Friday, August 10, 2012

Sparkle Soup

Moving can be hard on little ones. The constant business of all of their big people, sorting, packing and moving boxes, never ending to do lists.... It can be down-right overwhelming. I've been trying to find a few fun activities that don't require any planning and hardly any time to put together specifically for Claire to do in the afternoons.

A couple of days ago after nap time I gathered together several things I still had in the kitchen and took Claire outside for some sparkly play time. I just gave her several small bowls of food colored water and a couple of different kinds of glitter along with some "tools" like eye droppers, syringes, bowls, measuring cups, ladles, etc. I was inspired by a post I saw a while back on Meg's blog

The minute I set out the supplies and started filling the tub with water a few big brothers appeared on the scene to "help" :-) 

It was a hit! They all had a wonderful time. I stayed out until the baby woke up from his nap and needed to nurse. Those 3 stayed outside playing with their sparkle soup water for almost 3 hours!
Ages that thoroughly enjoyed this activity: 2.5 years, 9 & 11 years. 

Linking up with the lovely ladies at Creative Friday and Friday's Nature Table and Happy Family Times

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How I stop goats from kicking while on the milk stand

As I mentioned in the last post about my goats, it was a really steep learning curve for me and the goats while I was figuring out how to milk and they were figuring out how to behave on the milk stand. I finally got the hang of milking after a week or so, but I was having to hold one of the goat's back legs and only milk with one hand. Since no matter how sweetly I asked them or threatened to make sausage out of them they still danced and pranced while they where in the stanchion. The excited children running around and the neighbours' dogs barking at the fence did nothing to help the situation. 

So I went to my friend Google and searched "how to stop a goat from kicking" "how to restrain a goat" "goat hobbles" you name it and I looked it up. Basically everything said that the goats would eventually calm down and stand still. A few sites referred to "goat hobbles" These were nylon straps that go above the goats knees and are supposed to prevent the goat from kicking, and they cost $20, plus I had to wait for them to get shipped to me. I kept mulling it over whether or not I should go ahead and buy the things even though I had read in several places that they didn't really work and were a waste of money, I was desperate! After nearly a month we still almost never managed to get any milk for ourselves. The dogs were getting fatter, but I was not about to give my family milk that the goats had stepped in! 

One day it occurred to me that I might be able to fashion a hobble of sorts myself. That morning as I led the goats out of their pen onto the milk stand I realized that it might just work using what I already had on hand. A dog leash!! It took a little bit of trial and error, but I finally came up with a way that works for us! 

My method of goat restraint should be pretty self explanatory from the pictures above. But just in case you need a written description of what we do, here it is: 

  • use handle side of nylon dog leash
  • place goat's hind feet through handle of leash, bringing loop of handle just above goat's knees
  • wrap leash around handle, initially I wrapped it twice to make sure it was tight enough to prevent goat movement, now as long as it is there they don't really try to kick anymore, so I usually only wrap it once. 
  • wrap long end of leash around far side of stanchion post, hooking leash back on self
  • in the last picture Larkspur the goat is actually kicking, and as you can see the milk is perfectly safe!
It only took two times milking with the "hobble leash" and the goats settled right down. The first time they freaked out a bit at having their legs restrained, but within 2 days they stood patiently while I put their feet into the strap and tied them up. No more kicking!! We finally got to drink goat milk ourselves! 

Linking up with the Barn Hop this week!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vintage Kid's Clothes ~ Aqua Pinafore

I love dressing Claire in sweet vintage baby clothes. I have quite a few vintage children's clothing that I have collected since becoming a mama. I think I'd like to try posting pictures of them more often. This adorable little pinafore top came from my Grandma. I'm not sure if it had been worn by anyone else in our family before Claire, and since my Grandma has passed away now I will probably never know. 

Claire was collecting willow leaves in her little basket for the goats to eat. She loves "her" goats!

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