Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weaning lambs

Today I had a helpful visitor- Corinne wanted to visit and learn about sheep farming.  So she came today and helped me trim the bucks hooves and worm them, then kick them out of their pen and clean out the pen.  Then we move the lambs in there and separated them from their mothers (ewes).  We rotated all the animals one field clockwise and then trimmed the hooves of the lambs, gave them their CDT shots and placed ear tags in.  The lambs aren't too happy with all of this, but I'm quite happy to have help with all of these chores.  We ate lunch, and then I showed off my fiber studio- all in all a good day.  Now I just need to get three lambs (and two yearling rams) ready for the Skagit Fair August 9th!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Goats! (a farm post)

Today was goat day- I trimmed all the goats hooves and wormed them.  It wasn't as hard as it usually is.  I am starting to learn to outsmart the goats.  I used food to get them into a pen with the shearing stand.  I enticed the friendly goats up on the stand with food and the unfriendly ones I grabbed and lead them up the ramp Tom built for me.  I tried to stand upright when I trimmed the hooves.  The photos below are of three of the fiber goats- Angie (our grey Angora doe), Brown Sugar (our brown Nigora wether) and Shama (our black Cashmere wether).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fifth Anniversary Trip- (Warning- not a farm post!)

This is a post about our fifth wedding anniversary trip- I was trying to find something we could do that would be unique and a little romantic but could be accomplished near our home as I had to work until 8:00 AM Saturday morning, and we both had to be back at 8:00 Monday morning.  So after many months of considering this problem we decided on Sequim!

I found a very nice bed and breakfast there overlooking the water and decided to hike the Dungeness Spit to the historic lighthouse there.  I have been to the spit but never made it to the end (or even close).  It's 5.5 miles each way hiking on sand.  I tried to warn Tom that it's a tough hike even though it's flat.  It don't think he appreciated what I was trying to say until the end of the hike at high tide.  Anyway, below are photos of the hike out to the lighthouse and back.

The spit with Mount Baker in the background.
Reaching the lighthouse.
Hiking back with the Olympic Peninsula northern coastline in the background.
The cake we found when we checked into the Domaine Madeleine B&B
Our room there- very nice and comfortable.
An older farm off Louella Road on the meandering drive after an amazing breakfast.
A cool retro boat in Port Townsend.  There was a rod run in Port Angeles the weekend we were there so saw a lot of cool autos on the roads.  We spent the afternoon in Port Townsend before our reserved ferry back supposedly at 8:30.  A wind picked up and we were told when we got in the ferry line at 7:30 that the puddle-jumper ferry was running about 1 hour late because of it.  Then 3 hours later we were told that they cancelled all the ferry runs because of it.  We were given a "refund" which was a voucher for another Port Townsend ferry which expires in 1 week (so is completely worthless to us), and we drove quickly to Kingston were we caught the last Edmonds ferry by the skin of our teeth- it was just a few minutes late.  We snoozed a little on the ferry and managed to stay awake and arrived home at 1:00 AM- got to bed (after checking critters) at 1:30 and woke up at 6 to start the work week.

So at this point I am not sure this was a good trip to take.  I am hoping as the sleep deprivation wears off it will have been a memorable trip.  Hopefully more so that staying at home and going out to a nice dinner.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Chicken rental and donkey hoof trimming

First thing in the morning Carol returned three hens she had rented from me.  At least once per year she takes some hen down to Seattle and spoils them rotten.  She gets the freshest eggs possible, table scrap consumption, an overly weeded garden, and entertainment.  I get paid a little, and the hens get a nice vacation.  So Rosie (the hen pictured), Summer and Flag came back into the mix today.

After welcoming the hens back it was time to trim the donkey hooves.  I tried to use the llama stanchion again to try to hold the donkeys still while I trimmed their hooves.  I've gone through two farriers now and am on my own.  I've read up and observed the farriers trimming hooves but it's harder than it looks, particularly since I don't have any help holding the donkeys still.  So I tried the stanchion- doesn't Olivia look happy?  It worked to some extent.  Neither donkey was thrilled, but we all made it through the experience without any injuries and hopefully no sore feelings.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Window cleaning and mowing

Today was another nice day so I finally after waiting since March I have a day where it's not raining and not eminently going to rain to clean the windows.  (Of course, as soon as I was done rehanging the curtains in the evening a thunderstorm came in!)

After that I did the animal chores and then mowed the neglected tall fields.  It was so muddy and deep this spring, especially around the gates, we couldn't get the tractor in to get the fields mowed, if we could it would be all rutted up.  Tom did one field last week, and I did most of two today. After 3.5 hours Tom came home from work and finished up for me.  Then I grained the ewes and lambs (trying to get them friendly for the fair) and milked a goat.  Just another farm day!

This shows my latest start of a fiber project.  I've been inspired to do more of the projects I've been dreaming about.  This one is one I have been wanting to do since 1999 when I bought one of my first sheep Babette (and my favorite) and my first guard llama.  I bought them from the Modens, and she had a gorgeous rug in front of her fireplace.  She said she had made it by knotting locks of Lincoln fleece.  Unfortunately I didn't ask her more about how she made it and have been pondering it ever since.  I bought a Lincoln fleece at the first Shepherd Extravaganza for this purchase, and it's been waiting ever since.  So finally I decided to take the plunge.  I decided to use a pattern I found in an old weaving book and weave the raw locks onto this cotton warp with fuzzy grey yarn as weft.  We'll see how it all works out!

Shaun the Sheep "Off the Baa"

Shaun the Sheep clip "Save the Tree"