Thursday, April 17, 2014

Life on the farm

It's been one of those weeks when spending any extra time on the computer just hasn't been feasible. I'm going to attempt a quick update while the beans and cornbread cook before my guys get home….

Oh, those naughty lambies! The past few days all five of them have spent much of their pasture time playing and exploring outside the fence, while the ewes yelled for their little truants.

On Tuesday I scissor-sheared Bing. Black is so hard to photograph accurately; Bing has NO light fibers and is oh, so crimpy and soft with great length! Now I can move his group into the wooded lot where grass has had a chance to regrow since I moved Blake and Browning into the grassy strip between the arena and paddocks. The big boys have got that mowed down pretty well, so they will be moved back to the Ram-ada Inn lot soon.

This morning I monkey-picked Sarai's fleece clean and got her suited back up until I have a chance to scissor-shear or roo her. Since her (exquisite!) fleece is not yet reserved, she will have to wait until I skirt the fleeces that are reserved. Brian is going to be gone all day Sunday, so I'm hoping to get all my skirting done then.

I also took down the panel dividing the fold so that my Minnesota Moms (Marta and Sarai) and their lambs are all together. Annabelle and her boys are still in the corner pen when they are in the fold, but not for long.

We're getting a perfectly-timed showery day that should keep the plants looking lush and gorgeous for awhile. The rosemary and perennial cornflowers in my island bed are going gangbusters this year, making up for the half-hearted efforts of the red rhododendron and lithodora. (The red rhodie has one – count it, ONE – flower bract on it this year!)

I caught this bumblebee hard at work yesterday; now it's time for me to get back to work!
Oh! I nearly forgot to include your daily dose of lamb cuteness! It's Mr. Hot Stuff himself, Boulderneigh Barbados:

That's it for now from . . .

Monday, April 14, 2014

Make play while the sun shines...

…because rain and tears are in the forecast!

Today Blaise, Bali and Barbados had a great time playing together; Benny and Jet were off grazing with their mom. I cut Benny down to three bottles a day last week, and it hasn't fazed him at all. He isn't a bottle-seeking missile any more; I can walk through the pasture without gaining an extra shadow. He'll be five weeks old on Wednesday; my ram Blake was orphaned at five weeks, and although I felt sorry for the lonesome lad, he did fine without any supplemental feeding (I tried; he wasn't interested). I'm nearing the end of the third bag of milk replacer; I'm thinking Benny's bottles will stop when the bag is empty. Oh, I'm sure he will cry and tug at my heartstrings, vocal thing that he is. But really, he isn't any more interested in people now than any of the other lambs; he's a well-adjusted young sheep! An extremely good-looking, fine-fleeced specimen, too, I might add . . . and no, I'm not biased. ;-)

I usually leave my lambs with their dams for several months, but I want to figure out a way to separate Benny and Jet from Annabelle sooner than that. She is so thin; the old gal needs all the calories she can consume for herself.

Meanwhile, flowers and leaves continue to bust out all over the place here. Lilacs are joining the pink flowering cherry in the floral parade;
the hostas are all up and the albino maple sport is leafing out.
That's it for today from . . .

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Precious portraits with floral bookends

Next winter's applesauce.
Sitting with sheep, looking left. "Are apples good?"
Sitting with sheep, looking right. "Are you available?"
Looking right, beyond Bali Ha'i.

See those pink flowers below the pink flowers?
See below. ;-)
That's it for now from . . .

Friday, April 11, 2014

Floral Friday, and opinions sought

It's the time of year when a riot of color explodes in our green, green world. Usually it's still quite wet, too, but we're hitting 70 degrees or more nearly every day this week. I hope that doesn't portend a long, hot summer, but it sure is nice weather for the lambies to get their legs on while their mamas get their fill of fresh fodder!

Now a tech question for your input. Recently my 4- or 5-year old flip phone started giving me trouble, so yesterday I went in to check out my upgrade options. I didn't want to increase our monthly costs so a smartphone was out….

Well, two hours later I walked out with a smartphone and no increased data charges thanks to a creative salesman who looked at our plan and usage and was able to adjust things to absorb a second data plan. My choices came down to a flip phone plus a 7" tablet, or a smartphone (a flip phone alone would have cost the same amount, so I figured I might as well get a device that would allow me to leave my laptop at home most of the time). The salesman thought the first option fit my needs better, but the better camera on the smartphone sucked me in. When I got home, I headed down to the barn to ride . . . and realized the major flaw in my decision. When I was doing lamb checks/when I ride/when I go for a walk, I carry my phone with me for emergencies. A smartphone does not fit in my pocket like a flip phone – and it's a whole lot less durable should it fall. Now I suppose there are over-the-shoulder protective cases for smartphones so I could carry it like I do my camera; that would mean leaving Mr. Lumix in the house and using the smartphone camera more when I'm out and about.

So what say you? I have 13 days left in which to change my mind and exchange equipment. Should I keep the smartphone, or swap it out for a flip phone and tablet?

Speaking of "progress," here's the construction site next door as of yesterday (click to biggify):
As you can see, they've moved even more dirt, and have concrete frames built in the lower area.

Because I wouldn't want anyone to have cuteness withdrawal, I'll close with a couple videos I took yesterday evening of all the lambs interacting in the pasture. (The grass is so tall that had they been anywhere but near the gate, you couldn't have seen them!) The first one shows Benny and Jet acting like goat kids; the second shows more of Blaise, and all five lambs in close proximity for size comparison.

Benny and Jet, those big, bad boys of rock 'n roll, are troublemakers. Yesterday they led the youngest lambs out of the pasture, then left Barbados and Bali Ha'i outside the gate to cry and stress out their mama!

That's it for today from beautiful . . .