Thursday, April 28, 2011

Double Ugh

We tried today to lance the duck's foot. Succeeded in making an incision but not in getting out the cyst, or whatever it is. I gave in and called a vet. Of course, the one who is up for odd animals is out of town. Now we have a duck with an open foot and no treatment options. The vet is supposed to call me back tomorrow and see if there is any advice after they do some research. Which probably means reading the same blog posts that I did. At this point though, I am happy to pay someone else to take responsibility. The SB (who did the cutting), the duck (who did the insanity inducing consta-quack) and I (who did the maniacal irrigating with sterile saline solution) are all ready to have the pros take over. Crikey. That is some grim work.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


So I think one of the ducks has bumblefoot. It is an ugly big lump around one of her toes. Hard and a bit of a scab seems to be developing. She started limping yesterday and the SB and I caught her this evening before we both had to run off for work. Yes, it takes two people to tend a four pound duck. One holds while the other prods. And the wings try to go everywhere, which is the part you get nervous about. They are hardy critters, but a wing has a lot of leverage that could go the wrong way.

Anywhoo. From the reading I have been doing, it looks like the only option is to lance the wound and get the gunk out. That will have to happen tomorrow. So if I don't chow down as usual at the Diner, you will know why. And I may need to have something a little stiffer than the Legend Brown Ale I usually drink there. I am sorta hoping the SB decides that he wants to practice his surgical skills and lets me off the hook. But I also realize that this is something that I am gonna have to know how to do. These may be our first ducks, but they aren't the last. And bumblefoot is not uncommon. I'll be doing more reading tonight though. I won't so much be looking at the horrifying pictures on the internets. yee. Any advice would be welcome so chime on in....

We smeared the lump with Neosporin for the evening in hopes of slowing the growth and we will keep her penned tomorrow as well to keep her off the foot. Some people have made wee boots for their poultry to protect the open sore from getting caked up with poop and mud and stuff. I think I am going to shoot for as clean bedding as I can get. Really, I can't imagine a duck wearing any kind of boot. Heaven only knows how long this lasts.

In other news, we just got a torrential downpour with hail and everything. I am hoping there is something left of the garden, but I won't know until I can see it in the light of morning. I guess there isn't anything I can do about it right now anyway.

On a lighter note, I found $5 in one of my front porch pots this AM. I have no idea where that came from.... Yay me.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I took off from my real job Thursday and today to catch up on things around the Urban Farm. It feels like I have gotten a lot done, though there is no end in sight for the to do list.

This morning I transplanted chard, parsley and tomatillos into the garden and volunteer sunflowers into the orchard bed. The overcast skies and rain made it a perfect transplanting day. We are officially in greens season. Lots of spinach, mustard, chard, arugula and lettuce. We are tossing the mixed greens with hot pasta, vinaigrette, garlic, Parmesan, grated carrot and sunflower seeds. Yum.

We worked on the goat barn some. I made squash soup with what I think is pretty much the end of the winter squash. It isn't my favorite, but it'll do.

Because of the rain today, the ducks were foraging all over the place. Twice they were caught at the front of the house near the road. I ended up locking them up early as they seemed hell bent on trouble today. They complained LOUDLY.

I took the goats for a ramble around the yard while the SB headed out to an auction. The goats do like to walk. And they are exploring a lot more in the way of forage. They still prefer plastic and string to pretty much anything else except cedar bark. Ella loves English ivy and they both like privet. It is a good start. Unfortunately, they are also obsessed with the raspberries, so those may need to go back into the garden.

The big day off treat was to go back to bed at 8AM after feeding the animals and myself and having a cup of tea. It is much easier to wake up after caffeine, but it doesn't make getting out of bed any easier.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Everything else

Since you have heard more than you probably care to about goats lately, I will tell you of other things...

We are eating spinach, arugula, chard and mustard greens out of the garden. Along with some radishes.

Getting up 30 minutes early is killing me.

I don't really need to get up 30 minutes earlier just to feed goats, but I am a terrible judge of timing. So I am exhausted.

The ducks are goofy and laying between 6 and 8 eggs a day. Luckily, we can sell them to the diner. I seem to forget that I don't really use a lot of eggs when the weather is warm, because I usually use them in baking. And I don't do that much when the temperature is above 60.

I am exceedingly tired of stink bugs.

I planted cucumbers on Sunday in front of the duck house in hopes that the vines will give summer shade.

My garden needs some serious weeding.

The SB built a trellis for the peas and beans, and was gifted a very cute garden bench by a friend. The bench is now, surprise, in the garden. So we can sit there and drink wine. Ooh. How nice.

The potatoes are coming up.

The ducks ate all the sorrel, but I am hoping it comes back now that I have moved it to the front yard. The rhubarb is still alive and doing remarkably well.

OK, about to pass out now, off to round up the current crop of stink bugs and retire for the evening.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Wow, it has been a whirlwind week. New goats, family in town, lots of goat visitors, bare root plants in the mail (like 200 of them), etc. etc.

We officially have the most visited goats in the universe. I love that we can share the goat love. Plus, we want everyone to fall in love with them while they are little and cute, so if they get in trouble later, there are the good memories to fall back on.

I still haven't had a chance to look at the garden, but I think we have lots of spinach.

We got 100 hay scented fern for the back yard. Currently, 50 Piedmont Azaleas , which will likely go to 100, as that is what we ordered. Love bare root stuff as it is cheap and easy to plant. The window of opportunity is tight though to deal with them. I would be happy to sell you some lovely piedmont azaleas if you want some. Ordering 100 (smallest available quantity) from this place was at least as cheap if not cheaper than anything else I found. And we can use a lot of them....

Once again, Punk Domestics pulls out the awesome recipe . I can't wait until my rhubarb takes off.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

About the cutest

So I came home from work today to find the SB working in the garden with two tiny assistants. He was pruning and Ellamenope (Ella) and Zinnia were helping by keeping him company and nibbling on all the the twigs he had pruned off.

When I came down the hill toward them, the little goats ran across the bridge to greet me and one even bleated a tiny hello.

The SB had thrown one of the cedar rails across the creek to challenge the goats and Zinnia got it right off. Ella, being a week younger and by far tinier, had to do some bleating and figuring to get across. Finally opting for sidestepping the rail and just leaping. The little boys next door came over for their afternoon visit. They learned that goats do not like a hammock. Good to know.

I have been so busy with goat projects and visitors, I haven't seen my garden in days. I hope the rain helped things along and that there will be salad by the weekend. Funny thing is that it grows without me checking on it every day. Go figure.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Dragon Hill Farm Zinnia

Born on 3/6/11 at Dragon hill farm. Photo by the LB. Who came over this afternoon with her man and exercised the goats.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

PIctures soon

Boy howdy, there is some cute goin' on at the Urban Farm. Two new residents arrived today. Two pretty darned fresh baby goats. One 5 weeks old and her half sister right on 4. They are wee and have elastic in their bones. Friendly like puppies and they love people. We have them in an abbreviated pen and temporary housing, but they have plenty of room to sproing and the SB moved a big chunk of log into the pen so they had something to climb on.

We arrived home from the farm late in the afternoon and the goats were welcomed by my mama and three of our closest neighbors. Everyone was enchanted, natch. Which is good. Cuz we are the ones that are going to be hearing them.

They bleated a bit when we all left to go inside. A heart wrenching 10 minutes, but since then, all has been quiet.

The SB and I will be trading off feeding duties, I'll take morning and night and he does the mid day shift. Three times a day shouldn't be too much longer. We are working them onto milk replacer from goat milk, slowly upping the proportions. The goat lady gave us some goat milk to help with the cross taper. She rocks. Cross your fingers for a smooth transition.

Names when we get to know them a little better.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Rural and Urban

This is about the cutest story ever. This young man won a flock of fiber goats from Juniper Moon Farm. When he came to pick up his goats (from Oklahoma), he brought chickens as a hostess gift. Like, real live ones. Way to go kid. A. You know what a hostess gift is and B. you picked the perfect one for your hostess. Your mama is bringing you up right.

It makes me glad that there are kids like this out there still. So many are so completely incapable of doing anything but turning on the TV or killing aliens on the screen. Don't get me wrong, I can't turn on the TV at most people's houses. Luckily, I don't need to....

Glad too that there are people like Heidi out there. She is a total urban farming badass.

On another note, I was sitting for a new family last night and they were asking me all about the cville urban farm, was it a real farm in the city? did I have people working for me? was it my full time job? All this from my email address (found stage right if you need to reach me). Which I came up with a few years ago. Maybe even before the bees. It was a total "fake it 'til you make it" moment for me. So here, a few years later, I have bees, 10 ducks, probably 5-6 additional garden beds, and very soon some wee goatlings that will hopefully be contributing milk in 18 months. I wish it were my full time job. The SB is the only employee, paid in room and board. Is it a real farm in the city? Depends on your definition of farm.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I have had a relatively productive week. And it is only Tuesday. A list!

1. posted on the neighborhood email list for a doghouse, and found one. This will be the temporary goat housing while we work on the goat barn.
2. found some rhubarb from another neighbor down the street.
3. chatted with neighbors while walking to my mama's.
4. went to my goat cheese class.
5. planted potatoes
6. moved the bees another 5 feet out of the goat yard.
7. successfully retrieved a key from my neighbor when the SB accidentally (I think) locked me out of the house.
8. dug 2 post holes.
9. communicated with the goat breeder and reiterated our interest in the little caramel colored goat and one of her cousins.
10. received the goat milk replacer in the mail so as to be ready for bottle feeding baby goats.
11. called Southern States to be sure that they had timothy hay to start the wee ones on.

Also didn't sleep well due to the electric storm last night. Still need to work on the taxes. Taking Friday off to do goat fencing/prep in hopes of having goats home this weekend, though I suspect it will be a stretch.