Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Minor Surprises

This little guy, Beck, was a day old before I discovered that he was a moorit kat. He kept hiding his face and the back end of him looked black to me. I seriously was not expecting moorit from his sire, Arvada.
Tecwyn has more white on his head than I had previously noticed. It is really nothing dramatic, but I was not expecting spots from this pairing either.
Just goes to show that these sheep can carry around a lot of recessive information.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Nhu Lambs

Last evening, Nhu was not very interested in following the flock around. Her due date was Sunday (today) so I figured she was right on schedule. This morning at 6:30 am, she was standing in the middle of the paddock all by herself while the other girls were still sleeping in the barn. I asked Clancy to help me get her into a clean jug before she gave birth out on the wet grass. By the way, we got rain yesterday! :)
Considering that I could not tempt Nhu with grain, and the fact that she staggered when I shooed her toward the barn (mid-contraction stumble) I knew she was going to have those lambs very soon.
And she did. Twin katmoget ram lambs sired by WhitePine Arvada. This was Nhu's first pregnancy so I was surprised by the twins. She really didn't look that big. But there they were, almost dry by 8 am.
The light one seems to have some facial spotting. The dark one has what I think is the "dog hair" coat that some shepherds have mentioned seeing in lambs. That is the first time I've seen it here. Both have distinct horn buds so they do not have a future in my flock. But I'm happy to get two healthy lambs!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Popcorn !

Anna Belle has been pawing at the door of her jug since Thursday morning. So today I let all the other sheep go out into the yard to graze, and then I let Anna and her lambs have the paddock to themselves.
It is always so fun to watch the tiny lambs explore the wide open space.
Quite involuntarily, it seems, they discover that they can hop and bounce.
Clennam kicks up his heels!
Carys takes a leap!
One more for Clennam.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Last Bombarde Lambs

Bramble Anna Belle did not want to come out of the barn this morning. Once she did come out, she didn't want to leave the small paddock surrounding the barn. Anna is the BIGGEST piggy at the trough when it comes to being let out to graze each morning...so I knew that she was close to lambing.
But by the time I had made all these observations, she was finally waddling out of the gate into the yard. I watched her from the kitchen windows and noticed her trying to hide from the flock, each time getting farther and farther from the house. Not wanting her to lamb in parts unknown and unfenced, I tempted all the sheep back to the barn with some grain, and put Anna in a clean jug.
By 3:15pm she had lambs in the pen with her.
Meet Clennam,
a grey ram with a gorgeous birth coat.
And this is Carys,
my very last Bombarde daughter. I feel so lucky to get one more now that he is gone.
Being born is hard work!

Early Spring

Slowly the grass is greening up. I wouldn't say it is growing yet...but certain areas are no longer predominantly brown. The leaves on the aspen trees just popped yesterday afternoon. This is the time of year when it is easy to identify certain trees by the shade of color they cast on the horizon. Aspens are the first to green. Maples are covered in scarlet flowers. Elms are also flowering, but they are brown and smell faintly of formaldehyde.
Anna Belle is in a jug today with the early signs of labor. I expect lambs by tonight. Nhu is just as big as can be, but her due date is Sunday. She will probably hold out a few more days.
Lyneth is the lady in question. Is she bred or is she just overweight? Her udder is bigger than the unbred yearlings, but not really developed. She could lamb as late as May 20-a month away. I supposed there is still hope for her yet.
S'more Courante
The rams finally got out on pasture today. I meant to move them a week ago but things just kept coming up. Then, when I thought I was ready with the electronet, it became apparent that I needed a new battery this year...and new clips for the wires that connect to the fencer.
Clancy got it all working over lunch today and now we have some happy boys. There is not enough grass for them to eat so I will supplement with hay. But at least they are on clean ground again.
The ewes have been wandering free in the yard for about 2 weeks now. Of course they love it, and they happily return to the pen at night when I shake the treat bucket.
Baby Esyllt is blissfully enjoying all the splendid weather and growing like a weed.
Love her little face. :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


At first I thought Nhu (far left) would lamb late-April. Then for the past few days, I thought she might lamb at any moment. All the signs were there, in increasing significance. And now? I've just given up. Rachel (foreground) used to do this to me when she was still a breeding candidate: look imminent for 2 weeks while I checked on her every 2 hours.
My body and mind just can function that way anymore. Unless a ewe is actually in labor, I just can't think about it anymore. I set a routine and put it out of my mind. It's the wondering about when the lambs are coming that really wears me down, I think. So I'm back to checking in with the sheep before bedtime, usually around 9:30pm. I set the alarm for 2am. If all looks normal in the middle of the night, I sleep until 6:30am feeding time. During the day I look out the windows when I pass one, just trying, in general, to get something else besides worrying accomplished.
I have been skirting fleeces, which I find immensely educational. So far I have dealt with January and Ash, the two sheep from Gail's farm.
January is courser than I would like, though her other fleece qualities, such as density, length, and crimp are quite nice. As I've said before, she has so many redeeming qualities I feel no regrets in using her to introduce more polled genetics into my flock.
Ash was softer than I could have dreamed of. His fleece is just like warm butter! And the color is literally silver-brown; like the stout, dusky Shetland ponies with the silvery-cream manes and tails I had as a child. His fleece caught me completely off guard, and I am delighted with it!
Hopefully I will get another fleece or two taken care of today. I am eager to send in fleece samples for testing before summer gets too far along.
In other news, our house and yard are complete disasters. We have been spring cleaning, and things always seem to get worse before they get better. Piles of scrap iron, building supplies, charity donations, worthy treasures, and genuine trash are seemingly everywhere. This is good. It means decisions have been made and the sorting has been accomplished. Now to dispose of and deliver the piles to their intended destinations. The goal is to get it all removed before the grass needs mowing. Let us hope.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Miracles: Profound & Sweet

God is so very good.

Words cannot express my joy today. Suffice it to say, I am amazed, once again, at God's care for us.

At this very moment, sweet rain is falling on our dry brown ground. Rain that cleans the air, dampens the forest fires, makes the grass grow, and tells the trees it is now safe to unfurl their leaves.
Thank you, God.

This morning also brought the news that my sister's husband, Elmer, has been approved to re-enter the United States to live with his family. A tiny description of their story is here. Elmer has been gone for 17 months, with no idea of whether or not he would ever be allowed to return. Today, he is allowed to return.
Thank you, God.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Esyllt Meets the Big Wide World

Mama January determines all is safe before leading her baby out of the barn.
At first, Esyllt stays very close to her dam.
Moments of curiosity and distraction do occur, however.
Finally, a shot of her hindquarters and tail.
So delicate.
Her first chance to run and spring.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Shearing Day & Sheep Coats

Caught "mid-beller", Nhu expresses her dissatisfaction with being sheared and dressed up in clothes.
Needless to say, there was a lot of "bellering" today from all of the sheep. Nobody was happy. Even moving the flock to fresh ground didn't offset the general disgust with the situation.
"Too bad, so sad," says the shepherd.
Sian and Nhu model their coats. I am glad to see Nhu is finally bagging up. She will likely lamb close to the date I noted for her last fall: 4/25/10.
Her twin, Lyneth, was in the breeding pen with Arvada for the same length of time but has not even started to develop yet. I'll spare you the close-ups I took of the area in question, but female intuition tells me she is bred. If she is, I doubt she will lamb until mid to late-May. Lyneth has always been an "easy-keeper." I suspect her weight interfered with conception last fall.
Lyneth models her coat. I am wondering if it isn't just a bit too short?
Anna Belle's coat seems to fit perfectly.
I'm so in love with the idea that my fleeces will be bright and clean next shearing!
L to R: Vianne, Anna, Lyneth, Leil

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Baby

Meet Boston Lake Farm's newest little lamb:
White Pine Arvada
Black Katmoget
Little Red Oak January
Moorit Katmoget

She is all I hoped for from this pairing:
improved fleece,
tiny tail,
good conformation,
and a eweling!
not to mention my favorite pattern, katmoget

January had her all cleaned off, up standing, and eating by the time we found her at 6 am this morning. I'm so grateful for the Shetland mothering instincts.
fyi: January is not a mutant buck-toothed Easter Bunny sheep. She has some hay on her lip. :)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My One & Only Size "E" Fits...

...a full-fleeced, open yearling at Boston Lake Farm.
Rocky Sheep Coats & Vianne to be exact.
A full-term, full-fleeced Bramble Anna Belle (front), will very likely take a G. She's a mighty big gal compared to her daughter, Vianne.

Brilliant Sunrise

Rain is in the forecast for the next several days. But what a beautiful sunrise this morning. Again the swans were calling. I also heard some geese and ducks. And a songbird of some sort.
Then the ewes saw me step around the corner of the house and they started in with their breakfast demands. :)