Sunday, April 24, 2011

Oops, it's been a LONG while!

My blog (read that as I wasn't writing) was broken but seems to be better now. Time has flown by, this IS a picture of fall and here it is Spring. It has been so long since I have written that I had forgotten how to import a picture. This is my practice picture transfer, the next will be a more timely photo.

I love Fall, all the leaves I don't need to rake, the transition to cooler weather and then the all that follows. Our ram worked hard for us last Fall and we have a crop of nice lambs. There will be more timely lamb pictures coming up as well as other notes of farming interest. Later, but not so much later!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Summer gone already?!

It seems the summer moves at a faster pace than winter. If I stop to think about it, the opposite would apply but outside chores seem to need to be done more quickly with something always in line waiting to be done during the summer.

I was wondering why we had been busy but if I put together a list, it makes me tired. Moving 2 students 2 times, a trip to Chicago, a family reunion out of state, a trip to Florida and then the usual assorted, and obligatory, farm activities: obtaining hay - first, second and third cutting including unloading into respective areas of the barn, straw for bedding, getting sheep sheared, hooves trimmed, shots up to date, fixing fence, barn cleaning, regular old maintenance of house, barn, grounds, garden. Hmmm, I'm getting a clearer picture of why so little time to reflect.

Today's mini-event was a ram gone wrong. We are fortunate to have an area on the opposite side of our house from the barn where we can put the sheep out. They generally move to the desired area well but we have a new ram with the ewes and he is a novice at moving between sites. Today when I released them to go back to the barn, the ewes went straight away while the ram did a couple turn-abouts. The girls were gone and he had no idea where to find them. I use bait to get the sheep to head right back to the barn (read that "dinner") so the girls had no answer for his calls, they were busy eating. He would start to the barn, turn back to where he had last seen them, then head in the direction of the barn again never going far enough to see them. I tried chasing the ewes out but they wouldn't leave the barn & dinner long enough for him to catch a glimpse. Why do I do this to myself???? Eventually he did manage to get close enough to go in but what a production! That's what happens with change, pretty soon it fits pretty well. We'll get there, too.
Happy Fall!

Monday, June 1, 2009

The story of the problem peacock!

I wish I had more pictures for this but the funniest one I didn't witness in any way. The problem began simply enough, our young birds grew up! One of the two became very opinionated about EVERYTHING. How would we know that you ask?

He commented on all comings and goings. He would follow me closely, too closely, as I made my rounds of chores and bringing him his food. The bully wouldn't allow the other peacock to get into the Great Big Barn to get out of the weather. He chased my husband endlessly if he was on the mower or the tractor. The newest accessory for the tractor was a broom to swing at the crazy bird when he leapt at it or the driver. Other times he would wait for my husband from the roof of the chicken house or the barn rafters, biding his time for the optimal opening to attack.

My poor father-in-law was also the object of his attention. When he would pull toward the barn the bird would be front and center to take on the newest threat to his dominion. It was so bad on one particular day, the garbage can lid and an umbrella were the tools of choice to keep the pesky peacock at bay long enough for him to get back to his car. Wish I had a picture of that!

We resolved to find a way to be free of the menace this bird had become. Our options were to do him in (which could happen at any time with all the attacking he had started) or find a home for him.

How to solve a problem like this? Start asking everyone you know if they want a lovely, though thoroughly unpleasant peacock. It took a surprisingly short while before a taker was found. But what now, how do we catch the big guy?

Leave it to a group of bored, young twenty-something guys, that's how. Standing around after their rousing game of corn-hole and not quite ready to call it a night, Mike decided to catch a peacock. The chase was on. Up into the rafters of the barn went the bird, uh-oh, so did Mike, in his sandals and all. Move on to the platform and around to the other side, the bird was being followed and didn't like it one bit. The bird decided to make a run, er, fly for it. He aimed himself for the big door and the remaing guys dove out of the way and he was out. What about Mike? He's a pro at moving around in an old barn having spent his childhood with a very similar one. Down came Mike in hot pursuit, around the shop a couple times and the bird was cornered in the shed. He hardly resisted at all when Mike picked him up and we all declared Mike the winner!

In reality, we were all the winners because the peacock's new owner came and took him to his new digs, complete with peahens. Thanks Mike, love the new quiet country life again. Our remaining bird seems to be adjusting well and so far has not become the radical his cohort was, thank goodness. Who knows, would a peahen be good company?

A pretty but a problem bird!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What to do when you get the run around...

These little ones are not so innocent as they appear inside this fence. As with everything which is wont to run amok, the morning started very normally. Breakfast for the babies, feed the pesky peacocks and prepare a place for the sheep in the alternative pastures.

The mothers have moved into these pastures very readily for years and love to go to them for the wonderfully available scratching posts the old, gnarly apple trees afford them. The babies have been there before AND went well but I did not factor in one important thing: They are growing more independent!

As usual, the ewes followed me very readily, making the big turn and arriving in the designated pasture uneventfully. The lambs arrived at the pasture and made a big U-turn and went exploring. Unfortunately for me, they are seven and I am one. They went back up the yard, around the back of the house, back down beside the pasture, all with me in hot pursuit. The ewes were getting very agitated so I made the executive decision to release all of them and try again.

Hmmm, where will this take me? All went well, the ewes collected up their off-spring and away they went, luckily toward and into another pasture. Those lambs were not to be denied their day out and about, however! Away they went, AGAIN. Ugh! Away I went after them, through the garden, around the garage, up on the barn bank drive, circle behind the house and back up behind the barn again. Had enough yet? I had. I stopped, and decided again to change my strategy. Hey you babies, follow me this time. It worked! They followed me to close to the desired pasture, did a few more token walk-abouts and went in. Finally, the fence closed and electrified, I get to ponder the series of events.

I believe those lambs were tired of the unsettled life they had on the "lam" and were ready to be caught. What to do when you get the run around? Chase, then stop, regroup and make a plan and give them a reason to come to you. Doesn't that almost sound like what happens to us during times we are being given the run around? I guess the most important thing is to figure out the "hook". If we think long and hard enough, there is likely a hook, if we are perceptive enough to find it. Here's to thinking and being perceptive of the chase!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The first day outside.

What day is it anyway?

Life became a blur over recent weeks with the advent of lambing. Right out of the gate we had problems which gave me a sense of foreboding for the remaining ewes. The first ewe to go delivered twins which did not survive. It was a sad outcome and moved us into the unfortunate position of needing to separate her for feeding due to her reduced requirements. I held out hope that another would soon deliver triples (which she had done every year) and that would allow us an attempt at putting one of them on the other mother.

I hadn't really thought much that another would step up soon but the next night, 3:30 a.m. to be exact, I awoke and decided I would sleep better if I went and checked on action, or inaction, in the barn. Walking toward the barn I heard too much noise to be normal, baa baa baa. As I entered, all are standing looking at me, looking in and walking around. Hmmm. I walked in further and heard the characteristic mumbles the ewes do when talking to their newborns. Happily, there is LouLou with twins. One up and walking, the other in the process of being cleaned, not yet able to stand. They looked good and healthy, YES! I was hopeful but there are no more. Too bad. But let's not be greedy, two healthy lambs is a wonderful thing.

Ken and I went ahead and did the necessary doctoring and put the three of them in their own small pen, called a "jug" for reasons I don't know, to let them get acquainted without other smells or distractions. They need to know each other by smell and it makes it easier for the little ones to feed. By the time we were finished with everything, it was after 5:00. Just enough time to catch a little more sleep before we needed to get up and get ready for work! I was right, I did sleep better for having checked on things in the barn. We both fell right back to sleep, zzzzzzz.

The rest fell in line and we finished with lambing in a little over a week. A few assorted difficulties but there are 7 lambs from the 4 ewes that had live births. They are good for some laughs and I always learn a little more about what can go right as well as wrong in the process. A couple of the last lambs developed coughs. My goal of not needing the vet went by the wayside. I did get to pick his brain after her got us started with medication that seems to have nipped the pneumonia bug. I asked him about the first ewe's labor and delivery. He suspects there may have been an infection of some sort and the lambs were delivered because they had died. I don't know either but, as usual, I have learned there are some things which we cannot control and this was one of them.

Some of life's greatest lessons come from our failures. They are not enjoyable but we are all better from them if we put them in perspective and learn from them. Life and loss are lessons for the ages. Yawn, time for a rest.