Tuesday, May 16, 2017
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
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
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
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...
Sunday, May 7, 2017
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!