Monday, May 28, 2012

Time Flies!

I have been horrible about updating the blog!  When I ask the animals if they prefer to be fed or prefer to have their pictures posted they always let their stomachs make the decision.  Lambing and kidding are done but the Saturday Market is in full swing so that takes a good bit of time.

Our lamb count for the season is five new Shetland lambs, nine other lambs who will be producing lovely fiber and two goat kids.  Just last week we caught up on everyone's vaccinations and tagging.  Mothers are much more laid back as their maturing offspring take long jaunts off by themselves, only checking in for an occasional quick nursing.
We had a hatch of goslings this week.  Four originally hatched but one disappeared in the night.  We never found a trace of it which makes us believe that a skunk left with it.  We had smelled a skunk in the night and have lost young poultry to them in the past.  So now our trio of adult geese are minding three young.  We have Pilgrim Geese which are a sex-link breed so it is not too hard to determine gender when they are still young.  It looks like we have two females and a male.  Two days after the main hatch one more gosling emerged.  The adults originally showed interest in it but then abandoned it.  We found it hiding behind a fence so helpfully returned it to the little family.  Two of the adults immediately tried to murder it so it is now safely in the house.  We will see what its little future holds but I could not let it be torn to bits.
We have also had a new Dexter calf born.  Lynn emerged from the woods with it Saturday but we are thinking it was probably born on Friday.  It is a sleek, healthy and friendly little bullock.  Lynn is a good mother and also has a great temperament.  She is, of course, protective of her young but is trusting of us so carefully has been sharing the little guy so we can fawn over him.
And there are always the day to day unexpected mishaps. Gates, one of our 16 year old oxen, decided to unwarp the round hay bale all by himself.  He managed to make this whole mess in little less than an hour but fortunately stood patiently for Al to cut him loose.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Bud is a five year old Tunis wether who pretty well believes he is in charge of the farm.
He wants to go into every pasture and even manages to sneak his way into the front yard regularly.  He usually just barges through when we open a gate.  He knows it will be especially easy if I am trying to get through the gate with a bucket or two of newly-gathered eggs.  I can't really push him back without risking the eggs.  He loves to spend time in either the barnyard or the backyard but lately he constantly bothers us to get into the backyard and this is why.  The peaches are just beginning to ripen. He checks daily for low hanging fruit.

He then begins to shake the branches to knock down what he can't reach.
And he finishes up with a little dancing routine where he balances gracefully on his hind legs while plucking just a few more.
I believe that if we want any peaches this season I'll have to either be more diligent at the gate or find a ladder to pick my own.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


We are already behind in rainfall for the year so are taking the opportunity to buy as much hay as we can from the season's early cuttings.  We have a great hay man who goes out of his way to take care of us so every time he bales we buy.  He has a few buddies who hang around and work the field at baling time so that loading right out of the field is as easy as can be.  He has even loaned us one of his fellows to help unload the hay into our barn so that we could manage yet another load on a day.  The last time that the fellows were baling I could not go along to drive the truck.  One of the buddies who hangs around is in his 80's so he drove the truck rather than walking along beside the trailer and handing bales up to my husband who stacks them.  They have such a good time, the hay gets handled and we have happy livestock.

Everyone here is very well fed but they never get over the excitement of a trailer load of new hay showing up.  The oxen who are housed at the front of the farm prance and bellow as we pull in the drive.  Then we go through the process of going through several gates, moving animals along the way and trying hard not to squish anyone as they prance along beside the trailer, often snatching mouthfuls of hay on the run.  We do try to keep most of the goats and sheep out of the barnyard but a few always manage to slip in.  The chickens, which are truly free range, gradually begin to realize that there are tasty oats dropping off of that nice hay.  They may stay out of the way while the hay is unloaded but many move in as soon as the trailer is moved.  They pick the oats clean in a very short time.

And I must confess that I love the smell of fresh hay and am always so grateful to have the barns loaded.