For the first time since we bought this property, our pasture is empty. Nobody calls to me when I open the back door. I no longer have to close gates behind me. The chickens are the only ones still roaming the place, and even they will have to go eventually. Today, Liesel and her lambs went on a new adventure. They will have new pastures to graze and new friends to meet. But even though they no longer live with us, they will always be my girls…
Farewell, Papa Cheese May 11, 2010
I said good-bye to Gouda today. Big, beautiful Papa Cheese. He has been the hardest to let go of so far. Rob is usually the one who handles Gouda, but today, since Rob is out of town, I had to step up. I caught him, haltered him, led him to a pick-up truck and somehow got his 250 pound body into the back. He was such a good boy, even though I could tell he was nervous. I will miss him terribly. I watched him ride down the road until I could no longer see him, and then I walked away. At that point, what else is there to do? So, thank you, Gouda, for being so awesome. Your new family is very lucky to have you.
Freedom April 3, 2010
We took Marta’s abandoned lamb to a new home today. He is now with two other bottle babies on a farm just outside town. The little guy really hit the jackpot, because not only is he not going to end up in the freezer, but he also gets to keep his ramhood. The family who adopted him plans to use him as their new ram. He was a sweet little guy, and it was hard to see him being pushed and shoved around the pen by the other sheep. Now, he will be with other lambs, so he should make new friends and live a long life as one of the flock.
Back at home, we released the ewes and their babies from the lambing pen. All the lambs have their tails banded and the rams are castrated. They are spunky and full of life. The ewes are loving the freedom again. Lambing is the only time of year we really pen the girls up and they constantly vocalize their disapproval. Needless to say, it is much quieter when we step outside now.
Marta’s Confusion March 31, 2010
No matter how hard we try, we cannot get Marta to accept one of her twins. She started out fine, but something happened along the way, and now she is convinced that one of them is not hers. The only way she will let him eat is if we tie her up and put food in front of her, but even then she kicks at him. I decided today to let her out of the lambing jug and just keep an eye on her babies to make sure they are being allowed to eat. Her udder is pretty empty, most likely because her abandoned lamb would not leave her alone while she was tied up. Hopefully she will be able to build her milk supply back up and at least support her favored lamb. It looks like we might end up with a bottle baby this year after all.
This and That March 29, 2010
We had a weekend full of small projects. That is one of the best things around here – we are never lacking in things to do! We dug our strawberry rows and put 75 plants in the ground. 50 of them are June-bearers and 25 are everbearers. Next year should be a great year for strawberries!
We turned Liesel and her lambs out of their jug. The lambs are all playing and Liesel is happy because she dislikes being contained. Marta, on the other hand, has moved into Liesel’s old jug because she is now convinced that she only had one baby and is rejecting one of her twins. We are currently trying to trick Marta into accepting her lamb. I am hoping that she will accept him by the end of the week so we can turn all the sheep back out to pasture. Hopefully we will not have another bottle baby this year.
We picked up 8 cornish-cross chicks. These are the start of our meat birds. We will probably get some more in a couple weeks or so. Of course, this means that there are chicks living in the laundry room once again, which does not hurt my feelings at all. 🙂
The Grand Finale March 26, 2010
Marta finished off our lambing season this morning with twin boys. Everyone this year had easy deliveries and gave birth to healthy twins! What a great lambing year!
And then there were… 4 March 24, 2010
Liesel decided that today would be a good day to share her babies with us. She had twin girls at about 3:30 this afternoon. Both babies are healthy and mama is doing well. Last year Liesel had a bonding issue with her baby boy due to an accidental fence separation, and we ended up bottle raising the lamb. She has cleaned and loved both of her lambs this year, so it looks like they will bond as a family and she will be able to raise them on her own.