This week has had moments of total adrenaline rushes countered
by moments of complete and utter nothingness. It’s been a week of very little
sleep, lots of trips to the barn and far too much coffee. My memory is shot,
all my coveralls are filthy and I’m pretty sure I need to wash my face. Lambing
season has hit the peak of intensity in the past few days. Nothing like some farms which boast a lambing
every hour for a week or so…
|just a skiff of snow |
But, since last week’s walkabout,
22 lambs have arrived here
on the hill.
Most of them came into this
world with little or no emergency assistance from the shepherds. That’s the way
we like it, but, we’re not quite done yet. If you missed my posts from earlier
in the week, you can read them here... and here.
|newborn triplets under the glow of the heatlamp|
As of right now, there are three, yes, THREE sets of
triplets. That’s the most we’ve ever had in a single season. It looks like each ewe will be able to
provide for her little family without any help from us. (except for the case of
my bottle baby—who is thriving, thank you very much) The fact that the ewes
won’t need assistance is pretty amazing, considering sheep only have two teats.
|the oldest triplets|
also known as "the trio of trouble"
Friday night, the Boss ended up getting drafted into the whole going to the barn
in the middle of the night thing as I worried over one ewe. After watching her labor futilely for over a
half an hour with a second lamb, I woke him up to help me. (the first one was
up, dry, had eaten and was roaming around the barn) Of course, by the time we
returned to the barn, #2 of 3 was on the ground and looking around. #3 followed quickly. We cleaned them up,
tucked the whole family in a jug and the Boss went back to bed. I felt more
than a little bad for disturbing his sleep for nothing. Although, he did admit the snow in the bright
January moonlight was a beautiful sight.
Later that night (early, early morning) old ewe seemed to be having a hard time, so I kept a
close watch in order to know if I should assist. And, assist I did. At three
o’clock in the morning, I found myself lying on the barn floor, helping her
deliver twin ram lambs. Big, hearty
fellas. As we cleaned them up, it became
obvious that one had very little (if any) strength in his back legs. Meaning…he couldn’t stand. If a sheep can’t stand, (particularly a lamb)
it can’t eat. If it can’t eat, it will die.
I cleaned him up, held him up to his mother’s teat so he could drink the
life sustaining colostrum, said a little prayer and went to the house. I guess it’s a sad testimony to the smallness
of my faith when I admit that I was surprised to see him standing up, nursing
his mother when I returned to the barn a couple of hours later. But, I did
indeed give thanks for the miracle.
|Mom Sheep and babies snoozing after delivery|
In the light of day, it is evident that his back leg is
bowed outward at an awkward angle. This
is probably due to the crowding while inside the ewe and should correct itself
in time. He seems to be healthy and hearty other than that. All in all (so far)
it’s been a great lambing season. I’ll give you all the particulars next time.
With the exception of lambing in the sheep shed, the farm is
somewhat boring in mid-Winter. It’s too
cold to do much outside and too early to get too many seeds started. It’s a
good time to get a handle on office work, do a little extra writing and prepare
for tax season.
|the warmth of the backyard makes it nice for napping dogs (and cat)|
but, napping makes it hard to get in the greenhouse!
But, in other farm news...
The hens have been escaping with some regularity. It isn’t a mass exodus, it’s only one or two and it's not every day. They are in search of something tender and green as the chicken yard is bare and frozen. (can’t say that I blame them at all) I took advantage of the escaping chickens to further educate Gus. He needs to learn not to hurt (read eat) the chickens but to guard and protect them. He responded well to my commands and the hen was returned to the pen unharmed. Although she was heard regaling the rest of the flock with the story of the whole ordeal for quite some time afterward.Gus was feeling a bit enthusiastic about his success and got a little too close to the electric chicken fence with his nose. His pathetic yelping could probably be heard for miles!
|while they're not herding dogs, they do make chicken-catching easier|
Unfortunately, it looks like we will need to re-plant a good
deal in the hoophouses, as the Polar Vortex was not kind on its last visit and
is set to return this week. When I wrote about lettuce and freezing temperatures a few weeks ago...I did NOT write about lettuce and -3*! Did you read this?
It's a sad and dismal sight and I'll spare you the photos. But, it is the
middle of Winter, so it’s not totally unexpected. The last of the seed orders
have been placed and we’re waiting their arrival…and anticipating Spring. I'm anxiously watching that little count-down ticker in the sidebar!
It’s a cold and blustery day here on the hill. The sheep and lambs are all hunkered down in
the barn away from the frigid breezes. The woodstove beckons.
Tess looks warm and comfortable.
Thanks for stopping by!
Please come back and visit again.