Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 3-27

If you have ever wondered...
the grass IS greener on the other side of the fence
I can’t believe it’s Sunday already…

It’s been one of those weeks that left me wondering just WHAT I have been doing for the 168 hours since last Sunday. (because, it certainly wasn’t what I had planned)

Once last week’s icicles melted, Spring really came to the Valley. (did you see the pictures?)

bluebird checking out birdhouse
While it IS beautiful and there are more flowers blooming every day and there are all sorts of birds singing, it is still cold. There was a skim of ice in the stocktank out back, so we won’t be getting too excited about planting just yet.
frosty grass

cat checking out birdhouse
(don't think we'll have new neighbors after all)

The sick sheep that figured prominently in last week’s post made a slow, sporadic recovery. First she would seem fine…then, she didn’t seem so good. As of Saturday evening, she seemed much better and was taking advantage of the knowledge that if she stayed in the barn, she would get a hand-out. It may be that sheep are smarter than we give them credit for being! But, after a week of treatment, I can finally say she looks much better.

Unfortunately, the last bottle baby isn’t doing so great. I’m not sure exactly what her problem is. I’m leaning toward pneumonia…but, it’s hard to say. As a triplet, the deck has been stacked against her since the beginning, but, we’re giving it our best shot. Again, she looks like she is recovering and then…not so much. Vetting sheep is generally an unrewarding business…so, again, we have to take the “wait and see” approach. 

WAIT seemed to be the watchword for the week. And waiting is not something I do very well…so, the week was a challenge, to say the least. (more on that in a minute)

After the chilly start to the week and the regular town run, I made a trip over to the Draft to pick up plastic bags for Market season. (I bet you never thought about the fact that we have to buy bags! There are actually a number of sales supplies we find necessary) We use plastic bread bags to package our greens for sale. That $80 purchase of 4000 bags should last the season and allow us to sell a LOT of lettuce. And, if we filled them all, AND sold them all, we would make about $12,000!

My other reason for going to the Draft was so Toughchick could borrow the farm truck and I could babysit the Kman while she did so. He and I had a good time swinging and playing with rocks and pinecones outside.

Then it was time to work the sheep again. This time of year, it seems like everything focuses on the sheep shed.  …and it does. It was time for the lambs to get their last vaccination. This will complete their protection from tetanus and other clostridial diseases. While we will continue to monitor them for internal parasites (and treat accordingly) they will not get any other shots. We took the opportunity to weigh them as well.  The largest one weighs 86#! And, the entire group has gained over 500# since we worked them last month. They are growing very well and all looked quite healthy. (except for the bottle baby) We had no major mishaps…which is always a good thing. No, wait. There was an incident…near the end of the project, one of the smaller lambs flipped out and squeezed through the gate. Then, realizing she was separated from all the other sheep, she really freaked out and started running around the barn and jumping up in the air, banging into the walls. She came at me, I reached to grab her…and she jumped straight up in the air and OVER my shoulder through the gate and into the barnyard. Seriously…OVER my shoulder! The Boss and I just stood with our mouths agape in total amazement. (she was later captured and medicated)
This is a LAMB!
She weighs 86# and she's just 2  1/2 months old

tilling in the hoophouse

With that job out of the way, the Boss tilled in hoophouse #1, so I could plant. It was my goal to get all the planting finished by the end of the week. And, I had some help. Blondie brought Mr. B to visit and they helped me with the transplants. Mr. B did a little taste testing. He tried spinach (eh, okay) and an onion (eww, blech), but seemed a little too intent on eating dirt for his mom’s liking.

in the hoophouse

he also met the sheep

For the record, I did NOT finish the transplanting…

Remember I mentioned WAITING?

We have been WAITING for the last ewe to lamb for what seems like FOREVER. She didn’t breed when all the others did. Obviously. I honestly didn’t think she got bred at all, but, she did…just way later. WAY later! This is a real management problem that I won’t go into here, but I guess late lambs are better than no lambs…

Friday morning, she was FINALLY in labor! Leaving her to her own devices for a while, I went to check on the other thing we were waiting for.

Broiler batch #2 was on its way from the hatchery.

The hatchery sends us an email to let us know that the chicks are in the mail. The USPS has this cool thing where they will text you with the progress of the package from start of journey until delivery. This is great. Not too long ago, you just had to order the chicks and HOPE that everything went okay. Then the Post Office would call and you could pick them up. It could be quite nerve-wracking and occasionally the whole system failed.  So, this new process is great. I love modern technology. (well, most of the time) The email gave Friday as the delivery date. I got a text that said the chicks left Staunton at 8:53am. Great! That meant they should be at the Post Office when it opened at 9:45am and we could pick up the chicks and get on with the day.

The Boss had pulled the old broiler pen apart and we needed to take all the mess to the dump so he could use the truck for other things. If we planned it just right, we could have a “lunch date” as well.

9:45 came and went. No call from the Post Office.

I checked on the ewe.

She was in the process of delivery a big ram lamb. He was stuck by his hips and hanging upside down and she turned around and around, looking for her baby (Not so bright, mama...sigh). I pulled him out and she got to work cleaning him up. He was fine, despite his awkward arrival. He weighed in at 12.2#. I hung around for a bit, checking to see if there would be any more lambs.

By this time, it was 10:30 and still no call from the Post Office. I called them… The carrier hadn’t arrived from Staunton…they’d let me know…

The Boss loaded the truck for the dump trip. It got later. I checked on the ewe again. Definitely a single…

We were hoping to get to the dump before lunchtime, but that wasn’t going to happen now. And, we really needed to pick up the chicks BEFORE we left so they could have food and water after being in the mail for such a long time. (they left the hatchery at 11pm on the 23rd)

Still no word. It was nearing noon.

He went down to the Post Office. Nope. Still hadn’t seen the carrier…

We ate lunch, waiting for the phone call.

He left for the dump, and I stayed here…waiting for the phone call…

He passed the carrier on his way to the dump and called me to let me know. Surely I could pick the chicks up soon.

I continued to do little jobs…waiting for the phonecall.

As he was coming BACK from the dump trip, the Post Office FINALLY called. I saw him look at me in astonishment as I passed him on the lane on my trip to pick up the chicks.

It took FOUR hours for those chicks to make the 12-mile trip from Staunton! I have NO idea why. That’s never happened before. The Postal employee suggested that we make arrangements to have the Post Office in town hold them for us, rather than wait for the carrier. Geez

Anyway, the chicks were none the worse for wear for their extended trip. They made the adjustment quite well. On the other hand, my entire day was disrupted and I never did find my groove again…oh, well…that’s just the way it goes sometimes.

Spring means tilling and the Boss got both of the bigger garden plots done on Saturday morning. We need to pull all the irrigation tapes from the garden beds before he can till those. That was one of those jobs we were supposed to get to earlier…but…you know how that goes. I guess that will be priority for this week.

Saturday, we joined everyone for Kman’s first birthday party. What a fun time! I do hope that one day he will understand and appreciate the amazing gift he has in his extended family.   I can’t believe he’s already a year old!

Happy Birthday, sweet man!

…and that brings us to the end of another week.

Hope you’re having a

Happy Sunday! 

This time next week, we will have completed the first Market of the 2016 season. I can’t believe the “off-season” is over and I still haven’t completed all those projects I thought I’d get to this Winter.  Oh, well…there’s always next year…

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

Our Valley is getting greener...


  1. Hi, I just finished reading your post and absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for sharing all of your gardening, sheep, and chicken chores. Your spring is a little farther ahead of ours, it seems. -Jenn

    1. Thanks for coming by to visit! I hope you'll come again.
      I have visited your blog as well. I love your header! I'll be back for "coffeeontheporch" again soon.
      Have a wonderful day!

  2. I always look forward to your weekly updates. Seems this week was a busy one... as most are on the farm!