Thursday, November 21, 2013

We Found Them! - Two Goats and a Big Puppy!

Last night I went to bed with a heavy heart and was weary to the bone. It felt like I had so many prayers out to Heaven that I myself couldn't even keep them straight. I went to bed with the hope of a ray of light to catch on to in the morning to keep me going.

Well, I think Father may have blessed me with a few rays of light. And I need to share them before the weight of life clouds them out.

It's not new news that we have been pondering what our hopes and goals are for our own little homestead. And if you read my last post you read about my desire to raise goats. Well, We've found our first Doelings.  I feel a tiny bit like a mother who's been waiting and trying to adopt for months and I've just got the call asking if I can be ready for them in TWO DAYS!!... The answer: YES!
Picture Picture

Sorry the puppies picture won't copy here. Just think of a yellow lab pup but fluffier hair. :)

There is a common understanding among goat owners that when you put your heart in to looking for your own herd of goats you will look at hundreds of goats and when you find "YOUR" goat, you just Know. It is so true for me! It sounds strange. But it's true!

Goats can be expensive. If you want to sell your baby goats for anything other then brush clearing or meat you need to be sure that the blood line is healthy and preferably Purebred; and  Registered is even better. The breeds of goats that we've decided on range from $400 for a Registered goat to $175 for a Purebred non-papered.

You also have to decide whether you want a baby goat or an adult goat. And then decide if you want a bottle fed goat or a mother fed goat. And of course, if you want a Male or Female. We were considering either babies or adults. But they had to have been bottle babies. We learned with our borrowed goats, Billy and Skit, that we much preferred the bottle babies! They respond to humans far easier then mother fed goats. We also knew that we want Females. The Males really do smell terrible!! We will find a handsome stud for our girls when the time comes for them to be mommies. :)

So, with all of those things to consider, you can imagine why it is hard to pass up "your" goat when you find them. I swore I wouldn't get goats for the winter!  I truly meant that when I said it. But something kept us looking. And then a predator started snatching up our hens one after another when we weren't around (just this past week.) So we started seriously considering getting our Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD). But if you get a LGD puppy who you want to protect your goats some day you have to have goats when you get the puppy. Any animal (or human) that the puppy is around before they turn 12 weeks old they will consider their flock or their herd. The ones they will protect and care for. LGD's are an amazing breed of dogs.  They are also a small investment. They range from $250 to $100. But almost any other dog breed will be a nightmare on a farm for one reason or another.

SOOO, When I woke up this morning and I got on craigslist for the thousandth time and found two beautiful Purebred Nubian Doelings: Currently bottle feeding, de-horned, first shots, they come with a gallon of their moms milk AND their next vial of vaccine shot,  for only $125, I just Knew!! ...  And THEN, we found an adorable LGD puppy ready to go this weekend for only $100. Again, we just Knew!

I felt so good about everything as we squared everyone's pick up dates and times. It felt so right... And then the day moved on and life happened and doubt and worry crept in. It's so hard sometimes to make these big decisions. There is never enough money, we all understand that these days. If you don't, be grateful tonight. But for us, every penny counts! So I had to sit down tonight and ask myself what the financial benefit is of this investment. To remind myself of the plan.

The plan is to raise the doelings and the puppy (who is also female) until they are breeding age. Which is around 9 months old for the goats and around two years for the dog. Once they are breeding age we will sell their babies as well as gradually establish our ideal goat herd and breed the different types of goats we're looking for. Goats usually have 2-4 babies at a time. LGD dogs can have 10-14 pups in a litter. So they will eventually pay for themselves and more. In the meantime, I am planning on working with the goats to see if they are Cart Friendly goats. If not, we'll retain one or two of the baby boy goats, neuter them, and then train them to pull carts and wagons. After the female goats give birth we can also milk them and sell their milk. But I don't see me doing that. But you never know.

This has turned out to be a VERY long post! I obviously really needed to think this through. :)  But forgive me because I still need to think a few things through: :)

So the investment eventually pays off. And the feed for the goats isn't really an issue. Nor for one dog. I think the major concern (besides the initial investment ending up around Christmas shopping season) is setting up and choosing boundaries for the animals. This is where the fact that we're getting babies will come in handy for the winter season. Two baby goats and the puppy won't need as much space as they'll require in the Spring and Summer when they're bigger. My hope is to gather enough fencing to set up a perimeter around our back yard and the small barn/coop there. This will keep them close enough that the kids and I can feed them easily and care for their living space and the dogs messes. The key will be to find/buy the fencing,  and the major task will be finding the time and help to run the fencing.

It's no secret that life is a struggle right now. It seems like we are being knocked around in every direction we look. It's really hard. But if we take a minute to think back on the last 6 months, my best times have been when I had the goats and other little critters to care for with my own little ones at my side. It will NOT be easy in the winter. We haven't even hit the coldest times. But Leif and I have a feeling that the animals might be a blessing during the winter months. Something for the kids and I to care for together. And I admit, they are my project. They help me the most. But when all else fails, go for what has helped in the past, right? ... Right!  So, there we have it. It is what it is. I will allow myself to be excited and try hard not to let the hard things about it get me down. I will be surprised if there is not more good then bad in the results. I hope that's the case anyway.  And deep down, I hope my family members (my little family and extended) will be happy with the decision as well. ... I guess that's just the little girl in me.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Planning Ahead - Looking Ahead

I feel like writing tonight. The boys are playing computer and it's funny to listen to them talk to each other. Over the last year or so we've come up with names for each of the boys. nicknames that describe a bulk of their personalities. I often find myself smiling at how right on we are with these names. Jakob is "Radar", Caleb is "Navigator", and JJ was just named "Play by Play".

I'm actually pretty tired. So I'm not going to be very creative with this update. Let me just share some of the latest and greatest:

This winter I am making our Homestead plans for this Spring. We want to do more gardening this year. I'm looking forward to giant pumpkins.  We also look forward to starting a small goat herd. My hope and plan is to learn how to train some of the goats to pull wagons and carts.
Right now my choice for the Cart Goats are the Nubian and the Silky breed:
otisready 2005-09-03.jpg 

This takes Planning, Financing, and Time. Wish is luck!

On a different note:
We were able to meet with a Neuro psychologist this week for Caleb. He was a very nice doctor and I believe he will give us a lot of answers to questions we have for all of the boys.

I finally have an MRI scheduled for next week to get answers and follow up about the tumors that I have on my pituitary gland. I really hope we make progress with my health!! I have so many reasons for wanting strength and well being!!

Well, it's Bed Time!!! YIIPPEEE! :)

Friday, November 08, 2013

A Silent Thief

My last post was a Family Update. While writing I said there was still a lot happening "In between the lines." I thought I'd write about some of those things.

Today I emailed and talked with Caleb's teacher and the Special Ed teacher. We've met several times and updates and game planning is not unusual with us. Today we talked about medication. A couple months ago Caleb got to a point where he would gradually get madder and madder (mostly when he didn't get his way.) and he started throwing things (canned food, chairs, scissors, etc.) being hurtful and destructive. We finally had to ask for medication until we can get in to see other specialists with other ideas. Problem is, the meds help for a little while and then we have to adjust them. But they make him tired if there's too much and yada yada yada. So we are working on finding a good dose and a steady plan.

It makes us sad when we see him asleep from medication...  But we know the alternative and that is Really Sad too! Especially because we know the fun, silly, happy, smile and light that Caleb is most of the time. It's like a battle to keep that light. Like something is trying to steal it away... It's Really Scary!

We also talked about tinted glasses to block out florescent lights, headphones and earmuffs to block out hums and chatter, coats becoming wings, car seat options for bus rides, and the Daunting Task of behavior modification, not just life skills training.

This morning I worked through waves of powerful fatigue and put dinner in the crock pot. It made a huge difference in our evening. My plan from now on will be to feed the boys dinner right when they get home from school at 4:00. From there, Caleb and I will go right outside. I have no idea how we're going to survive the winter... But I'll focus on Now. Being outside in nature is Caleb's element, it's therapy for him. And he craves having "jobs". So every day he runs out to gather the eggs. I am going to add the task of going (with me) to gather the mail. Then we'll walk around the Ranch to make sure everything is in check. Today we ended up walking completely around the Pond, behind the Arena where we daydreamed about where we would house different animals if we could, and then we looped through the side yard and filled in a hole that's been waiting to be filled with dirt for over a month. By the time we got home everyone was ready for a quiet moment. Within ten minutes I found all of the boys in the living room sitting on the couches reading books. - Peaceful sigh - .

I won't shatter the moment with details of Caleb and JJ suddenly coming up missing after the sun went down and then showing up with a flashlight and a grin, "we just wanted to see who was at The Barns," he says.  Grrr! Okay, I shared the details. The thing was, I wouldn't have even know they were missing if the door wasn't left wide open. I thought they were upstairs! Note to Self: We need door sensor chimes.

There is still so much more I could write about. And I want to because it helps me process things and be able to recall them later. But I am so tired.  Physically, mentally, and emotionally. I'm Tired.  So I will say good night for now.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

We're Still Truckin' Along - Singin' a Song!

We are still living in the Ranch House on the Civil War Ranch. We love the home, scenery, family, our animals, the schools, and the primary. They have all been a bounteous blessing in our lives!! Our most difficult struggle is Leif's commute to work. He works a night shift as a RN in Springfield. This is a 90 Minute Commute - One Way. He works 4-5 12 hour shifts per work week. Our life closely resembles what it was like when he lived in Flagstaff away from home as he went to Nursing School. Gratefully we see him a little more often now then we did then. But life often feels chaotic and drained. We have chosen this route so far because it works the best financially at the moment. But it's starting to wear on everything. So we're trying to step up our thoughts and actions even more about finding a way to be a little more "normal" in our life. Either find a home out closer to his work. Or a job closer to here because of the great schools and family. We are back at trying to decide about renting or buying and making one work in the right place. Uggg! Really. 
Works A LOT! And they Love him! He is a great nurse with a gifted bedside manor. Gratefully, he enjoys his job so far as well. But he's getting pretty tired with the schedule and then a 3 hour commute. He serves as the teenager Sunday School teacher on Sundays. And Super Papa and Hubby 24/7. 
I'm just trying to keep things afloat. I desperately wish I could do it all better. But it is what it is. My health is a constant journey. I just recently finished a round of Prednisone (steroids) and that usually helps me feel somewhat better for a couple few months (minus the added weight that comes and never leaves). So Far we've ruled out Lupus with testing. Ruled out Rheumatoid Arthritis through testing. Sure diagnosis' are no surprise: Epstein Barr Virus (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) through testing and Fibromyalgia. The latest discussion is about Osteo Arthritis. We are still trying to look in to the tumors and issues on my pituitary gland and brain. I talked briefly with the Pediatric Neurologist that we met with for Caleb and he told me to insist on seeing an Endocrinologist and to get another MRI. His suggestions will most likely help move things along with my doctor who's gotten hung up on some of my other issues. But other then all of that, I'm great!! -wink wink- 

We have three really neat boys!! I watch them interact with the world and people around them and I am often fascinated with how they are able to bring a special light into the eyes of those around them. This is a blessing to be able to see this as their mother. Mostly, because I know of their personal struggles that are wrapped up within their precious gifts. Leif and I are striving to help the boys work through their struggles without excuses and carefully protect their light and train them up in a way that they will be able to function in the world as the best people they are called to be. Caleb and Jakob both attend a Wonderful school that fits perfectly with their needs right now. We feel blessed to be able to send them there. 
This month marks our girls' seven year anniversary. They were born on October 30, 2006. Our LeOra had already passed by that point. And our Rhea slipped into heaven seven years ago tomorrow on the 7th (2006.) This year we have missed them as playmates for the kids and Leif and I have missed what could have been some little girl company. I have shed a few tears over the lost chances of passing down favorite dolls, choosing dresses for special occasions, and imaginations of them running through the fields here on the Ranch. But overall it is a precious comfort to know that they were spared the potential and tremendous hardships earth life would have allotted them. Evenstill: We miss them and are forever grateful for our Eternal Family!
Pray Together
Read Scriptures Together
Strive for Peace Within Ourselves and Within the Walls of our Home.
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