Olive and Pit
Living in the sticks is challenging. We have no cell reception. If the power goes out it can stay off for days and days while PG&E search the hills for the fault. Our cars need new tires… a lot.
BUT we also have found ourselves in an amazing community. We know every one of our neighbors and if we need some support (or they do) then there is always someone who has the knowledge or time that can help. One of our neighbors used his tractor to plow our field the first year we were here; in turn when they were away and a tree fell on their drive M. went up and cut it up and moved it off the drive so when they got home late they would come home to a clear road. We Llama-sit occasionally for another neighbor and in turn they chicken-sit for us. Equally one of our neighbors give E. a lift to her volunteer program in Boonville and we have yet to find something that can repay that generosity.
The Chicks: Stupid, Dash, Newsa, and Nutmeg
So last week when we got the call from one neighbor about another who had been bereaved in January and just desperately needed to be rid of a Bantam hen and her chick to ease her worries: of course we said yes. We really aren’t Bantam people (useless pet chicken anyone?) but the need was there and we had the space and time to help.
Olive and Pit
So it is that Olive and little Pit joined our farm. She is a masterful escape artist and a little firecracker with other chickens but she is sweet and placid with us. We are having to keep her in a separate enclosure as one of the white Delaware took an instant dislike to Olive and while she has that little chick Olive has no intention of making peace. The younger chickens are still in the broody-hen hutch so Olive and Pit are in a rabbit cage adapted slightly for her needs.
The Chicks: Pigwidgen, Baby, Stupid, Dash, and Nutmeg
I know she adds to our daily chore list but really that’s what living in the country is about: we look after each-other and in the end our lives are all the richer for it.
Champagne (our biggest New Zealand doe) is going to kit this week.
A few facts:
30 days = a rabbit’s gestation
once in 24 hours= the frequency of the doe feeding her kits
3 to 5 days= about how long before the babies get fur
10 days= the time the bunnies will open their eyes
2 weeks= about the time before the babies are ready to leave the nest and begin hopping about the cage
Champagne is a lovely doe, and currently very docile. She is happy to be stroked and likes her nose scratched but this is our first litter from her so until we see her caring for them appropriately we don’t know what sort of breeder she will make.
I promise pictures of tiny baby bunnies when we start to see them! Welcome to bunny watch 2015! 🙂
I have had an upsetting week since my last post. Our landlord had decided he isn’t happy about the goats and has demanded they go. I am so sad and I need to try to focus on making sure they have a good home so I’m going to have to take a short break- about a week- from the blog. I haven’t the heart to be cheery about it all yet and we have a lot of small things to do which may help us find them a herd to join or a good home to go to.
I will be back in just in a little bit. Maybe a little heart-sore but smiling again.
Morning: 5 a.m. waiting to load the goats onto a cattle truck. Final goodbyes.
Noon: The award ceremony was BORING!
Night: Opening checks for the sale of their goats. The generosity of the buyers was phenomenal.
We have had the most amazing time. The girls are coping with the separation from the goats remarkably well. Better than I did with my first 4-H animal. I think being able to load the animals themselves and seeing how calm the animals were helped- the pigs are a different thing but goats are so gentle. I’m trying very hard not to think about what the rest of the goat’s day was like but the tears come anyhow.
Our fair buyers were so incredibly generous. The fair had the highest sales ever. Average goat prices were $15.00 per pound. It is hard work but like any summer job it helps to be rewarded.
Phew. So glad to be at this point but a little heart-sore with it.
Morning: Goat ripped ribbons.
Noon: And keep on smiling.
Night: keep those goats cool all afternoon as the temperatures soar and keep your cool when people are rude.
I have to say something about today: It was quiet for us. All our showing was done- we only had photos to worry about. K. E. and J. spent the whole day keeping their goats comfortable in the heat- most of our neighbors were only seen rarely so we know that the care they gave the goats in uncomfortable temperatures was extraordinary. Well at the end of this long hot day a couple approached E. (who was caring for the goats in their stall) and said “We are here to buy goats.” E. responded with “Oh lovely” and offering them some little stickers we made up that say “I support 4-H” which the couple took without a thank you. Esther then said “These goats belong to me and my sisters.” (poor grammar but polite) to which this couple responded “Yes there very nice now where are the champion goats.”
A couple things keep going round my head…
1: E. has a good sense of humor so was able to laugh at their rude behavior. Fortunately E. did very well coming third in her class against the two goats that eventually went on to be Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion so she didn’t feel like they were being deliberately disparaging: BUT what if she hadn’t what if she was a more sensitive child or had been upset by a poor performance?
2: They were talking to a child. Who treats a child like they were an insignificant speed bump in the grand track of their very important life?
Bastards. How very not nice.