Nope – I do not mean the overused phrase to sum up the culmination of a number of events or what have you. I mean – the Perfect Storm. We are having our first real storm of the season. The lambs aren’t loving it – neither is the pyr, she’s hiding in the house. But I am. I think one of the things I missed the most when I lived on the coast was this type of weather – thunderheads rolling over the mountain ranges, across the valley and pouncing on us. Heavy rain and breath taking sunsets.
So… tired… April 29, 2008
I haven’t really slept since Thursday night – and even that wasn’t a great sheep (interesting typo – that was supposed to say “that wasn’t a great sleep”).
Ever since 20 April (the arrival of our first lamb), I’ve been getting up early to make sure everything is okay with ewes and potential lambs alike. But early has nothing on the last few days. One Friday I got up my usual early to see that one of my ewes looked like she should go into labour. Sure enough about an hour later, she did. I was surprised she didn’t twin because she’s out of a twin/triplet line but whatever, cute ewe lamb so I wasn’t worried. Then an hour later she did twin – an adorable ram lamb. A bit late, he was distressed but all is well. We went to the US for the day – had to get some repairs done and the nearest appropriate repair shop was across the line. Came home, babies were fine, all was well.
I went to bed early because on the first night of new babies I like to check on them around 2 or 3 am. Good thing that I did. When I went out to check one of my ewe lambs was obviously in labour. After a very, very long and difficult labour she birthed a perfect, huge ram lamb and would have nothing to do with it. Hours later we’d forced her to stand while he nursed and resigned ourselves to a bummer lamb (that’s one that needs to be bottle fed). So, the rest of the weekend passed in a blur of sleeplessness and having J restrain mum to let the little guy feed and bottles- not at all helped by our social obligations that seemed to consistently occur during the pauses where I may have napped.
Anyway, we were just coming to the tail end of the chaos where the little guy wouldn’t need as intensive time commitments when I go out to feed him and am halted. First I think – man… I really need some sleep. And then I do a double take and realize – nope, there really is an extra ram lamb out here. My other ewe lamb dropped the baby and ran. So now I have two babies and no sleep last night. Fortunately I will be back to a human-ish schedule by next week end because all of my girls have lambed now. But lesson learned – no breeding in the first year. Apparently all of my sleeplessness has paid off – a lot of people report that they usually lose at least half of the lambs born to mums bred in their first year (ewe lambs) or the mums themselves. We haven’t lost anyone – so I am really pleased and feel like that alone is worth something.
An interesting thing I have just learned relating to my sheep is – if I sell even one or one little thing from the farm that I choose to declare as income, everything I buy for this place (relating to the animals, that is) becomes a tax write off. I spoke with the accountant yesterday and had no idea how many things I can write off. And they’re cool things too, like plants for my garden that are part of the pharmacopoeia. I suspect other people would have known this and I suspected myself but wasn’t totally sure, didn’t know how it worked, who to ask etc. The one person I spoke to told me I had to have a farm income of at least $2500 to be in that category but my account says absolutely not.
Anyway it was great to have it confirmed and great to confirm it with the person who works for a big firm doing my taxes – I figure she ought to know! I also don’t have to make a lot of money – any is just fine. So, yesterday I made a big envelope to put receipts in and there’s already $100+ in there without actually going on a hunt to look for some of the other things that *could* be in there; and I have receipts I need to print off from the earlier part of the year. I suppose the really good news about that is the spinning wheel and drum carder I’m considering getting so I can sell wool would also be a write off; as will the fence we’re buying to expand the grazing area, the land the sheep are on and the two ewe lambs coming this summer. It’s thrilling really. And I love the idea of having hand spun that I could sell at a really reasonable price – knowing I get a write off makes that easier. It’s love the gov’t is essentially going to pay a share so that normal people (like me) can afford real wool. Way too cool. Of course it would be ideal if I could make all of my income from the farm but if not, this is a really cool way to juggle both worlds. And keep my benefits. Our package may not be great but it’s better than I’ll get as a full time shepherd!
On a knitting and wool note – I’m currently working up a lacy scarf in some beautiful handspun my sister gave me. It’s lovely and very fine. It was difficult to find a pattern that fit it though – in part due to my skill level being on the lower side and in part due to the lovely colours of the yarn. When you’re working lace you never want something so intricate that it ruins the patterning of the yarn. You also have to not get too busy with colours and patterns and shaping but you can’t underwhelm the yarn either.
Alright, there’s your update. Now I have to work on the webpage – what fun on dial up – and then go and feed some lambs.
Me and the dawn… April 27, 2008
Yep, it’s me and the dawn, hanging out together again. Right now I’ve got four lambs on the ground and one mum left to go. Not last night but the night before (24 robbers came knocking at my door…) ok, not. Two nights ago one of my ewes had a really tough delivery. She’s very private and I’ve realized that being anywhere around her was probably not helpful. Anyway she was exhausted and shocky and consequently didn’t take to her baby so I’m up with a bottle – ugh. But he’s so adorable and made it through the rest of that night and last night so I think he’s going to be ok. He’s going to be wethered (that’s sheep for neutered) and stay here as a companion to the ram.
I haven’t been writing much lately either. Just no taste for it right now. I’m busy and I have time to let that go so I have. It always feels odd but strangely ok too. I’m glad to be up early this morning and instead of feeling obligated to toss off a few pages, I’m catching up on emails, doing some farm research and posting. Not to mention watching my dog nanny my abandoned lamb – that’s very cute.
Speaking of him… I have a brooder to change and then a lamb to go and see. And I’d love to get a bit more sleep before the house wakes up.
I love being a shepherd!!! April 24, 2008
Aside from our first little lamb, happily frolicking, this is such a great time of year for this work. I was out feeling up my pregnant ewes to try to guess when they might go. One of them – Bucky – who is totally sweet was letting me palpate her abdomen. Actually, she was down on the ground and not looking right so I went out worried about acidosis/bloat which would be horrible at her stage of pregnancy. So, I was feeling her tummy etc. and felt something hard. When I palpated properly, I got a double kick back. I had my right arm draped across her back and felt quite sure I could feel lots of movement on the other side. No mean feat that – she’s ginormous.
Anyway. I just love it. I just watch them through the windows and smile. There are days when it sucks – like when you lose a baby or have to fight with one to get her hooves trimmed – but mostly I just LOVE it.
Happy lambing world.
Post post ephinany. April 19, 2008
So, the blizzard persists. And I mean persists. Although I have to take one of the dogs into the vet, the rest of the day is my own. My list of chores today largely included such things as starting cold weather crops, fencing and so on. It seems that given the weather, I’m forced to hunker down and spend the day indoors. Although there are chores to do – natch – I can also justify sitting and knitting and writing and cozying up on the couch with my quilt and a cup of tea.
Supper’s already in the slow cooker – baron of beef with parsnips, potato, carrots, garlic and onion. Maybe I’ll bake a cake. No doubt the boys (who are at an all day Beaver’s event – outdoors) will be cold and hungry when they get home!
No joke. It’s snowing like crazy. i went out to measure in a few spots. The deepest at 6 am was 6 inches. Also no joke. The worst part is that I’m brooding ducks and goslings and the heat lamp blew in the night. Now they’re crammed in a tiny Rubbermaid in the upstairs bathroom because the basement is just too cold. Fortunately I should be able to get a replacement bulb and a second light in town today.
Phew – am I glad the girls haven’t lambed yet. I was hoping for the second week of May and it seems like it’s good we were planning for that!
*&$%&&****@@!!! April 18, 2008
So – I had a previous post about why I haven’t posted much lately. But… it got deleted inadvertently. Lame.
Anyway – life here is hectic and definitely not just rolling along. For me it has the feeling of an out of control top. I’m too busy at work, too much to keep up with at home and can’t even really get started on anything because there’s just too much. Could this be a sign of something? <g> Ok – so I need to slow down. But how and where – what can go?
I haven’t been writing – or able to focus on writing when I do have the time. I think my mind is so overloaded and writing is so cerebral that I can’t do writing as my “downtime” right now. Perhaps I need to do more knitting?
No lambs yet – but we do have ducklings and goslings. Yes, pics will follow. They’re living in my downstairs bathroom right now 9in a kiddie pool). Three have died but I think the rest will make it. The geese are already totally full of attitude. I love ’em!
I just busted my dog who was stalking the adult goose in a herding dog way. All I have to do is open the sliding window beside the computer and !!! he startles. Very funny!
I have no idea what else I want to write about so that’s it for me.