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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Team Greta


Friday, February 9th started off as a normal day in the barn, but as I was doing chores and feeding the horses and goats, I quickly suspected that Greta, one of our La Mancha goats, was showing early signs of labor. It was her due day, so I wasn't surprised.

I removed her from the herd and placed her into one of the three kidding stalls in our barn so that she could have some peace and quiet. Four hours later at 10:46am, she delivered two beautiful big twin boys. As per her normal (this is her third year with babies), she was quite proud of herself and insisted on showing them off to me nonstop.


The twins were up and wobbling around in no time and Greta was a busy mom fussing over them.

Saturday morning was uneventful and Greta and her twins were comfortable in their kidding stall, but by early afternoon, something wasn't right. Greta wasn't finishing her meals and she just seemed tired. I took her temperature at 3pm and it was normal -- 101.9 -- even though she felt a little warm to me.

Around 5pm, since she was continuing to act more and more "off",  I took her temperature again. 101.9. Normal. Something wasn't sitting right with me, but I just went on to continue watching her.

Sometime shortly after 7pm, I took her temperature again. 101.9. Again, normal. And again, my gut was telling me this isn't right. She was tired and refusing even her favorite snack (animal crackers). She wasn't talking or paying attention to me. She felt clammy -- which I didn't know a goat could feel, but since I have touched her almost every single day for the entire five years of her life now, it's the only way I can describe the difference of what I know she should feel like. That is what got my attention and made me rush into the house for the thermometer in our bathroom.

She had a fever of almost 107.

My heart sunk. I panicked, grabbed my phone, and called my farm vet. I told her what was going on and she came straight over.


We helped her up onto the milking stand, which normally she could easily do alone, and gave her a handful of grain which she had no interest in. Dr. White verified her high fever and checked her from head to toe. She did an ultrasound look look for any evidence of a retained placenta or unborn kid, neither of which were found. She called and consulted with the NC State Veterinary School. We gave her fluids, antibiotics and Banamine.

Sunday was a full day of giving Greta fluids, drenching her (a way to get fluids into goats orally) with electrolytes and concentrated nutrients, and syringe feeding her a slop made of her grain and water. I kept the babies with her for comfort, and she would still get up to let them nurse while she drank water, but I also started supplementing them via a surrogate by letting them nurse from one of Greta's sisters on the milking stand.




I knew that the babies would need to be bottle fed, and I knew that Greta needed my full attention. So I contacted a friend who also has goats who agreed to help me and take them, and I drove them to her the next morning.


Do I look exhausted here? Because I was. I forgot to mention the fact that I had just gotten over the flu and that it had turned into a sinus infection that I was dealing with. And my husband was working out of town for the week.

Monday and Monday night was me juggling what little work I could get done (the Spring Collection boxes had to be shipped out the next day) with monitoring, helping, feeding, and medicating Greta around the clock. I made plans with the vet for her to come do bloodwork the next morning.



I sat with her for hours. I watched her nonstop while I was working and, at night, when I was trying to sleep, via the live cameras we have in the barn. She felt horrible. I felt helpless.



Tuesday morning the vet arrived and Greta was continuing to weaken. The suspicion was a uterine infection, but she was continuing to decline despite the antibiotics and fluids. Her fever, which had been so very high days before, was bottoming out and too low. I kept her covered in blankets. By Tuesday afternoon, we decided that Greta needed to get to the NC State Vet School. Her right udder had begun to swell suddenly and was turning a dark color. It was also cool to the touch.  Dr. White called and made the arrangements and at 6am Wednesday morning, with Greta loaded in the back of my car (in a kennel), I set off across the state.


She laid down and barely moved for the entire 2.5 hour trip. All I could do is drive and hope. She stopped responding to me when I would call her. She just slept.



As soon as we arrived, shortly after 8:30am, several helpers came and lifted the kennel, with 150lb Greta inside barely acknowledging them, and toted it inside the livestock hospital to a waiting stall. She was bombarded by a team of three veterinarians who specialize in livestock (namely ruminants like goats) who assessed her from top to bottom. Luckily they had been on the other end of the phone with Dr. White for the last several days so they knew what she had been going through. I answered as many questions as I could.

A couple of hours later, I had to leave her behind and go home. There was no doubt that she was going to have to stay when I brought her in, but the moment when you have to physically walk out of the building is not easy. Things were not good, and nobody knew why yet. All I could do is drive the 2.5 hours back home and wait for the call with information about the emergency tests they were running.

Once home, I completely collapsed in a chair and slept for over two hours. I honestly don't even remember sitting down in that chair.

I was woken by my phone, which was in my hand, and it was the head vet (Dr. Wilson) on Greta's case at the Vet School. Test results were in, she said. It was bad, she said.

I could hear the shaking and pausing in her voice as she told me, carefully, that Greta had a very dangerous type of infection in her udder and that they've done everything they can at this point. She had continued to quickly decline after I had left. They'd pumped her up with antibiotics and did a radical surgery to remove a huge portion of her infected udder, and that from this point on, all we could do is wait. It was a hard conversation to have that spilled realistic facts into my lap, and I could tell that she was just as upset as I was over an animal... a goat... that she had just met for the first time that day.

Greta was positive for gangrenous mastitis in one of her udders. Unlike the typical mastitis in goats, which can be prevented, detected easily and treated, the type that Greta had developed was something different altogether. Gangrenous mastitis comes on suddenly from a completely different bacteria with no warning, and is not detectable in the early stages like regular mastitis. Once the udder starts filling with milk, such as when Greta went into labor, the bacteria then has the perfect medium to run rampant and destroy everything in its path.

How did she contract this dangerous bacteria? There is no way to know because it is just something in the environment, and it just got into the wrong place... like inside her udder. What could I have done differently to prevent this? Nothing. I went over all of our sanitation procedures and milking protocols and regular udder care and Dr. Wilson repeatedly told me I had done everything right. And that sometimes this just happens.

All we could do was wait.

That night was hard. For the first time I realized how empty it felt to not be able to walk outside to the barn to comfort and take care of an animal that you knew was fighting for her life. She was over two hours away, and there was a really big chance that she may not survive the night.

Thursday morning the phone rang. Dr. Wilson was on the other end and I braced myself for whatever came. Greta was still with us, she said. She's still very, very weak. She's got a long way to go. But she's still with us.

By that afternoon, Greta was lifting her head some. She was noticing the new large wound on her udder from the surgery. She was still on a heavy dose of IV fluids and she was nibbling at a little bit of food. Dr. Wilson said that she was 'hopelessly optimistic' but that Greta was by no means out of the woods.

Greta made her first real turn for the better on Friday. Dr. Wilson called to tell me that she was getting up some, trying to eat a little, and making attempts to clean her udder wound. It was a baby step, but a step nonetheless, and in the right direction. Greta was fighting back.

Early Saturday morning, as I was getting things ready for the day at the farmer's market, Dr. Wilson called me with more news: Greta was increasingly alert, eating more, and her temperature and blood work had stabilized. She had decided to attempt weaning her off of the IV fluids to see if she would maintain her hydration on her own, and if so, she could go home on Sunday.

I was nearly in tears.

After calling Sunday morning and getting the "all clear" to make the trip, The Boy and I loaded up and set off to bring Greta home. I was so excited and so overwhelmed that I realized well after we got home that I got absolutely NO photos of Greta with her team of vets like I had planned.

We arrived to find Greta alert, but still extremely weakened from the ordeal. She was able, however, to walk on her own from the hospital stall to the car waiting outside, and with a little effort, she got into the waiting kennel in the back. We went over all of the care instructions with Dr. Wilson, who reiterated that Greta still had a long way to go, but at this point she would be best off at home to recover. She would need a lot of monitoring, a lot of antibiotics and pain medication, and a lot of encouragement to eat, drink, and take it easy. She would also need to be on her own, kept in a clean, dry space away from the herd, for at least a month if all continues to go well.


Greta rested comfortably the entire way home. I think I smiled the whole time.


We removed the divider between two of the kidding stalls to give her a space to live for the next several weeks. This area is also directly underneath one of our barn cameras so I can keep an eye on her around the clock from the house.


Greta has been home for a few days now, and in those few days she has continued to improve. Slowly, but improving. I have taken her on short, slow walks around the barn and she has started to nibble on brush and grass occasionally. When I walk her up to the pasture gate, where the herd she has lived her entire five years with is, she shies and looks away. She isn't ready for interaction yet, but she will get there eventually.


She is eating a little more each day, and so far drinking water like she should. Her udder is what it is... due to the nature of the emergency surgery, which leaves a gaping hole behind, her right udder is naturally and very slowly dying. Eventually it will detach and the dead tissue will come off in pieces, leaving her single, healthy left udder behind.

This process is expected to take several weeks or more, and during this time it is very important for her to continue to build her strength and not develop any further infections. We are taking it day by day and she's fighting it head on.

Greta, who grew up as that local "infamous baby goat" on the internet, celebrated her birthday just days before all of this happened. And now, at the young age of five, she will be permanently retired on our farm.



There is a long road ahead of us but we are moving on that road in the right direction right now. I want to sincerely thank Dr. Becca White DVM of Eastern Equine Associates in New Bern, NC and Dr. Joanna Wilson DVM, Dr. Derek Foster DVM PhD DACVIM and remaining crew of the N.C. State University Veterinary Hospital / Farm Animal Medicine. It is because of them that Greta is still with us. A big thank you also to Heather Wolk Clark of Little Hope Farm for stepping up with no notice and taking Greta's twin boys to her farm to bottle feed so that they would get what they needed to thrive.

I also want to thank everyone who helped and offered to help last week when Greta was here and at the vet school in Raleigh, as well as those of you who listened and talked with me through this situation. We have a long way to go, but it is a much easier road to travel when you know so many people are on Team Greta cheering her on.


Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Goat Kids



Kidding season is here and if you are interested in a 2018 baby, this is where you will find the most up-to-date info aside from talking with us directly.

We do not sell babies to single goat homes. Goats are herd animals and need to be with at least one other goat. Buyers must already have a goat, be in the process of buying a second goat (baby or adult) or buy two of ours at once.

All of our babies are disbudded, CD&T vaccinated, and come from a CLOSED CAE NEGATIVE herd.

PLEASE NOTE: Expected wean dates listed below are approximate!

We take deposits for babies on a first come, first served basis. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for information pertaining to each dam and sire. If you have any questions, please email thefarm@beamansfork.com or call/text 252-349-0004

↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓


2018 Kidding Season$50 nonrefundable deposit to hold - Click photo to enlarge
DAM x SIREBREEDKIDDING DATEBOYSGIRLS
Matilda x Tick100% Lamancha1-28-2018

(Expected wean date: 3-26-2018) 

MERLIN
Solid black buckling
SOLD - GASKINS



MAISY
Black & Silver Roan Doeling
SOLD - SHACKELFORD
$125

Mabel x Tick100% Lamancha2-6-2018

(Expected wean date: 4-3-2018)

MARBLES
Tricolor
SOLD - KITTRIDGE

Greta x Tick100% Lamancha2-9-2018

(Expected wean date: 4-6-2018)
Twin boys

SOLD

Alice x TickNubian x Lamancha
(See below)
2-7-2018

(Expected wean date: 4-4-2018)




ACORN
Chamoisee Doeling
SOLD - SHACKELFORD
$125



ALOE
Black/Tan with silver roan
Doeling
SOLD - SHACKELFORD
$125



APPLES
Tri-Color w/ White Belly
SOLD - GASKINS


Annabelle x TickNubian x Lamancha
(See below)
3-23-2018

(Expected wean date: 5-18-2018)

ALVIN
Chamoisee Buckling
$75






BRITTANY
Chamoisee Doeling
$125









↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑
-----------------------------------------------------------
SIRE: "SUNNY J WATCH ME IN ACTION"  aka Tick
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
REGISTERED: ADGA  L1726619
DOB:  3/17/2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
TATTOOED: Yes
COLOR: Black w/ chocolate roaning, frosted ears and muzzle. White belly markings.


-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ABBIE
BREED: Nubian x Alpine

====RETIRED=====

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: GRETA
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2013
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black with tan face mask and legs

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: MABEL
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black & White spotted

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: MATILDA
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black & White spotted

 -----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ALICE
BREED: 75% NUBIAN 25% ALPINE
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Long
COLOR: Black with tan face mask and legs, white spots

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ANNABELLE
BREED: 75% NUBIAN 25% ALPINE
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Long
COLOR: Mahogany/Dark Buckskin

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Installing a package of bees... the simple way!


Here you will see Cliff (aka The Boy) install a package of bees the simple way here on our farm. This isn't the ONLY way to do it, but it has worked very well for us and has become our preferred method. We find that the bees don't get nearly as stressed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

2017 Goat Babies!

Kidding season is in full swing here and if you are interested in a baby, this is where you will find the most up-to-date info aside from talking with us directly.

We do not sell babies to single goat homes. Goats are herd animals and need to be with at least one other goat. Buyers must already have a goat, be in the process of buying a second goat (baby or adult) or buy two of ours at once.

All of our babies are disbudded and come from a CLOSED CAE NEGATIVE herd (most recent test date Jan 2017).

PLEASE NOTE: Expected wean dates listed below are approximate!

We take deposits for babies on a first come, first served basis. Please scroll to the bottom of this page for information pertaining to each dam and sire. If you have any questions, please email thefarm@beamansfork.com or call/text 252-349-0004

↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

2017 Kidding Season$50 nonrefundable deposit to hold - Click photo to enlarge
DAM x SIRE BREED KIDDING DATE BOYS GIRLS
Mabel x Tick 100% Lamancha 2-27-2017

(Expected wean date: 4/24/17) 
"Morgan"
Black & Rust
Gopher ears
 $75
*SOLD* (Crocker)

"Magnolia"
B/W/Silver Roan
Frosted nose & ears
Elf ears
NOT FOR SALE
Greta x Tick 100% Lamancha 3-3-2017

(Expected wean date: 4/28/17)
"Gregory"
Black & Tan
Elf ears
$75
*SOLD* (Kalista)

"Gwen"
Black & White
Frosted Nose
Elf ears
$150
**SOLD** (Darling)

Matilda x Tick 100% Lamancha 3-20-2017

(Expected wean date: 5/15/17)
"Maul"
Black
Gopher ears
$75
*SOLD* (Crocker)

"Mae"
Black & White
Frosted ears & nose
Gopher ears
$150
ON HOLD (Eudy)

Alice x Tick Nubian x Lamancha
(See below)
3-18-2017

(Expected wean date: 5/13/17)

None

"Ava"
B/W/Silver Roan
Frosted nose & ears
$150
*SOLD*  (Pajak)

"Allie"
Light Chamoisee
$150
*SOLD* (Kalista)

Annabelle x Tick
Nubian x Lamancha
(See below)

3-21/2017

(Expected wean date: 5/16/17)
"Anakin"
Medium Chamoisee
$75
*SOLD* (Crocker)

"Angie"
Black/Rust/White
Frosted nose & ears
$150
ON HOLD (Eudy)


↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑↑
-----------------------------------------------------------
SIRE: "SUNNY J WATCH ME IN ACTION"  aka Tick
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
REGISTERED: ADGA  L1726619
DOB:  3/17/2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
TATTOOED: Yes
COLOR: Black w/ chocolate roaning, frosted ears and muzzle. White belly markings.


-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ABBIE
BREED: Nubian x Alpine

====RETIRED=====

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: GRETA
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2013
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black with tan face mask and legs

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: MABEL
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black & White spotted

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: MATILDA
BREED: 100% LAMANCHA
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Gopher
COLOR: Black & White spotted

 -----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ALICE
BREED: 75% NUBIAN 25% ALPINE
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Long
COLOR: Black with tan face mask and legs, white spots

-----------------------------------------------------------
DAM: ANNABELLE
BREED: 75% NUBIAN 25% ALPINE
DOB: 2015
HORN INFO: Disbudded
EAR INFO: Long
COLOR: Mahogany/Dark Buckskin

-->

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Truth About Facebook

worried-girl-413690-1280.jpg
...Take two.
Yes, take two. I originally wrote this blog yesterday and it came out far more angry and rant-y than what I would want it to be. Am I angry? Yes. But I had to step back, delete the original post, and wrap my head around the situation better in hopes that I could share this issue with you in a less angry way.
Facebook is a beast of a social media platform. And I say that as a user, but more so as a small business owner. Love it or hate it, it is hard to ignore if you have any kind of business whatsoever. Facebook is where people are, and where people turn to try to find you.
With that said, years ago, Facebook launched Facebook Pages... basically profiles for businesses, organizations, and what have you. They pushed it relentlessly under the noses of any business owner they could find on Facebook with the promise of helping you create, reach and expand your audience (ie customers). I jumped on with my farm page early in 2011 before my soap business existed. It was a page that was associated with my original blog website for our farm that detailed the day to day struggles and events on our homestead, and included my soap making hobby in the mix. When that hobby became a business, Facebook was there to encourage me to build my audience and create content for them to see.
For the first few years it was great: Free advertising on a free platform that was growing leaps and bounds every single day. Facebook worked for your small business if you put the time in to post content and engage your audience. You knew your audience was seeing your content. I did, because you told me. 
This is how I met and got the opportunity to interact with so many of you. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.
But then something happened. At the height of it all, Facebook changed some things behind the scenes that most people were unaware of. Now these pages, like our farm page, that you specifically "liked" so that you could follow, slowly started disappearing in frequency on your news feed. Slow enough that you probably didn't even notice. Tidbits of instructions started filtering through that if you wanted to see content from pages that you followed, you needed to go to the page and click on this and that and another thing so that it would show up in your news feed. And so people did this and that and the other thing. And my page posts started showing back in your news feeds again. 
But, of course, Facebook wasn't about to leave it alone. They changed things again, and users had to change their settings again, so that the pages they wanted to see content from would come back to their news feed.
This has happened over and over during the last couple of years. So much so that I, and many other pages, stopped trying to tell you how to reset your notifications so that my page my content would reappear in your news feed. It was a losing battle.
Sounds tricky, but it gets worse. Now, and increasingly so as each day goes by, Facebook wants, approaches, and repeatedly asks pages like mine to pay money to get their posts seen. Seen by who? You. The same person who intentionally went to the page to begin with, "liked" it, and essentially told Facebook that you want to see their content.
If it had started this way, that would be fine. But how it started was by Facebook luring in businesses, thousands and thousands of small businesses, encouraging them to create content that draws people to Facebook, forming communities that interact on your page, and build your customer base through their platform... Essentially working and creating content FOR Facebook and creating interactive pages FOR Facebook, only to have them shut the door in the face of me, the small business owner, and tell me I now have to pay them to be able to reach the community I had built.
What does this boil down to? And why am I telling you this? Because as it stands, anytime I do a giveaway or a contest, a flash sale or have coupon codes to share with you, if I post that information on Facebook, only a small portion of you actually see it now. And I don't think that is fair. It's not fair if you are wanting to get in on the pre-orders for the BFF boxes each season and Facebook decides to hide that link from you, so you miss it. It's not fair if only some people see when I do big flash sales and not others. 
Over and over again, I have had customers tell me that they miss seeing photos of our baby goats, or updates about Snow our miniature horse, or the latest farm restoration project or what the new seasonal scents are. It frustrates me, and makes me sad when I have to tell them that I've been posting these things all along. Facebook is just not showing it to you.
One day, a couple months ago, I finally said OK. You win, Facebook. I chose something I had actually posted a couple months before that reached a lot of people (Pages get basic statistical information for each post, giving you a general idea of how many people the post reached). I copied the post, paid for it to be sponsored, and it ran for a week. I watched the statistical information and guess what? It reached and was reacted to by pretty much the same amount of people as it did when it was not sponsored a couple months before. Money... wasted.
I found it interesting, but marked it up to bad timing or too much other new stuff floating around on Facebook or whatever. It must have gotten buried by something.
Until I tried it again during the holidays a few weeks ago. I paid to sponsor another post so, as Facebook said, it would reach more of my audience in their news feed. I paid for it to run heavily for three days instead of one week, and in the meantime I also posted similar posts (unsponsored) of similar content.
The stats on the posts were all I needed to see: The sponsored posts that I PAID Facebook to show you weren't being seen any more than the ones I didn't pay for. In fact, the sponsored holiday post performed worse than almost all of the content that I put out during the month of December. Money, again, wasted. 
While I can't do much about you not seeing the photos and videos (other than to tell you that you can find us on Instagram and YouTube), the only way I see that I can make things fair is to release all of the important information like sales, coupons, product launches, giveaways and big announcements by way of my email newsletter. That has been the most reliable way for me to get this information out by far, and as long as you're not letting it get trapped in your spam filter, there isn't a social media platform out there hiding that content from you.  
This doesn't just go for my business, but all small businesses you follow on Facebook in general. They are up against the same beast, being backed into the same corner as I am. If you want to help them out, reach out and find them outside of Facebook.
As a side note, there is one major timeless trick that will help my content show up more in your news feed if you're dedicated to using Facebook: Interaction. Plain and simple. The more you like, comment and share my content, the more Facebook will show you stuff like my baby goat pictures and farm updates. And yes, they will still ask me to pay to have it shown more, but by you interacting with my posts, it opens the backdoor for it to be seen more for free. (Again, this goes for any small business page.)
If you've read this far, thank you. You're the reason I'm putting this out there and I hope it helps to shed light on what small businesses are up against. I have a virtual open door policy for thoughts and suggestions, and I'd love to hear what you have to say on the subject. Let's keep our community going, and growing, for free.
xoxo,

Friday, September 2, 2016

Snow Update: She's A Rock Star Circus Pony

Our original plan (with our vet) was to wait until this fall to test Snow for Cushing's Disease because the test would be more accurate. However, despite the diet change, supplements, restricted pasture access and constant monitoring, Snow has continued to have Cushing-type symptom issues, including increased hoof tenderness.

(If you're jumping in now and don't know the back story, we found our 30+ yr old miniature horse Snow having a seizure in her stall in July. You can read about it here.)

We have been consulting constantly with our vet through the whole ordeal and we made the joint decision that we should go ahead and test her as soon as possible as well as x-ray her hooves to look for the beginnings of any rotation. Of course we have Hurricane Hermine moving in on us, but Dr. White was determined to get this done sooner rather than later so we can start treating her with the medication she needs if she is positive.

[caption id="attachment_2071" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_8305 Snow up on blocks. We actually had her up twice this high at one point, but did not get a photo.[/caption]

IMG_8306

Snow... oh little Snow. She's such a rock star (and Dr. White thinks so too!) We didn't even have to sedate her for the xrays. Little Snow let us put her up on blocks like a circus pony and shoot xrays from all directions while she just stood there. And yawned. At one point, with her front two hooves up on blocks, Snow let us move her whole back end over several steps and she never once attempted to step down off the blocks. We took xrays for probably a good half an hour, changing directions and views an trying to get the shots you would typically get in bigger horses but scaled way down to mini size (which, as I learned, is quite tricky). But Snow stood there patiently the whole time.

We hope to have the Cushing's results next week. The xrays will be reviewed and copies will be shared with our farrier, both for coming up with a comfort plan as well as to have on hand if and when we need to compare them to future xrays, should we need to.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

GIVEAWAY: Fall BFF Box Up For Grabs!

The countdown has begun and we are hours away from the Fall 2016 Beaman’s Fork Friends (BFF) Collection Boxes being released. Like I said before, this box quickly sold out when the pre-order link was posted but what I didn’t say was that I kept one box unclaimed for a giveaway.

I’m not going to make you jump through the hoops of following, commenting on or sharing any of our various social media accounts (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc… although I would love for you to connect with us on those!)  This isn’t a giveaway to boost our ratings. This, instead, is a giveaway with the hopes of boosting someone’s day.

This giveaway is going to be different from most: Instead of randomly selecting and giving YOU the prize, I want YOU to give it to someone who could use a pick-me-up.

The rules are simple…

• Think outside of yourself. Is there someone around you -- a friend, a relative, a coworker, or someone you may not know but encounter regularly -- who you feel could use a pick-me-up? They may be enduring personal struggles right now or feeling down. Maybe it is someone who always gives to others. Or someone who just works hard and stays positive.


• Did you find that person? Ok, good. Don’t tell me who it is; I wish to respect people’s privacy.  Instead, shoot me an email (form below) and just tell me you have your person. Do this before midnight on Thursday (Sept. 1) IMPORTANT: When you fill out the contact form below, enter YOUR first & last name and YOUR email address... NOT your person's! 


• On Friday morning, one of those emails will be chosen at random and responded to. If it is your email, I will be contacting you to arrange getting the box to your person. You can either pick up & take the box to your  person yourself, I can ship the box to you and you can give the box to your person, or, as long as they are in the US, I can ship the box directly to them (with a personalized note card).


• If your email is not chosen, I will ask that you do something… you have a person. Go tell them that you are thinking of them.


I will not be publicly announcing the winner because I want to respect people’s privacy. That will be just between the winner and their person.

 

[box]Question: “How do you know that the winner will give the box away and not keep it for themselves?”

Answer: I don’t. All I can do is hold up on my end of the bargain in providing the gift, and hope that the winner holds up on their end of the bargain in giving it. That is the whole point of this. It’s a giveaway.[/box]

 

So that’s it! Stop what you are doing and think of a deserving person.  In the form below, enter YOUR NAME and YOUR EMAIL address (not the person's!) and in the message box, simply answer the following question...  Are you going to hold up on your end of the bargain and give the box away?

 

*** THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO ENTERED! Submission deadline was Sept 1 2016 at midnight. Entry form has been removed. ***

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Walking In On The Unexpected

This past Saturday was going like any other -- I had just gotten home from selling soap at the local farmers market, my car full of the stock I brought back with me, I was a hot and sweaty mess, and ready to relax. It had been a busy week and an equally as busy market day and I had been looking forward to putting my aching feet up for a couple of hours of quiet time.

I got out of my car and before I went inside the house, I remembered that the horses were in their stalls because severe storms had been threatening to blow through, but the weather was clearing and they could safely go out and stretch their legs for a few hours. I walked down the long aisle way of the barn to the stalls in the back where Pebbles was sticking her head over the gate watching me and quiet rustling noises were coming from Snow's stall.

And that's when I saw it.

Snow, our miniature mare, was facing the back of her stall, wobbling on her back end, and jerking her head rhythmically up in the air, almost as if someone or something was smacking her under her chin. I'm not sure what my first thought was, but I called her name as I unlatched her door and walked in the stall. I touched her back and she didn't seem to even register that I was there. Her muscles were stiff, her back legs continued to wobble and weaken and her head kept tossing at regular intervals like she was being shocked.

I ran to the house, screamed for my husband, grabbed the phone and fumbled my way into dialing the vet. "Something is really wrong with Snow," I told Dr. White. "I really think she's having a seizure."

Back in the barn, my husband and I could do nothing but watch. She appeared to be temporarily blind, confused, and occasionally it seemed like she knew we were there. She became very vocal, and cried out several times. It seemed like eternity, but realistically may have been 20 minutes later, she slowly started drifting out of her seizure, alternating between a moment of quiet and recognition and a repeat moment of lurking seizure activity. She was weak and tired.

By the time Dr. White arrived, Snow's seizures had subsided but she was still a little shaky in her back end. She had a complete physical and checked out perfect for a mare well into her 30s. We discussed several options, but because we had no idea what caused the episode, we were somewhat shooting in the dark. We could try to rule a few things out with blood tests, but the lab wouldn't be open to run them until Monday, which wasn't ideal.

So we made a game plan to monitor Snow around the clock for the next 24-48 hours and watch for anymore seizures. Dr. White gave us a sedative for her in the event that she did start seizing again, which would help take the edge off and hopefully settle the seizure activity down some until a vet could arrive. If this happened, we would immediately draw blood and send it off for a detailed analysis -- Dr. White instructed that we would get the most information likely if the blood sample was taken right after a seizure.

I has been five days now and (knock on wood) Snow has been acting normal. Luckily I work most of the week from home so someone is here with their eyes on her regularly all day long. We feel happy and fortunate that she's doing so well, but also paranoid and unsettled because we don't know if or when it will happen again. Regardless, I think we are better prepared. We have the vets on speed dial (and now they are also in my husband's phone), we have friends on standby to assist (even if its just to calm me down... haha), we have a sedative for Snow if needed, and we will remember to take a video (because I am kicking myself now that it didn't occur to me to video the seizure for reference for the vet and future comparison if needed... but in my defense, I could barely get my vet's number dialed at the time).

Right now, I'm just happy for time.

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This is Pebbles. Pebbles is my other horse, the one that didn't have a seizure on Saturday, and she celebrated her 31st birthday in March. Pebbles and I have been together since I was a young teenager and her a rambunctious filly. I believe I can honestly say we know each other inside and out better than anyone else knows us.

With that said, Snow is her seeing eye pony and anxiety relief companion. That is why Snow came here several years ago. When Snow was having her seizure Saturday in her stall, Pebbles stood calmly next door watching over the half wall, making sure she could see her. Normally Pebbles is the vocal one who loses track of Snow occasionally, gets frightened, and lets the entire neighborhood know until she finds her mini companion who just wandered off out of her limited eyesight.

However Saturday, during the seizure, Snow temporarily lost her own eyesight and became the vocal one. She whinnied and screamed and Pebbles was right there, being the quiet one, until Snow recovered and could see again.

Since that day, Pebbles has been noticeably seeking me out. She doesn't want to leave Snow's side, but she listens for me and finds me when I am anywhere near the pastures or barn, and just wants to touch me. She stands with me, and then tries to inch me back toward Snow, like she wants us all together.

These creatures tell and teach us so much if we stop and listen to them.


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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Behind the scenes

If you haven't seen already, we have a YouTube channel that has been pretty active lately...











Don't forget you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and keep up with all of our new stuff and silly farm shenanigans!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Creating 2016: My Plan For Making This Year Mine

Welcome to the New Year, to a new beginning, to a worldwide chance to regroup and restart. Welcome to 2016. My 2016.

My 2016? Yes. MY 2016. I'll first tell you about the past, and then you'll see what I mean.

I took the leap and turned my soap making hobby into a full time business with literally just a handful of cheap small molds (which at that point I had nearly already used to death), kitchen tools purchased at second hand stores, the encouragement of my husband, and my desire to create. After several restless nights and a (very) rough business outline scribbled on scrap paper, I knew I only had one shot at this.

[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="300"]PHOTO_1343334836126 Some of my early soaps, when I was making them eight bars at a time.[/caption]

I knew I had to learn and grow and perfect my craft but I didn't know how... soap making - real soap making - is an incredibly old art but also an incredibly closely guarded skill that isn't shared loosely. You can learn the basic steps but that is only a very small part of the puzzle. It is your recipe and technique that is your gold. And a great soap recipe, my friends, is locked up tighter to a soap maker than your granny's "secret ingredient" in her prize apple pie.

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So I spent a lot of time with trial and error. And with this was a lot of money with trial and error. (Error being the more expensive part of the equation here) And after making $#%&@ pounds of soap, I had learned a lot, gave away a lot, cussed a lot, and I zeroed in on my gold.

I knew from the beginning that my gold wasn't complete, so in 2014 I made it a point to put myself through soap school - a curriculum that I had to put together myself. I invested in books and resources that taught me the details of technique and design and recipes as well as resources that brought me up close into the world of the science and chemistry behind it. I wanted to not only  know how to make a good soap, but also why it was a good soap.

[caption id="attachment_1263" align="aligncenter" width="467"]CYMERA_20130619_110429 My Oatmeal Goat Milk soap -- my first "gold" recipe that continues to be my best seller to this day.[/caption]

As it turns out, soap making is all chemistry. One hundred percent, beginning to end, like it or not, pure chemistry. You know that class that I couldn't follow worth a lick in high school? Yeah. Chemistry. So I had to bust my butt to wrap my head around it, but eventually I did. I spent most of 2014 and all of 2015 on doing nothing but studying soap chemistry and applying that knowledge to my gold.  I wanted to be able to build recipes and interchange them with techniques and understand start to finish what every single ingredient and step and temperature difference did to the final product. I obsessed myself with it. I dove into a world that was so foreign, yet ended up being so satisfying.

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Chemistry and math never came natural to me. Both are things I have to really work at to understand. So for nearly two years, day in and day out, I worked to comprehend this foreign language through soap. It will be an ongoing  learning experience that I will continue to  build on, but I am very happy with my benchmarks and for seeing my quite strict self-created "soap school" through. (Queue the graduation march theme here) On January first, I turned my tassel.

Which brings me to now. While chemistry and math may make my brain send smoke signals, art and design make my heart sing. Truly. I love to create. I love visual stimulation. I love putting my thoughts and ideas and emotions into visual objects and releasing them into the world. I love being inspired by people, situations, concepts, conversations. I love waking in the middle of the night with an obscure idea and obsessing over it day in and day out until I am teetering on insanity. I love allowing my brain to manically wrap itself around the minute artistic details even though it is physically painful to not act on them until I'm able to claw out of reality and find the time to eject it to make it happen.

 



Welcome, friends, to my 2016.

On January first, two thousand sixteen, I handed myself an imaginary, heavy, sparkly pink key (my favorite color, FYI) that opens the door into my own self-guided artistic journey through soap. Stocked with my arsenal of hard earned chemistry lessons and explored resources, I'm unlocking the dome over my soap studio and letting myself go. In that, I am welcoming you on my journey.

My theme for the next 12 months is Creating 2016, and I intend to do so every step of the way. I am taking my knowledge and now allowing myself to play with it in terms of color, design and themes. What does this mean? I have pared down my "Farm Favorites" line of soaps to my biggest sellers (don't worry!), I'm allowing myself the freedom to design and create soaps with an artist's heart, and I'm welcoming you on my journey.

[caption id="attachment_1269" align="aligncenter" width="861"]soap3 Finding inspiration and sharing my thought process.[/caption]

I'm going to use inspirations and themes to guide my artisan soap making, and I want to share the process. I am going to show you where the ideas come from, how the plan develops, my thought process and feelings, and the actual creation. You'll be let in on the techniques, the highlights, and the failures.

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Some of this will be done through photos and blogging, some is being done through video. Either way, I'm Creating 2016 and I plan to have a lot of fun with it. Hopefully it shows through my creations.

[caption id="attachment_1270" align="aligncenter" width="463"]soap4 Turning soap into art.[/caption]

Thank you, each and every one of you, for encouraging me through the years and for supporting our little farm with your purchases. From my art teachers from high school, college and beyond who taught me that art has no rules, to my friends, family, customers and online supporters who have encouraged me, I am so lucky to have learned from and been inspired by you. I am very excited about Creating 2016... I'm already having a blast. My entire soap studio has been reorganized, my calendar has been mapped out, I have several projects in the works, I'm tweaking my business plan, and I'm dedicating time to creativity on a regular basis. I will be updating you with more information about products and plans and goals for the year in a future post as details for them get ironed out.

I hope you're on your way to create Your 2016 as well. As they say, don't give up your daydream... Make it happen!

[caption id="attachment_1271" align="aligncenter" width="1024"]IMG_2442 Black Raspberry Soap inspired by a Japanese painting by unknown artist.  Bars available in limited quantities in late February.[/caption]

 

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