Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Lamb

No, we haven't started lambing here yet.  We did go up the road to North Carolina and acquire a yearling ewe with her ram lamb.  The lamb was born on Christmas Eve so we named him Nicholas.  And his mother came with a name that was too similar to one that belongs to a sheep we already have so we changed her name to Noel.  The pair is warming up to us.  They have certainly figured out that we are the ones who bring the edible goodies so, even though they are not overly friendly yet, they do bawl and run up to us when we enter the barnyard.  That is progress.
I spent a little time on Monday when the day was sunny taking pictures around the farm.  Nacho, our yearling Cotswold ram, felt obliged to help.  He especially loved it when I squatted down to try to focus.
Al had replaced an end post to one of the fences.  Working outside is always a bit of a challenge as the goats feel like they should help or at least supervise the process.  This little gal was a lot of help.
I got a few pictures of the Shetlands enjoying the warmer day.  
And here is one of our oldest gals. She is so sweet.
As I meandered about the pasture talking with the sheep, Gwen, one of our Anatolian Shepherds, watched quietly.  She often runs up and down the fence line keeping watch but was content to let me be in charge for a bit.

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Great Week

Last Saturday we made a little jaunt up the road to North Carolina to retrieve these two Cotswold ewes as well as a Cotswold X Wensleydale yearling ram. One of the ewes, June Bug, is bred and due at the end of the month.  Miriam, the other ewe, is a yearling. Both were shorn this past November but are already growing out the most gorgeous fleece.

As the hours of daylight are growing longer, the chickens are coming out of their molting season and the egg laying has really picked up. Our 300+ birds are totally free range. Fortunately, they are good about coming to the laying boxes we have in buildings around the farm. And I love my numerous meanderings that I make around the farm each day to gather those eggs.  Our six Livestock Guardian Dogs also appreciate the fact that some chickens just randomly lay their eggs in the pastures.  Nothing like a tasty little snack for a hard working dog.
We have the most amazing arrangement with our local Hyatt. They buy our eggs and also save all of their kitchen prep scraps for us. They actually refrigerate the scraps and my husband picks them up to feed out to the creatures here. Even in the dead of winter everyone is sharing lots of fresh goodies.  Here is a peek at yesterday's goodies. I also know that our Livestock Guardian Dogs appreciate the eggs that aren't laid in a safe spot.
I stood at the fence for a bit feeding those apple scraps to the donkeys. I always laugh when there are melon rinds as the cows eat them in big mouthfuls but the chickens carefully peck away at them until there is nothing but a very thin skin of rind left. If that rind lays in the sun for a few days it turns very leatherlike. I know there should be something "crafty" that could be done with it but I don't imagine tackling that any time soon.
The oxen go crazy over the cabbage leaves. But not everyone is keen on the celery. Just a few weeks ago I came across this unwanted base of celery regrowing in the donkey yard. That is one persistent kitchen scrap!

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Rooster's Flock

Our chickens are completely free range so take up residency all around the farm.  There are many hens and a handful of roosters who like to hang around the buildings where we have nest boxes.  There is a rooster with a handful of hens who lives up in the oxen pasture.  There is another little rooster with his harem at the side pasture with the donkeys.  And there are a few little communities down in the woods and next door at our neighbor's back field.  Fortunately, the neighbor doesn't mind.

We have sheep in five different pastures.  We sort them into pastures for various reasons including personalities and breeding plans.  I have noticed one of our roosters spending a lot of time with half a dozen sheep down near the woods.  This morning while I was out gathering a few eggs I managed to get a few pictures of him overseeing "his flock".  He walked along with them, stopping regularly to puff up and crow.  They seemed to be very aware of his presence.  And he sure acts like he is proud of all of his pretty sheep.