Saturday, April 25, 2009

Another change on the blog roll

Northern Farmer and Healing Waters Flows are now combined as one, which is Christian Farm and Ranchman . Tom will no longer be making posts at the other two sites. Look for Tom's new site at the right hand side bar.

And while I'm at it
Herrick Kimball announced that he will no longer be blogging except for perhaps a once a month newsletter for updates on what he's been up to.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

A new blog

Here's a link to a new blog about a family that moved to the country in December of 2007.

It will be linked on the right hand side bar as well under Homesteading & Farming Ruminations.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Well, last night we had our first breech birth to contend with. Tinker Bell was the one, she's pictured in the above photo. She's the the one in the front and right with the black face looking at the camera.

It seemed she was a bit over due judging by her condition. For over a week it just seemed like it would be any time. Monday she was having contractions but, nothing happened until last night.

Finally her water broke and things went pretty fast after that. Kelli called our friend and neighbor to let her know it started. The whole family came over and before long something was sticking out that they thought was a foot. It wasn't a foot it was a tail. Not a good thing! Kelli got out our trusty sheep book called 'Storey's Guide to Raising Sheep'. It told what to do in case of a breech birth.

It required reaching in and repositioning the lamb. We were pretty sure that Tinker Bell had at least two babies in there. She was huge.

In just a short while Tink was getting into some heavy pushing but, nothing doing, that baby wasn't budging. We really didn't expect any trouble with her because she's a big sheep and Dakota the daddy is a Shetland. But, here we were anyway with a stuck lamb. Everyone was hovered around and sensed that something needed to be done so Kelli reached in and tried to do what the book said. She was unable to reposition the baby so she just starting pulling.

Then out it came. Then boom, boom out came two more, immediately after the first one came out. Kind of reminded me of a cork getting unstopped. That first lamb was like a cork and once she was out the rest followed lickety-split.

The story had a happy ending as you can see in the picture of the momma and two of her three babies. We weren't all that sure about the little "Cork" which I think is an appropriate name. It was kind of touch and go with her. Oh and did you notice I said her? All three lambs were girls. I was beginning to think that all Dakota could make was boys. Anyway the breech baby wasn't doing so good. While the other two started trying to stand up very soon, she could only hold her head up.

After awhile the neighbors went home and we all left Tinker Bell alone to do what she needed to do. Every little bit, one of us would go out and take a peak. The other two lambs were up walking around but, the first was still not getting up. Tinker Bell went to work cleaning her up. So we figured she'd know what to do and we'd just let her do it.

After a couple hours Kelli went out to find that Tink had given up and was just concentrating on the two that were walking around and by then feeding. The temperature had dropped quite a bit and ice was starting to form on the weak lamb. Kelli brought her in and put her in a sink of warm water.

It was touch and go until late. And sometime in the middle of the night Kelli put her in the warm water again which the book recommended. We hadn't wanted to make the water too warm but, the book said to make it quite warm. After a while the lamb began to revive and was squirming because of it becoming too warm. That did the trick and it's been up hill ever since.

Here in the picture she is in Kelli's lap. She was even walking around the house when I got in tonight. She still seems alittle weaker than her mates outside, but hopefully she will continue to improve.

Below are some pictures of the lambs right after they were born.

The one that looks orange was orange. There's nothing wrong with the picture. We all remarked how unusual she looked. Today she is a kind of very light reddish brown mixed with blond.

Below Tinker Bell gives the orange one a big lick.

The orange one is the strongest of the three and was up walking around in no time.

Life on a farm makes for many memorable moments.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rambunctious Lamb

This is the oldest lamb having fun climbing up and down Tinker Bell who is about to have triplets. Also check out our spring time snow storm. It's hard to believe but, the weather forecast is calling for 77 degrees for Friday. Kelli mentions it in the video.

The video is of poor quality. I had to cut down the size in order to upload it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Is it spring yet?

This is the scene we woke up to this morning.

In this part of the country it's not "April showers that bring May flowers". It's 'April snow showers that bring May flowers'!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lamb number two - Stolen

Some time during the night our second lamb was born. By all appearances Sophie, the sheep in the top picture here with the black head was the mother. We like to separate the new lambs and their mommas for a few hours just to let them do their thing without interference from the rest of the adults. So we put Sophie and the new baby in the shelter and blocked the entrance.

Sophie the diligent mother she is was busy cleaning the baby and looking after him. Another boy by the way. But, Tess the brown sheep in the picture below kept fussing and running around the shelter trying to get inside.

Everyone noticed that as Tess ran around baaing she wasn't as wide as she was the day before. And Sophie, she was just as wide as ever. Actually in the picture below Tess is still wide. I believe it was taken yesterday.

So we switched the ewes around removing Sophie and putting Tess with the new lamb. But, then Sophie was distressed running around trying to get in. Things were a little confusing. We kept second guessing ourselves wondering if we made the right decision.
Here in the next two shots is Tess alone with baby and looking after him without interference from baby stealer Sophie.

We did additional investigation to make sure we were right. Tess had traces of blood and fluid on her hind end from the birthing. Sophie is dry. The appearances of their hind ends are different also. Sophie's is plump all the around the opening and Tess' is not. Hers now has a depression on the bottom, between the opening and the udder. Plus we checked for milk which Tess has and Sophie does not.

Tess produced Shadow one of twins last year. She rejected him so we were concerned she was not being a good mother to this one which is also black. He's all black except for a little white patch on top of his head. But, when she is alone with him without Sophie pushing her out she's good with him. So we left them like this and just let them be for awhile letting them get reacquainted.

The next two pictures are of lamb number one. He's up and running around with Pixy his mom and both have rejoined the herd.

Another bit of news is that we have a batch of our own chicks hatched out in our new incubator. Actually we didn't do it ourselves. We loaned the incubator and eggs to the Lutheran school were our friends kids go to and they hatched them out as a class project. 25 out 40 eggs hatched. And 22 chicks survived. Several died probably from being over handled by the kids. But, it was a great experience for them. Each child put their name on an egg and they got to see "their" chick hatch out.

Baby thief strikes again!

As I am in the process of making this post the kids informed me that Sophie broke in and took the lamb again. So we went out and this time removed Tess and her baby from the yard altogether.

We carried over one of our chicken pens and put them in there.

Hopefully this will do it for awhile unless Sophie figures a way to break out of where she is at. We're hoping she has her own lamb soon and forgets about this little guy!

Until Next Time

Friday, April 17, 2009

It's a boy

The first lamb of the season was born here just an hour or so ago. And it's a little ram baby. I wonder if we'll get any females this year. Last year all we got was males.

We have two more ewes than we had last year. A friend and neighbor gave them to us. One is a shetland which she got at the same time we got our original three. The momma pictured here is the one. The other is a full sized sheep, I'm not sure of the breed. A standard looking sheep with a black face.

Here in the first two pictures the momma named Pixy is cleaning off her new baby.

In this next picture the baby is looking for something to eat.

Ah, found the prize!
This little guy should do well!

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Crisis of Credit Visualized

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Americans planting "Recession Gardens"

(CNN) -- As American families try to stretch their food budgets during the recession, some are turning to the backyard, rather than the grocery store, as the place to look for produce.

Recession gardens are catching on with many first-time planters who want a healthy meal at an affordable price.
Click on the link for the full story.