Last night, Quinn attended Senior Prom in a self-made dress. Graduation is coming soon.
Early May update
Amanda was inducted into National Junior Honor Society.
Amanda got to hunt turkey with me for youth hunting in April. We got to see some birds but she wasn’t successful at taking one. Turkey season is always when things get really byst riding horses. Maybe next year.
We added 2 duroc pigs to the farm to grow out for the summer. They will get the extra goat milk and take a trip to freezer camp in the fall.
Alex is in his last week of classes for his Nuclear Engineering Associate’s degree and plans to attend URI in the fall to pursue his Bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering. He has another internship at Millstone (local nuclear plant) this summer.
Quinn has about a month until high school graduation. They will attend Eastern Connecticut State University in the Fall and plan to major in Computer Science.
Anna and Amanda took Amira and Mojo out for an 11 mile ride today. Now we are wrapping up the weekend by the fire.
Spring Break 2023
This past week was Spring Break for Quinn and Amanda. Quinn had their wisdom teeth out of 4/7, so Spring Break was mostly spent at home eating soft foods. I had to travel to DC for work, so Amanda went along. My 3 day trip was turned into a 5 day trip so we could do some sightseeing together.
Monday morning, Amanda and I hit the road to drive down. She was asleep within 30 minutes of leaving the house.
We made it to Baltimore in the early afternoon and went to the National Aquarium. Amanda enjoyed the Amazon exhibit and seeing the all the fish. But she was especially happy for ice cream afterwards. In fact, she ended up eating ice cream all 5 days.
Tuesday morning, we headed to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy. It’s amazing how much prettier the campus is as a visitor instead of as a midshipman. Amanda enjoyed the tour, including me showing her where Anna and I met in April of 1996 at the International Ball.
We went for a walk in DTA (downtown Annapolis) and had an early lunch at Chick & Ruth’s deli. Chick & Ruth’s is known for the all-day breakfast/lunch/dinner menu and milkshakes, but it’s also where I took Anna for a milkshake the night we met. Amanda had a milkshake and was still talking about how big it was tonight at dinner.
I had a meeting after lunch, but then we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Amanda particularly enjoyed the gemstone exhibit (she likes shiny things).
I had told Amanda we were having dinner with a friend from the Navy, but I didn’t exactly tell her the truth about who it was. About 18 months ago, Mark and Tricia Gordon left Griswold for Mark’s orders to the Pentagon. Amanda and Olivia were best friends, so I had arranged with Tricia for us to surprise the girls for a get together. We couldn’t have done it any better – Olivia opened the door to find Amanda on the porch and both were completely in shock. They had a blast playing and painting fingernails throughout the evening.
Wednesday I had to work, but we got finished early enough to head to the National Zoo in the afternoon (with temps in the low 90s!).
After the zoo, we met the Gordons for an evening at the Museum of Illusions.
Thursday morning we headed out on the metro early to get tickets for the Washington Monument. While waiting in line, there was an announcement up front that we couldn’t hear. Amanda went up and found a couple to ask what the park ranger had said. Long story short, Amanda’s cute looks were rewarded with the couple getting 2 extra tickets for us to ensure we go to go up into the Washington Monument.
After overlooking DC from the top, we rented some scooters and rode them to Arlington Cemetery. We did the tour and got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.
Next, we headed back downtown and went to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Amanda spent almost 2 hours looking at all the paintings and portriats.
Since temps were again in the 90s, we called it done around mid-afternoon and headed back to our hotel. We both enjoyed the air-conditioning and crashed for a nap before dinner.
The drive home on Friday was uneventful. We did have a nice shopping excursion at Bass Pro shops. Once we got home Anna’s birthday was celebrated with sushi for dinner.
On Saturday morning, Alex and I ran the Traprock 17k trail race. Last year, he stayed with me throughout the race and we finished together. This year, he was a little less prepared and finished about 16 minutes behind me. He has decided more training is needed for our Ride and Tie plans this year.
Saturday afternoon, Quinn and Amanda helped me mark the courses for the CT Valley Driving Club. Saturday evening was spent at the West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association steak fry. Sunday morning, we loaded up Mojo, Amira, and Missy to attend the RI Federation of Horse Clubs Blessing of the Horses and trail ride. Originally, I was planning to drive Huey, but last weekend’s crash prevented that.
This afternoon, Anna and I went back to Arcadia to take down markers from the driving course we marked while Quinn and Amanda went to a 4-H meeting. When they got home, Rainbow was kidding. The kids handled it without us and Rainbow delivered a 10.4lb buckling and 10.0lb doeling. That brings our count to 5 does freshened with 6 does and 5 bucks; the next kiddings are in June.
That’s all for now!
Sometimes things go bad
This morning the kids go up and did their easter egg hunt. Not sure how many more years they will do it, but all three participated.
Mid-afternoon, we headed out for a ride and drive. Anna rode Amira, Amanda rode Mojo, and I drove Huey in the forest from home. Things started out well. Amanda really enjoys riding Mojo.
Going up the first larger hill, Huey wanted to canter and did a little kick out a couple of times. Each time I slowed him back to a trot and he was fine. About 4 miles in, we hit the largest climb of the route. Typically, we work the horses at a solid trot up this hill and Huey traditionally had to canter to keep up with the others. Before I even asked him to trot, Huey broke into a canter. After about 2 strides he kicked. I think it was the second kick when his right hind went went over the dash of the cart, got caught, and Huey went down on his front end. He scrambled, getting his right hind free and back on his feet. We are pretty sure when he brought his right hind forward is when the trace on that side got inside his leg.
As Huey was now quite frazzled, he turned hard left off the forest road and into the brush. The cart almost completely flipped over and I was thrown out, but somehow managed to keep the reins. I think the fact that Huey got tangled in the brush slowed him down and was the only reason things didn’t get worse. I was able to get to his head and get him out of the brush and back on the gravel road. As Anna was dismounting Amira, he foot got caught in her stirrup and she hit the ground hard.
We were able to get Huey unhooked from the cart and evaluate the situation. The cart was too damaged to hook back up. We left the cart and traces on the side of the road and I ground drove Huey the ~2.5 miles home. Once we got home, we were able to fully evaluate Huey’s injuries. He has a small cut on his right hind cannon from his leg going over the dash. Higher up inside the leg, he has 3 larger cuts from where the trace cut into him. Nothing required vet attention. Anna and I are bruised, but nothing worse. The cart will need new shafts and a new singletree, probably about $400 in parts, but we all survived. I think we will be adding a kicking strap to Huey’s harness.
In other news, Fiona is getting lunged for about 45 min and ridden for about 20 minutes 2 or 3 times a week. She is more reactive than I like, but she is making progress. We might even try trotting in May.
Time flies when you are are having fun. Or when you are crazy busy (which is always the case here) and realize it’s been almost a month since we gave a big update.
Anna and I attended the Eastern Competitive Trail Riding (ECTRA) Winter getaway in New Jersey. The weekend included a full day of AERC vet Susan Garlinghouse talking about distance riding nutrition, metabolic issues, supplements, hydration, and more. Saturday evening was a banquet with the other attendees. The only down side of the weekend was we had to drive to New Jersey. It took 2.5 hours to get home on Sunday but over 4 hours to get there on Friday afternoon.
While we were gone, the kids picked up Anna’s parent’s from the train station as they flew in for the first time in 3.5 years. They stayed for a week and a half. While they were here, we did manage to hitch Huey for some driving. We didn’t get a photo with all the kids, but we did catch Alex with Roland and Sylvia before they left.
On March 16th, Phaylene kidded with triplets – 2 does and a buck. The have our two classic colors of either black with white splashes and brown trim or just the black and red. At 8 years old, we aren’t sure if we will breed Phaylene again, so we are thrilled to get 2 does kids out of this breeding to E.B. Farms LL Regal. That brings Regals count to 5 does and 4 bucks out of 4 kiddings. Not bad for his first season.
Anna and I get fancied up for Sonalysts’ annual gala at the Mystic Marriot. This is an event that had been cancelled in 2020 and 2021, so it was a ton of fun to enjoy dinner, drinks, and dancing with others from work.
The February doelings are growing great and enjoying their time outside on a daily basis.
We now have 4 does in milk. 3 of them are first fresheners and 1 is an 8 year old. We have some really impressive udders in the barn right now, which is great to see, and we are getting almost 5 gallons of milk a day off the four goats.
Quinn is taking a Horticulture and Design class at school that’s actually a UCONN. This results in fresh floral arrangements regularly. Here is the one that came home most recently.
Anna has been working with Fiona almost every day. Her teddy bear dummy is the token rider for now, but that will be changing through April.
Temperatures hit 60F this afternoon, so we took the three big horses over to Arcadia for 11 miles of trail work. Anna rode Amira, Amanda rode Missy, and I rode Mojo.
We have 6 weeks until our first competition of the season and 1 goat left to kid. Hopefully it won’t be the end of April before we post next.
Step back and refocus
Life has been crazy. We will probably get to a big blog post this week to catch up on baby goats and life happenings, but after putting some hay in the barn this afternoon, I decided an evening by an outside fire with a cigar and beer was warranted. After all, it’s 51F in March and the peepers are singing. Rusty will keep me company. Maybe I’ll find some amazing insight. Maybe I’ll just relax.
Snow Day with a special delivery!
Overnight Monday night into Tuesday we got about 7-8 inches of snow. School had already been cancelled for all the kids, Rob’s work event was cancelled and I was the only one who had somewhere to be (the dentist), so not a big deal. Turns out the dentist was still open and in business, definitely not calling in a snow day. So I got up early to take care of some chores and feed baby goats before I had to leave.
Early Tuesday morning our baby goat count was four. Sawfish Jasmine kidded last Friday and added two bucklings to Sawfish Camellia’s two doelings from the previous Saturday. Jasmine’s boys were named Chevy and Ford by the kids! Chevy is the solid black and red with a star like mama’s. He was 9.3 pounds at birth. The black with red and white markings is Ford, and he was a little smaller at 7.8 pounds. Jasmine needed my help with the first boy, but after that the second one came out without assistance. Jasmine is a smaller, slower maturing doe and a first freshener, so I am not surprised she had a little trouble with a 9 plus pound kid. They both presented normal (two feet, nose), which I am grateful for, being alone on the farm with Rob away on business travel.
Camellia’s doe babies Mercedes and Porsche continue to be doing well and Mercedes (the splashy colored one) in particular is a heap of trouble, hopping around the kitchen and causing mayhem. Porsche is a little quieter, but also a bit more solid in structure IMO. They started going out into the garage pens with heat lamps and will transition to living out there and not in the house. Eventually as weather and temperatures allow, they will move into our outside baby pen.
Well, enough of the update, back to the snow day. In the barn, I went to check on Sawfish Freesia, who had a March 2 due date, and she was showing some signs that maybe today was the day to kid. She was breathing heavier than normal, her belly had dropped low compared to yesterday and her ligaments were loose. Her udder was also full, but no discharge. I went to have my cup of tea and coffee, and when I came back to the barn, she had delivered two babies! She might be a keeper. Her mom LongvuTabula Rasa also had easy deliveries. One 7.8 pound doeling and 8.6 pound buckling. Black with tan doeling and black with red buckling with white splashes. We brought them inside to warm up. The kids named them Audi and Harley (I know, not a car, but he has the tough look, apparently). They are both long legged, and will likely take after their mom who is a longer and taller statured goat.
All the goat babies so far are very similar in color. Freesia, Jasmine and Camellia all have the same dad, Idikka Yoshi (out of Barnowl Quartermaster), and were bred to the same buck, so the kids are very similar in look. Black and tan or red, with some sort of white marking. More splashy white on some, only a star or white tail tip on others. Several look a lot like their dad, E.B Farms LL Regal, especially Chevy.
With babies settled, I went off to the dentist, Rob was working from home, and Quinn and Amanda tended to the babies and took care of Freesia. All is well.
Later in the afternoon, Amanda decided she wanted to try skijouring behind Mojo, so we cleaned the stalls and then got Mojo out. He was game, and besides it is good pre cart training, right? We are working on harness training Mojo to drive. Amanda got tired quickly and decided a sled might be a better idea. We also added a lunging aid breeching to help keep Mojo from stepping on the traces from his breast collar.
Check out some short clips from this adventure below:
Stay tuned as we are expecting babies from wonder goat Phaylene next in about two weeks. Think pink!
Kidding Season 2023 has begun
Sawfish Camellia started off our kidding season today with a super easy delivery of twin does. She was due yesterday and based on how big her udder got earlier this week, we actually expected her to deliver about 36-48 hours earlier. Amanda didn’t have school on Friday, so she set up a hammock in the barn Thursday night and did hourly checks on Camellia (Camellia is her goat). Unfortunately, the temperatures were in the 20s last night so she had to sleep inside.
Throughout the day, we were checking on Camellia every hour. Around 1, Amanda came into the house and announced she saw discharge and kidding was imminent. She went back to the barn and called the house almost immediately to announce “there were feet “I see feet!” 15 mins later we had twin does at 7.1 and 7.2 lbs.
This year, we have shifted to all bottle babies. That means we are pulling the kids at birth and they are coming into the house for a few days before moving into a kid pen. We made this choice because the bottle babies are just always friendlier and easier to handle. It also means kids we are selling can leave earlier.
This year’s name theme is cars. The baby with a lot of white on her face is Sawfish AS Mercedes (barn name Merce) and the black and brown faced doe is Sawfish AS Porsche. The AS in their names is for Amanda Sawyer since they are in her herd.
This morning, Anna snapped a picture of Camellia’s udder while she was on the stand. Once Camellia kidded, we hand milked her for the colostrum for her babies. I honestly don’t think we have ever had a first freshener that was as easy to hand milk so fast after kidding. In the first 5 hours she has given us 2 quarts of colostrum and didn’t kick the milking bucket even once. Let’s hope that continues!
We have 2 more first fresheners due over the next two weeks. We will be retaining one of either Mercedes or Porsche and the other will be available for purchase.
This day in history…
9 years ago today, Amanda rode Huey Quinn rode Dakota, both bareback, in the snow. Amanda was 3 and Quinn was 8.
Tis the Season!
We spent some time decorating outside today. This year we added a 20′ Christmas tree of lights. It looks really nice as the first snow is falling this evening.
Last weekend, the family picked out our Christmas tree and it has been getting decorated. It usually take 15-20 minutes of bickering before we find “the right one” which usually just means no one cares anymore. That said, I love the fact that we have so many cut-your-own tree farms around us and can have an annual tradition like this.
Also last weekend, Amanda participated in a youth Pheasant hunt at my gun club. While she gets to hunt over Rusty with me, this was a chance for her to hunt over a different dog and with other youth. She had a great time.