I just realized I made exactly one post in 2018 and it wasn’t very happy and upbeat. Please allow me to rectify that. It was mostly due to 2018 being a banner year for us, meaning I made and sold more cheese than ever before. And you know what? 2019 is shaping up to make this a trend!
Most of all, I would like to announce that I am ever so proud to be part of the Local Choice Cooperative Producers organization. We were formed in late 2018 to bring local, sustainably produced food including veggies, fruit, meats, goat cheese, eggs, fresh and dried herbs, dried beans, mushrooms, jams, sauces and pickles, all while supporting 7+ farms, Bifrost Farms among them.
This is pretty exciting for me because I’ve been reading about these whole meal CSAs, mostly in the Northeast, for years and thinking how fabulous it would be to have such an option in our little old Western section of WI. Have your read “The Dirty Life,” by Kristin Kimball? The chance to offer so much more than greens and tomatoes, delivered to your door, and every bit of it produced using non-GMO, sustainable farming practices, whether it is for livestock or produce, is literally a dream come true.
LCCP has Herbivore and Omnivore shares available for an extended 22 week season. It’s also busting another CSA paradigm by offering payment options. Even though we don’t think our shares are overpriced for what you are getting, we do realize that sometimes it can be hard to come up with such a large chunk of change up front. So, why not look hard at what you’re spending at the grocery store on a weekly basis, check us out and hopefully you will see how hard we’re trying to bring local, sustainable food to the Red Cedar River community.
Not gonna lie. So far, 2018 has been a Rough kidding year. Seven does were due in February and we started off with a bang on the 19th with Fricka’s triplets. Of course, after six hours of labor I had to call the vet who helped by turning the first baby, who was totally sideways breech. Okay, so far so good though. Everyone lived, but I don’t mind saying I was getting nervous. After Cricket lost a twin last year at birth, I took extra precautions this year. Made sure the mineral bucket was always full of kelp and minerals with some herbal copper supplementation added. Even gave the girls BoSe shots two weeks prior to kidding. And did I mention this is the first year I decided to try bottle feeding rather than dam raising due to the PIA weaning was? Yeah, so that meant up every four hours for what seemed like the rest of my life.
Yet, they defied me and things ended ten days after they started with seven does successfully kidding (barely), but one very hard birth at the end. Hard for all involved. Kay was way overdue and I kick myself for not inducing, but I really wanted to try to see if she’d do it herself and had almost convinced myself she must have miscarried along the way and I didn’t notice, since she barely looked fat at all. Plus, I was not certain at all on the date. Well, she went into labor and I could see little hooves poking out but going back in for three hours and no progress. Vet out again, but this time was not so fortunate. Kay was being treated for pneumonia and I have no idea if that is what happened to her kid, but it was dead inside and not inclined to come out without a loop and chain. It didn’t seem that big, but I think Kay was not actively engaging in contractions and of course, the poor kid couldn’t help. I refer to it as it because I was devastated by this and asked the vet to take it away with him and not even tell me if it was boy or girl. I can’t believe I did that now, but I had been looking forward to her kid(s) for months and the fact it was so hard on her and I was worried for her safety just seemed to disengage me from the process of dealing with her kid.
In between the first breech and the last death, there were two does with HUGE singles I had to help pull out. All was well there, but I swear that one buckling was the largest miniature-nubian kid I’ve ever seen born, and from one of my smallest does. I’ve decided I really dislike singles. They have all this nutrition and room to grow, making it near impossible to make a graceful exit when time. Give me plain old twins any day. Ruby and and Fricka had triplets and then Esther had to outdo them all with quads which had to live in the house for a week before joining the rest of the litters. Even then, we lost the smallest quad, a girl, two days after moving them to the barn. And final sex count? 10 bucklings and three doelings! Plus the unknown one. I’m just so happy that all my girls are doing well now. Almost.
Kay, with the pneumonia and DOA kid, did not bounce back, despite three different antibiotics, no more temperature, normal poop and all. Very little appetite, always standing and never wanting to leave the heat lamp. She lost about ten pounds from her pre-pregnancy weight. I covered hypocalcemia and ketosis. I wormed her and gave her lung building herbs. No matter what I did or how I treated, she was just listless and despondent. Not that I blame her. So, another vet visit this morning and so glad I did. Have I mentioned that I absolutely love my goat vets? Both Dr. Nick and Dr. Kayleigh of Hoof & Paw are so good and knowledgeable with the goats. That is very very rare in most of rural America. I have goat friends in other parts of the country, and even other areas of Wisconsin, who have no vet at all they can call on if something where to happen with their goats. That’s why it is so essentially important to educate ourselves as much as possible and I’m willing to lay money on a bet that most of the goat owners I know have more caprine knowledge in their little finger than over half the vets in this country.
Anyway, after a thorough exam, Kay was determined to have some dead areas in her lungs, compromised by the pneumonia. These may or may not rejuvenate themselves and heal completely. Also, an ultrasound showed that her uterine horn was still pretty swollen with some fluid, ten days post-kidding. Blood was drawn, from which I will have results later this afternoon. The end result was two more antibiotics, a steroid shot and an iron shot once a week until her red blood cell count is back up to normal. I feel so bad for her. She is one of the sweetest goats to ever live and I felt completely helpless watching her just fade away. I’m so hopeful that this will get her on the mend. Of course, I will be supporting her with the appropriate herbs every step along the way.
Yep, we do try to do things naturally around here. I am not one to reach for the hypodermic first sign of a cough or runny poo. Herbs and other natural remedies have served me well…99% of the time. But I will not risk the health or life of one of my beloved goats to prove a point. I do whatever I have to and that’s what I did this time. And thankful to have the vets who, for once, knew more than me.