Ins and Outs

It is very important that ins and outs are kept separate.

On Tuesday the 15th California Girl, one of the agisted animals, dropped a stillborn cria about 10 weeks early. I might not have noticed with the girls on the back hill, but she was separated from the herd, and staying in one spot. When I climbed up to investigate, I found the dead premie. I did my own PM, and the cause was pretty conclusive. There was a 2 cm hole in the right side of the abdominal cavity with intestines poking out. Poor wee girl probably died in the womb a few weeks earlier, then the mum finally aborted. Nothing could be done, congenital defect.

Today Victoria had her cria at 326 days- a little grey boy. But it was immediately apparent there was something seriously wrong. At first glance it looked like a serious hernia out his umbilicus, with what looked like a little sack full of guts. He was otherwise good sized and quite vigorous. I rushed him to Julia (the vet). There we determined he had large and small intestine, plus a pancreas, which had all developed externally. There were adhesions, and signs that there were probably serious mis-connections internally. Congenital defect, nothing that could be done (barring radical surgery).

He was euthanized, and died almost exactly an hour after he had been born. Poor wee bub. At least he did not suffer.

Hopefully we have now front-end-loaded all our bad luck before the birthing season really commences. And I really hope from here on out everyone keeps there insides and outsides in the right places. (And if anyone is morbidly curious, I do have photos of both cases.)

A night at the zoo

Last weekend our friend Dayna had a birthday party. She wanted something new and exciting, so had her party at the zoo.

As an overnight sleep-over!

I get the impression that 99% of the groups that do the zoo sleep over experience are grade-schoolers. I think leading a bunch of adults around for the night tour was extra amusing for our guide, Dion. I think our rather twisted humour broke his brain at times.

My favorite moment was standing 2 meters from the tiger enclosure watching them pace about by the light of our flashlights. Eyes in the darkness. Seeing tigers under those conditions at quite close range certainly twigs the monkey brain to shout “You are a prey animal! Those are tigers! What are you doing, idiot!”

After the tour the birthday party began. While alcohol was forbidden, there was no rule against excessive sugar and caffine. The birthday girl and about a half dozen others were up all night, the remaining 30 (or so) of us managed a few hours of sleep. Considering the all-nighters were in the room with us loudly and spaztically playing board games, I am surprised we got any sleep at all!

The next morning I added a new term to my lexicon, the “un-asleep”. Much like the undead are not truely alive, the “un-alseep” are not truely awake. Like zombies, they also tend to stagger about with glassy-eyed looks.

Wriggle room

So, a standard Thursday morning.

Get up. Eat breakfast. Read email. Surf inter-tubes a bit. Put on gum-boots and get to work.

Except there was a stick or stone in my gum boot. Pulled my foot out, checked my sock. No twig. A little shake produced nothing. Walked out into the side yard, and there was definietly something jabbing my toe in there. Take of boot and shake… a piece of hay drops out. Shake harder… and a startled forrest Weta drops out!

So, it was either a spiny leg or his little mandibles that were poking my toes. Thankfully the weta was unharmed, and was released back into the wild.

A rather startling start to the day for the both of us, I figure. His “safe little cave” turned out to have a giant sock-wearing monster living in it.

Steel on steel

Lo these many years ago, back in Boston, I took a night-school class at the Billerica tech High School where I learned how to weld. I thought it might be useful some day. Finally that day arrived!

I borrowed a MIG welder from Martin, and back in August I built a trasport cage for our new trailer. Now we can take our camelids places again! (purhasing a spcieally-built high-sided cage with a roof that would be suitable for camelids would have been stupidly expensive)
The quality of my welding was not too good at start, 8+ years without practice will do that, but that last panel or two look pretty good. I know it is strong enough, even if it is not pretty, as each piece had to be able to support my body weight before it “passed QC”.

Now the challenge is getting it all cleaned-up and pretty-looking. The 75mm reinforcing mesh I used came pre-rust coated, so it all needs to be polished clean with a rotary wire brush before I can apply the rust-protective primer. Lots and lots of nooks and crannies to clean! It is going to take a lot of work, but based on the bits I have done so far, it should look pretty darn nice when it is done!