This has been a tough lambing year………….and I am not done yet…….

Caddy Shack in the warming box,with heated bean bags under him and on top of him.
Caddy Shack in the warming box,with heated bean bags under him and on top of him.

Right now my first born lamb is in the house as he has not been doing well. He was getting cold and constipated,so we brought him in to warm him up and give him a warm soapy water enema which he didn’t like and not much has happened. We are not sure if he has been getting enough milk from his mother,but he refuses the bottle and is already eating some hay. We shall see,if he does make it back to the barn he will need to wear a fleece coat to help him stay warm.  I took him out of the warming box or should I say he jumped out of the warming box and ran around the kitchen before I could catch him. Right now he is crated with Orphanannie and is sleeping. If he isn’t better by tomorrow I will have to take him to the vet as I am running out of tricks to get him feeling better.

The sun is out and we have figured out who Orphanannie’s mother is

Orphanannie and  Aleppo
Orphanannie and Aleppo

I took Orphanannie out to the barn this morning  and checked on Snoopy and Sneaky(she was born yesterday). The sun was just coming out after our little snow storm last night and it is a lovely day so all the animals are relaxing enjoying the sun. I needed to check ear tags to update my files to give to the state vet as we had lost lambs and ewes to coyotes this fall and some ewes to old age.

Can you see the resemblance between Cymbals lamb from last year and Orphanannie?
Can you see the resemblance between Cymbals lamb from last year and Orphanannie?

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I was checking my ewe picture ID and noticed that our brown ewe Cymbal’s ram lamb from last year looked just like Orphanannie and Cymbal had been pregnant,but it was hard to check her  due to her heavy felted coat. We tried to get a shearer out here in the spring but I have so few animals to shear, that I couldn’t get anyone to come out.  Maybe this spring I can get all 6 ewes  completely shorn…any takers ?

It snowed again….giving us a nice white icing….and Orphanannie got a new coat

snow ,snow everywhere
snow ,snow everywhere

I woke up to more that the dusting of snow that was predicted. But it wasn’t hard to clean up and the sun has been out and helped things to melt.

Orphanannie chewing on a ewes mats hanging off the coat
Orphanannie chewing on hair mats hanging off the Ewes coat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today Orphanannie is out in the barn in her little orange coat, hassling the other lambs and chewing on any sheep or goat who doesn’t push her away. It is warm today and I am hoping that I can leave her out for 3 or 4 hours and  she will find a ewe or another lamb to hang out with.

Lambing season has begun!!!!!!!

Orpahannie  is wrapped in heated bean bags
Orpahannie is wrapped in heated bean bags
orphanannie4
Orphanannie is in a bigger basket and only one bean bag

This is Orphanannie we found her this morning trapped behind a fence crying and no mother in sight. She must have been born around 3 this morning,she was clean and dry but was getting cold. We looked to see if a ewe was interested in her,but there were no takers, so now she is inside in this box with heated bean bags around her and she is due for more colostrum in an hour.

That was at 8am this morning and it is 4pm and she has eaten again,gotten licked by our boy dog Cooper and is only using one heated bean bag in a lined laundry basket….so things are improving! But she won’t go back into the barn till tomorrow morning and run with the flock. I am hoping to find which ewe is her mother. But we shall see.

Orphanannie sleeping peacefully.
Orphanannie sleeping peacefully.

What to do with the cooking liquid from the last batch of beets?

The whole felted piece with the Pickled beets
The whole felted piece with the Pickled beets

Of course I used it to dye some naturally felted hair/wool from our sheep. I added some vinegar to the warm beet cooking liquid and let it soak overnight. I  rinsed it in the morning and the felted piece turned a nice purple pink color! I was cooking the beets so I could pickle them,but it left me with large amounts of purple liquid and as I was going to dump the pot in the sink I had a brainstorm and poured it into a plastic bin. I have many pieces of cleaned felted pelts from our sheep, most have been removed from the sheep by snipping the pelt that is barely hanging on or sometimes the felted pelt is rubbed off on a low tree branch. I suspect that the felted coat makes them very itchy and the sheep will work very hard to remove it.

A sheep felted fleece transformed with vegetable dye!
A sheep felted fleece transformed with vegetable dye!

The majority of our sheep are hair sheep (Katahdin/Dorper X) ,but we do have some ewes who are wooly/hair crosses. The wool/hair combination leads to the increased possibility of having a felted coat and it means that every 2 or 3  years I have to have those girls shorn with the other wooly girls.

 

 

 

So much Produce………so little time!

fall of 2014
fall of 2014

I have canned over 800 jars since August 2014………….I find it amazing that at the end of the last canning season I hadn’t even canned 650 jars. My canning season starts officially  in August and most often ends in May.  Right now I am finishing the tomato season  with slicing tomatoes that I will core,peel ,skin and cut them up to put in bags to make stewed tomatoes or Sweet tomato chutney during the late fall and winter. The freezer is full of bags of peaches  in syrup , strawberries ,raspberries,blueberries and cranberries . This week my husband and I have been canning local Hot peppers, making jalapeno jelly with mint and the last of the roasted pizza passata.

Fall is here!
Fall is here!

The sheep and goats always enjoy this time of year as they get all the fruit/vegetable pomace, veggie peelings and excess sweet pickling liquid. The Donkey is enjoying the fall as she loves to eat the oak and Hickory leaves.

I have a young laying hen who we had to take out of the hen house as she was getting picked on . I took her out when I found her with her head all bloody and she was trying to get to the water bowl. She had lost weight and I placed her in the basement in a small dog crate and she spent most of the first day drinking and eating. After two days I started letting her run around the barn and then would collect her in the evening. She comes when I call ” Miss Chicken” and she doesn’t particularly like the crate but she gets to eat when she is in there. She has finally healed up and I need to put her back in the coop, but I have to do it at night after the light has gone out in the hen house. This way the the other chickens will be more willing to accept her …we shall see.

Summer is coming to a close but the canning season is in full swing

prepping for lemon pickle
prepping for lemon pickle

Canning season is in full swing! My husband and I have been picking blueberries and raspberries in the morning and then prep them for the freezer . After I typically start the canner and begin getting my ingredients together for the recipes I plan to can that day.. As I am prepping or canning  in the evening my husband and I are listening to the Red Sox games. I have to say that the results of my canning are turning out better than the Red sox  games have.

We have a farmer friend Joe Pustizzi who has honor system pick your own blueberries and raspberries. Picking blueberries this year is like picking grapes, so far we have picked 30lbs of blueberries. We are hoping to pick another 20lbs and  Joe planted a variety of blueberry bushes that will ripen right  into the fall which gives us a longer window in which we can harvest the berries,Thanks Joe!

spring 2014-so hopeful!
spring 2014-so hopeful!

I will leave you with a sad note…….our pear tree, we have very few pears this year,maybe 50 …….so sad to see the tree so empty. I am assuming that when  the tree bloomed it was too cold for the pollinators and then we had a heavy rain that wiped out the blossoms leading to  fewer pears. So there won’t be any pear preserves or jam, but I  do still have 15 pints of pickled pears for sale! Remember there is always next year…so keep your fingers crossed.

The 2nd week of June is almost over and the Iris are all done blooming…….so sad

The first iris that opened and 2 weeks later they are all done.
The first iris that opened and 2 weeks later they are all done.

April and May were very dry and cool ,while June has been wet with occasional heat waves.The Iris have been amazing and the lilacs were a disappointment.

We don’t have many flowers around our property as the sheep and the goats are used to mow the lawn and they would eat the flowers and anything that is in the yard . I think that if I didn’t use the goats and sheep to mow the lawn I could have a lovely perennial garden. But if the goats and sheep aren’t mowing the lawn,I would have to mow the lawn…. I hate to mow the lawn,so the sheep and goats keep their job and I will still have my Iris in June and the local day lilies in July to brighten up my lawn!

 

Summer is almost here! Look at that long lush grass…..and it is 49 degrees…….

From L to R Mertz & her 2 lambs ivory and ebony and Miss Donkey enjoying the green grass!
From L to R
Mertz & her 2 lambs ivory and ebony and Miss Donkey enjoying the green grass!

The Month of May has just flown by.We have been busy putting up more permanent fence and chasing sheep who are determined to jump any low or sagging piece of electronet. In order to keep the sheep from jumping the fence we ordered more rolls of the tallest electronet and it arrives today.

Rocky the Mighty Rooster! Who ate you?
Rocky the Mighty Rooster! Who ate you?

We woke up on Friday morning last week to find out that  some predator  ate our rooster Rocky…he was such a nice rooster and was  awesome at protecting the hens from aerial predators. We miss him!

 

Spring has sprung and is quickly moving right into summer, black flies, ticks and all!

The Pear tree is just staring to bloom!
The Pear tree is just staring to bloom!
Finally they decided to come up!
The asparagus finally  decided to come up!
Red Feathered Broiler
These chicks may look ugly now, but they are great foragers enjoying the grass and the bugs!

We are in the middle of May and I  look at the calendar in amazement. Where did the month of April go? Wasn’t there snow on the ground a little while ago? Now all I see is clouds of black flies framed on a light green background.  The landscape is getting greener, the asparagus are coming up and  the chicks are  bigger and look less ugly.  I love this time of year as we have access to our own asparagus,eggs and greens from local farmers and we are enjoying each dish and every bite!

We are moving along with our permanent fencing and have endured black fly attacks ,escaping/leaping sheep and  the ticks  that are trying to make us miserable.

But I wouldn’t give up this time of year for the world. I love the change from the light green,somewhat bleak spring landscape to the green leafy cool of the summer forest. Earlier this week at dusk while I was walking by a neighbors farm and the noise made by the peepers was deafening . At the same time I could here the pair of loons on Walker Pond just south east of our property line. Yes, as my mother would say “Spring has sprung”!