Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Goats & Haircuts.......

Now that the warmer weather has arrived, we need to shear all the goats and sheep. I do my own shearing and have to start out doing two or three a day for the first week or so. First the pygora goats really needed to have their coats removed. We normally shear them in March but it was just to darn cold. As you can see in the photo, Lace has beautiful white curls and I was concerned that she would start to naturally shed her fiber if I didn't get to it quick enough. Fortunately, we sheared her just in time and the fiber is gorgeous.

Lace, Lark & Hawk

The does are sheared and everyone definitely feels better. I was pleased to see that everyone was in great shape under those heavy winter coats. The does still look pregnant!

I picked up pygora fiber that I had washed and carded at our local processing mill ( this past Saturday at our local Sheep and Wool Festival ( Diane blends the pygora with merino wool as pygora has no memory of it's own. It's just lovely. Their is a beautiful heathered gray and a bag full of white. Now to find time to sit on the front porch, enjoying the breeze and spin some of this lovely fiber........

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A little too busy!

I think April is the busiest month of the year on this farm and my favorite. Lambs being born almost everyday for the last 10 days and we have had 15 so far. I can really enjoy lambing now that tax day has come and gone. I absolutely dread tax day! It always comes out fine but for some reason I work myself into a real tizzy about it and am extremely relieved when April 16th arrives.

Our babies from the first of the month are growing like weeds. Wren, Pheobe, Dove & Sora are doing great. They are now exploring and the lamb races have begun at choretime. Such fun to watch!

Wren & Pheobe

Dove & Sora

Tyler & Dove

Tyler loves the lambs and spends as much time with them as he can after school. This coming week is vacation week and the weather is supposed to be pleasant. He is looking forward to getting to know all the babies.

Robin & Quail

One of our shetlands, Katie, delivered a ram lamb and a ewe lamb four days ago. All went well and these little sweeties will be a beautiful moorit color (chestnut) like their sire. This is our first year using this ram and I am thrilled to see he is passing on his color. The ewe is moorit as well but not nearly as dark as the ram. Another black shetland gave birth to an adorable black ram lamb with a white beard. Unfortunately he only survived 24 hours. It happens occasionally but it's always very sad. She is very lonesome today and searching for her lamb.

Our new bee hives arrived last week. The hive boxes come assembled but not painted and the interior foundations have to be assembled. The boys and I spent one day last week putting them together. Our new bees arrived on Saturday and everything was ready for them. Their are 12,000 in each hive. We have one hive from last year that did well over the winter. Hopefully these new hives will do well. It will be wonderful to have our own honey and the bees did a great job pollinating everything in the garden last summer. This is Steve's endeavor. I am very encouraging but watch from a distance. One sting was enough for me.

Bleeding heart

After a week of wonderful weather, the snow really is melting! I can actually see my bleeding hearts pushing up through and today I found 4 crocus. I am so excited to see them. Snowbanks can still be seen around the farm but if this weather pattern continues, it should all be gone by the end of the week. What a long winter. We are all very glad it's over!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Lambing has begun..................

I knew the minute I turned my back on these girls, things would start popping around here.....sure enough Bella was the first to go.


Pheobe & Wren

Bella had her lambs a couple of hours before chores on thursday morning. Twin ewes, Wren (white) and Pheobe (black/white). Both were dried off and nursing when we arrived. These are coopworth/finn babies. Such long legs and healthy lungs! They are doing great and ready to be turned out of the jug with Mom.

Darby & Dove


Friday afternoon my nephew and I made a quick trip to the hardware store. We weren't gone 15 minutes before Tom called and told me Darby (Finn) had twin ewes! These are Darby's first babies. Dove & Sora are tiny but doing fine. So cuddly! Darby's Auntie PeaPod is next in line. I'll be surprised if she waits until morning. :0)

For some reason Blogger will not let me add any more photos for today. Stay tuned...................

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Kids & Lambs

(Goat kids making good use of Tom)

The weather is finally starting to moderate and get above freezing during the day. When the sun shines as it has in the last two days it feels downright balmy out there. It was dry enough on the west side of the barn to let the goat kids out with their Moms. They have the best time running, jumping, spinning, sliding on the snow and basically making the Does nuts trying to keep track of them. They are simply happy to be alive. We try to spend time with them each day although I've been immersed in tax preparation which just makes me treasure my time with them even more. As you can see from the photo, they just love it when Tom gets down on their level.

(kid toys )

Tom and my nephew, Dave built the kids a jungle gym to play on. They are on it all the time! They are growing so fast. They really don't look like babies anymore. They don't stop long enough for me to get good photos of them either. Now that they are outside I'm hoping to get some closeups and I'll post them here.


Sheep Update: the calendar said that lambing could start on 4/6/o8. Someone forgot to tell the sheep that! The day I took this photo of Bella, she was laying in the barn, complaining about her condition and I was just sure we would have lambs by choretime that evening. Nothing.......that was two days ago. Oh well ~ I'll get busy and not be thinking about lambs and when I get to the barn for morning chores, they will greet me at the door :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

An unexpected visitor.................

I discovered this little fellow fast asleep this morning in the bird seed can. He didn't even pick his head up when I removed the cover. I gently lowered it and came in for the camera. As you can see, I didn't disturb him as I took his photograph.
Can't say I blame the little guy...........he's got the right idea. It's April, it's snowing, again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Description: Houndog, loyal, farmdog, ornery, friendly, cantankerous, faithful, resilient, independent, overall dam good dog.

When we were expecting our last child, there were two things that seemed to be really important to my husband at that time. One, our child should have a dog to grow up with and two, our child was not going to grow up watching that ridiculous purple dinosaur, Barney! We had a dog, but she was an old dog. We wanted our child and a pup to grow up together. We started looking for a pup. In the papers, on the vet's bulletin board and of course, no one had any pups for sale. As we waited for our child and the right pup to come along, we talked about what we would like for a dog and dog names. We already had child names picked out.

Barney & Frodo
(a bottle lamb that lived in the house for 3 weeks)
I saw an ad in the local paper one afternoon for "mutt" pups in Dresden, NY, free. A hike for us but for free what did we have to lose? We headed out Saturday afternoon, trying not to have expectations so we wouldn't be disappointed if we came home empty handed. What greeted us was this bedraggled female dog with a dozen of these scrawny little pups. They were just 8 weeks old and just rolls and rolls of skin. The Papa was nowhere to be found and the owners had no clue who he was or what these pups were. They were so homely, they were cute! Didn't take us long to decide to take one home. For some reason, this pup just looked like a "Barney". Steve wasn't thrilled but he had to admit that it fit this little fellow.

Barney's retirement spot

Barney has been with us now almost 14 years. Up until 2007, Barney always lived outside, which was his preference, and has been the "watchdog" that we needed on the farm. He stayed near and watched over Tyler from the time he was a little boy in the sandbox. We weren't always sure where he was but we always knew he was around, keeping an eye on things, day and night. Last year we built a new modular home. They delivered it in two sections. As I cut the plastic over the door to go inside, Barney bolted in before I did. This was so unusual for him but we didn't think anything of it at the time. He hasn't moved out since! Apparently he thought it was time to retire. He has a sheepskin near the woodstove where he lies by the sunny window most of the time, collecting his retirement check and enjoying his old age.

Barney's Pups
He's been a great dog - he's only wandered a time a two in all these years as you can see by the photo above. There have been times when his disposition could have gotten him tossed off the place but hey, who doesn't have bad days? He's been loved by this family for all these years and hopefully for many more to come.
ps...Tyler did grow up watching that purple dinosaur, Barney :0)

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Goat kids & friends.........

Tyler & Kelsey made great jungle gyms for the kids....

We spent part of the afternoon playing with the new goat kids. They are so much fun! They really love the attention and the Mom's don't mind having us all in the barn. Tyler & Kelsey were happy to roll around and let the babies climb all over them. Took them awhile to get their sea legs.
Raven getting a taste of Brian's hat

Goat kids explore everything with their mouths and their teeth. They do not walk. They boing.......this is a run, jump and spin all at the same time. It often appears that they have springs for legs. :0) Hard to catch this in motion with the camera.

Kelly getting a snuggle from Falcon

They now run to the gate when they think a human is approaching. Playtime!! They are already eating hay and taking small drinks of water from Mom's bucket. They all climb in the grain feeder in the mornings during feeding time which definitely aggravates the mom's.

Kelsey getting a smooch from Crow

We have a family with four small children coming to visit. They will have such fun with these little creatures. We certainly do. Like everything else, they grow quickly so we will enjoy them while we can. We are so lucky to be able to spend time just enjoying them.