Thursday, January 29, 2009

Butcher Day

Well, we've finally gotten around to butchering lambs today. It's always a solemn day for me as of all of our lambs, the ram lambs tame down naturally and they are all silly and butting each other and wrestling like a bunch of boys out in the pasture all the live-long day. But we are meat eaters too and know we raise meat animals so that is just the way it is. I still do grow attached to them but I am not one to put human attributes to an animal. It's not the way it's supposed to be. They are animals and meat animals at that. I know some will differ with me on that opinion but it's important to me to keep it real.

Back to the butchering...we don't do it ourselves but have a small state-inspected meat plant do the deed. They come to the farm with a truck and do it so I can oversee the whole process and make sure it's done humanely and with as little drama and trauma as possible. Now it's time to defrost my freezer and get it ready for our lamb. We have quite a few customers who just love to eat lamb and are doing the same. It's really interesting how these people have found us but we are glad they have! Anyhow, saved back 3 ram lambs for breeding prospects and we shear the ewes and the boys too in 2 weeks. It's getting busier and busier here on the farm and before you know it we'll be lambing. Then is when the fun starts. That's when I'll be posting some very cute pictures. Remember in a previous post I talked about seasons on the's beginning to look a lot like spring from the activities we have going on and the weather is starting to cooperate too. The good 'ol Ellensburg wind is kicking up pretty strong, very typical for us this time of year. Over and out for now.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's been a while....

Gosh, it's been 10 days since my last post. Busy. Tax time (ugh) and getting ready to butcher some locker lambs, getting customer orders and cutting instructions. Then last night DH's pack horse, Charlie, was acting "off" so we caught him and investigated and he has a huge wound that is spurting out green stuff and blood on his chest so he's off to the vet this morning. We did what we could for him last night with a shot of penicillin and betadine wash, etc. What a mess it was. Good thing it's cold out and there are no bugs around or it would be full of maggots and all of the nasty critters that like to live off of a wound. Gross, huh? Well, it's the real deal and that's what you'll get from me every time!

So, I've been plain busy! How about my bloggy friends. Whatcha been doin? Still in a frozen fog weather-wise here but supposed to clear out here soon according to the weatherman.

We did give all of the ewes their yearly shots last weekend. It wasn't easy with as much wool as they have on right now. Got to call the shearer and make an appointment.

Over and out for now.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Is it spring in January?

I'm finding it a bit hard to contain does so feel like spring in Ellensburg the last few days. It brings on the spring plant, to be outside and to spring clean the house. I will fight the last thing with all my might. Ha. I did forge into my studio last weekend and did a big cleaning. I can see my cutting table top again! This is my $1 desk from the university surplus sale last summer. It's up on bed risers to make it tall enough to stand and cut out projects and the piece of marble tile on the left-hand side is for working with the glue gun and hot knife for wood burning. Got that at a yard sale. Works great.
I organized all of my UFO projects and put them in a big tub next to the machine on the floor. It's like pick up the top thing and get 'er done...go on to the next, etc.

On the sheep front, we're gearing up to bring in the ewes and give them their yearly booster shot of Covexin-8 pre-delivery and trim some feet. This ensures the lambs are receiving the antibodies in mother's milk and until weaning they are 'covered'. Got to call the shearer next for an appointment for next month. It's hard to believe that it's time to gear up for lambing. I have a few things to do yet so need to get a fire built under my winter-blah buns and get 'er done.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A wooly lady in waiting

Here in this weird spring atmosphere in January (fleeting I am thinking) one of the girls, a lady in waiting wondering what in the heck is going on. It looks like spring, it feels like spring with the notorious Ellensburg wind blowing away. It's almost time for shearing, another month and she'll get off that thick coat of wool that has been keeping her insulated from the weather. This is a Coopworth ewe, no name, just one of the girls who produce a fine set of twins for us every year. She has great wool that is available as yarn and roving. Clara from Knitter's Review said it was a fantastic yarn representing the Coopworth breed exceptionally. Isn't that cool? Proud sheep-mom here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Winter weather - always a surprise

Here's a picture of the path I showed you a couple of days back.

We had 50 mph gusts last night and then it began to rain and rain and rain. We don't get a lot of rain so it was quite an interesting sight to wake up to...the fields are spotted with snow but mostly grass is showing through, though dead and brown, the sheep have gone out and are grazing this morning. This is something they haven't done for a while now. We have a "lake" at our front door from the snow melting off of the roof last night. DH is worried about the run off from the's warm up there too and raining so that affects the snow pack and our future irrigation water come spring. I'm saying prayers today for the folks on the west side of the state, especially farmers - flooding is eminent. Last year many many head of livestock were lost in the severe flooding and I hope and pray there isn't a recurrence.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Fresh starts - first Monday of the new year

I do love fresh starts - new years, new weeks, new days, new can take almost any increment of time and make it feel like a new fresh beginning down to hours, minutes and seconds. As I've posted on my other blog, my year seems to run on the sheep calendar. Other than keeping them all alive during winter, this is our lull time on the farm. DH does the feeding and watering...I maintain minerals and such but this doesn't take much outside time for me. DH is outside a lot but he likes it. He's got a inner heater that is beyond belief and my hands are numb within a couple of minutes even with gloves on out I say go for it!

So during the lull time I am making lists of things that need to be done. Today I'll go get some protein tubs for the "girls." These really help during pregnancy and while it's so cold to keep them growing those lambs nicely. I need to order lamb ear tags too. I just registered the ewe lambs we kept for replacements but haven't received the registrations back yet. Will check on that today. I saw on the Ag news this morning that temps are expected to be below normal for the next 90 days in the NW. Need to think of that for lambing time in March. There is just no way of getting around the cold springs we have in Ellensburg and the wind howling 40-50 mph most of the time. That is the one nice thing about winter here....little wind.

So, this lull time is being spent possibly a bit frivolously and possibly it's just a recharge time for body and spirit. I have been reading, cleaning, exercising, watching TV, knitting, doing puzzles, etc. I work on the weekdays of course but weekends are really getting LAZYYYY. I start to feel like a mole staying "underground" all of the time but I know what's to come soon enough....up all day and many nights lambing out in the cold, washing machine going non-stop washing towels and my hands chapped from washing them so much and always on alert. Lambs in the house warming up until they return to mamma and trying to keep the jugs cleaned and water buckets filled and shots given and tails docked and keeping track of who I put ear tags in and who I didn't and which one of the sets of lambs were born first when the jugs start to fill up. I'm enjoying this quiet time...yet I look forward to the new year of sheep in March too.

I finished reading The Secret Life of Bees this weekend. Fast read and interesting story. It's part of my 2009 list of Read More, Stress Less....for now anyhow.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The reality of a farm in winter

The feeding path from the hay to the livestock.
Winter is hard on the farm, no way around it. It's do-able but it's still a challenge for both human and critter. Today we woke up to 30-40 mph winds and blowing snow. Yesterday the guard dog, Sterling, had softball sized snowballs stuck to his back feet and was having trouble walking. DH got them off but this morning Sterling is barking and hanging at the gate a lot...really wanted to get out of the pasture this morning. He has a house to get in out of the wind and he can go to the shelter too, but he's just had his fill today I guess. Thankfully the sun is coming out and even though it's not going to be high temps today the sun will help. He's a good boy. Might have to let him in the garage tonight if the weather doesn't improve for a break. He deserves it and the sheep aren't going out into the field far right now so I don't think the coyotes will come this close to the house where the sheep are sleeping at night.

The sheep are in the shelter today after their breakfast. They don't mind snow but with wind combination makes them take shelter. The horses have no reprieve. They are out on pasture and have to tough it out. We feed extra but I just fret and worry. DH says they're made for it with their winter coats. He takes a tougher stance than I do. I want a BARN! A real barn and not another stupid shed.

Here's the spot where DH and I sit and have our coffee in the morning before work...ha..not right now of course, but reminds me of warmer days! We can see the mountains and the sheep/pastures there including the horses...nice spot.
'Nuff said...I am thankful for the sun shining today and thankful we have a tractor being repaired to plow the driveway. Now I just need to practice patience. Easier said than done.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...