Category Archives: Animal Husbandry

Mid-month Updates

2020 has been a rough start, but nothing we can’t handle. So here’s the latest from the Flores ranchito.

Vehicles

January 1 my new-to-me motorcycle decided it wasn’t going to start. It was something electrical, but what it is specifically had him baffled for two weeks. It turns out, the previous owner had done some electrical “upgrades” that crossed some wires. Taking those out and replacing the box where all the wires meet seems to have done the job. It still needs a new front light and gas gauge, but it runs yet again.

January means paying for the “contribución materia vehicular impuesto” or vehicle tax. In comparison to last month, this month was a walk in a park. All we had to do was take our tarjetas de circulacion to the Institute de Seguridad Social del Estado de Guanajuato (ISSEG) pharmacy. Each moto costs $135 pesos this year and the truck was $487. It goes up every year.

Inflation

Speaking of things going up, the garafon (jug) of water from Santorini now costs $36 pesos, 2 pesos more than December and 6 pesos more than last January. Those refillable water stations that are springing up all over town are looking more and more attractive at 12 pesos a refill. However, I just don’t know how filtered the water is and where the water comes from in the first place. Is it hooked up to the town water supply? Because that water runs through miles of hot copper pipes isn’t drinkable at all! 

The internet also went up with no notification whatsoever. That meant we had to make two trips to town to pay the bill since our payment didn’t cover the increase the first time around. Our Blue Satellite internet fee is now $399 pesos. The satellite internet is under a 2-year contract, so theoretically it shouldn’t go up until the end of that period, but who knows? 

Stores in town are charging for plastic bags now as well. It’s nominal, at the most $1 peso per bag, but I wasn’t prepared my first day shopping of the new year and hadn’t brought my own. I’ll know better for next time. Some places, like Mexico City, have prohibited the use of single use bags, which is a good thing overall.

Gas has gone up. Soda will now cost 1.26 per liter. Alcohol prices will go up an estimated 4.5% excluding beer, aguamiel and pulque. It will cost more to ride the bus and leave Mexico by plane. But it’s just how things work–the hike in the daily minimum salary to $123.22 pesos ($6.50 USD) has to be balanced out somehow. 

I’m not an economist but speaking from experience, it’s awfully hard to manage on $123.22 pesos per day.

Animals

The last baby goat of this batch was born the first week of January. The moms of the kids born in December have gone into heat, at least if Stinky Chivo’s romancing is any indication. So we expect another crop of goats in June or so. 

We still have too many animals. Terry and George are still not friends. My husband didn’t prepare as well as he normally does regarding food during the long, dry season, so that’s been a weekly expense. 

Health Care

As it is now a new year, I needed to go and make an appointment at the hospital to see my doctor in May. I’m not sure how things will go when it’s time for my appointment since INSABI took over for both IMSS and Seguro Popular on January 1. There have been reports of formerly covered individuals needing to pay from everything from gauze to surgeries once covered by the national healthcare policies. 

If it comes down to it, I’ll be able to piece together something by getting my own lab work done at a private lab and having the doctors next to the pharmacy write me a prescription if I need a dosage change. Otherwise, I can buy my medication over the counter at Farmacias Similares. It will add to expenses, and we’ll have to cut other things out, but I’ll make it.   

So I’m feeling a bit frazzled and it’s only mid-January. I’ll need to take some time out and set up a more restricted budget for this year. How are things where you live?

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The Last of Elvis’s Love Children

The last of Elvis’s love children, a set of twin boys, have arrived. While we have other goats that are pregnant, they aren’t due for a month or so yet, so their conception was after Elvis had left the building.

All of Elvis’s kids have the longest floppy bunny ears. Several have the distinctive black stripe down their backs like dear old dad. None are the lovely dark brown of Elvis though. 

While we were still celebrating Elvis’s fecundity, one of our other goats gave birth to a premature and sadly, short-lived kid. The rest shouldn’t be ready to deliver for another month or so. Since they are younger and smaller goats, we don’t expect any more twins, which is fine by me.

On other animal news, Lady is now nearly fully recovered from her hoof staking incident. She and Red even went for a short ride up the hill and back with my husband this week. Red has figured out how to open the goat pen to Jolina’s delight.

George and Terry have yet to become friends, both are extremely jealous of my son’s affections even though he tries to give equal time and attention to all three boys. Their neediness has prompted my son to declare that when he marries and has children, three are too many.

My husband had a scare with Jolina the week after Christmas. The neighbor down below had planned to serve birria when his son came to town and needed a smallish goat. He and my husband decided on which of our goats was to go. However, when the neighbor came to pick it up, my husband was working. He insisted that my husband had sold him Jolina and my son let her go.

In the morning, when my husband was feeding the goats, he noticed Jolina was missing. When my son told him, he panicked. He jumped on his moto and without even a helmet, headed to the neighbor’s house on a rescue mission. Fortunately, Jolina hadn’t been slaughtered yet and was brought back to the fold safe and sound. Whew!

Other than that, things are as quiet as they can be in our still overcrowded animal situation. Who knows what delights or tragedies 2020 has in store for our own animal kingdom?

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Lady's Leg

Since we’re practically bursting at the seams with our animal population, we had to move Lady from her stall to the patio to make some extra room for the new kids. The result of the move was a seriously injured Lady. 

What it looks like happened is she lay down in the night to sleep. When she stretched, her hoof went under the fence, which wasn’t a problem while she was on the ground. However, when she got up, it got stuck on one of the bars of the fence. She panicked and pulled up, and the bar went through the top of her foot and embedded itself about 2 inches into her nail. 

We heard her thrashing about around 6 am. I don’t think she had been stuck too long, maybe 15 minutes or so. When we came out to investigate, we were shocked she hadn’t screamed, because it looked pretty bad. My husband was feeling woozy just looking at it. 

I held Lady’s head, stroked her flank and talked to her throughout the whole ordeal while my husband cut the wires on the fence. That wasn’t enough to get the hoof out, so he had to use a saw and cut the bar several inches above where it entered her foot. Once that was cut, she could stand but still had this 6 inch metal bar in her foot. 

Ouch!

My husband tied a rope around one end and had my son pull straight up on it while he held down the hoof. In a few minutes, the bar was out and the wound was bleeding profusely. My son pulled so hard that when it came loose he gave himself a black eye. My husband also cut his arm on the wire in the process. Personal injuries aside, we distracted Lady with some alfalfa as my husband sprayed some “azul” antiseptic on the wound. Infection is something we definitely want to avoid. 

The Puppers wanted to help their big doggy friend (or at least that’s what we think they think the horses are) and tried to lick the wound. Since it already had some antiseptic on it, we didn’t want that. So Terry had to head to his doggy day care up the road (the backyard of my sister-in-law’s house) so the Puppers could be in our backyard since George and Terry still aren’t friends. 

Terry wasn’t thrilled to be alone in the dark up there, but desperate times call for desperate measures. 

The next day, my husband brought home a tetanus shot for lady. After reading the directions and understanding that we had to wait 21 days after the application para sacraficio (sacrifice), we headed out to administer the shot. As my husband is afraid of needles, he told me he’d cover Lady’s face and I would give the shot. Fine. I attached the needle and was all ready, but my husband didn’t think it was tight enough. He took the syringe from my hand and pressed the two sides together–ejecting all the medicine in the process. So much for the tetnus shot.

Looking a little thin there Lady!

She’s sad and depressed, but still up to her old mischief. She managed to unhook the latch on her restraint by pressing it against her food dish. Then casually wandered over to the barrel full of corn and popped the lid, helping herself to a cob or two. I watched her do this from the front porch. When I called my son to latch her restraint again, she lifted her hoof to him showing him her injury. She got two more cobs of sympathy corn from him. 

Still, she’s been off her feed lately and is looking positively scrawny. Fortunately, the wound in her foot hasn’t been infected and is starting to scab over. Poor Lady.

Red’s hamming it up for the camera!

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