Can’t Accomplish Anything

It is really hard to get anything done around the homestead when all this cuteness is available for viewing at any time.  Whenever we walk by the barnyard our visual senses are bombarded and we just have to stop and watch…for 5 minutes…10…15…20…….an hour!

This page will probably take forever to load…but I just had to share all the adorable pictures with you all.

 

 

 

Sunday Homestead Update

We are in the middle of a spring cold spurt.  February was unexpectedly warm, and April has been unexpectedly cold.  Snuggling up with a cup of tea and my knitting while the snow flies.

Chickens

The cold weather made us decide to hold off another week on integrating the flocks.  Hoping it will be warmer next week!

Sheep

We built a creep feeder for the lambs by using a couple of boards to hold one of the birthing stall’s door open only enough for the lambs to squeeze in.  Toffee, one of our ewes, was trying her hardest to join the lambs in the stall so she could eat some of their extra alfalfa.  It was comical.

The moorit ewe lamb, Rose, absolutely loves the dogs.  She might think she is a dog…I am not sure.  Last week I posted a picture of her cuddling with our older LGD, Tundra.  This week I caught her nuzzling up with our younger LGD, Anya.  It was so adorable.  Anya is doing so well settling in with the livestock around here.

At one point this week I closed Tundra on the other side of the fence from little Rose and Rose ran up and down the fence calling to him like he was her mom.  When he came back in she ran right over to him and he licked her face.  It was so cute.  This lamb definitely has a special bond with the dogs.

The little ram lamb is doing wonderfully.  He is a big boy, as big as Rose, who is 2 weeks older than him.  His BFL father definitely shows in his head and ears!  We have named him Fergus.

Daffodil and Rose are really enjoying playing together in the barnyard.  Fergus will join them this week and learn how to run, jump, climb, and play.

End of Lambing/Kidding Season 2017

Fiona was our last ewe due this year.  Her ultrasound put her due date eleven days ago, and we have been anxiously waiting and wondering what was taking so long.  Apparently she just had her own timing as she had a perfectly healthy delivery this morning.

We had bred her to a white BFL ram.  It was our first time trying out a BFL.  Fiona herself is also white.  The ultrasound said she had twins and she has been very large the last few weeks (though her wool makes it a bit hard to really tell), so we were expecting white lamb twins.  We were very surprised when the first feet began to appear and they were black.  And even more surprised when no second lamb followed after the first.

She gave a us one single, large, healthy, pewter-colored ram lamb!  His coloring is beautiful, with a dark silvery/grey body, black legs and head, and some pretty white and grey markings on his face.  He is a big boy, our biggest baby of the season.  His wool is longer than the wool of the other lambs (because of the BFL) and we are really excited to see how it turns out.  Fiona is a CVMxMerino and has very fine-wool.  So he is a BFL/CVM/Merino, which should be a cool combination and create a nice wool.

We finally got the ram lamb we have been anxiously hoping for!  After EIGHT females were born this year!  Whooohooo!  He will likely be our future flock sire.  But he was born too late in the year to breed this coming breeding season, so we will likely buy another ram as well to service the flock this season, and to give us another year breeding Fiona (his mother – since he can’t breed his mother).

He is up and nursing and doing well so far.  He is even doing a bit of bouncing and playing, which we don’t usually see in our lambs the first day.  So I would say he is strong and vigorous!

That finishes off lambing/kidding season for us.  It has been a wild ride this year, with many highs and lows.  Quite a rollercoaster of a season for us that started way back on February 14.  We had 4 goats kids born (one breech stillborn) and 5 lambs, and there were 8 females and 1 male.  The most babies we have ever had born in one season before this was 3, so 9 is a big jump in “production” for our little farm.  Quite an adventure!  We are beginning to discuss who will stay and who will go, but the final decisions wont be made for a couple of months at the earliest because we will leave all the lambs with their mothers until 10-12 weeks at least.  So for now we can just sit back, relax, and enjoy watching the bouncing babies in the barnyard.  😀

Sunday Homestead Update

Life is beginning to slow down a bit around the homestead, which is so nice and much-needed.  We have sold off some of the extra stock, which decreases the work load, and the Mill is up and running now so the crazy-busy of getting the new business going is subsiding a bit.

Garden Signs

When we first moved to WCF there was a big scrap wood pile here.  Most of it was rotten and not usable, but there were a few “treasures” buried in it.  One of which was some old shingles that I used to paint some old-farm-style signs to put up around the garden.

I am all for the worn-out old-time look, but over the years they have become so faded that it has passed that point.  So we took them all down and I re-painted them.  It is nice to have them back up and freshened up.

Heritage Arts

Sometimes my heritage arts projects never get photographed and thus don’t get shared.  Here are some from the last couple months that I forgot to share.

I made Young Man some hunting gloves for his birthday.  He specifically requested gloves with no tips on the pointer or thumb so he could keep his hands warm while hunting but still be able to safely load and shoot.

And for Easter I made the kids these cute little bunnies.  They were super easy, actually just a knit square that you origami sew into a bunny.  Their bodies were full of candy.  The pattern was Easter Bunnies by Geraldine Allemand.

Sheep

The sheep are doing well.  We sold the bottle babies, so there are only two lambs in the barnyard right now with their mothers.  Our last ewe due to lamb is still pregnant and has us wondering what is going on.  She is ten days past her ultrasound due date estimate, which has not happened to us before.  The ultrasound due date estimates have always been pretty darn spot on.  But I guess it can’t always be right.  She will lamb when she is ready.  Meanwhile, we wait.

Toffee is very curious and friendly, always wanting to check everything out.

On my way outside I caught these two cuties cuddling.  Sorry for the fence and poor photo quality, I knew once I approached they would get up and so I was attempting to get a photo before they did.  This is Tundra, our wonderful old Livestock Guard Dog and Rose our little moorit lamb.

Goats

Now that the bottle lambs are gone we also sold one of the milk goats.  We want to just keep one milk goat due to our limited space – since sheep and chickens are the main focus for our farm, but we like to have fresh raw milk.  So we sold Heidi but still have Gretchen, since she is so old and the vet recommended she not be bred again we figured no one will want to buy her.  She is super easy to milk, even though she doesn’t make as much as we would like for our family.

We will be getting a new replacement goat later this summer, a well-bred, high-quality registered Nubian doe that is lactating currently.  She will produce enough milk to provide for our family without us needing to own more than one goat, and we have set up with her breeder to take her to the buck each fall for breeding.

Easy Way to Heat a Chilled Lamb or Goat Kid

Living up in the high altitude Rockies leaves us with kids and lambs being born during cold weather most of the time.  We usually breed for April babies, but even in April we still get below freezing most nights.  This year we have had many chilled babies, so I thought I would share how we warm them back up.

There is a quick and easy way to remedy a chilled kid or lamb, and it uses items most every household has.

Supplies:

  • Cardboard box big enough to accommodate goat kid or lamb
  • Towel
  • Hair Dryer
  • Knife or scissors

How to Build the Hot Box:

  • Using scissors or knife, cut holes in two adjacent sides of the cardboard box.  They need to be big enough to accommodate your hand or the end of the hair dryer that blows the hot air, whichever is largest.
  • Put the towel in the bottom of the box.

How to hot box a chilled lamb or goat kid:

  • Put the box near an outlet and plug in your hair dryer.
  • Put the lamb or kid into the box and hold or fold the top closed.
  • Stick the hair dryer in one of the holes, and your hand in the other.  Turn on the hair dryer and blow the hot air into the box.  The purpose of your hand being inside is to be sure you don’t burn the lamb.  You don’t want the hot air blowing directly on their body – just into the box.  So use your hand to make sure it doesn’t move over into the blowing air and that it doesn’t get too hot.  We usually have the hair dryer on for a minute or so, then off for 15 seconds, then back on, and off, etc. to keep the box very warm, but not too hot.  It doesn’t usually take very long to warm up the lamb/kid.  When they start getting exuberant and trying to get up and get out they are likely warmed up enough.  If they were hypothermic we use a thermometer to check their temperature when we think they are done so we don’t put them back with their mother until their body temp is for sure up where it needs to be.