Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sore muscles...means it's spring!

Oh friends, what 4 days of outdoor chores can do to a girl! I have been moving border paver stones and setting up new flower beds around the house. It's almost instant gratification, I mean you stand up and there's another step closer to the finish. But evenings I've been a bit on the stiff side...only when I sit down and stop do I notice the sore muscles. Sunburn too...had to wear long sleeves yesterday to cover up the red arms. The weather has been wonderful, close to gloriously perfect. Honestly I don't think you can get any better than this. About 80 degrees yesterday, no wind but a breeze cooled things off last night. Think we left the sliding glass door open all night last night for the first time since last fall. The sheep and dogs were both on the panty side yesterday seeking out shade.

Here's a sheep pic for today....just for fun. That's Leroy in the middle of the lamb pack...he's a big boy and seems to be the leader at the moment. He's really friendly, likes to come up and have a scratch behind the ears. My Texel rams are always sweethearts.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The creep area

No, not creepy people but a creep feeder for the lambs. I have no idea where that word came from but it means an area that the ewes cannot get into and the lambs can "creep" in and out at-will to get some nutrition other than mother's milk. When the lambs begin ruminating this is the feed they get....until our pasture comes in and then it's grass! The grass is certainly growing of late but it's not quite ready yet. We don't want to overgraze and kill our nice pastures so we're careful about waiting to start them on it. So for now it's dry-lot time...a bit dusty and the lambs and ewes are rather dirty and bored but it's just another week and they'll be out on pasture with a gradual titration up until they are out full time.

Here are pictures of the creep area for the lambs with homemade panels DH made and feeders from old irrigation pipe cut in half and scraps of lumber. It's working out great.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lambing is over, onto gardening!

Around 2:00 a.m. the last ewe had a set of twins in the cold night. We had a hard frost last night but no wind, thankfully. Hey, it could have been the night before when we woke up to 3" of new snow and snow on and off through the day! Will it never end? It's supposed to be 70 degrees this weekend. I'll let you know if that happens or maybe I won't...I'll be outside if it's that nice.

Got a lot of spring crop seeds planted in the garden last weekend, broccoli, spinach, lettuces and snow peas. Onion sets both red and yellow will get planted today. Then most of the rest will wait for Mother's Day. I have some potatoes sprouting in my store room so they are next. I made some homemade protective cloth out of sewing feed bags together and making little frames out of woven leftover sheep fencing. Ha. Hey...cheap is creative! What a mess the feed sacks made in my sewing room. I had to clean the whole room...which wasn't a bad thing really. It's looking nice and spiffy. I even took down my indoor clothes dryer (a folding wooden rack thing) and now am using the outdoor line again. Of course with the weather, I haven't been able to do laundry when I please but the wind makes up for it...dries them quickly if I can keep them on the line!

Have a great day. I'm going to clean up my lambing supplies kit and put it away for another year and get those onions planted today. Later.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Barely got this one out!

Oh boy, did we have a big lamb born on Friday. He was a single in a smaller sized ewe and he was so fat we scraped off a bit of hide off of his back getting him out of his mother. This girl got too much food and should have had 2 moderate sized twins in her but instead had a big single. He's really lazy...all he does is eat and sleep. We've named him "SloMo". He's like a big slug but he's built really nicely. We only have 2 ewes yet to lamb so almost done.
Here are some pics of SloMo showing himself...then after quite a long labor, called DH and asked him to come home because I couldn't get this lamb out. Then we found out why. He weighed 16.4 pounds!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who is the April Fool?

Okay, 2 posts in one day...I gotta get a life.

This morning the phone rang at 5:50 a.m. Scares me when that happens. It's a Seattle police officer (I don't live in Seattle but my daughter lives near there and my brother and family do also) prefacing the phone call with "this is not an April Fool's joke." So my heart starts beating hard....and I'm preparing myself for some awful news...like accident, death in the family, oh my gosh....just say it!

He asks if I'm Jami and I answer yes. Asks if I'm part of the Washington State Sheep Producers. I answer yes. My heart stops pounding when I hear the word sheep....at least I knew my daughter and brother and family were safe! They have nothing to do with sheep!

So...here's the deal. The police found 2 sheep wandering in downtown Seattle or Shoreline, not sure which. They had to catch them and had them in "custody" and they wanted to know how they go about finding out who they belong to! The officer thought it might have been an April Fool's prank and I have to admit I did find it a bit comical but remember I have had a real lack of sleep lately so I'm kind of slap-happy and the relief of knowing this was not a truly serious event like a death in the family made my heart a bit giddy. I explained to the officer that the sheep should have ear tags with flock of origin scrapie tags that the state vet office could trace in their database to locate the owner...hopefully.

Anyhow...then get an email from another person in our sheep organization and they police had called her as well! I have to wonder why they didn't take the sheep to the animal shelter and let them handle it? I don't know but it was a conversation piece. The officer told me he wouldn't be surprised if the whole capture would be on U-tube soon. I'll have to check for that.

There ya go...2 posts in one day, a rare occurrence, kind of like sheep wandering in downtown Seattle!

A stab in the dark

Well folks, I know all I seem to talk about is sheep, sheep, sheep, but that's what things are about here on the farm right now. I could talk about the weather but you don't want to read cuss words, now do you? Yeah...it's been that fun. Joy.

Last night ran out to check on the ewes before midnight to find 2 lambs laying in the alleyway like they were part of the flock, just resting there like they had always been there. It was funny because they were all settled in and had had a meal apparently and dried/licked off. Gave them their shots and put little coats on them and belly buttons dipped and went to cleaning out a jug for them (I should have done this the day before but I got lazy). We had opened up the jugs so the still-expectant ewes had somewhere to go with the extremely cold wind we had going on last night. Remember, we sheared just a while back and they don't have heavy coats on like normal so they need out of the wind. Well, I have my headlamp on, go get the wheelbarrow and the pitchfork and shoo the girls out of the way. Got the ewe and the new lambs locked up in an area where she can't escape and they are out of my way. Get to pitchforking the messy straw and ick into the alley to load into the wheelbarrow...grab the fresh straw out of the wheelbarrow and throw it in the clean jug. Wa-la, right? Well, go to start pitchforking the old straw into the wheelbarrow to take to the pile (remember it's midnight or so by now) and I accidentally stick the pitchfork into the tire of the wheelbarrow...that sucker went flat so fast it made my head spin. If it wasn't fun trying to take 2 loads out to the pile with a flat tire in the pitch dark and cold wind! Oh well, half of the contents blew away on my way to the pile anyhow. This morning I'm taking the tire to be repaired. So....I get to town and run my errands and such and go by Ellensburg Tire. It's totally packed--like cars across the road and forget about getting into the parking lot! Today is take off your studded tires day/deadline and it seems the whole town procrastinated to the last minute of course. Well, I fretted for a minute but thought I might drop off the tire and DH could pick it up on his way home from work. Ya know what? Those awesome guys at Eburg Tire fixed my tired right away! I have been a customer of theirs for a while and I guess it paid off, huh? Plus it didn't cost nearly as much as I had expected, an added bonus. I was out of there in 10 minutes, tops. So, there's my silly story with a happy ending for today. I know we all have way bigger fish to fry but we read these blogs for a diversion....so that's what that story was about!

Fun on the farm....it continues.
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