thepioneersofpanama

A Journey in living simply, in living off the land and in giving back.

Month: December, 2011

Gertrude and Her Girl- Meet Joy!

This morning Gertrude went off into the far pasture by herself around 0600 well before the normal time the Mamas go off to eat well on the tall green grasses. So I went out to look for her and after walking the entire pasture perimeter, I found her tucked into a little valley of earth and rocks with a wet bloody baby at her side!

Miss Gertrude with her new daughter Joy

We are continuing to feel blessed with all the girl babies we have had the last week, for a total of five females and one male! Go team!

Here are Miss Fanny’s baby girls almost a week old now!

 Stella was sitting out in the sun with her little trio this morning with a smug smile!

Update on my Father

My parents went to Panama City this morning and met with a highly recommended oncologist. I spoke with both of my parents this afternoon and they are very impressed with the oncologist. He is going to review my Fathers labs, scans, x-rays and will consult with him next week, to recommend an appropriate treatment.

My Father also has been feeling a little “better” the last few days, with more energy and less coughing. He also feels the tumor, which had grown up so quickly by where the last two were removed is “smaller”. HalleluYah!

We are continuing him on a “detox” diet of raw foods, mainly greens with green smoothies and plenty of carrot and beet juice. I am also continuing to harvest the fresh rainforest plants that have been used by the native people to fight cancer. He has lost some weight, but as I already stated feels “better”.

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Summer has come to Panama the last week and the weather here is absolutely beautiful. I wish I could send you all a bit of warm weather from down south.

Yours~Rose

 In the meantime I am going to keep taking care of  my baby kids…

One-Two-Three… Stella had her Kids!

Mama Stella and her three babies

Stella content with her new family around her (Two girls and a baby boy!)

This week we have been blessed with five new babies for a total of four girls and a boy! Mamas and babies are all doing well. We have decided to keep these Mamas and babies together for the first two weeks and then seperate the babies at night at that time. This way we can milk the Mamas in the morning and then put the families back together during the day. 

We also have five more Mamas who will be giving birth in the next couple of months, so we are looking forward to more babies and more milk.

Just wanted to give you all a quick update! Rose

 

 

The Finished Milking Barn and Liters of Milk to Spare!

I just thought I would update you all on the “temporary milk barn”. It has been up and operational for several weeks now and it has made the milking process much EASIER, more ORGANIZED and very CLEAN.

The Milking Barn with Viola (front), Stella (back left) and Thelma (back right)

Bessie (far left back), Viola (front left) and Olive (front right)

We added river rock around the milking barn to help prevent mud and to keep hooves dry (Our friend Mike had rocks around his goats pen, so thanks to him for this great idea! It looks nice and it a lot less slippery than before. We love it!)

Samson (far back left), Marilyn (front) and Stella wanting to get through the door and eat some food too!

The milking Mamas are brought through this gate to the feeding area to eat before being milked

The Mamas are then chained from their collars while they eat and wait their turn to be milked

This has really helped a lot with the numerous battles over food. Before we tried to make sure everyone had enough food in separate dishes, while the more aggressive and dominant Mamas would try to take over as many food dishes as they could… There would be no end to the skirmishes and it made milking time stressful, for milk maids and those needing to be milked. Now everything runs like a well oiled machine! Organized and smoothly.

Plus the concrete flooring in the milking area makes things much very clean. (HalleluYah!)

(If there are any other goat owners, who have questions about what we would different with this design, please leave a comment and I will get back to you, as there are one or two small things I would do differently. However this milking barn is “temporary” and we plan on having a larger structure by next year.)

When it is time to bring the next Mama in, she comes through the gate on the far left to the milking stanchion

When Thelma is finished being milked, she will go out the third gate (which cannot be seen in this picture) to the pasture

Whitie says “You all come and visit me soon!”

Fresh creamy goats milk

Currently we  have more milk than we need at this time. In spite of the four of us consuming milk and the fresh queso blanco we make from it and selling it the neighbors in our community, we truly have liters of milk to spare.

If you do not know about the benefits of goat milk here is an excellent link about how superior goat milk is versus cow milk: http://www.mtcapra.com/benefits-of-goat-milk-vs-cow-milk/

Frankly, I had never tried goats milk until a year ago. I had friends who sometimes milked for their neighbors and they always tried to get me to try the milk, but I never did. I had a goat cheese once and it was very pungent in smell and taste. It tasted like a smelly old goat. Disgusting. So all I could remember was that bad experience. (If proper cleanliness is followed during milking, sterilizing of containers and a quick cooling of the milk is done, there should never be a “bad” taste to goat milk/goat milk cheese.)

Now I love pouring a pitcher of our goats fresh creamy milk over my cereal every morning and sprinkling fresh queso blanco cheese over a leafy green salad or crumbling it over homemade macaroni and cheese. Yummers. I cannot imagine going back to drinking cows milk or particularly eating orange colored cheddar cheese.

I am very excited to experiment in the future with different cheeses and yogurt, as well as making goat milk kefir (a project I am currently working on! If you do not know about the probiotic and health benefits of kefir please click here: http://www.seedsofhealth.co.uk/fermenting/kefir.shtml).

If you are interested in buying goat milk, please contact me, so we can arrange a meeting. At this time, we are planning to be in Volcan every Friday afternoon with fresh goat milk for sale.

I hope you have a blessed and joyous weekend, surrounded by family and friends and all of those whom you love and hold dear.

Scripture thought for the day:

“Not to us, O Yahweh, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1.

Always yours, Rose

 

 

The Greenhouse: Getting those Greens Under Control!

Our worker, Danilo, had been in charge of starting and tending the vegetables in the greenhouse for my parents the last several years. He had planted some tomatoes, green peppers and Romaine several months ago, but after that the garden had been sorely neglected. The whole greenhouse was overgrown with weeds and the established herbs were overgrown.

It had been my plan since we first moved here, to make the greenhouse my “baby”, but due to priorities and time constraints it was low on the priority list. During the last two weeks however,  I have started taking control of the greenhouse.

 The “Greenhouse”

Our greenhouse is made of bamboo and covered with plastic. It is not beautiful but it works. Its main function is to protect the vegetables from the heavy rains during the rainy season. (My cousin in Hawaii has a fancy greenhouse and maybe one day we will have one like his! Something to aspire to!)

The Tomato Plants

A Closer View of the Tomato Plants

Our First Green Pepper

Our little bunches of Romaine

Lines of Green Pepper and Romaine

Starting Seeds in Egg Cartons

I am excited about the garden! I am looking forward to harvesting some green peppers and tomatoes later this week. I am also hoping all my little seedlings will sprout right up and I get all of the assorted lettuces, cucumbers and beans planted as soon as I can.

 And meet Dina our new calico kitty-She is watching me work in the greenhouse

 

An Update on My Father

I took my Father back to the doctor today, a week and a half after his second surgery to get the pathology results.

The doctor told us he has grade III angiosarcoma. Angiosarcoma is a  form of sarcoma, that can occur anywhere in the body but generally in the soft tissues near the blood or lymphatic vessels. It is a rare, reoccuring aggressive type of cancer. Of all the cancers my Father could have gotten, he got one, we are really going to have to give one helluva fight. (I think it may have been caused by exposure to Agent Orange…???) The doctor was also able to feel another mass near where he just removed the mass a week and a half ago… So in such a short time, it is already growing.

We are going to make an appointment tomorrow and  plan on taking him to the Oncology Institute in Panama City next week to meet with the oncologist and radiation oncologist to discuss treatment options. I am all for natural and alternative treatments, but I think we need to be as aggressive as this cancer is and give traditional medicine a go as well. In the meantime we are keeping my Father on a “detox”, by continuing a raw food diet with of carrot juice and green smoothies, as well as several different herbs.

Several Rainforest Herbs I harvested out of our yard that help fight cancer!

Thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

If you are interested to learn more about angiosarcoma click here: http://sarcomahelp.org/learning_center/angiosarcoma.html

The New Kids on the Block

I did have good news when I got home tonight…

Check out the Queen of the Goats-Miss Fanny and her two new daughters!

Meet Francis and Fern-Check out their royal “Neck Jewelry” (The neck waddles!)

I love each and every one of you.

( And let us aim to-Live well… Love much… Laugh often…)

Yours~Rose

Snakes: A Hazard of Living in the Jungle

Whenever our worker chops the tall grasses around our property with his machete, invariably he runs across a snake.

I wish I could say the snakes here were all non-poisonous snakes, like the snakes I grew up with in Western Washington or to have no snakes at all like my cousin in Hawaii, but this is not the case.

Usually if you find a snake here in Panama, it is poisonous.

This week our worker killed a poisonous snake called the Bushmaster (Lachesis muta muta), while clearing a field by the house.

Danillo with a Bushmaster he killed (Notice its belly bulge-it has recently ate!)

This Bushmaster is almost as tall as Danillo, who is 5’1!

Here is some information about the Bushmaster:

The Bushmaster, is the largest pit viper and venomous snake in the world. It is found in Central and South America, as well as island of Trinidad. It often reaches lengths in excess of 6 feet with a maximum recorded length of an incredible 12 feet. The Bushmaster is usually thick bodied, with a triangular-shaped head characteristic of the pit vipers.
This snake has a fearsome reputation for being particularly aggressive towards humans, if agitated or startled. The Bushmaster has extremely long fangs and has the ability to quickly strike multiple times, even the bite of a juvenile snake can be fatal.  It delivers a large and powerful dose of hemotoxic venom which attacks the circulatory system, destroys red blood cells and leads to generalized tissue damage and organ degeneration. However, this snake is basically nocturnal and contact with humans is minimized for this reason.

*Addendum to the orginial post-added on 01/11/2012*:

‘Arne O. left a comment for me stating this snake is a Bothrops and not a Bushmaster. Our worker called it a Bushmaster, but then again he is not a herpetologist and neither am I. We appreciate your correction, Arne.

My parents had told me we have  “Fer-de-Lance” snakes in this area, aka Bothrops. From what I have investigated on the internet, I like it no better than the Bushmaster. A venomous snake is a venomous snake, right? (If anyone can verify if this is a Bothrops atrox or asper or …please let me know…? I might have a picture that is closer up, if needed. Gracias.)’

I hope this doesn’t scare any of you from back home from coming down and visiting us! We have never seen a snake in the house or in close proximity to it, so please don’t change any future plans you had!!!

I hope everyone’s week has started off well and covered in blessing.

All of us here are still absorbing the news of my Fathers diagnosis of cancer and are trying our best to make some plans of how we need to act. My Father is very tired and has been sleeping a lot. We have put him on a raw food diet, rich in alkaline foods with plenty of carrot juice and green drinks. My Mother and I have also been searching the internet for different alternative treatments. (My Father is not sure he wants to have traditional treatments at this time, but he plans to meet with an oncologist in Panama City in the coming week.) Thank you all for your messages and emails of support and comfort. It is appreciated more than you know.

Shalom (Peace) to you all my dears, Rose

P.S. To our dear nephews, Jonathon and Tyler, when you come down to visit us, there will be no searching, hunting or handling of snakes. Comprende?

 

A Rough Road Ahead…

As some of you know and some of you do not, my Father was diagnosed with cancer this past weekend. The tumor that we were told was benign, which was removed from his neck in October, grew back in a short six weeks. It not only grew back with full force, but also infiltrated his carotid artery, jugular vein and muscle. A CAT scan of his chest also shows three spots on his lungs.

Though cancer has infiltrated my Fathers body, there are things it can never do or take from him.

Cancer is so limited…

It cannot cripple love. It cannot shatter hope. It cannot corrode faith.

It cannot eat away peace. It cannot destroy confidence. It cannot kill friendship.

It cannot shut out memories. It cannot silence courage. It cannot reduce eternal life.

It cannot quench the Spirit.

We have a rough road ahead of us. Sometimes the roads you walk in this life are roads, you certainly would not chose for yourself or anyone you love. However there they are before you and there is no going back and there is no alternate route.

And yet we have great comfort and hope and bravely will walk forward in faith because we believe though the road may be rough, it is a road we do not walk alone on.

The steps of a man are established by Yahweh, And He delights in his way.

When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because Yahweh is the One who holds his hand.

Psalm 37:23,24

My Father

So please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. We love you and appreciate each and everyone of you, for your emails and messages of goodness and cheer. You are each a blessing to me and to every person on this farm.

With warmest regards~Rose

 

Annies Accident and The Attack of the Parrots

Annies Accident

Annie was helping my Moms horse Meridian, “trim” the grass in the front yard this week.

I had brushed and feed Annie some grain a couple of hours earlier and then when I went out again to do chores, I saw Annie with a long gash to her front chest and a piece of her skin hanging from her body.

Annies chest after the “accident” (No one knows or saw what she cut herself on)

The veterinary came as soon as he could, which was unfortunately, the next morning. Dr Samuel gave Annie an intramuscular tranquilizer first to help calm her before he gave her the sedation medication in her vein.

Dr Samuel trying to give Annie the sedative

The tranquilizer did not seem to faze Annie too much and she was not about to let the doctor get too close to her neck with that syringe full of  sedation medication! She kept sidestepping away from Dr Samuel. (Hindsight says perhaps we should have tied her on a very short lead on the fence so she would not have moved away so much from him, but the doctor wanted her to “fall” in this shady corner after she had received her medication…)

Finally the veterinary, tired of “dancing” and “sidestepping” with Annie,  had Smith “twitch” Annie, by grabbing her upper lip with his hand and twisting it hard. (Ouch!)

I had never seen or heard of that before, but from what I understand a “twitch” is generally a device that is secured to the horses upper lip and tightened. It is supposed to help distract the horse during stressful situations, but it is also believed to act instead by triggering the release of endorphins from the horse’s brain, producing a calming effect.

However it worked, it worked and Annie was able to get sedative in a matter of seconds and then Smith released her from the “twitch”. Within a few minutes, we helped Annie to the ground, as she “passed out” so to speak, from the sedative. Smith tied her legs to together in case she woke, before Dr Samuel was done with the procedure and I held her head down.

Annie fast asleep and Dr Samuel is quickly trimming the edges of her wound

Annie with newly trimmed wound edges

Annie in peaceful dreamland, as Dr Patti and Dr Samuel stitch Annies wound

Annie waking up from her sedative (She looked a little green around the gills!)

 After Annie was done with her procedure Dr Samuel, poured cold water on her head and on her back to help wake her up. He told us we had to get her up. This took about 30 minutes before she was strong enough to stand on her own. (I hated seeing her so wobbly and near falling, as the three of us supported most of her weight, trying to get her to stand on her own during that long half hour. All I could imgaine was Annie falling down and breaking a leg! Which thankfully did not happen.)

I would like to give a good report and tell you, she is all healed up and doing fine, but that is not the case.

A day after she was stitched up, she had copious amounts of pus draining from her wound. I gently squeezed the wound and drained it the best I could. I then cleaned it up well with iodine and applied the antibiotic cream the veterinary had prescribed. I am proud to report Annie was a champion during this procedure and tolerated it very well, as my Father and Smith helped to hold her and keep her still.

The wound had minimal drainage after that, but five days later, she had ripped open her stitches. The wound looks like it has started to heal, as there is not a lot of skin flapping open, but we have called Dr Samuel back out and he is coming to the farm tomorrow to assess the wound and  stitch her back up. Will keep you all posted on Annies progress.

The Attack of the Parrots

 This pretty parrot couple are not as innocent and sweet as they look! 

The parrots have attacked and eaten many of our plantains from the plantain grove this week!

I hope everyone has had a good week this week. I am sure ready for the weekend.

Tonight my Father is back in the hospital for surgery again.

Last week he had the bad news that the tumor which was removed in October, had probably grown back to the same size it was, before it was removed. The doctor is also fearful the tumor has grown around his jugular vein and it may also need might need to be cut into, as well as some of the nerves that may effect my Fathers speech, diaphragm, blood pressure, etc…  However the other case scenario from the doctor is that perhaps there is a hematoma-blood clot- in the space from where the tumor was removed and was possibly caused from a leak of his vein.

I ask you all to once again, keep him in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow morning, as the doctor operates at 10:00 am.. We do not know why my Father continues to have challenges with his health, but we trust trust in Yahweh our Lord, to carry him through these difficult times.

Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:18-31

Much love to you all, my family and friends (some of whom I know and some of whom I do not), Rose

 

It’s Pedicure Time, Girls! – An Update on the Goat Hooves

This post is a follow-up to a prior post I wrote on 11/14/2011, “Goat Hooves (The Newest Challenge)”. The pictures and video provided below are to show all of our friends, family and fellow goat lovers, we have finally “figured” out hoof trimming and our girls now have beautiful pedicures, after many hours and several days of intensive and careful trimming.

I also want to thank Logan and Pam, from thegoatspot.net, for their support and encouragement. I don’t think we would have had as much courage to undertake this endeavor without them. Also many thanks to Tamara, my dear friend from Montana, who had her horse farrier friend, give us detailed advice as well. (And to everyone else who emailed us or left us a uplifiting comment!)

I only documented several of our girls hooves here, but all of our other goats we had just purchased, had similar overgrown hooves.

Marilynn getting her Pedicure

Marilynns hooves and soles were the worst of all of our girls. She was just lying on the grass in the mornings-laid out flat, not wanting to get up and limping very badly, when she did get up to walk. We started with her hooves first because my thought was- she is practically lame now, I suppose we cannot make her hurt any worse. Her soles were a grey colored swiss cheese looking, all dead tissue and had a foul odor. She also had pockets in her hoof walls. We started her on an antibiotic and anti-inflammatory injections because I suspected hoof rot. The day after we trimmed her hooves, she was already up and walking around better, much better than she had been. I was encouraged. A week later, we trimmed her again. Today, she is up and walking without any signs of pain or difficulty.

Marilynns Front Left Hoof Before

Marilynns Front Left Hoof After

Marilynns Back Left Hoof Before

Marilynns Back Left Hoof After

Gertrudes Back Right Hoof Before

Gertrude Getting Her Pedicure of the Right Back Hoof

Gertrudes Left Front Hoof Before

Gertrudes Right Front Hoof Before

Gertrudes Right Front Hoof During Trimming

Gertrudes Right Front Hoof Almost Done (You can also see a peek of the finished Left Hoof)

Violas Back Hooves Before

Violas Back Hooves After

Our Procedure for Hoof Trimming:

1.  The goat was secured on the milk stanchion and given a little food, to keep her occupied and relaxed. (Though the first time we trimmed Marilynn she finally had to be laid on the ground to be trimmed because she did not want to stand. It took two people to hold her down and a third person to trim her hooves. She is a big strong girl!)

2. The bottoms and the outsides of the hooves were then soaked and washed with a stiff scrub brush, in warm soapy water that had a splash of bleach in it. This helped to remove the majority of poo and dirt and let us see the little growth lines that circle the outside of the hoof, so we could use them as a guide when we began to cut.

3. We began trimming any of the outer hoof wall that was ovegrown over the sole, starting at the toe and working our way back to the heel, so that it was even with the sole.  We then did this same procedure to the other toe. (We used “hoof rot shears” at this step. We also wore gloves to have a better grip when using the shears and goats leg.)

4. We then used an Exacto knife to cut back any dead overgrown sole and heel, starting at the toe and cutting back toward the heel.  We followed the growth lines that circle parallel with the hair at the top of the hoof, to get the hoof trimmed to the to correct angle. You want to have the sole and heel trimmed flat and even. We trimmed off thin slices at a time. We were careful to stop when we saw any pink, because to go further would have caused the sole to bleed. It is recommended to have a “Blood Stop” powder or cornstarch to apply to use if you cause the goat to bleed.

5. Some of the goats had dirty pockets and some had hoof walls that were separating from the sole. We carefully used the Exacto knife to cut away any of these kinds of areas, so there would be no dirt or poo, etc… which could collect in these crevices and potentially cause hoof rot.

6. When we were finished trimming, we let the goat stand on her hoof and assessed her balance, to make sure we had gotten her hoof level and flat.  We then applied a formaldehyde/copper solution to the goats hooves, as recommended by our veterinarian.

(A few notes: We used the hoof rot shears/nippers and Exacto knife because that is all we can find for hoove trimming here in Panama… One day I would like to be able to obtain one of those fancy looking goat shears that look like garden shears from the states… Also some of our girls are going to need to be trimmed every week, until we get their hooves, as normal as we can. )

Here is a list of on-line links we found helpful as references:

http://www.ahp-vet.com/healthysmrm/C322.htm

http://www.boergoatshome.com/hooves.php

http://www.boergoats.com/clean/articleads.php?art=80

http://www.gorge-usboergoats.com/hoof_trimming.htm

http://www.tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/hoofrot,hoofscald06.html

http://thegoatspot.net

Well, this is what we were up to all week, giving up our full-time jobs to work in the beauty salon and give pedicures… to goats!!!!

What have you all been doing??? (Send me a note and share with me, would love to hear from you!) I have been thinking about you and pray you are doing well. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Much love, Rose

P.S. Here is Miss Marilynn sitting on the trailer of the ATV-wondering to herself “Why walk and mess up my new pedicure, when I can ride?”

She really wanted burgundy nail polish, but all we had was pink left.

What’s a goat to do?