Friday, January 29, 2010


A very nice lady, who visited my farm this week, was admiring my sheep and asked why they were divided up in pens. I explained to her that we had a pen for wethers, pregnant ewes and fat loafers. "What" she asked, "are fat loafers?"
Perhaps this picture will help. :)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Jelly Beans

Well, after a long discussion over breakfast a few days ago, the kids have decided on a theme for naming the lambs this year. There was talk of naming them after rock stars, flowers, and even favorite book characters. Finally a decision was made when I described the two new little lambs that were born on Wednesday as "little black jelly beans". And so ... Jelly and Bean are the first babies born on our farm this year.
A watched pot never boils, yes that is very true. The "pot", my pregnant ewe Belle, presented a water bag Wed morning around 7 a.m. She had spent the night in the jug so there was no chance of her having her lambs in the cold snow. After packing lunches and snacks and sending the kids off to school, I wrapped up in three layers and headed up to the barn to check on her and hopefully see the birth.

Being a first time mom, it is good to see how the lambs present and to listen for the soft talking, a sign of a good mother. I watched and waited as she lay down and got up several times, pawed the ground and had several contractions. This went on for two hours and I began to get cold. So back down to the house I headed for some hot tea and the heat lamp. Sure enough, when I returned ( less than 10 minutes later ), she was standing over lamb #1.

Sprout was very interested in what was happening and steamed up my lens.
Carmella, came over to check things out then .......had a seat nearby and watched the chickens roosting on the stall door.
Martha and the others waited outside the door, but came in to check on progress from time to time.

Finally both babies were here, warm and nursing. Max and I headed back into the house to warm up and clean up. One down, five to go.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two Feet ...and Counting

Well, after almost two weeks of no snow and adjusting to the cold ... Mom Nature pulled a fast one. It snowed ...and snowed ....and snowed ....stopped this morning ...started again this afternoon. Okay ....I have had enough. I was actually looking forward to the cold and less snow this year. My "crapsman" snow blower stopped doing it's job today. No big surprise as every appliance, weed wacker, chainsaw ...etc. that comes from Sears lasts about one year, then quits. Time to pay them yet another visit with a broken product and demand they replace it.

My woolie wonders actually made themselves paths today after they listened to the choice words I shouted at the snow blower. Guess they figured it was the least they could do as I stood dripping in sweat, red faced with steam rolling out of my ears. Tonight Belle is a deeply bedded jug, fresh warm water and the best hay I have, accompanied with a generous amount of mixed grains and some molasses lick. Here udder is full, but her teats are still not quite giving me the sign that she is ready. This could change overnight though. I am excited, but exhausted from shoveling and lugging water buckets. I would love to see little lambs in the morning, but am happy to wait until the sun is out.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Good & The Bad

Yesterday was a day of good and bad. Lots more good than bad thankfully, in fact only one bad ...but I will get to that. The panic mode that consumes me in early spring wrapped itself around me tightly last week as the weather went from very cold to tolerable in lighter-weight clothing. I have been having lambs for how many years? Yet each and every fall I over think and worry and rethink and fret. So yesterday, fully panicked and worrying, I pulled on my insulated overalls and spent the afternoon mucking out the stalls, re-bedding, cleaning cobwebs, washing and cleaning water buckets and feed pans, and restocking my lambing basket.

I did however take a little time to love on Junior. At a moment of pure exhaustion, I sat down in the hay ...well actually lay down in the hay outside the barn door, and stared up at the blue sky. The sun was shining on the hill and it was warm. My overalls kept me cozy though I knew getting up would take an act of God. Luckily I remembered my camera.
Some days I do not have enough time to spend with him and I do feel very guilty. He is such a love and needs his daily fix of kisses. As soon as he stops growing, he can join the adults and be in the lower paddock. But for now, he has to stay with the boys who continue to Become "men" and eat proper amounts of growing goodness. I'll be in the barn more as soon as the lambs start arriving and I am sure he will love that. I don't feel too bad for him though, he and Mike and Angus have quite the games of King of The Mountain. Speaking of lambs, The first date on my calendar is Jan 25th. This is 145 days from the day I put Crazy Shirley in with Joker. Of course it could be 1-20 days after the date ...and usually the girls are not really willing on the first day. Udders and puffy "hoochies" will give me a more accurate date. I'll have to find the "sheep porn" picture that I took last year when we were about a day away from the first little woolie to arrive. Poor Shirley and Laverne had the hugest udders I have ever seen, and sure enough one day later Lyra arrived and then Pixie.

So all in all the day was satisfying. For once I am ahead of schedule and, dare I say it ...100% prepared. What I wasn't prepared for was the pile of feathers and headless, gutless chicken that was laying on front of the coop. So yes, that was my bad. I saw a large hawk flying around all day but thought that with the dogs out and me making so much noise that it would go away. Apparently when I was lying in the hay, it struck and killed one of my big Buff Orpingtons. He ripped out her feathers and ate her innards as well as her brain ( eeeeeewwwww) and eyes ...and then left the rest! Her crop was still full of grain, the poor thing. So once again I am down another chicken frustrating.