Friday, April 29, 2011

take your child to work day

Technically, that was yesterday, but we don't stand on ceremony around here. Plus, my kid didn't have strep throat yesterday, but he had it today, so we decided that we would celebrate T.Y.C.T.W.D. today instead.

His ability to participate waxed and waned with his headache, but he was able to help with feeding chores:

And with moving the sheep back to the front yard, though I don't have any pictures of that. (Thank goodness he was home, because that is most definitely a two person job; the dog just isn't reliably helpful enough yet.)

He was also fired up about getting ready for Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, so he helped me weigh out wool to dye, and decide what color we needed, and generally be helpful and supportive, which is very much appreciated as I approach full-on panic mode thinking about all that still needs to be done.

He helped me with some needle felting, also for Maryland, before his headache returned and he had to go lay down again.

I've gotta think that no other kid had quite the same experience, especially as the school only allowed participation with a note on company letterhead. (I will not even go into what that says about who is allowed to participate in this activity, and who is not.) 

Never mind that it is pretty much the same as any other day around here. It was a great day, just the two of us, working together.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


It was one of those days today... you know the kind. The kind where you wake up loaded for bear, and goodness help the man, woman or child who crosses your path. The kind where you decide that a blog post isn't a very good idea, because who knows where your ranting and raving will take you.

So imagine my surprise when smell-o-vision kicked in, and gave the day the extra sensory element it was lacking.

I first noticed something was amiss when I went out at 1:30 pm to feed the bottle baby and refill the water buckets. (The sheep have been working on the front lawn the past few days, much to the amazement/amusement of my LSH's patients and random passersby.)

The smell was eye-wateringly pungent, and I immediately blamed the dog. I checked my boots -- nothing. I checked in the garden beds right around the front porch -- nothing. I marched around, muttering to myself about certain dogs and their anti-social habits, but I couldn't find the offending pile.

A little while later, my friend Val swung by to pick up some lamb formula, and commented that the smell had more of the pig about it. One of the many talents farmers can boast of: manure identification by nose alone.

She was right. One of the local farmers down the road was spreading manure, most definitely of piggish origin. But by then it was too late. The scent had permeated the entire house, thanks to the windows wide open to catch the breeze.

Terzo came in complaining that his entire school bus had blamed the sheep on the front lawn for the odor, as both the smell and the sight of the sheep had hit them as soon as the bus turned onto our road. With elementary school logic, they were certain the two were related.

Somehow that rotten smell turned my mood around. How could I stay crabby when my olfactory senses were being assaulted with every breath? I had no choice but to grin and bear it, and I guess the grinning did the trick. Hurray for pig poop!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

spring break view

I loved Mrs. C.'s suggestion that I take a picture of the view out my kitchen window every Thursday and had every intention of doing just that. However, the best intentions...

The boys have been on spring break this week. I was under the impression that break meant we would actually, you know, get a break. Instead, all other forces have seen this as a reason to amp up the demands on our time. High school track practices and meets, travel soccer practices, coach pitch baseball games, you name it, have continued unabated while my boys attempt to cram in every other event postponed due to lack of time.

Our schedule was so off the charts crazy today that you'll have to use your imagination on this one. Here was my view on Sunday afternoon, outside my front door:

The view outside my back door today (another lovely stockpile of thick grass) was much the same, with perhaps less staring and more cud-chewing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

scenes from a sunny day

The youngest lambs, born a little over two weeks ago.
You have to look closely but there are two lambs there!
Hope is an excellent mama and always keeps them tucked together near her.

From the youngest to the oldest:

Remember this tiny cute little lamb?
Here is Kali six weeks later. Singles grow especially fast!
All that milk to herself...

Just like Holly's ewe lamb, who is effectively a single and growing like a weed.

Henrietta with her spotted ram lamb in front;
Holly's ewe lamb -- the one she originally rejected -- is in back.

Mama's milk and care makes a big difference.

Checking out a feed pan with her brother.
Unfortunately, he never learned to nurse off Holly.
He still gets a bottle three times a day.

Speaking of which...

Did somebody mention a bottle?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

sheep circles

The sheep's hard work on the new growth leaves clear evidence of the perimeter of the electric fence:

Remember my view on Thursday? This is how it looked this morning: a muddy mess! The poor lambs were covered in mud. This rain would do them a world of good if they would stand out in it.

Here's where the sheep are now, tucked by the barn so they had free access to shelter all day.

The wind and rain are horrendous. I haven't seen hide or hair of them for hours, and I can't say I blame them.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

the view

No, not the TV program... The view from my kitchen window today.

It was a lovely one. A nice break in the rainy weather, so we moved the ewe and lamb group (aka the dandelion control team) onto a particularly nice stockpile of grass in the garden area.

The barn will finally be getting a night off; this will be their first overnight outside in the big wide open. The blog title will definitely apply.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

weekly update

I had a pretty good run there for a while, but seems I am slipping on the regular posting... This bottle feeding schedule means I am getting things done in bits and pieces only! Let's see, I have a little less than an hour before I go out there again, just enough time to tell you what's being going on around here.

We had our last set of lambs, so we're done for the year. They came a little early, on Sunday morning, with no help from us. Hallelujah!

A set of twin ram lambs, not perfectly matched but still perfectly cute. The spotted one (what is up with the spots this year?) was quite a bit smaller than his brother at birth -- three pounds smaller, to be exact. His tummy was nice and full when we docked their tails tonight, and both of them have gained two pounds since birth, so mama is doing a good job. One more round of hallelujahs for that!

The older lambs are growing nice and big, with the exception of the bottle baby. He is still tiny, despite regular feedings and access to the milk bottle 24/7 (contrary to the initial success, he pretty much ignores it, unfortunately).

We hustle every day to get the ewes on a fresh patch of grass using the electric netting. The way it was set up today, the lambs could squeeze through the board fence into the middle pasture. They held lamb races all day, with lambs on each side of the fence. Watching them race up and down with hops, skips, and complete abandon, is one of those things that makes it all worthwhile.