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Chris and Keri’s Blog
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Chris and Keri’s Blog

Just another WordPress weblog

What’s new on the farm…

by Keri - September 4th, 2010

Well the goat kidding season has come and gone. We ended up having 5 goat kids, 1 girl and 4 boys. We sold one of our milk goats Nilla the white Saanen and her daughter goat kid about a month ago. The 4 remaining boys are growing well and getting bigger. We’re looking to sell them and may have a buyer lined up.

I decided to downsize our chicken flock, so I sold 10 chickens. We now have 15 chickens and we’re still getting about 8-10 eggs a day. It’s like we didn’t even down size! In fact I think egg production has ramped up since then.

Our business LakeNet, LLC is doing great. We have about 20 customers now and hope to get more in the near future. We are going to do another set of postcard mailings to our surrounding area and see if that will draw some more business. We also are launching our own home phone service through our internet service. So we’re hoping that will be attractive to our customers as well.

As some of you may or may not have known over the last 3 years Chris and I have struggled with infertility. Earlier this year I changed doctors and started seeing a specialist in Dearborn, MI. He discovered a condition that I have. In June I underwent a surgical procedure. Since then I have been taking medication to try and combat the diagnosis. In October I will undergo a second surgical procedure. Due to all the medical complications that are going on with me,  we have made the decision to pursue Adoption as our plan to have a family. We have signed up with an adoption agency out of Flint, MI and are in the process of completing our home study, we just had our first visit with our assigned social worker on Friday and we’re in the process of getting all of the paperwork completed. They are telling us it could be as soon as 2-4 months or it might take 9-10 months, it just depends on how many babies come to the agency. We are pursuing an infant adoption.  What that means is that we will be able to bring our baby home directly from the hospital, in most cases. Chris and I are both very excited about this and look forward to growing our family. I have attached some pictures below of the nursery that we have setup.

When we made the decision to adopt and found the agency I started to look on Craigslist for good used baby items. I ended up finding a nice quality oak crib, mattress, wardrobe and changing table/dresser down in Holly, MI. Chris and I went a few weekends back and picked it up, We got a great deal on it and it’s a super nice set. Last weekend I found a good deal on the brand of carseat and stroller that we wanted and we went out to Clio and purchased it from a couple. We decided we’d rather buy used than new and save a bundle of money and put it towards other things, such as the cost for the adoption. My mom and sister have helped as well, they have bought a bunch of baby clothes on season clearance as well as diapers, wipes etc. so that if the baby comes sooner than we thought we’ll be already prepared.  My plan is to take off probably 12 weeks from work once the baby arrives and then go down to working part-time. Chris will probably take 6-8 weeks off from work when the baby arrives.  We are also very excited to share this information with you as our friends and family and we look forward to everyone meeting our baby when he or she comes to be home with us.

Goats Milk 101

by Keri - June 17th, 2010

Tonight I decided now that the kids were a full 24 hours old, that we should probably milk Nilla to both relieve a little pressure on her udder and to make sure that her milk supply is coming in for the kids to ensure they are having enough to drink.

I wasn’t really sure how easy it was going to be since I’ve never milked anything in my life, but surprisingly it went quite smoothly, thank goodness!

We weighed the milk and got 1lb of fresh milk. I’m going to freeze the milk that we get from her for the first week or two to have on hand for the next sets of kiddings, just in case it’s needed we’ll be able to thaw it out and use it.

First goats milk from Nilla 24hrs post kidding.

First goats milk from Nilla 24hrs post kidding.

New kids on the block

by Keri - June 17th, 2010

Well Nilla our Saanen doe kidded on 6-16-2010 with two kids. I got to use my what seems like hundreds of hours of research that I had done to help Nilla birth her kids. I like to call myself now the certified goat midwife!

Nilla’s first born was a 8lb doeling and second was a 8.4lb buckling. Mom and kids are doing great! Her motherly instincts have definitely kicked in and she is doing a great job with them. I named the doeling Hazelnut but we’ll call her Hazel. The buckling is named Marzipan, but we’ll call him Marz. Got to stick with food names for sure!!!

The below picture is Nilla and her kids only a few hours after they were born.

Hazel (8lb doeling, first born).

Hazel (8lb doeling, first born).

Marzipan, AKA Marz (8.4lb buckling, second born).

Marzipan, AKA Marz (8.4lb buckling, second born).

GoatCam Version 2

by chris - June 13th, 2010

Two of our does have kids due any day now, and we wanted a better way to keep an eye on them from the house. I had previously set up a video camera that we could monitor on our TV, but we wanted Keri’s mom to also be able to watch during the day when we’re at work.

Being a major computer geek, I rigged up a system using an old computer in the barn running Linux and a free software package called Zoneminder to monitor the video cameras. Since we run a wireless internet company, I installed a wireless connection to the goat barn (which is only a few hundred feet from our tower) so that the video feed could be viewed from home and from Keri’s mom’s house which is also connected to our wireless internet service.

Here’s a shot of how the video feed looks on the computer screen:

Screen shot of our video cam system for the goats. Thats Nilla taking a drink in the barn. The rest of the goats are outside somewhere.

Screen shot of our video cam system for the goats. That's Nilla taking a drink in the barn. The rest of the goats are outside somewhere.

Pictures finally!

by Keri - May 7th, 2010

New grass is finally filling in the backyard nicely!

New grass is finally filling in the backyard nicely!

Nilla happily eating away her dinner. She only has about a month left today before the kids arrive!

Nilla happily eating away her dinner. She only has about a month left today before the 'kids' arrive!

Peanut and Cocoa chowing down, happy that Nilla is eating in her own area so that they actually get some food. They are due July 12 and July 24 or there abouts.

Peanut and Cocoa chowing down, happy that Nilla is eating in her own area so that they actually get some food. They are due July 12 and July 24 or there abouts.

New wall of fencing and gate that we put up in the girls barn. This will make it much easier when it comes time to milk to separate them one in the pen area to milk and what not so that all of them do not get in the way at one time.

New wall of fencing and gate that we put up in the girls barn. This will make it much easier when it comes time to milk to separate them one in the pen area to milk and what not so that all of them do not get in the way at one time.

We extended the boys pen to make it longer so that they would have more room to run and play and more grass to eat.

We extended the boys pen to make it longer so that they would have more room to run and play and more grass to eat.

Nilla standing on the fence with Chris, shes always trying to eat whatever food you might happen to have, today it was grass that we were feeding to the boys but Nilla wanted it. Somehow to her the grass is always greener on the other side!

Nilla standing on the fence with Chris, she's always trying to eat whatever food you might happen to have, today it was grass that we were feeding to the boys but Nilla wanted it. Somehow to her the grass is always greener on the other side!

Random picture of the chickens chilln out in their house.

Random picture of the chickens chilln' out in their house.

These are the baby chicks we got back in March. They are getting big. Probably another month or so they will be big enough that they can be with the other chickens.

These are the baby chicks we got back in March. They are getting big. Probably another month or so they will be big enough that they can be with the other chickens.

Picture of one of our flowering apple trees. They survived the deer attack eating of last year and are looking good and weve even managed to remember to spray them several times already.

Picture of one of our flowering apple trees. They survived the deer attack eating of last year and are looking good and we've even managed to remember to spray them several times already.

I had a cupcake order for one of the girls I work with so here are 2 dozen cupcakes left side is strawberry and right side is coconut/pineapple, Yum!

I had a cupcake order for one of the girls I work with so here are 2 dozen cupcakes left side is strawberry and right side is coconut/pineapple, Yum!

Chris climbing a tree at my moms house.

Chris climbing a tree at my mom's house.

Chris climbing the upgraded 120 tower to attach an antenna on it for our new wireless Internet provider company, LakeNet, LLC. You can learn more at www.LakeNetMI.com

Chris climbing the upgraded 120' tower to attach an antenna on it for our new wireless Internet provider company, LakeNet, LLC. You can learn more at www.LakeNetMI.com

Chris at the top of our tower, approximately 115 feet in the air.

Chris at the top of our tower, approximately 115 feet in the air.

This is a view of the top of our house and driveway area from Chris looking down from the top of the tower.

This is a view of the top of our house and driveway area from Chris looking down from the top of the tower.

Yes, we’re still here, slackers in blog writing as we may be.

by Keri - May 1st, 2010

Sorry we know that we haven’t posted anything on here since February, crazy huh! Well this is just going to be a quick post to update everyone about the goings on here at the farm.

Our 10 baby chicks are about 8 weeks old now, haven’t posted any pics of them yet, but hopefully will.

We have 3 pregnant goats! Nilla is due June 17, Peanut is due July 12 and Cocoa is due July 24. All of these dates are probably within a week or so of when they will actually have the ‘kids.’ The way Nilla is looking I would guess at least twins for her, her belly is getting quite big with babies, just can’t wait till they get here, then the real work starts with milking her daily and twice daily bottle feedings for the kids.

When we moved into our house our backyard area that we had fenced in didn’t really have a lot of grass planted in it because the previous owner had put a lot of fill dirt in it because of drainage issues. So a few weeks ago we decided to go ahead and get the leaves picked up, we used a dethatcher and then we used a spreader to put out grass seed and fertilizer. Our backyard is starting to look more like a usable backyard by the minute.

We also planted about 50 new pine trees in the front yard area, as well as out by the road. We found a good deal a few weeks back at Home Depot. The trees were in gallon pots and were probably a few years old and had about half inch diameter stalks. Eventually they will provide the privacy that we would like to have.

If all that wasn’t enough, in the mean time we decided to go ahead and start up a company. Since we live out in the sticks the one thing that we did when we moved here was put up a ham radio tower so that we could get high speed internet. The only problem was that the company we could get it from, proved to be quite unreliable with service and the speeds that we were getting from them were not to our liking. So Chris being the big geek that he is decided he could start up his own wireless internet service provider company.  Back at the first part of March we upgraded our tower and added more height to it so that it’s now 120 feet tall. I’m sure later Chris will put up a post with more specifics on this but I’m not the one with technical skills great enough to explain the workings of the wireless internet aspect so I will leave that up to him. Last week we started to install our first customer, as of right now we have 3 customers with several more lined up to install in the next few days. I take care of the billing aspect of the company while Chris takes care of the installing part.  We named the company LakeNet, LLC. The slogan I came up with for the business is: “Locally grown high-speed Internet.” We do have a website although it’s not complete yet, but feel free to check it out at www.LakeNetMI.com.

Hopefully in the next few weeks I’ll have a chance to get some pictures up here. Definitely by the time goat babies get here there will be pics of those up!

Newest Farm Addition

by Keri - February 21st, 2010

It’s been about 2 weeks now since we added another animal to the farm. We picked up Moon Pie from Indian River, MI to be a friend for our buck Bryers. Moon Pie is just over 2 years old. He is a Mini-Nubian goat, black with white “moon spots.” He is a whether so no baby goats in his future! He loves attention though and makes sure that you know he can see you when you are outside. But overall him and Bryers get along good. The noise level has considerably quieted down.

Moon Pie happily eating his new hay with new friend Bryers.

Moon Pie happily eating his new hay with new friend Bryers.

A New Addition to the Farm

by chris - January 16th, 2010

A few weeks ago, our plans for getting our goats bred fell through. We decided rather than try to find another breeder to take our girls to, we would look to see if we could just find a buck to purchase. We got in touch with 4 or 5 people selling bucks until we found one that we liked. We went to pick him up this weekend. Here are some photos. He is a purebred Nubian registered with the American Dairy Goat Association. His official name is “Bryrpatch Speak E-Z.” The naming convention for registered animals is that the first word represents the herd or breeder name, the second name is their given name. Of course, goats don’t know their name, so you can call them whatever you want informally. We decided to call him “Breyer.”

Breyer was bottle fed and trained to walk on a lead. He actually does walk very nicely, much better than even our dogs. Here Keri is walking him from the truck to the pen.

Breyer was bottle fed and trained to walk on a lead. He actually does walk very nicely, much better than even our dogs. Here Keri is walking him from the truck to the pen.

The seller told us that she couldnt get him to eat hay and he would only heat alfalfa pellets. Maybe she had some nasty hay, becaus he sure started munching away as soon as we put him in his pen.

The seller told us that she couldn't get him to eat hay and he would only eat alfalfa pellets. Maybe she had some nasty hay, because he sure started munching away on ours as soon as we put him in his pen.

After he ate for a while we let the does out of the barn to meet him. We just kept them in adjoining pens for today, tomorrow we will let them run togther.

After he ate for a while we let the does out of the barn to meet him. They seemed interested in each other but also somewhat cautious. We just kept them in adjoining pens for today, tomorrow we will let them run together.

Breyer seemed very agitated when we left the pen, he was pacing around and bleating very loud. We thought it would be best to keep an eye on him so I put up a video camera on him and now we have a new TV channel - GoatVision!

Breyer seemed very agitated when we left the pen, he was pacing around and bleating very loud. We thought it would be best to keep an eye on him so I put up a surveillance camera on him and now we have a new TV channel - GoatVision!

Speaker Stands

by chris - January 4th, 2010

When we were visiting over the holidays I decided to finally bring some of my home theater equipment back from my mom’s house. In the theater I had set up in the basement at my moms, I had my front speakers setting on some concrete blocks wrapped in fabric. Since this is now in our living room, I decided to go slightly more upscale and built some speaker stands out of pine that matched our decor a little better.

I built the stands out of 1x6 pine better grade lumber and finished it with a one stage stain & polyurethane. I designed the stands to have shelves that were sized to hold DVDs upright, but could be used for displaying decorations as well.

I built the stands out of 1x6 pine "better" grade lumber and finished it with a one stage stain & polyurethane (2 coats). I designed the stands to have shelves that were sized to hold DVDs upright, but could be used for displaying decorations as well. I tried to match the style & finish to the wood on our TV stand, but as you can see the stain color wasn't quite right.... oh well, close enough.

Heres a picture of them all set up. Keri and I even put the DVDs in alphabetical order while we were waiting for Mythbusters to record enough so we could skip over the commercials.

Here's a picture of them all set up. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Keri and I even put the DVDs in alphabetical order while we were waiting for Mythbusters to record enough so we could skip over the commercials.

Playing Doctor on the Farm

by chris - January 1st, 2010

First off, Happy New Year everyone!

Today Keri and I decided to teach ourselves to draw blood from the goats. We’ve had the necessary supplies on hand for a couple months, but have been procrastinating since the task seemed a little daunting. But, we’re making arrangements to have the goats bred in January, and we need to send some blood samples off for testing before breeding them, so the time has come.

The task sounds pretty simple when you read tutorials online. We even read one web page with pictures of a 7-year-old girl drawing blood. The basic procedure is to have one person hold the goat still, and the other puncture the jugular vein with a needle & syringe and draw a few CCs of blood, and then deposit the blood into a vacuum sample tube to be sent away.

Yet as we found ourselves in the barn with a stubborn goat and a syringe at the ready, it didn’t seem quite so simple. Eventually we found a position that worked to hold the goat still, me holding the goat and Keri drawing the blood. On the first two goats, Peanut and Cocoa, Keri was successful on the first poke. The last goat, Nilla, proved (as usual) to be more difficult. Her vein was huge and easy to see, but must have been very slippery or something; it took about 10 tries to get the blood. We gave the poor girl an extra treat of grain afterward.

As you can imagine we couldn’t really get any photos of the process. But since I know everyone likes to see photos, I took a picture of the samples for you. Here is the result of all our efforts, I hope it doesn’t gross anyone out. Tomorrow morning we’ll be sending them overnight to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory and Washington State University. Hopefully the results will come back clean. If not, we’ll just have to take extra precautions to avoid the goat’s kids getting infected.