A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘lamb’

April 2013 Newsletter

Cravings-Buffet-at-the-Mirage

Shirley and I made our annual trek to Las Vegas.  Fun and relaxation were had by all.  Our only disappointment was that the Donny and Marie show was cancelled and we had been looking forward to it.  We did go to Blue Man Group and that was a fun and very loud show.  We had good seats, and we enjoyed the show.  Weather was a bit chilly on the first couple of days but it made for very comfortable walking.  We had some excellent meals, including the Cravings buffet at the Mirage.  We visited the Shark Reef at Mandalay Bay.  It’s an aquarium.  We got free tickets through the MLife Players Club rewards game , My Vegas.
I have an album of photos from our trip on Facebook.  Here’s the link. https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10200307594110975.1073741826.1187642981&type=1&l=44bed9c791
Weather has been the topic of conversation all month.  Wet and cold!  I don’t know when the fields will be dried out enough to begin spring field work.
lamb smudgeLambing began mid month, and there are still 2 ewes left to lamb.Again this year there are triplets and twins.  We had one poor ewe who had toxemia and lost her twins, but Lee was able to save the ewe.  It seems like lambing season is never trouble free.  I’m not sure how many lambs there are, but I’m guessing 22.  Mostly boys!  The little guy in the picture was born with the huge black spot on his hip.  It will fade with time.

 
Collin is back on American soil, back from Afghanistan.  It’s a huge relief.  We’ll see him in July, along with the rest of the family, when we go to OKC for a wedding.

 
Star 4-13The horses are shedding!   They’re itchy and need to be bathed and brushed, but it’s too cold.

I’m enjoying the return of the migratory birds.  I’ll bet the birds aren’t all that happy to be back.  Kildeer are nesting on the cold ground.  Robins are finding worms now but I wonder what they ate while the ground was still frozen.  The barn swallows are here, but we don’t have any bugs yet!

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June 2012 News from the Farm

First, let me say that Aubrey, Josh, and Carys had a wonderful time in Hawaii.  They were able to meet some of our family and spent some time with my sister Julie.  I have a picture in the slideshow of Aubrey and Carys with Julie.

Alora has made her way back to Wisconsin from Scotland.  It’s made me so happy to see her and I hope to spend some time with her in the near future, getting caught up.  She looks so good and I think she’s ready to begin making a life for herself now that she’s an adult.  She knows that she has her family as a safety net and that we all want her to succeed in whatever she does.

Meanwhile, in Scotland, our 16 year old grandson Cameron has been ill.  He has a genetic blood condition called spherocytosis and it’s kicking his butt right now.  He’s in the hospital and will be  there for a few days while he’s being treated.  We wish him a speedy recovery!

We have some birthdays this month.  Connor will be 15 (I think, forgive me!) on the 19th, and little Noah will be 1 year old on the 25th.  When I get a B’day pic of Noah from Meredith I’ll share it.  He’s so darn cute.

Here on the farm, we’ve been battling black cutworms in the corn.  This is a first for us, and the agronomists are telling us that it’s due to the very mild winter we had.  I have some pictures for you to see.  Lee has sprayed them and he thinks that the damage has stopped.

Lee got our first cut hay done without any rain!  He sold a few wagon loads to regular hay customers, and kept back some for our own use.  It’s such a good feeling to have that new hay stacked in the shed for next winter….and it smells SO good!

The lambs are growing fast and it’s about time to wean the bottle babies.  We had 4 of them this year due to having so many triplets.

Weather is still crazy.  A few cold days followed by a few hot days!

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Farm and Family Newsletter May 2012

I started this blog to keep in touch with family and friends who are scattered all over the world.  My intention was to write about the farm and our family, keeping everyone up to date on everyone else.  We all know what can happen to good intentions.  Somehow I’ve become scattered and eclectic, writing about whatever pops into my head, and throwing in a bunch of recipes to boot.  I don’t think that’s going to change because my thoughts and my focus tend to bounce around.  I do think that I should make some kind of commitment to the original premise so I’m going to try to write a monthly newsletter that will stick to actual family and farm news.  Good luck with that, right?

So here we go!

Lambing this year was busy!  We had 18 pregnant ewes and all but one of them has delivered.  There were several sets of triplets and we have 32 lambs.  The lone hold out ewe will probably have a single lamb any day now.

There are 2 lambs being supplemented by bottle, and they’re doing well.  They will stay with their moms and just get a bit of extra help from us.

All of the ewes did well, but we did lose 2 lambs.  One was stillborn (a triplet) and one was deformed and dead in the womb as well.

It’s no secret that the weather has been crazy and unpredictable this year.  We had hot weather in March and then in April it cooled back down.  Now in May we’re getting a lot of rain.   Lee was able to get his wheat fertilized early and he did some digging, but it’s now too wet to do any more.  Some farmers in our area planted corn in April.  That’s very unusual.  The strange weather has caused serious problems for agriculture here.  Specifically, the fruit trees blossomed and then the blossoms froze so apples and cherries in particular will be scarce.  Maple sap ran so early that the taps weren’t in place yet and so there won’t be much maple syrup made in Wisconsin.

My horse pasture greened up very early and I was able to get Star, Irish, and Artie out on the grass in March.  Unfortunately, even though I was careful to let them graze for short periods, Irish has foundered and his grazing days are now over.  He’s doing well now.  He was sore footed for  a few days but is feeling much better now.  Cody never gets to eat grass because he has chronic laminitis (founder) and will get sore on the tiniest bit of grass.  I’m down to 2 horses that can graze the pastures for a few hours each day.  I see lots of mowing in our future.

The early spring brought many of the migratory birds back early.  Specifically the killdeers and barn swallows and robins were here in April.  Sandhill cranes were back a bit early too.  Just in the last few days we’ve been seeing orioles, and Lee thinks there was a hummingbird buzzing around him when he was installing our new bird feeder (made by cousin Ron, and it’s a very nice feeder!).  I haven’t seen a hummer yet.  I’ve been keeping the nectar feeders filled for both the hummers and the orioles.

Lee and our brother-in-law Mick put a new roof on our house a couple of weeks ago.  We’re so happy to have it done, and I’m especially happy to have the hammering on  the roof finished.  Project #2 is the remodeling of our guest bathroom.  It has been gutted and Lee installed a new shower.  No more tub in that bathroom.  The shower takes up the same space that the tub did, so it’s nice sized.  Everything in the room will be replaced so it will look completely different.  It’s been a challenge because it’s a tiny bathroom.

Another remodeling/repair project will be new steel siding on the barn.  It’s on the contractor’s to-do list but it may be a while until he gets at it.  Lee and I had a discussion about color and he was leaning toward  grey, while I think that  a proper barn should be red.  Red it is.

In family related news….Aubrey, Josh, and Carys, and Josh’s mom Sally, are in Hawaii on vacation.  They’re having a wonderful time and posting pictures to Facebook  daily.  It’s fun to see what they’re doing there, and I have to say they all seem so very  happy!

 

 

 

Shirley and I will be leaving on Mother’s Day for Las Vegas.  What a great Mom’s Day present!  We’ll be there for 5 nights, staying at the Monte Carlo again.  It’s become our favorite hotel in LV, mostly due to its location and ease of getting around.

We’re looking forward to seeing Alora soon.  She’s going to be coming back to the US from Scotland and we’ve missed her and can’t wait to see her.

That’s all for this May update.  Wish me luck in Vegas!

 

I Was Gone

But now I’m back…..

My laptop was in the hands of the Geek Squad for 2 weeks.  Longest 2 weeks I’ve seen!  I was able to use my very old desktop for emails and such, but it gave new meaning to Ramona’s “turtle time” expression.  How slow can you go??  You won’t understand that reference if you don’t watch NY Housewives.  The Geeks replaced my defective battery and all is well in my computing world.

This is Lee’s new (to him) tractor.  If you care about tractors, you can click on the picture to see it  full size.  He can’t wait to try it out on the land.  Oh wait…the land is still too wet to work.  Here we are nearing the end of April and not a lick of field work has been done.  It’s been cold and wet and spring has been a long time coming.  The wheat and hay fields that were already existing, have some concerning bare spots.  Crazy weather.  Weather is causing price fluctuations in the grain and livestock markets.  Purchasing corn to feed our hogs is not fun.  It’s really high priced right now.  On the other hand, the hogs are  getting a good price at this time.  I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing we’re not making a profit though :).  We’ve been using a somewhat local butcher shop to process the hogs we sell to private customers and the ones for us and family members.  Not long ago the butcher shop lost their supplier of hogs and asked Lee to do it.  He takes them a specific number of hogs each week, so that’s been a nice boost for us.  First because the butcher shop likes our hogs enough to want to sell them in their shop, and also because it gives us an easy weekly income to count on.

In other spring farming news, lambing season is over.  Our little ram must have been incredibly fertile because all of the ewes lambed within an 11 day period.  We had 3 or 4 single lambs, 2 sets of triplets, and the rest were twins.  Sadly, we did lose a ewe due to complications from a prolapsed uterus so her little son is an orphan and being bottle fed.  I named him Goldie because he’s worth his weight in gold!  We had the vet out twice for his mom.  On Easter Sunday.  Combine emergency charges with Holiday charges and you’ll understand the expense.  Plus, powdered lamb milk replacer cost $50.00 for a big bag.  I don’t think we’ll recoup our losses on this one, but he’s awful cute.

Anyone who knows me understands that I’m a serious fussbudget. When  I was a youngster, and the Peanuts characters became so popular, my Dad bought me a Lucy doll because Lucy and I were kindred spirits.  The thing is, that my family and friends continue supplying me with reasons to fuss, fret, and worry.  Lately it’s been the weather.  Tornados and floods and lightening strikes keep me on my toes.  If you live in an area where bad weather is happening, rest assured that I am here in my house,eyes glued to CNN, fussing and fretting about you.  Pestilence?  Bring it on.  I’ll worry it to death.  Some of my family have been inconvenienced by storms but they’re physically all right.  Some of my friends have lost possessions in tornados, but they’re safe and alive.  Maybe we all should move to a place where nothing bad ever happens.  No earthquakes or tornados or hurricanes or volcanos or floods.  Where would that be?  Most will say Heaven, but I really do wonder if there is any place on earth that is devoid of natural disasters.

I’m posting this photo because so many people have told me they’ve never seen or heard of yellow headed blackbirds.  Well, here they are.  They’re similar to redwings in their habits and habitat.  Larger than redwings and very noisy.  We see them every spring.  Some hang out here and nest, most move on to the marsh.

Now that I’ve cleared my head of all the flotsam and jetsam that is on my mind, I’m finished with this post!

Good Bye July…..

…..and a big hello to August, soon to arrive.

I’d like to say I hate to complain, but that would be a lie.  I love to complain.  So does Lee.  Lately we’ve been complaining about the weather, and more specifically, how the weather has impacted our lives this summer.  It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride, trying to make good crops, and trying to care for livestock.  We’ve had too much rain, too much heat, too much humidity, resulting in too much insect activity and too little time in the fields.

We’ve learned that there are numerous species of mosquitoes, and they’re all residing in the grass here.  It doesn’t matter what time of day we’re outside, there are mosquitoes biting.  The animals are suffering.  The hogs have super thick hide to protect them, and the sheep have thick wool except on their poor little faces and legs.  The horses are not so lucky and are covered with skeeters all day long.  Sprays aren’t working so I have to limit their time outside.  We have vaccinated them against West Nile virus.  Too bad there’s no vaccine for us!  The barn cats are all content to laze inside the barn 24 hours a day.

It rains and rains.  The weather man tells us this has been a record-setting summer for precipitation.  We knew that.

Farming has become more of a guessing game lately.  If Lee cuts a field of hay, will it get rained on?  Of course it will.

Is it any wonder that we look forward to a new page on the calendar?  August has to be better.  Right?

We’re highly anticipating a trip to Kentucky later in August.  We’ll be visiting family there, and we look forward to the change of scenery, the few days away from the farm, and the company of  folks we enjoy.

We’re fortunate to see an abundance of wildlife here.  We’ve been seeing deer every day, and the bucks are in velvet right now.  Recently I witnessed a turf war between 3 deer and a flock of wild turkeys.  They kept trying to chase each other away, and the deer eventually won.

Lately we’ve had Great Egrets swimming in the overflowing ditch, and they’ve been landing in a field across the road.  I got some pictures, but without a good zoom, the pictures aren’t the best.  We have a bumper crop of frogs, so I think that’s why they’re here.

Every year we have a turkey vulture family nesting in a rotten stump just on the edge of the horse pasture.  In the morning they sit in a tree or on a post and dry their wings.

The slide show is at the end of this post, and of course I had to include pictures of little Payten, who is gorgeous.  She was 4 months old on the 20th.

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Farm and Family

I started this blog to help me keep my family and friends updated on our lives.  It seemed like an easy way to reach everyone who might care about our latest news and views.  For the most part it’s doing exactly what I hoped it would.  Sometimes I veer off in other directions and write about things that no one else cares about but me.  Sometimes I have nothing to say.

Today, I want to write updates on both farm and family. Pictures will follow in a slide show.

 

We’ve had an unusually wet spring.  No flooding, but enough rain to keep everything soggy, and lots of humidity to add to the tropical feel.  Our crops are suffering due to some uncommon pests.  Slugs are eating the leaves of the corn.  When I say slugs, I mean tons o’ slugs.  There’s not much we can do about them.  Dry weather is our best bet.  We’ve also had some kind of worm/larva in the young corn stalks.  Skunks are breaking the corn off at the ground level to get at the worms.   It looks like someone went out with a scythe and hacked the corn off.  Although Lee was able to make most of the first crop hay, he has a field of alfalfa that hasn’t been cut yet.  It’s very tall, due to the rain, but the lower foot or so of the plants is moldy and nasty and the plants are long past prime cutting and will be tough, course hay when baled. 

The riding mower broke and is in the shop being repaired.  With all the rain, it’s looking like an untamed jungle here. 

There’s a huge old maple tree next to my horse barn and we discovered a family of raccoons living there.  Three youngsters and Mom.  The cat food in the barn kept disappearing so I suspected there was a coon raiding the food supply but was surprised to see the little ones in the tree one day.  I started closing the barn doors at night, and the little family has moved on.  They’re so darn cute, but naughty.

Speaking of the horse barn, my old mare Shamrock isn’t doing well and I’m worried about her.

On to family news. 

Lexi and JD were here for a few days.  Their visit was much too brief, but we’re so grateful for any time we’re able to spend with them.  They’re so far away, in Oklahoma, and any time we can get together is a gift.  They live in tornado alley near OKC, and ironically, we had destructive tornados here in Wisconsin while they were here.

Paige has gone back to work, and Nikki is caring for Payten while her parents are working and attending classes.  I’m so happy that Payten is with people who love her.  I know from my own experience that there’s a special bond that develops between children and the grandparents who help care for them.  I’m just going to end here with some pictures. 

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Big Family News, and Farm Fun too

You might have noticed that the background theme of the blog has changed.  I was tired of the coolness and serenity of the blue theme I had been using for so long, and I needed something green and springish.

We’ve been taking care of business on the farm.  The farrier was here to trim the horse’s hooves.  We do that every few weeks.  The vet came and gave them their vaccinations.  We only have to do that annually so we’re good now until next spring.  We’re so fortunate to have a vet who will barter for her services.  We provide her with pork in exchange for vet work. 

The sheep shearer was here to clip the wool off of the sheep.  We have it done shortly before they lamb every year.  They’ll begin lambing around April 13.  It never fails that the weather is cold/bad on the day we shear.  Poor things are naked and the temps plummet.  They do have a nice barn to go in and keep warm, and they make good use of it for the first few days while they get used to their lack of wool.  Here’s a bit of sheep and wool trivia….the fleece of each sheep weighs 7-10 pounds.  A sheared sheep takes up 1/3 less space in the barn.  You can make 2 adult size sweaters from the yarn of 1 sheep fleece.

Now, on to the family news.

Nikki and Ken spent last week in Oklahoma, and attended Collin’s graduation from basic training.  This picture is of Nikki and Collin.  Collin should be in Georgia now, if his flight ever left Oklahoma.  They had some very nasty weather with snow and ice.  Nikki and Ken had a rough drive home on the weekend.  They were also able to spend some time with JD and his family.  We’re so very proud of Collin.

This little bundle of cuteness is Payten Margaret, who joined our family on March 20.  The proud parents are Paige and Lucas.  Payten was 8lb. 5 oz. and 21 inches long.  She was delivered by c-section.  Being born into this large family assures her of lots of love and attention.  We love babies 🙂

Speaking of babies, my barn cat Sissy has a kitten.

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