sheep


We found Liath a new home a week or two ago. She had been on a chain all summer because we couldn’t keep her out of the road: her daily patrol was taking her up and down the road to the neighbors’ houses, which was a nuisance to the neighbors and a danger to herself and cars. So it was with somewhat heavy hearts and a huge feeling of relief that we traded her to a great home in exchange for a pair of breeding Toulouse geese. I love geese—the rest of the family isn’t so sure—and these are living in the garden right now, looking very regal. I’m looking forward to goslings and next year’s Christmas goose!

There’s been a lot of work on the driveway since the big storm, which has been both entertaining and a little stressful, but the driveway looks wonderful now. Like our favorite dozer operator said, we can just about go 60 mph to the barn now.

Shearing is going well. Slow, but well. We’ve about got all the sheep rounded up and in their winter pens—I love it, because they’re so easy to take care of, and they all get so tame again so quickly.

The cows are just being milked once a day, and we’ll stop milking Maude altogether this weekend. Pearl will go on until mid-November. Maude is due to calve January 9th, and Pearl is due January 19th. I’m on a push to get as much cheese made as I can before Maude’s not milking—I’m trying to make a 4 lb cheese per day. I’m still using a recipe similar to the one on Fankhauser’s page that I was using, but now I’m cheddaring it for a recipe similar to Caerphilly, a Welsh cheese. It ages well and we love it. But once we’re down to just milking Pearl I won’t have enough milk at one time to make a four pounder a day, and that’s when I’m going to start playing with blues and brie-types. Now that sounds fun!

We’re eating lots of salads from the greenhouse, but still not doing much in the garden. DH and I are both plugging away at getting a fence around the garden to keep the chickens out—we’re getting close! There’s no point in even turning the beds until that happens—the chickens dig huge craters in the soft soil. I did get brave and dig one bed in front of the greenhouse, where I planted snowpeas and radishes. So far they haven’t discovered it!

Fanny the house lamb has been moved out into a pen in the front yard. She has goat kids for company, which is fine with her—she likes everybody. She may be the most cheerful creature I’ve ever seen!

We bought a new cow from the same neighbor who sold us Maude. Her name is Pearl—I’ll try to get a picture of her here soon. We also brought home a Jersey/Guernsey cross bull, who I hope is old enough to get the job done. Maude was in heat this last week, so in three weeks or so we’ll know if she’s bred. The bull is gentle with people, but he’s a nuisance to have around because he nurses from the cows! We couldn’t figure out what was happening to all the milk until we caught him at it one day, so now he has to be separated from them.

I’m off to the Hot Springs market this morning. It’s been a great social occasion, and I’m actually close to making feed money!


I know, I know—enough with the cute lamb pictures, already. It’s just that she’s so. darn. cute. I can’t stand it, and the girls are always doing things like putting kerchiefs and flower garlands on her!




Last week Bernard and I went to town to run errands. We took our time, having lunch at the Diner, and looking at art books at the library. When we got home, relaxed and cheerful, we found that ED had had a very different kind of day here at the farm. Evidently, as soon as we left, babies started popping out all over: Maggie had two very cute and vigorous kids—one spotted doe, one buck—and then Molly, the ewe had two lambs. One of the lambs was very weak, unable to suck, and going downhill fast. ED (and our excellent neighbor T*) brought the lamb in the house and warmed her in a sink of water. Then ED went down to the barn and found an old tube we had used for tubing goats in the past, sterilized it, milked out some colostrum from the ewe, and tubed the lamb. Who is now, 6 days later, doing fine. She lives in the house and is just about the cutest thing you can imagine. Isn’t ED amazing?

Oh, and for those who like to know these things, her name is Fanny, and Bernard is responsible for dressing her up! Also Dana posted about it over on her blog, if you haven’t gotten enough here.

After a spell of really cold weather, today is supposed to be in the 50s, tomorrow in the 60s and Saturday in the 70s. I feel as if I’m being released from prison. Saturday we’re going to set up in Hot Springs at the new tailgate market and sell milk, cheese, eggs and cajeta.

The greenhouse is doing well—all my little lettuces and greens are growing beautifully, except for the few things that got zapped by the cold the other night (it was 10°). I’ve been watering every other day, but it looks like I’m going to have to switch to every day, which is going to motivate me to get the hoses all hooked up, because this old body is protesting hauling five-gallon buckets of water to the greenhouse and the sheep pens. Maybe I’ll do that today—the trick is keeping them empty when it’s going to be below freezing at night.

Nothing can happen in the garden until we build a fence around it—the chickens have completely taken over, and there’s no way I can put the beds back together until I’ve come up with a way to prevent the chickens just scratching them back down! It’s kind of frustrating, except that I love the chickens so much this year. We have three hens—two Speckled Sussexes and a Rhode Island Red—who lay their eggs on the front porch every day. And there’s one Silver Spangled Hamburg hen who goes across the street to our neighbor’s barn and lays her an egg every day. Even though they’re a nuisance, they’re just all so darn appealing .

Cookie kidded yesterday—one big healthy doe kid. We’ll probably sell her as soon as possible to somebody who wants to bottle-feed her, since we have more use for milk than for more goats. It is so delightful only having three does! Maggie is next, and she’s due Wednesday.


A friend is coming over to buy two sheep today, and I think we’ll be done selling animals, at least until the goats kid next month. The rest of the sheep are getting penned up and fed hay for a couple of months, to let the pasture recover and so they’ll put on weight. And ED and I will finish shearing—they all look really silly right now since we sheared only their backs for the good wool!

Here’s one more lamb picture—I couldn’t resist, it was just so darn cute!



Hallie had a single ewe lamb today—isn’t she adorable?

I did get the greenhouse planted this past weekend. I’m waiting impatiently for the first sprouts, which should show any day. Our weather has been fantastic the last couple of days—in the 60’s—so the greenhouse is staying quite warm!

Yesterday we finally did our sheep roundup, and the good news is that most everybody was in better condition than I was afraid they were! We wormed, and did a little shearing (more today), and checked the ewes for pregnancy (one soon, and two in a few weeks). We also decided to sell two ewes.

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