Thursday, February 23, 2017

Counting sheep....

These little woollies were triplets.
Their mothers really can't raise three very well, so Dr. Liz
and her little girl will take them 
 home to feed and love them.

 Every ewe and her lambs come out of the lambing barn with a number.
The red numbers are singles and the black numbers are twins.
This way we can match babies with mamas.
We've had WAY more twins than singles this year.
And plenty of triplets too.

This little fella came in at breakfast time.
NumberOneSon brought him in from the pasture
 cold and hungry, but healthy, and he'll go back to his mama.

This week we've been docking the oldest lamb bunches.  
We are trying something new this year.
We are banding the lambs tails and testicles instead of using a docker.
So far, so good.
First Docking:  76 ewes had 125 lambs.
Second Docking:  22 ewes had 33 lambs.
So far we have a 160% lamb crop!

About 30 head of ewes are left to lamb,
and then we will start calving heifers.
Full Speed Ahead!!

Friday, February 17, 2017

First paper towels and windex...

We had a beautiful day yesterday with a temperature of 58 degrees and sunshine!  Wow!  I decided it was time to give the front room's windows and doors a good washing-up.  Between kids and dogs and weather and barn grime, the windows were really disgusting.  I decided to go back to the Good Old Days when I learned how to use newspaper and vinegar for washing windows.  I call it The First Paper Towels and Windex.  And do you know how effective these tools are?  Very!  No streaks.  Just clean and shiny.  I always make sure I'm drying the windows with a dry piece of newspaper for a streak-free shine.  The only downside to this method is that your hands will have some of the inky residue from the paper, but it washes off.  I don't know why the ink doesn't come off on the windows, but it doesn't.  Newspapers are also great for cleaning the glass on the wood-burning stove and car windows. Growing up at home, we used newspaper and brown paper bags for draining fried foods and for cooling cookies.

Here we are -- clean and shiny windows!  I feel like I just cut my bangs!  I can see!  Do you have any tips for washing windows or for any other cleaning chore?  What are some of your favorite cleaning tools or cleaners?

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Chinook wind...

 From blowing, drifting snows... this on 2.10.17.

The Chinooks (as we call them on the Northern Prairies) blew warm and hard, cutting ice and snow in just a night and a day.  Chinook is an American Indian word that is translated as "snow-eater."  We went from a daytime high of 15 degrees to 45 degrees in less than 24 hours.  The Chinooks continued into the next day and warmed us up to 55 degrees.  With all that wind and warmth, we've now got mud and puddles of fresh water everywhere.  The cattle and sheep are so happy to be able to walk away from deep snow and find little sprouts of green grass to graze and snow-melt to sip.  Yesterday it even rained here a little bit.  It just feels like spring is arriving, but I know we are likely not out of Winter's grasp yet.  The thaw is a nice reprieve though!

Lots of baby lambs are arriving daily.  
This one below was exceptionally BIG!

Do you have warm winds that blow in your area?
Is there a name for them?

Friday, February 10, 2017

Flower Doodle in February...watercolor play

Playing with my Sharpie marker
and watercolor.
(no pencil)
It's fun, it's quick, it's impromptu,
and it's satisfying.
Making 4x6" paintings feel do-able and takes little time.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Sheepies & Lambies...

 A group of singles.

 Eating while they wait.

 This little ewe lamb is getting bottle fed.
Her mama has been sick and has no milk.

Just born...all wet and not yet licked off.
She's yelling for her mama and trying to stand up.
She's one of a set triplets born this morning.
We're dragging them in as soon as they're born due to cold temperatures.
It's just 8 degrees at 1:00 pm.  Brrrr!

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Today it begins...

From wild and woolly... domestic and well-coiffed.

It's been a busy couple of weeks with Littles staying with us for a week, a new grandbaby being born, and then came shearing on January 29th.  The herd produced a gross of 3125 pounds of raw wool when weighed at the Wool Warehouse.  A couple days after shearing we bagged the ewes (checking to see that they are making a milk bag) and sorted off the late, May-lambing ewes.  We branded the ewes that will lamb now with red paint and branded the bucks, late ewes, and yearling ewes with green.  Hubs applied the insecticide as we counted each group out of the gate.  
199 ewes to lamb in the Lambing Barn
93 head to Buck Pasture:  12 Bucks, 55 Yearling Ewes, and 26 Ewes.

No sooner did the men have the Sheep Barn cleaned up and bedded with a thick layer of straw and set up the lambing jugs -- BAM!!  --  the first lamb was born -- TODAY!

Although it is not spring here AT ALL, our spring season has begun.  Today on the bleak prairie we made it up to a chilly 19 degrees with a stiff breeze and a skiff of snow that blew around. We still have a good, deep, crust of snow on the level that refuses to melt with ice underneath.  We're not exactly "pushing up daffodils" here.   We start our spring season on the ranch with early lambing and just a week or two after we complete that job, we start calving heifers and then cows and on and on it goes until pretty soon we are in the field sweating and making hay bales for all our critters.  The "spring" seems to go by so fast once it begins.  And today it begins.  I'm pretty excited!

In honor of the first lamb born, here are pictures!



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