Friday, January 10, 2014

Warm wool. And husband update.

Just thought I'd post some pictures of some of the wool sheep's fleece. I hope it's good come shearing time. Seems like every time I throw hay, all the wool sheep are right up under it. Hay all over the wool. It just falls right off the hair sheep. But the wool sheep wear hay. And lots of little sticks and brambles and anything else that will grab hold of the wool.

I think this is Amarillo in this picture. Her's is really nice and long right now.

And this is Adelaide. Hers is really crimpy but she tends to get really dirty. And she was sick last year so didn't get any of her wool to keep. I hope I can use it this year.

And little Buttercup. She is filthy and stays this way. I'll be washing her fleece for days! Hers is really long and has good crimp too. She's full Finn and so are Adelaide and Amarillo.

I hope to be able to buy some shears soon. I have seen what Premier has and they are pretty reasonable. I'd like to get new ones. Has anyone ever bought used shears? Would you recommend doing this?

It is now back to slippery slimy mud again here. We are due for about an inch of rain by Saturday but noce and sunny Sunday.

Also thought I might better update everyone on my husband. That fall did a number on his arm. I didn't realize how much. It's just like the skin was pulled back. He also sprained his big toe and the one next to it on his left foot. Don't really know when that happened. He said he dropped a piece of wood on it a few days before. But I didn't notice it til the next day when I changed his bandages on his ankles.

So yesterday, he had 2 appointments. The first at 11 with the wound care doctor. He goes every Thursday and every other time the doctor cuts away dead skin and stuff. It's pretty nasty. But to look at the wounds today and when I first saw them, he's doing really good right now.

His other appt. was at 1 with the skin cancer place. He had a few biopsies done a few weeks before on his left arm. The arm he hangs out the window if his truck. It looks pretty bad and I have been wanting him t go get them both checked out. Turns out he had a few places that needed immediate attention. So the doctor did a huge place on his left forearm. Huge. Right above where his arm was already messed up by the fall. So now, he really is looking like a mummy. His whole left forearm covered in gauze. Both ankles and right foot. His knee. He's a mess. But doing pretty good for an ole dude.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Prayers for a friend please.

My heart is so heavy and sad right now. My dear friend, Libby, has just found out her cancer has spread to her brain. She had stage 3 breast cancer about 5 years ago. Last year it came back, but in other places. She's been getting treatments for this. Then last week, she had the worst headaches and nausea. Her husband got her to the hospital. Tests and more tests. They did finally do a spinal tap. Results were that the cancer is in her spinal fluid and brain now. Just this morning, she had surgery to relieve pressure on her brain and a device was implanted, like a shunt, to relive pressure and to put chemo into her spine.

Her youngest son got married last year. He and his wife are going to have a baby in June. The doctor told Libby they would do all they could to buy her time. She just asked the doctor to get her to June, when her grand baby is born, so she can hold the baby. The doctor said he would do all he could for her to reach that goal. I am going to pray that she gets to hold ALL her grand babies.

Libby is the most precious woman, besides my mother, that I know. She is the most humble Christian. She is the hardest worker for the Lord I have ever known. I have known her since I started going to the Nazarene church 34 years ago. Libby has never ever stopped working. She always does the children's programs and Christmas plays. She taught elementary school for several years. She just loves children. Will do anything for them.

I just don't understand this at all. I can ask God why all day long and never understand why He would allow this to happen to Libby.

Please pray frr a miracle for Libby. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday morning

 This child! We have had Kansas since Sunday. School was out yesterday and again today. And her mom has been sick. And has to work. This child will NOT be quiet! Ever. She is constantly talking or singing or mumbling. Her mouth is always moving. But she's the sweetest child. She loves everyone. And we love her. But man, is this child messy! Seems like everywhere she's been, there is a pile of something.

It was about 4 degrees last night. The thermostat said 66 all night. This morning, the central heater was on. The woos stove can't get the house up to 92 like it did that one time when it's so cold. I will not complain again about that! But it's finally warmed up to 71 now. And the wood stove is FULL of wood and going strong.

This is what we have for breakfast when it's freezing outside. Biscuits, gravy, fried potatoes with onions and eggs. Now that'll fill ya up and get ya going on a morning like this.

Last night, we had gone over to the little house-barn to turn on some heat so the pipes over there won't freeze. This morning it was nice and warn inside the house. But when I went to feed my poor cats, Sybil wouldn't even jump up to her bowl. She's sick. Poor kitty. I had gotten the cay room all nice for all the cats with boxes with blankets and there are 2 kid's chairs with fabric seats they lay in. I thought they's be fine in there. They've always been outside cats. I didn't think a thing about them not being ok. I wish I had put them all over next door for the night. Well, they are all over there now. With food and water and they are all warm. They have hay bales galore to lay on. That's where they will all stay for a few days, till it warms back up. And it's supposed to get to around 50 or so after tomorrow. Nearly 60 for Saturday. I sure am looking forward to that.

I have been filling up water buckets for days now. As soon as I put water in the buckets, it starts getting ice in them. So I am constantly putting more water in them all day. I am even putting warm water and sunflower seeds out for the birds. Apparently, birds around here don't care for sunflower seeds too much. Or maybe they're just afraid of all the cats? They sure are twittering out there today.

How about y'all. What is your favorite things to eat when it's so cold? How do you stay warm when you're outside doing chores? My mom gave me a really warm hat and I am usually sweating by the time I'm done out there. It's really warm.

Monday, January 6, 2014

The Frozen Tundra

Do you think Zeeboo might be a bit pregnant? Geeze. I put John Henry in with the girls Oct. 28th. He must have got her right away. She's huge already, at only a little over 2 months. I wonder if she'll have triplets? I am SO glad I didn't breed for Feb. or March kids. I did take John Henry up to my friend's does back in Sept. And they are both really wide. I got Zeeboo last year the end of Dec. and she never did get pregnant. I hope she has some cute little kids.

So, we are a big ole frozen mess here in N. Ga. right now. Last night it was windy like crazy. Lights flickered a few times. Some people lost power for awhile. It did start raining. Then turned to sleet then snow. Got to about 17 degrees. And tonight, 4 degrees people!  4 degrees.

This is what we woke up too. So pretty. But OH SO COLD!!

See that silly rooster on the fence to the left? I have no idea how long he'd been out there. Must have gotten out earlier this morning, because they were all in last night.

Isn't he a handsome roo? I have 2 more of these guys. And they have to go. I'll keep the biggest one, Black Bart. That's all I want. They just started crowing a few weeks ago. And now they've all realized they are GUYS and are all over the hens. Like ALL the time. They really are nice looking birds. But I don't need 3 for just 30 hens. They don't stand a chance with 3 roosters.

I let the chickens out this morning. And they did not want to go outside at all. They did finally go out, but went right into the 2 stalls to the left. Stayed there all day, scratching in the hay from the sheep. This is where the sheep stay at night now.

                                      More coldness. Icicles hanging from the garage. So pretty.

                      And a pretty little snow filled heart leaf on the ground at our daughter's. So pretty.

I have to tell a little story about my husband.  I am still laughing. We have a big hole, about 8 feet long and maybe 3 feet wide, where we are always having to dig up the water pipes between our 2 houses. So we finally just left the hole open. Well, right now, it's a big frozen pond. So this evening, Tiny wanted to put some old hay on the frozen hole. Don't ask me why. He just did. So we scatter hay on top. I said it would be pretty funny if the sheep got over there and ran to eat that hay and fell through the ice into the "pond". About that time, Tiny got a little too close to the edge and started falling. Like slow motion. I am laughing again right now. Is that wrong? I can't help it. He kind of fell to his left and oh my gosh, I can't stop laughing. Anyway, there's this metal tub I use to put the chicken feathers in when I butcher meat birds. It was right there. He could have been killed, probably. If he'd hit his head or something. But he didn't. He went to his left and just rolled over. Stop laughing already. Ok, he was even laughing by then. I was laughing so darn hard I almost had an accident myself. I am just that way though. When someone gets hurt, I laugh. I can't help it. We got him up and laughed all the way back to the house. I am thankful the man could walk, really.  But when he went to the bathroom, he saw blood. His left forearm was scratched a little. And his left knee. I am also thankful he hasn't bled to death, being on Coumadin. But it's all good. And it's still funny.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A typical morning? We'll see about that.

This morning started out pretty good for me. It was freezing outside. Everything frozen solid. About 20 degrees. I got my Carhart jacket, leather gloves, boots and the hat my mom got me for Christmas. Makes my head sweat, it's so warm. Got the dogs and cats all fed. Went to the milk-feed room to get all the other critter's feed ready. Go out to get the sheep back next door to their feed bowls.

Here they are, at the starting gate. 1,2,3 GO!

And they're off! Tails flying, leaping in the air in excitement. Who will get there first?

I give all the animals bread that I get free from a bread store in Chattanooga. They love it. So the sheep get their feed and bread and hay in the mornings.

Then I go feed the chickens and let them out for the day. Sometimes they get impatient waiting on me and lay eggs in the coop. They'd all rather lay in the other nest boxes next door though. Got 10 eggs today! They are picking back up again. I had to go get them all fresh warm water too. I heard that a friend up the road had a frozen hen this morning. That's sad.

The dogs are full and happy. Ready to play. They love each other. Stella always wins. I think Bubba lets her.

I go to feed the goats and left the bucket in this little holding area. The sheep managed to get it there and one of them, I think it was Bridgette, wanted to see if there was anything left in the bucket. And ended up with it stuck on her head! I laughed so hard I could hardly see! And the other sheep couldn't figure out what this strange thing was and all started running from her. She of course ran too and hit the fence. Twice! It finally fell off and all was well again in the sheep kingdom. No one was hurt. Just embarrassed.

 Sandy and Penelope wouldn't come out to eat this morning. It was TOO cold for them. I wish you could see how fluffy they get when it's cold like this. They are almost doubled in size.  And they are getting bigger every day. I couldn't get the gate open to go inside the goat yard this morning. It was frozen.

Then I go feed the alpaca boys. Misha will eat out of the bucket. He lets me pet him now. He's a sweetie.

Then, I saw this happening. Leelah was the only one at the fence. The others were all eating hay like good sheep are supposed to, under the shed on the other side of the yard.  But not Leelah. She leapt right over the fence, just so pretty like. Out into the wide pretty green yard. Off she went, happy as a, well, loose sheep.

So I ran as fast as I could on frozen solid ice to get to the gate across the yard before the others realized that they could do this too. Nipped that in the bud right quick!

Finally got Leelah back to where she was supposed to be, after much running and cursing. I just never know what's going to happen around here from one minute to the next. One minute I'm laughing at the darn sheep, the next I want to kill them.

So this is what I got to walk on today. See my nice dry boots? Isn't that cool? I would so much rather walk on this solidly frozen poopy mud than wet poopy mud any day. But it sure is cold out there y'all.

I hope everyone is staying nice and warm out there. It's going to stay like this for awhile. But ya know what? It's winter. And it's supposed to be cold. Right?

Oh, forgot to say that this is just the morning routine. I have to do it all again in the evening, except backwards. And haul lots of water during the day too. Frozen hoses and all.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I just have to say...

That farming in winter SUCKS!!! Really BIG! I just have to be honest here. If no one wants to see an honest blog post, then go elsewhere please.

I used to love winter. When I was younger. But now I just don't like it. All the mud and mucky mess everywhere.I guess if I didn't have animals, it would be a whole different world here. But I have 18 sheep. 5 goats. 2 alpacas. 35 chickens. 6 cats. And 2 dogs. The 2 dogs live inside, most of the time. So when it rains, they go outside for a few minutes to do their thing. Long enough to come back in sopping wet. So they know the drill. Sit on the kitchen rug so I can wipe them down with a towel. Which I really don't mind too much. It gives me some time to really love on them. Which most of the time I'm just too busy to do. Because of all these other animals.

Now I have some favorite blogs I go to almost every day. Most of them have goats and sheep and chickens too. Most all are farm blogs. Some have dairy cows too. And donkeys. I don't think I have ever seen or read about the crappy parts. And I'll give some examples here.

Like a few of them feed their sweet clean little goats cookies. I do that too. But I have never seen a picture of them covered in mud from when the goats jump all over them. Or when they are knocked down by those precious little kids., trying to get to that cookie before another goat gets it. And taking turns? HAH! Ever seen a goat be nice and give a cookie to another goat? Mine would kill the other goat first. There is NO sharing among goats. Or sheep either. It's all for one. That's it.

Or when the sheep almost knock them down trying to get to their feed bowls. Like when the gate is opened and they all try to get through all at once. It really is funny. But not when you're in front of that gate. I have come pretty darn close to having some broken knees.  I'm not saying it'll never happen either. And I have been knocked down several times by sheep, crazed by fear because I am giving them a drench of wormer or something. Sheep are crazy. Yeah, I said it. Sheep are CRAZY! I have seen them leap 10' in the air to get away from a human who's only trying to help them. Never seen that on a farm blog.

And I love the blogs where there are children. I have never heard anyone say how many times a child has been head butted by a goat. My grand daughter was. Right in the belly. Knocked her 3' away, on her back. And I have been rammed by a ram. NOT fun. It hurt really bad. The ram was gone a few days later.

Or people being spit on by Llamas or kicked by donkeys. Why don't people just be honest and tell the world how it really is on their perfect little farms, in winter.

And, in winter, while I'm not milking, my milk room looks like a tornado went through it. It's a mess! I don't care either. Not right now. I will get it all cleaned up soon enough. There's no goats going in right now, so they don't see it. They'd probably roll their eyes at me and call me lazy.

Yes, it's raining again here at Outback Farm. Like we need more rain, right? I can hardly walk out there for all the wet clay. Did you know when clay is wet, it's like skating on ice? I slide all over the place. I just want a few concrete trucks to come in and concrete this whole place right now.

My personal weather man just informed me it's going to RAIN ALL DAY! And we have to go to a doctor and run some errands. Yay!

I would just love to see the crappy parts of winter farming on some of these pretty blogs. Just to know I am not the only one who hates farming in winter. And farming in winter SICK? Even worse.

But, we're on the downhill slope now toward spring! It's just not like this in spring, summer or fall. And I do apologize for being so negative. But really, all these perfect farms with red barns and wreaths on the barn doors and perfectly clean nice little goats that wait their turn for cookies. It just makes me want a farm like that. And it ain't gonna happen.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflections: last half of 2013

 This is full of pictures. Lots of things happened from May til now.

My step dad, Gary, went into the hospital the 2nd week of May. And he died 3 weeks later. On my husband's 65th birthday. I had no idea that he wouldn't ever get out of the hospital. He'd have good days then more bad days. Mom was there all day, from before sun-up to after dark. We all miss him.

We had Gary's memorial service at their home, the end of June.  Most of the family came. It was like a little family reunion.

The 1st weekend in Ausgust is the Sherrill family reunion up in Crossville, tn. Lots of Indiana people come for this. We have been meeting at my husband's sister's house on the lake in Spring City, Tn. on Saturday. The kids love it. There's usually a boat on the water with the jet skies going. Lots of fun. Then on Sunday, we all meet at the park in Crossville. Lots of good food and family.

I got a bunch of young, very expensive laying hens. They are all finally laying now. I was so happy to see eggs here again!

Then later in Aug. me and Mom went to Colorado Springs to visit my brother and sister and all their kids and grand kids. We stayed a week. Went to the Garden of the God's and Manitou Springs. Had lots of good get togethers with all the family. Lots of fun.

In September, right up the road from me, was the 150th Civil War re-enactment. Thousands of people, from all over the world, came here to be a part of this.

I also acquired 2 male Alpacas. A friend owns Little Darlings Alpaca farm and she talked me into getting these 2 boys. The red one is Misha and the white one is Gandolf. They are half brothers. Can't wait to get all that wool to spin.

I also learned to skirt and wash wool. Also card it. I bought brand new carder and spinning wheel. I finally got the carder to work for me but still haven't gotten the wheel to work. I'll take it to my friend to see if she can get it going for me. So I can spin up all this wool I've been carding.

I got a new hair ram for my hair sheep too. His name is Bilbo Baggins. he's really small though, next to my big huge ewes. I hope he grows a lot more! He sure is a fat one though.

 Took 2 of the ram lambs to the slaughterhouse. I had all 4 halves sold. I took them up on the mountain because there is no waiting there. I found out why. At the cost of the other ram lamb. They just do not know how to cut up lamb. I'll never ever take anything up there again. Big costly mistake.

 And, in Nov. my husband got really sick. Could have lost both feet. Somehow, he burned both ankles on the heater in his new truck. He has neuropothy, so cannot feel anything below his knees. So he didn't know he was burning his ankles. Ended up really sick and in the hospital for a week. He's been home ever since, on sick leave. He'll officially retire when his benefits run out.

                                              And it looks like 2013 will end like it started. WET.

Here is my very relaxed happy husband, in his recliner. Trying to look like a wise old guy. He's doing SO much better now than when he first got back home. We really don't know where this new year will take us. It'll be an adventure for sure. He's going to help with the farming when he's able to wear boots again. And he may do some part time driving. We'll just see.

So that's my year. I think I'll have to make some changes in the animals and maybe downsize the sheep and up size the goats. I don't know how the Alpacas will fit into the farm either. But things will happen the way they should, I guess. I just never know what I'll be doing really. Til it happens. And that's the fun of it all.