Monday, May 30, 2011

Horn Growth Report

All the ram lambs, except for Trans Am, are 6 weeks old today.  So I took photos of them to record their horn growth.
Above is Gwilym (twin Courante x Nhu).  He has the biggest scurs so far with these little wiggly points.  His face looks exactly like his sire.  His twin, Ian, is in the background.

Ian (Courante x Nhu) ties for the least horn growth.  You can't see any horn material unless you look straight down at the poll.

Tucker (Ash x Leil) is the other ram without any real scur growth.

Sextant (Courante x January) is the biggest lamb of the year.  He is so aloof I rarely get a photo of him.  This pic is more of a "place holder."  From what I can see, Sextant has a little more horn material than Ian and Tucker, but his scurs are not as long or pointy as Gwilym's.

Trans Am (twin Courante x Hannah) is only 4.5 weeks old today.  He has the most horn material of all the ram lambs.  His horns are still substantially less than a full horned ram's would be...but I have no idea what his scurs are going to look like.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Chives

I started drying one of my clumps of chives today.  I love having home-grown herbs to use in the winter.  They are so much more flavorful than store-bought herbs!  I have never been able to grow onions in this soil, but chives are almost indestructible...so a good choice for my purposes.  Now the whole house smells like onions.  :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Big Guy Saves The Day!

Once again a young bear decided to investigate our yard.
 Last year I chased one away myself while Meg and Greta looked on in horrified silence from the porch.  Though I was glad the bear was frightened away by my scream and charge, I sincerely hoped I would never be faced with such a situation again.

Tonight, Shachah was the hero.
Even though chasing away big bad predators is exactly what a Livestock Guardian Dog is supposed to do, I still think the big guy deserves honor and praise for his gallant work...
Around 9:30pm all three dogs started barking in a vicious manner.  Clancy went out to investigate and came back in to announce that the dogs had treed a bear in the white pine by the house.  I wanted to shoot it, but I ran out to see it first.  The bear was apparently even more afraid of human voices than barking dogs because as soon as Clancy got Greta called off, the bear slipped down the tree and ran for the woods.  The cool thing is that Shachah LET him.  The big guy chased the bear without engaging it in a fight until it was well away.  (The other two chicken-dogs joined in the chase once they were sure Shachah was in control of things.)  Clancy and I walked out to check on the sheep.  All was fine there.  We could see Shachah's dim white form step out of the woods as we walked back to the house in the dark.  He continued to investigate the "crime scene" and willingly accepted a cold hamburger as a token of our esteem.

I love how Shachah didn't fight the bear.  He just made sure it left with a good reason to never come back.  I am continually amazed at the wisdom and grace and courage of these LGD's.
Shachah, you are AWESOME!  Thank you. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nhu's Twin Rams

Once again, Nhu gave me a stunning set of ramlings.  Last year they were by White Pine Arvada.  This year they are by S'more Courante.
Gwilym is the black and Ian is the moorit.
They are a full month old now, and still no visible sign of horns...though I believe they have little bb's or chocolate chips there...I just haven't had my hands on them in a while.
They both have promise of the gorgeous fleeces their parents have and Nhu's former lambs displayed.
Gwilym is my favorite of the two.  His fleece is very crimpy right down to his tail.  I guess I just have a thing for black katmogets.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Plums

I'm not sure whether the plums fall under the category of wildlife or gardening...  They are a wild variety that was here before we were.  But we've been cultivating them for several years so I guess they are sort of "ours"
We just might get a plum crop this year after several seasons of nothing.  The past few years it was either too cold for bees or heavy downpours during the blossom.  But it is warm and sunny today.  And the thicket is simply humming with bees.
And the scent is heavenly!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Justina

Hannah's solid black daughter, Justina, is the only ewe lamb of the season by S'more Courante.  For that reason alone I am interested in her development.  Thankfully, Justina also happens to be a fine lamb with promising conformation.  Here she is with Hannah and her twin brother, Trans Am. 
While Trans Am has the super crimpy lamb fleece I've come to expect from Courante's offspring, Justina is a complete mystery.  She has the most uniform, un-wool-like, dog hair coat I have ever seen.  In fact, she looks like a glossy black lab retriever.  Both her parents have lovely fleeces, so I'm not worried about hers.  But I am curious about it and how it will develop.
I'm happy to announce that I made friends with little Justina this past week.  She shyly crowded in with Tucker, Jane, and Francesca one day and I surreptitiously rubbed her chest without her seeing my hand.  Even after the other lambs drifted away she was still dreamily receiving pets and accepted the fact that shepherd = bliss.  I love it when that happens! 
Justina is the lamb I suspected of being modified because of the lighter skin color around her eyes.  So far I don't see any evidence of modified in her fleece.  That's ok.  Even if she is only plain black I am still glad of her.  She's a little sweetheart.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

All Tuckered Out

Never once have I petted or made friends with a ram lamb.
Never, EVER!

Until Tucker came along...

I'll be honest...I don't think I had much choice about befriending this ramling.  Tucker is a truly outgoing spirit that found his fretting mother absolutely boring after his first day of life on this planet. 

Tucker happens to be a lamb with more vim and vigor than what's good for him.  I'm surprised he hasn't been murdered by the flock yet.   I've watched him snitch snacks from every lactating ewe.  He chases them down if they object!  He relishes hopping on top of resting ewes and biting them in the ears until they get up and chase him around pasture.  Lyneth has a special grudge against him over this behavior.  He even frolics and bounces around when all the other lambs are napping...just to keep himself busy.
I've come to the conclusion that he either has ants in his pants or he is ADHD!  

Tucker is also the first lamb I've ever met that LOVES to be held... except the last time I snuggled him he reached up and bit my nose... hard! 
How can a lamb so naughty look that angelic?
I'm not sure...but I do know what it is going to cost him...
Anyone interested in a wethered fiber pet?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Facebook Info

I recently posted this photo of Francesca stretching at my farm page on Facebook.  I try to post separate content there.  So if you crave more farm info and photos, visit Boston Lake Farm on Facebook.  :) 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

More Lamb Pics

Justina & Trans Am  (Courante x Hannah)
I took the coats off the remaining lambs last night.  Trans Am is the softest lamb of this crop.  He's just a superstar, I guess.  lol

Francesca  (Ash x Sian)
This little girl is just so docile and sweet.

Jane  (Ash x Sian) 
Jane has the most presence of all the ewe lambs this year.
Tucker is napping in the background.... one of the rare instances in which he is not being naughty.

Gwilym  (Courante x Nhu)
Gwilym was my favorite Courante ram lamb until Trans Am came along.  I still think he is just fantastic though.  He is super crimpy right down to his tail.

Ian  (Courante x Nhu) 
That bit of white on his face was a surprise to me.  Didn't know either of his parents carried spots until he was born.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sunshine For A Day

Last Saturday was beautiful and I managed to get some photos of the lambs.  I'll dole them out over the next few days while the thunderstorms roll through.

Sextant (Courante x January) and Ian (Courante x Nhu)
Sextant has amazing presence.  He is always the first lamb to catch my eye.  He is super crimpy right down through his tail.

Jane and Francesca  (Ash x Sian).  These two little girls have become just as friendly as their dam.  They even gave attention to some 7 year old visitors that came out on Sunday afternoon.  I finally got their coats off this weekend and they are lovely soft!

The baby of the bunch, Penelope (Ash x Lana).  Lana is quite shy of me so I get very little interaction with this eweling.  But I have hopes of taming her down eventually.  She is so tiny compared to all the 3 week old lambs.  Could have named her Smidge.  lol

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Sextant was the first lamb born this spring on April 18.  I put that little green lamb coat on him after he was dried off.  He swam in it.  Now, just three weeks later he has ripped himself out of the back legs and the thing is dangling like the tattered clothes of the "Incredible Hulk."  Don't worry, shortly after I took this photo I cornered him in the barn and removed the coat entirely. 

This photo may seem an odd choice for a Mother's Day sentiment.  But if there is anything so poignant about being a mother, it is the undeniable fact that children grow up...fast.  A recent cartoon in the newspaper, (either ZITS or Arlo & Janis...sorry, they both feature a typical teenage son with frazzled parents)  captured the experience perfectly with the words, "The days are long...but the years are short."
So true. 

I took a good long look at my sons yesterday as they were doing yard/farm spring clean-up work.  (The best Mother's Day present EVER!)  I cannot fathom how they got to be so big and capable.  But there it is.  Children grow up.  We can't see it happen, we just look up one day to realize their clothes have shrunk.... again.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lambing Summary

Here are the stats for the 2011 lambing season.
Rams underlined.  Ewes in bold.  Lamb names in italics.

Little Red Oak Ash
BL Leil:   Tucker (single gray krunet ram)
BL Sian:   Francesca (twin moorit ewe), Jane (twin black ewe)
BL Vianne:   Glisten (single black kat ewe) DECEASED
River Oaks Lana:   Penelope (single black ewe)

S'more Courante
Little Red Oak January:   Sextant (single black kat ram)
BL Nhu:   Gwilym (twin black kat ram), Ian (twin moorit blesset kat ram)
River Oaks Hannah:   Justina (twin black ewe), Trans Am (twin blesset, smirslet, sokket black kat ram)
BL Lyneth:  remained open

Meet the Sun

Yesterday I let Hannah and her twins out into the small enclosure in front of the barn.  We have had some horribly cold, snowy, windy weather this past week.  So this was the first sun the babies had seen.
I love watching lambs discover there is a world beyond the small stall they were born in.  It takes about half a minute of little heads bobbing up and down... cautiously sniffing the new ground... and then a tentative bounce with a bit of a kick thrown in.
And all of a sudden their brains grasp the limitless space of their new world and they are leaping through the air... twisting and bucking... showing everyone how canty and clever they are.
I will admit to being disproportionately attracted to my one and only spotted lamb.  For every picture of plain little black Justina I took about four pictures of Trans Am.  What a little superstar he is!
I am a bit curious about Justina, though.  I have noticed that the skin around her eyes is lighter compared to the other black lambs I have this year.  Does that indicate something?  I thought it might signify modified genetics.  But I am not aware of Hannah or Courante carrying modified.  So maybe it is my imagination, or maybe it is just the way she is.  Regardless, she is a darling lamb.  :)
And then there is pretty boy... Gotta nip that itch...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lana Lambs

Meet little Penelope.
Lana delivered this little girl early this morning.  She is not very big for a single, but she is already very chunky. 
SO CUTE!

Yeah, I wanted a gully girl... but a ewe lamb is better than a ram lamb so I am happy.
She is LRO Ash x RO Lana, and carries moorit. 
Sweet ending to a tidy lambing season.  :)