|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
This past week was full throttle on tractor, fencing, and livestock maintenance. The weather was gorgeous and cooperative. Craig spent lots of hours on the Ford Tractor discing and shredding. Shredding the tall growth to uncover grass which enables it to grow better. He also disced several acres preparing to plant pearl millet, peas, and clover. They are excellent sources of protein and fiber for cattle, sheep and goats.
We finished clipping sheep, trimming hooves and checking overall health. Everyone is in good shape heading into the summer months. The bottle baby triplets are growing well. (Spoiled Rotten!) They are starting to nibble on grass and venture farther from Sweet Pea’s side. We helped Annie deliver her twins Thursday. We knew something was wrong. She was talking non-stop and when she would contract she wouldn’t push. We positioned her, snapped on sterile gloves and said a quick prayer. Slowly. Gently. I inserted my hand while Craig held her. Eyes closed I began to feel the lamb. I felt the tail first – What?! It was coming out butt first! Not good not good not good. It was a true breach position. First inclination – call the vet. But that could mean hours of waiting if there are emergency calls ahead of us - certain death for the lambs. So, Craig (having assisted and successfully delivered breached calves before) very calmly talked me thru how to turn the lamb just enough to reach its fetlock(lower part of leg, just above the hoof) and pull it into the birth canal. First one hoof then the second hoof. Meanwhile Annie, although in pain, relaxed. She knew we were trying to help. She contracted and pushed. The lambs’ hooves appeared. The next contraction was hard. Annie PUSHED. Half the lamb was out. It was breathing. Next contraction the little one was out, we broke the amniotic sac and helped Annie clean her new little girl. But we were not done. Annie contracted again and we saw the hooves of the next lamb. (Apparently it was tired of waiting!) Beautifully positioned she delivered a healthy baby boy. Both were up and nursing quickly. Whew. It took awhile for our adrenaline to lower. Thankfully, Annie has recovered completely. A little antibiotic injection and she is in full Mom mode. We may never know what caused one of her lambs to be breached. A first for us and for Annie. Life on the farm – dull moments few and far between.
Now on to the coming week – full throttle ahead.
|Posted on May 24, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Romeo, Romeo – where for art thou? Oh- oops right here wanting to be loved. Typical Romeo. He begs for loving. While the rest of the herd runs into the pasture he saunters up to us and waits. We kneel and stroke his neck, scratch behind his horns, rub his belly and so on. Once he gets his fill he runs to join the nannies and kids.
He is brother to Precious and Nutmeg. We had him wethered when he was little so he could stay with us. After all – Everyone needs a Romeo.
He is boss of the goat herd at this time. Strong but fair and still enjoys cuddling with his sisters. He loves to play, jumping, butting heads and running. Long and lanky, he enjoys reaching for the highest branches to nibble.
He is our sweet Romeo.
|Posted on May 8, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
It’s raining AGAIN. When you are trying to get seeds and seedlings in the ground it is helpful if the soil is not water logged. Needless to say not much was accomplished in the flower patch this week except pulling weeds. Aster seeds were started indoors along with Cantebury bells, basil, ageratum and statice.
I am happy to report that direct seeded zinnias, sunflowers, celosia and more marigolds have germinated and are growing well. Marigolds are one of my favorite flowers. I plant the Giant Yellow from Johnny’s seed. The flowers are big, beautiful, and have a sweet smell along with strong stems. This year I am also trying Jedi Orange from Ameriseed. The anticipation…
|Posted on May 8, 2019 at 11:40 AM||comments (0)|
It’s always a surprise. We make an educated guess of who’s going to lamb first and we are seldom right. 2019 Spring Lambing. We were wrong again. Sweet Pea will be first we said – she was second. Cleo lambed first. A beautiful health little ewe (girl) – we named her Marlie.
Sweet Pea shocked us a few days later with TRIPLETS! All are healthy and a good size- no wonder she was waddling! Unfortunately, she is not able to nurse them due to scarring from a previous battle with mastitis. Bottle feeding all three is a challenge. They were befuddled by the bottle the first 24 hours. Trying to tuck one lamb and guide it to drink while the others are frantically nosing the second bottle, then you finally have the one nursing and start helping the second lamb only to realize the first lamb has now stopped and can’t figure it out – so you try to gently pry its mouth open to get the bottle in all the while hoping the second lamb is still nursing plus the third lamb has grown impatient and wondered off to try to nurse from another ewe. (Who quickly headbutts it away ☹). Thankfully, Saturday evening they all figured it out. Yay! Now when we walk out and ask, “Who’s hungry?” All three perk up and high tail it to us, hungrily taking the bottles and draining them within minutes. This is Sweet Pea’s last lambing she is officially retired to enjoy the good life here. At the 3:00am feeding Sunday morning Lady Grey lambed. Textbook delivery, healthy lamb-feet dragging we went back to bed. More lambs on the way- it’s only just begun….
Thankfully, we had a break from kidding and calving before we started lambing. The goat kids are all about two months old. Growing well, jumping and playing in the pasture. The fall calves will be weaned soon. Time for momma cows to rest and recover before they calve again. The lush pastures from abundant rain will ease the calves stress and nourish the cows. Good times, good times here at the farm.
|Posted on May 1, 2019 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
She was our first bottle kid. Born on a sweltering, humid day – April 10, 2016. She was the last of the triplets. We almost didn’t see her. Lillie, her mother, was tending to the first two. We were checking them over and had turned to leave. Movement by the hay feeder stopped us. We were shocked to see a third kid still covered in goo, shaking her head. We knew at that moment she was Precious!
She’s a little on the small side but makes up for that in personality. She is tough and stands her ground. When we introduced Ginger (Dec. 2017) Precious was determined to dominate despite her stature. Ginger is a full blood boer and very stout. Poor Ginger didn’t have a chance! Precious won every skirmish. Thankfully, they tolerate each other now.
Precious gave birth to her first kids (twins ) this past March. She’s a great mom and her kids are growing well. She’s our Precious girl and we adore her.
|Posted on April 28, 2019 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Oh, the lengths we go for our livestock. We tell ourselves often “We are too hands on” but to no avail. This past week was no different.
The forecast for Tuesday night into Wednesday – thunderstorms. Time to prepare. We cover equipment, pick up or strap down anything that will blow, check shelters, barns, and the list goes on. However, top priority Tuesday was the new baby calves.
We have a creek that runs through our farm. Its usually a quiet, tranquil little creek, but fed with enough rain it roars to life. So much so a small calf could easily be swept away. We were bound and determined to prevent that. We planned to pen the mommas and calves by the barn well way from the danger.
Trouble was newborn calves are bedded down by their moms, often solitary and spread out. The calves won’t move or utter a sound until retrieved. The hunt began. We crisscrossed the pasture on foot and quickly penned all but one calf. (of course) Evening was falling. So, we jumped in the RTV, slowly bumping along looking for this hidden calf. We were down by the creek, impatient, stressed, frustrated. Momma hid him good. Wait! There he is! Curled up in the brush on the other side of the hot wire. We cautiously approached not wanting him to spook and run. He stood up and we quickly surrounded him. We walked him to the RTV. Now how to get him across the pasture and to his mom? We made a rope halter – he wasn’t impressed. Wonder if we could put him on the floorboard of the RTV? Carefully lifting him we laid him in between us. We drove as fast as possible to the pen.
His mom scolded us all and then led her calf to the barn. Feeling a tad underappreciated we called it a day.
|Posted on April 25, 2019 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
We were biting our nails as the rain poured down with a vengeance. Thankfully, only minor losses in the flower patch.
We worked late into the night Tuesday to get as many seeds sown as possible. Sunflowers, zinnias, dill, calendula, celosia and more marigolds! We also transplanted out seedlings of cosmos, and bachelor buttons.
The storms started right on time. Some of the cosmos were washed away by the heavy rains. Cosmos are annual flowers with colorful daisy-like flowers that sit atop long slender stems. Blooming throughout the summer months, they attract birds, bees, and butterflies to your garden. Growing easily from seeds, cosmos even survive in poor soil conditions. So an excuse to start more seeds!
|Posted on April 24, 2019 at 7:50 PM||comments (0)|
Annie is a pistol. She is confident, likes her personal space, and enjoys our undivided attention. She’ll even go as far as head butting other sheep away from us so she can be the center of attention. She’s been known to go thru an electric fence or two, leaving the rest of the herd for “greener” pastures.
This got her into trouble this past fall-big trouble. We were working on the corral and noticed Annie was separated from the herd munching away. Shrugging our shoulders, we went back to our task. A little while later Annie was in trouble. She knew it and came to us, clearly uncomfortable. One look and we knew-BLOAT!
We quickly penned her and ran to our livestock supply pantry. Mineral Oil, baking soda, pepto bismol, drench gun, and gloves were snatched. Running back to the pen, we saw Annie on the ground, rolling. Oh no. We got her up and in the chute. We carefully mixed our ingredients and administered them. (Hard to do with shaking hands and racing heart!) Now to keep her walking…we walked her constantly, at a slow pace for thirty minutes. Finally, the danger passed. Her sides softened and she began to relax. To close Annie – way to close.
Thankfully, she has had no issues since that dreadful day. She still causes mayhem every once in awhile, but for the most part is an easy keeper. Annie has blessed us with three healthy lambs and is due again any day now.
|Posted on April 22, 2019 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Pastures are green, grass is growing, rain is falling. The smell of soil, beauty of wildflowers, and buzz of insects makes our hearts happy. Watching the cows, sheep and goats graze brings peace and a smile.
They ignore us now until sunset. Then the sheep and goats return to their respective pens. Safe from predators, they lay down with full bellies and chew their cud. Content and tired.
The bees are enjoying the dandelions, Indian paint brushes and prairie verbena to name a few. Lady bugs are in abundance this year. We love them because they eat aphids and other plant eating pests. One ladybug can eat up to 5000 insects in its lifetime!
Spring is wonderful but we were reminded this week to stay alert. Spring also brings out rattlesnakes. The diamond back. We know they are beneficial-keeping rodents in check, but still. This one was full of piss and vinegar. He struck at the RTV for pete’s sake! So we did the only thing we could-bye,bye rattler. The risk of him striking a goat kid or lamb was too high. He should have just slithered away.
|Posted on April 18, 2019 at 9:50 AM||comments (0)|
We’ve made progress! Seedlings are going in the ground despite the relentless wind.
Lisianthius are all in! (Whew) Lisianthus are large gentian-like bell-shaped flowers with flaring pale purple petal-like lobes. They bloom in summer from the upper leaf axils. Long-lasting flowers with four wide ruffled, delicate petals and oval leaves, they come in various colors such as white, various shades of pink, lavender, deep purple, and bi-colors such as blue-violet. Double and single Lisianthus flower varieties exist as well. The Common names of Lisianthus are Prairie Gentian, Texas bluebell, Tulip gentian, Bluebells and Lira de San Pedro.
Marigolds, dianthus, dusty miller enjoyed the rain last night in their new rows. Its so exciting to watch them grow and anticipate their blooms!