Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 1-31

This week has been all about waiting…

…and waiting.

snow on Mbrk Road
Allegheny Mountains

We are waiting for the snow to melt.

…waiting for my back to recover from the snow removal.

…waiting for the days to pass until it’s time to plant some seeds.

Gus relaxes with "snow-dog-yoga"

But, mostly, we’ve been waiting for “Reba” to drop her lambs. (we’ll get back to that one in just a bit)

And, in keeping with our WAITING theme…it has taken me forever to get this posted. Sorry that you were kept waiting this week as well.

snowy farm 1-24

snow cover 1-29

While the snowpack is a far cry from what it was last week---and, compared to some places that ended up with FOUR feet, this is nothing---we’ve reached that point where the snow is crusty and hard and ice from the melt has made for some treacherous walking conditions. No matter how much sunshine we see, the ground is still white in many places.

snowy garden

icicles everywhere

Today the temperature is supposed to reach the mid-fifties, so I’m hoping the snow will probably be a memory before too long. And, I’m trying not to think about those predictions for February…

With all the snow on the ground, it is next to impossible to get anything done outdoors, so we remain in a “holding pattern” for a while longer. But, this gives us an opportunity to get some inside work done. (well, in theory anyway)

It really seems like we were just doing time…waiting…

"Reba" waiting for lambs
“Reba” the sheep was due to drop her first lambs this week. Monday, to be exact. Now, you may remember “Reba” the sheep from her barn dancing days…If you didn’t read that one, you really should. It has a video of sheep "dancing".  I get to watch this same performance most afternoons   as I prepare supper since the kitchen window faces the barn. The players may change, but there is some sort of exuberant dancing/running/playing every afternoon as the lambs get ready for Lamb Racing  later in the season. (again, a video worthy of your time)


First-time ewes are notoriously worrisome. It seems that if a sheep is going to have birthing issues, it is generally that first lambing. So, given that fact (and Reba’s propensity for the dramatic) I was keeping a close eye on her. Monday, nothing. Tuesday, nothing. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, nothing. *sigh*

Now, in order for me to assure you (and myself) that nothing is indeed going on, I must go to the barn and physically check on Reba. (or whichever ewe is due) The cold weather demands that I don hat, coveralls, coat, boots and gloves. Every. Single. Time.  If the trip is in the middle of the night, which is also part of the job description, I have to have my headlamp as well. More often than not, I have a couple of lamb bottles tucked into my pockets. So, a trip to the barn is more like an expedition. And, lambing season is a marathon… (yes, I have heard of “barn cam”…but, it seems an awfully expensive option for a three week need)

And, if I wasn't going to the barn ALL the time, I'd miss out on seeing things like this...

He sleeps like this every night!

update on "lil Bitty"
she's up over 12 pounds!
today's warm temps means she won't need her sweater anymore
snowy lamb

one of the bottle babies
they are well over 20# now!

Finally, in the wee hours of Saturday morning, it appeared that THE TIME was finally here. Waited another hour…nothing. Two. Three. I was getting worried.

Not only was the labor NOT progressing, the Boss and I HAD to go to town for our sales delivery. I was torn. He needed me. The sheep needed me. (well, at least I thought they did)

Blondie and Tbone to the rescue!

Blondie went downtown with the Boss to do deliveries, while Tbone stayed here to give me some assistance if necessary.

While we didn’t need to do any of this special planning, here’s a special shout-out of thanks to Tbone for hanging out with me just in case. And, while it would have been kind of cool to have our “15 minutes of fame” and become Youtube sensations if we had been able to film Mamaw, Daddy and Baby Blake delivering a lamb…it’s probably for the best that we were still waiting when the Boss returned to the hill.

By this point, things didn’t look so imminent. As a matter of fact, I was beginning to wonder if I had imagined the whole thing. And, I was supposed to join the kids for a “painting party” over and Toughchick and the Man’s new house. The Boss assured me that he had it under control and I took off. (the new house is only 15 minutes away…so…)
yes, my daughter IS painting the ceiling
with her son on her back!
Don't call her Toughchick for nothin'

As I painted, I could hear the rest of the painting party talking and laughing as they worked in other parts of the house. I got to thinking how blessed my girls are. There were siblings and in-laws and extended family members all pitching in and getting the work done. Everyone was getting along. It doesn’t matter how hard things get…when you’ve got family like this, that’s there for you every time you need it…you are blessed. Not everyone is so blessed, I know this for a sad fact. But, I found yesterday’s work party most encouraging and somewhat inspiring. These people rock!


Blake and Mamaw takin' a break

While I was having these deep and profound thoughts, my phone rang.

It was the Boss.

Yep…the waiting was done!

I hadn’t been gone an hour and “Reba” finally lambed. There was another one coming…so, I did a little ovine mid-wifery by phone…but, it was really all about the Boss and Reba. And, they did a great job!

By the time I got home a couple hours later, the new family was comfortably settled in their little jug pen and adjusting to life in the barn. Another ewe/ram combo brings the present lamb count to 10.

new babies

More nice lambs, although I have some concerns about the little ewe. She has a case of entropion (in both eyes). This is when the lower eyelid turns in and allows the eyelashes to scrape along the eyeball. If this isn’t corrected, it will not only cause the sheep a great deal of discomfort, but it can lead to blindness. There are a number of simple remedies (that I will try first), but this seems to be a severe case. I am not really looking forward to treating this, as I have never attempted to use a needle anywhere near an eyeball. Yeah, ewwww. (an update may be necessary) This is hereditary, (generally from the ram) so, now we have yet another concern. We will be on the lookout for it as the rest of the lambs arrive.
see how weepy her eye looks?
This is from the irritation of the lashes on the cornea

My trips to the barn remain the focus of my life since the rest of the ewes are due by next Saturday. But, I’m going to change up with the coming week, because the first of February means it’s time to start seeds for the early broccoli crop! 

love the view through the greenhouse window

That should mean that the upcoming week will be one of ACTION! 

(seriously, all this waiting around has gotten incredibly OLD)

Apparently, Gus can't take the "excitement"...

Hope you’re having a Happy Sunday! 

Thanks for stopping by.  Come back and “visit” real soon!


  1. When I look at the photograph of Gus (above) and then read of your hectic week I can't help thinking that really sometimes it would be rather nice to be a dog.

  2. Sounds an excellent day!
    You got some amazing clicks.!!
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful pictures.

  3. I love looking at all this snowy pictures! Your farm is beautiful and Gus is awesome. We have a pair of Great Pyrenees. Aren't they the most incredible dogs? We use them to guard our chickens. I added your blog to my list of favorites on my blog! I will keep checking back to see all your sweet lambs! We are expanding livestock this year and I need all the help and suggestions I can get!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!
      I love the Pyrs. We have 2. (Ellie Mae didn't make an appearance in this week's post) They keep an eye on everything around here.
      I hope you will come "visit" us often. We started from the ground up back in '97, so we can say we "been there, done that" to a whole lot of things.
      Best to you as you expand your farm. I'll be following you on your adventure.
      Thanks again for the nice comment!