Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Season to grow

I have to admit I have held myself back, purposely not blogging for the last few weeks. There was big things happening, and I didn't want to jinx it. And of course, big things never happen on time. But with the first day of Spring, it finally happened. Ewe And Us just got 4 times bigger!

We have always had in mind that some day we would like to own more ground. Especially that to the north of us, where our well is. And now we do. An additional 17.2 acres brings our 'holdings' to 22.2, making us a 'real' farm (by zoning standards) for the first time. But more on that in a moment. Meanwhile, the flock has begun its seasonal growth in numbers.

They started last Friday. 4 sets of twins in a row, (and some of them black ewe lambs). Then 2 singles. The Coopworth gave us a very nice ewe lamb. I was very impressed with her full sisters fleeces (yeah, we sheared, and I missed blogging it), and welcome another into the flock.

Monday morning I had some errands in town. I checked the ewes before I left, and the two sets of twins born that morning were doing well. I returned just 2 hours later, and took the groceries in the house, checked the messages (someone had called about wanting bottle lambs), and thought about lunch, but had a sudden feeling that I needed to check the ewes first. Nothing was happening outside. I took a quick look at the new twins again, who were up and nursing. The ewes had gotten up and filed out the door. All but one. My heart sank. The remaining ewe was scrunched in a heap, and a VERY large glistening black pool behind her on the straw. We lost a nice black ewe lamb last year when the amniotic sac still covered her nose, and I feared the same fate for this lamb. My maternal instinct kicked in. Gentle prodding produced to response, but it was warm. I quickly cleared her nose, and thumped her side. There was a heartbeat, so I continued to thump and squeeze her ribs and rub her side. Finally, she took a breath. And as I continued to rough her up, I swear she looked up at me and smiled. The ewe was weak, her hind quarters trembling. I pulled the lamb, which I now knew was a ewe, over to where she could lick her off, and mother and daughter began the bonding.

I checked on them several times, as the ewe was still having trouble standing (Large lambs sometimes pinch nerves) but they both continued to improve.

Here is the little 'Whopper' later in the day.

The lambs just keep coming, as they should. we have had more twins, many black, and one more single. So far, even though the singles have been large, we haven't had problems like many have reported this year. Supposedly the mild winter has resulted in larger lambs this year.

So the older lambs have already been put out together in their family groups.

Now, back to the bigger addition, where our thoughts and dreams are beginning to manifest.

The flock numbers have been increasing over the last year. Feed cost has been a concern, but now the girls should have little to fear.

Plans are already coming together.

The machine shed in the top picture is soon to become a shed for ewes and lambs.

The foreground will be temporary pasture for early summer. The hill to the northwest will be planted to a grass and legume mix for hay and grazing.

We only had 3 acres of pasture. An additional 17 means a lot of potential.

We also squared off the building site on the west side, so the bucks will have an additional paddock as soon as it gets fenced.

The line runs from the pink stake to just right of the little white grain bin.

Okay, so we realize we just bought ourselves work for the rest of our lives. Much of the ground is cut through by creek, both running and dry. Fifty years or so of neglect means down trees everywhere. At least we won't have to go to the neighbors for wood to burn next winter.

Other plans are already in motion too. The garden plot will double in size, and with it produce for the Farmers Market, including corn for the first time. The potatoes, onions, peas and more are already in the old plot, and the new ground has been plowed in time to soak up the gentle rain falling today.

It will take some time, but the vision is clear. Our intentions are becoming reality. I am already spending more time at home with the wool business, and Don hopes to retire next year. Our new/old careers already await.

I found this tree clinging to the creek bank, and I identify. Graphic image of how I have been feeling the last few weeks. But now its time to move on. I am consoled by the knowledge that this is not a recent development; this half naked rooting. Most likely the tree is merely growing where it was planted. Notice that the roots turn into the bank as they have grown, not exposed at all. In a precarious position for life to be sure. But then, aren't we all. But our roots run deep.

Stay tuned for more spring news to come.