We’ve had a lot going on here at the homestead over the last couple of weeks — a huge mix of good and not so good and fun and not so fun. It’s been the not so good and not so fun that have kept me from doing any writing. Even now, I still don’t feel quite up to it, but I know that if I don’t, I probably never will, so here goes.
As you know about six weeks ago, we were contacted by the woman from whom we bought our goats. One of her goats had been diagnosed with scrapie, a contagious neurological disease found in goats and sheep. It is extremely rare — in fact, hers was the first case in a goat in Arizona history. A few days after that, we were contacted by the USDA letting us know that they were rounding up all the goats that had come from that herd or had had contact with that herd over the last five years. Boo. Our goats were tagged and without any other real options, we turned ownership of our goats over the to federal government (although they continued to be housed on our property at our expense). A few weeks later, the Arizona Department of Agriculture paid us a visit and place this lovely quarantine sign on our gate. Little did we know that problems it would cause.
Scrapie is not transmittable to humans nor any animals other than goats and sheep. Sadly we had a neighbor, many houses away, who felt the need to call the city rather than to talk to us directly. It did not go well, but it is what it is. On a positive note, the man from the city who came and spoke with us was very nice and while our conversation was not always pleasant, we parted cordially both expressing our desires that we never meet again.
The next day, the state came and picked up the goats. I had talked to the boys the day before reminding them that our goats were going to be leaving. Thomas responded with, “It’s going to be hard, but I’m going to handle it.” Handle it he did. I was the one standing in the middle of the road holding back the tears.
And so, that part of our story comes to a close, and soon a new story will begin. I hope this next story has a slightly happier ending.
Speaking of happy, our sweet rabbit Joy popped some babies last week. She’s a little stingy with her babies, only five this time, but they are big, and getting bigger every day.
On the garden front, we were so excited to harvest our sweet potatoes we could hardly contain ourselves. They had practically taken over a quarter of our garden.
Here’s what we got —
We added three more rows of corn, two rows of lettuce (we’re big salad eaters around here), tomatoes, peppers, beets, zucchini, carrots, swiss chard and green onions. The beans and peas will go in this coming weekend along with some medicinal herbs. Let the praying begin.
On the homeschooling front, we keep moving right along. I made some changes with Muffa’s reading program, and I’m really looking forward to implementing it over the next few weeks. Thomas is becoming quite the speller. He’s read for years, but couldn’t spell the word cat if his life depended on it. He can spell cat and many other words now, no problem.
Science continues to be the favorite subject around here. We’ve moved onto studying the planets. After reading about Venus, we did a little hands on activity to reinforce what we learned about atmospheres using a towel, a hair dryer and an ice cube.
I cannot say enough good things about our science curriculum, God’s Design for Science. Love, love, love it.
We headed back to the Arizona Natural History Museum this past week and did a little panning for gold. I’m happy to report, we’re officially rich. Well, not really, but it was fun just the same.