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  • Writer's pictureElie Ravitz-Basser

First Week of Summer 6/6-6/12

Middleburg Farm & Estate


This week, the first week of summer, was a busy one! There was a lot to do, especially in terms of animal care. Still, I found time to take scenic walks in the countryside. Below you will find photos of the town of Middleburg, the winding creeks, and the wildlife I encountered. Summer is perhaps my favorite time of year, because it grants me the time to focus not only on academics, but my other hobbies. This entry will also give insight into my other pastimes, like singing and playing tennis. Enjoy!

On the Farm--Goat, Sheep, & Baby Deer Care

Earlier this week, one of our six-month old baby goats became sick. Alfonso, the baby, was lethargic. He had no interest in being bottle fed, nor did he want to play with his friends (even his pal Silver, i.e. Silvie). On Monday, we called the veterinarian, Dr. Margie, to examine him. Alfonso was consistently running a high fever, crying, and sitting by himself.

The vet was alarmed by his symptoms, and we were all unsure of his diagnosis. Throughout the day, I implemented supportive care for Alfonso, meaning that I dealt with his pain management and nutritional support. Until his symptoms worsened, I repeatedly hydrated Alfonso with syringes filled with water and electrolytes, gave him Meloxicam (an anti-inflammatory drug), and Banamine (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug).

Alfonso :)

However, by Wednesday, Alfonso's health was rapidly declining. Not only was he still lethargic but he could not walk properly. Alfonso was only able to walk in circles. He became lock-jawed, and he had trouble swallowing. His tongue was hanging out of his mouth. Half of his face became paralyzed, and he could not blink his right eye. What was once an energetic animal had been reduced to a sad, weak goat. Given that Alfonso was not blinking his right eye, it became dry and cloudy. Blinking helps sharpen and clear one's vision. Without blinking his eye, Alfonso was basically unable to see. Despite consistently lubricating Alfonso's eye with eye gel, the problem did not seem to go away.

Alfonso's paralyzed eye

Dr. Margie, the vet, returned to stitch up Alfonso's eye to prevent blindness from occurring. Because of his new symptoms, like walking in circles, Dr. Margie believed Alfonso to have some kind of infectious disease, like Listeriosis. Listeriosis in goats has many symptoms, all of which Alfonso exhibited. He circled, had a high fever, lack of appetite, paralysis, and depression. Since Wednesday, I have treated him every day with a variety of different medicines. In the mornings, Alfonso wakes up around 5am with the other goats. Then, he receives a dose of Dexamethasone (a steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), one Meloxicam, Penicillin, Aspirin, as well as other nutritional supplements. Through an IV that my dad and I inject, Alfonso receives his necessary fluids. Additionally, throughout the day I use a syringe to give him Nutri-Drench (another nutritional supplement) and more electrolytes.

The good news? All of our hard work has payed off! Alfonso is back to normal, a healthy, happy goat again! Dr. Margie removed the stitches from his eye, so he is now blinking again. However, I still have to repeatedly apply triple antibiotic cream to Alfonso's eye until it completely returns to normal. Alfonso is walking normally again, and is able to eat and drink without help. He has also been reunited with Silver, who missed Alfonso very much. Although it required much time and commitment, it feels great knowing that I was able to help save Alfonso!

Bambi playing outside

While Alfonso's health was improving later this week, our farm welcomed a new member--Bambi! Last Sunday, I was at the barn with Alfonso when I heard crying coming from the woods near our house. The crying (which sounded like that of a baby goat) progressed. Worried that one of our goats might have escaped and been stuck in the brush, I climbed the fence and followed the noises. The crying suddenly stopped and I saw no signs of a goat, so I went back into the house. Approximately four hours later, my mom and I heard the crying again, louder this time. I ran back into the woods and followed the noise. Suddenly, I saw him, a newborn baby deer. He was adorable, with long legs and white spots splattered across his body. The deer could hardly stand and was clearly very tired. He was looking around, presumably for his mom. His mom did not return for him, I suspect she either abandoned him or was killed. I picked up the baby and brought him into my house. In our cabinet, I found all-species milk and colostrum, left over from when I raised the baby goats last winter. The baby was ravenous, and quickly drank almost half a bottle. He curled himself up in my shirt and went to sleep.

Since last Sunday, it has been a full week with Bambino, or Bambi. He is a loving deer who enjoys following me around and cuddling underneath my feet. He sleeps with our 15 baby goats and chickens, who do not seem to mind his presence. In the mornings, after getting fed a bottle, he likes to nap for a bit. Then, I visit him and we both walk around the farm. He nibbles on dandelions and long blades of grass. Around noon, Bambi drinks another half bottle. Lately, as he has been drinking more and more, Bambi seems to have an upset stomach :(. Yesterday I gave him a dose of Pepto Bismol, which seems to have worked wonders for him! Bambi is so sweet and I'm sure he will make a great addition to the family.

Hobbies & Activities---A week of walks and cooking

This week I took a series of long walks. My favorite walk was to the town of Middleburg. By car, the drive is only 13 minutes. However, walking to Middleburg is 6.2 miles and two hours. Despite the length of the walk, it was worth it. As you can see from the photos below, the route was scenic. Along the way, I passed vast stretches of farmland and creeks. I saw deer and groundhogs, as well snakes that slithered across the road.


This week, I've made smoothies, cinnamon rolls, homemade pesto, and garlic & parsley trout. Please see below for some of the recipes!

Avocado, Banana & Mint Smoothie

(I used mint grown right on my farm, it was so delicious! I picked approximately a handful of fresh mint and blended it right in!)

For this easy yet remarkably delicious drink, I used mint from my farm. I picked a little more than a handful and blended it right into my smoothie!
Avocado, Banana, & Mint Smoothie


- 4 avocados

- 3 bananas

- 2 tablespoons honey/maple syrup

- 1 can of coconut cream

- secret ingredient: MINT...and lots of it


- Blend together all ingredients.

- Add one scoop of ice cubes and blend. Enjoy!

Fresh Pesto

(For my pesto, I always use basil that is grown on the farm. The taste is so fresh and delicious, and the pesto is to-die-for. I like to add extra Pecorino.)


- 5 cups of basil

- 3/4 cup good-quality olive oil

- 1 1/2 cups grated Pecorino Romano

- 1/2 cup walnuts, pine nuts, or almonds

- Pinch of salt

- Optional: 2 cloves of garlic


- In a food processor, blend together the basil, oil, salt, and nuts.

- When the mixture is smooth, add in cheese.

- Puree for one minute or until smooth and creamy. Enjoy!

Thanks for reading! See you next week! :)

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