Donkey Photos

So many blog posts to write now that maybe I’ll have time…The show is up at the Artery, Hug a Sheep Day was yesterday, lots of natural dyeing, lots of weaving, trip to Tahoe. But I’ll start with Amaryllis because I’m going to the Donkey Welfare Symposium next weekend and they have a photo contest. They asked for “cute” donkey photos and I think they will make up categories for prizes as they go along. Here are some contenders.

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“She’s at it again.”

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“Let’s pretend we don’t notice.”DSC_4481

I love this photo but the announcement said 8 x 10 and this is square. I don’t know if it matters.

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I like this one. I will crop it to remove that sliver of tree on the right.

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This is the most recent. I wish that I had a little more of her head in it but it’s cute.

What do you think?

 

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More Farm Views

I have dozens of blog posts in my head and I’m determined to catch up with them.

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Look back at the post before this one to see the dallisgrass in the paddock where I put the sheep a couple of days ago. There comes a point after they have grazed it for five days or so when I want to move them. The plants I prefer (clover, trefoil) have been eaten to the round and I know that they will never finish off this grass. Besides, while they are in one paddock the dallisgrass in the next is just growing more. After I move them, then we mow. This is what the paddock looks like after mowing. I’d really like to rake up all that leftover grass and get it off the field, but the only way that happens is if I go out and do it by hand.

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This is Trista, also known as the Velcro Sheep.

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Do you see why? When she was a lamb she actually got herself stuck in the blackberries. Is this a the sheep way to always have a snack with you?

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Cattle egrets in the eucalyptus tree.

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Take off.

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Donkey

Amaryllis looking slim(mer).

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As I go through this batch of photos, here is another dallisgrass one. This is in the horse pasture (so called because when we had horses that is where they grazed–no horses now).

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Yes, there are sheep there.

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This is at the end of Dixon Avenue on our way to town. I am amused that someone added a tail. I’ll be at this festival in Dixon next weekend. I’m teaching three weaving classes, will have a vendor booth, and will have sheep there for the show.

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Last random photo for this post. That’s Chris with his unexpectedly large pumpkin!

Getting Ready

It is always work to get ready to go somewhere. In my case I cram in all the things that I would probably put off if I were here, but now feel like they have to be done before I go. Part of it is to try and make things as foolproof as possible so that the people taking care of things don’t face issues.

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Now that the tractor finally works (sort of) I spent some time mowing. Then I wanted to try “spreading” manure. Spreading is in quotes because we don’t have a manure spreader. I have a tractor with a bucket and me with a shovel. Not practical…

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…even though I have made some darn fine compost.

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To make good compost the manure pile needs turning now and then, but the dryness on the top is deceptive. It’s wet underneath and it’s easy to get the tractor stuck–which requires me with the shovel again. Move onto other things that need doing.

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The ewes are on pasture and the white net fences are moved around to change the paddock to be grazed. I moved the ewes to the side of the pasture where there is less risk of them rubbing on a gate and inadvertently (or on purpose) pushing things out of wack while I’m gone.

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It’s hard to see in this photo but I set up the next three fences so that my kids don’t have to do it. They will have to close one but then the sheep just go to the next. There are always tricky things (like where there is concrete so the stakes for the fence don’t go in all the way and where you have to block off the irrigation ditch so they sheep can’t go under the fence, etc)

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I had the ram lambs grazing in the back but don’t want fence-to-fence contact with them and the ewes so they had to be moved. These are the panels that were keeping them away from the ewes while grazing the back. There is no water in that back field so they needed access to the corral for water. I’m going to leave this in place so that the ewes won’t be near the big ram fence (not a big fence, although it is double, but the big rams). I don’t need any more reason for the rams to try and mangle their fence while we’re gone.

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They did this just yesterday.

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Here is a temporary fix. They also beat up the other wall and pushed it away from the corner post. That green panel in the upper photo is keeping them away from that part of their shed. Not fixes, but hopefully stopping further destruction for now. I expect when I get back that wire panel over the hole will be mangled as well.

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Rusty doing his job of keeping the rams away while we put up the wire panel.

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I said that I need to move the ram lambs out of the pasture. Ginny helps with that.

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You can see Ginny behind here. She doesn’t work with finesse, but she can do the job.

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Back up at the house, the birds are starting to get to my black sunflower seeds. These are for future dyeing projects.

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I put net bags and bird netting over the flowers.

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I water the garden and picked coreopsis. A friend will come and pick during the week to keep the flowers blooming and take squash from the plant that is taking over. The beans in the foreground look great but haven’t produced anything yet.

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This is the wether in with Peyton. He had his leg through the front of the coat the other day so I caught him to take it off. Don’t want that happening while I’m gone and I didn’t have a needle and thread handy to make it smaller.

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I was watering my barrels that have been neglected. Ginny knew where my attention was and placed her ball appropriately.

When condense into a few photos this doesn’t seem like much but I was going non-stop yesterday. I realized at about 9 p.m. that all I’d eaten was granola in the morning and watermelon through the day–it was too hot to want anything else. I am now  gathering up the last of the stuff to take. Where is that book about my camera?

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Here is a hint about the road trip. Do you think I have enough reading material with me?

A Lot of Random Stuff This Week

Can you believe that it is going to be over 100 degrees by the weekend …IMG_0163

…and  just four days ago it was in the 60’s-70’s with a thunderstorms…IMG_0164

…and hail?

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The morning of the storm, when it was bright and sunny out I saw that a big branch of this weeping willow had broken during the night–not storm related. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but where that big space is with sun shining through–that is where the branch was.

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The sheep made quick work of the leaves up to the height they could reach.

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Big event–my husband retired last week. I was worried that he would wear out his end of the couch, but after getting over a bad cold, he’s been outside spending time doing Stuff That Needs Doing.IMG_0191-2

One of those things is cutting tree branches that block the view from the driveway.

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In the sheep world, we’re getting ready to go to Black Sheep Gathering next week, so that means halter breaking lambs. A few Farm Club members have come over to help. That sheep is not hurt or dead. She is just protesting.

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This is a blurry photo of the back of a ram lamb’s head. What it shows is two horns on the right that are growing close together. Ideally Jacob sheep have symmetrical, balanced horns. I’ll wait and see how that 5th horn is going to grow out.

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I put a 40-yard warp on the Schacht loom and cut off 12 baby blankets. There are more to go but I needed to get some of these done. That reminds me I need to contact someone who ordered pink blankets.

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New items in the shop and on the website soon. These just came–Schacht flick carder, tapestry beater, and weaving cards.

I wanted to finish the warp on the AVL. The computer that is attached to it decided to update itself. This is a PC and everything else I do is on a Mac. I don’t remember the PC world at all.

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This message had me really frustrated. I can’t weave on that loom if I can’t get the computer and the loom to talk to each other. With trial and error I finally got it going again, but I have no faith that it will work when I turn it on the next time.

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So I stayed out there at the loom until I finished that warp so that at least I have some time to work with it if there is another problem.

Today in the Barn

It’s been kind of crazy here over the last 16 days. That’s when lambing started. Maybe I’ll find time to go backwards to share photos. But here are some from today.

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Isadora and triplets.

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Janis displaying signs that she was going to lamb today.

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Catalyst and Joker, some of the sires of this year’s lambs.

Today’s lambing began with Noel’s triplets about 1 a.m. When I went to the barn in the morning Vanessa had twins.  Lambing began in earnest about 2:00.

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This is Isabelle with a single lamb.

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Janis cleaning the first of her twins.

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Ava, who I had my eye on since first thing in the morning, lambed with twins.

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Lambing is not always pretty.

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Sheena with a large single lamb.

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This photo shows all four ewes that were lambing this afternoon. That’s Isabelle in the pen on the right with her lamb. Ava is in the pen in the corner. She and Janis (foreground) were delivering lambs at the same time–Ava had the first lamb, then Janis had her first. Ava had her second followed by Janis. Notice the lamb just behind Janis at the fence. Sheena who was in labor this whole time really wants this lamb. No wonder lambs and moms get mixed up if more than one ewe is lambing at the same time.

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Outside the lambing barn we have plenty of other lambs already.

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lambing board

Here is today’s record. This is how I keep track of lambs and we leave it up all year to refer to in the barn. The letters under the ewes’ names refer to the rams: Dragon, Joker, Catalyst, and Buster. The lamb numbers are color coded and I record weights. That’s 80 lambs since February 26.

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Onyx is on the list for tomorrow…

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…and Jazz is only another day or so off. I’m going out to check now.

Lambing in Plain Sight

Yesterday morning I saw these two.marilla-and-marilyn

That is Marilla, born 2/25/16 (and named in a Spinzilla contest) and her dam, Marilyn. I didn’t know it at the time but shortly after taking this photo I realized Marilla was in labor.

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She was moved to her private maternity quarters…

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…and produced a good-size BFL-x lamb. I bred her for crossbred lambs because she is very freckled and I don’t want to perpetuate that in the flock. Marilla has a beautiful fleece however.

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At about that same time in the morning I noticed Sonata standing back with the tell-tale sunken sides between the ribs and the hips. Before I went to the house I put her in the barn.

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Spinners were here for the day and we kept trooping out to the barn to watch for lambs.

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Sonata lambed with the first one with no spectators but there were plenty for the second one.

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My flock is used to people being around and Sonata didn’t care about the observers.

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The second lamb born.

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The Hole That Ate the Chicken

Subtitle: Or why I don’t get much done during lambing season.

I am so behind on blogging. I really do like my blogs to be in order. I have lots of photos and blog ideas that I want to post but at this point they will be all out of order. There are more cute grandkid photos, photos of my weekend trip to Ft. Bragg, photos of sheep, but the last two weeks was hectic. I wanted to spend as much time as I could with my daughter and grandkids but I also needed to work on my new website and get it mostly underway before lambing began.

So there is nothing very exciting about this morning but I was in the barn from about 6:30 until 11 when I could get in for breakfast and there was one incident, very minor as things go, that gave me the idea for this blog post.

At 6:30 I saw that Hallie had lambed with twins and they were clean and fed. I had put her in the night before thinking she might be ready. The other ewe I had guessed might lamb had not and was supremely annoyed. I let her out.

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I caught these two sheep. First I brought in the older ewe, Sophia, who I had been watching in the back. She didn’t go in with the others when I fed but got up as I approached. She has shown some lameness on a back foot and I haven’t had time to look at it. That could account for her not getting up but she just didn’t look right.

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The younger ewe, Alice, needed her eye treated. I had been putting ointment in it but stopped before I should have (or there is another problem I don’t know about–I never did find anything in it).

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As I looked in the back again I saw Jean (the sheep not at the feeder). This is an excellent photo of the sunken sides of a ewe ready to lamb. She appears gaunt after the lambs have moved into position. So I brought her into the lambing area.

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I took video of Jean during lambing which I will edit and post eventually. Here are the two healthy lambs.

I continued to watch Sophia because she didn’t look right. I spend a lot of time just watching sheep during lambing. To make that effective you have to spend time watching sheep that are not lambing as well. You need to know the difference to know when one of your sheep isn’t quite right. I left her in the lambing area while I worked on other things…like when the phone battery died just as I was doing more video. I went to the house for the cord and then spent some time rerouting the extension cord that is going to the scale so that I don’t trip over it. Why not spend time fixing the plug that doesn’t work which is why an extension cord is necessary? I can do extension cords. I can’t do electricity.

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Before I move lambs and ewes out of the lambing pens I tag each one, give BOSE (selenium and Vitamin E supplement), and place a tail band. I started with #1 and then realized that I made my first mistake. The real #1 died (triplets born while I was in Ft. Bragg but that’s another story) and this should have been #2 or #3. So I already messed up. But I messed up prior to this by buying tags a size larger than I usually buy for the lambs. I haven’t quite decided if I want to keep using these or get the right ones. They seem awfully big for little Jacob ears.

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My routine is to move 3 ewes with their lambs into a group pen for a few days. I can keep a better eye on them and the lambs learn to stick with their mamas and not annoy the other ewes, who are quite convincing to any lamb that gets near. In this case, Clover is with her two, Rosie is behind the bale with her single and Jillian is out of the photo behind a feeder with her twins. I have been trying to get all the ewes’ feet trimmed BEFORE they lamb because it’s much harder to do when they are worried about where their lambs are. Mistake #2 today. I forgot to trim Rosie’s feet. I’ll have to remember before she goes out.

I was still watching Sophia. She is a week from her due date but she is big and round…and fat. She stands like she is uncomfortable and her leg is bothering her. My feeling is that it is the hip, not the foot, that is the problem. We used to have cows that would be gimpy in late pregnancy because of the calf positioned on a nerve. She ate a little grain, but not a lot. As I watched I felt like she was a little quivery. That can be a sign of pregnancy toxemia or hypocalcemia. I got out the jug of propylene glycol that I hardly ever use. That meant a trip to the house to look up the dosage. It won’t hurt is she does not need it, but it will be interesting to know if it makes a difference.

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Back to work. I was cleaning pens as I went, moving water buckets, etc. Mistake #3 and what inspired the title of this post. This is looking down on a half wall that separates the lambing area from the main part of the barn. There is plywood on both sides of the 2×4’s. A chicken fell in there once and it required rescue. This is the story as Maggie told it. The end of those two 2×4’s on the right makes a convenient place to put things like hoof trimmer or gloves…one of which fell into the hole. That’s when I thought about all the little things that add up that are the reason you spend the whole day in the barn and you don’t really accomplish much.img_7719

This is the view that I use when I make a first check on the sheep. I can look out this window and they don’t all get up like they do if I go into where they are. Now that the weather has changed and the pasture has started to dry out I want to get them out but there is a break in the electric fence and I need to fix it before I can let anyone in the pasture.

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This is a closer shot of another ewe that looks suspiciously ready to lamb, but really a lot of them do.

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Here is where we are so far.

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Onyx isn’t even on the list for two weeks.

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According to the list Esmerelda still has a week to go.

The glove is still in the wall.