Monday, March 25, 2024

More photos than news

The three stuffed coats

Still no visible udders on the three ladies in waiting. I wish I could wave a wand to make all three of their fleeces move from bodies to bags (along with the rest of the fleeces!), but alas, Bitta is still the only sheared sheep so far. When the weather was nice I kept running out of time (I started on a couple and realized they were going to be way too challenging to finish before dark) and now it is too cool again to work with my hands for the hours it takes me to harvest a fleece.

At least the delay is giving Itsy Bitsy time to grow. She'll no doubt still be the smallest of the bunch when all coming lambs are on the ground, but she's doing great. I'm supplementing her with milk replacer four times a day, and she is eager for both bottle and attention. Sabbath afternoon I took her and Blaise outside where they attracted intense scrutiny from ALL the other sheep – boys on one side of the driveway, girls on the other. I wish I could turn mom and baby out on pasture, but I don't trust the Mean Girls (and I think a large bird of prey could carry off Bitsy!). You may remember that Bette nearly killed Blaise two years ago, and Boop (Bette's daughter) and Broadway mortally wounded Bitsy's lookalike big sister Bling last year. Sheep are not as meek and mild as some people think....

I see on social media that some people are finally getting dumped on by winter weather now that it's officially spring. Not here; we've got birds, bees, flowers, budding trees . . . and of course one adorable lamb. 😁
See the Western Bluebird on the t-post?

LOTS of lambs where I picked up some milk replacer!

These grape hyacinth were buried in blackberry brambles for years!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Spring tease

What a run of warm weather we've had! Yesterday capped it by reaching the high 70s; it was a 'house and car windows wide open' sort of day. Perfect for welcoming new life into the world of Boulderneigh.

On Sunday Blaise was on my radar. She wasn't showing physical signs of imminent labor, but the behavior was there. Sure enough, when I went down to do Monday morning chores (a couple hours after I awoke from vivid dreams about lambs) Blaise, her yearling Bauble, and a tiny lamb were sequestered on one side of the Sheep Sheraton while the rest of the ewes gawked from the other side of the fold. I haltered Blaise, scooped up her damp but clean newborn, and took them to the barn stall. Then, because Blaise had so little udder development, I called an acquaintance who usually has sheep colostrum and dashed to town to pick some up. I have since confirmed that Blaise does have some milk and her little mite nurses, but Bitsy, as I've named her, seems to appreciate the topping-off I'm giving her every few hours. I had to supplement Blaise's twins last year, so I'm not surprised. Here are the photos from yesterday:

While bottle-feeding Bitsy I felt something on my hair and looked up to see this

The stall still had stinky old bedding in it when I moved the new arrival in; Brian has been promising to help with that chore but hadn't made time for it yet. Last night he did; better late than never! Now it is full of fresh, clean straw.

I have managed to get one sheep sheared. Sunday afternoon I started on Bridget, and then remembered that she takes the longest and switched to Bitta. I got a before photo; it was too dark by the time I finished to get a good 'after' shot.

Today began foggy and chilly; if it warms up as promised I'm going to try to get another fleece harvested. After today we return to typical NW spring weather and shearing will probably be put on hold for awhile.

(It lies; still clouded over here.)

The guy I hired to tame the landscape came this morning to finish up by spraying the ivy and a few weedy areas. He said he'd come back in a couple weeks to hit the ivy again; he figures it will need it. My husband was dismayed by the cost "to get rid of a few blackberries," but he wasn't here to see the hours of hard work put in by several men and certainly wouldn't have gotten around to doing it all himself. To me, it is money well spent!

That's the current news from . . .

Friday, March 15, 2024

Visible progress!

After soliciting recommendations from neighbors last month, last Wednesday I finally called a guy several of them have used for outside clean-up. He showed up the same day to give me a  bid for cleaning up ivy, blackberries, volunteer saplings, and weeds, mostly right around the house and in our garden space. His price was acceptable, so he and his crew showed up bright and early this morning and started work. By the time they knocked off, things were looking ever so much better; when they come back next Tuesday they will finish the rest, including killing the ivy. (I'm glad they didn't do any spraying today; the dogs will have four more days to run freely before I restrict their access in an abundance of caution.) I took before photos and duplicated them as best I could after they left today, although doing so doesn't show how dramatic the improvement is in some areas. And yes, the weather is as gorgeous as it looks!

On top of that I've made some progress on my One Big Thing of 2024. Wednesday I got rid of a lot of stuff in the cabinets so I could put other stuff away, then loaded up my old phone/fax machine, flat-bed scanner, and color printer and hauled them off to electronic recycling. I listed the two birdcages on Facebook Marketplace and one of them has already been picked up. Again, I tried to match before photos I took to show progress; you might have to squint to notice much.  😉

Meanwhile, my chances of attending the women's retreat are not looking good. The expectant ewes are just barely beginning to develop udders, although Broadway is waddling/gimping about most uncomfortably. Her dam moves the same way when heavy with lambs. Hopefully Broadway won't have the same problem Bernadette did with her first lambing; if you recall, Broadway was delivered by c-section.

I collected photos and fleece samples from the ewes this morning before turning them out. It was a small-scale rodeo; I ended up in the bedding (more than once) with bent glasses and a broken fingernail. I have yet to collect photos and samples from the boys; will do that in time to mail the lot of them off on Monday.

Enough time on the laptop. I've got a horse to ride, a house to clean, and supper to make.

Wishing you a good weekend from . . .