Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A small miracle

This morning, after feeding the sheep, they all were ready to move. So I got all the fences up and gates open. I turned around when I was done with all that and ALL the 8 ewes, 14 lambs and 2 alpacas were right there by the gate, ready to go.

So I opened the gate and they ALL walked right out and across the driveway and into the garden. I almost could not believe that just happened. I didn't even hardly say a word, just opened the gate and they all went out, one right after another. That has not happened since they all had lambs.

There was always 5 or 6 lambs that didn't pay attention and got left behind. I had to chase them all over to get them out and with the rest. One time, there was only 1 lamb, the smallest of them all, little Pippin, who would NOT go and I  had to chase him  all over the field, then had to go get the husband to help. So I always have this fear of that happening.

Then of course the crazy in me comes out and I start screaming and cussing and who knows what else.

But this morning, there was a miracle here at Outback Farm. And I thanked the Lord a lot! It really was amazing. Maybe the lambs are just older now and know the drill. I don't know and I am just happy.

New milking parlor!

When I tell my husband about a project I want to do, he thinks about it awhile, then jumps right in on it. Sometimes without telling me. Or it could be right in the heat of the day, with not a bit of shade anywhere.

That's what he did a few days ago. It was hot and about noon and there was no shade at all right where I wanted the parlor. But he was out there, getting started. I told him I'd help when the sun went behind those trees.

So we got to work when it was shady there. And did this. I really love it a lot! It was like a flippin' sauna in the milk room. And I'd literally be dripping with sweat. So here is my new milking parlor. The girls like it too.

The only thing bad is the girls would jump on the stanchions and poop. Yuck!

So I put a fence around it. To keep them out during the day. Also, when the sheep are back here, they won't get in while I'm milking and bother the goats. I just need a few more loads of mulch to put around in there and outside the pallet gate. I love pallets. They are the most useful things ever.

Oh, and the view is amazing out there! And cooler .

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

My babies...

are getting ready to fly! They cannot be old enough already, can they? It just seems like a few weeks ago they hatched.

I walked into the milk room this morning and looked up to see one of the babies out. It's so cute.

Then a little later, there were 2 of them outside the nest. One hopped back in. I don't really know how many there are. I've seen 3.

And I checked the Mockingbird nest out by the bee hives and all 3 eggs have hatched!! They are all skin and bones right now. In a few days, they will be better to take a picture of.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Sick sheep

My ewes have Barber Pole worms. Last Thursday night, I noticed Campbelle had some puffiness under her jaws. I got some Valbazon from a friend and gave her some. Plus some Red Cell and a B complex shot.

Next morning, I saw several others with puffy jaws. So wormed them all and gave shots and Red Cell.

I got a round bale of hay Friday for them.

Then Sat. gave them all Ivermec and more B and Red Cell.

I still have 1 ewe, Annabelle, who looks a little puffy today. I won't give any more wormer til next week. I'll continue to give them Red Cell for a few more days. And I mowed the field where they are now and will keep them here til they are all better.

I cut some cedar and gave it to them today.

I completely forgot that all the ewes got these worms real bad 3 years ago when they all had lambs. I should have given them worm meds after they lambed. But I thought they were all doing so good. We did give them all Ivermec last Saturday when they were all sheared. Then boom, 5 days later, this.

                                         This is my little bottle lamb, Ella. I LOVE her ears!

                                                  And here's Legolas and Elanor. So sweet.

I hope they will all be well soon. I hate when my animals are sick. Makes me feel so bad. I should have known.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Crocheted bed spread

It is finished! Finally on the bed. It has sat over here in my studio for a year I guess, just waiting for me to finish it. It was calling me today.  I really love it.

So maybe now, I can go spin some wool.


   washcloths and dishcloths, out of an old towel. I was just going to throw it in the garage for my husband to use as a rag, but decided to make it more useful.

I feel like I am accomplishing something today!

And later, I will spin some wool.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Shearing and castrating...


Saturday was sheep shearing day here at Outback Farm! We usually shear in March, but with pregnant ewes, we decided to wait til the lambs were all born. Kind of wish we hadn't waited. But these guys will not have any more lambs!

I had them all in the back yard, waiting, for 3 days. Saturday morning, I fed them, then put the cattle panel up to keep them in this little corner.

Matt decided to shear them right in there.

We got Amarillo first! I was SO glad to get her sheared. It had been 14 months for her. It took a good 5 hours to get all 8 sheep done. He trimmed hoofs and I wormed them all. They all had very pale eyes and gums. And it was so hot too. It really wore them all out.

When the ewes were all done, we started grabbing ram lambs to castrate them. One by one, we got all 7 of them castrated! But it sure was horrible. Those poor baby boys laid flat on the ground for a few hours. I was going to put them all out back right after, but I had to wait a few hours for the boys to recover. I held them and petted them for a long time. But they are all just fine now. I am so glad to have both these jobs done!

Not too long after I got them all out back, it looked like a big ole storm was coming. The sky got all black and grey. The wind started blowing really bad. I had milked the goats a little early and put them up front. They were being a little mean to the lambs. Then I got all the sheep and lambs and alpacas in the barn and shut the fence so they'd all stay in for the night.

Well, I thought they were all inside. Til I saw 3 lambs and a momma up on the hill. They didn't seem concerned at all. So I got them down the hill to the barn, opened the gate and they all went right in! And none of the others went out. I was amazed.

I was taking hay and water to all the animals and it was lightening and thundering all around me. It was scary! And stupid. But I have to take care of my animals, right?

We made it through that crazy storm. But the power flickered on and off for awhile. There were big trees down all over the place, from here to Tn. Real strong winds. And it was all over the country, apparently. Crazy weather. I hope everyone made it through ok.

Now on to some more projects...

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Sam and Rosie have 4 babies that I can see. There could be another on the other side. They had 5 last spring and they got so big that one of them fell out and was dinner to one of the cats. Poor baby. I love Barn Swallows! But my goodness, these birds and I are going to have a head on collision one day. Me going in the milk room and them flying out!

And today I was going to check my bee hives and saw a Mockingbird fly from the little tree beside the bee yard gate. There's been a nest in it but I thought it was an old one. I have always cut branches out of the tree and there's also a wild rose in it that I whack on all the time. Then the sheep are out there and they eat the leaves. The nest is only a few feet off the ground. But aren't these eggs beautiful? My favorite colors together. I hope they make it. I still have 2 old cats and I've seen a few strays cats around lately.

I also have a redbird couple nesting somewhere near. They come around in the morning when I feed the chickens. I gove them sunflower seeds too. Then of course all the sparrows.

And a few days ago I saw another favorite bird in the apple trees as I was leaving. The American Goldfinch. I LOVE them. So lots of birds around. And I am not planting a single flower this year. For the birds or the bees. And I see the hummers are back too. I need a new feeder for them. My old one had lost all the yellow filter things and honey bees were going up in the feeder and drowning.

Oh sheep!

I had planned on leaving the sheep in the side yard til Thursday morning, then putting them in the back yard, where they will stay till they get sheared Saturday morning, then out to the very back pasture.

Well, I should know better than to make any type of plans where sheep are in them.

Last evening, I was in the studio and I heard lambs whining. Lots of whining. I looked out the front door and saw sheep out in the front garden. And lambs NOT in the front garden, but running along the fence that separates the yard and garden.

So there went those plans.

Here is a picture of the fence that goes from the yard to the garden. This is what I have to do to keep it closed. There's probably 1 1/2 feet between the gate and the fence post, so I have to put that 4x4 landscape timber in between, then wrap the chain around all that, then put the shearing stand in front of all that. Fun, huh?

Well, the ewes decided to change my plans up. they all pushed the landscape timber out of the way (I think the stand had been moved and not put back) and went on it. They didn't tell the lambs though. And of course, lambs being lambs, were not paying attention and doing lamb stuff. When they realized mommas weren't around any more and on the other side of the fence, they all had a little lamb fit.

So here I go, the crazy shepherd, trying to get the lambs out there in the garden. Had to put up little fences and other things so they would only have one way to go. Got them all in the garden, finally.

This is the gate where they went out into the pasture our neighbor let us use for years. But not anymore. So I put some fence up and this piece of tin, and a board to prop it up. And there's a roll of fence that I'll use to corral the lambs to get them to go back out. Because they always seem to go the other way when I want to move them.

So this morning, I opened the gate to get the sheep to go to the back yard and it went pretty good. Had about 10 lambs that we had to herd. Then they all went to the back yard and that's where they will stay til they are sheared.

We will also castrate all the ram lambs  and get that job done.

I mowed the garden and side yard this morning. Then went out to where I want to put the stanchions and mowed it real good. We got our old refrigerator from our oldest daughter yesterday and put it in the milk room to hold all this milk I'm getting now. It takes up a lot of room in our fridge.

So slowly, we are getting more things done around here.If only the sheep would do what I want them to do! I really need a Border Collie to help me.

And the alpacas are out back with the goats. That way they'll be out of the way. And I will just about guarantee that Saturday morning, when we try to get the sheep in the corner where I hold them to be sheared, that every single little lamb will be right there with them. I'd be willing to bet money if I had any.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Getting things done

Just look at all these wooly sheep! And to think that all but Amarillo were sheared back in September. Can you see the 2 lambs in the feeder? Yep, I think I need to make them a little feeder just for lambs. But these guys would still do this.

Had a message from my shearer this morning. They will be here Saturday to shear the sheep and trim feet!!! I can worm them all too then. I also want to see if they'll help castrate the ram lambs. I just want to do it right.

I am SO glad to know they'll be shorn soon! I worry about the sheep and alpacas til it's done. Then I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulders. It's just one of those yearly jobs that seems to hang over me. I guess because I am depending on someone else to do it.

I'll "shear" Olga tonight when I milk. She really is looking quite shaggy.

Doesn't it just feel good to get jobs done? Me and my husband went out back this morning and fixed the electric fence. And all 3 wires are now hot! He had done a lot of mowing and trimming around and under the fence earlier, so that was done. And I had gotten some more poles, because they seem to be replaced a lot. There were whole strands of wire missing. I have no idea what happens back there, but we seem to have to do this at least twice a year. Maybe deer get stuck and break things. I have no idea. I just know things happen. And I hate to do it, but I think I'm going to spray round up under the fence, just to keep the hay-grass from growing underneath.

It's a bit windy today, so I think I'll wait til it's not blowing at all to work on the bee hives. I have everything I need to do it now. Just gotta get in there! I will be wearing my bee suit and have a smoker going.

I made 2 batches of soap for a wedding order. I need to make one more today. Then cut it all and wrap it. Just 30 bars, but 3 different scents. I think next time I'll say they all need to be the same scent. Or more of each.

And I noticed yesterday evening that the 2 alpacas were whining. Just kind of moping. If anyone has alpacas, they make this sad sound when they are stressed or unhappy. But this morning, Misha, the red one, didn't eat with the rest of them. Then he didn't eat any hay. And he went to the shed and laid down, by himself. So I asked my friend who raises alpacas, what she thought might be wrong. She asked about strange dogs and the poop. I said no dogs, but there are 14 new lambs. She gave me a few things to try. He seems better already. I moved them all over to the studio yard this morning, where the round hay bale still is, and nice good clover and grass. I'll keep them here a few days, then to the back yard to get ready for shearing. Then after shearing, to the very back pasture for awhile. It's getting tall back there.

Anyway, I just feel so good about the fence working again. And getting other things done. And the 2 sheep all better. And then the alpaca.

Npw off to make some more soap...

Monday, May 15, 2017

No more kids!!!!

So ALL 5 of the kids are gone now. My friend Kendra got Thorin, the buck, to use for breeding this fall. He's such a friendly buck. And he was big, at 9 weeks old. I am happy to know he is in a good home.

Then another friend, Cara, got ALL 4 of the doe kids!! She had gotten 2 a few days before. Then when Kendra came, she noticed Morwen, the last triplet of Freya's, had 4 teats. I was SO upset about that. Worrying about what to do with her. I did not want to sell her, then someone turn around and take her to a sale barn or even to slaughter. So I asked Cara if she would take her for free and buy Alva. She did! Now all the triplets and Olga's girl are all back together. They have 35 acres, so plenty of brush and trees and weeds and all kinds of goodies for 4 growing kids to eat! I am very happy to know all 5 kids went to great homes.

Olga and Freya haven't even whined at all about their babies being gone. I think they were ready. 9 weeks is the longest I have kept kids before.

So we are back to twice a day milking again. I have 2 lambs I am bottle feeding and my friends up the road who took 3 of the Annabelle's quads are bottle feeding them too. So between 5 lambs, we need lots of milk! Plus I have 2 milk customers. Then soap takes a little bit.

I have an order for 30 bars of soap for a wedding in early June. Finally got enough milk to make them. 3 different scents too. Trying to come up with molds and a small batch recipe now.

Amarillo is much better now! All the wool is off her left rear now and is healing nicely. I was a bit worried about her. Her 2 ram lambs are still so small. She actually had triplets but 1 was born dead. She had quads 3 years ago and none of them were very big either. But she is a HUGE ewe.

And Darla isn't limping. She hurt her right front leg. Or had foot rot. Not really sure, so I was dipping her hoof in Coppertox and gave her LA 200 too. She's much better now. Her boys, Frodo and Sam, are huge lambs.

It's going to be SO hard letting any of these lambs go. But sometimes, I would like ALL of them to be gone. Especially when they don't listen. Amarillo's boys are the worst. Well, Pippin is. Then yesterday, Eryn, the triplet I am not bottle feeding, and who is the most wild lamb, got out and was on the driveway. It took a long time to finally catch the little booger. I really wish they would know I am not going to hurt them. So I sat with her for about 10 minutes after catching her.

There is still so much to do. The sheep really need sheared. Hopefully sometime in the next few weeks. Then I need to castrate all 7 ram lambs. Then one of the bee hives needs some work done to it. I didn't put frames in the middle of the 1st swarm, so the bees have built comb from the top lid down, so there were 3 combs already made when I checked last week. I need to cut them and put them in frames really soon. Then add more boxes on both hives.

Then I want to make a little milking shed on the side of the barn out back. It's already too hot in that milk room. Then the electric fence needs a lot of work done before I can let the sheep out back.

Always something needs to be done around here...

Thursday, May 11, 2017

And here they come...

A few days ago, I went out to gather eggs from the coop. In the middle one, I saw it. A snake. With an egg in it's stinkin' mouth. I ran and got the shovel. And it is no longer with us. I will not share my eggs!

The nest boxes were on the floor of the coop for years. I decided to screw them to the wall. I got some wire and screws and cordless screw driver. And the husband. It didn't take too long to get it put up. It doesn't have a bottom, that's why the wire.

And I know snakes can climb. But at least this way, I can see behind it and under it, before I go in there. I sure hope they get the hay fields mowed down soon.

So yesterday, I found 2 eggs in a nest and one on the ground under it in a nice little nest of hay.

I went to look awhile ago and there was 1 egg in the same nest and a hen in the nest underneath. I need to make a place where they can jump up on to get in the nest boxes to make it easier for the old girls.

I told my husband. one day, we might get this place looking the way we want it. He just laughed!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

On the surface, it looks good. But...


I really love this picture. All the green grass, sheep under the apple tree resting. Beautiful blue sky. Just looks so peaceful right?

Well, sometimes things can be deceiving.

I'll spare you the ugliness that's really here.

I was not able to have the sheep sheared before all the lambs came, like I had hoped to do. Because of my shearers dad not doing too well. And he has to work all the time. So it just hasn't happened yet.

But, as each ewe lambed, I had them in stalls and I would cut as much wool as I could around their rear ends and legs and around their udders. Thought I did a pretty good job.

But I started noticing Amarillo with a patch of wool that was pulled away from her left rear. And of course she is the crazy ewe, that did not get sheared back in September, so she was pretty wooly.  I tried to sneak up on her and spray wound spray on it.

Then yesterday, I was able to pull the wool a little more and almost freaked out at what I saw.

So I called my friend Ron to see if he could come and help me get her cleaned up and he brought LA 200 with him. I got the sheep back over across the driveway. Ron brought his daughter Bonnie and I had Kansas here. So I caught one of her lambs and gave him to Kansas to hold in the stall with the door, hoping she'd go in. But no, she was not going cooperate. So we finally got the other lamb. And I put a fence across so we could corral her in.

Anyway, after awhile, I was up by the gate and Amarillo came over to me, panting and scared. I petted her and put my arm around her neck, while holding Pippin. Ron came up and tied her back legs and we got her laid down.

Then I started cutting wool off. It was not as bad as I had thought. Got it all cleaned up and sprayed with wound spray, gave her a shot and some Ivermec too. Let her up and the lambs out.

Ron said it could have been where afterbirth had gotten stuck on the wool and she tried to pull it off. I thought maybe she had gotten caught on the wild rose bush we had cut down out in the field. I don't know.

I am so thankful for good friends. There are several people I can call when I need help and they come right over. I really don't know what I would do without them. My husband can only do so much. And Kansas is a great help. She held all the lambs while I banded their tails. And she will hold all the ram lambs so I can castrate them too. I told her this will be something she can tell the guys when they get too touchy or annoying!

This morning, there was some blood, so I sprayed her down some more. I'll give her another shot tomorrow.

I hope she'll be ok. And Matt the shearer, will be here next week to shear the sheep!!!!

Then I start the castrating of the ram lambs...

Monday, May 8, 2017


On her momma Campbell.  So sweet!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Long day...

It started early for me. I had put the goat kids up the night before, so I could milk in the morning. Yes, I still have all 5 goat kids. UGH! My friend Kendra is coming Tuesday to get the buck, Thorin. Really unusual to sell the buck first, and still have all the doe kids. Still trying. So anyway, got the goats milked.

Then out to feed the sheep and move them over to the garden. It's only across the driveway. But I have to make this elaborate fence "tunnel" so they will go where I want them. The sheep are great at it. But now I have 14 lambs. And they are new to all this moving around business. Half of them don't pay attention and get left behind. Then mommas are calling them and running back to find them. Or they don't care about the babies and run out to eat!

So that leaves me to round them all up and get them over with the rest of them. Which is NOT my favorite thing to do. Chasing lambs...

And there was just one little guy who did not follow instructions yesterday. Just one. Little tiny teeny Pippin. I would much rather try to get 50 lambs to go somewhere than just ONE! So ALL over the pasture, this way and that way. Even got the husband to come help. I got some fence and tried to get him in the corner. Nope. Tried other things. Nothing worked.

He finally got tired and went into the barn. Geeze, how simple. Just went in and grabbed the little fella. Got him over to the rest. All was good.

Then I walked by the bee hives. And I heard bees up over my head. Looked up in the cedar behind the hives and sure enough, saw a swarm about  10' up. Great! Another swarm? Just what I needed right about then. Had 1 last Saturday too.

So grabbed a box and some blocks to put the hive on. Jumped in the car and went to the bee store in town to get some frames that I was out of. Thankfully, they had some put together!

Got the hive set up and got the lawn mower under it. Got the husband. He grabbed a branch and pulled it down so I could start trimming. And I messed up. Snapped a branch too fast and all the bees fell down, right on me!

So we tried to get them all off and leave them to settle down. Tried again in a few hours. Got them this time! I thought I missed the queen, but I know I got all the bees off the branch and into the box. They were just some stragglers.

Got them all settled down and saw some of the bees on the landing, fanning towards the inside. So I knew I got the queen!

Only got stung about 10 times. And not from the swarm. Before, I can't remember what I was doing, but got stung 3 times on left arm and belly. And foot too. I cannot wear shoes while working with bees. I can run faster bare foot!

Then later that day, my friend Allan came to check on the hives and it was windy. They were NOT happy bees. Not at all. They were quite pissed actually. But, I only got stung one time as I was running away, right over my left eye. Bees

They are all doing great so far this morning. Lots of bees, all over.

Then my daughter Abby brought the grand dogs to spend the weekend while they went out of town.  They are Boxers. I love them .City dogs come to the country! SO much to do. And chase! And bark at! Oh boy, what fun here on the farm!

Then I had visitors 2 times to come see the lambs. And also we have the 3 2 legged grand daughters on the weekends too.

I also took down some more fence in the garden area. Lambs seem to always get stuck behind fences and can't figure out how to get back around. So all gone! Did some mowing where there are a whole lotta thistle. Hate those prickly things, but the bees love them. But not good for sheep wool.

Anyway, during all this, I had put on a pot of pinto beans. Then the power went out for about 3 hours. It was very windy here. Finally came back on. Had sandwiches for dinner though. I was tired.

I hope you all had a great weekend!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Goodbye April!

I think I am happy to see April finally behind me. It's been a really wild month for sure. Crazy weather and all. So, glad to see May!