Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Walkabout 2-8

This week has been filled with some real highs (LAMBS!), some real lows (see the last post) and countless lamb bottles.  Since I know you’re tired of hearing about lamb bottles (and quite honestly, I am tired of making them) suffice it to say, many were made…and many were consumed…and the pattern will continue for quite a while.

Lambing is done for the 2015 season. Done and done.  Just 22 days and 4 hours (or something like that) and we are finished. The jug pens have been dismantled and the creep feeder will be set up today. (well...that may be a little optimistic...tomorrow at the latest)

There are 31 lambs cavorting around the barnyard. 

No, let me correct that.  There are 29 lambs in the barnyard…2 are in the “hospital pen” in the shop. (I know…MORE bottle babies!  NOT what I needed) The final ewe of the year had triplets and needed a little help rearing them.  One was born with the birth sac intact and was slightly oxygen deprived, making him a little “doolally” and in need of special attention.  The first lamb was very tiny (less than 6 pounds) and she was chilled by the time the others arrived.  I fully intended to warm her in the house and return her to her mother.  However, the drama with the other ewe took far longer than I anticipated and I was too tired to deal with the whole re-introduction process.  So, I’ve got TWO more babies.  Oh, and just in case you wondered…the “doolally” lamb made a great recovery and the two of them (although while quite small) are thriving.
the last two lambs of 2015
"Dot" and "Dash"

Wondering about the word doolally? – it means rather feeble-minded.  Years ago, a British shepherd-friend introduced us to the term.  I like the way it sounds like what it means and it is the perfect descriptive term for some lambs…even though I’m pretty sure it’s not politically correct. 

Despite the two disastrous lambings that I described in earlier posts, the season was actually quite successful.

All the ewes bred in a relatively short period of time. There was just ONE single lamb. Human intervention was not required in most births. (I just assisted in two…besides the disasters) While it bumped up our total, we had FOUR sets of triplets (one set died) and that’s not always a good thing. But, even though it made a lot of extra work, those lambs are all doing well. Ram lambs outnumber ewe lambs 19-12.  When raising meat animals, it’s best to have males…they grow larger quicker.  However, it’s nice to have some ewe lambs to consider for future breeders. There are some beautiful animals down at the barn, and they’re growing like weeds.  A check of lamb weights revealed that the first twins born weigh 26 and 27 pounds respectively.  They will be four weeks old tomorrow.  Not bad…not bad at all.  We have the most live lambs ever in our fifteen (?) years of shepherding.

Definitely put this season in the WIN column!
there's always one...
in this case, it's the entire family!
after a slight modification,
the lamb bar is back in action

the young ewes did very well with their first lambs
I must say, it's just a little intimidating to face "the hungry horde"!

With that project behind us, it’s time to focus on other things.

Opening Day of the Market season is fast approaching, so we will begin our preparations in earnest. The Boss placed the seed potato order this week and we will go pick those up sometime next month.  And, we got an email that the first batch of broiler chicks was set to hatch and will arrive in a little less than 3 weeks.  Eek!  Checking the calendar revealed that seeds need to be started ASAP…so, you know where I’ll be spending some quality time in the upcoming week.

But, this week, my focus has been far from the farm. I've been immersed in a much different subject.

I’ve been thinking about BABIES. Human babies. And all stuff baby related.

...this doesn't look to promising...

#1Grandbaby is making his/her appearance in relatively short order and this afternoon  Blondie and I (and some other awesome family members and friends) are
throwing what we hope is a great baby shower for Toughchick.  To say I am excited is a gross understatement about the baby (and the shower)…but, I will try to contain myself somewhat.

But, count on a picture or two next week…hopefully everything will look as wonderful in real life as it did on Pinterest.  Because I do hate “Pinterest fails”!

While grandbabies are not at all farm-related...they are a pretty big deal and worthy of some special attention.

Part of the reason I can focus so completely elsewhere is because it’s February. Ah, February… This is my most “un-favorite” month.
it is pretty in a stark kind of way
the view is pretty drab this time of year

...and this is a "nice" day
 While February is the shortest month…it always feels like the longest month to me. Even if the groundhog did see his shadow and is predicting an early Spring. It’s too early to go crazy starting stuff, too cold to spend much time outdoors, the excitement of lambing is done and the whole monochromatic world gets more than a little dull and boring. But, it’s just a matter of time…

I'm pretty sure I said something like this last week, but...

Spring is only 40 days away!

I know that’s just a date on the calendar, but it gives me hope for warmer weather and the rhythm and routine of the growing season. I really enjoy the growing/selling season and struggle to find a routine during the “off-season”.

It always seems like the “off-season” would be a great time to hibernate, store up sleep for summer time or at the very least get caught up on all my housework and craft projects, it never happens.  Somehow, the time flies by and we’re back in the thick of things and I’m left hoping that next off season will be the one where I get organized.  (you can start laughing now, because let’s face it…we all know that’s NEVER gonna happen!)

As I’m off to finish the shower prep, I hope that you are having a

Happy Sunday!

Thanks SO much for stopping by!  Come back and see us again real soon.

the barn in the early morning light is rather pretty



  1. Hi Barbara!
    Read both your posts with great interest.
    No one knows anything about anything till they've been through it. I, myself, didn't know anything about having a really bad concussion until I fell and slammed my head into the corner of a concrete step Friday. I felt the bones in my head and my brain shift to the right then snap back when it happened. I am in PAIN and I am also doolally. The doctor ordered, "Stress-free rest in a darkened room for several weeks." It's a good thing I'm not a farmer!
    Thanks for your kind and caring comments the other day, dear one.
    I am sure you will have a Pinterest WIN today! Just don't use the green stuff.
    xo, m & jb (who is very interested in the green stuff)
    PS Pls ik-Nor any tYpoos.

    1. Goodness, Maureen! You certainly have had a time of it lately. I hope you manage to get some "stress-free rest". And, when you do...please tell me what it was like. haha
      I think my efforts were fairly successful. Tell JB that the green stuff actually worked, although it didn't look too appealing in the photo I posted. ;)
      You remain in my thoughts and prayers!

  2. The pinkness in that early morning light is exquisite. Looking forward to hearing the birth news!


  3. Wonderful shot of Dot or Dash peering at the camera. Looks like a child's toy.
    And the three in Photo #2 look so fat and healthy. You and Boss must be very
    proud of your brood. Curious to know how many different rams you use. I'm
    assuming you have to diversify the bloodlines. Of course, these days I guess
    it's all artificial insemination.

    1. Hi there, Sheila!
      Thanks for the kind words.
      In answer to your question, we only have one ram. A good ram can service up to 50 ewes (although I don't know anyone who pushes them quite that hard) so we don't have need for more than one. We haven't room for more than 20 ewes at a time. The rams will also fight amongst themselves if they are not kept separated. And, yes, I know that from personal experience.
      To keep some genetic diversity, we get a new ram from time to time. (about every 4 or 5 years). Our ewes are of different backgrounds and we try to continue the diverse bloodlines while maintaining some sort of uniformity in the flock.
      I don't think I know anyone who AI's sheep. Although, I am sure it is possible. My only experience with that was with the dairy cattle we used to keep. I would think sheep would be harder as they do not have a visible heat cycle.