Thursday, March 13, 2014

# 31 is here.

 Early this morning, 30 degrees outside and windy, this little ewe had her lamb. Outside. She was still a bit damp and laying beside her mother when I went out to check on the sheep about 5. I got the towel I had out there, just in case, and picked the lamb up to dry it off some more. Blossom had done a good job though. Then I got them both in this stall, out of the wind, til daylight. I thought the lamb was pure black. But she's not. She's really pretty.

Kind of a reddish-brown on top with black legs and ears and face. She is half hair and half wool. So soft.

And Blossom is a good mother. Very protective and wants to know where her baby is all the time.

I looked up names for cold in other languages. The only one I could find that had the "c" sound was Kohra, which means cold in Punjabi. It sounds like Cora. Which is what she shall be called. Kohra, because it was so cold this morning that she was born.

I am still waiting on Bridgette to lamb now. She is so big. I just went to check on her at 11:30 and no signs of labor. I am thinking she will have twins. If she has a ram, he will be called Chilly.

So far, they have had 19 lambs and 2 have died, 1 ewe and 1 ram.  There are 10 ewe lambs and 7 ram lambs. The 1st year, I had 3 ram lambs and 2 ewe lambs. I still have Adele and Annabelle. All the rams have been butchered. Last year, 3 ram lambs and 5 ewe lambs. So my flock has grown. 14 ewes and 1 ram now with all these lambs. Plus a few more. I will be selling a lot of them soon. I'll really need to be thinking which way I want to go. or really which way I need to go. The hair sheep are so much more hardy than the wool sheep. I have Finn and they are more susceptible to worms that the hair sheep are. I don't have any issues with the hair like I do the wool. It could just be this particular breed or from where I got them. So, lots of thinking to do.

Next up, goat kids!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

And the 2nd thing...

 This is Adelaide, my Finn ewe. I love this girl. Her wool is so nice and silky. She's just turning 3 and has never lambed until  last Saturday morning. I knew she was pregnant, just not sure when she was going to lamb. She chose a really cold wet morning. And she just had those 2 ewe lambs right out on the dirty wet ground, in the middle of all the other sheep and lambs. And just left them apparently.

That's the morning that I just took my time to go outside too. I even had a cup of coffee, which I never do. I had looked out and saw all the sheep, so just assumed everything was ok. Well, it wasn't.

When I did go out and get all the feed ready, I got out there and put the feed in the feeder for them. That's when I saw the poor little lambs, laying on the ground. Still sopping wet. The little black lamb was already dead. Nothing I could do for her. I ran inside to get towels, went back out and put both lambs in a stall. Then looked for a mother. It was Adelaide. So grabbed her and got her in the stall with them.

I got the other lamb dried as much as I could. But she was so cold. Even her little mouth was freezing cold. So I just took her inside to get her warmed up. I sat by the wood heater and rubbed her and tried to get her to suck on the bottle of colostrum I had milked from Adelaide. She couldn't even do that. Plus she was shaking. Like convulsions or seizures. It was horrible.

I had a small tube that I tried to use to tube her. But it was too flexible and I couldn't get it down far enough. So had to go to Ace Hardware in town. I left her in front of the heater, covered up. I just knew she's be dead when I got back. And I got some colostrum from the co-op too.

Got home and she was still alive. I mixed up the colostrum and put what I had from her mother in it. Got it all sterilized and put that new tube right on down her throat. I think by then she was warm and hungry, because it went right down where I thought it should be. I put some milk in the syringe and down it went. And within a few minutes, that little girl was up and sucking on a bottle! Just like that. I was amazed at the transformation in her, once she got some good warm milk in her little belly.

And she's been a happy healthy little piggy lamb ever since!

I put her back outside later with Adelaide. She knew the lamb was hers, but she just wouldn't get her to nurse. I kept trying, and she would lick her and was nice to her, but it just wasn't there for her. That mother instinct. And still, when I bring her outside, Adelaide stays right with her. But no nursing.

And of course the little lamb follows me now.

So I have 3 sweet little bottle lambs. All ewes. All full Finn. I will be keeping all of them. I'll probably sell Adelaide and Amarillo now. I have been supplementing the Tappitt Brothers with a bottle a few times a day as well. I named this little gal Carabella. She is 5 days younger than Campbelle and Cameron, but twice as big.  I went ahead and docked her tail a few nights ago along with the other 2 and 3 more outside.  And they are all doing fine now. A few days ago, she weighed 7 pounds.

I hope I don't have to tube feed a lamb again. I hope these next 2 ewes will be good mothers and take care of their lambs. They are Katahdin mix ewes and they all have been good mothers so far, I am just waiting on these 2 and we're done. Tonight is supposed to be in the 20's. I so hope they have them today or wait a few more days. But I am thinking tomorrow morning. That's when most of the lambs have been born, early morning. We shall see.

Monday, March 10, 2014

2014 gardens underway!!

It has been amazing here the past week. No rain. March wind drying things up.

So I got outside. I got 2 wheelbarrows of really good alpaca poop that's been composting out back. And 2 barrows full of compost me and the chickens have been working on. And several bags of leaves that mom gave me and have been sitting along the driveway for way too long. All that went on just a few long wide rows. I worked it in real good. Got collards, kale and lettuce planted already!

I really love this tiller. Tiny got it going for me last week, so it was ready to go with just one pull. Great tiller.

I got about 3/4 of this garden tilled. I'll be doing 2 more garden spots as this one fills up. I am ready for a good gardening and market year this year. After the bad one last year, I am all set to get started and make this a good market garden. I just hope we don't get flooded like last year. I need to make a trench up in the yard above the garden. Maybe divert the little creeks that come from the back of the property.

When we first moved here almost 10 years ago, this garden was nothing bur red clay. It was awful. I have been adding compost, leaves, animal manures and whatever else I can find to add to it. It actually looks almost like brown soil now. Still hard in some places where I haven't been tilling. But I plan on using this whole garden this year.

I am so thankful for such beautiful weather here. I was looking at some blogs up North and they still have several feet of snow on the ground. I can't even imagine. We are in the 70'2 here. But in a few days, we'll be back down in the 20's at night. I'll have to cover blueberry bushes.

Are there any other market gardeners out there? What's going on in your gardens right now? Or are you just dreaming of when you can get to it?

The first thing I've never done before.

 It had been a little more than half an hour since April had the ewe lamb and nothing was going on. And she had these 2 water bags hanging out. She wasn't pushing or sitting, just concerned with the little ewe lamb.

I was getting a bit worried by then. It just felt like something was wrong. So I just went on in and felt around. I have never done this before so didn't know what all I was feeling. At first I felt little round things. Of course I thought testicles. But no, it wasn't. I finally did feel some feet, but no head. When I pulled and got them out I saw they were the back feet. April was contracting then and pushing. So I pulled when she pushed. I pulled downward toward her back legs and out he came. He was alive! I was so thankful. I got his little head all dried off and let her do the rest. She seemed good after that.

And he's up and headed to the milk with his big sister.

These 2 guys are so cute. Both pure white and full Katahdin. I won't have to dock their tails! The ram has a little brown spot on his side and his ears stand up. The ewe lamb's ears hang down and she looks like a little rabbit.

I names the ewe Cheney and the ram Chandler. They are both doing great. Got their CDT shots this morning along with 7 other lambs. All are out enjoying this beautiful day.

I'll post about that 2nd thing later. I am out in the garden, tilling and getting ready to plant some kale, collards and lettuce. And getting beds ready for onions and radishes. It's supposed to be in the 70's the next few days, but the end of the week we are in for some freezing nights. I have 2 more ewes to lamb and I trying to get them have their lambs today. It's not working yet. But they've had 18 lambs so far.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I did 2 things I have never done before.

The first thing is a little later in the story.

This is April. On Friday about 11:30, I noticed her up front in the pasture and she had a water bubble. It was time, finally! So I grabbed some towels and some coffee and headed out there. It was a beautiful day to have some lambs!

She would walk around. Then sit down.

Then she'd get back up. The chickens came out to help her.

Then some sheep came out. They had been having their mid-morning siesta.

I grabbed some blocks and sat down. Had some chicken company.

Then she started pushing. I saw some feet and a nose, so I knew it would be just a few minutes and she'd have a lamb. She did this a few times, then she'd get back up. Then down she'd go again. It was nearly 12.

Finally, the cutest little white lamb was here. Looked like her momma. # 28, a ewe lamb. I helped April dry off her face and let her do the rest.

She was up within a few minutes, looking for some milk. April was huge, like a dairy goat. She went back there and found the udder and had some colostrum. Then this happened. Some of you will know what this is.

And this is where the first of the things I have never done before happened in about 20 minutes or so. I'm going to finish this post tomorrow. I am tired y'all!

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.