Thursday, April 22, 2010

Messy Lamb Bums


There seems to be at least one in every crowd.  Messy bums  come when they are changing over from colostrum to milk.  This is our target for the morning.  I worked last night, came home and milked Carina and Isabella.  Then we headed out to the pasture to check lamb bottoms.  This is Acheron.  He is a ram lamb from Cierra.  He is a beauty. He just doesn’t know that having a messy bum can lead to problems having a poop.  It’s a nasty job but we have to do it.


Lambs can be very agile and quick.  Especially when you are tired.  He made a quick break to the field.


Alex was working on the sneak approach but it just didn’t happen.  She was spotted by Cierra and Acheron.


Mom’s number one priority is protecting her lamb.  Tactic #1, put yourself between your lamb and the shepherd. It works.


After a little more work and a little help from the peanut gallery Acheron was caught.  Now, warm sudsy water soaking time.


I think this little boy was wishing that he was with his mama.


“What are you doing to my baby?”


After a bit of soaking and washing and soaking and then rinsing his bottom was clean and dry.  He made a mad break and was back with mom getting a snack from the dairy bar. I think Cierra was fussing at us here for upsetting her son.


Fuzzy has decided that all of the sheep are hers so that makes all of the lambs hers too.  She kept a close eye on us.


Mornings are never dull.  No one can say that I’m bored, there is nothing to do,  or I’m all done with my chores.  These words never leave our mouths.  We are so thankful to have our animals and the chores that come with them. However, I think I can speak for Alex, Ted and myself when I say that cleaning bums comes kind of low on our list of fun things to do.  Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm, the home of clean lamb bums.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Farm Catch Up

It has been a very busy week for us.  We have started cutting trees, splitting logs and stacking fire wood for this winter.  We bought this splitter from Tractor Supply and it will pay for itself this winter.  I have never had to split logs in my life.  This is a new experience for me.  We have put our chain saws to work cutting lengths of logs.  We have purchased chaps and hearing protection.  The splitter works like a champ.


We were able to cut, split and stack about 1 3/4 cord of wood in 1 day.  Each time we load the wood stoves we will be thankful for this time we spent outdoors, enjoying the sunshine and working hard. We have two wood stoves that we use to heat our house.  One in the basement that will keep pipes from freezing and warms the floors and one in the kitchen that is cozy and makes the house feel like home. We plan on having about 6-7 cord of wood available.  Anyone want to come play with us?


The weather has been very changeable this spring.  Today we had sunshine with a nice cool breeze, then pea sized hail, then sunshine. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes it will change.


While we were outside the pups were out with us.  However, we gave Tom Tom the turkey a little free range time.  The girls had to go inside to protect him.  They are retrievers after all.  We took a quick look inside and this is what we saw.  Both Emma and Lucy had their blanket over their head playing.


It is difficult to see, but Emma pulled her head out and started biting Lucy on the head.  They will be a year old in June but are still pups.


Earlier this week Ted came home and told me about these huge tree stumps that were on the side of the road near us.  The city had cut these trees down and left the stumps there.  He thought the goats would love something to jump on.   Off he went in the John Deere and brought home “playground equipment”.



A quick toss over the fence and……


instant playground for goats.   He made two trips and they kids are happy.


Back to work for three nights and then we begin putting subflooring in the kitchen, mud room and office.  After that the flooring goes in.  I can’t wait.  After three years with a mixture of cracked tile without grout, holes in the floor and old wood floors it will be a dream come true.   Just three years ago in July we had no kitchen and were washing dishes in the bathtub with water from the neighbors house.  Cooking on a two burner Coleman camp stove.  No cabinets. Food stored on plastic shelving.  Electric wires hanging from nails in the beams.  Wow, we really have a home.  I look back now and wonder what ever made us think we could make this farm not only livable, but the home that it has become. Amazing.  Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Milking Goats

Each morning we make the trek out to the barn to milk our girls.  It is still cold in the mornings so I have to bundle up in a coat.  We put the kids up each evening by securing them into the creep feeder. If left out those little piglets would drink all of our milk. We have to share.  Well, we’re going to share whether they like it or not.  We start by cleaning the teats and udder with baby wipes. This gets any nasties off and loosens and removes any loose hair.


After cleaning the teats it’s time to milk.  Isabella has a nice big udder.  The udder is the milk bag.  The correct term is udder.  The teat is the nipple part of the udder. The part that I grasp to encourage the milk to come out.


Isabella is a large Dairy Goat. She is easy to milk.


I grasp the teat in my first finger and thumb to seal off the milk in the teat and then squeeze it out by adding my second and third fingers.  The milk comes out in a stream.  I have to do this quickly because Isabella is a pig in goat skin.  She sticks her face in her feed dish and doesn’t take a breath till every last grain is gone.  I only have this time to milk because she becomes restless and starts putting her foot into the milk bucket.  We have found a way to get around this behavior.  We have added a couple of fist sized rocks into the feed.  She has to push these around to get the grain. Thereby taking longer to eat and giving me longer to milk.


Carina is next.  She knows where her milking stand is and heads straight for it.


Same process, brush, wash and repeat. Sort of like washing your hair.


Carina is a very easy milker.  She eats slow, steps wide so that I can get the bucket into place.  She doesn’t fidget nor lift her foot during milking. 


There is even time to visit after milking while she finishes eating her breakfast. 


I have a milk can with a strainer set up in the barn.  The milk is strained immediately to remove any dust or errant hairs that might get into the milk.  When we get into the house I filter the milk again to make sure that it is clean and debris free.  I put the milk into glass containers and immediately into the refrigerator.  We are making plans to add a milk and cheese room onto our house.  In Maine it is legal to sell unprocessed milk if you have a certificate.  Maine is one of the few states that allow raw milk to be sold.  Raw milk is safe and healthy to drink. We would like to be able to market our milk and cheese to the public. 

Mo likes to be near during milking.  You never know when some milk with appear in a dish for a sweet kitty.


Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

It’s Been a Ram Kind of Year

We are still in lambing season here.  The ewes have been wonderful.  They present us with healthy ram lambs in the morning. Sort of “look what I did while you were laying abed” kind of thing.  This is Moriah with her two ram lambs.  One is a badger face and one is black with a couple of tiny white spots.  


We moved them into the lambing jugs for a bit a peace and quiet.


Yesterday was so nice we put them into the field for some fresh air, sunshine and exercise. Notice the little white spots on this boy’s face.


Up close with a badger face (light on back and face with his primary color on the inside of his ears, belly and some of his face)boy.


Then yesterday morning Cierra presented us with this little mouflon (the opposite of badger face, his primary color is on his back with a light belly, inside of his ears and lower part of his face). It would have been easy to see if he would just pick up his face and smile at us. He was sleepy and wanted to rest. Cierra was very protective and really didn’t want to share him just yet. This will change when he goes out into the pasture with the other lambs. Did I mention that they have been all rams? Yes, maybe I mentioned that a few times. 


Resting after that big ordeal called birth.


Still resting………


We found a small ram lamb dead in the shelter this morning.  We thought that Moriah’s little black boy was dead. Upon closer look it was a different ram lamb. We still have two ewes expecting and their rear ends were still clean.  Moriah was still a bit “gooky” so we can only guess that she had another little ram lamb last night. She was also walking around calling like she had lost a lamb.  To all of our sheep friends, is this possible?  Can a  ewe have twins and then deliver another lamb a couple of days later? We don’t know if he was stillborn or born alive. He had been stepped on. That is a sad way to start the day.  Loss is a part of farming. I didn’t say that I agree with that part. It is just a part. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy day. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


Lamb Count:   Rams  5    Ewes 0

Did I mention that we have had all rams?  ;)

Monday, April 12, 2010

New Farm Logo


I think that we are taking another step in this strange land know as the web.  We have been trying to find a web builder that is both talented and not overly expensive.  After many conversations with web designers that left me both confused and lacking faith we came across a designer that is talented, willing to work with our tastes, and so easy to email with.   I visited a web site Pond View Farm. They have Icelandic Sheep and Highland Cattle. The site was so clean, well done and had so many of the effects that we had been interested in.  At the bottom of the page there was a “created by” and that is were we met Susan Brown.  After a phone tag conversation she sent us an email asking what we wanted in a web site.  It is still a work in progress but I wanted to show you guys the logo that Susan developed.  Don’t those sheep and goats look familiar?  As things progress I will post more.  Notice the LLC after our name? Yes, we have been to an attorney and actually set the farm up in a legal fashion.  Baby steps. That is what it is all about.  Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm, LLC.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter 2010

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Easter and Spring bring such wonder and promise.  We have been blessed this year with a mild winter and early spring.  The crocus has arrived. Usually they poke up through a thick blanket of snow. This year the ground is clear of all traces of snow.  Susan and Jasmine came up to spend this special holiday with us.  Each year our family seems to be a little more spread out across the US.  Kids have started their own families and spend holidays with in-laws. It is such a special feeling when they can make it home for holidays. We have really honed down our menu.  Now, it doesn’t take two days to prepare dinner.  We have found that it is much more fun to spend that time with family.  After an early Easter Dinner we took a trip to the barn to visit with the animals. Sue found Ruthy a sweet kid.

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Jasmine is a bit anxious with the goats.  She absolutely refuses to go into the ram pasture since Truffles gave her a big butt.  The kids are more her speed.

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It is much easier to hug on the Littles. They still remember her from her summer here last year.

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Even the Curlies have a smile on their face.

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Time to take the goats for a walk to make that dinner settle a bit. Doesn’t everyone take their goats for walks?

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Late every afternoon it is time for the lamb races.  We still have only two, but the boys love to run and jump.  Here Ashland is really airborne.  He loves to take a leap off of this little dirt pile.  If you listen close you can almost hear a “whoopee” from the little fella

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Fuzzy keeps watch on all of her flock.  She loves the lambs.

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Emily and Archer

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Esther and Ashland

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We hope everyone had a wonderful day.  Best wishes go out to each and everyone both human and animal.  After all we share our lives with them each and every day.  Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools Day Ram-Archer!

This past January we took a road trip to Dixon, Illinois and met a very lovely family, Terry and Randy Carlson with their children Spencer and Maddie from Red Brick Road Farm.  They have  some of the most beautiful Icelandic sheep we have ever seen.  We brought home two bred ewes and one ram.  Emily presented us with a very gorgeous ram lamb with the sweetest curls.  Archer arrived early this morning before feeding time.  It seems that our sheep are very independent and self sufficient.  With such muddy pasture Ted brought both mother and son into the barn.  The lambing jugs have come in handy even though the weren’t used for lambing.  

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Archer is white like his father, Finn, and a promise of the big wide horns the Icelandic Sheep are notorious for.  He too was born with horns which are thumb wide and about half an inch long. 

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Archer is a bit shy and Emily is a  protective and attentive mother.  Great qualities for a sheep but very difficult to photograph.

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What a lovely surprise after a night of work and a great April Fools Day gift.  Welcome Archer.  You will carry on your dad’s genes adding so much to our farm.  Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.