Monday, April 17, 2006

I'm going to send some photos to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, hopefully the fact that they are photos of goats is not going to be an issue. I decided that since I'm going through the effort of making up a package, that I would like to see both my kids enter in the Junior Division- so these are the shots!!

When I unloaded the camera into the computer and was scanning the previews... I FLIPPED- I asked my son, he's 8... "did you realize what you were doing when you took this picture? Do you know what composition is?" he said, "Well I know what it is when you are writing, but I don't know what it means with photography." So I proceeded to show him all the ways this photo has awesome tight composition... he looked at me and shrugged... "well I was just trying to get all the goats in the picture!" oh man... the photo of the year is taken by Mr. Humility.

My daughter loves this enhanced picture of April and Stormy.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

What an amazing sky we had on Friday! As the sun was going down huge billows of mammatus clouds dripped down like a blanket of lava lamp in the unstable atmosphere.

This is my start to the Mystery Pi Shawl. I am using a flake cotton which is mostly thin like a crochet thread- but has big slubs which add a lot of texture and Art Deco interest. I think this shawl will be wonderful over pink or black. The color is a bright tangerine. I chose the "D" option for the first pattern band from the EZasPi knit along.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

"I have waited my whole life for you!"

The second twin emerges
Earlier, Nana labored with the company of May's twins.

A morning check found Nana with a steeply pitched pelvis, a sure sign of a birth coming soon. An hour later she was nested in to the goat house meditating her way through some big contractions. May's babys stayed close by with Nana and May went out to the field to graze. Nana was very expressive during her labor, staring at her belly, nudging it with her nose, flexing her ears and stretching her mouth. I really felt for the old girl but gave her some space for the early part of labor. When she really seemed to get to the pushing stage I went in with her and she seemed to really appreciate being petted and soothed.

She seemed to be pushing and straining a lot without much progress. When I finally saw the tips of the hooves emerging I was pretty sure they were upside down, so I went in the house to call talk my mother in law about what we should do. Lois is a pro at birthing the mammals from years on a dairy farm and she talked me through every possible position until I was totally terrified. When I got back to Nana there was a nose and a dark purple tounge sticking out too- and everything was facing the right way. Nana seemed to be having a very hard time pushing the baby out. I helped pull the baby's feet just a little and as soon as the shoulders delivered the rest slid out fast. Nana went to work cleaning him up and the next kid, a girl, came "right out on his heels" now I know where that phrase comes from. As I was suctioning the goo out of the second twin's mouth- the first was already climbing to his feet and poking around for a teat.

Just about then our neighbors were pulling out of their driveway and noticed our family commotion- and we invited them to come over and see the miracle too. I'm guessing about six people came over to "ooh" and "awe" over the little babies who were so strong!

Nana hugged her babies with her neck as she cleaned them off. To look at the pictures you could almost cry for her that she has no arms to hold her newborns. The expression of love and contentment on her face is so clear it's as if she is saying, "I have waited my whole life for you!"

The little skirt came off the needles last night. I was happy to see the end result of the ribbed ruffle which was not fully realized until off the restriction of the needle. This skirt pattern is pretty straightforward with the only elusive design element being a series of increasing short rows at the back base of the waistband which gives a good rise to back. The waistband is 2x2 ribbing with YO eyelits for a drawstring.

The lower edge ribbing begins with a M1 every 2 stitches- after a round this turns to k2 p1. After 3 rounds of that another row of increase in the purl section which then becomes K2 P2 for 3 more rows. Then an increase round with a M1 between the two K sts and that becomes K3 P2 for 3 rounds. Then increase in the middle of the P sections for a K3 P3 pattern.

The end result is a very springy ribbing with flair- it gives all the flounce of a ruffle and leaves the clownish loopy element behind.

My daughter put this outfit together herself and I am amazed at how her decision to wear her hat brim down seems to go perfectly with a 1920's style flapper skirt! I'm thinking that this skirt would be fantastic done in two colors- the second color as a stripe just above the pleats would really accentuate the hobble skirt look.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Yesterday April's leg supports came off in stages, the lower legs in the AM and the upper legs in the afternoon. She is now walking... running and hopping... able to initiate and maintain nursing all on her own! She has made so much progress in a day! Here is a picture of April and Stormy- she's the one trying to dash out of the frame! Don't worry- Speck, the cattle dog is on the other side of the fence.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Orthodics for a baby goat
It's been a tough day and a half but I think little April is almost out of the woods. She still has a long way to go in terms of walking on her own- but this afternoon she was out moving in the grass with her mom and brother Stormy. She's not bucking and kicking... but she can shuffle around.

Yesterday afternoon I took her down to the Vet for a vitamin powerboost injection and to get an honest opinion from the vet if she might make it or if she had a crippling birth defect. He called her "spraddle legged" and thought she would be fine with a little extra help- so we are going to give it our best shot. He suggested that some people tie the legs together to help them get balance and control.

When we got home I threw together a stanchion with some old fenceposts so I would be able to help the baby get to the teat without getting boxed in the ear and without May circling and stomping on us all. So now this LC is working with a teat target that only moves about 4 inches forward and back. April still seems to have a good suck reflex and a strong will to live.

The first try at tying Aprils leg's together went pretty well- I padded her legs with paper towel and then wrapped the cuff with duct tape and then tied a length of yarn around. The padding and tape should prevent the yarn from cutting into her skin and the cuffs can turn a bit as she shuffles. It looked great at first and it gave her lots of stability to stand- but when she fell down her knees flipped outward till they faced backwards (as if she had no shoulderblades at all!) This is illustrated in one of the pictures. I realized that she would need a second string to keep her knees together. Now with the double support she can stand, lay down and shuffle around. She can kneel down to nurse without sinking down to her sternum.

I was up several times during the night to make sure April keeps her strength up and then I came in to my own little nursling who was fussing as we are all coming down with a cold. Today I was exhausted and along with the physical misery of this cold I was starting to have feelings of despair creeping in because we had one bad nursing session with April who seemed to have lost her will or ability to suck. Finally this afternoon April had another good nurse at the stanchion and then afterwards I got to see her really moving around on her own and I realize that it's possible that the bad session may have simply been lack of hunger! Maybe she had already nursed on her own! Let's hope!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The linen stitch is my favorite knit stitch. Here is an unfinished bag I made with peaches and cream varigated cotton. I love what the linen stitch does to varigated yarn how the stripey effect is really broken up and the honeycomb pattern that emerges. I have trouble though deciding which side I like the best. I'd like to finish this bag with a lining- but I hate to cover up the "wrong" side of the work. Just to avoid any confusion- the solid pink side panels were knitted perpendicular to the linen stitch panel.

May's twins were born yesterday afternoon! They are a boy and a girl. So far the little girl is having a tough time getting going. She isn't able to stand up yet and falls spraddle legged, but she is alert and otherwise very thrifty. It's a little tough to crawl into the truck cap to help out- but once inside it is very cosy in the thick hay bed. There was frost on the ground this morning. I tried helping her up, by flexing her legs and holding her knees together, she was able to raise up enough to find the teat and nurse a little this AM. She passed a meconium poo shortly after, so I think she got enough milk to make a difference. May did give me a good box in the ear though for trying to mess with her babies- she is a protective good mom... all the "mmm" "MMMM" "mmmm" "MMMM" back and forth communication between the babies and mom is just as sweet as sunshine.