|Posted on April 4, 2019 at 8:40 AM||comments (0)|
She had us at hello. She walked right up to us, cocked her head to one side as if to say, “Don’t you think I’m pretty?”
Yes. Yes, we did. Lady Grey is a Dorper Ewe with just the faintest shade of grey. She loves her head and neck scratched. Pretty sure she would stand for hours and enjoy the loving. In fact, on those rare rainy days, I’ve been known to camp out with her in the barn. Novel in one hand, the other hand scratching Lady Grey.
She has blessed us with four lambs – all boys. All of them with her quiet demeanor. She’s due again this May. Praying for girls this time!
|Posted on April 1, 2019 at 2:15 PM||comments (0)|
Determination pays off..
March 08,2019 was a stressful day. It has taken this long to decompress, analyze and recover.
Jazz (Dorper Ewe) went into labor. So, coffee in hand we went to camp out and watch. A new lamb was to be welcomed to the farm. Jazz was not thrilled with our presence. We had to be statue still and quiet. (So much for enjoying our coffee.) Her labor was progressing nicely. The smells and peacefulness of the barn were comforting.
A high pitched scream erupted. What?! Jazz was unnerved and bolted from the barn. Her little lamb’s nose visible. Ginger was screaming – oh no – she’s in labor too! Goats are vocal, but usually not to this degree. Her labor was intense and obviously painful. Every contraction she screamed. Thankfully, her labor was textbook and quick. She delivered a beautiful doeling in record time.
Unfortunately, Jazz was now frazzled and trying to mix with her herd. She didn’t want to go back in the nice peaceful barn. Time was running out. The lamb had been in the birth canal too long. She needed to settle down and push. Trying to catch her at this point would just increase her stress. A few more minutes then intervention would be necessary. Jazz layed down. Contractions were strong and finally the lamb was delivered.
We approached cautiously – he was breathing! We cleared his nostrils and moved back. “Ok, Jazz you need to clean him.” (Licking the lamb stimulates it and helps the ewe to pass her after birth.) She walked away. Rejection. The serenity of labor had been broken and she wanted nothing to do with that thing that had caused her so much drama.
We quickly cleaned the lamb and penned them in a small area. Maybe she would come to her senses. 30 minutes later she was still knocking him away from her. Not good. Time to step in. Holding Jazz firmly we guided the little one to her teat. He eagerly nursed. Yes! The next 24 hours were critical – would Jazz accept her lamb? We were determined. Every 2 hours we held Jazz and let him nurse. Finally, at midnight she smelled him as he nursed, and tentatively licked him. Good sign. Hope. 2 am we didn’t need to hold her! Jazz stood as he nursed.
The bond was forged.
|Posted on March 27, 2019 at 9:55 PM||comments (0)|
Pearl arrived at our farm five years ago. She has a beautiful face, a little bit of white on her belly, and intelligent eyes. She is sweet, but moody. Sometimes she wants loving sometimes she doesn’t.
This past year she gave birth to her third bull calf. We were on pins and needles. You see, her first two calves had to be pulled. (By us!) Pulling a calf is stressful. You are worried about the momma, worried about the calf, and praying nonstop. Pearl is a pacer when in labor, so we couldn’t wait till she stopped. Ever pen a cow in active labor? Trust us – not fun. So, this year was decision time. If we must help her again, she would be destined for the sale barn.
October 17th she went into labor. We watched her thru binoculars. Keeping our distance, cheering her on. She paced and she paced and she paced. Our stress was palatable. Then it happened – she laid down and pushed out a healthy bull calf.
We high fived, grinning ear to ear. She did it! Way to go Pearl! We made our way to her and her new calf. Congratulating her with a big hug. Relief flooded over us. Our girl Pearl – she’s a keeper!
|Posted on March 1, 2019 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
She walks with grace and elegance. No one rushes her. She will take her time and with one haughty look she puts other herd members in their place. She is Eve.
When she was born at our farm in Jarrell we were thrilled. Our first doeling. She has grown to be quite the looker. Her coloring is unique, and her eyes are the prettiest amber. Eve has a quiet confident personality. She hardly ever makes a sound. (Unusual for a goat!) When she does bleat it is very soft.
Eve loves to sleep with her head in a bucket or in the hay feeder trough. She does not like to be petted too much. She is very observant and tolerates our existence.
She is due to kid any day now. Her first! We are nervous and excited. We bred her to a fullblood boer billie and are wondering what the little ones will look like.
|Posted on March 1, 2019 at 10:50 PM||comments (0)|
We absolutely, unequivocally love farming. However, we always feel like we are pulled in too many directions. It would be so nice to finish a project without interruptions. Interruptions that require immediate attention.
The last of our ewes lambed this week. (One is hopefully beginning labor as we write this.) So, in the middle of plowing, working on the high tunnel or countless other chores we stop to monitor the new momma and lamb(s) to make sure everyone is okay. We are thankful for the new arrivals, but in the back of our minds we know we must get back to work. So as soon as we are satisfied that lambs nursed, and mom(s) are complication free we return to work. Not to mention the countless times we stop and check expecting ewes throughout the day and night. It’s exhausting but thrilling.
The lambs born November/December are being weaned. (Moms are relieved!) Lambs have taken it in stride. There were only a couple of days of nonstop baa. Since they were just used to following mom we now begin to teach them to come to us. They learn to respond to our voices quickly and soon we can let them back out on pasture.
The nannies are due any day. So, adjustments had to be made. They are now in the maternity ward (a pen close to the house) which is convenient for late night checks and safer for the wee ones. The doelings and wethers are enjoying their own pen at night. Unfortunately, this means we have several groups to keep watch over when they are out on pasture.
Nannies are in the south pasture, doelings are in the north pasture. Ewes with lambs still on are in the middle pasture, Ewes that will lamb in April are in the northwest pasture. We watch for hawks and coyotes or anything else causing an upset to peaceful grazing. (Like calves chasing sheep!)
The calves are all growing well. At this age they are very curious and are trying to figure out who or what we are. They nibble on gloves or shirts, lick hands or faces. Dance away if we move to fast, then slowly inch forward to sniff, nibble or lick again. Its hard not to laugh at their comical movements. Especially when they are grouped together and deciding who the brave one will be today.
Our flower field is almost ready for planting. The weather, interruptions, and other factors have us a little behind. Seedlings are growing and will be ready to transplant soon. Hopefully, by then interruptions will be minimal!
ANDREWS FARM 03.01.19
|Posted on February 24, 2019 at 9:35 AM||comments (0)|
It was that kind of week. We had our to do list ready. Monday dawned and we hit the ground running. Weather for Tuesday was bleak, so we needed to prepare. The pens needed cleaning and deodorizing. We gathered the necessary tools and started shoveling, raking, scooping. Once that pleasant task was complete, we applied lime powder. Lime powder helps deodorize and repel insects. We only apply in the shelters/barns because we encourage beneficial insects. Finally, we scattered fresh bedding and TADA…clean pens. Well at least for a day or two…
Tuesday, we hunkered down. The sheep and goats were fed in their pens. They were content and safe. Our to do list had to wait another day.
Wednesday arrived with a promise of sun and a reminder. Coyotes still roam. Craig was glassing with binoculars and there it was heading up the fence line. It heard our sheep and goats. We quickly made our presence known and it tucked tail, bolting into the brush. We were hypervigilant that day as everyone grazed. Not much was accomplished on our never ending to do list.
Friday, we had the brilliant idea to let the goats and some sheep out front to graze down one area. Apparently, they can’t read our minds and decided the neighbors place was much more inviting. Argh! We quickly cajoled, corralled and encouraged them back home. Thankfully, our neighbors enjoyed videoing the wandering hooves and were happy to have help mowing. You know the old saying, “Good fences make good neighbors” it may be true but good people make exceptional neighbors and we are thankful. Hopefully, next week our to do list will see more crossed off than added!
ANDREWS FARM 02.24.19
|Posted on February 20, 2019 at 9:45 PM||comments (0)|
Ol’ Dottie. She is one of a kind. She is our biggest Dorper Ewe. Long legged, full bodied and gorgeous. She loves to give us nose kisses and nibble on our chins. She enjoys a little loving and she trusts us completely. (That’s a little scary.)
Dottie is one of our founding herd members. She gave us quite a scare in 2017. We almost lost her to parasites, but with vigilant care she recovered. She can be a bit pushy around the other ewes, especially the young ones. But all we must do is exclaim “Dottie” and she calms down.
She has blessed us with healthy, big lambs. This last lamb was born on Thanksgiving Day. Instead of feasting with family, we were sitting in the barn with Dottie. She was thankful and we were amazed to welcome new life to the farm.
|Posted on February 13, 2019 at 10:15 PM||comments (0)|
We were lucky to buy Snickers as a young heifer in 2014. She has grown into a good-looking momma cow. She has blessed us with two heifers who are now pregnant with their first calves. This past fall she produced her first bull calf. He is growing well.
Snickers is always attentive to our whereabouts. If she feels neglected, she will let us know – loudly! She leads the rest of the herd to us just in case there is a treat to be had. (four-legged composters!) We make sure to save lettuce, spinach, squash, carrots, cabbage and more just for her delight.
We have watched her grow and mature to a calm, level headed cow. She loves her back scratched and will eagerly take treats from our hand. She was the boss momma until recently. Apparently, Snickers is now second in command. She seems content with the change, and we are content to be her farmers.
|Posted on February 8, 2019 at 10:10 PM||comments (0)|
We’ve all been there…anxiously waiting test results, news, paycheck, packages and so on. We’ve been waiting for Elsa to lamb for over two weeks. She’s a first timer so it can be hard to judge the signs of eminent labor. We took turns getting up every night at 12:30am and 3:00am to check her. Towards the end we were begging her to go into labor. If there was a switch, we would have flipped it! Finally, she went into labor Wednesday and delivered a healthy ram. They are both doing great. We have had 2 nights of blissful uninterrupted sleep. We almost feel normal. More lambs are on the way, so we cherish our sleep for now. (Kidding starts in four weeks too – oh my)
We are anxious for spring green up. The cows are yearning for tender shoots of grass. The goats are ready for those tasty first leaves of bushes and trees. We all sense the promise of spring. Its right around the corner (even though its sleeting as we write this).
We’ve been germinating flower seeds in order to plant as soon as the soil warms. Asters, lupine, marigold, brown-eyed susans, daisies, celosia, salvia, cosmos and more. *happy sigh* The high tunnel should be completed soon. Then planting can begin before the last frost. Playing (I mean working) in the soil is calming for us. There is a bacterium in soil that stimulates serotonin production which makes you relaxed and happier. Recent studies are underway proving this fact. We experience it first hand and know when we are anxiously waiting we better get our hands dirty.
|Posted on February 7, 2019 at 5:35 PM||comments (0)|
She is a beautiful and feisty nannie. Food is her number one passion which makes her very aggressive towards the other goats. Everybody has learned to steer clear. However, Lacy has learned that when we are present, she better be on her best behavior. Bullies are not tolerated. Thankfully, she has adjusted.
Lacy is not one to be petted. She tolerates a quick pat on the back. Which is a huge improvement from when she first came to our farm. She was very high strung. Now, Lacy enjoys a more relaxing life at our farm. She knows she’s loved.
We have been blessed with twins and triplets from Lacy. She’s due again this spring. She’s an exceptional mother and we are raising two of her doelings in hopes they will be exceptional too.