Sunday, May 8, 2016

Sunday Walkabout 5-8

Rain makes mud...
...and mud makes Gus so very "attractive"!


When everyone was concerned about our lack of precipitation, with just how dry and dusty everything had gotten, they started talking about how much we needed rain. Lotsa rain!

there are SNAILS everywhere
Perhaps we should have been a little more specific in our requests, or not made such pleading requests of the Almighty. We sure got the rain! Perhaps a little too much rain…and it’s in the forecast AGAIN.

the broccoli plants look GREAT!
but, look at all the teeny, tiny weeds

I’m pretty sure the soil moisture is back on the positive side and if the weeds are any indication, plant growth is going to be amazing this week.  And, oh, my goodness...the MUD!

"madder than a wet hen"

I cannot begin to tell you how many people told me how we needed some sunshine while we were at the Market yesterday.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself…

The lamb I talked about last week wasn’t making any great recovery. As a matter of fact, we had been certain all along that she would never recover, so we had to make a decision as to what to do about the whole subject. Just putting her “down” would be a total waste.

Now…if you have issues with eating meat…you really need to change channels now. (come back some other time when I’m talking about something else)

We raise lambs for meat, pure and simple. This lamb was one of the early ones and destined to be on the first trip to the processor’s. When I realized she had a problem, I was hoping we could just keep it under control for a while. However, the trip wasn’t scheduled until early June. That’s a long time to control this particular type of ailment.

We have seen this problem a couple of times over the years. Once in a show lamb (with a very short-docked tail) and once in some random ewe lamb. It happens more often in ewe lambs than ram lambs, as the ewe lambs naturally put down more internal fat earlier in their lives than the males. There are several stop-gap measures that will correct the issue for the short-term, but ultimately nothing will guarantee success or a productive life for the animal. We had already tried more than one, and it certainly wouldn’t be economically prudent to call the vet.

At the risk of TMI (too much information), a rectal prolapse occurs when the muscles of the animal’s anus are not strong enough to hold the bowels inside. Any straining (coughing, vocalizing, or voiding---going to the bathroom) can cause the “insides” to pop out. Eventually, the “insides” cannot go back inside and the animal will die. The cause of death would be either from infection or bleeding out if the intestines are somehow injured. It would be a slow and gruesome death.

All that to say, this lamb was going to be lambchops far sooner than we had anticipated.

heading to the butcher

It certainly wasn’t worth a drive to our usual processor for one little lamb. (and I didn’t want to attempt to re-schedule the whole deal) So, without that USDA inspection, this one was going in our freezer. That’s okay, we need nourishment, too. We toyed with the idea of processing it ourselves. But, we really didn’t have the time, or (amazingly) the equipment to do a proper job. Maybe the local butcher who does custom processing could take care of it sometime soon. The Boss made a phonecall…and he said bring her over. (like, right now!)

So, Monday afternoon, the Boss found himself hauling a lamb down the road after lunch…and solving what had become a worrisome issue with relative ease. We will go pick up the packaged meat in about ten days.

With that lamb issue resolved, it was time to create another one.

It’s weaning time!
"Doris" complained profusely

If you were anywhere nearby during the early part of the week, you probably figured that out. It was loud!
the lambs have taken to following me everywhere

except this one
yes, he IS stuck in the fence
(a story for another time)

Once the lambs are two months old, it’s time to think about separating them from their mothers. This is done so that the ewes can regain their body condition prior to breeding season in August. You can read about the process by clicking HERE.Be sure to click on the links…there’s video of the noise. (and believe me, that’s nothing compared to reality!)
just chillin' behind the barn

After a couple of days of the deafening din, everyone settles down and our peaceful country life resumes. The lambs have yet to figure out how to come when I call them, but at least they’re not screaming anymore. The ewes don’t care about their lambs at all. They’re up to their eyeballs in some of the most amazing grass I’ve ever seen.

Because, it’s been getting watered every single day. Seriously. I’m beginning to understand how Noah felt.

catching broilers
In between the rainstorms, we moved the broiler chicks out to the field pen. They didn’t seem to impressed to be part of the pen’s maiden voyage. Thankfully, batch #2 doesn’t seem to have any of the issues the first batch had and they have adjusted nicely.  
brand new broiler pen

out on pasture

Then the Boss got some green beans planted and I planted the last of the red onion sets to use as green onions. (if that’s not an oxymoron…I don’t know what is!) He also had to repair the hose to the ram pen which has apparently reached the end of its life expectancy. (this week’s town trip needs to include a stop for a new hose)
tilling for beans

bean seeds

planting beans

planting onions

onion sets

the Boss has a helper with the hose repair

In other news around the geriatric farm, we had yet another break-down. This week the tractor tiller was the problem item. We’ve had the tractor tiller since 1993, so I guess it was time. Now, I don’t know all the names for the parts (I tend to use the words doo-hickey and thing-a-ma-jig fairly often) or exactly what they’re supposed to do. But, I do know that when that chain got some slack in it, it peeled the steel right back like a banana peel, and that is NOT a good thing. Nor is a pile of grease on the outside of a piece of equipment.

I don't know exactly what this is...
but, I do know it's broken

What looked like an expensive repair/replacement was fixed (for the time being) with a visit to our great neighbor and his awesome repair shop. The tiller is back working!

great repair job

However, I think the Boss has resigned himself to the fact that with all our aging equipment, he should be on the look-out for replacements. Oh, well…with all the rain, he will have some time for on-line shopping…

We did other exciting things like cleaning/planting in the hoophouses and starting more seeds. A couple of areas seem to have fertility issues. So, I had the kitchen table looking like a scientific laboratory for a while as I tested nutrient levels. I hope that by better understanding the soil, I can correct and possibly prevent some growth issues and plant diseases. We shall see…

My soil test showed good results
I have SO much to learn!

All too quickly, it was time for the Market once more. Despite a slow start to the day, it turned out to be another great day for sales! …and we had a chance to visit with a number of folks we hadn’t seen in a while. (Hey, Katie and Dave!)

empty shelves
pretty flowers
perfect end to the Market!

And, now it’s our day of rest…and scoping out a new site for an asparagus patch…

I hope you’re having a

Happy Sunday! 

I love the sky after a rain
everything looks so clean, clear and beautiful!

It looks like the week ahead is going to offer more than a few planting challenges as we dodge raindrops and thunderstorms (if you give the forecast any credence). 

...and the weeding...oh, my...that's going to be a full time job!

Thanks for stopping by! Hope you’ll come “visit” again real soon.

Here’s the link to this week’s Market photos…


  1. Looks like a jungle out there. The sheep must be in grass heaven.

    1. The sheep are indeed in "grass heaven". We have moved beyond "jungle" to "rainforest"...we might need to start researching ARK-BUILDING. lol
      Have a great week!