A small, family farm in Wisconsin

Posts tagged ‘sheep’

May and June Catch-Up

blossoming treeIt’s been a crazy spring.  Cold and wet.  We’re closing in on the middle of June, and  the fields are not fully planted yet.  Lee has been planting as the fields dry out, but he still has to plant around the wet spots.  It’s raining again today so no planting for a few days.  We just haven’t been getting enough time between the rains to let the ground dry off.  We just have to be patient and wait and see how it all works out.  Lee’s definitely feeling the pressure.

The good news is that the rains have brought lush growth to the pastures.  Too lush for the minis, but the sheep are benefiting from all the lovely grass.  Of course we went from seldom  mowing the dry, brown grass last summer to frequent mowing this spring.

It’s been fun watching my bird feeders this spring.  So many colorful birds.  I had two indigo buntings coming to the feeders for a few days.  They must have been just passing through because I haven’t been seeing them lately.  I saw at least half a dozen orioles in a tree just in front of the house.   It was before the tree had fully leafed out so it was a gorgeous riot of color in the tree.  The orioles have been using the nectar feeder I set up for them.  Lee’s favorite birds are the cardinals and he also likes blue jays.  I think because he can easily identify them.  We’ve had lots of turkeys, our sandhill couple is back to nest here again, and we’ve been seeing deer come out of the woods every day.  We can sit at the kitchen table and enjoy seeing the wildlife while we eat a meal.

charlie collarCharlie has a new collar, which has a QR Code tag.  It can be read by any smart phone that has a QR Code reader app.  It also will send you to a website if you don’t have a reader.  On the website is Charlie’s ID page, which has contact information and health history.  It was very inexpensive.  The collar with tag was $10.99, I think, and you can get just a tag for less.   Just go to FurCode.com, or they also have a Facebook page.

Charlie is 10 years old now and he’s begun to have some health problems as he ages.  Recently he injured his back, but healed quickly, thank goodness.

We are going to Oklahoma in July, and we’ll have to board Charlie at a kennel.  He’s only been boarded a couple of times and the last time was a bad experience so I’m  nervous about doing it again.  We’ll be taking him to a different kennel this time and I got references from the vet, so I’m really hoping it will be okay.

The family are all doing well.  We’re so excited to be going to OKC for Leah and Craig’s wedding.  It’s turning out to be a wonderful family reunion too.  I just can’t wait to see everyone, and this will be the first time in years that I’ll be together with all 3 of my kids at once.  It’s going to be fun to have Lee coming along.  It’s so hard to get him to leave the farm.

Here are fairly recent pictures of Carys (at her archery lesson), Payten at 3 years old, and Noah.

Carys archeryPaytenNoah

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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!

July 2012 Newsletter

The wheat has been harvested, and most of the straw has been baled.  The wheat yielded about 65 bu/acre.  The price is high right now, sadly due to the misfortune of farmers everywhere.  Now we’re seeing the sandhill cranes and Canada geese gleaning our wheat fields and probably finding bugs and frogs in the stubble. The next crop related job will be cutting and baling a small field of hay.  The lack of rain and high temps have burned up our pastures (and lawn) so we’ll be needing more hay than usual.  The sheep aren’t getting anything out of the pastures now, and Lee’s had to supplement them with hay.
We are still very dry.  Last night while all around us rain was falling, sometimes in gully washer proportions, we got a measly 1/10″!  It didn’t even settle the dust and only served to raise the humidity levels.  There are more chances for rain in the next few days and we’re hoping some of it will fall on our farm.
Even with the lack of rain, the roadside weeds and wildflowers are still abundant.  One of my favorites is wild chicory.  Its flowers are such a pretty shade of blue.
This summer has been hard on the farm cats.  We started this spring with 10, and we’ve lost several, either to illness or the road, or just unknown causes.  One of the kitties was dead on the road the other day and it’s the first time I’ve ever lost a cat that way and known it, in all these years.  We have more traffic on our road lately because we have new neighbors building a house and there’s lots of construction activity.  Well anyway, I think our current cat count is 5 or 6.
We’re anticipating some family visits in the next few weeks.  Collin will be home on leave soon, and Meredith and her family will be here for a few days in August.  Kay and the girls will be coming in August too.
Here’s a slideshow of photos I’ve taken in the past few 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!

 

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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