Abby is now sharing milk with the orphans.
Since then, we have been very busy feeding kids, organizing, watching Esther's condition for milking, and waiting for Gracie to kid. She has been calm and getting bigger by the day. With her babies' birth we finish kidding season.
At 9p.m. tonight, Martha delivered triplets: two boys and a girl. All are safe and healthy. Martha is looking strong post partum. We are very grateful that all were born without complications. Many thanks to my husband David for taking more tasks so that I could wait with Martha all evening. Lorel and Kevin came by to blow dry the babies, as the temperature had dipped below 50 degrees. Our international student Miguel arrived in time to see the first kid appear and helped me hook up the heater.
Of course goat babies are so beautiful.
Our famous weatherman Tom Skilling has evaluated April and found that it to be the coldest April in 137 years. This weekend the night temperatures at last are above freezing and snow has not appeared in several days. Last week, we have purchased an editing software. In the process of sorting files, I discovered several short videos, one from each month, showing the long winter of 2018. Please click on the youtube video below. We would appreciate if you could 'like' it.
We are very thankful for World Wide Opportunity for Organic Farming, USA branch. As spring finally arrives, we remember three wonderful people who have stepped into our lives and given us a boost on preparing for Milking Season and Goat Yoga.
Bertha Iniguez came to us for two weeks and this lady knows how to work. We were able to make the basement a work area for seed preparation. Bertha accompanied me to Good Food Expo in March for a talk on worm culture. She also wrote announcements, set up Criagslist postings, and helped with general chores. We wish her well in her plans for the future.
Jordan and Brocton came through our homestead in a brief but potent six days of work. In one day, they completely rebuilt our chicken coop, cleaning up rat infestation, giving us 20 more square feet of work space, and enlarging our nesting area from five spots to 14 spots. Please note the classy wave pattern in the chicken boxes. The hens all gave their approval.
They guys also tilled the Waller Street Pasture for planting, and created a yoga class area for May. Thank you WWOOF -USA volunteers for helping us prepare for our busy season.
One example of their work was the new hay feeder. I had been losing a LOT of hay by using boxes on the floor. The goats would simply step on the feed and then poop on good hay. Jordan and Brocton anchored this heavy hay feeder on the wall of the garage. Jordan tested to see if the feeder was attached properly. No goat knocking this thing down.
Last year we received funding from Frontera Farmer Foundation. Through these funds, we were able to set up our pasture fences, buy milking machine equipment, and finally build a milk processing room. Our final project with Frontera was to apply for raw milk sales permit with the State of Illinois Department of Public Health. We began this process in late March, and our first inspection occured on April 12. Inspectors sent a good report that our farm has complied with infrastructure requirements. HOWEVER the inspectors wish a visit once the milking season begins. Kidding Season begins next week. After babies are settled, we begin milking. One step at at time.
Seeker, Wife. Mother, English Language tutor, goat farmer, friend
(Carolyn's dates & thoughts)
Girls come home!
applied for Funding WWOOFUSA
Root Riot Meeting at Glennart. Planning garden changes.
> Urban Livestock EXPO
Cheese Document plan EXCEL Program
> FIRST GGG Gathering
3/9/2017 Plant: Spinach, lettuce indoors
3/21/2017 First day of SPRING!!!!
3/22/2017 Plant carrots with garlic
4/1/2016 Plan/repair pasture fencing
4/5/2017 set up potato beds
4/12/2017 Kidding Season begins
> Plant potatoes
4/21/17 Milking season begins
4/25/2016 Set up fencing
> Kidding season continues
5/20/17 Spring Gathering
5/25/16 plant Sweet potato in beds watermelon. squash
5/10/16 Cheese making begins
5/15-7/2/16 Last two does duePatsy and Destiny
Sale of bucklings
> Sale of bucklings
> Weaning begins
> Cheese making continues
> Sale of doelings
> Cheese making continues
> Dry out the does
> Does to Wisconsin for breeding