thepioneersofpanama

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

Month: January, 2012

Seven Saanen Girls Are Added to the Farm

We have just added seven new Saanen girls to our happy little farm in the moutains of Panama. Six of the seven Mamas are pregnant, so soon we will have more little cabritas in our future!

 Granny Goat

Beulah

Esther

Hannah, Methuselah, & Miriam

With the addition of the new girls we are currently getting around 14 liters of milk a day. Go girls!

And Don Joaquin has just branched out to making fresh white goat cheese sprinkled with tasty little green olives. It is custard like in consistency and has no smell or taste of “goatiness”. It is delicious! The best goat cheese I have ever eaten… Miss Martha at Don Joaquin is interested to know what other ingredients the community would like added to cheese, so give her a call or drop by and give her suggestions. (I suggested chives, garlic or rosemary!)

My Happy Goat Farmer (surrounded by his thirty plus girls!) & Blackie, Whitie and Scoot

Have a wonderful week dear friends and family. Keep looking up!

Yours, Rose

Samson is Sterilized and Welcome Abraham

My parents decided my six month old Saanen buck I bought several months ago, is not going to be one of the breeding bucks for the farm. They decided he had not grown as tall or as broad as they wanted and in general was just too small in size and was a tad… fat. They also protested he had no interest in the does and in their opinion was overly fond of me. 

And actually if truth be told, I had told my Mother a month prior, I wished he was just going to be my pet…

Samson (What’s not to love…?????)

So based on that, I decided to approach Miss Dottie Attwater who runs the Spay/Panama-Chiriqui Clinic in Volcan, to see if the veterinarian Dr Tello would consider sterilizing Samson. After we got the green light from Dr Tello to proceed with our plans, we scheduled Samson for his appointment.

Samson waiting outside the Clinic in Volcan

Samson actually had a great time waiting outside the clinic. He made a lot of new friends. People came up and petted him, talked to him and even took his picture!

Samson getting anesthesia from Dr Tello

Samson on the operating table awaiting the inevitable

 Samson recovering from his anesthesia on a sheet outside

After Samsons procedure, he was brought outside and laid on a sheet. I sat and rubbed him for about 15 minutes, as he started to awake from anesthesia. He awoke rather quickly and was up on his hooves in no time, just in time for the ride home!

If any of you would like to learn more about Spay Panama/Chiriqui Clinic or see pictures of the clinic and staff, please click on this link: http://www.spaypanama-chiriqui.org/46th.html. It is quite different from a veterniary in the states. You are able to be with your pet from the time it is given anesthesia, to being sterilized and able to massage it and be with it, as it wakes up.

This week we also brought home our new stud buck. He was living in the mountains of Caldera, near a river before we bought him. What do you all think about him? My Mother thinks he is beautiful.

 

 Meet Father “Abraham” the farms new stud buck

Well buckaroos have a wonderful week! Will drop you all a line later this week.

Much love, Rose

 

 

Sloth Me or Sloth Me Not (Not Kristen Bells Reaction!)

This week we made a new friend, Raquel and went to her home for Scripture study today. This was our first visit to her home and she immediately introduced us to a varied assortment of animals, whom she has rescued over the years; from a toucan to an owl to coatimundis to a monkey to other native animals of Panama.

Before we left her home today, she came out with yet another creature, a sloth named Kiera!

Have you hugged a sloth today?

Kiera thinks to quietly to herself: Omg- I think I love this woman!

….And I think I could love you too!

If any of you all come to Panama to visit us in the future, I am sure Raquel would love to show you her rescued animals and Kiera would definitely love to give you a hug!

Addendum on February 9, 2011:

I just read on my friends FB page, about Kristen Bell’s “meltdown” over the excitement of being in close proximity to a sloth. Trust me, I did not have that much emotion, in fact, perhaps I was in tears on the inside because I really did not desire to touch it.

When Smith recounts the story about me and the sloth, he says Rose was asked if she wanted to hold the sloth and she said “Uhhhh. I don’t think so.”  and when asked again to hold the sloth she said “Ummmm. No. That is okay.”  (And then the sloth is put in her arms.)

And the next thing I know, there are these stiff open arms of the sloth open wide and coming towards me and as it approaches my shoulders, its arms close around me, in a kind of slow motion and there we are-well- hugging…. “OH, okay” … I think to myself… “I am hugging a sloth.” (Trust me, this was not on the bucket list!) I muster a couple smiles for the camera and then I ask that Miss Kiera the sloth be deattached from my arms! (No offense Miss Kiera, you were a lovely and polite sloth as sloths go…)

And Kristen Bell, I don’t understand your passion for such a random animal, but God love you! If you haven’t seen the video of Kristen Bell on the Ellen show, here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5jw3T3Jy70

  Around the Farm

  •  My Father still has not started treatment. He sees another Dr next week for another consultation. He is still praying and seeking wisdom on how to fight back. Pray he is given clarity on this. In the meantime, it is trips to Panama and trips back to the farm.
  • My Father-in-law did not have a heart attack and had no new blockages. (Big Amen!) His chest pain was caused by overexertion only. Thank you for your prayers for him.
  • This week I had eaten out at one of our favorite restaurants and within a few hours had horrible GI upset with fever, for a total of two and a half days. During that time I drank plenty of water and drank kefir smoothies only. I felt I put kefir to the test and I was pleased with the results. I did not have to see a physician, but was prepared to if my symptoms continued for a total of 36 hours, and it saved my body having to take antibiotics or other medications. (For those of you who don’t know what kefir is: kefir is an ancient cultured milk which is full of good bacteria and yeast, which has been proven to kill bacteria like E. Coli and H. Pylori.)

Overall, everything is well here on the farm. It is summer now and the temperatures on the mountain are in the 80’s with a cool breeze. Life is good. We feel very blessed.

I pray you all are doing well, doing what you love and are as happy as we are.

“And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labor,                          it is the gift of God.” 

Ecclesiastes 3:13

Loving you from the midst of Panama~ Rose

What makes Excellent Quality Goat Milk?

Often the answer most people give as to why goat milk has an off flavour and/or smells “goaty” is because the buck is kept in the same pasture with the does, however this is certainly not the only reason.  There are certain variables which can affect the flavor and quality of goat milk.

Here are the procedures which we follow at our farm, to best achieve good milk flavor and quality production of milk.

1. First we start with good clean equipment which includes our milking bowls and milk storage containers, anything milk goes into. Each piece of equipment is first rinsed with lukewarm water, then washed with very hot water (120 degrees), submerged in a sudsy soap and bleach solution and then rinsed again. A new filter is used for each milking.

2. We only use milk from healthy animals. (At our farm we believe a happy goat is a healthy goat!  Our goats are treated with the utmost love and care and we believe they give us more milk because of it. They also are free range goats and roam the pastures in tall green grasses, in the warmth of the sunshine for hours each day.)

3. We make sure each goat has a clean udder and teat. We ensure this by strict and proper hand milking procedures. (Each goats teat is dipped in a teat dip of iodine solution and dried with a clean disposable paper towel, then the first three squeezes of each teat is milked into a “strip cup” to assess for any abnormalities like clots or blood (the strip cup milk is not saved for drinking!), then the doe is milked out in the stainless steel milking pail and when she is finished being milked, each teat is dipped again in iodine solution. )

4. We provide proper feeding of our goats;  maintaining ration balance, meeting nutrient and mineral requirements. We try to avoid giving the girls foods that might give their milk an off flavor at least a couple hours prior to milking.

5. We have a separate milking barn area. Our hands are washed  and clean disposable paper towels are used to dry them, prior to  hand-milking (or if we feel our hands have gotten dirty for some reason during the milking procedure, whether they are visibly soiled or not, we wash them again).

6. We ensure fast cooling of the milk by either rapid water cooling or refrigeration after milking.

7. We keep constant low milk storage temperatures, including during transportation to our customers. (During transportation we fill a tub of ice, and submerge the milk to keep it cold!)

8. We perform the CMT (California Mastitis Test) monthly on a routine basis, to all of our milking does. Ensuring a low somatic cell count  or particulairy the neutrophil leukocytes in the milk, ensures a better tasting milk.

CMT: Quality Assurance for Quality Milk

The California Mastitis Test (CMT) is a rapid, accurate, animal-side test to help determine somatic cell counts (SCC). The term somatic cell is used to identify any cell in the body. With the CMT test, the somatic cells that are being measured are mainly neutrophils. Neutrophils are white blood cells that help the body fight infection and are present in increased numbers in the udder when the animal has mastitis. The CMT test was developed to sample individual udder halves to determine the presence of subclinical mastitis.  (Though this test was developed for cows, it is also used  in testing goats).

How to Perform the Test: A small sample of milk (approximately ½ teaspoon) from each teat is collected into separate compartments of a plastic paddle that has shallow cups marked A, B, C and D. (Only A and B for goats, as they only have two teats!) An equal amount of CMT reagent is added to the milk. The paddle is rotated to mix the contents. In approximately 10 seconds, the score should be read, while continuing to rotate the paddle. Because the reaction disappears within 20 seconds, the test must be read quickly.

1.  Clean each teat with teat dip and dry with a clean disposable paper towel. Squeeze out the first three squirts of milk in the “strip cup”, then squirt a small amount of milk from each teat into the appropriate section of the paddle. 1/2 teaspoon of milk is sufficient. (My paddle has a little line that acts as a guide, so I can see how much milk to squirt in the paddle-which is approximatley 2cc).

2.   Mix an equal ratio of reagent to the milk. The paddle is rotated to mix the contents.

3.  In approximatley 10 seconds, read the score while continuing to rotate the paddle. This girl has a negative CMT score!

How to Read the Results: The CMT reagent reacts with the neutrophils, and the mixture thickens or gels in proportion to the amount of cells that are present. High levels of neutrophils indicate infection. To become accurate and consistent, practice this test on animals with a known SCC. (Which is why we test monthly on each of our girls!)

Leukocyte count per milliliter Test appearance CMT score
Below 200,000 Mixture liquid, no precipitate negative
150,000 to 500,000 Slight precipitate, tends to disappear with paddle movement T
400,000 to 1,500,000 Distinct precipitate but does not gel with paddle movement 1
800,000 to 5,000,000 Distinct gel formation 2
Over 5,000,000 Strong gel formation that tends to adhere to paddle. Forms distinct central peak 3

We drink raw goat milk from our farm on a daily basis and because of this we aim for the highest standard of cleanliness, to ward off bacteria and ensure a safe excellent quality goat milk. We do our part to keep things sanitary and the girls continue to do their part to give us rich creamy milk! (Thank you, ladies!)

We  have been very busy selling our extra goat milk and in the last two weeks, our milk has sold out! We want to thank everyone for supporting our farm and appreciating our milking Mamas efforts! (Without you, some of the girls would be unemployed!)

Blessings my dears~ Rose and Smith

P.S. Keep both of our Fathers in prayer- my Father is still getting worked up in Panama City for treatment and it looks like another surgery and Smiths Father is in the hospital with chest pain, high blood pressure, and is going to have cardiac cath tomorrow…

Prayers and Peace for Our Friend Mike

-This is a special post dedicated to our dear friend Mike, who is having surgery due to cancer this morning at 5:30 a.m.-

Dear Mike,

Smith and I were listening to a song called “Daystar (Shine Down on Me)” by the Cathedrals this past weekend. There is a phrase in the song which had never caught my attention before and it goes like this…

“Lead me Lord,  I’m willing….  anywhere,  you open up the door…”…

I could not help but thinking about the meaning of that in our lives… It seems we are always willing and content, to be led through a door that is sunny and bright on the other side, but a door that is dark and dismal, who wants to go through that door…? Seriously now. Who is immediately happy about that?

I thought of my Father who is also facing a new diagnosis of cancer…  Should he look at his diagnosis of cancer with hope and optimism that the Lord is in charge of his life and since the Lord is the one who has opened the door, should he not walk through it willingly in courage or better yet be carried in the his heavenly Fathers arms in comfort, as the children of Israel were carried in the desert (Deuteronomy 1:31)? And as his daughter, do I grieve and get angry because my Father is still young and has yet to see all of his grandchildren born and fill out his days on this earth as a man still bestowing his blessing on his family… or as a woman of Faith, should I not surrender to the beauty of Psalm 139 and the other Scriptures that comfort us, that there is One greater than us, who leads and directs us through this life:

O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
         You understand my thought afar off.
  You comprehend my path and my lying down,
         And are acquainted with all my ways.
  For there is not a word on my tongue,
         But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
  You have hedged me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is high, I cannot attain it. 
         
  Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
  If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
  If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
  Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me.
 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
         Even the night shall be light about me;
  Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
         But the night shines as the day;
         The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
         
  For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
  My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
  Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them. 
         
 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How great is the sum of them!
  If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
         When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139:1-18

or

A man’s heart plans his way; But the LORD directs his steps…. Proverbs 16:9

or

The LORD makes firm the steps, of the one who delights in him; 
though he may stumble, he will not fall,
   for the LORD upholds him with his hand…. Psalm 37:23,24.

or

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.

 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31.

 Mike, I just wanted to share with you some of my thoughts, as I sort out the things that are happening in our own family, in my Fathers life and in our faith. I do believe there is much comfort, much hope and much to learn, in the  midst of the storms and rough roads ahead. It will not be easy at times, but we have each other and the Almighty who leads us, in Him we must trust and lean on in faith, as we walk anywhere with Him through each and every door He brings us to.

Please know our hearts, our thoughts and prayers are for you and your family, even though there are many miles that separate us at this time….

And dear friends and family and readers, as you pray so fervently for my Father and family, please also direct your prayers and thoughts towards our friend Mike and his family as well.

(And  know if any of you ever have a prayer request, please always feel free to contact me, so we can pray along with you, as your sister and brothers in the Lord…)

Much love and peace to each of you,

Rose and Smith

 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed,

as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Daystar arise in your hearts.

 2 Peter 1:19.

Living off the Grid: Our Solar Power

I am sure most of you know, that we do not have electricity from an electrical company connected to our home here in Panama. The electrical grid stops several miles down the mountain. Our neighbors use flashlights or candles in their homes after the sun has gone down and watch t.v. from battery operated televisions. At night we  have been using the generator for our power source (and during the days we use it to run the washer on laundry day, Vita-mix,  juicer, etc…). My Father has gasoline-powered generators. In Panama a gallon of gasoline right now is around $3.68. So this solar system has cut down greatly on the expense of running the generator.

Last week, Smith has finished putting together the solar set-up for my parents home. (Its wonderful being married to an electrician! He is always full of sparks!) It has been a project he has been working off and on for the last month. It is so nice to be able to just flip on a switch in the middle of the night, instead of grabbing a flashlight when you get up to go the bathroom and also to not have to hear the loud roar of the generator in the evenings (If you don’t know how loud a generator can be, trust me they are loud… You can hear it clear down the road! I am sure our neighbors are glad they do not have to listen to it anymore either.)

8-230 watt solar panels installed atop of the tool room

The substantial structural frame Smith fabricated and welded for the solar panels

 The Rewnewable Energy Control Board

Smith says: This board consists of a Xantrex wind turbine load controller, Outback solar charge controller and Xantrex 24v Inverter.

The Main Disconnect Panel

Smith says: I forgot to purchase a  disconnect panel so I had to make my own… No problem for an electrician!

Solar Panel Charge Controller Display

Smith says:  This panel shows a reading of 1792 watts around noon out of the 1840 w max. These solar panels are almost at one hundred percent output!

Control Board and AGM battery bank

Smith says: 2 strings of 100 amp-hour batteries connected as a 24 volt system.

AGM Battery Bank

The Diversion Load (The blue tank) has water in it and a 3000 w heating element. (Please excuse the mess in my parents garage!)

Smith says: We will be converting the diversion load into the water system for a pre-water heater soon. I thought we would have to be frugal with how much electricity we used, but right now we are dumping a lot of it into the diversion load because we are not using enough electricity!

A Sunday Drive on the ATV

We took a drive on the ATV yesterday with Scooter. As we were out and about, we found a deep swimming hole and Scooter could not wait to walk around the bridge to the water, but dove right in off the bridge! Our border collie LOVES water and LOVES to swim.

 Ready! Get Set! And…..

GO!!!!

Updates from Around the Farm

  • Claires new baby was  very weak on Saturday and not suckling from Mama. This is what is called “Weak Kid Syndrome”, a term to describe newborn kids who do not stand and/or suckle-regardless of the cause. I intervened and had to syringe feed her for a few feedings, before she started taking the bottle.  At first she just gingerly accepted the bottle, but after a several feedings from the bottle, she seemed to revive and started heartily gulping down milk. Now that she has gotten some strength back, she has started feeding from her Mama. I am going to keep checking on her to make sure she is doing well, but I am betting she will be fine now. It is very important to make sure new kids are standing, feeding and active from the get go!
  • Annie, my filly, had her one year old birthday this week. She also has learned to walk on a lead rope the past week (instead of me having to lure her along with food or get another trained horse to go in front of her or having someone walk behind her and gently touching her behind) and had her hooves trimmed for the first time yesterday! She is really coming around the short few months I have had her. Every morning she comes up to greet me with a little whinny and nicker and lets me touch her and scratch her. You are doing great Miss Annie! I am a proud horse Mom.
  • My Father and Mother are headed to Panama this morning, to consult with the oncologist again and to discuss and start treatment. (Thank you  Mr Kent for driving them down and being such a huge support and encouragement. We appreciate you!)
  • We also are happy to report we sold all of but a couple liters of goat milk  at Mana’s restaurant in Volcan last Friday. (We had held a couple liters for a couple, but they did not show up, but we understand… Life happens!) But it was exciting to see other people are aware of the goodness of fresh goat milk and its health benefits! We are also talking with a company who sells different milk products and they are interested in our milk to make goat cheese. They will be trialing some different cheese recipes this week from the milk we bring them later this week, so that is exciting too!

We are thankful for another year and we pray each and every one you all have a blessed  and joyous one, rich in health and happiness. There is so much to look forward to.

“…May your blessing be on your people.” Psalm 3:8.

Always yours-whether near or far, Smith and Rose

 

 

 

Claire has given us Claudia! We now have six girl kids…

Last evening, Claire did not come up with all the other Mama goats for the evening meal. I went out and walked the perimeter of the pasture and found her snuggled in some tall green grass. I checked on her and thought it would be a pleasant evening for her to lamb outside.

An hour later, I went out and checked on her and by her side was a little white baby girl!

Mama Claire and her newly born baby out in the pasture on a beautiful summer evening

A good Mama cleaning and bonding with her baby

Sweet baby Claudia!

We now have a total of seven babies this past week and six of these babies are girls. We are feeling very blessed with all of our smooth deliveries and healthy baby girls.

Have a good weekend my dears, Rose