In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Damage Control

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Our lives need a little drama here and there.  It keeps things interesting.  Without the drama we might not appreciate the little moments of peace that we are graced with every so often.  But sometimes those drama-filled moments are enough to make us sit, place our faces in our hands and just take a moment to breathe and pray for a positive outcome.

Friday afternoon, a couple hours before I got home from work, Kyle was outside checking on the pigs.  We had moved them back under the trees so they could tear up the ground a bit before the meat processor comes to get them next Friday.  While he was outside he heard a scream from the barn and ran to see what it was.  Apparently, Juniper had jumped up on the top of the manger, got her left front foot stuck between a couple boards and then tried to jump down.  We had plywood on top of the manger to try to keep chicken droppings from getting down into the hay, we never thought much about the tiny gap at one end, but these girls' feet are so tiny, they can fit in just about anything.  Needless to say, the manger has been moved, and a new, safer cover has been attached.

But the damage was done.  Kyle thought that maybe it was just sprained because she seemed to be moving around relatively well.  Her adrenaline must have been running because any time we'd go out to try to catch her to take a better look she'd just run.  I didn't want to aggrevate the condition so we decided to leave it until Saturday morning when we fed them breakfast.  Sure enough, Saturday morning brought us the truth.  Her leg was very swollen and obviously broken.  We ran to Johnson Farm and Garden to pick up some rolls of Vet Wrap and a couple wooden paint stirrers.

When we got home I gave Juniper a baby asprin and started icing her leg to try to help the swelling go down a bit.  Then, while Kyle held her, I felt her leg and carefully pulled on her hoof and fetlock to be sure all the bones were straight and where they should be.  Using a clean, old sock, I padded one side of each of the paint stirrers and made sure they were just long enough to extend just a little past her hoof.  With one paint stirrer on the inside of her leg, and the other on the outside I carefully wrapped all the way up her leg with a few lengths of the Vet Wrap.  Once I was finished with the splint we held her up to the higher branches of the surrounding trees so she could get some of the leaves as a treat.

After a few minutes of greedily eating leaves, we set Juniper down to see how she fared with the splint.  She's still working on three legs, but she can put her other foot down when she wants and it won't put any weight on the broken leg.  If not for the leg she looks fine; her eyes are bright, she eats and drinks with as much energy and enthusiasm that we are used to seeing in her, her rumen is working well, and her digestive system is working fine.  It is a relief.

We've had to re-wrap the bandage a couple times already, it kept getting pulled down a little too far, I think its because she drags it when she goes to lay down.  But last night I used a piece of the wrap over the top of her shoulders which I think should eliminate the problem.  She seems to be doing well, though, she can even run around again and climb on things, which is good to see.  We gave her a baby asprin each day for a few days, just to help with any pain or swelling.  But even when we re-wrapped her leg on Sunday the swelling was completely gone.  So I'm confident that as long as we are diligent at being sure her wrap is in place, things will heal well.

I just feel horrible that the cause of her injury was something that we neglected to recognize as a possible danger.  Sometimes it takes some drama to get you looking at things in a different way.  But if you ask me, I'm ready for some drama-free days now, thankyouverymuch.


  1. EcoLife Says:
  2. Oh how awful!! I am glad Juniper is doing better. How long will the break take to heal? I really hate it when drama takes over and highjacks my life. Did May ever pop?

    How are your bee's doing? I finally put on a super the other day, our's are a bit slow since we're forcing them to build there own comb, we went foundationless. But it's been a productive year so far.


  3. Melissa Says:
  4. I'm not entirely sure how long it will take to heal (I've yet to break anything myself, I'll have to ask Kyle how long he wore casts for). I'm guessing we'll leave the splint on for about a month. May never did pop...I'm thinking it was a false pregnancy. *sigh*

    Bees are doing great. We slacked off for a bit, put another super on about 3 weeks ago, though I'm pretty sure they could have used it before then. I need to go in and do a more thorough inspection just to be sure all is well. Things have just been too crazy lately! =D