ExHow time flies. 4 more weeks of being pregnant left and that isn’t even for sure because baby Cora is on the smaller side. That’s okay, though, the doctor said she is just meant to be little; either way, I now have to do weekly ultrasounds and non-stress tests to make sure she doesn’t need to come early. If she does, we are screwed. We have pretty much NO baby stuff. We have a crib that one of the docs I work with gave me, and an old handmade cradle that was used when I was a newborn. We have a couple more hand-me-downs, like a swing and a bouncy seat, and some a couple outfits. My husband and I were just talking about how screwed we would be if I went in to labor right now, especially considering my baby showers are tomorrow and next week. But my coworkers surprised me with a shower on lunch today. I now am the proud owner of a diaper bag (stocked with diapers and wipes!) , breastfeeding bottles, some childrens books, baby bath stuff, TWO baby tubs, and a few more outfits, onesies, and some other miscellaneous items. Phew. Feeling a little relieved.
But we have an interesting couple of months ahead of us. Assuming I deliver on my due date, October 2nd, I will be home with the baby for a month, until Brendon gets laid off (November 1st ish. Maybe. Depends on business). Then I will be home for another month, and Brendon will be laid off until March, so he will be able to take care of baby when I go back to work for maternity leave. However, that is 4 months without his income (which isn’t much but still helps when you have to catch up back taxes before April). With a baby. And then come March when he goes back to work we will have to worry about day care. Oh boy. I’m sure that will be fun. I am sure Brendon and I will be eating a lot of fried egg/peanut butter/ mayonnaise sandwiches in the meantime. At least our chickens have finally started laying eggs, so we won’t have to pay for those if we can keep them laying through the winter. Yes I get WIC, and I’m sure that when Brendon gets laid off we will get food stamps, but if I am the only one working, apparently I make too much money to get anything worthwhile. $77.00 worth of food stamps. Luckily between Brendon and I we can make that stretch almost a month if we have to.
It will be rough, but I am not complaining. I know what a blessing it will be to finally have this child in our lives. That bundle of joy and unconditional love. Believe me I know its not all rainbows and butterflies and hugs and kisses, but this is a joy that I cannot wait to have in my life. Our little girl.
Another thing is, we are very lucky to have very low maintenance animals. Our 7 goats take good care of themselves. We found someone who is selling their hay for $1 a sq. bale and has 150 bales, just because it is a little “weedy”. If you look closely in the next picture, you will see that Birdie, the scruffy Nubian/toggenburg doe, is looking awful pregnant. If she is pregnant, that means it is Sire’s kid, so it will be a beautiful alpine mix, and probably due around beginning to mid November (right in the middle of my maternity leave!) And she is known for throwing twins, so who knows? I was worried about Barley (the white one) for a bit there, because her coat was looking rough. I wondered if she had some sort of mineral deficiency. That didn’t seem to make sense because everybody else was doing fine, the pasture is the super fertile, never-been-farmed type, with freshwater creeks and ponds fed from free-flowing wells, and they use their mineral block very well. And then I thought she was looking skinnier. So I went out to check on her, and she had just been going through a growth spurt. Which probably makes sense since she is a little over a year old and was on the smaller side for a Saanen/Alpine mix. She is definitely a few inches taller than before, and I guess is just looking more “mature” if that is the term. After a couple weeks of the rough looking coat, it’s coming back to life, so we will see. If there isn’t much more improvement, I will be investing in some Replamin gel.
All the other does are doing fine. Onyx has a big girl tooth growing in. Paisley is shoved right up Birdie (her mother)’s patootie as usual but I think Birdie is getting sick of it. And our new buck, Billy (as in Idol—not goat) still thinks he has died and gone to heaven with all of these females around. He did learn a very important lesson the other day though with my mother’s horse. Moral of the story? Horses do not play. Especially the same way goats do. We were standing outside watching the animals frolic and be merry and grazing, the horse among them, and Billy wanted to play. So he put his head down and started walking towards the horse. The horse wasn’t playing. She turned around so quick and bucked her back legs and that goat flew. We heard the thunk and he flew through the fence, poor guy. He was a good sport about it, he limped for about 5 minutes, then went on with his day. I have noticed since then that if he must walk past the horse, he gives her a very wide berth and runs past as fast as he can. It humbled him up. But the horse still chooses to graze with the goats, so it can’t be too bad.
Let me clarify this one point—I do not like this horse. I think she is snotty and cannot be trusted. And I am ecstatic that my mother is trying to sell her due to the cost of hay. ($300 Appaloosa mare, anyone?)
Rabbits are doing good. We spent a good week fretting over Fiver (Our buck), because my 70th cousin twice removed wanted to borrow him to breed his does. My cousin is a good guy and all, but he is old, and getting Alzheimer’s, and has at times forgotten to feed/water his rabbits. But fiver was returned to us after a week, and appeared unscathed. Phew again. So we bred Mama (The checkered mutt shown in the picture), and rebred Misty (the brown sweetheart). I say sweetheart now, but this is her second and last chance. Her last “litter” turned out to be one dead, deformed kit. If this pregnancy doesn’t work out, I’m afraid she will be stew meat and slippers and she will be replaced. I love my rabbits, and she might like a good ear rubbing, but if I am going to breed meat rabbits, they need to produce. So her and Mama are due next Wednesday the 12th, and Thursday the 13th. Maddie, my 3-4 month old white Flemish giant, is eating like a horse. I give her a cup and a half of food each morning, then when I get home, she still has some left, but is begging at the cage wall. So I pick all of her greens, and she eats every last bit. And she still begs! So I get more greens for her. Just never seems like I can feed her enough. And she will be bred come December assuming she reaches appropriate size, and then the schedule will start. I have it all scheduled out next year so that we will have 3 breeding does and will be having a litter born, nursing, and weaned each month. Sounds rough, but if you were to look at the table I drew up it actually gives the does quite a bit of break-time.
As stated before, the chickens started laying! We are averaging between 2-5 eggs per day, with 21 hens. Not a lot I know, but 14 of those hens are 4 years old and the other 7 are 6 months old. It’s a start! Funny story though. Our chickens are a little strange and refuse to nest in their boxes, but the ones that are laying all choose to lay in the exact same corner. They just… take turns I guess. Yesterday, my DH pulled out two eggs from the corner, accidently dropped one, and got the dirtiest look from all the hens watching. They all went quiet, glared at him and started moving in. So we walk away and go sit under our apple tree. We set the remaining egg down next to us and are just chatting as usual. Next thing I know, I hear a click click next to me and one of the hens is trying to steal the egg back! (We have an australorp hen we know as The Chicken Who Celebrates Diversity, because it was the only chicken that would ever go hang out with birds of different sorts. Like turkeys, guineas, or ducks. It is the single brave, friendly chicken.) She is using her mouth to roll it, and pushing at it with her feet, to move it towards this dip in the ground and sit on it. So I grab the egg and hand it back to Brendon, and he puts it in his shirt pocket. Sure enough the chicken starts to circle him and is still trying to get at that egg. At this point, we just went inside.
I love our animals. They are probably the highlight of my days. One thing is for sure—we don’t need cable.