Hurricane Isabel

For days the media was warning about the arrival of hurricane Isabel on the US East Coast. The predicted path looked to go right over us, so we spent several days making preparations. Here you see our sheep (in white by the shed) and pigs (in reddish brown to the right) that we moved to high ground yesterday.

Hey There, Lonely Boy

We decided that this year we didn’t want to have any January or February lambs, that it would be easier on us if lambing and kidding all occurred at the same time, preferably March/April. To that end, we have separated ram Sampson from his flock. We have him in the Springhouse Paddock that is on high ground so he can at least see his flock. One foggy morning he was particularly anxious since his flock had appeared to vanish.

Bad Hair Day?

No, it’s just Sampson, our ram, in the process of losing his winter coat. The Katahdin breed is a hair sheep, which means that they don’t grow wool.

Big Bonfire

After several days of unseasonably warm, breezy days and with rain in the overnight forecast, Eric decided yesterday to try yet again to burn the large brush pile left over from last spring’s pasture clearing project. This time he was eminently successful. The sheep seemed to enjoy the show, too. Behind the fire you can see our 5-foot diameter mill stone, brought to this property, we surmize, from Hooks Mill ¼-mile upstream from us by the 1936 flood that wiped out the mill.

Yet Another One

This morning brought us another ram lamb from Venus (WDT24), another of our yearling does. This time, fortunately, mom is being quite attentive.

Another One

It was a busy weekend. On Sunday morning March 23rd we discovered a brand new lamb with the flock. Once again, it was being ignored by it’s dam, Lucky (WDT21). Lucky is a first-timer and it has been almost two months since there were any newborns with the flock so we guess that she simply did not know what to do with it. Later in the day we were able to catch the dam and milk some colostrum out of her for the wee one (named Bandit due to his facial markings.) in this picture he is on the right at two days old; that’s Li’l Dill on the left, his three week old half brother.

Lamb Weaning

On Sunday afternoon we set up a temporary crowding pen and separated all the lambs from the flock. The lambs are from 42 to 53 days old and we believe they are ready for weaning. Here they are in the barn with our oldest bottle lambs, waiting for their hay and grain. There are three ewes and four rams. We have agreements to sell the three ewes and Spotswood, the bottle ram, as breeding stock, leaving us with three pasture ram lambs and two bottle ram lambs available for sale.

Play Date

The snow is finally melted enough that we were able to get the kids and the two bottle lambs into an outside pen to frolic in the sun. The lambs have really grown! The lambs are going to stay in this pen for awhile so we had room in the barn to move our five-day old bottle lamb out of the kitchen. Our plan at the moment is to put the kids out during the day and milk their moms in the evening, then let the kids be with mom overnight to nurse.

And Now For Something Completely Different …

… Another bottle lamb. Yesterday at the evening flock inspection we discovered another new little lamb away from the rest of the flock. We tried placing him where the rest of the flock was hanging out, but the mom, Lilly (WDT14), one of the younger ewes we purchased last year, had not bonded with him and was ignoring him. Since it was late, and cold rains were predicted we had no choice but to bring him inside. So, just when we have gotten the first bottle twins down to 3 bottles a day, we are back to six a day with this new one! Knock wood, after his first twelve hours on this earth he seems to be doing fine; we have him in a pet carrier next to the woodstove. In four days we can shift him to four bottles a day and at that point we will move him to the barn. The snow has been melting slowly and the path to the barn is a muddy icy mess and we just cannot see a 3 a.m. bottle trip to barn when the same trip can be made to the kitchen! Keep your fingers crossed.

Cozy Sheep

The rain has stopped and the snow is melting slowly but surely. We hope to move the sheep back down to the pasture in the next day or two, but meanwhile they are doing just fine. The lamb in the foreground is 19 days old and growing fast, as are the younger ones in the doorway under mom.

Popular Place

The barn is well-populated these days. The two bottle lambs are doing well, as are all the goats. Unfortunately, though, we lost a nine day old lamb Tuesday. At feeding time on Monday he stayed curled up in the shed; we brought him into the house to warm him up and try to bottle feed him, but he only hung on for one day.

Sheepish About The Shed

We’re in the midst of a major snowstorm, so this morning we moved our sheep up from the pasture to a temporary pen with access to a shed. We raise our sheep au naturel and so they aren’t used to enclosed spaces. They were a bit hinky about going in the shed but luckily their lambs didn’t share that sentiment. Since another foot of snow is expected on top of the foot and a half we already have, we are happy that the sheep have this shelter and are closer for feeding and keeping an eye on.

More Lambs

We had four more lambs yesterday — Tawny had two, one brown (on the left), and Dot also had twins (on the right). We saw each lamb nurse from its mom, but the brown male unfortunately did not make it through the night. The other three are fine, though, so that gives us eight lambs so far this season. No goat kids yet, though some of our does are mighty wide. Stay tuned!

Bottle Baby Update

The twins that were ignored by their mama are doing fine, knock wood. We have moved from six bottles a day to four which is a bit easier for us. And, of course, these two cuties now have names: the girl is Fleeca and the boy is Spotswood.

Hey, Look: Another One!

Our first lambs look over to Happy and her new single lamb, born this morning. We moved the sheep to another pasture on Groundhog Day — in the background you can see the new bales of hay we had waiting for them, plus our stockpile of locust posts for this year's fencing project which will allow us to stop moving our electric net fencing around so much.