Spring Seedlings

First,  I should say that internet access at our house has been spotty; the ongoing Cyber Attack that has been in the news has affected people and websites everywhere, and we are no exception.  Whether or not I can access my blog host is hit or miss lately, so bear with us until this works itself out.

Onward to spring!

This past week I finally started my tomato and pepper seeds inside.  I used the tutorial from By Hand Magazine, found HERE to make soil blocks.

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The crazy thing is that I had sprouts the next day!

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The garlic I planted in the fall is coming along nicely, and I am seeing sprouts from the arugula I planted outside about 2 weeks ago now.  I planted carrots, beets, peas, and radishes as well.  I’m not positive, but I think I saw the faintest hint of beet sprouts starting.

In a few weeks – once we’ve past our last frost date – I will direct – sow the squashes and cukes along with  potatoes and horseradish.  I plan on buying a bunch of berry plants this year as well to get them started.

Paul’s been hard at work clearing the remaining tree trunks so I have a larger spot for the squash garden and all of the wood burning we’ve been doing means we have lots of wood ash to add to the soil with the compost.  Hopefully we’ll add bees in the next few weeks as well and our garden should fare much better than past years.

In the meantime we are airing out the house whenever we can and slowly putting away all of our winter clothes and boots.  Everyone is happy to see the warmer weather return and I’ve got an itch to make dresses and skirts.

Summer really is just around the corner.

We’d better get a move on if we want to be ready for it!

 

 

 

Today in Lambs

I think Susan and I could easily engage in a “cute-off”.  She’d win, only because she has a lot more lambs than I.  I am sadly thinking that Wren and Fairfax are not bred after all, which means I will only have two lambs this year.

But such cute lambs they are!

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Beatrix.

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Darby.

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Darby and Amelia.

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We are so completely in love with these little darlings.  I wish we could have lambs around ALL the time!

Happy Spring?

On Friday, it looked like this:

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Today, it looked like this:

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The weather forecasters had predicted a snow/rain event – something along the lines of some scattered wet slush.

This is not what we expected.  There’s at least 4 inches out there and it’s not over yet.  You know, I love snow.  But really, this belongs back in December or January.  Not late March.

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Yesterday it was so nice out we worked on clearing out more brush and burning it.  Today the ash was still smoldering, so when Paul threw some more logs onto it we got flames again.  By nightfall it looked positively Viking – style out there.  It was pretty nice to have a big bonfire going while we were working on feeding the animals and making sure everyone had plenty of hay.  The babies and their mamas all have shelter, though they did scamper out in the snow a bit.

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Paul got some hilarious pictures of the animals while he was out reinforcing the roof of the lamb shelter.

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And I am thankful I didn’t shear the sheep yet.

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Angry goose is ready for spring.

The rest of us are, too.

 

It’s A Girl!

Last night around 10:30 I started having a funny feeling.  A feeling like maybe I shouldn’t wait to do my normal midnight check.  That I should do it now.

I don’t know where that feeling came from, but I am glad I went with it.  I found Piper laboring out in the field, struggling to deliver a large lamb (maybe I fed them too much grain???).

Maddie, Emily and Oona came out with towels and other supplies and stood back to watch.  The only real difficulty was that Jerry and Orzo were very curious and kept trying to sniff and lick Piper and get in the way.

I am not sure how long Piper had been trying to push that lamb out, but once it was born she put her head down on the ground and closed her eyes.  On the one hand, I knew exactly how she felt.  On the other hand, it worried me.  But, once I got the baby up to her face and rubbed her nose a bit she did a fine job cleaning off her new ewe lamb.  We had some trouble getting her to the shelter, and then some trouble getting her to nurse, but once we got her going, she was fine.  As of this afternoon mama and baby look great.

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Say hello to darling little Beatrix!  She is jet black like Darby, but has white splotches on her head, nose, and under her chin.

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Neve is hooked.  I never have to ask twice for her help with the sheep.

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Orzo loves her, too.  Thankfully she is safely penned in with her mama so he can’t hurt her in his enthusiasm.

I’ll do a check on Fairfax and Wren this evening at feeding to see where they stand lamb – wise.

 

The First Lamb!

I just knew it would happen when the weather was at its worst.

Wet snow/rain mix.  Neve had put Amelia and Piper in the shelter for me just before the rains came, but that same rain made for a leaky roof.  This made  it impossible to keep the hay dry in the shelter.  I had to keep telling myself all day yesterday and all night that it was better than them being out the downpour and mud.

We checked on them around midnight, and then again around 6 this morning, and neither one had any interest in showing signs of impending lambs.  So I allowed myself another few hours’ sleep and went out around 10 am.  I got halfway down the hill and I could hear Amelia making some noise.  When I got to her, she had a head and one hoof sticking out the back and she was walking in circles trying to push it out the rest of the way.

A normal birthing presentation for a lamb is head and two front feet first.  This poor lamb was stuck with one front leg behind him, which meant his shoulder was stuck against Amelia’s pelvis.

Fortunately I was able to easily reach in and pull his shoulder free, at which point Amelia pushed him out the rest of the way.  He was on his feet within 10 minutes, and nursing happily not long thereafter.

We had been sure we’d get twins from her, but this little boy is GIGANTIC, so I wasn’t surprised when no twin came.

His father is Draco – in fact, all of the lambs we are expecting were sired by that lovely ram.

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Meet little (gigantic) Darby!  He’s doing slendid despite the  awful wet weather, and Amelia is a dream mother – super attentive and protective, and full of milk!

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As soon as he got onto his feet, he climbed onto his mama’s back.

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I can’t wait to see how his fleece grows!!!!

Neve Behind The Lens

Today I sent Neve out with my camera to capture just how much the babies have grown and how ready those ewes are to deliver.  She’s been doing “butt checks” (checking for any ladies with broken waters or emerging lamb) several times a day for me anyway, so she was happy to add the camera work.

She and Maddie also do a midnight butt check for me – our thinking is that if by midnight they aren’t showing any signs and we don’t disturb them too much then they probably won’t lamb before morning.  We’ll see how this works out.  I’m calling it the “lazy peoples’ approach to lambing”.

Amelia looks closest to lambing – her udder is enormous and her flanks are totally hollow (in humans we say the baby “drops”, in ewes is gives them a hollow look about the flanks).  She’s been looking this way for a few days now, and according to when we think we saw her bred her due date was yesterday.  So….. any time now.

Piper also has a fairly big bag – kind of surprising for a first – timer.  Which makes me think she is fairly close to lamb as well.

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Furble has adjusted well to life as a farm cat.  She hangs out most days with the chickens.

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Sweet Caramel!!!

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All milking has stopped since I have been sick.  It makes me sad, actually.  We’ll try to pick up again soon, but I’m not sure it will work out after such a long break.  The babies sure aren’t complaining!

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Aster and Basil.

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My favorite thing – kid in bucket!!

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Doesn’t Miss Amelia just look ready?

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Piper.  See that udder and teat back there?

Starting Saturday we’re expecting several days of colder temps and rain.  I hope they go before then.

 

 

Nothing To See Here……

Sorry for the prolonged lack of posting – I seem to have picked up a nasty, nasty virus and have been stuck on the couch for days now.  I am way behind on everything and I haven’t even been able to read thanks to dizziness.

There’s no new babies yet – the sheep have blessedly taken it easy on me in my misery.

See you back here soon.