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  • Writer's pictureElie Ravitz-Basser

Week of 6/13/22-6/19/22

This week was full of animal care and related farm tasks. Much of my time was spent on the farm treating and medicating goats. While the cold winter months are behind us, the spring and summer seasons bring their own unique challenges for the animals. For the animals, warm weather means lice, flies, and shearing (to keep them cool). Also, in Virginia, late springtime and summer is often marked by heavy rains. Rainfall means higher parasite loads in the pastures for our sheep and goats. As if that weren't enough, the animals also suffer from limping, generally caused by foot rot and overgrown nails. For treatment, they receive antibiotics. On the equine front, our farm has a horse and a donkey; Ashley and Pedro. During the summer, they, too, demand more care to keep them healthy and happy. Flies tend to bother them, especially around their faces, meaning that they need to repeatedly sprayed with an insecticide.

The baby goats, as pictured above, are soon to be six months of age and now no longer need milk. They seem to be taking the change well, content with the treats (grain and alfalfa) they receive everyday in lieu of the bottles. Each day at 5:30am, when the sun rises above the mountains in the horizon, I exit the house to feed the goats. I give the treats and then bottles, but only to Alfonso and Bambi (my orphaned deer). The other baby goats wake up and come to the house, jumping and bleating along the way. After being fed, I walk them up to join the main herd, where they can graze alongside the older goats. Our family's goal is to combine the two, separate herds.

Alfonso and Bambi need to still receive several bottles of milk per day. For his part, Alfonso is improving from the illness he suffered last week (see last post for more info). Although he is no longer sick, his eye isMorning, noon, and late evening, he and Bambi drink from their bottles. Bambi will need milk for at least another three months, he is still very young---around 10- 15 days old. He still needs more than three bottles a day. Each day, he probably drinks around two full bottles, though his appetite continues to grow.

Bambi drinking from a bottle :)

We are so happy Bambi has joined our little (that's hyperbole, it's not so little) herd. He loves attention, especially a good scratch behind the ears and neck. Bambi follows everyone around. Additionally, he has just discovered water! Yesterday he spent much time splashing in the goats' water trough. After hesitantly craning his neck and sticking his nose into the trough, he jumped into the water. Bambi splashed and splashed in the trough, which probably cooled him off from the hot, 90 degree weather we have been getting recently.

Bambi saying hi to the camera!

When he is not (quite literally) trailing in our foot steps or nibbling on dandelions, Bambi is resting in the corncrib shed.

The goats are very attached to my family and hate when any of us leave the farm without them. See below for a photo of Pirate, who is jumping on the car in an attempt to go with us.

To help with the limping, the goats needed their hoofs cut. Also, a lot of them had foot scald, a common inflammation. To deal with these foot problems, they needed a shot of LA200, a broad spectrum antibiotic. Though the shot hurts and the goats were none too pleased to be restrained while receiving their pedicures, they will be significantly happier in just a matter of days.

Because of the summer weather, there are lots of flies around. They have started to swarm the horse and donkey, who do not appreciate (to say the least) these annoying bugs. I used Permethrin, an insecticide, on the animals by spraying them with the chemical.

A happy Ashley with no more flies bothering her!

Despite my busy week, I thankfully was able to spend some time in my farm's kitchen. On Friday, I made pasta and pesto for dinner. It is already a delicious, simple dish, elevated by the fresh basil I use to prepare it. The recipe for my pesto is in last week's blog post. I make this pasta at least once a week with the farm's fresh's really delicious!

Speaking of the fresh basil, my family just planted more around the farm. All morning, my mom was outside in the garden watering her beloved pesto plants. I recommend that if you have the time and patience, run to Home Depot to pick up a whole bunch of these plants. They're easy to grow and trust me, after only a few weeks, your harvest will be worth the wait.

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