A Tree Story

I know you have all been waiting for an update on Nick so I apologize for leaving it so late: Nick has made a full recovery! It seems the impaction may have been caused by a urinary blockage which prevented Nick from drinking enough water (his bladder would have been full and uncomfortable) and without water, food doesn’t move through the system. His recovery was heralded by a massive pee, after which he seemed quite a bit happier. The rumen started working after that and, after recovering from the mineral oil, he was totally back to normal. Following this experience I now more closely monitor the condition of the boys’ water for liquidity and cleanliness. Nick has now developed the habit of intercepting me when I enter the goat area with a bucket full of hot water and drinking the hot water. I really feel like I should put a tea bag in there for him, since this water is pretty warm! I guess it’s like the satisfaction we get from drinking hot tea (or eating hot soup) on a cold day: it warms you up from the inside. Buckley hasn’t yet discovered this treat so Nick is free to drain the bucket himself, the clever guy!

All the goats appear well though they’ve all developed large hay bellies. This is typical for goats in the winter, I’m told, since the digestion of hay keeps them warm. As long as the goats are happy, I’m happy. I’ve included a picture of the unfortunate tree that was devoured by hungry goats a few days ago. It was actually Mom and Dad’s Christmas tree – no tinsel or other foreign objects still attached and it was from this farm so I knew nothing nasty had touched it. I can’t think of a better ending for a tree that was cut down for Christmas purposes!

Cory the puppy continues to do well though we are challenged by his desire to use cats as playthings and chewy toys. This is, of course, quite hard on the cats and Cory doesn’t seem deterred even by a good slash on the nose. He has a strong prey drive so to not chase something that runs is a hard concept for him to grasp. We’re working on it as well as his recent peeing on the floor problem. I’ve noticed this with animals: as soon as you get some sort of routine going and stop giving them your full attention all day long, they start developing bad habits. So with Cory we can’t just ignore him until it’s time to go outside and pee (this would be the time WE decide he should pee), we need to keep an eye on him and watch for the subtle signs that tell us he wants to pee. Well, we’re working on identifying those signs and, meanwhile, giving him our undivided attention, all day long! This is all causing Will to reminisce how much he likes having dogs around that someone else is responsible for!

Will is off in Memramcook this morning, picking up a bunch of plastic, 55 gallon barrels. These will be used for feed and other sorts of storage. They looked good on the computer and they come with lids so hopefully they’ll do the trick. At $10 each they’re a good price and they were originally used for food ingredients so don’t contain any toxic residues. I’m here at home, baking bread and making a potluck contribution for tonight. There is a fiddle jam this afternoon with potluck dinner to follow: I can’t resist many continuous hours of fiddle playing!

There are a few snowflakes falling which will be nice since the snow has gotten rather “stale” lately. It froze quite hard after that wet spell and we’ve been able to walk on top of it, which is great. When I take the puppy for a morning walk through the woods, I see many tracks of the animals that move around in the wee hours: rabbits, squirrel, deer, pheasant and something smaller than Cory and larger than Thabo (our cat). They tell me the coyotes out here are quite a bit larger than their west coast cousins so it may be a fox? We’ve been walking all over these prints so the wilderness isn’t quite as pristine as it was; hopefully a new snowfall will turn it back into a blank canvass for animal tracks.

Will has been spending some time working at mapping the farm. If we had a good Google earth picture of the property we could use it to place landmarks: fence lines, house, barn, etc. but without this the process has been quite involved. Will has been taking measurements and compass readings to try and get things on a map to some sort of scale. It is working quite well and looking good. We went out the other day to measure the flow of water from the pond’s overflow, plus the shape of the swale. Milder temperatures allowed all the moving water to cut paths through the snow so we were able to see what we couldn’t see in the fall with all the weeds: the movement of water through the farm fields. This will help us get a better picture of our farm and what we can expect to do where.

While we were out measuring the pond, Cory ran out onto the pond ice, chasing a blowing leaf. Now this ice was very new and we could see it quivering under his weight so called him back and, thank goodness, he came to us right away. Just imagine this little puppy going through the ice and struggling to try and get out again – what a horrible thing to happen! Especially since one of us would have to go in after him (it was about 12 below zero celcius) and it would have probably been me! How many of these near misses do we have every day in our lives and we just go on, thinking “good thing that didn’t happen!”. I guess they serve to make us more aware of what can happen so we can prevent them. I think we’ll make sure we keep a long coil of rope near the pond, just in case!

It’s time to go and knead some dough, then perhaps another visit to the barn to talk to the goats. Happy January to you all!

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