Friday, August 28, 2009

My Computer Has a Virus and So Does My Goat

We've been back from vacation for a week and a half now, but you haven't heard hide nor hair from me because my computer has a virus... or two. I think I've cleared up the problem - thank you free anti virus software - so I will be trying to post more frequently to catch everyone up on the haps around the homestead.

Speaking of viruses, one of the goats, Lucy, has had a slight cough and runny nose since she arrived at Itty Bitty. It was such a minor issue that I figured she either had an allergy or was a little stressed by the move. However, it hasn't cleared up and recently seems to have gotten worse. We're talking full blown goat boogers here. I decided to have her checked out by a vet. And here again I found myself in that urban farming quandary: Where in the heck was I going to find a vet near SF that would see a goat? The closest place I could locate with any reliability was about an hour or so away. On Tuesday, I packed up both ladies into a large dog crate and headed off to the Cotati Large Animal Hospital. There was no way I would have taken just the one goat. Ethel would have terrorized the neighborhood with eardrum rupturing bleats. No need to draw that kind of attention. We had a nice visit with Dr. Schroer, who patiently answered all of my dumb goat health questions, which included an embarrassing query about frequent urination (I just HAD to know whether or not it was normal). She gave me a series of antibiotic shots for Lucy, whose virus seemed to be transforming into a bacterial infection, and vaccinated both goats against some kind of nasal worm thing that can occasionally be a problem in herds. I just went with whatever she said because frankly, I'm so done with having sick animals. And FYI, the bill was half of what I paid for the toe incident with the chicken.

After the vet visit, I decided to pick up some supplies at the Western Farm Center in Santa Rosa, since we were in the neighborhood and all. This is my absolute favorite farm supply store. They always have everything I need at a decent price, including organic feed. The staff are friendly and helpful, but most importantly knowledgeable in that uncocky way. If for some reason they don't know something, they'll find someone who does, the antithesis to my experiences at the feed store that is closer to our house in Half Moon Bay, where I've mostly encountered service with an attitude if, in fact, I've received any service at all. The highlight of this trip to the WFC was when Roberto, the super congenial cashier, came out from behind the register to help me load my goodies just so he could sneak a peak at the goats. How charming is that?

Our trip to Costa Rica was fantastic and we are so grateful to Maria and Jeremiah for keeping things up to snuff on the farm. I'm particularly beholden to them for standing in my stead to shepherd Miss Lorraine on her journey to the other side. I was hoping that she would hold out until our return so that our farm sitters wouldn't have to deal with the more unpleasant side of owning livestock. But this was not to be. Sweet Jeremiah held Miss Lorraine in his arms, gently stroking her feathers, as she passed. What an incredibly loving and peaceful death. We should all be so lucky to leave this world with such dignity and grace.

Here are a couple photos of farm animals in Costa Rica. The chickens are fairly similar to ours, but check out those cows!

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