Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Not Yet

Zora's first snow

Still no new lambs! I was expecting Mira to lamb 7 days ago. Every day I say "she looks different", and think surely this will be the day. I have had dreams, Lyndy has had dreams, Mira has what I think are signs everyday but still we wait. Family came and went without seeing a lamb born. Sure glad Zora was here to entertain everyone.

It was nice having company going to the barn at night. It was nice have help with morning chores. It was nice having my brother work on the arbor. It was nice having Cathy clear out the dyeing garden. It was nice eating so well for 3 days. Thanks family!! We worked and we waited but still no new lambs.

Zora is checking out all the ewes trying to find someone to play with. Today, she strayed to far from mom (at least in Beau's mind). Beau put his nose on Sarah's flank and pushed her toward Zora as if to say, "please take better care of your lamb,". I think Sarah will be glad when Zora has some lambs to play with but I wonder if Beau will get overwhelmed?

Family is gone and now good friends are visiting. I sure hope they get to see new lambs. I checked the sheep info and it says just wait. O.K. I will wait-- What else can I do?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Still no New Lambs but look what Zora did

I was down at the cabin yesterday doing some fiber and work and waiting for these two to let me know if they were ready. Actually Charlotte isn't due for a few days but she looks more ready than Mira who's date I wrote down as 22nd or so.

I heard Mira baaing and went to check. She seemed fine. Sarah and Zora were hanging out but when I watched Zora she wasn't putting wait on her left rear leg. I checked her out but couldn't determine what was going on.

Since Zora is the first lamb I have been up close and personal with, I decided I should have her checked out by the vet. I called and they said to bring her in. It was around 4 P.M. so I called my neighbor to see if she had a crate. She didn't but said she would come along and hold Zora.

She asked me if Beau was going to let me take the lamb out so this readied me for my plan of getting her. They were all near the gate so I walked in, walked over and scooped up Zora, walked swiftly to the gate and escaped. All the sheep started baaing loudly but I didn't look back.

Once in the van, Zora melted into my neighbors lap. She didn't seem to mind that she was taken from her mom at first. When she would baa, my neighbor scratch under her chin and she was content once again. She got some good lung exercise while being attended to but didn't get too stressed out.

The vet was great. He hold me she was probably stepped on and it could be a small fracture or torn ligament or combination. He drew me a great diagram and explained his theory. He said the treatment would be the same (splinting) for all possibilities so said x-rays weren't necessary unless I really wanted them. We opted out. He put the splint on and showed me what to to look out for and how to wrap it if I needed to redo it. And of course no swimming.

When we returned it was about 1 1/2 hours later and all the sheep were grazing except Sarah who was near the barn and seemed to be searching for Zora. When she saw me, she came running to the gate. Beau came too. I set Zora in the gate, just like nothing had happened, and she ran to her mom and nursed a long time. Sarah checked her all over and Beau wanted to smell everything.

The splint only slows Zora down a little and she has figured out how to rest.

All seems calm this morning but it is time for another check.

Monday, March 21, 2011


Sarah's little girl has a name thanks to Lyndy. Her name is Zora; a perfect name for her.

Zora got to go out into the real world today. Her mom was great about showing her around. Check out Zora's day. Click on the pictures to enlarge and see one reason why Zora fits her so well.

It was so cute to see Sarah taking such good care of Zora; not letting her go out into the pasture, checking out Sarah's favorite spots.

Hanging around with the flock.

I thought it would be better if Zora stayed in the little pasture for a few days so she wouldn't get out in the open pasture. That wasn't Sarah's plan; she had that all figured out. They went through the barn, around the barn, up into the trees, back to the barn, around the barn, along the fence. It was beautiful to watch.

Sarah discouraged the sheep from getting too close but allow Beau to be right with them. Beau immediately started looking out for her. The rest of the sheep decided to go to the far end of the pasture but Sarah kept Zora close to the barn. Beau checked out where the sheep were going and seemed torn between going with them and staying with Sarah and Zora-- he stayed with Sarah and Zora.

I have to keep reminding myself that I am just the grandmother and should not interfere-mother knows best.

I did help a little at bedtime. First, I had to get Sarah and Zora back into their jug so I could use grain to coax the rest into the barn for the night without worrying about them stepping on Zora. Mira should be close to her time and I wanted her to be in the barn for the night. John helped me get everyone where they needed to be and then came the lightening, thunder, and heavy heavy rain. It passed through quickly but I was glad everyone was in the barn.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

New Life at Cabin Spring Farm

Sarah's big day today. She had twins today at around 11 this morning. Unfortunately one of the twins was still born. Here is a picture of Sarah's little girl watching her eat. She is a very curious lamb. She is a good eater and Sarah is a good mom. It is so cute to see them together.
No good pictures of her face until tomorrow. The barn was too dark and the flash came up. Didn't want to flash her in the eyes on her first day. She has the coloring of her dad.

Beau was very interested and Sarah didn't mind him checking out her lamb as much as she did me. I am afraid I was hovering a bit too much.

I am sorry Sarah's son did not survive but that is the way of farm life and all life.

No name yet. Karen came up with some good ones but waiting to see what Lyndy comes up with-- names are one of her specialties. She may come tomorrow.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Daylight Savings and a Full Moon

Not sure I like daylight savings. The chickens stay out too late and the sheep aren't ready to go in for the night so it makes extra trips to the barn. As it is, I didn't come in until 7:00 because I didn't know it was so late and I still have to go out again later.

Guess I just have to read the daylight better or put a clock in the barn. Do barns have clocks? I guess most people wear watches but that has never worked for me.

Here are the shapely sheep at Cabin Spring Farm.

Charlotte looks like she might have twins

Sarah is due in two days!! I hope she doesn't have triplets.

Amelia isn't due for a couple of weeks- how can that be?

I am still getting lambing jugs ready and trying to decide how I want to organize things. I decided that starting tonight I would close the sheep in the barn overnight and keep them in the small pasture during the days. That way maybe I won't have sheep delivering lambs in distant places. Also, a sheep farmer friend of mine said you have to watch out for buzzards when the lambs are first born and the small pasture is more closed in.

Already things are not going according to plans. I just went out to close the chickens in their coop and fed the sheep some grain in the barn but somehow three escaped when I wasn't ready. Oh well, tomorrow I will be smarter or change my plan. At least Sarah is in tonight.

It looks like the weather is going to be good for the beginning of lambing; warm days and nights above freezing. AND the moon is going to be full Saturday night. I wonder if full moons have the same effect on sheep near due as they do on humans near due.

Don't think I like daylight savings but I do like full moons.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

White 1 is Missing

This afternoon the sheep were out grazing a new area and went through the temporary fence so I moved them to the cabin area to fix the fence. When I did so, I noticed the chickens were dust bathing under the tree where they were last week. White 1 wasn't with the rest. I didn't count the chickens when they came out. I always count the sheep but not always the chickens. They are not always together so I didn't think much of it but later when I came back from the grocery store, still no White 1. Even when the others went in for the night she was no where to be seen. I didn't hear or see anything. I was around all day. Don't know what could have happened to her. It is almost 1 year to the day since we got the chickens.

The chickens have become used to running all over the yard and pasture and down to the spring so I didn't know where to begin to look for her. We looked in all usual places.

On a happier note, I have been looking at the sheep more and more since they are getting closer to lambing and I think I saw Mira's lamb kick. It happened a couple of times. Funny twitches. Their udders are getting bigger by the day. It is hard to believe the little ones are going to be moms I still think of them as babies even though they are 2 years old. Mira and Sarah are 3 and Hildegard is 4.

Sarah is due this Saturday or thereabouts. Most things are ready but I am nervous and anxious to get a few lambs born. I have almost done all that I can do. Now, I just pray that the girls have easy deliveries or God reminds me what to do.

I hope White 1 shows up tomorrow but we may never know where she went. It is easier to keep track of the sheep, or at least with 6, 16 or so might be a different story.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The day had come to finish shearing the girls. It was raining again but they had been in the barn Tuesday night so they were dry. Patty came around 10 and they were all done around 2.

Here is a great before and after picture Patty took between sheep.

Patty was a hair dresser for many years so she really had the skills (physical and social). She was great with the girls talking to them all the time. I think Karen would really enjoy shearing. Cathy too. I was holding, rocking, flipping, holding and reassuring them the whole way.

This morning everyone looks smaller, younger, a different color, and HAPPY. I wonder what Beau thinks? THANK YOU PATTY!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Drying Out

Blue sky and a gentle wind perfect for drying things out. It is hard to believe that the deluge of rain was just yesterday. Today was DELIGHTFUL. Here are photos from my morning rounds. Most of the barnyard looked like this

I raked and kicked all the wet straw out of the barn into the sun to dry.

The line between wet and dry.

Sarah's new look. She is accepted again.

Whenever Beau sees me with a camera he always wants his picture taken. Here is his silly pose for today.

Yesterday was stressful all the way around. Today was Superb.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Feeling Like a Farmer

When it rains as much as it has in the past two days, it make me feel like a farmer. I have been spending more time in the barn than my house. It's not just the rain, it is the rain on top of projects and change of schedule for the animals.

With Sarah due in two weeks, I needed to shear her. In order to shear her, I had to change latches on the fence that confines the sheep. I did that yesterday. Then Mira and Hildegard had to do the butting thing with Sarah because she looks so different that she might be a new sheep. I have heard that a sheep can recognize up to 50 other sheep and remember them for I forget how long BUT that is if they don't get sheared.

Since they were ganging up on her, I thought it best to keep them all in the barn over night to sort things out and then I could keep them dry so I could shear Mira today so Sarah wouldn't be the only one. Also I want them to get used to staying in the barn at night so they will lamb in the barn instead of the pasture.

I have decided that I better get better at shearing in a hurry or hire someone. Things did not go so well shearing today. I forgot the hot water to put the shears in periodically, the sharpening tool, batteries for the radio, and I forget what else. It takes me way to long and no one wants to stay still that long.

I am suppose to have help shearing Wednesday from a woman who likes to shear. She is going to show me how she does it. I am looking forward to it.

The rain was steady all day and by the end of the day it was really hard to walk in the barnyard. It is suppose to stop tonight and be sunny or mostly sunny the next couple of days. I hope I can dry out some of the straw in the barn since I just put a bale + down a couple of days ago.

Something tells me I am going to feel like a farmer most of this week.

Pictures tomorrow.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Can't Wait to Look Back on This and Laugh

The good news is: I trimmed two of Mira's hooves, they weren't as bad as I thought, and she is still speaking to me. The bad new is I have two hooves to go and I have to shear her.

Of the six sheep, Mirabai is the most anxious when it comes to doing anything on her-- or at least she is the hardest. Annie is anxious but she is small and much easier to handle. Because Mira is so difficult, I clicker trained her last summer so she would let me touch her and put a halter on her. Well, that part worked, I got a halter on her. Now I need to confine her in a smaller place so she can't move so much. I think working with her on her feet is going to be easier than tipping her. At least she keeps coming back to me for food and scratches and seems not to hold today against me. I think Mira is going to teach me alot. The funny thing is, I don't dread going back to working on her again tomorrow, if I can get John's help initially.

I had planned to do Mira's hooves and shear either her or Sarah today. Big plans. It took me a long time to collect everything I needed. What a farce! First halter had to be re sized and still didn't seem big enough. Then I almost left the hooves trimmers in the closet I was planning on tying Mira to the door handle of. The short of it is--- I didn't have it all figured out but now I am closer. I have got to be more efficient about moving the sheep. If I find 6 hard what about 12 or 18. I must be mad.

Tomorrow, I can reinforce the small coral fence with some hardware that came in the mail today and then we can work in a smaller space and see how that goes. I hope the rain holds off a bit. No problem for trimming hooves but no good for shearing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Busy Morning

When I woke up this morning at 7:30 I knew this was the day I have been waiting for. There was a heavy frost, so I jumped up, grabbed my clover seed, and headed for the main pasture.

Pasture improvement is one of the most important things a sheep farmer (or any farmer) can do. The first thing our just retired cooperative extension agent told me to do was plant clover. Then he told me clover was cold hardy and the best way to plant it is to frost seed it. The idea is, that if you sow the seed on the frost the soil is heaved to some extent and then when the day warms up the frost melts and draws the seed into the ground. Sounds good to me.

My rewards for getting up and getting out there were many. For one thing, when I got up to the southwest corner of the pasture I found a BIG cedar, that must have been uprooted in one of the last windstorms, laying on the fence. Then, as I continued, I saw 3 brilliant male bluebirds fighting for the affections of 1 female. She had made her choice and was sticking near the lucky one. Later, down the pasture, I saw them checking out the bluebird house at the bottom of the driveway. All along the way, I enjoyed the views that I could never take for granted.

Beau came over to see what I was up to and helped me plant some seed. He blew gently on it as he was smelling it. Then the sheep came hoping it was more food for them.

My wonderful husband got out the chain saw and we cleared the cedar from the fence. It was a possible entry point for a predator. Not anymore.

What a busy morning when you add in the regular chores. I didn't get breakfast until 10:00.