Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gardens In






Finally finished planting the vegetable gardens for 2015.

In the near patch with the strawberries - tomatoes - cherry, 'regular', Italian, and Beefsteak, plus a row of green beans.

In the patch behind - peas, Peaches and Cream Corn and yellow beans.

And hard to see, but the biggest patch partly visible in the upper right - gladiolas, peppers, kale, squash, pumpkins, zucchini, eggplant, eating cucumbers and pickling cucumbers.

What struck me about planting this year was how few worms I saw, even though the soil has a very high organic component (from all the sheep manure). Perhaps because its still quite cold many days (like 6 degrees this morning). Or perhaps because the soil is fairly dry.

Last year the soil was absolutely thick with worms, which was the standard until we hit several very hot dry summers in a row. I presume the worms are still 'there' - just down deep.

Besides finishing off the vegetable gardens,we got the flower planters done that sit around the porch and patio.

I make up a special recipe for planting in pots:





Approximately 1:1:1 peat moss, commercial potting soil, wood chips heavily chicken pooped from the coop floor. 

I'm looking forward to feasting off the garden as it progresses. It is so satisfying, in a Swiss Family Robinson sense, to pick your supper at the end of a busy day.

First up should be the strawberries. There are tons of flowers and a lot of fruit are beginning to form.

Mmm. Strawberries...


Saturday, May 23, 2015

The Grass is Greener

And longer.

This morning the flock was excited to move to a new pasture. Here are some pics:













The last pic is of the wee ewe with her wee lamb trying to keep up in the tall grass. The other lamb, lower left, is 'normal size' ;o)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Out and Over


I sprung Little Wee Ewe 314B and her lamb from the barn this morning and they rejoined the flock out on the pasture.

I checked on her a few times this morning to make sure her lamb was keeping up, and then checked again at lunch time.






There she is, and this is just what I like to see - the lamb right with her. She may be wee but her mothering skills are BIG.

With that, I declare Lambing 2015 officially over. According to my records there is one yearling left un-lambed but she may not have been bred, may have had a lamb and escaped my vigilant eye, and may lamb some time later. I'll presume she's not bred and will carry on as if.

In celebration, I knit some socks.





I've barely been out in the wool shack during lambing season and am anxious to get back at it. And not just a little surprised that several pair flew off the knitter in short order without any train wrecks.

The above pair is size XL (Men's 13 - 15) knit with double strands of my 70/30 Shetland/Nylon lace weight yarn. The cuffs, heels and toes are in double Fawn and the body in one strand of Fawn plus one strand of Brown. I knit a bundle of these socks in Small, Medium, and Large until interrupted by lambing and now I'll top of the set with some XL and XS before moving on to other projects.




In between lambing checks, puppy training and Easter singing I manged to do a rebuild of my website. Goodness knows I was happy with the old site, but the code it was written in needed updating to keep up with internet security specs and it was actually easier to do a total rebuild than to try and adapt.

I'm not a coding person. I just pick away using the monkey-see monktey-do method and slowly things take shape. Hey - just like knitting!

The new site is a work in progress. The deadline for code update was last week and I was able to get far enough along to launch but I've still got a lot of content tweaking to do, and my photo formatting was all lost so I'll have to start re-shooting photos. Ugh.

On nice thing - the new site is responsive - it can detect if it is being viewed on a desktop, tablet or phone, and even if the phone or tablet are being held in portrait or landscape position. I had a bit of a dummy-up version of this with the old site that recognized phones, but this is a more savy rendition.


There are over 2500 code files in the web site, many with thousands of lines of code.

 I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

Monday, May 18, 2015

314B



This tiny ewe, tag number 314B wasn't supposed to be here.

In the fall I separated the male and female lambs into their own groups - the males for market and the females to join the flock. This little one was someone of a poor doer - easily bullied by the bigger lambs, and lethargic at the feed trough even when there was lots of space for her. I planned to ship her when the male lambs went to market but, being in a different group I more or less forgot to split her out.

Through the winter she remained uninspired at the trough - always seemed to say "sighhhhh" or "meh" instead of "maa" She was so small and immature I didn't think she'd get bred.

Well surprise on me - the other day I go out and here is this tiny wee lamb to go with its tiny wee mama. He can't weigh even a pound. And mama is somewhere betweeen 40 - 50 pounds - about half size of other yearling ewes.

I flipped her over to check out her equipment and sure enough there is a perfectly shaped and full tiny wee udder with tiny wee teats, and her lamb had a full tiny wee belly.






(By way of reference, the boards behind the lamb are 5.5" planks.)

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lamb-pede






My favourite time of day on the sheep farm - around 7 p.m. every day, for years, the lambs go on a romp as a mob. Sometimes a few adults join in, especially younger adults. The race around and around and around the pasture.

After some cold, rainy, muddy days, I felt like running aorund in the sunshine as well...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Perfect Mother






Now this is a perfect mother. She has twins. Each same size. One on each side of her stuck to her like glue - whether grazing, walkings, or running like the wind. And not to mention the gorgeous silky soft caramel of a fleece.

Happy mothers' day to all you human type moms!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Runt



thought hoped I might escape have bottle lambs this year.

Yesterday, in the night, these lambs were born in the sheep yard. When I found them in the morning the little guy was still covered in birth fluids but his nose was cleared so he was able to breathe but this mother clearly had no interest in him.  I cleaned him off with a towel and presented him to her and she kind of sniffed at him but returned her attention to the normal sized sister.

When I penned them, I took the sister away. The mother then started paying attention to him but I could only keep the sister away, realistically, until she needed her next meal. When I put her back in the pen the mother immediately re-rejected the runt.

You can see I have her on a tether that is long enough that she can eat, drink and lay down allow the runt some get-away room if she tries to attack him.  But even on the tether she seems knows who it is trying to suckle and will kick him off.

I've held her to allow him to get his colostrum but I fear this will be a losing battle....so currently I'm giving him a bottle but leaving him in the pen and her on the tether. Hopefully he'll gain enough strength from the bottle to seek his share on the teat.

It would be good news if she came around if he persists.

Not holding my breath.....