Dinner tonight is 5lbs of ribeye steak purchased from Herz Homestead as part.of a half steer. We have been buying beef from Heidi and Adam for a few years now. In comparison, the cheapest ribeyes at Walmart were $16/lb so this would be at least $80 worth of meat. I’m not saying the overall price was cheaper, but we like supporting local friends in their farming endeavors and this is definitely better than the cheapest meat at Walmart.Continue reading Shop local
Last Sunday Tulsi was due to kid. We had been bringing her in at night for a few days, as her udder was filled and her ligaments were getting soft. Sunday morning she was clearly uncomfortable breathing heavy and starting to paw, so we knew it was the day. We had ultra sounded her with twins, so that was what we were expecting. I fed her and went about morning chores. Not too long after that she went into labor and delivered twins, one doe and one buck. They were both nose and toes, though the buckling had one front leg bent back, so I had to assist a little with that.
The kids named the doeling Tahiti, and the buckling Trinidad. The doeling was 7.3 pounds and the buckling 7.5 pounds. Vacation islands is our naming theme for this year. Last year was car makes. Tahiti is the one with less white on her. The babies get to hang out with us in the kitchen for a few days, and then transition to living in pens in our garage until the winter weather has passed and they are ready to go live in the baby pen. We choose to bottle raise to socialize the kids to like people, which makes them friendly and easier to handle and show. Raising them separate from the does also allows us to keep their environment cleaner to reduce their parasite load and they can be sold sooner as bottle babies if desired.
Tulsi is doing great. She is producing a gallon of milk per day already, and her udder has increased capacity from last year when she was a milking yearling.
The babies have unfolded and are enjoying the attention they get from the kids when living in the kitchen, they got disbudded last night and starting tomorrow they will go out to the garage during the day, to stretch their legs and not make such a mess in the house. They are currently getting bottle fed five times a day, and will transition to the grey nipples and their lambar over the next few weeks.
Next up for kidding is Carolina on March 7 and Jasmine on March 10. Jasmine is huge, likely carrying triplets, so she might go early, Hoping for easy deliveries and healthy kids and mamas.
In January, I wrote about the Border Patrol Challenge and my running goals. Things were going well as my mileage continued to increase. Rusty and I joined friends on the local trails each weekend and everything was going well.
Anna and I headed to the Eastern Competitive Trail Riding Association (ECTRA) weekend getaway Feb 9-11 in the Harrisonburg, PA area. We enjoyed some winter lectures and the annual banquet. When we got home on Sunday afternoon, the getaway had motivated us for the upcoming ride season and it was a wonderful mid-40s Sunday afternoon, so I got Gamble out of the barn to do some work. We did our normal 15-20 min of ground work before I mounted and Amanda was riding JJ in the arena at the same time. About 10 minutes into my ride, things went very wrong and I was on the ground. An hour later the pain was severe enough that Anna convinced me to go to the ER. The 5 hours at the hospital revealed nothing was broken but I was pretty beat up and the bruising has been even worse than following the accident with Huey last Fall. As a result, I haven’t been able to run but hope to get back to it soon. While I missed the Colchester half marathon today, I am hoping this injury doesn’t preclude the rest of my plans.
It is likely we will be sending Gamble out for some professional training as the gaps in his training are pretty substantial. And I’m tired of getting hurt.
In other news, Amanda participated in the county 4-H public speaking contest last night and will be moving on to the state competition. He presentation was the “Development of Baby Goats” which is timely since we have Tulsi due to kid tomorrow. Goat kid pics will be coming soon!
Friday, I skipped out of work a little early to run 13 miles on the Arcadia Trail with Rusty and my friend Ian. It was 25F and icy. The trail took us 3.5 hours to complete and we finished about 45 min after sunset. While it sounds a bit stupid, we didn’t have a choice; we are in the Border Patrol Challenge and had to get it done.
The Border Patrol Challenge is an annual running challenge that highlights various trails along the CT/RI state line. The BPC began on the Winter Solstice (Thursday, December 21 2023 at 10:27 PM EST) and ends on the Spring Equinox (Tuesday, March 19 at 11:06 PM EST). There are 20 total trails range from 1.9 miles to 26.5 miles. The total of all 20 trails is about 164 miles and 99 people signed up this year.
The way it works is, you download the gpx file for the route and go run the designated courses whenever you want within the 3 month Winter season. Once complete, you upload a link to your own file (Garmin, Strava, etc.) and your time gets ranked amongst those who have completed the course. Each course has a technical difficulty rating that combines with the distance to create an overall multiple. Using some hidden math formulas, points accumulate for each runner as they complete my courses. But the rankings are constantly changing as more people complete the courses.
I participated last year, however, I got sick multiple times and wasn’t able to make as much progress as I hoped. I love this challenge because it pushes me to try a different local trails I probably wouldn’t otherwise experience. It also creates motivation to push myself through the winter season.
My goal for this year is to complete all 20 courses; so far I have made it through 10 of them in the first month, so I’m definitely on track. The fact that days are getting longer helps. The warmer temperatures that are coming again this week are also beneficial. Considering that I was coming off no running as my ribs healed, I have been very pleased with my progress so far and I have laid out some running goals for 2024:
- Complete all 20 Border Patrol Challenge Trails
- Complete the Traprock 50k trail race in April
- Run at least 1000 miles in 2024
- Run the Twisted Branch 100k in August
Rusty loves to run with me and has completed all 10 of the trails so far. The 3.5 hours on snow and ice did a number of his paws, so he is going to be limited to shorter runs whenever we have the ground covered. If everything thaws, he can probably do all but the 26 miler. Here is a photo from another trail we recently completed that passes by this marker at the corner of MA, RI, and CT.
One of my goals for this year is to complete 52 hikes for the year. The idea is to go for a hike somewhere new each week. Well, last week on Sunday I was going to go hiking, but then we got 4-5 inches of snow and my knee was hurting, so Rob told me there was no way I was going out. Probably a good choice.
Since I just had a total hip replacement, I can’t go that far yet, or hike major hills, so I decided our local State Park was a good choice for this afternoon’s hike. Hopeville Pond State Park is located 2.5 miles from our house at 929 Hopeville Road in Griswold(map here). There are wooded trails and flat asphalt roads, so a good choice for a gimpy middle aged woman. It is a very popular spot for dog walking, and to let little kids ride their bikes and roller skate etc. There is an 80 site campground (no hook ups), and two beaches to swim at during the summer. I decided not to swim. I drove to the parking lot at the entrance (gates are closed to traffic Dec-Mar) and walked down to the boat ramp in the campground, and then cut across on some trails back up to the main road. I was aiming for about a mile, turned out to be more like 1.3 miles, the longest I’ve walked since my hip replacement.
Planning to go on another short hike on Sunday, and maybe work with my horse (on ground work). Tomorrow we are getting more rain, so not a good day for outside activities.
It felt so good to get outside and move, now to decide where to go for my next hike. Maybe I’ll drive over to Arcadia Management Area in RI and walk around Breakheart Pond, or Green Falls, which is part of Pachaug State Forest…I feel like Green Falls may require walking poles, as it is a more technical trail with boulders, so that one may have to wait. Onwards and upwards.
22 days ago I had my right hip replaced. It was outpatient. Arrived at the hospital at 5.45 am, out at 4.15 pm. I’ve suffered with reduced range of motion and pain in my hips since I was in my early 30s. Bad conformation, especially if you want to ride horses, with deep sockets and constantly hitting the side of my femur, caused severe osteoarthritis. Riding, biking, running, hiking and even sleeping was becoming increasingly more painful. This was my first one, hoping to get the other hip done next year.
I am doing ok. First few days were rough, I am not going to lie. Muscle spasms, swelling, sciatica, pain at night, not being able to lift my leg very well, being dependent on others. Not my forte. And the pain meds made me sick, and gave me a migraine.
Ten things that made my life easier for the first few days and weeks:
- Rob, getting up three times a night the first few days and getting me those ice packs, pain killers and making sure I didn’t kill myself getting in and out of bed (I decided I wanted to sleep in our bed, on the top floor, 13 steep steps, step stool to get in our tall king size bed). And allowing me to shower…it’s the little things.
- A raised toilet seat, seriously, just get one. If you’re plus size, maybe not one with side bars, my thighs barely fit and I am normally a women’s medium.
- Grabber pick up stick. It’s hard to reach down and it allowed me to get dressed on my own.
- Long shoe horn, for taking off socks and putting on/off shoes. One downstairs by the door too. Because you won’t be able to reach your feet.
- XL Women’s Hanes Boxer briefs. I’m a Hi cut girl normally, but ouch, they sit in the wrong spot, right over my incision! All the forums said to get men’s boxers, but these work great and don’t have a hole in the front. I had anterior approach, and these do not bother my incision. Two sizes up.
- Ice packs, big one for the hip and another one for my knee. Doubles are helpful.
- Large lounge pants, I’m normally a M, I got XL. You won’t want anything tight on your leg.
- A walker, for the first 4-5 days, for me, and crutches for stairs, at first. I was done with these after a week.
- A cane, for a walking aid after I was done with the walker. My surgeon is not a fan of using crutches instead, because crutches are to keep weight off your entire foot/leg and make you dependent on your upper body for support and the new joint needs weight bearing to heal.
- A sock aid, best thing ever, when you can’t reach your feet.
So, what is recovery from a total hip replacement like? I was up and walking at the hospital a few hours after my surgery, using a walker. Physical therapy was started a week after surgery and I’ve been to my first post op appt. My surface stitches were taken out and I was cleared to drive short distances. The new hip was x-rayed and looks good so far. As far as muscles go, my hip flexors and adductors are super tight, still, from so many years of restricted use and may need additional intervention and it is so hard to be patient. My abductors are all weak. I am not supposed to cross my legs yet and have some stretching/twisting/lifting limitations, so I don’t dislocate the joint. Inside the house I am walking without an aid, unless I have pain and I walk with a cane outside for stability, although I am not always using it now. As far as exercise goes, I’m biking on my new recumbent bike twice a day for 15 minutes and I’ve been walking on the treadmill for about 20 minutes as well as walking some outside and going on short shopping trips. I have PT exercises I am working on after my biking and walking 2-3 times a day. Tylenol and Motrin are the only pain medications I am taking as needed, Vicaden was given to me for the first few days, but made me so sick I stopped taking it. I had a similar experience with Percuset after my c-sections, so not really surprised.
After 6 weeks I will be allowed to do more things and, stretching and exercise wise, push myself harder. Right now there is still swelling and angry, short muscles. My TFL(tensor fascae latae) was cut, and will need to heal, I have a 5-6 inch incision over my hip and an additional small area where the robotic cameras were placed. My right knee is angry where the IT band attaches and in general when I overdo my walking. My legs feel slightly uneven, the right leg is slightly longer. I was told my body will adjust. 12 weeks is the big mile stone, which is when I may or may not be allowed back on a horse. And do yoga, and twist, and possibly lift hay bales again. We’ll see. Current goal is getting on and off the floor without feeling like I’m popping my incision open, so there’s that.
I’m looking forward to being able to get back to riding and working on the farm. Goat kids will start arriving in late February. Onwards, and upwards. One step at a time. Quite literally…
Merry Christmas! Happy holidays! God Jul! Feliz Navidad! We are enjoying a quiet Christmas at home this year.
Due to Anna’s surgery and Rob’s injury, Christmas cards fell to the wayside this year. To those of you who sent cards, thank you! We will likely send out cards again next year.
Rob has had a busy and productive year at Sonalysts. When he was not working there, he was working on the farm, or hunting, running, riding, fishing, and whatever else he could find to not sit still. As many of you know, he had a cart accident with Huey in September that he is still recovering from, but he is back to running, riding and hunting, so that is a good sign.
Anna became a US citizen this year! She voted for the first time as well. Anna spent a lot of time training Fiona and let the kids compete Amira in all but one distance ride. This December Anna had a total right hip replacement, and will be recovering from that into the spring.
Alex finished the nuclear technology program at Three Rivers and spent the summer interning at Millstone Nuclear Plant again. This fall he started at URI to finish a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a Nuclear minor. He still enjoys riding Mojo, going trail running, and is the protector of his siblings.
Quinn graduated high school and is attending Eastern CT State University for a double major of computer science and data science. Quinn has claimed Fiona as theirs, and enjoys sewing dresses and other creations, along with showing our dairy goats.
Amanda is in 8th grade, working on making her high school choices. She is currently riding our new horse JJ and it seems to be a great match for her. She is also going hunting with dad, biking and running as time allows. Amanda went to the Big E with our dairy goats this year and enjoyed showing them at fairs and shows throughout the summer.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! We hope to see all our friends out there enjoying life in the New Year.
SA Jack of Hearts, aka Gamble came to us 7 weeks ago with a reputation for being strong and not a horse that just anyone could ride. We discovered that while he is a sweetheart on the ground, he has some serious trust issues. I’m not sure exactly what happened in the past, but he consistently avoids allowing someone to mount. He isn’t vindicative and doesn’t want to hurt you, but rather it feels like he is scared. Maybe scared of what will happen or of being disciplined. Regardless, it was quickly clear that Gamble needs a lot of ground work and trust. This afternoon I finally sat on his back.
Amanda rode JJ around the arena while I worked with Gamble. Once I got on, it didn’t feel like I was sitting on a stick of dynamite; it felt like I was sitting on a whole bundle of dynamite. We just worked on walking and listening without overloading him. About 10 minutes was enough to call it successful for the day. I’ll definitely be wearing my Point Two air vest as we continue to work together.
I know my seat looks awful and I’ll be making some tack adjustments but that wasn’t the priority for today. Despite his tension, I really don’t get the feeling he wants to hurt anyone, just that he is scared and not sure what to expect. This is definitely a horse where I need to be in the right frame of mind every time I sit in the saddle.
We draw blood and test annually for “the big three” diseases in goats: CAE, CL, and Johne’s disease. In addition, we quarantine new goats for at least three weeks and we buy animals from other herds who test or make sure new animals are negative before turning out with our current goats.
CAE stands for Caprine Arthritis and Encephalitis and can be transmitted through blood, milk and other bodily fluids. Symptoms include arthritis in adult goats and encephalitis in young goats and kids (ataxia, progressive weakness, proprioceptive deficits). Subclinical symptoms include interstitial pneumonia, hard udder mastitis, and a failure to thrive. The most common method of transfer is through milk and colostrum. It is common for goat breeders to bottle feed baby goats with pasteurized milk and heat treated colostrum as CAE prevention. Breeding with a CAE infected animal or in utero infection can also transmit CAE, although it is less common.
CL stands for caseous lymphadenitis and is a highly contagious chronic infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria. CL results in abscesses in the lymph nodes, open or not, and/or general poor condition if the infection is internal. Affected animals are often culled to avoid transmission to others. Once established on a farm, the bacteria can live in the soil for a long time.
Johne’s disease, or paratuberculosis, is a bacterial infection of the intestinal wall. Symptoms include weight loss, submandular edema and weakness. The typical transmission route is oral-fecal, but transmission through milk is possible. The bacteria can remain in the environment for years.
We tested our whole herd in November for all three and the results can be found here. We continue to maintain a herd free of all 3 diseases.
This afternoon Alex and Amanda went out into Pachaug for a trail ride. Alex rode Mojo and Amanda rode JJ. Alex is in the middle of finals still, but we all know he doesn’t ever study, so… They did some trotting and the report I got from Alex is “he feels sound”. Mojo spent two months or so slightly off after the Pine tree endurance ride. We did a lameness exam, x-rays and appropriate blocks along with ultrasound and concluded that Mojo’s pastern angles were unfavorable and he had some caudal heel pain going on. Whether it was an injury to the insertion point of the DDFT, pain from the navicular bursa, or slight arthritis starting between P2 and P3, we are not sure, but we decided not to do a standing MRI to find out more, as the treatment was the same for all three. Mojo was trimmed more aggressively at the toe and put into shoes with a wedge to give him relief from the pain he was having and change the angle of his pastern bones. After a few weeks his soundness was definitely improved; it’s been almost 10 weeks now and he looks pretty good.
Amanda has ridden JJ now both in the arena and on trail. When I’ve been working in the arena with Gamble, she has ridden JJ walk/trot and over poles (and a little canter, but JJ is still out of shape and weak behind). JJ is pretty chill riding wise, but gets nervous when tied up for tacking, especially if out of view of her herd. I believe consistency and patience will cure this, just like it has with Fiona.
Amanda and Alex rode 4 miles up to the farmhouse on Lee Rd and back and had no major issues.
Meanwhile, at the house, Quinn tacked up Fiona and worked with her in the arena. Quinn designed and sewed a winter riding skirt and plans to use it while riding Fiona this winter. Fiona can be a bit reactive to flappy things so it is a work in progress, but the skirt is working out so far. Dad helped her get on safely today. The skirt is made out of a waterproof fleece lined material, with a real wool filling and fancy lining fabric. There is a zipper on the back and a little flap preventing your bum from getting wet when open. There is a two way zipper in the front and there are snaps in the front snapping the sides up for mounting. Quinn also has straps that snap around the leg to keep the skirt from sliding off your leg when moving faster. Quinn chose this design over a full circle skirt due to weight and bulk. It is also easier for chores than a full circle skirt.
For those that do not know, I had a total right hip replacement surgery on Wednesday this week. It has been a long time coming. I was told it was inevitable in 2017 and probably wouldn’t make it through the winter in 2021. My sockets are deep and over time hitting the femur repeatedly on the edge, running, riding, biking, any lateral movement really, creating bone spurs, wearing out the cartilage and tearing my labrum repeatedly has created “severe osteoarthritis”. My hip balls were no longer round and my range of motion was very limited. So, it was time.
I am doing ok. The surgery was at 7:30 Wednesday morning and I was discharged at 4:15 that afternoon. I am walking around with a walker or cane for safety and have been outside walking for 2 days now. I am starting PT next week and will likely do the other hip next year. No riding for 12 weeks. The hardest part so far is lifting my leg up due to weakness in my quads and pain from the incision site.
Amira is having a Prostride injection into her tendon sheath injury from August to hopefully reduce it’s appearance (though she is not lame) so we can rehab together.