Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ah hah moments.

 Sometimes I don't like farming.

 Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here.

Sometimes I don't really like my animals at all.

Sometimes I just want to sell everything, move to town, live a life of abandon. Go out and party every night like I used to. Have no responsibilities. Not even a dog.

This winter has not been fun for me. I won't lie and say that it's been a breeze. It has not! It's been really nasty, wet, muddy, snow, sleet, ice, freezing cold, rain all the time it seems.

I know I am not the only one who is going through this too. I read your blogs and Face Book posts. I know. We are all just plain ole sick and tired of Old Man Winter and all his crap, right?

I'll tell you what I've been really hating the most about farming for me. Feeding time. I just absolutely HATE it. I dread going out there in the mornings. They are the worst. It's when I feed the sheep, goats and alpacas their feed and bread. Have you ever been literally plowed down by 20 sheep, who weigh at least 150 pounds each? Have you ever tried to walk with feed buckets in each hand with 20 sheep on all sides, trying to get to that precious yummy feed? And then have you ever tried to bend over with those feed buckets, because you can't put them down, and clean out poop from all the feed bowls, while 20 ravenous, seemingly starving sheep, WANT THEIR FOOD RIGHT NOW?! Oh my gosh, I just could not do it one more time.

And the goats are just as bad. And I only have 4 of those. But ALL 4 are huge and can do just as much damage as 20 sheep. And OH SO greedy, those sheep and goats. They all think that the other goat's food, which came out of the SAME bucket, is better than what they have! So they go round and round and round. The sheep do the same thing. It's crazy!

So, yesterday, while I was having my 8,978th major melt down, I had an ah hah moment. It's amazing when I have these. I immediately felt so much better and I didn't even have it yet.

I went to the Co-op and bought an 8' feeding trough for the sheep. Now WHY have I not ever done this yet? WHY? My husband went to get it in the truck for me later. It was here when I got home. And he even put a rope on it so I could pull it around. I know. He's a pretty good husband.

So this is how it went this morning. It was rough getting to the trough, but by golly, I poured that feed in there and they all gathered round and started eating and it was QUIET! Alleluia, it worked!!!!!!! I still have some of those green feeders that hook over things that I put some feed in too, that are in the stalls. So they aren't all here in this picture. And Amarillo is still in her stall with her 2 ram lambs. But it was SO nice.

And I gathered up all the bigger black plastic feeder bowls, took them inside and washed them out for the goats to use. Because, goodness knows,a goat is finicky about stuff like that.
There are all 4 goats, each with their very own feed bowls. Happy. That didn't last but a few minutes. Til they all realized there was feed in ALL those bowls. So they had to play musical feed bowls. Silly goats.

Anyway, all this to say that I am feeling totally refreshed and ready for a new start. It's a beautiful sunny day, supposed to be in the 60's! The quads are all doing great. Although, I am bottle feeding the 2 girls and had brought them inside. I did take them out to see their brothers, Click and Clack, and their momma. Just to see what she'd do.

This is when I first put the girls down. She sniffed them.

The ran to the corner and called the boys. You can see the difference in size of the black lamb to the right. He is twice the size of the other 3.  So here is Amarillo with her 2 boys with the girls in the front.

I decided to leave the girls in there but wanted them protected. So put up this little fence in the corner for them. They can see the others, but Amarillo can't hurt them if she decides to freak out on them. The black ewe I named Cameron. She weighs 3 1/2 pounds. The little brown ewe is Campbelle. She weighs just 3 pounds. But they drink a small bottle about every 2-3 hours now. They are doing amazingly well for how I found them 2 days ago, all trampled and cold and wet. I am surprised they have all lived and are doing so good. So I'll leave the girls out here with them and still bottle feed them. I want them to be a part of the flock. But they are SO small, I want them to be a lot bigger before they actually go out in the pasture with the other sheep and lambs. One swift roll-over and that could be it for these little tiny guys.

 I named the boys Click (the smallest) and Clack, after the Tappit brothers that come on NPR on Saturdays and talk all things cars. My husband loves those guys.

So, this is where I am right now. Much better. And I won't sell ALL the animals, just some of them later. I do have too many sheep for this place. Just to figure out who is going to be hard. I have an idea of some that I know I could sell and be ok about.

I hope you all are having a good weather day too, where ever you all are!

Saturday, March 1, 2014


This is really hard to write a post about the death of a little 2 day old ram lamb. I have a good friend right now who has been fighting cancer for a few years. And she is near the end. It's not something that's easy to deal with, whether it's a helpless little new born animal or a grown woman. Death just sucks. I can't think of any other way to put it. It just sucks. My best friend died almost 3 years ago. My step dad died the end of May last year. I just heard today that a friend I grew up with found out she has lung cancer. Now my friend Libby. It's all around us. Everyone has someone they love who has died. And we will too. It's just life. That's all.  And it's sad. And we miss these people so much.

I have never seen anyone die. I don't think I could deal with that. When my friend Kathy was in the hospital, dying, her whole family and most of her closest friends, were there with her. We were there in the ER room. We all walked with the guys who were taking her to a private room. There were a lot of people following that bed. But I could not stay there in that room, talking to all the other people there, and watch my best friend just die. But that's what people here in the South do. I had to leave. I'm not from the South. I just could not bear to be there when she left this world. And she did, about 3 the next morning. Her daughter called and I couldn't even answer the phone. I just knew she was gone. And I don't think I have missed anyone as much as I miss her.

So Clay and his brother were born Thursday morning. I wasn't there to help Darla clean them off. I like to be there to help them get their little faces cleaned off. So what happened I think is that he got fluids in his little lungs. And there could have been other things wrong with him as well. I will never know. He wouldn't have lived this long in the wild. Or if I hadn't done all I did for him.

I brought him in yesterday and gave him milk. Rubbed the bottom of his feet with alcohol to bring his high fever down. Nothing seemed to help. I was surprised this morning that he was still breathing. He was very weak. I had some things that needed to be done. When I got home, he was near the end. I could tell. I just picked him up and held him real close to my chest. I guess for probably an hour or so. I didn't know it could take so long. It was so sad. And hard to do. I cried. Not only for him, but for all the people I've lost. And he died. I took him outside to Darla so she could say goodbye to him. She knew he was gone.

I don't think he would have been a healthy lamb if he had made it. And so I am ok with this because I know he would have had a hard time. This is a working farm and things like this happen. I have never lost a baby lamb or goat kid. I have 8 healthy lambs out there right now with more to come. It could happen again. I don't know. I certainly hope it doesn't. It just really sucks.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

More meds. And more tail docking.

I just went out to check on the new ram lambs. I put up a heat lamp in their stall. They were laying together under the heat with Darla near them.

They both sound bad. I came back in and got some Combi-Penn-48, some plain yogurt and some more Nutri-Drench. Gave them all that and they both went to nurse. Darla is not pushing either one of them away. She sniffs them and cleans them while they are at the udder. So I don't know. I'll see in the morning if any of this worked. They are both so darn sweet and pitiful. Why does this have to happen to such brand new life?

As I was leaving, I told all the ewes that have not had lambs yet, that they are NOT allowed to have any more lambs til it warms up again. No more lambs! It's just too cold!

A also gave Claire, Cadie, Clark and Charlotte their CDT shots about noon today. Then got the hubby to hold them this evening so I could band their little tails. They all did rather well. But I still hate this part of lambing. Not fun at all.

Cole and Clay

They are not feeling very well right now. When I went to check on them a few hours ago, Clay, the smallest lamb, was wheezy and weak. Cole was a little wheezy but not as bad. He seems to be stronger and bigger and has more energy.

So I called a friend who has sheep to see what she'd do. I was going to give them both shots of antibiotic but wanted to make sure first. She said she'd do it. Plus some sheep Nutri Drench and some colostrum in a bottle. So I did all that.

When I went out about an hour later to put up plastic in their stall, Clay was up and peeing. A good sign? He must be nursing because he didn't drink much from the bottle. His little sweater was all wet before so I took it off him.

As soon as I put that plastic up, it started getting warm in there. I was going to put up a heat light later too. But the plastic helped a lot with knocking the wind off them. Oh my goodness, I hate when animals get sick. I can usually help them as much as I can, but if something else is wrong, then it's out of my hands. I have never lost a lamb or goat kid, but it could happen. I know so many people who have. When my favorite ewe Lucinda died a few years ago, it was horrible. I had done all I knew to do for her, but it wasn't enough. I learned later of some things I could have done and she would be alive today. But I learn as I go around here. But when Abby died last February, I cried so much it hurt. Literally hurt. I loved the goat.

On a farm though, there is always the chance of death. It's part of life on a farm. It sucks, but it does happen. I have had chickens to die, but that's not the same at all to me as a 4 legged creature. I butcher chickens. But a furry wooly little lamb or goat kid? I don't know if I can handle it. But I will. I have to. I'll do all I can for the little guys. The rest is up to them and their momma. But please say a little lamb prayer for the little sweeties. Thanks so much.

And next year, no lambs til April or May. It's just TOO cold right now.

#'s 21 and 22...

I woke up early this morning. Looked out the window and saw a jet black lamb right outside the stall door. I figured it was Darla's, so got dressed and ran out there to check on them. All the others were outside soaking up some sunshine after the freezing cold night. I think it might have gotten down to about 20 or so. All water was frozen and so was the ground.

I looked in the 1st stall and there was another little tiny lamb in there. So she had twins! Both rams!

This is the bigger lamb, so I am thinking he was born first. He was dryer. So he's # 21. His name is Cole.

And his little brother Clay, # 22. He was a little weak and laying down. I had brought a towel, so wiped him down and held him a few minutes to warm him up. They both were not shivering at all.  But I could tell Cole had already been nursing. But this little guy needed a little help. I held him up to the teat and he got a little bit. But he was very weak.

I did go warm up a bottle of colostrum for him. He took a little bit. It must have helped him, because he's been up and nursing really good since.

I took off the black shirt-sweaters that Clark and Cadie were wearing and washed them and put them on the new little guys. When I went to grab Cadie, Annabelle got spooked and ran right over little Cash. When he got up, he was holding his left front leg up. I almost cried. I thought his little leg had gotten broken. But I think he'll be ok. He's the sweet little ram that I'm thinking about keeping. I'm going to make another post about Cash today. He and his mother Leelah are so sweet.

So far, out of 5 ewes, they have had 3 sets of twins and 3 singles. So far, the rams are ahead. Which is ok, since I want more sausage! That stuff is SO good.

I know for sure there are 3 more ewes to lamb yet, with a possible 2 more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

# 20...

This morning, first thing during feeding, Leelah had a long string of goo and was in the middle stall. It wasn't long before this big guy was out and up and ready to eat! Just a single ram lamb. Leelah has only had single lambs in 3 years now. They are big lambs though. Blossom from last year is way bigger than the other ewes from last year.

It was cold this morning and he was just a shiverin'! So he burrowed down in this hay. Smart boy! And this hen decided it looked like a good idea so she sat down there and made a nice little nest. She stayed they a long time. Leelah must have stepped on the egg later, because it was broken.

                                                                       Isn't he so cute!

Later, Leelah had him outside in the sun. He was already running and jumping and having so much fun. I love his color. He's brown and cream colored. I can see a little heart on his side in this picture. He looks like he's mostly wool, so I may be keeping him for the Finn ewes.

His name is Cash. Sounds like a good name for him. He's the 7th lamb born so far here. I know there are 5 more ewes to lamb yet. With a few more maybe's. So we're not done with lamb pictures yet folks!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Meet #'s 17, 18 and 19...

This morning, after feeding all the animals, I looked out the front window and saw something small by Gracie way up in the front pasture. So out I went to see what was going on.

Gracie had one lamb already and was cleaning him off. I went to get a towel to help her. I could see some feet coming out so I knew there was another lamb soon. She came just a few minutes later. I got her head all dried off and let Gracie do the rest.

                                               So this is #17, a ram lamb. I named him Clark.

                                                     And his little sister, # 18, Cadie.

Years ago we had the best preacher. I just loved his family. His wife's name is Marquita and they had a daughter and twins. A boy and girl named Clark and Cadie. So I said when we had  another set of twins I'd name them after those twins. And here they are!

Then a few minutes later, after having gone back inside for a few minutes, I looked out and saw this little black and white lamb with Biatrix, way up front by the fence. So ran back out there and sure enough, she had this little sweetie. # 18, a little tiny ewe lamb. Her name is Claire.

What's so funny is that Biatrix is Gracie's daughter from last year. So Gracie is a Grand mother now. I know, Biatrix is only just a year old. I had not planned on such young mothers. But she's a good size and already a good mother. I think Bridget is bred too. She's the same age as Biatrix.

So we've had a busy morning here at Outback Farm. I had to call my mom and cancel our day out together because I wanted to be here in case there were more lambs. And of course, no more yet.

I have always had early morning or daytime lambs here so far. I have never had to go out all night to do night time checks. Never had any at night. They go anywhere from about 6 a.m. to about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. But that could all change. Ya just never know with sheep!

So far: 2 sets of twins, a ram and ewe each and 2 single ewe lambs. The ewes are ahead so far. I'd like tto have more rams please, ladies!

Anyone else having babies?