Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lamb Spam

Nathan is visiting his nan in Australia, who isn't feeling too well, and this post is for her. If she can't have a lamb to cuddle with, at the very least she can see some photos of the adorable boy. As a rule, we don't name our meat animals...but this weekend my friends Emma and Jess farm sat and little lamb is now Phillip. 

This is the first lamb that hasn't had other lambs to jump around with. Last year, the twins came first and then Princess Leah, so they always had playmates. Oprah is still veeeeery pregnant, but no sign of her lamb(s) yet. Little Phillip has decided that the chickens will do as playmates.

Teensy does not approve of being lamb-butted!

Like father, like son (except that son's ramming is cute instead of *RUN!!!*):

Thomas is very interested in the new little guy:

Looking deceptively like a real sheepdog (Amelia was angrily stomping at her to go away):

Also looking deceptively all grown up:

Mr. Saul in all his glory:

Friday, January 16, 2015

Of Course..

We've been certain that the lambs would be born any day now...for the last 3 weeks. Every day it seemed like Amelia couldn't get any bigger, that she was acting a bit different, that she was on the brink (she had her lambs first last year, and has seemed further along than Oprah this year, too). 

This morning, Nathan went to do a quick check before I took him to the ferry to visit friends for the weekend. When he shouted "Amelia's having her lamb!" I was sure he was joking.

Nope! 20 minutes later, she had a perfect little ram lamb (and Nathan had to take the next ferry):

In the photo above you can see the amniotic sac that came out after she had the lamb. We thought that that meant another lamb was on the way, but nothing happened for the next hour except for Amelia carefully licking and tending to her lamb. Finally I scrubbed up and checked her internally and felt..nothing. From what I've since read, it sounds like sometimes that amniotic sac comes out after the lamb, instead of before/at the same time. 

Zoey trying to be a patient sheepdog.

These photos don't do this tiny, adorable lamb justice! We'll take some better ones in the next few days.

Friday, January 9, 2015


Our power went out today for 2 hours while we were out! It's so lucky that it happened today and not yesterday when some of the chicks were still hatching and hadn't dried yet. They were pretty cold in the basement and they had all huddled together but they seem fine now. Their brooder has been moved upstairs so that at least if that happens again, it will be warmer upstairs near the fireplace!

Dog, dog, dog, chicks!

The chicks just after I rushed them upstairs to warm up. Poor lil' guys!

The reason we'd been out was to get some fittings for the irrigation. We started on that today:

Bed in front has rye as a cover crop that we'll till in in the spring. The bed with straw has garlic in it, the one next to that is empty and the greenhouse has baby greens and kale. 

Chickens were very jealous of the ducks getting fed. I was practicing their recall back to their pen. 

Male vs. female size comparison! 

Victoria, Dee-dee in front, Rosie in the back.

I accidentally caught a little...err...yeah... in the background.

 Ryan says he'd prefer to hang out with the chickens, thank you very much!

Abby does what Abby wants!

Mini Sauls

Look what I found in the incubator on Wednesday morning!

I was shocked - even though the incubator's temperature and humidity had kept pretty constant, I didn't really think it would actually work! The humidity was low throughout the first 18 days - staying at 30-35% instead of the recommended 40-45%. One day I went downstairs and the thermometer was reading 103 degrees - it should be 101 at the most, so I thought no eggs would hatch after that. 

They kept hatching all through the day on Wednesday and through the night, and then one more late on Thursday. 12 chicks total! 1 hatched and then died, and there are still 6 eggs in the incubator that I'll leave for a few more days just in case (apparently even though most hatch on day 21, there is a chance some could hatch up until day 25). 5 of the eggs in there were blue, and only 2 of those hatched. Maybe that's because I stored them for a full week to collect all 5 before setting them? I didn't turn them during that week and I should have. Also, the blue ones are so dark that it's really hard to candle them with the flashlight that I was using. I couldn't really tell if they were developing properly.

Here's chick #1 (Uno) almost dry and #2 just hatched. You can see the blue egg has been "unzipped" and it hatched 5 mins after this photo!

Yesterday we worked on getting the garden beds ready for the spring. We took out a bunch of our mishmashed raised beds (we'd made them out of shelves, etc. that we'd found around the farm) and instead we made a bunch of straight longer beds. We're going to set up some gravity irrigation from the rain tank that's up the hill, and it's easier to set it up if the beds are pretty uniform. Nathan also put gutters on all of the outbuildings with tanks underneath each so the sheep will have fresh drinking water at each rotation through the pastures this spring. 

Look at our new neighbours! The chickens snuck through the gate to the neighbour's pasture and were met with some very curious new faces. The cows then proceeded to chase Saul all the way through the field while he squawked and half crowed. Poor guy - didn't look too impressive to his ladies, I'm sure. Good thing his 12 new offspring didn't see it happen.