31 May 2009

Out and About

Delilah is doing so well that she has re-joined her herd!

Dexter and the Tulip Family (Samson, Mama Tulip, Delilah)

She's been out to graze with her family, and now everyone's back in the loafing area, chewing their cuds and soaking up the sun.

Pippin on platform; Delilah on far lower right.

That one above is worth bigifying to see Pippin's yawn.

I am amazed at Delilah's resilience and strength... and tolerance of us sticking her with needles twice a day. She gets a chewable Vitamin C as a reward (and to give her stressed immune system a boost).

Go, Delilah!

30 May 2009

New Beginnings

This year's batch of baby Golden Laced Wyandotte chicks arrived today!

Of course we play classical music in the chicken coop... doesn't everyone?

Hope this makes you smile today!

29 May 2009

She's A Witch!

No, not Ysolda - she is perfectly charming! Although we got to YDK too late to join in the weekly Knit Night, we were able to tag along as Dixie and her gang took Ysolda to The Livery for snacks and drinks afterward. We ordered up a plate of smelt for Ysolda to try, because you can't come to Wisconsin and not eat smelt, right? She gamely tried them and even took a couple more on her own.

No, I refer instead to our poor dear Delilah, who is recovering well from her surgery yesterday.

You can click the pic below if you have an interest in seeing the actual surgical amputation site (clean, but not for the meek).

Dr. Bender in Whitehall did an excellent job. We are truly grateful that we can always rely on him. Delilah was feeling so much better after the operation that she attempted to gallop out to pasture with her herdmates! No more "dead weight" (ugh) holding her down and making her wobbly.

"Whoa, there, Nellie, you're supposed to be in recovery in the box stall for three days!" We finally caught our girl (a little loopy on the pain medications she'll be on for a while) and convinced her that there were fresh dandelions aplenty - along with hay, mineral, kelp, and a cool bucket of water - waiting for her in her private chamber. She's enjoying her pampering and the hand-picked weeds being delivered to her door. Her appetite is very good, which is a great sign.

Thank goodness Dr. Bourdon had come out as soon as we noticed Delilah limping. He got her on penicillin therapy right away, so that we were able to halt the progression of the disease through the tissue as quickly as possible, saving Delilah's life! Again, we are so blessed to have yet another good on-farm goat doctor - they are really few and far-between.

Delilah Just After Birth

Baby Samson and Delilah

Delilah and Samson, One Day Old

Mama Tulip, Baby Delilah, Jeff

After consulting three vets and doing research on our own, Jeff and I were still stumped about what caused Delilah's leg to go bad. There was no sign of injury in a fence or by another animal; the illness didn't present correctly for "blackleg" (a tetanus-type infection); and everyone was scratching their heads as to what caused the blood clot that destroyed her leg with no warning... until Dr. Bender mentioned something to Jeff.

"I've never seen it in practice, but I remember studying it in vet school - ergot."

"You mean like rye and witches?" asked Jeff.

That's exactly what he meant (and if you are Dianne RJ, you get bonus points for knowing what I was talking about when I ran into you today!) But for everyone else, I will "'splain, Lucy"...

Samson and Delilah at Two Months, with Mama Tulip

Baby Samson and Delilah, nibbling on my scarf.

Remember the Salem Witch Trials? And how young girls were murdered for "being witches" - having tremors, being possessed, seeing visions, going spastic? One theory which explains their behavior is that they had ergot poisoning. Though I see on Wiki that that's disputed, what isn't is the effects of ergot poisoning on animals.

Delilah at Three Months

We won't ever know the source (pasture, hay, grain, oat straw used for bedding), but thanks to Dr. Bender's recollection we were able to look it up in our copy of The Merck Veterinary Manual (thanks forever for that, Pamela! We use it ALL the time!), confirm Delilah's symptoms and progression, and solve our little mystery.

Samson, Delilah, Mama Tulip

I guess if something completely odd and out of the ordinary will happen, it's going to happen at Tuppinz Farm.

In other farm news, due to the ground being litterally covered with fledgling birds, barn cat Barley is being held prisoner in the house (confined due to his penchant for beating the crap out of the other cats). He'll remain indoors until the birdlings can actually fly on their own. The chickens are quite amused by all the little ones and seem to think they are baby chicks that they are supposed to guard.

Baby Blackbird with Sumatran Rooster

Animals are just so... odd.

Have a great day! I get to sit and knit with Ysolda at Michelle's tonight!!

28 May 2009

Ysolda at YDK Tonight!

The beautiful and talented knitting designer Ysolda Teague will be at Yellow Dog Knitting in Eau Claire, WI, tonight! Hope to see you there - Knit Night at The Dog is already fun, but tonight will be extra special.

Ysolda is on a US book tour for Whimsical Little Knits, which will be available at YDK tonight. It is the neatest little book - I just love it. Ysolda will have her samples along, and Dixie and Cindi have whipped some up in their fantastic Garnstudio Drops yarns for us to fondle.

Ysolda's being hosted by our good friends at Kellane Farm, which means she gets to play with cute baby lambs during her visit. I'm jealous! Must get over there soon.

25 May 2009

Happy Birthday, Bemma-Boo!

Miss Emma turned three yesterday!

Chef Jeff always wanted to take Miss Fiona to Panera for soup in a bread bowl when she was with us, but he never got the chance. Thinking that life is too short to miss an opportunity, he was determined to treat Emma this year, so we took a little time off from chores and away we went.

Note Chef Jeff's shirt...

Emma eyeing her soup and bread bowl (Chef Jeff ate most of it.)

Drooling isn't very ladylike, Emma!

Afterwards, we took Emma to the pet store, where she carefully sniffed everything, finally picked out her own treat, and proudly carried it up to the checkout on her own. Everyone who saw her in the store got a good chuckle.


"This is the BEST birthday EVER!"

18 May 2009

Hero, Part Two

A feature write-up about Jeff's grandpa appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel today. It is here.

We've created a memorial website for Bill, which can be found here.

I also found a couple of photos of Bill in his younger days, which I really like. Thought you might like them, too.

Photo caption reads: "William & Edward 12 and 15 yrs old taken spring 1929."

Bill "bustin' a bronc" (you know I don't go for that method but that's what they did back then!)

A newspaper photo showing Bill having a make-believe cup of tea with granddaughter Becky. She was born with Down syndrome and Bill did much volunteer work for Milwaukee charities that helped brain injured children.

Bill and his wife, "Sutty" (Etelka) at Jeff's college graduation performance. The Chef's degree is actually in music, did you know that? He was a classical composer before he became a Pharm Boy (joke there...)

Chef Jeff's been away in California but is returning tonight. I hear he shipped some wine home which is a good thing, as I think I'm going to be needing some in the next few days: Delilah goat had a blood clot in her femoral (leg) artery and now the leg must be amputated.

At first the vet thought it was from a tetanus-type (clostridial) infection, but then it didn't present in a manner that made him confident about it (the goats are all vaccinated for tetanus but this would have been an odd type of clostridia (?) that usually only affects cows.) He saw no sign of an injury - and Frieda The Just earned her name by being very careful about being the only horned goat in the herd, so she can't be blamed. So Doc Stan the farm vet thinks it was just a freak thing. He says things like this sometimes just happen in a barnyard, and we shouldn't second-guess ourselves about it being something we did, or didn't, do.

Delilah is doing as well as can be expected. There is no feeling in the leg now so she is not in pain, just uncomfortable. She is eating well and brother Sammy and mama Tulip are looking out for her, standing on either side of her when the goats get hay or a treat of grain. She's very good for her shots, but thus far, I have given myself one penicillin puncture and have swallowed some as well - I'm looking forward to Jeff returning to veterinary duty tonight.

We've discussed the potential amputation with several vets, and the vet that has seen to Delilah's needs since she was born is able to perform the surgery. He's actually really a small animal vet, and we always took the goat kids to his practice for disbudding under sedation. He gives us the impression that recovery will go smoothly with sufficient pain meds. Lila's attitude is good right now, so we're thinking this is the appropriate path to take.

So unfortunately I won't be able to attend Bill's funeral. I'll be here giving more penicillin injections and toting hay bales (split into flakes first, of course) and exercising the dogs who can't seem to be outdoors enough in the spring weather. But when Chef Jeff returns from paying his respects, I plan on us toasting Bill with something from Sonoma... and maybe having some time to actually relax and visit with Jeff for more than the five minutes a day we've had to speak to each other in the last few weeks... months... year?

Oh wait, baby chicks arrive in two weeks... and my cold frame just blew over - still haven't gotten my seedlings into the garden bed. No time for sitting still on the farm...

15 May 2009

Farewell To A Hero

William Stamm
November 7, 1916 - May 15, 2009
Milwaukee Fire Department Chief - 1970-1986

Chef Jeff's grandpa passed away today.

We will remember Bill's generous nature, as well as his stories about being a cowboy before he went to work for the Milwaukee Fire Department. Once, he was astride an "un-broke" horse that decided to jump through a V in a tree. The horse made it through - but Bill and the saddle remained. I don't think Bill ever swore in his whole life - even then, though it was weeks before he could walk properly.

Bill came from humble beginnings and was very proud of being 100% Swiss. He never took a drink and never smoked. He sure enjoyed his sweet rolls, though. And brunch. And fancy dinners. That man loved to eat in restaurants.

Bill received an award from the Humane Society in honor of all the animals he saved from fires. Bill traveled to Nicaragua to provide aid after an earthquake. He was a true humani-ani-tarian.

Bill was a Mason and a Shriner. He really loved the Masonic chicken roast picnics held every summer.

Bill's elder brother Eddie passed away just a few weeks ago. The two brothers were best friends and both resided at the Masonic Health Center in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin.

1921 - back row: Buster Hunziker, Eddie Stamm, Herman Kunz.
Front row: Homer Kunz and Bill Stamm.
The goat, "Billy," belonged to Buster.

Whenever asked how he was doing, Bill would reply, "Can't complain!" Even in the ICU. That's a response I'd do well to remember and imitate.

See ya' round, Bill. Be careful up there bustin' them broncs...