Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy Birthday Devin!

 Devin is 12 today!   We had a small family party for him over the weekend.  The kids decorated. They made a great banner!

They blew up balloons too.

And Devin requested finger foods for his birthday meal.  We had a veggie tray, fruit tray, and cheese/pepperoni/cracker tray, plus pigs in a blanket.  It was a great choice for a birthday meal!

He wanted strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We made a pound cake with this recipe we happened to find on Youtube.  It is THE BEST pound cake I've ever eaten in my entire life!  You know it's going to be good when it has so much butter, sugar, and heavy cream!   I cannot get over how good it is...if you like pound cake, you'll have to try that recipe!

Grandpop got some snuggles in with Elmer.  And check out that lovely face Kylee is making.  :-)

Devin got a new bike!  This one will hopefully be big enough to last him for several years.  He was excited about it, and rode it around the yard even though it was really cold out!

Next year he'll be a teenager!!  I can't believe how fast time is flying by!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Knitting by the Sea 2015

A few weeks ago, I attended my first ever knitting retreat.  I was very honored to be able to teach a needle felting class there, as well.  

The retreat was held at Hampton Inn & Suites in Corolla, NC.  The hotel was great.

My sister attended the retreat with me, but we weren't the only family members there.  Our Aunt Linda is a member of Tidewater Knitting Guild, which hosted the retreat.  She's in the background below, I think pretending to not notice our silly sister-selfie.

Saturday morning I taught my Needle Felting 101 class.  I made kits for each class member, and brought a sample of some of the felted things I've created.

It was so much fun getting a chance to teach needle felting! 

Later that day, the vendors set up so the retreat members could do some shopping.  I was also there vending, so my sister helped me set up the Purl & June table.

It was fun having a helper there, and it made vending so much easier!   

Sunday morning I woke up pretty early and managed to get a few pictures of the sunrise.  It was so beautiful.
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Then Becky and I took a class on thrummed knitting, which is when you knit with little bits of roving, which make for a very warm finished product!  It was pretty easy to pick up, and I really enjoyed the demo.
It was a very fun weekend, and I would love to go to another retreat!  The weekend was filled with family and fiber...can't think of a better way to spend  weekend!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Kylee had some snuggle time with the dogs.  Mutual love!

 Devin and Kylee spent some time with the sheep. Devin will be showing a lamb for 4-H this year, so he's going to start working with his lamb early.

We spent a good part of the weekend stripping our porch posts.  They had layers of nasty peeling paint.

We are using a a combination of scrapers, a sander, and a heat gun.  It's slow going, so David just picked up a chemical stripper (not that kind) so hopefully it'll go faster.

It's going to look so much better after they're painted!

Another thing I'd like to do to improve curb appeal is replace the hideous porch light!  I hate that thing!

Lambing Wrap Up

Barley, my final ewe to lamb, lambed last night at 9pm. She had two big, beautiful natural colored lambs...a ewe and a ram lamb.  They were up and nursing and really strong from the get-go.  She's doing fabulously, and is being a great mom.

It was a great lambing season, however short it was.  I ended up with 7 lambs out of 4 ewes, with a total of 4 ewes and 3 rams.

Dixie: single Southdown ram lamb
Bean: white ewe lamb, natural colored ewe lamb
Darla: ram lamb, ewe lamb
Barley: natural colored ewe lamb, natural colored ram lamb

Thursday, March 19, 2015

House Progress

Several weeks ago, we had some water damage in the house, caused by a burst pipe.  We finally started making progress getting repairs done.

The contractors came yesterday and tore out the damaged drywall.

And one day later...

They're coming back today for mudding and taping!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sad, Sad Day

The pig seemed like she was improving so much, but this afternoon she took a turn for the worse.  Every now and then, she seemed to have a small seizure episode, but this afternoon she was having them one after the other. She'd seize up for about 30 seconds, then she would be ok for a minute or two. Then it would start all over again.  She was exhausted and miserable, and I decided it was time to euthanize her.  She was miserable, and I didn't want to prolong the misery waiting to see if it would stop or if there was something I could do to treat her.

So, David humanely euthanized her and we buried her in the back yard.  I had gotten really attached to that little pig, so it was really hard to make that decision, but there's no doubt in my mind it was the right one.  I think she had more issues than I first realized.

Getting Stronger!

Piggy is getting better!  She has made good progress from where she was on Saturday.  She's still getting 2 antibiotics, and getting electrolytes every other feeding.  She has been coming to me and staying in the car (with heating pads) while I'm at work, and on my lunch break I go out and feed her. 

I celebrate a little bit every time she has normal poop. Is that normal? Probably not, but when you see a pig so sick, any little improvement becomes a victory! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

One Sick Piggy

The piglet is not doing well.  She got scours (diarrhea) the day after I brought her home.  I first thought she was adjusting to the new diet, but it got worse.  I suspected it was a bacterial thing, started treating her with Spectogard Scour-Chek (spectinomycin), which is an oral antibiotic used to treat bacterial scours in pigs.  She seemed to be doing ok, but then crashed on Saturday.  I found her listless, laying on her side and not very responsive.  I gave her more fluids (I had to tube her) and started her on penicillin.  After several hours, she seemed to perk up. 

I spoke with one of my best friends, who is a vet, and she suspected septicemia, since I told her the pig's snout and ear tips were dark.  I started her on a second antibiotic (LA-200) and I'm hoping the antibiotics and supportive care will be enough to help her pull through this. 

So, every few hours, the pig gets either milk or electrolytes (alternating feedings), and three times a day she gets an antibiotic injected.  She seems more alert, but is still weak.  She's a fighter though, and as long as she's not in pain I'll give her every chance.  If she starts going downhill or I think she's just had enough, then we'll humanely euthanize her. 

I tell ya, it doesn't take long to get attached to a teeny piggy when you spend every minute holding her and trying to nurse her back to health.  In the evenings, she lays on my chest when I'm on the couch.  I don't know for sure if being close like that helps her, but I think it does and it makes me feel like I'm doing something, even if it is just snuggling her.

So, if you're so inclined, send some positive vibes our way.  :-)   

Friday, March 13, 2015


That's me!  I'm a sucker for baby animals.  A few months ago, I met a farmer who raises pigs.  We chatted for a bit, and I told him if he ever had any runt piglets and didn't want to deal with them, I'd like to raise them.  I got an email from him yesterday asking if I wanted a runt pig, because he was weaning the litter and she was just too small to go on feed and off milk.  I thought about it, because timing isn't perfect with the house getting worked on and being busy with lambs and things.  But who can say no to a baby pig?

So I got her.  She's really cute, as most piglets are.  First thing I did was give her a bath in the kitchen sink. She was a little stinky.

She seemed to enjoy the warm bath water. And she really enjoyed being bundled in a towel to dry.

She had a hard time getting warm after her bath, so of course I wrapped her in a fresh towel and snuggled on the couch with her. What else is there to do but snuggle when your piglet is cold?  :)

This morning at her 4:30 AM feeding, she started to get the hang of the nipple on the bottle. Sometimes piglets do better with dishes of milk rather than bottles, but this girl got really mad when I tried to get her to drink from a dish.

The dogs really like her, although Elmer wasn't sure about things when she wanted to lay on top of him.  Buford loves her to death, and will lick and lick and lick her if you let him.

After she eats, I take her outside and put her on the ground and she potties.  I'm going to see if I can get her mostly potty trained, at least while she's in the house.  Then after she eats and does her business, she wants to snuggle and nap again.

Because the farmer raises quite a few litters, each pig gets his/her ears notched.  Other livestock animals get ear tags, but ear tags don't work very well with pigs. They are so curious that they can bite and rip each other's ear tags out.  So, notches are a good permanent way to identify individual pigs.  The notches are done when the pigs are only a day or so old, so they don't even remember it.

Here's the system used:

So her left ear looks like either a 2 or a 6. What do you think?  Or, I guess it could even be a 4.  Sort of hard to tell here.

Her right ear is her litter number. To me, it looks like litter # 17.

Most people put human babies in baby carries, but I prefer swine babies.  This way I can hold her and get stuff done.

Snug as a bug in a rug!

Our initial plan is to raise her for the freezer, and Kylee mentioned wanting to show a pig at the fair before. So, this gal will likely get shown this summer and then we'll see.  As much as I'd love to keep a pig permanently, I really don't think we have the space for one year-round.
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