Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Lucky me ~

To my WONDERFUL HUSBAND and my BEST FRIEND - thank you from the bottom of my heart for 19 magical, fabulous years together! We truly have accomplished so much, made many dreams come true and I would gladly do every minute of it all over again to be where we are now. Our blessings have been many and our disappointments have been few. I have always believed that together we can do anything.
I look forward to how ever many more wonderful years we are blessed with - I'm counting on at least 50 :)


Monday, March 29, 2010

Freida the Hussey

This is the story of Freida the Hussey. She is a farm favorite but she truly did earn her name. She is the only ewe I have ever had or even heard of that actually broke into the ram pen! Freida came to us eight years ago. She needed a home in the middle of winter and as adamant as I was about no more sheep, they didn't have to twist my arm very hard before I relented and we brought her home.
She is a mix of Romney, Blue Hexam, Lincoln. Corriedale & Border Leicester. A true Maine mutt :) She weights about 165 lbs and gives us wonderful fleece every year. She's been Grandma to all the lambs each year and she wears the bell when the sheep are on pasture.

When she came to live with us we knew she had a big abdominal hernia. We never bred her as the Vet advised against it for Freida's well being because of it. She is now ten years old. One Sunday morning I went out to do chores alone and something looked off. After a minute or two of surveying the sheep pens I discovered lovely Freida in the ram pen having herself a good time. I was dumbfounded and stared in disbelief. I had been so careful with her all these years and a 10 minute romp just raised my stress level considerably. We watched her carefully - our vet said the only problem she may have is trouble pushing the lamb out through the birth canal due to the damaged muscle structure. We wanted to be sure we were there in case she needed help. Good thing - she definitely needed help but not the kind you think!

Tom went to the barn around lunchtime on Monday last week to just "check"on things and he calls and tells me I need to come quickly, "we have a problem". Sure enough, Freida has just delivered a black ewe lamb. She is showing no interest in getting up and no interest in the lamb. Tom and I helped her up, put the lamb next to her head and backed off to let her do the rest. Right!! She took one look at that lamb and headed for the hay feeder. Freida has always been guided by her love for food - this time was no different :) We jugged her with her lamb and tied her head in the corner. She had hay and water within reach but couldn't hurt the baby. She wouldn't let her nurse so I milked her colostrum and fed it to the ewe with a syringe several times over the next few hours. At the 10 p.m. feeding the lamb wasn't very hungry. I stepped outside and listened and I could here Freida talking to her a little. I decided to see if the mothering instinct would come to her. The next morning when I went to the barn, the ewe didn't want her bottle - she had been nursing and Freida was talking to her. I untied her head and she started licking her and caring for her. Hallelujah!!


Freida's ewe lamb, Betty Boop

Freida has become a wonderful Mother and is raising a lovely lamb, Betty Boop is a gift for sure. That being said, I will make sure Miss Freida does NOT get into the ram pen ever again!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Hitchin' Up ~

This past Sunday, Tom & Tyler were fitted with their new harnesses. Not having been around drafts very often, I wasn't sure what to expect. My Dad did. These boys are 6 and 8 and are as gentle as any horse we've had. Tyler has been pulling wagons and sleighs for quite some time so it was old hat for him. Tom doesn't have that experience. For a young horse, he was awesome. You can brush them, crawl around them, hook this and hitch that and they stand right still. I was impressed.
Once everything was fitted correctly and Dad was comfortable, he asked them to walk on and away they went. No hesitation whatsoever. Tyler is all business. Head straight, ears forward, no fishing the bit, etc. Tom on the other hand was a little more interested in looking around, checking things out. After a few laps around the field, he settled in and was doing great. They looked like they had been a "team" always.They both know what whoa means and rest easy on a loose rein. I held the lines to have my photo taken with them. You can feel the strength of these two just holding them. Not sure I'd want to drive them at this point. It wouldn't take much for them to drag me through the mud, which we have plenty of right now. It would be a good laugh for everyone watching :)

Aren't they handsome? The black and red looks great on them. I love all the silver on these harnesses. I can remember as a little kid, sitting in the barn doorway polishing silver on harnesses or a saddle for hours. It was so satisfying to enter the parade in town and everything shined!

Even though they were purchased separately, they look very much alike. They are almost the same height. Tyler has a bigger butt than Tom but I think that may change eventually. I'm not sure if either of them have ever been ridden but I think that would be a cushy ride atop of these fellows.

These boys will be giving carriage rides through beautiful Acadia National Park in Maine for the summer season. If you have the chance to visit, ask for Tom and Tyler and the "Old Cowboy" you will be happy you did :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goat kids ~

Super sized Mama is doing fine and is back to her normal routine. I simply couldn't believe that she only had twins. She had a very normal delivery and delivered the afterbirth shortly after delivering her last kid. She still looks like a wide load sign would fit on her butt! You just never know with these goats. Her babies were about 4lbs, average size for our does.

This little beauty is Minnie. Isn't that a gorgeous color? This is the first we have ever had of this color. She's perfect.
........and this is sweet little Daisy. She wasn't strong from the start. I milked the doe and fed her colostrum several times and she nursed from the doe tentatively a time or two. By early this morning she was chilled so I brought her in and made a tent in front of the woodstove and warmed her up with the hairdryer. I gave her electrolytes and more colostrum but she just wasn't strong enough. She passed away about 4 this afternoon. It was very peaceful and I don't believe she suffered. It's always terribly sad to lose a baby but I'd rather she is at peace than being ill and suffering.

It's been a long day. Hopefully tomorrow will be a happier one.
Next chance I have to post, I'll tell you the story of Freida, the 10 year old ewe who broke INTO the ram pen and how that worked out for her :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Super sized goat update:

A quick update: Lace delivered twin doelings about 11:30 this morning. I waited and waited, knowing there had to be MORE babies in there but once she passed the afterbirth, I knew she was finished.

She looks like she still have twins in there!! I think my goats are either really, really fat or have really distended rumens :)

Minnie is a beautiful corduroy brown color and Daisy is white. I'll post photos tomorrow if I can get them without getting my camera soaked. We are in for 3 days of rain again.

One more goat to deliver before lambing begins in full force. Love those babies!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Super sized goat!

How many do you think are in there? I'm not sure what she's waiting for - she seriously looks like she is going to pop! When she squats to pee she touches the ground. It's really funny to watch her waddle around. Getting up and down is a struggle for sure. Her tail ligaments are very loose and have been for awhile. I expect to find kids every morning when I get to the barn for chores. She will surprise us one of these days :)

The weather here in the northeast has been gorgeous! 65 degrees yesterday - we could hit 70 on Saturday. Shearing continues :) Have a great day everyone.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Lessons learned on the farm............

This is Molly - the new cow we brought home last Monday. It seems we have finally filled her up and she's beginning to gain weight. Annie, her little heifer calf is also growing and seems to have adjusted to her new surroundings. I had planned on moving Molly out with company today after the vet came to check her out. I'm very sad to say that Molly isn't healthy and will be leaving the farm. She has a condition called Lump jaw which is a bone infection of the jaw. By the time cattle have outward signs, the jaw deterioration isn't likely reversible and death is inevitable either by losing condition because a cow cannot eat or the jaw bone can deteriorate to the point where it will actually break. I had never heard of this before - I'm sure I"ll never forget it now. It's definitely a lesson learned and a sad one. She's really a kind, gentle cow and I was getting attached to her already. We will keep her calf and hopefully she will grow into a beautiful cow like her Mom and live a healthy, productive life on our farm.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Road trip..........

This is a view of Mt. Washington as we drove by on our way to Northern Vermont on Monday morning. Dad and I traveled with my Uncle and his girlfriend to a large farm in Barton, VT to deliver a draft horse, pick up a draft horse and a cow and calf.

This is the view from the farm in VT, looking towards Canada. This was an incredible 180 degree view. It was a beautiful, clear day and you could see for miles. The entire trip took about 9 hours from start to finish.

The folks at the farm had a variety of animals. They had many sows and many litters of piglets. They are just adorable!!
Very photogenic :) I am getting so anxious for Charlotte to have her babies - we have a while to go but imagine cuddling one of these little creatures......
This little guy has the markings of a wild hog. These marking help to camouflage them in the wild. Handsome isn't he? They had dozens of them in every shape, size & color. They were very happy to answer my questions about sows, baby pigs and farrowing pens (where Charlotte will have her babies).

The main reason for the trip was to swap around a couple of Belgium draft horses. Tom, the first draft I posted about awhile back, has gone to live at this farm and the horse on the left, who will now be called Tom has come to live here. The horse on the right, Tyler is his mate that my Dad brought home last week.

Tom, Dad & Tyler

These two are very well behaved, very well matched and get along great. They are also very comfortable around people. The first Tom we had wasn't all that eager to work double nor was he all that eager to make friends. That doesn't work so well when you have to work side by side with another horse all summer long in a public environment. All in all, a good solution for everyone. Now they have to be worked in harness everyday to get in shape for a summer of carriage work at Acadia National Park.

My Dad had told me that this farmer had a cow and with a calf that he wanted to sell and that the price was right. So..............well, I guess you can figure out the rest :)

This is Molly and her one month old heifer calf, Annie. The farmer believes she is a shorthorn cross. She appears to have a beefy type build and so does her calf. I'll know more when she gets her new hair coat and sheds a few manure tags. She has hard a pretty tough winter and needs a couple of weeks to just eat, relax and chew her cud. I've got her quarantined until we have a vet check. This will give her plenty of time to eat her fill and regain some of the weight she needs before she meet the other cattle here. The calf is in great shape. It's pretty obvious that all Molly was getting was going right to her calf. She has a good temperament and I think she will fit in just right around here :)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

New products in our Farm Store ~

Spring seems to be arriving early here in the Northeast. Our snow is just about melted and even the mud is drying up quickly. I imagine we will see another snow storm or two but nothing that will stay for long. Fifty degree temps make it easy to work outside and spring work is underway. Our ewes have big bellies and lambs are due in the next week or two. Two more goats are due to kid any day now. Sarge & Beetle Bailey will be two weeks old tomorrow.

They will use anyone or anything for a jungle gym, including me :) I cherish the few minutes I can squeeze out each day to sit and play with them. I absolutely love my life on the farm and all that goes on here but I miss having time to enjoy each and every baby that comes along. Before long, these little goats will be out in population and playing with the big goats and won't pay any attention to me unless I have a snack in my pocket!

Good weather brings more customers into our Farm store weekly. Everyone agrees the warmer temps makes shopping a much more pleasant errand to do. We have new handcrafted items for sale that I haven't put on the website yet so thought I would share them here.

Horse shoes have always been in abundance around here, old and new and have added up quickly over the years. We now have several Western Art theme gifts in our shop.

Horse shoe lamps in two sizes. The first is made with pony size shoes, the lower lamp with saddle horse size shoes. Each lamp is handcrafted and no two lamps are exactly the same. All lamps come with a rust free finish and a no slip base.

I love the great business card holders and quickly made use of one on my counter in the store.

These make great gifts for the business person in your life. They hold approximately 40 cards at a time and stay where you put them.

And for a little fun, a horse shoe brain teaser. Yes, there is a way to get the silver ring off the chain in the center of the shoes :)

We have a dozen more ideas in this Western Art department and hope to have several more items in stock before too long. Stay tuned ~

Have a great sunday ~

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Spa Knit & Spin 2010

I am very fortunate to be part of a team that organizes an event in Freeport, Maine called the Spa Knit & Spin. This is the 8th year that people from all over New England and beyond have gathered together from Friday through Sunday to enjoy each other's company, inspire each other, ooooh and aaaah over each other's creativity, and SHOP! What better way to drive out the winter blues?

We take over three hotels, and have a fabulous Vendor Mercantile. Twenty three awesome vendors with booths full of beautiful hand dyed rovings and yarns of sheep wool, angora, mohair, cashmere, bamboo, yak, etc., quilting fabric, handspun/handknit items, spinning wheels; hand turned needles and crochet hooks, etc. It's a fiber addicts paradise and if you were new to all of this when you arrived, you were hooked by the time you went home! I came home with several fiber goodies and certainly feel inspired and encouraged with several ideas in mind.

Roving in every color and so many different blends of wool and other fibers.

Intense color everywhere! It was so difficult to stick to a budget and not just go wild :) I purchased a spinning book called "Spin Control" from the author, Amy King. I have my autographed copy and am enjoying learning more about how to better use my wheel and my fiber . If you are a spinner, it's a must for your library.

Sock yarn anyone? Could you pick just one color?!

This great little hand bag was just calling my name. I fell in love with the fabric - and I can relate to these sheep. lol... The vendor had straight and circular needle cases in this same fabric as well as knitting bags. They are all handmade and they were selling quickly.

I try to make something special each year to wear to Spa from my own animals. This year I made a scarf out of my pygora fiber. It was from Rudy, one of my gray pygora wethers and I overdyed it with burgundy. It is elegantly soft and I loved wearing it.

I know many, many people went home with full hearts and stash bags, me included, looking ahead to Spa Knit & Spin 2011. Thanks to all who make this weekend possible each year!!!