Sunday, September 26, 2010

New Pioneers

I have a new addiction. Thankfully, it has fruitful results for us all. But yeah, I am addicted to canning. It has all around made me addicted to preserving the fruits (pun intended) of the harvest season. I have also taken to freezing fruits, breads, etc. I've already made 6 loaves of zucchini bread to freeze. I still have 2 large zukes from the garden, and more on the vine... I need another zuke recipe!

Shown on the shelf here: Dill pickle spears, dill pickle slices, bread and butter pickle slices, grape jam, apricot jam, peach jam, canned peaches, canned spiced peaches, peach pie filling, cherry jam, plum jam, pickle relish, strawberry jam, raspberry jam, blackberry jam, apple sauce, apple pie filling, pear jam, canned pears, raspberry chocolate sauce, peach BBQ sauce, salsa, peach salsa, strawberry pie filling.

I think I may have missed a few. I have used up every jar I had - including 3 dozen I bought new (which was silly of me) 3.5 dozen I bought from the thrift store, and at least 3 or 4 dozen that my father-in-law brought over from Larry's grandfather's house. Apparently, his aunt has more... our tomatoes aren't ripe yet, but I am envisioning canning some tomatoes and tomato sauce, and more salsas.

With all of the above I have used apples from our orchard, cherries from Sy's tree, peaches from Mick, Tomatoes from the tomato guy, honey from a local farm, grapes from a neighbor, and all the following from Gino and Doris from Little House Farm: apricots, peaches, plums, pears, cucumbers, tomatoes, hot peppers, and a second or third dose of all of the above!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

HOORAY for second opinions

I called our regular bovine vet to come out on Saturday. He was out of town last week when I needed someone to look at Bridget. He came out do put her down, she was so much worse on Saturday.

He did NOT agree with the first vet. He said MCF cows have a lot of drainage from their eyes. He also agreed with what I read about how it is much more rare in cows in the US. So he didn't suspect it. He thought it was chronic pneumonia. He did say, however, that if she wasn't eating, then she would starve to death, and he was preparing to put her down.

I don't know what made me do it. But I grabbed a handful of lilac leaves. Something Marlow LOVES to eat. And I took them to her, I just wanted to pet her and say goodbye. But she started to eat them! She ate them all! The vet said if we could get her to eat, then he would gladly wait a few days to see if she would come around.

So I gave her loads of leaves. I went inside to prepare some more antibiotics and a vitamin shot for her. When i came back outside, she had walked over to a bale of hay and started eating! There was hope!

So, we may not lose Bridget. The light at the end of the tunnel is very faint. She went almost a week without eating, and her temperature is NOT dropping. It was almost 106 this morning. But she's eating. I am hoping, with some more antibiotics, and some food, she'll have the strength to win this one. I'm rooting for her, that's for sure!

Friday, September 17, 2010

We're going to lose Bridget

This poor girl came to us on Mother's Day, with a broken jaw, pneumonia, and scars from a recent coyote attack. I truly believe she would have died, if left where she was, because no one was treating her for anything. So we thought she was going to have a good life with us, a great life. Being loved, and healthy and growing up cared for.

She got sick over the weekend. My description over the phone to the vet at CSU told him it was one of three things - she had a blockage in her mouth, pneumonia again, or rabies. He told me a few things that would differentiate, and I took her temperature, and felt confident it was pneumonia. We gave her antibiotics and hoped for the best.

The antibiotics should have worked within 48 hours to relieve her symptoms. Her symptoms were also not getting worse. Her temp remained high. Her breathing was not labored. She was not acting funny or walking like a drunk man. So it didn't seem like rabies, and if it was pneumonia, it wasn't going away or progressing. So I called the vet (something Larry doesn't like to do)

You can read about what she has here:

I don't want to get into too much detail, but here are a few key facts I gleaned from what I read:

1) she has a 90-100% chance of dying, probably within 10 days of seeing symptoms
2) it's untreatable
3) it's carried by sheep (strike 2 for our sheepies)
a note here - sheep carry it, but don't get the illness. It is transmitted during lambing season, and the virus can stay latent for up to 70 days before showing symptoms. That timing is just about perfect. So do the math on this bit - Bridget got it when Cindy and Alice were giving birth in late late spring. Marlow is NOT sick. He didn't get it, and the girls won't lamb again until november or december, and Marlow will be gone. So Marlow is safe... which brings me to
4) Cows don't transmit it to each other. Marlow can't get it from her, he can only get it from a sheep that is shedding the virus, and they do it when the lambs are 2-3 months old, they don't know why.
5) It is REALLY RARE IN CATTLE! Especially in the US. There is a a 40% transmission rate to cattle, if they get it. This disease is super super susceptible to deer and bison. Sheep carry a different virus than wildebeests do in Africa. The wildebeest strain is much more virulent. So it's more common in cattle in africa that are exposed to calving wildebeests.

So basically, what I am getting at is - this thing transmits essentially one time a year, to 40% of cows that are exposed. We just happen to have sheep that carry this virus, and gave it to Bridget. DAMN IT.

Our options at this point are a) never raise cattle again, b) cull all our sheep so we can raise cattle or c) cull all our sheep to remove this virus and the caseous lymphadenitis that they have and start over with a new flock of sheep (the we test for CL and the OHV virus) and wait a season to let the CL shed off the pasture before we bring in new sheep.

If I've ever been frustrated with farming before, THIS is making me want to throw in the towel completely.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Fire on the Mountain

OK, so, not such a fan of that song from the Grateful Dead anymore. I was out this morning grabbing a few eggs to put in my incubator, and keeping an eye on Bridget (she has over 105 degree temperature, and probably has pneumonia again - and we now have a thermometer that I will never again use to take my own temperature!)

Anyhow, I saw a fire on the ridge. I went out an hour later, and it was worse. Here is a progression of shots from throughout today. It doesn't seem to be getting better. Good news is there are reservoirs up there, the wind is also blowing west, meaning, away from us. Our pasture is also flooded, so we have that going for us...