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We generally like to have our American Blackbelly Ewes give birth in March. The weather has warmed up enough by then that we don’t need to worry so much about a newborn getting chilled, or mama being stressed enough that she decides she doesn’t want another mouth to feed. Because sheep have a 5 month gestation, that means that we put our ram in with our ewes in early October.
But not last year. Kenny, our beautiful ram, had only one fence between him and his girlfriends, and he had been pining after them for MONTHS, and so he promptly rammed his rather substantial head and horns against an inadequate wooden fence post until he broke the post. That, along with the bottom of the fence not being well attached, and in he went with his girls in early September. Read the rest of this entry »
Years ago, I took a summer biology class at the Mountain Research Station near Nederland Colorado. During the course of that wonderful week, there was a conversation with our instructor, in which she was talking about an old friend of hers, who used to do work at the station, and was now suffering from Alzheimer’s. She would go to visit him, and ask him questions about his past, to keep him engaged. At one point, she asked, “What’s your favorite season”. And his answer has always stuck with me, these 20+ years later. “WINTER, because it’s so dynamic!” I try to remember this, as I witness how snow transforms the landscape, softening edges, hushing the noise, insulating the world from all insults. Read the rest of this entry »
Wow. These last few months just FLEW by. I did my last farmers market of the season on October 29th. I did my first market of the season on April 30th. We got rained out of four. (Because all of my soap and jam labels are paper, rainy markets and I don’t mix. Even though I’m under a tent, its almost impossible to keep everything dry.) We took one additional Saturday off. So I did a total of 47 market days, in four different locations, this year. My sales were up about 40%, so the move into the Pendleton and Richland markets was a good one, even though the first year at a new market is always about building your brand and customer base with the locals. I attribute a large part of the increase to my being able to offer jams throughout the year. Jams were about 27% of my sales this year. Mostly, I am thrilled to be finished. I’ve been pretty darned brain dead these last few weeks. Read the rest of this entry »
Barber pole worms. A phrase I was familiar with, but only in a passing way until a few weeks ago.
We recently weened our flock of lambs, at approximately 10 weeks of age, separating the ewes from the rams. We had a total of 21 rams, two adults and 19 lambs. (Once again, we had a hugely skewed sex ratio this year, about 75% male). We now have 10 rams total. We lost a ram a few weeks ago. He was small. It sometimes happens. We didn’t think a whole lot of it. Then a few days later, we lost another one, and I started calling our vet. They basically told me, “we’ll just send the pathology out to the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab (WADDL) at Washington State University in Pullman. Cut out the middle man and talk to them directly”. So, two Thursdays ago, after several “let me transfer you” phone conversations, we found ourselves driving to Pullman with a lamb that we didn’t expect to make the trip (he didn’t). Results were extreme anemia and presence of Barber pole worms (Haemonchus contortus). Read the rest of this entry »
So, the Saturday downtown farmers market started April 30th, and I’ve started attending the Pendleton market on the 2nd and 4th Friday evenings of the month, starting May 13th. Both have been very successful so far. May is always a good month for markets! Come down and see me. Read the rest of this entry »
…and then maybe the lion eats your liver.
It’s been an interesting month here at Miles Away Farm. Starting in late February, we started to have new lambs on the ground. The first was born February 26th. We had 17 bred ewes. We ended up with a total of 28 lambs. We would have had 32, but for the following: Read the rest of this entry »
March is baby month. We started a bit early this year, with the first baby born on February 23rd. (We put the ram in with the ewes on September 26th, so right on time, 4 months and 28 days later, our first lambs were born). We have a total of 17 ewes and 2 rams. All of the ewes should be pregnant. Most ewes will have a single their first year, and twins the following years. Which means we’re gonna have a LOT of babies. Read the rest of this entry »
Today was a perfect day to be a farmer, and a homesteader, and a business woman, and a human alive on the planet. Read the rest of this entry »
Babies. Boy do we have babies. We have 12 ewes of breeding age, and we ended up with 21 lambs, born from March 2nd through March 23rd. Five sets of twins, two sets of triplets(!), and 5 singles. We weren’t expecting the triplets. One mama, Cocoa, is doing just fine with her three, but the second mama, Maggie, has rejected one of hers. So we have one bottle baby. Of the 21 lambs, 17 of them are male. SEVENTEEN. Seriously?! We have no idea why our sex ratio is so skewed, though something very similar happened the first year we had lamb babies (10 out of 13 were male), and they too were also all born in March. Read the rest of this entry »