Monday, April 14, 2014

Oh, my - lookie what I found in the barn this morning!

Well, I got kind of a late start this morning - I was supposed to run a fan motor into town "early" but, you know, it IS my vacation this week -

But I did agree to go out and check on Wendy a couple of times - when I got out there at about 10:30 - look what I found!

Wendy had her babies.  All by herself, thank god.

I did get them settled in a jug (small pen for mom & lambs for my non sheepy friends)  -

There are two little ewes, both around 3 3/4 pounds (The Shepherd weighed them when he stopped in after lunch to "check on them"

They are both "moorit" or brown, and by looking at the amount of white on their heads and tails, they will probably turn and be fawn colored. 

Like I said, Wendy was a very good mom and had them all cleaned off in no time. 

Here is Donna & Django - it is amazing what a difference even 24 hours makes as far as the little ones getting around -

He seems like he is pretty mellow and laid back - that is a good thing for a ram. 

Here is Vikki & Wether #2 - they are hopping around and head butting each other already! 

Here is also a little video so you can hear the mamma talk to the babies.  (and them talk back)

Four down, one to go - the lamb count is 7 - 4 ewes, 1 ram and two wethers.  (or at least they will be as soon as they are big enough!) 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

More Babies!

 OK, so I warned you.

A little sheep heavy, I said -

The Shepherd stayed home from church this morning.  #1 he was exhausted from the Wonderful Woolies Wool Sale that we took part in yesterday (I promise I'll post some pictures later in the week)  #2 - he was pretty sure that Donna was ready to deliver.  Two years ago (her first baby) she delivered one honkin' big ram lamb. 

 This year, she did the same thing.  Good thing he stayed home, although she did not need his help this year. 

Another fine, big (over 6#!) ram lamb.

And I introduce Marietta's Django.

And that color is pretty true too.  Donna spent a couple of hours cleaning him up.  He's pretty darn handsome!  

 Ahem, excuse me, sir, do you know when my room will be ready? 

So once she heard Donna talking to Django, Violet was knocking on the barn door, waiting and gnashing her teeth...

He no more than had Donna & Django settled in their jug, came in to get a snack, went back out and Violet had delivered a little grey & white ewe lamb, and wascleaning her up.  He came back in & got me (out of my nap, mind you) and so I grabbed my camera & headed back out with him.  Oh, Shepherd, I said - I think she is having another one.  "Oh, no, that's just the aftrebirth from the ewe."  Well, no, it was the second lamb.  This poor little guy made his appearance, kind of unnoticed by Violet - Plop, right on his noggin! 

 Which is why The Shepherd hangs out while the ewes are giving birth - they are generally pretty good, and Violet is a very good mama - but, they get a little sidetracked by the first one, and the second one often needs a little help.  He hadn't made a trip to Goodwill to get extra "sheep towels" so I had to dig through my stuff and came up with this paint stained t-shirt that I used to wear around the house - well, it's in the garbage now....

Wether #2 was a little bit slow getting on his feet, but was up and nursing in about 15 minutes. 

Unimpressed by these births, Bella took a nap in a sun puddle.  

Marietta's Vikki has some pretty unusual markings.  After Violet got her all cleaned up, she is bright white on the sidewalls with a browish gray stripe from nose to tail and grey brown legs. 

The Shepherd thinks she is the cutest thing going right now. 

Look at those curly little locks on her back.  

She really is pretty cute, don't ya think?  And boy, is that going to be a pretty fleece - 

Another gratuitous flower photo - this rhododendron was in the "decor" for our wedding 20 (!) years ago next Wednesday.  Wow, how time flys!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ease on down, ease on down the road -

Elliott & Frosty have been barn mates since we brought Elliott back from Eugene last June.  They've gotten along pretty darn well - but, Elliott was getting bored, and decided to take out his energies on his "Ramada" - do you see how the little roof over the door is "slightly" listing?  - That's because the blockhead punched the other 4"post out from under the back corner of it. Then he proceeded to work on the roof - Run, run, run, JUMP, bang, hit the roof.  Dot it again, do it again, do it again. 

It doesn't take much for a ram to get bored. 

After all, he "did his duty" in November and December and then The Shepherd took all his girlfriends away. 

It doesn't take much for a bored ram to get into trouble...See the big divot in the middle of his nose.  Big dummy -

Elliott photo bombing my picture of Frosty
It doesn't take much for The Shepherd to lose his patience with a destructive ram.  Oh, Elliott was always very respectful of The Shepherd, and never charged him, but Run, Run, Jump, Bam - he loved banging on that Ramada. 

So, now we come to the part of farming that I hate.  When The Shepherd takes somebody to The Auction.  :-(    -  It leaves me unsettled and with a longing for the way things were,  for days - sometimes weeks afterwards. 

Even the excitement of the new lambs doesn't dull the ache - Oh, I know, they've had good lives and were well treated here, and maybe, just maybe, someone will buy them to live on another farm, instead of going to "freezer camp" (ad my friend calls it)

But,  that's life on a farm - (and that's why all my chickens all died of old age, rather than for the stew pot...)

And like Dorothy said to the scarecrow in the Wiz - They've got to ease on down the road...

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Houston, the Eagle has landed.....

The "Inn at the Barn"welcomed it's first visitors on this fine Sunday afternoon.

This is Sandy with her lambs, as yet un-named - The little white one is a ram and the little spotted one is a ewe. 

This is Sandy and her brother Frosty on their birthday two years ago - April 7, 2012 - Sandy is the brown & white spotted one - the little black & white is Frosty -  The Shepherd thinks that Sandy's new little girl looks like Frosty, so he's thinking of calling her "Frostianna" - Would not be my choice of a name, but they are his sheep.  I can only make suggestions...

And look who was snoopervising...

I couldn't figure out how Bella got up there, but She/he is sitting on the rest of the lambing panels -

Always interested in what is going on in the barn - Neelix was like that too.  Bella loves it when there are lambs. 

The lambs are probably less than an hour old here - so you can still see their umbilical cords hanging down - kind of gory - but The Shepherd takes a hands off approach in that department - many people dip them in iodine, etc.  He just lets the mom take care of them. 

After the trip to the barn, I did a little walk around to see what's blooming right now and what's growing, etc.

I love these little mini daffs - each blossom is about as big around as a quarter.

The rhubarb is growing in leaps and bounds - we will have enough for pie soon. 

This is the front flower bed when you come up to our place.  It is so pretty with the blue carpet of glory of the snow right now.

And I love this little clump of Grape Hyacinths - it is one of my favorite spring flowers - it always reminds me of "home" as there were literally thousands of plants in my mom's garden. They lined all the walkways.  My little sister & I used to pick them, strip the blossoms off and use them as "blueberries" in our mud pies.  He he he he...

We have four more ewes pregnant - so expect the blog to be a little "sheep heavy" for the next three or four weeks. :-)

Next Saturday we will be at a local farm/wool sale with our fleeces and some of my yarn.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can sell some of it.  I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that the weather, which is forecasted to be Sunny and about 60 degrees holds.  The past two years it has snowed!! 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

A fit of whimsey

Ever since the 70's  (ie after high school, off to college to become a "hippie girl") I've had long hair, (really long - mid back to waist length) with the exception of a few times over the years.  Yesterday it was almost to my waist. 

I'll add here that it has been just a weird week - at work customers were pissy and demanding.  It seems that my co-workers and I all have just a little bit of spring fever - squirrely, to say the least.  I was ready for a change. 
Today, in a fit of whimsey, I got my hair cut!  Well, actually, I knew last Sunday that I would get it cut today, but I didn't think we'd go this short...

It is the shortest it has been in about 35 years (& those waves you see is the natural curl that has shown up since it is being weighed down by length)

Holy Catalina! 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Gravy Train Freeway?

Hello kittehs & peeps!

Gracie here with a Midweek Report for you.

The Shepherd came into the house the other day and asked Mummy if she knew that we kittehs  had worn a path on the ground at the end of the house.  Mummy said something like "Sure" - but didn't realize how noticeable it was until she looked at this picture that she took of me showing off my resplendent furs.  

As you can see, right along the house is the path where our little footies prance and dance while we are outside.

We have our own Gravy Train Freeway!

Mummy says she'll be back later this week with a recipe that she made up for a gathering last weekend - Muffaletta Wraps  - I have it on good authority that they turned out pretty tasty.


Love, your roving reporter, Gracie


Sunday, March 23, 2014

The "fruit's of his labors - - -

Most of the time you think of "harvest" on the farm as being in the fall.  Not so with sheep - your harvest is the fleece, that comes in the spring with the shearing.  The "crop" you have worked on all year - keeping good nutrition, TRYING to keep them clean, etc.

Elliott's fleece is fluffy and soft, and comparatively clean, in regards to what he's been up to lately -

 As you can see, he's taken a little dislike to the "ramada" on his little barn.  None of the other rams we have ever had have bothered it - they seemed to realize it kept the rain and the heat of the day off  of them - but this little  stinker banged on the 4" support post until he broke it, then proceeded to run and jump up at the roof - further deteriorating the particle board that was under the shingles - covering his fleece with it.  Luckily, while The Shepherd was waiting for the shearer to arrive  a few weeks ago, he had some one on one time with Elliott and was able to pick a lot of that crap out of his fleece prior to shearing. 

This is a sample of Vanessa's fleece - it will  wash up a real pretty honey color, I'm sure.

Another sample of Elliott on the left, with Donna on the right - Donna's fleece has really lightened up this year.  It has nice crimp to it though.

This is the sample that really made me swoon - which I was already doing from the lovely smell of the fresh fleece and the grease from the lanolin on my hands - This is Sandy's fleece - look at those crimpy locks.

The ends are kind of sticky with the dirt/lanolin "gunk" that gets out at the tips of her fleece and The Shepherd was going to take a pair of scissors to it and cut off those ends.

"Wait a minute!" I said - "let me try washing out a bit of it!"

Here is part of her fleece after a little soak in a "hot tub" of hot hot water and wool wash.

Oh, yeah -baby - look at that - and you should feel it.  I think any spinner would love to get his or her hands on this fleece, don't you? 

Here's a close up of the washed locks -

Very nice. 

And of course, an obligatory Kitteh picture of George, that I managed to nab while he was out tearing up the nursery the other day. 

Speaking of Cats - A "sweet 16" side note - The Shepherd was beside himself this evening - do you root for your "home team" - in this case the Arizona Wildcats - from his home town of Tucson, or for the "home team" - the Gonzaga Zags - the local team from Spokane.  I think he ended up rooting for his Wildercats - they won pretty handily.   Go Wildcats!