Thursday, January 29, 2015

Another Year, Another Lambing Season

 It's getting close to lambing season here, and there's some work that needs to be done before lambing.  The ewes needed vaccinated (CD/T) and crutched, and I wanted to trim their feet as well.  I brought the girls in the barn on Sunday since the weather was really warm (around 50*F).  You can see in the picture below, Barley is pleading with me to let them out. She knew something was up.

Now I can see all the ewe's udders and vulvas, so I can keep an eye out for impending lambing.  They're not nearly as close as I was hoping they'd be.  Darla, who isn't pictured, is the closest. I'm still guessing she has about 2 weeks left to go. I'd say the rest of the girls are at least a month out.  I'm not crazy about that, since I have to go out of town the first weekend of March, and David isn't all that familiar with what to do with newborn lambs.  Maybe the ewes will wait until I get back!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Snow Day Fun

Barn across the street

I told Elmer to "get the squirrel."  (there was no squirrel in sight)

No, the snow wasn't dumped on her.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Cold Snap

The past week was very cold for us. Really, it was the coldest weather we've had this season so far, by far.  Our lows were into the single digits at night, and we had several days straight of highs in around 20*F.  Last Sunday was 60* though, so the animals didn't really have much time to adjust to gradually decreasing temps.  So how do they make out?

The sheep aren't quite sure what I mean when I ask them if they're cold.  They don't notice it at all, it seems.  They have a shelter, bedded down with dry straw, but they would rather lay outside.  I'm not sure you can see it in the picture below, but the girls have snow on their backs.  This just shows what a good insulator wool is. If the sheep were losing body heat, the snow would melt. Since the snow isn't melting, it means they're still toasty warm under their wool coat.  The same goes for buffalo, reindeer, and lots of other mammals you see standing out in the snow, backs covered.

Bean looks pretty comfortable laying in the snow.

I've closed in the sides of the sheep shelter, so they've got good protection from the wind, rain, and snow.  It's not likely to win any contests for most beautiful sheep shelter, but it is much larger than it was last year and it is functional.

The goats aren't like the sheep.  They do grow a nice winter coat, but they just aren't as comfortable in the cold as the sheep.  On the first really cold day, I found them all shivering and looking pathetic. They either share the large shelter with the sheep, or they have the smaller shelter in the breeding pen, but it's still not quite enough to keep them warm.

So I broke down and brought all of the goats inside the barn.  I could tell they are pretty happy to be in there, and it's easier on me having them in there for the really cold temps.  

Nessarose and Stout are sharing one side...

And June and Ida are sharing the other pen.

The goats are not alone in the barn.  Tucker, our old man barn cat, has the premium spot under the heat lamp.

I brought the 2 rabbit does in the barn for the winter.

The buck stays outside though.  He's got a hutch that's sheltered from the wind.

Lucky for us, it seems the extreme cold won't stick around too long. Today was above freezing, and tomorrow it may even get into the upper 30's!

Friday, January 9, 2015

My Silly Dog

My dog is so silly.  He has dog toys, but he prefers to carry around these little stuffed mouse cat toys.   Sometimes you can barely see it in his mouth.

The dogs recently pulled the stuffing out of their dog bed (I guess they got bored when we were at work one day) and we had to throw it away. They were bed-less for a while, and they thought the idea of laying on the actual floor was beyond terrible. One day Kylee got out of her beanbag, and while she was gone Buford stole her seat.

We have a soft fleece blanket on the couch, which Buford loves very much.  He tries to lay on it whenever he can, but the other night Elmer stole his spot.  Buford was so desperate to lay by me on the blanket, he squeezed in between Elmer and me.  He didn't look very comfortable.  He stayed there for a while before he finally gave up and went to another spot on the couch.

Even though we got a new dog bed, it's made of durable material, not soft fleece, so they think they can't lay on it.  Their preferred spot is on top of us, on the couch.  Elmer lays on David, and Buford lays on me.  Not that they're spoiled or anything.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

My First Plied Yarn

I spent most of the Christmas break sick, but luckily (thanks to amoxicillin) I started feeling better around New Year's Eve.  I spent the last bit of my vacation learning my new spinning wheel.  In case you missed my Christmas post, David made me a spindle wheel!  I love it. 

I started out with a braid of BFL (Bluefaced Leicester) wool, sent to me by a fiber friend who lives in Minnesota.  I spun 2 bobbins full of singles, and then got brave and plied the 2 singles together to make a 2 ply yarn.  I'm not sure I did it exactly right, but it seemed to work!

Now I need to figure out what to make with my yarn!

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