Saturday, February 24, 2018

Bummies and first calf born...

We've had lots of bummies this year due to the large amount of triplets being born.  It's quite amazing how many trips we've had -- about as many trips as twins, and we have had very few singles.  We even had a set of quads.  They are very unusual, but they do show up.  Generally, ewes cannot raise more than two lambs successfully so we take one lamb off of every set of triplets which means they become a "bum."  Dr. Liz is taking all of our bums again this year which is so nice.  Dr. Liz has a little girl who is about 4 years old and together they take good care of all of the bummies we send them.

I brought three lambs in to the mudroom for a warm-up, and as you can see, Heidi was willing to lick them off and tend to them.  Like most ranch dogs, she likes the smell of the wet sheep and the poop smell, so she was very accepting of them being in her space.

Heidi has been a little bit lame in her left foot for the last couple days.  Upon inspection, I noticed that the pads of her paw have some cracks.  I'm thinking that is why she is carrying that paw because I don't see any other reason.  The cold and snow must be taking a toll on her feet.  So I got out the good old Corona Ointment  from the cupboard and have been greasing her paw pads generously day and night.  I think it's helping.   My old tube of Corona Ointment has 50% lanolin, but the new Corona has only 30%.  Upon further research, I found another lanolin product that is said to be just like the original Corona with 50% lanolin along with beeswax for skin protection. It's called Lantiseptic.  I'm going to order a tube of it to try out and compare with my old tube of Corona ointment.  If you ever need to attend to cracked pet paws or human paws, Corona (or Lantiseptic) is an amazing balm. We've  used it for over 35 years on cracked udders and for chapped skin and burn issues in our livestock, and we've used it on our own chapped, cracked hands and feet.  You can even use it on diaper rash.  Good stuff.

The snow is still deep and almost every night our temperatures have sunk into the sub-zero numbers.  It's like there is so much snow that it just can't warm up much, but we are seeing signs of a little change.  The last couple of days we got up to about 25* for highs with sun, and sunshine feels so good to us and to sheep.  Grandpa J. says we're getting tough since we think its warm on a day that gets above 15*.   We are hopeful there will be warmer days coming.

The first calf was born today!  It's a couple weeks early, but healthy. The heifers are in close to the barn and look ready to have their babies soon.

Back to the barn I go.  It's chore time!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy LOVE Day....

Sweets for the sweet.
I baked the favorite sugar cookies with red-hots
for our kids and grandkids.
Grandpa Jim brought me the flowers.
I hope you are feeling loved today.
 God loves you!

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. 
Outdo yourselves in honoring one another.
~Romans 12:10
(Berean Study Bible)

Thursday, February 08, 2018

New lambing set-up...


 Downy Woodpecker

Moving snow off the road in front of our house.

We are all so happy with our newly revamped lambing barn and the new lamb panels set-up.  Not only did the men improve our barn exterior, but they built these wire and steel panels.  When the ewes and lambs spend a day in a small jug (pen) they graduate to a larger pen before they are sent out the door to the wide world.  These larger pens are the ones you see above that the fellas made this fall.  The whole set-up in the barn is different and very handy.  We think the ewes and lambs like it too because although they are separated by the panels, they can see each other and that gives them some security since they are herd animals who do not like isolation.

Last night another wave of snow hit and made driving up to the barn a problem.  With the blowing  snow drifting across the road, it was a little tricky and at times I felt I didn't know if I was actually on the road or not.  The last thing I wanted to do was to wind up in the ditch and have to walk home at 3:00 a.m.  But I made it just fine.  Today we've been having more and more snow which continues to drift everywhere.  We are hoping that it lets up this afternoon so the men won't have to plow the roads anymore and we can find our way up to the barn as well as to get out and feed cows.  The good thing about all this snow is the moisture.  We've been quite dry here and although snow isn't "wet" right now, when it does melt, there is hope of fresh, run-off in creeks and stock dams.

The Redpolls have been swarming the feeders today and we've had a visitor from the Downy Woodpecker too.  They are so fun to watch.  I'm spending a little time in between barn checks with my embroidery.  I have a couple projects going as well as the TAST embroidery stitches each week.  It's been fun incorporating the stitches into my projects.

Tonight the Winter Olympics start with Curling for one event.  It's the funniest sport to me.  I'm thinking that they are showing it early in hopes of gaining viewers.  There's also figure skating and downhill moguls tonight.  The Opening Ceremonies are tomorrow. Yay!

Monday, February 05, 2018

First lambs are born...

The first lambs have dropped!  Twins were born last night, the first set of 2018 with over 200 more ewes to go!  We got another dumping of snow last night which made our county roads pretty drifted.  I have to admit, it was a beautiful sight to see the prairie road drifted over like waves on the sea.  Much more wind and more snow will make roads impassible.  Thankfully, we know the man with the road plow and he plans to make a pass down our road today.

 Going out with no trail.

Coming back with a drifted trail.

 Image from American Sheep Industry

If you like wool like I do, be sure to notice the U.S. Olympic Team's official outfits for the opening and closing ceremonies in South Korea this February 9th and 25th.  They will be sporting American-raised wool sweaters, hats and mittens by designer, Ralph Lauren.  Korea is expecting very cold temperatures during the ceremonies and so wool will be a good fit for keeping our athletes warm.  If you'd like to read the full story in the Sheep Industry Magazine, click here.  I just love watching the Winter Olympics, and I look forward to checking in on all the events and the stats in the days to come.  Are you a Winter Olympics watcher?  What's your favorite event?  I like the downhill skiing and snowboarding.  I do love to watch the luge and bobsled and never miss the speed skating or figure skating either.  How about curling?  That's a funny one to me.  The biathlon (cross country skiing and shooting) looks very hard to me.  As you can see, I really love ALL of it!

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Woolly & Naked...

 More snow



 Hello person.  Got anything to eat?

It snowed and turned cold right after we sheared the sheep.  It is winter, after all.  The wool was thick and beautiful and the wool warehouse manager was so excited to receive our wool that he immediately cored a bale of wool and took a sample of it with him to the American Sheep Industry annual meeting in San Antonio this weekend.  He said he wanted to show off the good wool we grow up here in the north country.  That was cool.

On Friday we worked through all the sheep and sorted off the pregnant ewes from the yearling ewes (who will lamb in May) and the late lambing ewes.  The bucks also went with the late lambing ewes.  Then we paint branded all of them -- red paint for the early ewes and green for the yearlings and late ewes.  Then we squirted some insecticide on their backs and turned them out.

206 ewes will start lambing on Feb. 7th or so
77 yearling ewes will lamb in May
22 late ewes will lamb in May
10 bucks
TOTAL:  315

We calculate that the ewes should begin to have lambs any day.  February 7th is our first due date, but the 206 ewes could drop lambs from here on out for the next two weeks or so.  It's going to get busy around here as we kick off the "spring season" with lambing.  I'm excited.  The men completely worked over our lambing barn this past fall.  They tore off the old holey tin, took out the rotted posts and roofing, and made everything like new again.  They even lined the interior walls with an inexpensive pressed board and painted it.  It's going to be a much warmer place for baby lambs.  We have the lambing barn all set up with jugs and some newly made twin pens.  The pens are bedded with straw and we are ready to roll.  It sounds like we are going to contend with winter as we go into lambing.  It was -14* F last night and stayed cold most of the morning.  We warmed up to 16* but are down to 3* for tonight.  I do hope we can get a nice little stretch of reasonable weather, but it will be what it will be and we will just deal with what we get.

I'll report back soon when we start having our first lambies. 


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