Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Yay - I can't believe it!  Another school year in the books!  Since I home school, every year I have to put together a portfolio of all that I finish in school.  In the spring, my evaluator from PA Homeschoolers comes from Kittanning, PA to review what I have done.  Believe it or not, we actually like when she comes.  I look forward to sharing all my hard work with her and this year wasn't any different.  I think she was really happy with what we accomplished this year.  In fact, I passed the school year and will be headed to 8th grade next year.  Whew!

To complete the year, I also did testing today.  I enjoyed the testing this year because a friend of mine from 4-H also signed up for testing in her grade too.  The best part was that after all our hard work, my mom, my friend Maddie (What a popular name!), her mom, and I all went out to lunch and even had a pit stop at Sweet Frog!  It was a great day!

So, I officially have to complete 10 more days and then, let the summer begin! 

Madi and Maddie enjoying Sweet Frog and the fact that testing was over!

Friday, April 25, 2014

My Friend Donna...

Last Wednesday night, my mom and I drove to the State College area to visit a very special friend of ours, Donna McGraw.  A few short weeks ago, she had a knee replacement.  She's working really hard to gain her strength, but for now, tending her bunnies is really hard.  My mom and I went to visit her and we really wanted to help her, but she ended up helping me.  You see, she has been raising angora rabbits for a long time and she does a fantastic job with them.  I have been seeing and visiting with her for years now and her angora rabbits are always in tip top shape!  She always does well at shows!  I was very honored when she asked me if I would like some of her American Fuzzy lops because she was having trouble tending and grooming them all because of her recent surgery.  Well, knowing how much she cares about her rabbits and what great homes they have, meant a lot to me that she would choose me for her fuzzy lops!

So, my mom and I went to visit her.  Her home and her "rabbitry" is spotless!  Her daughters have been doing an amazing job keeping up with all the work that the bunnies need.  Donna sent me home with 7 of her fuzzy lops and a great 6 hole cage too.  I can't thank her enough for trusting me with her bunnies.  I also brought home a black English angora young buck too!  I will work really hard to keep these lines going because they are very nice American fuzzy lops!  Can't wait for the next show.....

Thank you Donna for helping me!  I have a special package for you!

Love this buck!

Who wouldn't love this face???

Monday, April 21, 2014

Working With Journey....

Well, today, after doing my schoolwork, I went to gym class.  Gym class for me is a lot different than gym class in public schools.  For me, it means collecting all my equipment for myself and my miniature horse named Journey, load it all up into the horse trailer, and head for CATRA.  There, I work in the indoor ring with Ben.  He  runs a business called Horse Mastership Essentials; and he has really taught me a lot about working with Journey.  Ben teaches me more than I could ever read in a book!  I am working really hard to build trust between us both so that we can soon begin to drive a cart.  For now, I am focused on working with him in hand to do many obstacles, and line-driving.  When we are at CATRA, one thing I'm really lucky enough to be able to do is work with Journey and not even use a lead-line.  It's hard to be able to practice that at home, but when I'm at CATRA, that's one thing I love to do!

I will be taking Journey to 4-H fair this year.  I might use Bumble, my sister's miniature to drive, but I will use Journey for showmanship and in hand trail class!

Journey weaving cones without a lead line!

Cone on his hiney!

Look Ma, no hands!

So many cones!

Parking the car...

I like my gym class!

Easter Sunday....

Happy Easter to everyone!  Today is a day that I always look forward to.  My family always gets together, my mom always prepares the meal, and then we spend the rest of the day just enjoying the beautiful day.  This year, I was given a great gift....  it wasn't a gift you can just buy, and it isn't even a gift that you can MAKE happen.  It was just a wonderful gift....  What was it?  Well, I have been raising rabbits for years now, but this morning, on Easter Sunday, my guinea pig, Elsa, decided to have her babies, or pups, which is what you call baby piggies.  She had three of them.  They are all very healthy and just adorable!  

I'm not really good at telling if they are boys or girls yet, but they will definitely have Easter names.  Elsa is doing a wonderful job taking care of them.  They are all Himalayan marked cavies, another word for guinea pigs, but much like dalmatian puppies who take days to get their spots, the pups won't have their markings for a bit yet.  

Here are a few pictures of them:

The family including: Elsa (the mom), Hemi ( the dad), and all three pups.

I also added another surprise this day,  a pair of pigeons.  They were sitting at our 4-H auction on Saturday and my mom and I decided to bid on them so that I could learn a bit about them.  What I know so far is that there are around 310 different breeds of pigeons.  People hold shows for them just like they do for dogs, cats, rabbits, and just about every other specie of animal.  The breed that we brought home is a pair of Old German Owls.  They are now loving their outside pen that my dad and I made. 

Theo, the old cock.

Theo, the old cock.

This is Merry, the old hen.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Speak Out Night

This past Tuesday, I went to a 4-H event called Speak Out Night.  I gave a speech on 2% of America is feeding America.  My title was Hold-on 2%?  If you'd like to hear it - please visit this site:

My Speak Out Night Speech

Speak-Out night is a great opportunity for 4-H'ers to develop public speaking skills.  Did you know that the fear of public speaking tops the fear of snakes, illness, and even death?  If you ask me, it's a pretty good idea for kids to begin gaining confidence and experience in front of crowds so that it can be second nature to them when they grow up! 

So, on Tuesday night, April 15th, we travelled to the Cumberland County Extension office with a few other members from Dauphin County.  Perry County also participated in the event.  Kids can choose to do impromptu speaking, power point presentations, prepared speeches, pledges, radio spots, or demonstrations.  I competed in the prepared speech category and had a great time.  I was very proud to be chosen as the judges choice in my category!

Dauphin County 4-H'ers presenting at Speak-Out Night 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014

WOW, What a day....

They're here, they're here, they're finally here.  I told you all about Peek-a-boo Lace last weekend and today, on what has been the most beautiful day of spring so far, the Shelly's delivered her here.  Not only did they bring Peek, but they also brought the other two little girls I fell in love with while I was at their farm last week.  I already told you about the one, but I decided to get two.  :)  I guess they're like Lays Potato Chips.....  

Well, they arrived around 1:30 and it was already about 75 degrees outside.  When we opened the truck, Peek-a-boo was a bit stressed and hot.  We carefully lifted her down off the truck and got the babies out too.  We took them into the barn where it was a lot cooler for them all.  I got Peek some fresh, cool water, but she wasn't ready to drink it.  We spent a little while just petting her and talking to her, of course she understood everything I said.  The babies just settled right in.  We practiced with Peek-a-boo getting onto the milking stand which she did, reluctantly at first, but she did okay with it.  

After she cooled down a bit, we took her into the goat pen with all the other goats.  I introduced her to Clover, my two-year old nanny.  They weren't too impressed with each other at first, but didn't seem to mind each other.  I then went and made bottles for the two new girls which they inhaled; and then, I took them to the pen too.  The babies really enjoyed jumping on the logs and things laying in the pen.  They settled right in.  We walked away and kept them all in the pen.  Peek-a-boo really seemed to enjoy being out with them all.  Around 5:00, I brought Clover and Peek-a-boo back into the barn.  I fed and milked them both.  Right now, Clover and Peek are together and they seem to like one another.  I will keep checking them through the night, but when Peek and Clover are alone, they cry, when they are together, they seem happy and not stressed.  Have you ever heard Nubians cry?  They make a lot of noise! 

I can't thank the Shelly's enough for bringing the girls here today and spending all the time with me that they did.  It's so great to know that between my vet, 4-H leaders, and the Shelly's that if I ever have any questions or problems, they would all help.

Introducing.....   Esther-Ella

Introducing....  Luna

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spring has really sprung here!

Well, today was very adventurous, full of excitement, and it's only lunchtime.  Did you ever have one of those days where it just started off wrong?  Today, I had one of those days.  Only my sister, mom, and I were home since my dad already left for work and my brother wasn't home yet from his Washington, D.C. trip for the National 4-H Conference.  The first thing we always do is feed the animals.  When we went to the barn, somehow the inside latch had managed to lock the door from the inside.  (Just for the record, my baby goats didn't do it)  

So what do you do when the animals are inside calling for breakfast and you can't get in?  You go get the cordless screw-gun and start taking the screws off the 500 lb door's by the hinges.  We finally managed to get into the barn and realized that Harley, my sister's ewe was in labor!  Now, we were already running late because of the door, so Ashley and I ran around feeding while my mom checked on Harley.  Ashley then had to race to school.

Ok - so are you following all this so far?  Locked door, baby on the way!  Guess what?  The baby was stuck.  Only one foot was presented.  That's not good.  Two feet with a nose should always come first.  So now mom, without her fearless assistant, my brother, had to go in.  Harley was down.  I stayed at her head to keep her calm while mom worked to get the baby repositioned.  After what seemed like forever, she found the other foot.  Harley was such a good girl during all this.  We were back in business.  Harley pushed and mom helped a bit.  POP! GUSH! Out came the baby!  A little boy who shall rename nameless until my sister comes home.  

Mom and I cleaned the stall to give them fresh comfy bedding.  Then I dipped the baby's umbilical cord in Iodine and helped his mommy dry him off.  He's a little small and was shivering a bit, so I fitted him with a sweater (the sleeve of a large sweatshirt).  We also milked his momma and gave him about 4 ounces of colostrum.  This step is very important for newborns.  They NEED colostrum soon after they are born or they have all sorts of trouble.   

Since its a beautiful day in PA, mom and I took him and Harley outside for a little bit of fresh air and he was able to bounce around Harley, tail wagging in the breeze.  Life is good!

Almost there......

Spring Has Sprung.... Finally!

Momma cleaning her babe!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Peek-A-Boo Lace

     Well, if you've been following my story, you know that this was not a good year for me with my nanny goats.  Having to part with three of my best does after an illness was very upsetting to say the least, but today brought a lot of happiness and hope...  I met with a family who raise Nubian goats and they just happen to have an available doe.  Her name is just a cute as she is:  Peek-A-Boo Lace.  Don't you just love that name?  She will make a wonderful friend for my other doe, Clover.  The two of them will keep watch over all the babies that will remain here.  In fact, there is more news.  There were also available doe kids at this farm.  One that will be coming here soon is a beautiful black and white spotted doe.  She caught my eye the minute I saw her!  Haven't come up with a clever name for her yet, but I'm sure something will come to me....

  Peek-A-Boo Lace is just the sweetest girl.  She walks along side you, loves to be brushed, and loves people.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Hello everyone,

Well, yesterday was really exciting!  We started to get the spot ready for the building for the fiber mill!  YAY!  It will be here soon.  Our equipment is in Lewisberry, PA waiting for the building to be finished.

Secret needed to check-it out.  She approved!

 Oh, sorry about making you all wait on our dinner, but it was really good.  I made the cheese, first batch of the season, then we sliced it, lightly coated it with our own Italian bread crumbs, and fried it in a tablespoon of olive oil.  (you don't need much, just enough to brown both sides just a bit)  It's so good.
First cheese of the season!  Yummy & Gone!
Dinner was great, baked potato, chicken parm w/ our own sauce, salad with our own dressing, and my fried cheese!

After dinner, my mom and I decided to take a few pictures of my new rabbit babies - called kits.  Right now they are all at their cute stage.  Here they are:

two satin angoras 2 1/2 weeks old.  Look at that color.  GORGEOUS!
4 English Angoras at 2 1/2 weeks old

American fuzzy lops at 6 days old
The satin angora that likes to play hide-n-go-seek

Did you know that when bunnies are born, they are called kits?  They are also born with their eyes closed, hairless, and they can't hear.  Around two weeks, they're eyes will pop open, they can hear, they are covered in fur, and they are just adorable don't you think?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April 2, 2014

Busy day today - I finished my school work, went to a lesson with my mini horse Journey, and when I came home, I was checking some of my baby bunnies to see if I had boys or girls (so far the count is 8 girls and 10 boys) and wouldn't you know it, one slipped out of my hands and hid on me!  Do you have any idea how hard it is to play hide-n-go-seek with a baby bunny?  that is 3 weeks old with springs in its hind legs?  Well, let me tell you, an hour and a half later, my mom and I found it under one of the cages!  Guess what?  It's a girl!  She is going to have a special name.

For tomorrow's adventure, after my schoolwork, my mom and I are going to make cheese from our sheep milk.  We're going to also make chicken Parmesan with breaded seasoned cheese fried just a bit in olive oil to dip in our own spaghetti sauce and a fresh salad with strawberries and our homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing!  I can't wait for dinner tomorrow!

The beginning of my story...

February 1st

I have a few dairy goats that I am expecting to kid any day now!  I keep checking, but they're not here yet.  I'm glad that they didn't come yet though because it has been very cold.  Now we have a lot of snow and more is coming tonight.

Feb 10th:

My goats still haven't kidded and I'm not sure what they are waiting for!  Two of them, Precious & Clover, look like they are going to burst!  They've started bagging up during farm show a month ago!  Maddie (another of my goats - she came with that name if you remember from my essay) is about to burst as well.  The others aren't quite as ready as them.

Feb 25th:

Guess What!!!  Finally, one of my goats kidded!  She had twins, one boy and one girl!  Their names are Lilly and Willy.  Sadly their mom rejected them so now I have two bottle babies that live in my own house.  They are just adorable.  I've had to bottle feed them around the clock.  At least their mom is allowing me to milk her and she's producing a lot of milk which I am using to feed the "kids." 

Lilly and Willy

I also had one of my angora goats kid.  She had the most precious little girl and just loves her.  In fact, she didn't lay down at all for hours because she stood there watching the baby's every move.  When that baby nurses, the mom actually squats a bit for the baby to reach better and she even lifts her leg out of the way of the baby.  Now, if only I could get her to teach "Clover" how it's supposed to be done!

I have more goats to kids and I'm not quite sure what they are waiting for.  Two are showing signs of going very soon.

I was able to get pictures of the babies being born, but I'll attach one of them all fluffed up and cute.

March 3rd:

Lilly and Willy drink about 15 oz. four times a day.  All of my other goats need to be milked twice a day, but right now they are dried up and getting ready to kid!  My one goat, Maddie, (came with the name) just had her kid, but sadly he is very weak and can't walk right.  His front leg tendons are loose, but should strengthen in the next few days.  He was quite large when he was born which contributed to this.  I work with him, massage his legs, make sure that he nurses- (his mommy, Maddie, loves him).  I made sure that he was given a shot of BoSe (selenium booster for him) and he is getting better every day.


I had another angora goat finally have her baby.  Her name is Willow and she had the most precious little girl that I named Ella.  Willow has been a fantastic mommy.  In fact right after Ella was born, Willow wouldn't take her eyes off her.  She is now 4 days old and bouncing everywhere.  The best news is that I was able to put Lilly & Willy in with Willow and Ella and they are making friends!  They are so adorable.  I still give Lilly & Willy bottles 4 times a day, but Willow is teaching them now how to be a goat.  I just love Willow.

Another view of Ella

One other goat I have is named Whoopie Pie.  Today I checked on everyone around when I fed Willy & Lilly and there were no signs of kidding.  Two hours later I went back to the barn to do another check and 15 minutes later, Whoopie was giving birth to a beautiful little girl.  I'm not sure what I'll name her yet, but her momma loves her too.  I just will keep checking on them to make sure that the baby nurses and stays warm. 

Whoopie Pie and her baby, Maple

I still have one more goat to go and her name is Precious.  She looks like she is going to pop any minute now!  I feel so blessed to have been able to see and help with all the deliveries of my goat's babies!  What a wonderful life!

March 12th:

Right now I have sixteen goats (Four angora goats, four nubian goats, and seven kids).  But the vet came last Friday and I asked her why three of my goats got lumps on their jaw-line right before kidding.  She said that we would have to lance the lumps and test the fluid inside.  Unfortunately, the tests just came back and I learned that they have CL (caseous lymphadenitis) and that is very contagious and not a good thing to have in your herd.  We think that it came from the last goat I added to my herd.  She was to be clean, but wasn't.  I have no way of knowing for sure and the blood tests to check for it, according to my vet, can actually give false readings.  Of course it happened to my three best goats (Precious, Whoopie Pie, and my first dairy goat Maddie) for milking or showing.


I had to pull all the kids and have been bottle feeding them ever since.  When I cleaned the wounds from lancing on my dairy goats, I had to take every precaution as the fluid can even be contagious to humans.  When we were finished with them, we had to burn all the tools and I had to isolate all three of my girls until the tests came.  I was very sad when I got the news on Monday as they had to be put down.

Now I am bottle feeding all the babies as the only milking doe I have left is Clover and that is Lilly & Willy's mom.  You know her story as she rejected them the day they were born.  Do you have any idea how much time is involved in bottle feeding all these babies?  Well, I have to unfreeze milk, sanitize bottles, fill bottles, heat bottles, feed bottles, wash bottles, and repeat!  Whew!  My days are going very fast right now.  The babies are worth it though and having them has made it a little easier to accept what has happened.

So far the babies are ok because I separated them from the moms as the illness is passed through the fluid in the abscess.  Since I took all precautions, the babies should be ok.  Also, as they get a little bit older, I will be vaccinating them for it.

Also, Precious did have twin boys!  Sadly, she rejected them, goooooooooo figure!  right now they are living in my garage and they drink a bottle four to five times a day....... Good thing they're cute!  I named them Meteor & Eclipse.

Meteor, Maple and Spidey

March 25th:

Well, all the babies are growing.  Clover is still not a fan of her babies, but she is producing a lot of milk every day.  Right now, I'm not using it though for my cheese making, instead, I have been using it to top off the bottles for all the babies.

They are growing, jumping, getting out of their pen, and I just love them all!  In fact, they're all staying here!  I love them all too much to part with any of them.  I did wether three of the boys.  My best friend, Cami, who loves animals, but doesn't have any at her house, has adopted one of them so she can show him at our 4-H fair.  (she's always wanted to do that).  I'm going to show his brother.  I kept the one, Spidey in tact to help rebuild my herd.  I'm almost finished with the vaccinating and then I hope to add an older doe that my vet recommended from one of her clients farms.

The girls of course will stay here and I likely won't breed them until next year unless they grow enough before fall breeding time.  I like to give them enough time to properly grow before I breed them.  Little Ella - the angora baby, is just beautiful.  Her momma has been wonderful.

Well, time to go do the night time bottles.



Lilly and Willy