Sunday, January 25, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 1-25

Somehow, it’s time for Sunday’s little virtual farm tour.

I honestly have no idea what happened to the week.  I feel like I must have missed a lot in my sleep-deprived haze of endless lamb bottles. 

But, good news!  The lambs are now able to go for six hours between feedings! (at least at nighttime) I cannot tell you how wonderful this is.  That means I can actually get at least five hours of sleep in one stretch! That will make a world of difference in my outlook AND my productivity.

But…I’m getting ahead of myself.

At last week’s walkabout, there were only sixteen lambs…

We’ve made a little progress…

Here are a just a few of the new barn inhabitants.

While we’re still not finished…two ewes aren’t due to lamb until the end of the week (they just didn’t cooperate with the program, I guess)…the current tally is 28 live lambs. The ratio is slightly skewed this year with 18 rams to 10 ewes, so far. (usually it’s a little more evenly divided) All the lambs are doing incredibly well.

Thankfully, there was only one assisted birth this week.  The lambs were all tangled up and trying to come out at the same time.  Surprisingly, the seemingly difficult issue was easily corrected and everyone is fine.  (and I only got a little bruise on my wrist)

With that successful birth, there were only a couple of older ewes left to go, and they didn’t look remotely close, the Boss and I felt fairly confident that all would be well while we both left to go to the annual meeting for the Farmers’ Market. (We’d only be gone for a couple of hours)

Since the Boss is the Saturday Market Manager, and a seriously take-charge kind of guy, he runs the meeting. Of course, that means that I generally get pressed into service in some capacity. This year, it was my job to make sure everyone got a copy of the rules and their vendor application. (I like this job, it gives me a chance to visit a little) The Market rules are the direct result of careful consideration (and sometimes much discussion) by the Market Committee members. I think a lot of folks would be amazed at the amount of time and effort that go into the running of the Market. But, it does pay off.  Customers are always saying what a nice Market we have!
perfect attendance for another year
we've missed ONE Market in 18 years

The meeting went without a hitch.  That’s always good.  There were a few new folks interested in doing the Market this season.  That’s always good, too.  Although, it would seem with all the emphasis on LOCAL food and SMALL producers and KNOW your farmer and the like…that there would be more people interested in getting involved in production.  But there just aren’t.  And, I really don’t know why.  Being Market vendors is a unique way to make a living that has served our family well for going on 18 years now.  I won’t go ramble on about the Market right here… you can read why we do the Market here or simply search the blog for "farmers' market" (there are plenty of entries!)

The meeting wasn’t very long and we headed back to the hill. I fed the babies (again) and went to the barn. When I walked in, it looked as if there had been a lamb explosion. Wait…let me re-phrase that…because, ewww…what a gross mental picture. I meant a population explosion. There seemed to be sheep and lambs everywhere. It had only been three hours since I was last there, really. There weren’t really that many new animals, but they were all milling about and complaining.

Out in the middle of the barn was a newborn lamb (he was still wet and gooey) wandering around, calling for his mother. Who was nowhere to be seen. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even figure out which one she might be.  There was a ewe with two brand-new lambs standing off to one side. The babies were nursing and mama was mothering.  For a moment I thought he was a triplet, but no.  Further investigation revealed his mother (and smaller brother) at the other end of the barn. I had no idea how or why they became separated.  With the family re-united, I set about getting everyone jugged for the night. Before I could leave, it became evident that the little lost lamb was not being accepted by his mother.  After she butted him two or three times and he ended up IN the water bucket, I decided that my little flock of bottle babies would just increase its number.  I mean, once you’ve got one bottle baby…what’s another one or two…or four.  Yes, there are FIVE bottle babies!

#5 joins the bottle flock

The next evening, the last of the lambs (in this bunch) arrived. One of the older, bigger ewes delivered twins by herself.  While this doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary…one of the lambs weighed in at 20 pounds!  You read that right. 20 POUNDS.  That’s one big boy.  His brother is more average sized (about 12 to 14 pounds…I didn’t weigh him) Poor mama sheep.  But, everyone is doing fine.

With the lambs delivered, it was time to see if I could get to the doc to address the sinus issues that I’ve been struggling with for a while now.  A trip to the doc has always been just a matter of going down the hill to Mbrk.  It’s always been very reassuring to know that there is medical help right here in town.  However, times have changed and the doc has another office and doesn’t come to Mbrk every day anymore.  That meant the Boss and I set off on a fieldtrip to another town south of here (and a number of other places, because if you’re off the farm and running errands….you might as well make the most of it). 

The doc gave me a new prescription and suggested a couple of injections to get me on the road to recovery a little more quickly.  While I realize that “a shot in the arm” is supposed to be a good thing (and I honestly do feel some better), I have to say “OUCH!” I must be getting wimpy in my old age…my arm hurt for two (three/four) days!  But, the ongoing brain-fog lifted, so I guess it was worth it.

While feeding the lambs on Friday night, I thought I smelled the distinct “eau de polecat”, or in other words, a skunk.  Figuring someone had hit a skunk out on the road and the smell was just drifting this direction, I headed to the barn.  The dogs were accompanying me and suddenly went crazy.  They ran in and out of the barn as I completed my nocturnal check-up.  Suddenly, the barn filled with the most awful smell.  The dogs ran out of the barn and Gus started rolling in the icy grass.  I figured he had “located” the skunk.  Squeekie was staring at something intently, so I looked, too.  There behind some barrels was the source of the stench.  A small black and white SKUNK. In the barn.  Right in front of ME. I admit it, I ran!  I have a very real fear of being sprayed by a skunk. (fortunately it didn’t happen this time) When I woke the Boss, he informed me that while I did smell like a skunk, but that the best thing to do was simply wait until the skunk left the barn. Gus and Ellie barked for another hour and then all was quiet, so I suppose that the skunk was finally gone. The whole episode made me glad that we skipped our usual Saturday town delivery this week as we figured lambing would be keeping us occupied. That was a little too much excitement for the middle of the night for me! (I will keep a close eye out on my subsequent barn trips, though)
Gus and Ellie after the skunk incident
I'm pretty sure Ellie's telling Gus
"You STINK!"

feeding all these guys at once is a wild time
The bottle babies moved to the barn on Saturday morning and are happily adjusting to having space to play.  However, without the rhythm and routine that accompany a “normal” week, we spent the entire time wondering what day it was!  We’ll get back to our regular schedule this week.

when I'm not fast enough
they help themselves!


The weather forecast is full of little snowy icons.  I know I promised one of our customer-friends that I wouldn’t complain (just once…so she can enjoy the snow) I must say, I don’t look forward to all the issues that a snowstorm entails. But, it will be fun to watch the lambs play in it. In preparation for the upcoming weather, the Boss moved the henhouse and cleaned behind the barn. Did you read this one?

moving the henhouse

icicles in the hen yard

Gus enjoys eating icicles after the ice storm
We finished off our week with a family supper that included good food and good times. REALLY good food. And presents.  THANK YOU, kids!  I love y'all. This is the last family celebration that will be just grown-ups. The newest member will be joining us before the next celebration.   Now, that's really gonna be a present!

Hope y’all are having a  Happy Sunday!

…off to feed the babies!

Thanks for stopping by.  Please come and visit us again real soon!

Saturday's ice storm was quite pretty

A few random ice pictures...


  1. Lovely, just lovely. I love your blog.

    1. Thanks so much, Bobbi!
      I truly appreciate you taking the time to read and comment! :)

  2. Those lambs are quite a sight. Don't believe I've ever seen one
    with that mottled black and white coloring. Does it happen

    1. Aren't they something? Quite often their wool is marked in some way when they are small. Generally any wool coloration fades as they grow and their wool becomes a creamy white. Markings on their face, ears and/or legs generally stay throughout their entire life.It seems to run in certain lines, so I guess there is some genetic aspect.

  3. As usual I enjoyed reading of your adventures. You make it all sound so exciting, but as a farmer's wife I know just how exhausing it is too. Love your ice pictures. All our snow has gone but more is forecast for next weekend, when North winds are forecast to blow down directly from the arctic.