Friday, February 24, 2017

I've spent my entire life answering for myself. Answering for "Me"

I've spent my entire life answering for myself. For my care. For being unorthodox.

For trying to be just "me."

As a little girl, I remember being made to feel less, made to feel uncaring, confused and wrong. . . because I worried about animals.

My first word, the first of my life, the story goes, was "Horsie."

But I didn't have a horse. But my, how they were on my mind even then before I was even two years old.

I remember being so small and still crying in the backseat because another litter of puppies covered in mange was left on the roadside even as I begged for someone the help them.

I know, back then, it was everywhere in rural Appalachia, and there was no way to help them all. My parents did let me try to help. But I was too young to know how.

No social media. No understanding of altering these animals. No way to find safe homes. So many showing up at the doorstep over and over.

My daddy was a man full of compassion for animals, he really was.
He had to hunt to avoid starvation as a little boy. To help his mother with 12 children because the land wasn't really hospitable to agriculture. He told me he had to kill too much to ever believe hunting for sport was decent. He did not, for a moment, act in a cruel way to an dog, cat, chicken or livestock, in as much as he understood. . . being a man born in 1923 in the poorest region of the United States.

Years went on. I grew, and I was always made to believe my compassion for animals meant I didn't care for people. I couldn't understand this, as a child. I had to wonder, "Is something wrong? What is messed up within me?" I didn't feel like I discarded humans for people, but adults told me I did over and over. I had to wonder. I seemed to me that people discarded everything for themselves, both man and beast. It seemed to me what they said to me reflected more on their lack of action, but so many said the problem was within me.

I remember when I became a vegetarian at 14, people laughed and were so cruel. It didn't change my course, though. I imagine no one is shocked at that. I suppose in my county, no one had heard of such a thing. I remember my beloved Daddy's disappointment until his death that I would do something like this. Sigh. People rolled their eyes anytime I mentioned it. 21 years later, not much has changed, though I spent 20 years as a traditional vegetarian and have been a pescetarian for 3. Lord, never talk about that stint as a vegan.

I grew up. We all do. I'd like to say none of this mattered. But it did. I tried to tell myself centering a life on animal welfare was wrong because everyone told me it was: the my desire to help animals was a life being wasted that could be spent helping people. Everyone who came into my path told me so, after all.


Be a daughter. A sister. A granddaughter. A wife. A student. A worker. A mother. A "typical" Christian. Be anything at all but who you are because who you are fails. It isn't good. It is a failure.

"Animals. . .Tinia, they do not matter."

"They are just animals."

"God doesn't care about them much. The passage in Proverbs that St. Francis so often noted which equated Righteousness with kindness to animals was only a joke, honey."

"Your concern for them means you're misguided. Not saved. Not good. Not even decent. It means you do not care for people."

I will not lie. There are times, It has gotten to me while alone and I have wondered. . ."am I wasting life I could have used for people?"

But I haven't, folks. It has taken me until my mid 30's to know.

Beings are beings: Innocent and deserving of kindness. And people are connected to animals in such a way, never is an animal's life touched that humans, in so many ways, aren't shaken to the core, changed, helped, made stable. ..that they do not have faith in humanity restored.

I'm past feeling wrong. Feeling as if I've pursued the wrong course.

This course was laid out for me from the time I was born. From the time my daddy who made it through the Great Depression and my mother . . .made me. . .it is me. Was and Is.

The things that moves your soul from the time you use language, from the time you can recall moments, the things that make you stop, pause and think. . .that is who you are. Heavens. Don't question it.

The people who have and still tell me I pursue things amiss are wandering without a purpose. That is their failure. It is not mine.

Perhaps they envy the ability to know and run into your purpose for being on Earth.

It took 3 decades and then some to be sure of it. . . that I am not the confused party.

Passions born in you from the first memories of life are never there by chance.

Please never let anyone tell you otherwise. Do not be me and spend 30 years and more figuring that out. Please.

Those things are never there by chance, happenstance or error, folks. That is the person you were born to be, and By God, please never lose sight of THAT person. Too many have and will.

If you're fortunate enough to feel something that deeply, never turn and walk away for any reason. Not for any reason.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

When you love your dog enough to let him go: A Sad Chronicle of Woe.

When you love your dog enough to let him go: A Sad Chronicle of Woe.
Bandit was my 3rd Livestock Guard Great Pyrenees over the last 8 years.
All of my Pyrs have been rescues. All have had a need and came here to work well. Amazingly well.
Bandit is my 3rd. He has been my best. The best. He is, literally, the best dog of my life. My family's life.
He is kind and fierce and loyal.
He came to me young, and he will leave me old.
Bandit came here at about 2 years old. He is now about 9. Aged for a giant breed of Dog.
In the past few months, he has decided patrolling our farm is boring. He has decided wandering far beyond this neighborhood that has long appreciated his diligence to keeping out aggressive stray dogs and coyotes is the best plan he can come up with.
He will not stay here in our neighborhood.
What?! You say, "He wasn't fenced in?" No. He wasn't. He patrolled all our land and that of the locals and did an amazing job. He was free to roam the the 1/2 mile of safe "guard" space for 7 years. He did an amazing job.
But he stopped. He decided his "space" included many, many more miles. Over and over. He always came back, but the risk was now too great.
That sounds like a small issue to city or pet Dog folks. Keep him inside. Put him in a fence. Lock him up. Be responsible. That sounded great. I love this dog.
I tried that. He is a senior guy now. No need to work, buddy. Retire inside.
But that isn't who this guard dog is. . .he is a wandering, working dog. He gets out or begs to no matter what happens. He doesn't want to retire. I want NOTHING more than to want him to retire.
He isn't ready. Probably never will be ready.
So for over a month, I've kept him in, prayed, begged, cried and tried to keep him fenced in, keep him inside with me. . .tried to walk him, let him out on a 100' cable to exercise freely (but he knows better). He goes over the fence, and when he cannot get himself free because he is inside or on a cable, He lays and cries, poops all over the house (something he would never typically do), howls and barks and refuses food. His hips bother him when they never did before because he will not even walk around because he knows he cannot patrol and guard. He just cries and howls all day and all night.
I thought this was a phase. He'd stop and get used to retirement and confinement in the house. But sadly, he started wasting away.
And I realize my emotions were getting the better of me. Here is this amazing dog who wants to work and can work so well.
I knew a couple looking for an experienced guard, who needs an experienced guard. . .who lives 20 miles from a "real" road or civilization.
He can go and train the next generation to work and protect, and he will love it and do so well, just like he taught Layla for us.
I tried to back out tonight and tell my husband I couldn't let him go, and he said the right thing to me, and that was, "Tinia, that isn't for him. That for you."
He is right. I have to let him go. He is miserable. Time and chance hasn't allowed me to keep him until the end. He isn't happy and deserves to be happy.
Of course, he goes with his new person knowing he will always come back to me if he needs to, and when his time grows short, I'll be there. If he ever stops wishing to work, he will always come back here.
These are the times farming and caring enough sucks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

How to Bottle raise goat babies (KIDS)

Bottle raising goat kids: HOW?

I get messages and calls SO OFTEN this time of year. . .

A goat emergency. . .someone has a listless kid that will not eat. There is a very young kid was near death and vets or breeders have told the person to raise the goat kid on milk replacer. . .or the newbie breeder or buyer can't get the kids on the bottle.

First, "Please, NO REPLACER. Take the kid off REPLACER now, if you're using it. Put the kids on Whole cow's milk (never 2%) if local, tested goat's or cow's milk can't be had."

As always, if the folks know how to feed the kid, the kid is then perfectly fine within a day or so.

Replacer kills kids at a huge rate. It isn't as good as store bought milk, and it certainly isn't as good a real (disease tested) cow or goat's milk.

I've been getting these calls for MANY years now, and the answer THAT HAS ALWAYS WORKED has been - NO REPLACER. WHOLE COW'S MILK if goat's milk isn't available. Every single person who has called me and listened to what I suggested has saved their kids.

Keep this in mind when you sell bottle kids or purchase them - please tell buyers this and please understand this as buyers.

Sometimes kids live being fed by replacer, but it isn't typical.

People will tell you how replacer worked for them fine. . .remember everyone's version of fine doesn't always equal really excellent growth and health, and also, that does nothing for the many people who simply end up with dead kids. Don't risk it, folks, if you're a newbie.

Another bottle kid goat tidbit:

I also had an email dialogue one year with a lady raising some quads. She initially thought leaving quads on the doe would be ok, but it is RARELY OK. You usually must pull one or two on a doe who births quads. Either one or more kids will not get enough or it will pull the doe down too far.

If you have a yearling who has triplets, the same applies.

Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of easy to find information online as to HOW much to feed when folks pull.

That caller knew to not ever use replacer, but she said the 7 week old bottle kids were stunted in size. I asked how much she was feeding. It added up to about 30 oz or less a day for full size kids.

Full size breeds MUST get 60 oz a day, at least. This doesn't apply to Nigerians. Also, you must give milk until at LEAST 12 weeks. I personally do not wean until older.


First 24 hours
I start offering 8-10 oz of colostrum to a newborn kid. If they drink it all, I wait 2-4 hours before offering more. I continue this the first 24 hours every 3-4 hours and wait up to 6 hours overnight.

Day 2-7- they are on about 10 ounces 4 times a day

Day 7- 4 weeks - I do 20 oz 3 times a day, if they will accept it

4-8 weeks - 20 oz plus ounces 3 times a day or go to free choice lamb bar feeding

8-12 weeks - 30 oz 2 times a day

If you continue beyond 12 weeks (I do 16- 24 weeks) - a 20 to 30 oz bottle once a day.

Don't skimp on feeding your kids, folks. It isn't kind and doesn't lead to healthy goat kids.



Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens

- Proverbs 27:23-27

"I know of no pursuit in which more real and important services can be rendered to any country than by improving its agriculture, its breed of useful animals, and other branches of a husbandman's cares."

- George Washington