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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring has arrived for sure

Spring flowers........spring is here and now we're working towards summer. But it's been a very cool spring....many early mornings we've seen temps in the upper 30's. Plants don't grow well in the 30's....but they're trying. Weird spring. My starts are planted, perennials are growing. My 'Russian Blueberry', actually a member of the honeysuckle family, is trying to take over the yard - the big green thing on the right. HAHA! This fall it will get a severe haircut so I can walk into the small front yard. In the meantime tho, it produces a ton of edible berries that are blue and juicy and sweet. Fun to just stand there and eat them.
The flower boxes are planted but growth is fairly slow...perhaps they will last longer into the fall.

I've been taking photos but I need to get some of my lovely lambs, some of which are for sale. I go out there and sit with them, scratching chins and chests, but forget to take my camera! Bad me! I lost a lamb, we all think he was defective at birth...sometimes that happens if you know what to look for. Just like in humans. People like to think all babies are born perfect, or at least some better than others, but just like with human babies, lambs are born with defects too. Some they can live with, some they can't. He graced us with his presence for 5 days and then poof, gone. His mother stayed close, knowing her boy needed her. She is a good mother. I fault neither of them, nor anyone else.

If you've only raised sheep for a little while, or just a few livestock with a few birthings, you don't get to see all of the many things mother nature can throw your way. But when you raise livestock for years, eventually you get to see most everything. I am sad I lost him...I worry I didn't do something that I should have. I will always worry and think and search the internet for more information and clues and what and how I can do things better. It's my job, I am their caretaker. If you can not deal with the occasional loss emotionally, then it can become too hard to raise livestock for you. Morals teach us tolerance, forgiveness, love, and faith. All of those things are needed for raising livestock in a respectful, humane manner. It is good to have morals, they support you when you feel you have failed, or when there is a death. If you raise livestock, you should try to look at the glass as half full. There are many people who will be glad to tell you it is half empty. You don't need that really you don't. The glass is always half full if you choose to farm, bet your life and lifestyle on producing enough...enough of whatever it is your farm produces to sustain your lifestyle. My glass is half full, I still have lovely lambs here, although not as many as I'd hoped for....but the lambs I have are wonderful.

I hope you enjoy your lambs and visit all of your animals today.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Happy Memorial Day!

Just a wish for a good holiday and remembrance of those that still fight for our freedom as well as those that have died doing so. Enjoy your day whever you are!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pouring rain...

It's pouring rain at the moment. In an area that gets less than 34 inches TOTAL precipitation annually, pouring rain is an unusual event. Even more unusual because it is May, normally a very dry month. This is a blessing...the hay fields are just turning green and the leaves have burst out on the trees. Such an important weekend for camping and BBQ's and bonfires, often ending in forest fires from careless embers. Yes, pouring rain in May, at the beginning of the holiday weekend, falling on the newly emerging grass.......oh what a wonderful blessing it is!!

Enjoy your day....

Sophie's boy

Sophie's new boy is a strapping Moorit ram lamb with a little Krunet going on...he's vocal and telling his newly-seen mom that he wants food and wants it now. So did she, decided that the Shepherd and her grain was far more important at the moment...he was non-plussed over that!

Comic relief...

In the middle of everything, there's always comic relief......

here, Natalie's gorgeous ewe lamb, now 5 weeks old, demonstrates her ability to pick up a stray chicken feather by the very end, making for an interesting white goatee.......

she was SHOCKED that I caught her in the act tho.........

Here's Sleeping Beauty's ewe lamb

A lovely girl with plenty of chrome arrived this morning!
Here she is, freshly washed and ready to try out her legs.
Welcome, little girl!

We're finally done lambing!

I'm happy to report that we're finally done lambing. YAY!

Alaska Sophie, a solid Moorit ewe, gave birth to a Moorit ram lamb with a tiny Krunet, sired by Caribbean.

Minwawe Sleeping Beauty, the last of the holdouts from Missouri, gave birth to a single ewe lamb.....good girl, Beauty!! She's a beautiful black with 2 white crew socks in the rear and none in the front; Smirslet, Yuglet, with that pretty white going down her chin onto her chest. Mom is being a good mother, she's perfectly cleaned off already and mom's keeping her very close. And she has Topple's black nose/muzzle smear too! Hehehehehe........

What a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend present! Now I can just sit back and watch the lambs grow, no more worry about who will lamb when.

Done for another year! PHEW!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Here he is....

Here's Cheesecake and her new son.

Pending evaluation when he gets a little older, this boy may indeed be for sale!

It's a boy!

Cheesy had a very handsome boy much like the girl below - one big white spot with black spots on him and yuglet eyes. Another 'white' Yuglet Flecket! We welcome this handsome dude to our farm! Photos soon.....

Monday, May 19, 2008

Tonight's pics

I have to tell you.....

I love this color pattern and markings.

Just ask Peeps...

I know, many of us spotted lovers drool over our "HST's". I love them too.

But this.........ooooooooooh my. She will have a grey body fleece with black spots in it. A lovely white head and socks with black Yuglet eyes. And those ears...big black spots on the tips. It's easy to see the grey at the base of her body fleece...and easy to see where it will be white.

I won't get ahead of myself...I can not name beautiful lambs until I am sure all is well. Especially those that I will keep for the future of my flock. I know all too well what can happen between now and then. Afterall, I AM 51 years old now and years of caring for animals has made me, well, cautious.

Isn't she lovely tho?!

Did I mention her dad, Captain Hook, was Grand Champion Shetland Ram at the Alaska State Fair last year?? Woohoo!

Oh, you are really good!

Really, you are good! It worked.

The bad streak of luck is now history.
Thank you.
This morning we have a new arrival. Flutter delivered a beautiful Flecket Yuglet ewe lamb. She's up and messy and eating and running around and I am ecstatic. Mom is much like her brother Topple- wonderful personality, and calm. She delivered all on her own too. Flutter and her big girl are in their jug enjoying their breakfast together.
Phew! I feel better now!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

And it continued...

A few hours after the below debacle, Caribbean decided to lamb.

So I put her in the jug, which she didn't like.

I watched. I waited.

She finally lambed.

A very very tiny little girl.

Too tiny.

I felt for teeth right away - I knew she was too small. I thought I felt them. I had hope.

Hope faded quickly. I got colostrum into her from her mother, Caribbean, with a little wrestling match. I went to get fresh warm goats milk, heated to almost 120. I gave her a tiny bit of milk, hoping a little colostrum and a little milk might perk up this terribly weak little girl.

She was getting cooler, her mama just stared at her. I rushed her to my heated dairy room and immersed her in 110 degree water, trying to raise up her body temp, she was fading so very fast. It didn't work.

Getting older, I now need glasses, so I put my glasses on, finally.

I am going to say for sure, preemie. Why, I don't know. Perhaps it was a sympathetic birthing. When i double checked the teeth, what I had thought was developed teeth was not.....they were fully encapsulated still in skin. They had not emerged, nor were real close to doing so, as I rubbed pretty hard and the skin was very thick. Her eyes were also cloudy. They weren't ready to be opened this early.


No, this was not a good day. Right now I have two ewes that I am very mad at. It's just my way of dealing with it I suppose. The ewe lamb was marked as lovely as the ram lamb also lost today.

You know, they say bad things come in three.....I was awoken this morning at 5am by a very sick dog who had placed many many spots of diareah all over our bedroom floor, that of course I stepped in upon waking, walked through to let her outside, then woke myself up enough to go drag out the big carpet shampooer and proceed to wash all of the bedroom carpeting. I can't sleep in a bedroom that smells that bad.

So, maybe my string of bad luck is done with. Now it's time to have 3 good things happen in a row...
I have 3 lovely ladies from Missouri that are still due. Let's all cross our fingers, say a prayer, or whatever is most comfortable for you to do. Think positive.

Bad days are like potato chips after so many years...

We all have them I'm afraid.....
bad days.
And it's usually because something went wrong and you weren't there to help.
So, we kick ourselves in the rear for the rest of the day and we go into a frump over it.

My first spotted lamb is dead.

Well, after 11 years and since most all of my ewes have lambed already this year, I was having a good year up until now. I didn't have to assist one birthing. With 50+ head of sheep here, I didn't even have one lamb found still in it's sack. Until today.

I have been watching my girls closely. Since 7 am I've been out there every 2 hours. I didn't notice any funny tails, but since I'm buzzing around the place all the time I check them often anyways.

A friend dropped by.....a pleasant visit and break in the day. We went over to see the sheep and she noticed a string from Fairy Slipper. I hopped into their paddock and looked around! Oh good I thought, she's not delivered yet, I'll jug her up! Yay! Finally one of the Missouri Five was ready to lamb!

After jugging her, I went to grab some hay...and saw a little bit of black and white. Under some straw I found a ram lamb still in it's sack, not even cleaned, completely covering it's head. I quickly ripped it off and stuck my finger into it's already, I swung the lamb then pumped the chest. Not even a reflex. Best I can say is it all took place about an hour before, the umbilical was nice and full of blood and the teeth were there, so this little boy would have been viable without a 2nd thought. What WAS curious tho is that not any of the other ewes were interested in it either. Usually someone is right there, perhaps trying to claim the lamb as their own or just curious and sniffing and licking. Nope, this poor little guy had no fan club to save him. It is warm and sunny out, he was born out in the sun...his mother just ran way. First time mothers can be that way, they don't know better, and we can't hate them for happens with first time mothers of many species, regrettfully.

I just feel like a bad shepherd right now. I'm not telling you because I am looking for sympathy, but I know some of you will empathize tho...if you've bred livestock long enough, then I know you've been there, done that...we all have our bad days and I guess I was overdue for this one. Perhaps another young shepherd will not feel so terribly alone when they too loose a lamb. We try our best, but sometimes things don't work out the way we hope.

For the record, he was a black Topple lamb, 4 white socks above the knees, white tail, perfect Yuglet/Smirslet. He might have been a glorious ram lamb for someone in need of a lovely spotted Shetland boy.

I hope you are having a good day instead.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I forgot - banding

Blue is for boys...

yes, I forgot a note about banding. Sort of a reminder to myself too...
there are a bunch of boy lambs in my unregistered flock that need to be banded. And soon. Banding is never hard IMO, just catching them all is hard. I like banding. We used to raise pigs for years, and I didn't like that castration process. I don't care what anyone says, it still seem inhumane to me. No, banding is ok. If you hurry and do them all as fast as possible, the boys can 'band together' afterwards...perhaps that's where the saying came from?! The boys all woe-is-me together. I stand by for a while, watching them, certainly understanding that the big pinch isn't comfortable at all, making sure no one goes crazy over it. And then I offer them some sweet grain. Not too much, just enough to take their minds off their back ends. They don't need to be boys, they can be wethers. With tiny little scur horns instead of big horns. Last year I didn't band them all because there was a supposed buyer coming...who never did show up. Bad man! This year they will all be banded, then they can stay as long as they behave themselves in the herding arenas. Or perhaps some will go to nice fleece people who want all of their pretty colors. I even had a few Musket ram lambs this year, as well as grays and blacks and dark and light Moorits.

Maybe tomorrow I will remember early in the day that I have forgotten banding and will put it on my list of things to do.

I have a job to do...

I have a job to do.....
while I am waiting and waiting and WAITING!!! for my Peeps girls to lamb - yes, all 5 of them are holding out, dang bad sheep so spoiled by being born in warm weather they swore they wouldn't lamb in anything less than 50 degrees....
I digress....
while I am waiting for Her Highnesses to lamb, I have to get my garden installed. No, you don't plant a garden, you install it...
you plant flowers.
Treasuring every beautiful blossom for every flower to come.
Gardens, well, you install them. 6 of this, 4 of that...some over here, some over there....a row, ok another row, alright....many rows.
Gardens are important this year, more so than usual. Things are too expensive. Everyone hurts at the gas pump and the grocery store. Why are we buying so much? Time to grow your own. Go plant some lettuce and vegetable starts amongst your flowers in your flower beds...really, you can do it. Save a few bucks this year!
Did you know we harvested over 3,000 pounds of organic potatoes last year? Yep, the boys got together, fixed an old 2 row planter, fixed it again, modified it, then finally planted a few long rows of potatoes. Of course I knew I'd have to help harvest them sooner or later.....I knew the potato digger which was also fixed, fixed again, and then modified, wouldn't do it all. Men think the machinery will of course...they are sure it will...ok, you know where I'm headed here, so I'll stop that one very cold morning with the threat of frost in the air I helped harvest and bag up the last of that load of 3,000 pounds of potatoes. Now, back to my garden...
My garden was lovely last year. How did I find the time? I don't know, but I did. People leave you alone when you're weeding, so just tell anyone in earshot you're going out to weed...they'll leave you alone. Oh, and take your favorite dog with you. Mine loves to lay in the garden, keeping close tabs on me and any potential danger. I don't recall ever feeling in danger in the garden, but my Aggie thinks there might be danger so she watches intently anyways. She doesn't mind the word 'weeding' either. My garden produced enough carrots and onions to carry us through March into April. Good garden.
This year I have some fun carrots to grow. After I install the carrot rows, I will alternate the 3 types of carrot seeds I bought. Did you know they have purple carrots? Solid purple through and through? Strange color for carrots...wonder if they still have carotene in them..........anyways, someone will enjoy serving purple carrots on their table or better yet, take them raw to work and make your co-workers wonder what gross thing you're munching on. Then there are the rainbow carrots...purple ones, white ones, red ones, orange ones...that will be fun to harvest. And then my favorite orange Nantes, the sweetest carrot on earth here. Our frosts in the fall make for THE sweetest carrots in North kidding, they are rated as the best. Fine culinary chefs clamour for them...CC's think they are sugary sweet, and so do kids. I love them preserved in glass canning jars...not only are they good to eat, they are beautiful to look at on the shelves.
So, I have a job to do. There are 18 brussel sprout starts; 9 red cabbage; 27 lettuce starts; 18 broccoli starts; 200 onion starts; and a flat of flowers that need to be installed. I didn't want to plant today, it was too sunny, then too windy, and was supposed to be clear and cold tonight so thought better of it. No, hopefully, by the end of this week, little by little, my garden will be growing instead of just installed.
And in the meantime, I will be threatening said Her Hignesses with evil looks of impending doom if they don't just hurry up and deliver healthy lambs soon!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More browns and my beautiful boy, Topple

Oh my.....who could ever resist this handsome ram? This is a photo from most handsome man with beautiful horns. Minwawe Topple is just so wonderful to look at and has a wonderful temperament too.

Thought I'd share a cloudy-day photo of the girls....

We're waiting for rain...we need rain. It's everywhere around us but it's not raining here...come on skies, let the rain come down, the fields need it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


What color am I? Any thoughts???

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Another girl...

Another ewe lamb! Wow! Barbados didn't miss a thing evidently...Yanna, my Musket ewe, gave birth to a little girl late this afternoon. She has a thumbprint of white on her forehead too. Right now she looks Moorit, but we'll se in a day or so when she's all dried off. She and Yanna are now tucked into their private jug in hopes of a good bond.

That makes 4 ewe lambs and 1 ram lamb so far sired by Barbados...only 1 more of the "Alaska" group left to lamb. The "Missouri Five" are still ladies in waiting....and waiting......and waiting.......

My horses

These are my boys... Barney, my tall Percheron, wears a bell so that when they and the cattle head off into the woods, we know where they are by listening...the lead cow also wears a bell. I bought the old Swiss bells in Switzerland back in 2001 when I visited puppy owners there. They are melodious bells, very pretty in sound, and all have a different pitch. I can tell who is where. Laying down is my Quarter Horse, Sox, that I've owned since he was still 2 and green broke...he is now 28. He sleeps VERY soundly...Barney stands over him as his watchman....
I have a special relationship with Sox, I have always been able to walk up to him when he's out flat and pet him without him jumping up. He's always lain flat-out like that...scared the heck out of me the first few times he did it! HA!

Wide Loads

Wide loads....caution....they are all yearlings so singles are expected of course...

Wonder how long they are going to hold out?

Left, Caribbean, who is Barbados's sister.....
Right, you think she's modified?
Botttom left...Fairy Slipper....
Wide loads for how much longer.........sheesh.....

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Shepherds who care daily for their flock. I could flood today's blog with a whole plethora of ewe and lamb photos, but I'll hold back on that one. Today is your day, my day, regardless of ever having human children or are the 'mothers' of your flocks, or the caretakers, of your homes or farms, animals and loved ones... regardless of your gender, it is your day.

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Thoughts.......just some thoughts. Spring is a wonderful time of year but also stressful for animals and their keepers. Identifying problems can be difficult at best. A friend had a ewe she believes had a thiamine deficiency....some call is sheep polio. No, it's not really polio but it is a call name, much like goat polio, related to thiamine deficiency. The problem with animals is that there are so many illnesses with similar presentations, how can you possibly know what to give them to make them better! It's worthy of pulling your hair out, especially when it's a favorite animal that you care for or love so much. From dogs to baby chicks to lambs and ewes......yes, not only pulling your hair out but also getting grey hairs over it also. When you don't have a good vet to fall back on, you search the internet. I like going to the Merck Vet Manual online, but sometimes even that is vague. Then I start working my way through different species....if I can't find it under sheep, I try goat, then dairy cow. Lots and lots of money has been spent on research for dairy cattle, but not for goats or sheep, so once in a while you find relative tidbits there that are very useful. Goats - well, there is Goat 911...yes, an emergency network of people you can call on for advice in an emergency. It's better to try something, rather than nothing... sometimes you throw the whole kitchen sink at them to try and save them. You'll not know which part 'in the sink' actually worked, but the end result is what matters and if you saved the animal, you did good. Up here right now there are some people with goats battling Floppy Kid Syndrome. Others are fighting a particularly virulant bacterial infection and the goat kids are lingering but there's always a chance one might not make it. It's we are in one of the richest countries in the world and our sheep and goat research is mediocre at best. Australia spent more than we ever did on sheep, the middle east more on goats than we have here in the US. Heck, most drugs for cattle aren't even marked for use in goats or sheep - even the drug companies don't think we're worth the money for research. Amazing, isn't it? If you have a sick animal, just keep searching the net - find what you can, then ask your vet if any of it makes sense for your particular problem. Ask other shepherds, ask the lists, always seek help if you need to save the life of an animal you own and care for. Share what you find. Too often we are ashamed of loosing an animal, we feel we failed miserably. But we all need to share, if we can do so we may save another's animal. It is better to loose when a group of you have tried to save an animal than to loose all by yourself feeling that you never tried hard enough or that you didn't do enough to save it. It is a heavy burden to loose an animal you love, even heavier to try to go it alone. Seek out your peers and ask for suggestions, it's all us humans have.....the support and knowledge of others. We CAN do it together!

Just thoughts for the day......

oh, yes, we've had more lambs to our unregistered far my unregistered flock has produced 2 ewe lambs for every ram lamb. How did I get so lucky this year???!!

And I'm waiting on my Peeps girls to start lambing...I see sunken loins; nice filling udders; and they want my attention too. This is good.... I can't wait!!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Other Side

Above, right face profile and front face, Krunet?? I don't think far enough down for a smirslet, but what do you think?

Sunday Pics

Dominique's ram lamb.....he seems to have nice wool on his head and nice uniform crimp!

Then we have Miss Fairy Slipper...with her 'face freckles' and hoof spats, she due pretty soon and soaking up what little sun we've had today. She's wearing a nice piece of straw on her face too, silly girl!

And this is Treet's new daughter, a lovely black girl (the first black sired by Barby), and a full Krunet. Her mom did a so-so job cleaning her up but most is brushing off of her now. Born Friday, she's up and running around outside with the other lambs now! She was non-plussed by the photographer tho....

Hope you enjoyed the pics!

My day

Found a neat photo of my garden from last year taken at the end of July.... now on to the blog...

It's my birthday! Yay! I did DHI milk test at 7am and will again at 7pm.....I bottle fed a lamb that will be going to it's new home today...I fed the sheep and dogs and goats. That was 120+/- mouths all quite happy. The fed the ducks and chickens in the small coop.......that's opposed to the big coop where up to 150 layers live. The small coop has 25 Indian Runner ducks in one pen as future herding trial ducks, the other side an assortment of Banties and my Chocolate Muscovy breeding group. The banties have hatched 3 chicks in one nest so far...lucky for them there are another 20 arriving today or tomorrow to keep them company. But the best thing of all is that, today, I can do what I want to do and not get a dirty look for saying no, I don't want to do that now....hehehehehe...You know 'the look''s my day and I plan to take full advantage of it! Yes! It's my 51st....I've made it over the hump....yah!!!!

Maybe more pics later, perhaps of the new ewe lamb that arrived yesterday.....if I feel like it.... :-)

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Barbados has done well!

No photos yet.......sorry! Another registered lamb born early this evening to Silveraurora Treet. Treet is black, her little lamb is either black, gray, or very dark Moorit...too wet to tell! Since she's a first time mom, I wasn't going to spend allot of time fussing over her lamb....just letting them be in their jug alone together to bond well, just enough touching and looking to know what sex....

it's another girl! And with a small Krunet AGAIN! Woohooo! (no Peeps, not woo-woo).

So far, of Barbados's 6 girls bred, 4 have lambed and we have 3 girls and a boy, all single easy births with no assistance needed.

What a good guy!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

It's almost Friday, where have I been?

Aren't they beautiful? These are a pair of Sandhill Cranes that call our farm home in the warm months. They definately own the place, strolling to all of their favorite spots collecting goodies along the way. If you look closely, you can see the difference between male and female...the male is in the foreground, the female behind.

Nothing much new here, it's still fairly chilly, no new regsitered lambs born yet but we're at least getting closer. I've been potting up roses for the summer's enjoyment, and picking up all the stuff that seems to fly around a farm during the winter months that was buried by the snow.

Thanks for stopping by!