Farming, even hobby farming, is filled with hiccups and heartbreak. This month has been full of it for me and our little farm.
It started with Jazzy. We couldn’t figure out why a two week old goat would suddenly bloat and stop eating. I tried all the things I could think of to help her. But in the end, whatever it was that caused her bloat won out and she passed away on my lap late one Saturday night.
That was hard, especially on Denton, who only really wants a doe to raise like his brother has in Scarlett. We lost his doe Ginger last year in the same way just days before the fair. I was becoming frustrated because something is happening to them and I can’t figure out what.
Then, on Friday, April 14th, exactly one week later, Buster bloated. I immediately called the vet, who didn’t think 2-3 week old goats should bloat. He came over right away. We treated him a couple different ways. He got Nuflur, banamine, and about 40 cc of Mineral Oil tubed into his stomach. It was basically a watch and wait. The next morning, he was no longer bloated, but now he was very gaunt with diarrhea. Ok, alive is good. Now to figure out what the heck? I got some Corid to treat for Coccidiosis. I continued the banamine for his slight fever and comfort, antibiotic in case it is a different type of infection and probiotic to get/keep his rumen working, along with Corid.
The first few days he was pretty lethargic and wouldn’t eat anything. We were getting fairly worried as his eyes were sunk in, he was so gaunt, and just barely doing anything. But I kept treating him and we kept trying to get him to eat. He finally about Wednesday ate about 4 ounces, which pleased us. I cleaned out the entire pen and treated it with Clorox bleach after letting it dry completely. New bedding, cleaned out feed pans and water pan with vinegar and got electrolytes for them. Finally Thursday, I noticed him drinking almost every time I walked by the pen they were in. Which was actually quite often since I was cleaning out the other pens in the barn and had to walk by them with the wheel barrow each load. I really was hopeful he was taking a turn for the better. Each day since then he has eaten a little more. His eyes are not sunk in anymore and he is no longer gaunt. I think we have made it with him.
In the mean time, Blaze went down hill very suddenly Sunday. Not the same kind of downhill, Just unable to get up and extremely weak and thin. I couldn’t believe it. I tried to treat him for both coccidiosis and possibly polio, but to no avail. My handsome bottle baby faded quickly and died peacefully Monday. I am thankful we have a number of his daughters that were born this year.
Meanwhile, the pony appears to be in heat. I shut her up in separate pen from the boys. Since Chevy has not been gelded yet, I thought it was best. Apparently across the fence wasn’t far enough.
This is what I found when I went to the barn Monday afternoon to feed babies. I couldn’t believe it. Why?! So back to the vet clinic, I think they might be my best friends now as I talk to them more than pretty much anyone else. Thankfully, although they don’t’ treat horses, one f the vet techs has horses and knows exactly what to do. So I am treating her while keeping the boys across the street in the other pasture until Chevy goes for his surgery.
I think everything will be fine eventually. But I sure could use a break.
So the sun has finally been shining and getting a little longer. The warmer weather means I am outside more and basically ignoring any house work. Wandering around means finally more pictures!
We had a little more excitement at 7th Heaven Acres! While everyone was at school, Sister called and wondered if I would mind going out and checking on Phoenix. She had been home over the lunch hour and was sure she was in labor, but just wanted someone to check. Since I was just out driving around getting feed and a few supplies at the vet’s, of course I would go!
When I arrived Phoenix was in labor just like she said. I sat and watched for about 20 minutes before she actually started pawing the ground and acting uncomfortable. I wanted to leave her alone as much as possible since it was her first kidding.
Then things went crazy. She laid down to push, and push she did. Hard. Nothing moved or changed. Then she rolled out flat and pushed again. Hard. And screamed. By now I am in the pen with her. Nothing happened or changed. I could see feet but no head. I tried to reach in and make sure the head was coming forward. I couldn’t get my hand on to check. There was no room for my hand, let alone for that baby to come out. I immediately call the vet. We have a problem.
She is now laid out flat screaming and flailing. I am alone and starting to panic. This is Niece#3’s goat and you might not know this about me, but I really, REALLY love my Nieces! I was so afraid something would happen on my watch to her goat and that really had me worried. I hurried back into the pen after getting the vet headed my way. She was still pushing really hard with little movement, BUT! great news, I could see a nose. Which was a relief and worry at the same time. the sack around the baby had broken so now it needed to start breathing or suffocate. The good news was I could start pulling because I know which way the head is facing. Each time Phoenix hunched to pull, I pulled.
With all my might. Literally, I was dragging her around the pen pulling as hard as I could on these tiny legs. She now is acting like she is really in distress and you know I am in distress! After about 6 hard pulls the baby finally made it out. I had grabbed a towel out of my truck and quickly cleared the airway and nose and let mom do the rest of the cleaning. She seemed fairly interested in it and I stepped back to let them be. Baby seemed to be ok but my relief was extremely short lived as she started pushing fairly hard right away again.
Where was the vet?! Well one hard push and she went down again. This time I could get my hand past baby and feel a head so I grabbed the legs and head and after 2 pushes, we had another baby on the ground!
The vet arrived as I was wiping the second kids mouth and nose. She checked mom and babies and decided that there were no more kids and everyone was fine. Sister arrived a few minutes later and I was so relieved that all was ok. They were both fairly big kids who have thankfully gotten the hang of life and taken off!
I headed home to unload feed and do chores and what do I find?
Seriously Ransom? This is about the fourth time this week I have found him like this. He is getting to big and too strong for me to keep getting him unstuck.
Oh well, I was going to have to catch him for worming and a pedicure, so I guess today will do. After I completed those tasks, I had Landon come out and put a halter on him. I then proceeded to get him out of the fence.
Yup. The Horns Of Shame. Get stuck in the fence now. Surprisingly he still has them on after a week. I don’t think Blaze and Piper who live in the pen with him love them, but it is affective. I will have to take them off in May when I put him in with the does.
Well, I will start with before I left actually! A couple days before we went on vacation Landon discovered that Scarlett had a baby!
I went out and checked and since she was still pushing, waited and it wasn’t that long and…
Yup! Twins. I was relieved because they had a couple days to get going before we left for a week.
Then since we were going to be gone to save people the trouble, we moved Scarlett and babies, Indi, Button, and Tawny to 7th Heaven Acres so that Niece#4 and Sister could care for them and check the other 2 does that are due any time. Tawny went along for the ride because after being in with the bucks for over a year and still not getting bred means she needs to go to the sale barn.
Sister had a goat that need to go to the sale as well, so she was kind enough to take Tawny for us that week.
They were also kind enough to care for Indi, who decided to kid while were on our way to the airport! I mean why wouldn’t she? I have only been doing barn checks for the entire week before we left through the night.
I am really not all that upset because she has proven she is an excellent mother and had wild colors again so we are happy. Another buck and doe for us. So we returned from our trip and got everyone moved home and settled back in. It is spring so it’s time to start thinking about fair. Since this is Denton’s last year as a Clover Kid, that means bottle babies.
We got these two from my friend Deb and they took right off. Unfortunately, Jazzy took a turn for the worse and despite the vet and I trying everything we couldn’t save her. The next day, my friend Michael came walking up to me and said ‘I have something for you’
Not a goat but he had a lamb that no one would claim. They are his dad’s and his dad is on vacation currently so I brought him home to bottle feed as well. Meet Raider the Lamb.
Then we had some excitement at Sister’s farm! Prim, Niece#4’s bottle goat from a couple years ago had her first kids! Triplets!! They are tiny, adorable, and doing great! They all pretty much look exactly like the one that Neice#5 is holding! Niece#4 got 2 bucks and a doe. She was so excited she could hardly breath!
Then more excitement at their farm. Polly, Neice#2’s Alpine doe had twins! A beautiful buck and an equally beautiful black doe! She has named her doe Layla and was unsure of a name for her little buck.
Then we come back to our place for more excitement of the spring! Button was still expecting and she sure surprised us!! Landon called me in a panic. ‘Are there supposed to be 7 babies in with Scarlett?’ Umm, no unless someone had new babies!
And someone did! Button gave us a variety pack of color in her triplets! 2 does and a buck for us!
So far, other than some wonky legs that first day, they are all doing well and appear to be getting enough from mom! I will watch them carefully to ensure that their tummies stay full and they are growing without supplemental bottles.
After the triplets were born, the kidding pen seemed a little full with Scarlett, Indi, Button and 7 babies vying for spots to lay down and eat. Scarlett’s kids were bigger and doing great so I kicked them outside.
They could not be happier! Oh the bucking and kicking and jumping that is going on out there! They are absolutely adorable and so much fun to watch. Indi and her two will probably join them after this next round of rain.
Meanwhile, since I was moving around, I figured it was time to wean these two. Janet and Diana had pretty much already done the weaning, but I would like the two does to dry up and put some weight back on before rebreeding. So these two are in with the bottle babies to eat and grow.
Now that everyone that is currently due has kids on the ground, I only have to find a bottle doe for Denton. I really want him to have the chance to have a doe like Scarlett that Landon raised. He’s pretty sad about Jazzy, because she just a doll, but unfortunately with farming, things go wrong sometimes for no reason at all. This should catch you up on the babies for now. I will get out and get more updates on everyone else soon.
Our last day was basically spent relaxing and hanging around home. We took the kids to school and then came back home to lay around the pool. It was warm outside, but the pool hadn’t had time to warm up yet.
Jenny and Emmett have a beautiful yard and live in a very peaceful neighborhood. It’s actually called a county island because they have not joined the town of Buckeye yet and still have rural water and septic tanks.
I was so relaxed and read my book and dozed off and on. I loved just hanging out.
Peaking over the pool is the cactus in their yard along with their palm trees.
Their pool and surrounding area is really nice. Especially when you can leave it filled all year round.
I love it and could see how if it warms up more than today how this would be where I spent my time!
80*. This is what it was like for the whole day. Sunny and 80*. I loved every bit of it.
Madelyn wanted to be brave, but that water was pretty cold. She just kept thinking about it for the better part of an hour.
Then…she did it. Jumped right in. She was practically in shock from the cold but at least she could say she went swimming in March on her vacation. I didn’t even get my swimming out. Just sat laughing at her antics!
So our day went. We went to get the kids from school and then hung out doing homework and went to Chase’s practice and then headed home for one last relaxing evening of hanging out with the family.
The final morning dawned just as beautiful as the rest and we packed and took the kids to school one final time. I nearly cried knowing it will be while before I can hug them again. I even got to give Chase a kiss. Don’t tell him I told you though. It was so much fun to spend time with them and see where they live and all the things they do.
Then Madelyn, Jenny and I went back to the house to finish packing and go through some clothes of Jenny’s for me. That’s the perfect kind of shopping for me.
Heading out one final time. The area they live is so beautiful. I wanted to take a picture of each and every street and turn so I wouldn’t forget.
Of course through shopping and going through Jenny’s closet, we now had more than we brought so we headed first to the UPS store to ship some of it home. Then we still figured we had left plenty early so we went to a few more antique stores to look around.
See this? I am doing this on my barn door. If I could make a living looking at old things, that would be my perfect dream job.
Of course we had to have one more splurge of Sushi. I think Madelyn got pictures of it, but I evidentially didn’t. Should have, it was very beautiful and super good! So now that we are completely stuffed, we headed slowly to the airport. Once there and our goodbyes sadly said, everything went smoothly to get up to the gate and after getting some coffee and glancing through the final shops, we sat to wait for our flight home.
We checked the two locations temperature. 26* different. That’s not to bad. Except I didn’t now at the time that we were heading back just in time for a solid week of grey and rain. It’s funny how you can want to go home so badly and at the same time want to never leave.
Our flight was uneventful and we arrived on time. It was great to see mom pull up and hug her. It was even better to get home and kiss my boys. I will definitely make the trip again. If nothing else to just spend time laughing and talking with Jenny. Oh how I miss that already.
Warning: This is going to be an extremely long post. I only used half the pictures and I think there is 84. I may have to cut it down again.
So Sunday dawned even more sunny and beautiful than Saturday. We loaded up early and headed off to Sedona!! It is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have ever been! This was a much different view than the last time I went with Grandma and Grandpa to Jerome and Sedona. We loaded the side by sides and trailered them up there.
We had to make a pit stop as everyone finally woke up about half way there. Jenny’s husband Emmett, his brother JD and his family joined us today!
The rigs and most of the crew. We continued on and I basically stared as the scenery changed. It was very green up here, lots of grass and wide open pastures, even cattle! I loved the look of the green grass and then a cactus.
The sun coming up over the hills. The whole way there you are basically climbing. It’s slow but it’s noticeable in your ears. Phoenix sits at 1086 feet above sea level, while Sedona is at 4500 feet above see level.
So that was that for Sedona. We loaded up and headed back to Buckeye to relax a little before going to watch Emmett play slow pitch and I got to meet a bunch of Jenny’s good friends. It was a great way to end a perfect day spent with wonderful people. I can’t thank Emmett enough for taking the time to take us up and ride with us. Our days are dwindling in Arizona. But we were so tired tonight all we could think about was bed.
So Saturday dawned sunny and beautiful! Finally Chase was feeling better and we get to spend the whole day them! We headed for Apache Junction. Some of you may know my Grandparents used to go to Arizona every winter. They had a place in Apache Junction.
We found it. I visited them here at Valley Palms twice. I first fell in love with Arizona when I was 14 years old hanging out with them here!
This was their first trailer here. It was easier to find than I thought even though I am sure I haven’t been here for nearly 20 years.
Anyway, we basically just did a drive through there to look at it. Then we headed for Apacheland. Apacheland was once a movie set. It has hiking trails, the church Elvis was married in, parts of the old movie set, a real blacksmith, a museum and store.
We went through the museum store first and looked around there. Then the kids wanted to go on the hiking trail.
Can you believe they went into mines in these little tiny things! We did finally get a picture of Chase and Emily both facing us!
The hike was beautiful and the day was perfect. I am just in awe of this view.
On the hike you walk by a variety of things. This is the Stamp Mill. It was used in milling to crush all kinds of things and hopefully then the gold would be separated out. There was also a primitive mill, a labyrinth, and a drilling machine.
They have the neatest train set up that takes you through the early years of settlement. Chase read about each place and time to us on this tour! They had some pretty neat miniature things on this model train town.
Our little models were at it again in the stagecoach.
Final stop at Apacheland, the church Elvis was married in. They still use it for weddings today.
I thought the cacti that were just outside the door was the neatest part, but if you are an Elvis fan you would probably like the inside.
It’s filled with movie posters that were made at Apacheland.
Madelyn had to get her picture taken with Elvis.
While we were in the church, on of the volunteers recommended we head to Tortilla Flats for dinner. Tortilla Flats is a former freight camp from the building of the Roosevelt Dam and is on the Apache Trail. You can drive the whole Apache Trail but we only went as far a Tortilla Flats.
The entire drive was magnificent. Every twist and turn was more beautiful than the last.
Just before Tortilla Flats, is Canyon Lake. You can camp, swim, boat, fish, or hike around it. That would probably be an entire weekend trip all its own. But it was beautiful to drive around.
We made it to Tortilla Flats just in time for a noontime shoot out between two gold miners and the sheriff. I got so busy watching I didn’t take any pictures of this tiny speak of a town, population 6. Yes 6! They are all employees and caretakers. We went to the restaurant and the food was amazing!
After we ate, we got some ice cream at the General Store and looked around the shop. It was a neat little trek up the mountain. We then headed back down to go to Goldfield Ghost Town.
I was honestly having so much fun looking around and being with my family, I didn’t get a lot of pictures. We took the train ride that goes all the way around the town and explains what all you are seeing. Then we headed into the mines. You go ‘way’ down under ground and get a peak into what it was like to be a miner. The history and stories that you hear about things like being trapped or trying to save money so the owners only allowed each miner 1 candle each day for a 12 hour shift and they had to learn to eat their lunch in the complete dark so you could have enough candle left to find your way out. I was glad to be back on the surface. Even if I was only maybe 20 feet underground!
Our next stop was at the Mystery Shack. It was a miners shack that unfortunately fell into a sinkhole. He left it because it really messes with your equilibrium. Water appears to flow up hill. When you walk to one side you get there pretty easy but it is a lot of work to get back to the other wall.
I got to sit in the chair. You can’t stand up out of the chair. It feels weird to be unable to do something that is so normal. It really messes with you.
No matter where you go you can get a glimpse of the beautiful Superstition Mountain. There are of course shops all up and down the main street. They were neat, and we stopped in a few and looked around, but by now we were all getting tired. So we packed it in and headed back to the Davis Ranch, or home.
We hung out in the yard watching Jenny’s husband and his brother work on their new shed while the kids played. The evening ended with loading up for an early departure in the morning.
Not going to lie. Now I am almost to excited to sleep! We leave at 6 in the morning!
Friday was our 3rd full day in Arizona. Unfortunately, Chase woke up with a fever. So the first thing we did after dropping Emily off at school was to take Chase to the Dr. Jenny had gotten an email from the school that there had been a couple cases of strep throat going around and wouldn’t you know, that’s what Chase had! Bummer. But he was a trooper about it and got better quick after he started his medicine. While they were at the Dr., Madelyn and I walked around outside. It was the most beautiful day.
Spending time with my girl relaxing is a lot of fun. I am sure I don’t have a lot of time left before she get busy with her life and hanging out with her old mom won’t be as easy or as important.
The Mystery Castle was built over 15 years by a man named Boyce for his daughter Mary Lou. He came from Seattle and went through the city papers and discovered that there was 40 acres of land that was part of the South Mountain Park that could be mined. Back then you had to live on the land for 7 years in order to claim the land and since no one had done that, well he did. He then started something that could only be described as amazing.
He built a castle for basically no money other than his food. He literally used found or recycled everything in the entire thing. I would venture to say he was slightly quirky. He had come to Arizona from Oregon due to tuberculosis and worked 15 years on this place. Sadly he died before his wife and daughter could join him, but they did move down to the castle after his death. His daughter lived in the castle the rest of her life until her death in 2010.
Every rock was hauled from the area around the castle. He did technically mine the area under the castle to complete the claim. In the picture above, you can see old telephone poles used in the balcony.
This is one of the variety of windows used in the castle. Notice the bricks around the window? Back in the day the making of bricks was not exact. Sometimes they would have the heat up to high and the bricks would melt and become unusable. To everyone but Boyce. He would take these unusable bricks and brick pieces and use them everywhere.
Here is another unusual window made form the rim of the car that Boyce drove from Oregon. He parted it out and used many of the parts in the house. Other materials he used were railroad tracks salvaged from abandoned mines, wood from the sides of unused railroad cars, shipping crates. Basically anything he could get his hands on for free.
He built in a lot of nooks and cranny’s for decorations and even made some of them.
The ceiling here is made out of the sides of a decommissioned boxcar. Thinking about how all this work would have been done without all the modern conveniences and by hand helps you understand how it took 15 years to build a castle with 18 rooms including bedrooms, living area, caretakers quarters, cantina, patios, chapel and dungeon!
He made good use of space and built his desk into a wall using it also as a support. He did the same thing with the wine cellar and other various hidey holes.
Of course you may know by now that I love antiques. And this place is literally filled with beautiful antiques.
For mantels and other places to use for decorations due to his lack of furniture he built it into the walls.
I can’t remember who he got the bedroom set from, but it was someone who worked with railroad. It was designed to look like an engine, and was absolutely beautiful!
Even though Mary Lou lived in the castle for many years, she didn’t used some parts of it and there are still parts to this day that have no modern conveniences. I believe there are 13 or so fireplaces.
He built a wishing well, but not your usual wishing well. This one went to the cantina and if you were on the patio you wished in the well for your drink and it would be delivered up from downstairs.
He built an entire cooking area outside on the main patio. Many of the ‘unusable’ bricks were used in this area. You can see an archway built into it on the left hand side. He built this as the Phoenix Frame. Back when he built the castle you could stand there and look straight out and it framed in the entire city of Phoenix.
Phoenix is a little bigger that it used to be then and no longer fits in the frame.
These are windows built out of the ruined bricks as well.
He even built this little tower. You can’t actually get into it but it’s cute and interesting.
Another balcony in front of Mary Lou’s room.
This is just another example of a beautiful archway up to another patio. I thought it was so neat that he used statues in the actual architecture.
This is in the guest house area of the castle. I want this piece in my home! Some of the furniture was beyond gorgeous. The guest house was open and very airy. It was often used when it got hot in the summer.
This another fireplace that actually had one behind it and used two flues. He got fairly creative in this area.
This is the other fireplace slightly below and behind the other fireplace. To get to the living space in this room you have to go down a few stairs.
To make space he built a loft for storage and this corner he left unfinished and built it around the cactus that was there. It was alive at the time but has since died and left it’s skeleton. So cool.
Again to save room, the bed is a hide-abed! It is on rollers and rolls out and then under the floor above.
If you ever get there to visit, pay attention to every where. When we got back up on the floor above the bed and looked back down, we noticed this cactus he built into the floor. There were amazing details everywhere! In this picture you can also see the rails the bed rolls out on.
Downstairs there is the Chapel area. He wanted this castle to have everything. There is a sunken fireplace with a seating area around it.
They actually held weddings here for a while. Would have been neat to get married in a castle.
An old organ that I can’t remember the whole story of, but the woman that gave it to him married a number of wealthy men that seemed to not live very long. She would then make large donations of to the local churches. They in turn gifted her for her kindness which is how she came to own this organ.
Just another beautiful corner.
There are so many things I heard that I am probably not remembering. I do want to mention that they are not open May to October due to the amount of critters that they have in the castle to get out of the heat make it difficult to hold tours. He also insisted that before his wife and daughter could own the castle or make any real decisions about it they had to live there two years and they could not open the trap door until they had done so. When they had lived there two years, the lawyer gave them the key and they found all the paperwork for the house along with picture of them, all their letters to him and pictures of him during the years he built the castle. He did this to show them how much he loved them and how often he thought of them during their years apart. They also didn’t add any electricity or plumbing until 1992 although there are still many parts that have neither. Amazing to think Mary Lou lived there all those years without those to the castle!
Boyce was green before being green was even a thing. This recycled, upcycled, repurposed castle was one of the most interesting places I have ever visited. I have a feeling I stood with my mouth open in awe most of the morning. After we were done with our tour we headed for sushi and home. We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at home while Chase rested.