Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maggie's little boy!

Maggie had her calf on Sunday.
Maggie is one of our first summer girls.
She had Martin in 2011. Martin may be our next herd bull.
Or maybe this little guy. His name is Gabriel. Good looking and very active! Maggie was to be a show heifer, her first year, 
but she was a little too skittish for the ring. She is a very good cow.
Alas she could not be a show cow now because she has lost her tail switch. 
We don't know if she caught it on something or if she got a grass fever.
But she is no longer perfect.
Pretty perfect to us.

Morning play

I start every morning giving the rams their all-grain, and then the ewes. And then Luna and I feed Lily. After we return Lily to the fields (yes I caught that) we feed Matilda. She has started bawling like every other animal. Breakfast is a very loud time of day.  She and Luna do a little dance and then we get to business. She gets a couple handfulls of  "calf starter" now, a solid pellet feed that helps her stomachs develop, as well as her bottle.  In the morning before the chickens are let out of the coop, Luna runs around looking at the barn and tries to lick Matlida's face like she does to Lily. But Matilda will not have that. Then we let the chickens out and Luna chases them while I feed the ducks and the geese. Luna hasn't caught a chicken yet. It will be interesting to see what she does with it. And then Luna and I take a walk to open the gate to the lower field for the sheep. Soon Luna will begin one-on-one sheep training. She won't be my puppy anymore but will belong to the sheep. I think we will still have our mornings together.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spring Lambs

I went out to feed the last Friday morning and was met by a wonderful sight.
I hope I never get over the feeling of seeing a new lamb.
She was a single ewe born to one of the Mickle ewes.
She is so tiny and yet so fully formed and on her feet so quickly to nurse and follow her mom.
I like to watch the other lambs treat her with curiosity and also with care.
As she gets days older she will begin to play with the older lambs.
They will let her butt them in the face and will gently rub her face in return.  
She is the beginning of the spring lambs.
I have 6 more ewes to lamb. 
I expect between 6 and 11 more lambs.
And that is if I don't have any more triplets! "Heaven forbid!"

Feeding Matilda

On Saturday, March 9, we had a new calf on the farm. One of our first drops in the summer of '09, Maria, had her second calf. She came up to the corral to feed with the others and she was very skinny. Too skinny. She had calved and she was not looking good. We watched her and eventually found the calf. The next morning we went to check on them and she was away from the calf. We found the calf because the buzzards were circling above the woods. The calf had not moved from the night before. Not a good sign. So I carried her out of the woods and went to the house to mix a bottle of colostrum. John checked on Maria and then came up to the house to get penicillin for her. We spent the first week bottle feeding and trying to get the calf strong enough to nurse. Maria was still making milk but the little heifer would not latch on. So on Sunday we moved "Matilda" to the sheep barn, close to the house. And now my day includes bottle feeding a calf.

John said something the other morning about having to feed my dogs in town every day. Which consists of putting dry dog food in a bowl.  I told him I had just fed his cow. I think it was about 7am. He grinned and said he loved me. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Water on the farm!

Lake  spillway

We have had over 5 inches of rain this year! It is needed so much here on the farm and all over the country this year. We have to have all our ponds and lake filled before summer or we won't be able to water the animals. We have had a drought for the past two years and they say this year will be the same. Right now though we are doing great. Hopefully this will bring a great first cutting for the hay and we will be able to fill the barn again. We had to feed the cows in July because there was no good grass on the fields. But right now the Lake is full and the spillway is more than overflowing. And the grass is turning green!

Man made lake on farm

The lake is man made by taking three ridges and damming between two of them. On the right as you go up about thirty feet is the spillway. The lake covers approximately two acres. Not a really big lake but it is a great reservoir. And it has great fishing! Bass as long as a man's forearm! 

View from the top

The view from on top of the lake is just beautiful!

In this view you can see the sheep in pasture 5A. The first time I saw this view, before we bought the land, I could not even imagine that we would have sheep. And that I would be bottle feeding a little lamb.

We need to do some work on the spillway though because so much rain runs through it at times that we may be starting another Grande Canyon! We need to add some large rocks in the flow line to slow the water and erosion. But that's a job for another day.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Who is watching the sheep?

Well, we have decided we like the farm, the taste of sheep poo, rolling in the low piles of hay, chasing the chickens and playing with Lily. Not fond of being in the pen at night but otherwise really getting use to farm life.
Oh, John calls her pen, "the Lunipen"! Ha!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Luna meets Lily

Luna was very excited to meet Lily!
Lily has a tendency to get the milk from her bottle all over her face and sometimes her neck.
Luna was licking the milk from Lily's face and neck. She wasn't trying to suck on the bottle!
I think it is good for Luna to get this close to a lamb and Lily is tolerating it to a certain degree.
I hope it will help me train Luna.
Lily is about to be weaned so there won't be too many more bottles.
She grazes with the others and if I don't have a bottle
she will go about her business of eating grass.
But she will get use to Luna before she is weaned.



Training Luna

I now have a Great Pyrenese puppy. Her name is Luna.
She is 8 weeks old. So cute and loving.
She is actually 3/4 GP and 1/4 Komondor.
And so the training begins.
We are spending alot of time setting in the sheep fields and walking beside the sheep.
At first they were a little agressive towards her. They tried and once succeeded to butt her in the head. Not a great beginning.
But now we are all a little more calm.
Bella even came up to smell her.
And after this mornings walk they all came up and set next to Luna's pen.
Luna's pen is next to their feeding trough and mineral block.
They will have to get to know her and trust her. But it will take time.
I plan to get a male in about three months. Luna can help me train him.
But for now....