Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Closing Days of May

Oh that Kate. She is such the looker. Here she is all clean and white and sparkly, isn't she?


Every day, Kate has been going to the barn with me and Nessie to do chores - sometimes twice in a day. She used to be fearful of the car. Now she runs out the door, hoping we are going to see the sheep at the barns. Let's just say she doesn't stay this white and sparkly for long. She still has the throw up problem. Yes, major league disgusting! Good opportunity to clean the truck. It takes a little while for the throw up to happen. Thank goodness the 8 minute commute to the barn is less than the throw up time.  Must remember NOT to take her on errands.

We're still moving sheep. It's not going to stop although some days I wish it would. 

We've been sorting lambs to wean them from their mamas. The mamas need a break and the lambs can move on to keep growing without mama's milk. Our first January lambs are almost ready to move into our product stream. The biggest ones go first. It used to bother me a lot but after a few years, I am adjusted to the fact that we raise the lambs to feed our customers. Once we load the lambs into the trailer, off they go. Twenty less mouths to feed. Used to be, we would take them to the livestock auction and not know about where they ended up. Now we have the opportunity to feed our neighbors our healthy farm-raised meat. It's too bad not all animals live as nice a life as ours do.

There are still plenty of small lambs that were late born ..... and still being born. We had one group of sheep that were being "covered" by one ram in a field. When we got the ram and the ewes back to the barn in November, The Farmer realized that the ram had one enlarged testicle. He surmised that the ram was infertile and yes he was. No January lambs from that group of 60 ewes. Once the group of ewes got back with the other guys they were covered. They are still lambing. There are cute little lambs for my photos in green grass. Very sweet.

From a farming perspective, it is a pain in the neck. Lambs of different ages and mamas all have different feed requirements. More sorting and moving animals. The Farmer has to flip all the ewes and then we guess if they are nursing. It isn't easy nor fool-proof but part of the job. It seems to be taking a few hours every day for me. Noone else to help so I must persevere. I should be working on my book but I'm not when I'm sorting and feeding sheep. Not to mention that The Farmer is running like crazy from field to field, moving fence, checking on animals all day long. Haying will start soon. Fingers crossed that the big tractor gets fixed so that it can commence.

The grass is growing like crazy. Lots of fresh grazing available. At this time of year, there is more green grass available than animals that can eat it. It is pure bounty of the earth.

The grass will slow down soon. Then we will be scrambling to find patches to feed the sheep. Bet you never really thought about that, did you? Most Americans think about how many times their lawns have to be mowed in a month. We think about how long the grass can feed a flock of sheep.

The photo below shows a couple day old lamb with its mama in the pasture in front of our house. There are about 50 ewes here now with assorted growing lambs. It is nice to walk out with the dogs in the evening and check on them. So far, no coyotes. Knock on wood. 

Winston is keeping an eye on everyone. Let's just say he isn't 100% effective. Nature is always out there. Crazy rain storm here last night with thunder and lightening. The farm road washed away partly. Guess we'll have to buy more gravel so it can wash away again. Keeping our friend Bobby Deane in business.


Anonymous said...

I found you for the knitting, but i love these stories the best.

I hope your business picks up so you can get more guard dogs


Auntie Shan said...

Everytime I look out at our Dandelion CROP, I think of *You* and how we could really use a Lamb or 2 on a leash for a day to do that front lawn! :-D

sally said...

Love the chicks at the top of your blog. Farm life, we recently lost our chickens to weasels. To Life!

MicheleinMaine said...

I mowed nearly knee-high grass yesterday! I wish I could send it to you.

Hang in there. You are doing great work!

Dana S. Whitney said...

Love your stories, reflections and photographs. The precise depth of field settings is impressive. Thanks.

Cary at Serenity Farms said...

Love this post, Kristin! We had a very spread out lambing season here, too - mainly from a neighbors "pet" dog getting into the flock (twice) not long after we put the ram in ;(

I'm so ready for our lambs to be weaned and gone, but they aren't quite ready yet! Thank you for your wonderful blog and lovely knitting!