Saturday, January 30, 2010

Good bye January ~

I'm happy to be wrapping up another month of winter. Hopefully February will be a little warmer. I wouldn't mind having more snow if it meant we did not have the bone chilling cold we have had the last few days. And the wind........40 to 50 mph gusts yesterday with temps in the teens. You know it's cold around here when the fat woollies *I mean the sheep* don't want to leave the barn. Tub heaters and heat tapes have certainly been working overtime. It's not so windy today but it's about 6. Warm by some standards but cold for us :)

Our girlie's are growing and are as sweet as can be. They both needed a bigger coat. Demmy has the yellow and Annabelle has the light gray. Demmy's coat is a fashionable coat for a Pomeranian dog that my Mom gave me. What a perfect lamb coat. I'm going to look for a few more of these in my travels. Annabelle got the sweatshirt sleeve as the is the smaller of the two. They grew out of their first ones quickly. I'm so reluctant to take them off of them with this bitter cold. Hopefully next week or I'll need to come up with something bigger .

We had a big moon last night - a pretty good indication that it was going to be darn cold. Tonight is the biggest full moon of 2010. Mars is supposed to be bright as well and will be to the left of the moon. I snapped these photos last night as the moon was rising during chore time. If I'm not frozen, I'd like to get a few this evening also.

We have been busy this week getting new items ready for the farm market. We added regular Friday hours to our farm market/shop starting yesterday. We had hand churned butter, butter milk, and fresh mozzarella this week along with our regular products. A steady supply of customers and all the goodies were gone by Friday evening. Will have to make double the amount this week. We are hoping to have yogurt and cream cheese before long. We are out of lamb right now but that should change within the next week or two.

In my spare time I've been looking at my new Johnny's and Fedco seed catalogs. We are paring down a bit on the variety of veggies that we are going to plant, leaving more room for what we really like, what grows and stores well and what our customers like. Hopefully this will work out better for us. It really isn't that long before we can think about planting :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dizzy, Annabelle & Demmy

This is Dizzy with Annabelle and Demeter. You wouldn't know these little gals were born on a cold day in January. They are healthy and happy and bouncing around the jug and already look forward to a human friend to spend time with them cuddling. We are happy to oblige when we can :)
Dizzy is a finn sheep. We raise finn as well as the shetland breed. I had planned on breeding Dizzy to Mr. Finn, our finn ram, who I put in with the ewes in late October. Tom and I have been looking back through our records, trying to establish the Papa of these two cuties. At first we thought it was a shetland ram lamb that had a retained testicle. We have now determined that it was in fact Mr. Finn that did breed Dizzy back in August. He managed to break out of his paddock a couple of times and I thought nothing of it at the time. Often times shetland and finn ewes will not start cycling until the cooler weather of the fall months. Obviously, Dizzy had other ideas :) I'm very happy with the outcome of this mating and very lucky as well.

Sweet little Annabelle runs to the fence panel when she hears us come in to the barn. Who could resist that face?
Our other baby, Coal, is growing in leaps and bounds as well. He has been weaned from his Mom and now has a bottle twice per day of Mom's milk along with all the good grass hay he can eat. He is always ready for his bottle :) A couple of readers have asked me why I didn't teach him drink out of a bucket instead of bottle feeding him. I have been taught over the years that sucking on a bottle produces saliva which helps with a calf's digestion. It has always worked well for the calves we have raised. I figure if it ain't' broke, I won't try and fix it.

Once he gets on that bottle, he doesn't stop until it's gone!

The heavy rains that tormented the West coast have arrived on the East coast and are soaking us in good shape. All our plowed surfaces are turning to sheets of ice. It's 45 degrees so all of our snow is melting as well. When the temps return to normal and are cold on Wednesday, it's going to be a nightmare around here. That's January weather for you. Stay safe and dry out there.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Never a dull moment.....

Meet Annabelle & Demeter (we will call her Demmy). These sweet little gals greeted Tom as he went to hay the ewes at morning chores. Great way to start the day wouldn't you say? :)

Each of them weighed about 2 lbs and were born about 5:30 am. Both were dry and walking when we got to the barn. Both had nursed but I wasn't sure how much either of them had gotten. The smaller one, Annabelle, was shivering and not quite as active as Demeter.

We made a jug for them in the main barn where it is much warmer. After moving them into the jug, we gave the ewe a pail of warm molasses water to boost her energy level and she drank the entire 2 1/2 gallons. Labor and delivery is hard work!! I milked colostrum into a small syringe and made sure each lamb got about 6cc's. They also got 4cc's each of warm sheep nutri-drench. I made them each a coat from the sleeves of a polar fleece pullover. Both warmed up quickly and were up and nursing on Mom before long. They continued to do well all day long and I think both will be fine :)

This ewe has been bagged up for awhile now. I'm a fairly good record keeper but I'm still not exactly sure how she could have been bred before our main ram was turned in with the ewes in October. I did have a ram LAMB that had a retained testicle. I didn't think it was possible but I guess anything is possible in the animal kingdom.

Oh, in case you were wondering about their names - Mythology is our theme for names this year. Annabelle was the Goddess of flowers, gardens & marshes and Demeter was the Goddess of the Harvest.

They have had lots of hugs and cuddles today - I can't wait to get back out there tomorrow :)

Monday, January 18, 2010


Our December calf, Coal, was a month old on January 10th. He's healthy and growing well and I'm pleased with his progress. This calf has added weight quicker than the last two calves from this cow/bull combination. I expected him to be blockier as the last two calves were heifers and were built more like the cow. This calf is definitely built more like the bull.
I weaned him off the cow today and started him on the cow's milk with a bottle. He wasn't happy about that but he was getting pretty rough on the cow's bag. He's eating hay and drinking water and will get the cow's milk until he's six months old. The cow was happy to be outside all day, eating on the round bale whenever she felt like it. She filled the milking machine tonight :)

We clean the calf out in the morning while the cow is being milked. Coal enjoys the attention ~ what he really enjoys is getting a fresh bag of shavings. He makes a game out of it. Tom put the bag in yesterday and before he could open it, Coal was pushing it around with his head. Before long it was open and he was spreading them all around the stall with his head :) He spins and twirls and gets them all over himself. It's so much fun to watch - he feels so good and seems such a happy little creature.

He was more than happy to offer a smooch when he was finished with his game :) Once the weather moderates a little, we will put him out for a while during the day with the ewes in their yard by the barn. He's been introduced to the halter ~ he was a little big for the calf halter and a little small for the yearling halter. Once we find one to fit we will start halter training him.

Another twelve inches of snow landed here today. We spent the entire day moving it and cleaning up after the storm. All I can say is thank GOD for our tractor/snow blower. We would be shoveling for three days to get it all moved. We exceeded the snow total for last January's totals. Another half of foot expected tomorrow. Turning out to be a snowy new year!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A quiet January

January is the month of purging and preparation. I spend a good portion of the month doing year end paperwork and taxes. I'm always glad when it's done and behind me. Once that's done, I can focus on more interesting plans.
It's been very cold and outdoor work other than chores and maintenance is limited. The animals adjust gradually as the months get colder and I'm pleased with the way all are doing.

Our does are woolly and showing their baby bumps. Kids are due in early March.
The ewes are adding a little weight and bellies are starting to get slightly rounder as lambing approaches the end of March. We do have one ewe that has me completely perplexed regarding her due date.
I brought this ewe home July 22nd. She was exposed to my ram October 28 and he was with the ewes until 12/30/09. She should be due at the earliest 3/18/10. She's bagged up and starting to get soft behind. If she was exposed to a ram before she left home, she would have lambed by now. I had no ram escapes that I'm aware of.......the ewes did have access to pasture where it was necessary for them to travel past the ram yard everyday. Not sure how they worked that out but something definitely happened :) I have a good idea lambs are immanent. I just hope it was the right ram.

Mr. & Mrs. Pig were outside this morning, getting their exercise. He's completely at home here and very easy to manage. He doesn't really want to be petted but he doesn't run away either.

They really liked running and playing in the snow. They would push their snouts in it and make a furrow for a few inches and then jump and run and play some more.

Charlotte will definitely miss him when it's time for him to go home. She can see the cows on the other side of the fence when she's outside as well as the rams so she's not really alone. I'll probably keep one of her litter so she's not alone once they are weaned.

......and these two obviously have the toughest jobs on the farm. Such a life!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Wake up America.........

Warning: Disgusting meat post ahead..........

A friend of mine brought a New York Times article to my attention. I don't go digging around for this stuff. It sickens me - what we, the people, in this country don't know really WILL hurt us. I don't understand how major companies can get away with this type of blatant crap. I promise you, you will never look at a hamburger that you didn't raise or buy from someone you know ever again. We have got to start taking more control over what we eat.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Friendship and Flowers......

It's January. It's cold and snowy outside. But there is green on the inside - my jasmine plant is blossoming again. There is really no rhyme or reason when or how often it blooms. It took me quite some time to find just the right spot for this plant when we moved into our new home. Once you find just that spot, the plant requires very little care. It is slow to grow, with perhaps one new leaf cluster per year.

When the buds appear, they grow quickly and go from this stage to blossom stage in a matter of 24 hours or so.

Once it reaches this stage, it permeates my house with the most fragrant odor. I wish I could make this a scratch-n-sniff blog so you all could experience the wonderful fragrance from this plant :) The plant has three open blossoms tonight and one bud. The open blossoms will have dropped off by morning.

My jasmine plant was a gift several years ago from a dear friend that I admire very much. We do not see as often as we would like but I think of her often and my jasmine plant is a lovely reminder of our friendship and how much she means to me.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Charlotte's got a beau.........

This is Charlotte's beau, Mr. Pig. He is on loan to us from a neighbor's farm and moved in with Charlotte last Thursday. He seems quite happy with his new living arrangements and seems to like Charlotte just fine. SHE wasn't to sure about him in the beginning, but has decided he's not so bad.

He loves her bed....I imagine it's quite cushy compared to where he lives. She has warmed up to him in the last few days and if yesterday's breeding was successful, we should have piglets around 4/1/10. Gestation is approximately 114 days. We will keep him another month just to make sure she is bred. He's very respectful of humans and waits patiently for his feed unlike his bunkmate. She's a hog in every sense of the word :) This is our first experience raising pigs and I wasn't sure what to expect having a boar around. He definitely has a unique odor but it's not offensive. You can tell when you open the barn door that their is an unfamiliar smell. He's not loud and it's really been very simple. We will keep our fingers crossed that the rest of the process goes as well.

Speaking of swine, my Dad gave me this cute little piggy calendar for Christmas. Below is January's cover pig.

A face anybody could love :)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010 ~~

2010 arrived very quietly here in our neck of New England. I think we were in bed by 9:30. We get up early and it's been a busy few days. The snow started yesterday about noon and it's been snowing on and off since then. It's so peaceful today - toasty woodstoves, all the animals snugged up, generator is ready should we lose power. Let it snow!

One of my goals for the new year was to create a website for the farm. I'm not super computer savvy and I needed something that wouldn't frustrate me to the point I'd give up. I've played that game a time or two. I found I-page today. Really, really easy to use. Very beginner friendly and inexpensive.

Our new page is I am so excited. I worked on this all day and published it about 10 minutes ago. It's bare bones right now but I'll post more photos and content, especially what's in the shop tomorrow. I'm tired. It's really easier doing barn chores all day than it is to set at this computer!
If you have a chance to take a look, please let me know what you think. Your comments and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
~Have a great weekend~