Wednesday, April 29, 2015

3 Things that Made me Smile

My morning walk with the Border collies began with the rat-tat-tat of a woodpecker. Though I couldn't spot him, I was content listening to him work as we strolled along a country lane and around a pond.

On this clear morning, the silhouette of the Great Blue Heron stood out as he worked his away across the cloudless sky.

But what really made me smile was what I found next to the lane, stuck on a branch.

The bluebird man had been by, inspecting the boxes in our lane and near the road. Over the years, he's put up hundreds of boxes in the countryside and maintained them.

Because of him, I can look forward to seeing more tree swallows and bluebirds.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Baa, Baa, So Many Black Sheep

This year, we introduced a Dorper ram to some of our Katahdin ewes.

I was hoping for mellower sheep for dog  work and a better meat sheep.

We also bred some Katahdin ewes to a Katahdin ram.

While we have lots of color in the Katahdin flock, I wasn't expecting this.

This is the first black Katahdin lamb we've had on the farm.

From the Dorper/Katahdin crosses, I expected the lambs to look like the black and white lamb pictured below.

A few of the Katahdin/Dorper crosses are black and white, but the majority are mostly black. It may be because our Katahdin flock includes red, tan, brown, white and spotted ewes.

It makes for a colorful pasture scene. Shown in this photo are purebred Katahdin lambs on the left, and three sets of Dorper/Katahdin crosses.

I'm watching on the lambs grow and develop over the summer.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Sheep Intelligence

Those who say sheep are stupid have never fed a ewe grain.

For after you offer grain to a ewe once, she remembers you forever.

She will hang back at the paddock after you take hay to the pasture, and she will watch you. She will make her presence known with a demanding bleat or a woeful stare.

Oh, she will never come close enough for you to touch her.

But she will get close enough so you can observe her "bad hair day." Or her sucked in belly.

And you will feed her.

Each day you do, you'll notice more and more ewes and lambs are joining in, and that you're feeding more and more grain.

You will say enough, and after a few weeks, she will stop pestering, but she will always be watching, watching.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Respecting the Mama

The lambs are just a week old, but they've already learned to listen to mama--both the one with fur and the one with feathers.

The chickens roam the pastures and paddocks on the farm.The lambs learn at an early age to ignore them.

Sometimes a hen will hop on a ewe's back. Often in the afternoons, the hens and ewes snooze together under the overhang.

When the hen jumped into the lamb pen, mama ewe  paid her no attention. The lambs followed mama ewe's lead--and another generation of chicken-sheep coexistence begins.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Counting Sheep

I spend my days counting sheep.

One pregnant ewe, two pregnant ewe, three pregnant ewe, four pregnant ewe, five pregnant ewe, ram, llama.

It's been a week since a set of triplets and set of twins were born, and two weeks since lambing season began.

It's never stretched out like this.

And, I am constantly looking for a ewe that may be by herself in the corner of the pasture or lagging back at the barn.

One pregnant ewe, two pregnant ewe...

Meanwhile, back in the barn, the lambs are outgrowing their beds.

And I am looking at mine fondly.

One pregnant ewe, two pregnant ewe....

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Born in Sunshine

Our first set of lambs came on a snowy night. The second, on a rainy night.

Then, for a week, there were no more lambs.

But on a sunny first day of April, I came home to find a set of twins and a set of triplets, born in the afternoon sun, dried off by their mamas and the afternoon breeze.

Their first sights were of greening grass and bluebirds fluttering nearby. They heard their mama's bleats accompanied by a cacophony of birdsong.

Lucky lambs, lucky lambs.