Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lambs today.... Gone tomorrow

Well, that didn't take long. I ran out to take pictures of the new lambs on Monday morning and couldn't find them anywhere. I saw the Momma hanging out with the other sheep, but no babies. Knew that wasn't a good sign. I searched everywhere in the pasture for any sign of them. Nothing. Thinking they might have somehow squeezed through the fence, I looked all around the pasture. They're gone. No bones or hide or anything. I can only assume coyotes came and took them. The mom must have taken them to the back part of the pasture which is where she gave birth. Being separated from the rest of the animals, including the four guardian donkeys which I'm not too happy with at the moment, must have put them at risk.
So no pictures of the lambs. I think two more of the ewes are pregnant and I need to figure out how to protect those babies. We don't have a barn yet. Hopefully the Barn Fairy will give us one soon! We do plan to build one this year thankfully.
I hate losing animals.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Goodbye Bully.... Hello Baby!

Whew! It's been a busy few weeks at the farm. The ice and snow didn't melt for a whole week. One cold day after the other made for a lot of slipping and sliding. And when it finally did melt.... oh, the mud! What a mess! The chicken run and the pastures were so muddy that I actually lost my boot right off my foot. The good news is that everything has finally started to dry up... just in time for the next winter storm to come next week. I'm hoping it will just be rain!

Last Saturday we had an old-fashioned sheep round-up. It was time to say good bye to the sheep we've been fostering since summer. Two border collies came along to help round them up. How fascinating to watch! Those two dogs listened to their owner's voice inflections and commands and knew just what to do. I never heard her call either one by name but somehow they both knew where to go and what to do at all times. While that was going on, I was busy talking to Mr. Mann (the man whose donkeys we were also fostering) and trying to sweet talk him into letting us keep his donkey, Thirty Eight. It worked! He packed up Snowflake and all but 8 of the donkeys and headed home. We were able to choose eight of the sheep to keep so we picked out four males and four girls. Of course we had to keep the ram that my husband saved from drowning! Everyone is doing great and I definitely do not have to use as much feed which is great and much cheaper!

After a short family meeting, we decided to change Thirty Eight's name. It just didn't go along with the rest of them. So he is now Muffin. And that suits him just fine. He has a bigger muffin top than me.
This past week, our three billy goats suddenly decided to become aggressive. Ever since we lost our head goat Grumpy, those three boys have become increasingly obnoxious. She must have kept them in line. One in particular (Scrooge and trust me, his name was perfect for him) started being very food dominant and would lie in the food trough and throw his huge horns at anyone that tried to eat. Even the donkeys avoided him. This past Thursday, he made the horrible mistake of injuring me while I was feeding everyone. He came barrelling in and smashed my hand against his horn as hard as he could. I thought it was broken and boy, did it hurt! Luckily it just ended up being a painful, deep bruise but that was the last straw. I put him on CraigsList that night.

Here was my very honest ad:

One big white bully Billy Goat to someone who wants to come get him. Big horns. No specific type and age unknown. We acquired him when we bought our farm and he was fine until our main girl was killed. Now he's a bully and we don't know how to handle him. Good size for a goat and still growing as far as we can tell. Anyone want him? Available Saturday 1/22 only. He just about broke my hand and we have two small children. Wish I could keep him but he must go! FREE! Can also throw in another billy who is much nicer but not needed.

My husband laughed at me but I thought I needed to be truthful. Within the hour I had emails from almost 30 fools  people who wanted him. Guess you really can get rid of anything on CraigsList. Our excited new goat owner arrived right on time Saturday and took all three of our male goats. I was so happy! I couldn't part with our two pregnant little girls, but we really do want to get a new breed of goat and this is our chance. We promised the children we will have new goats soon. Of course they want little Nigerian Dwarf goats. Or Fainting goats. We'll see. The farm is much more peaceful now that Snowflake and the bully goats are gone. Everyone is eating nicely and working together. Beautiful! And my hand is finally losing some of the swelling.
And guess what else? We have two brand new baby lambs! Born today. One of the ewes that we kept had her babies this morning. We didn't even realize she was that close to giving birth! We have so much to learn. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera but I'll definitely be there out there tomorrow snapping away!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Walking on water! Just a frozen pond and that NEVER happens here! These poor geese are wondering what happened with their supposed trip South! Not far enough apparently!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Where's my brush?

The sledding has been a bit rough on my daughter's hair. Yikes! At least she's having fun! We didn't have a sled so one of the feeding troughs kindly volunteered. 

Snowy farm... day 2

At least it's sunny today! Still freezing cold. Still inches and inches of snow with a layer of ice on top. But I did entice a few of the chickens to come out of the coops for a visit.

The little birds enjoyed a breakfast of chicken feed. Obviously finding food under all the snow was hard this morning!

The high temp today is forecast to be 32. But tomorrow it's 38 and 50 by Sunday. Guess the snow will be here for a few more days. I think I speak for a lot of Southerners when I say, "Melt already!".

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Snow 2011.... farm version!

We made it to the farm! What a mess. They do not de-ice or plow our roads down here so you travel at your own risk! We made it to Walmart where I found absolutely no milk or anything else I wanted. Shelves cleaned bare. I did manage to pick up a few items to take the farm so we can eat for the next day! The normally 20-minute trip took about 40 minutes. We got stuck spinning out heading into the farm but finally got a little traction and headed down our very, very long driveway (1/2 mile!). We have 6 inches of snow with a crust of ice on top. Not fun to walk on to be sure!All the animals were alive and okay. Thankfully. The sheep had escaped their pasture and either didn't know how to get back or didn't like walking on icy snow.

Thanks to Farmer Cole and my sweet baby girl, the sheep managed to head home for a bite to eat. I wish all children lined up as nicely as my sheep!

The farm was dressed in a beautiful coat of white. My chickens did not cooperate with the photo shoot though. Despite the yummies I tossed outside, they wanted nothing to do with the snow!

They may not like the snow, but they still laid eggs!

It's cold, crunchy, icy, and wet, but I don't care! I'm here and I can take of my little sweeties. The sun has just set and it's freezing out there. Black Ice warnings tonight. No school again tomorrow. At least I can go to bed not worrying about the animals!

 I swore I wouldn't complain about the weather this winter after the horrible summer we had. So I'm not! It's pretty and it's cold but I can handle it. Stay warm and safe wherever you are!

Ice.... Brrrrrr

It dawned on me in the middle of the night why I couldn't upload pictures. I upgraded to IE9 the other day and have had nothing but problems since then! Good thing I also have Chrome.

To my mother-in-law: I know you're reading that wondering what I'm talking about, but don't fret. Just enjoy the pictures! It's computer stuff. :)

My sweet husband braved the roads and made it to the farm yesterday afternoon. With the freezing rain starting and forecast to continue overnight, we decided that driving on snow might be better. He said the roads were slippery and terrible and a normal 20-minute drive took significantly longer. But he made it and took care of my chickens (and the sheep and goats and donkeys and dog of course!).  Besides a little snow in one of the coops, everyone weathered the storm just fine. He gathered what eggs he could see. I don't think he's as proficient at reaching under the chickens for eggs as I am! I paced the floor for a few hours until he made it home and was relieved when he walked in. Thanks, Honey!

The beautiful snow is now covered with a thick layer of ice which makes it pretty but dangerous. School is closed again today and we will spend another wonderful day in front of the fire playing games and eating too much. Usually snow in South Carolina melts by the next day. Our current forecast does not show temps much above freezing for several days, so this may be hanging around awhile!

Monday, January 10, 2011

They got it right this time!

Wow! Now this is SNOW! After several days of build up on the news and two days of packed grocery stores, it began snowing last night and it's still going this morning. We have at least 6-7 inches so far and it's really snowing. Unfortunately the freezing rain is about to start so my children are out trying to enjoy it. Not great packing snow though. Very powdery. For South Carolina, this is a MAJOR snow storm!
We went to the farm yesterday and did what we could to get the animals ready. I wish we lived there! I'm so worried about my chickens! I gave them extra food and put a few waterers in the coops in the hope that they wouldn't freeze. I think they'll be okay today but tomorrow they will need more food and water. If the weather forecast holds true, we will get freezing rain all day and into the night, making for very icy and nasty roads in the morning. Fingers crossed that we can travel tomorrow!
So since I can't take pictures of the farm (which I know is gorgeous this morning!), here are some from my house. Hope it's as beautiful where you are today!

EDITED TO ADD: I can't get the pictures to upload. Will keep trying!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My first delivery!

This morning I took my first delivery of eggs to Corley's Market here in Greenwood. My first commercial account! I told them I'd be back with my camera to take pictures of my sweet eggs in the grocery case once they get them set up. They looked so pretty in their clear carton and cute label. I hope whoever buys them appreciates them!
And guess what? We're expecting a "Major Winter Storm". I admit that I'm a bit of a weather junkie (nerd) so the threat of any kind of winter precipitation gets me excited! The storm is due to arrive tomorrow night and continue through Monday. Up to 6-12 inches of snow and then ice. If we don't lose power, I'll be able to sit in front of a fire enjoying it all.
Today was so windy that my chickens were all hunkered down in the coops. I threw some scratch out for them and the brave babies that came out were blowing all over the place! Bless their hearts.
My hatch is done and I ended up with two chicks. Not great but better than my last hatch which ended up with none. We have a new kitten who is extremely interested in the chicks so I can't raise them on the dining room table like I used to do. Right now they are in our half bath enjoying the beautiful granite countertops, vessel sink and silk curtains!
I started to drift over to some of the hatchery sites to look at chicks but I managed to stop myself! I finally sat down and counted up my chickens. I *think* I have 143 right now. As far as I'm concerned, there's always room for a few more! Right?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome, 2011!

Happy New Year! Doesn't 2011 sound like something from a crazy, futuristic movie? Hard to believe it's the year we're now in.... but it is and I plan to enjoy it!

I've had a wonderful two week break from my computer. My children were home from school. My husband was home from traveling. We spent two unhurried, unplanned, unscheduled weeks just enjoying being together. Christmas was wonderful and New Year's uneventful. So perfect!

We did end up getting some snow on Christmas Day. By some, I mean an inch and by Christmas Day, I mean 11pm at night. But snow is snow in the South and it was exciting nonetheless!

We started the new year with a lot of rain. Today, the second day of the new year, is sunny and 70 degrees! Woo hoo! Feels fantastic out even though I know it won't last.

I just put six Araucauna eggs in lockdown in my incubator. Thought I'd try a new breed. Can't wait to see how they look as chicks!

Tonight we are back to reality. My husband just left for the week on a business trip. The kids have school in the morning. The animals need to be fed and I don't have my husband to sweet talk into it. Who am I kidding? It's wonderful!

Hope you all had an amazing holiday season and are ready for a great 2011!
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