Lambs!

Happy early Spring! We were blessed last week with our first lambs of the season. Not one pair but two in the same night! Let us introduce Fred, George, Harry, and Ron. Can you guess this years naming theme? Harry and Ron had inverted eyelids but with a little hardware, that problem was resolved within 24 hours. They are now bouncing and playing together!

Now its Betty and Calamina’s turn. Ladies??? It’s time!

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Change is Good!

It’s the end of January and it’s warm…by January standards at least. I was out this morning feeding the calf and checking out the barn. Looking around at the empty rabbit cages and our little flock of laying Buckeyes upstairs I realized how much more relaxed we all are. Taking stock, we have 4 very pregnant ewes, our ram Frodo, our wether Phantom (boy do you need sheared!) in the pasture, 5 hens and rooster upstairs in the coop and that Guinea fowl flying around upstairs in the barn. Yes, it is going to be a good year.

chaos-and-change1We decided its time to take a good look at our lives and our profit and loss statement. All lines point to lamb and fleece. Unfortunately for some of our customers, we won’t be growing rabbits, broilers or turkeys this year. Our calf will be bred this summer and will supply us with milk, cream, butter and cheese but just for the family.

It got just crazy last year! We honestly tried too much. So, we change! We are sticking with selling lamb, fleece and pelts. I’m working on a business plan with our Cooperative Extension agent. We’re improving our ewe’s nutrition, again with the help of Extension. We’ve already secured a third of the pasture and will continue fencing in more pasture this year. Plans are to pick up a new ram and a ewe lamb or two this spring. We’re going to start building a Columbia herd. They’re bigger sheep with a really great fleece to keep all our customers happy.

Keep an eye for updates. We’re about six weeks out from lambing!

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Happy New Year 2016!

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy New Year to all of you! My family spent a wonderful evening at home with friends playing games and cards. Such a blast! We all said we need to get together more often.  On that note, Patty shared a Mother Earth News newsletter with me, primarily because of the fire cider recipe but there was another article that caught my attention.

Do a Digital Detox to Reconnect with the World Around You got me thinking about the bad habits I’ve formed over the last few years. Facebook, news surfing, playing games…I don’t want to think about how much of my day is taken up with that. I am now detoxing from the digital world. I’ve deleted my Facebook, games and news apps from my iPhone. I’ve alerted my Facebook friends and tried to delete my gaming account but to no avail. I’ll be back in February, but with better habits.

My hope now is to finish Patty’s sweater, start some new blacksmithing projects and spend more time with my family and friends. I will be posting blog entries and posting on the Maine Rural Partners Facebook page, that’s work, can’t stop that! Call me, drop me a letter, I’d love to hear from you. I just have to get off this thing and get my head back on straight.

Love,

Robin

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Presents from now and then

Merry Christmas! I hope that you, your friends and family are having  a joyous and peace-filled day.

We celebrated around the homestead. Kaylin got a bunch of artsy and cute stuff. She is now holed up in her room with her new art marker set.

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Patty’s dream came true with a new workout setup. We sold our old one when moved to Maine. Maybe we’ll be in better shape before we come home in February for a visit!

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As far as my Christmas, it was a bit more old-timey. I brought my spinning wheel home last week. That coupled with a shepherd’s crook and a book on blacksmithing, I’m in good shape.

IMG_2093Keeping with tradition, we made our gifts to our family members and Kaylin made me and Patty new necklaces. Aunt Janet returned the sentiment with a beautiful piece of art from a local North Carolina artist and Grandma/Mom wants to make sure we sleep well with new pajamas.

Peace be with all of you!

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We Wish Ewe a Merry Christmas!

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Lamb Rearing (5 Days till Spring)

You know it will happen eventually but you never want it to. One of the ewes has rejected her twin lamb. The poor little boy was bigger at birth than the girl but throughout the day, we noticed that Bellamina would not let him nurse. We held her to make her nurse him. She fed the little girl without hesitation. A call to our mentors suggested checking if had any teeth that would hurt Bell’s udder. Nope. Bell has now resorted to ramming the poor little guy around the jug. Last night, at just 2 days of age, we made the decision to go to Tractor Supply. We reweighed the lambs and the little girl had gained over a pound where he gained not half a pound. I felt comfortable, since he was clean when we found him, that he had a good day of colostrum and we bought some lamb formula. Feeding every few hours to get some weight on him now. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed he makes it!

Olaf, our little bottle baby.

Olaf, our little bottle baby.

Now, for a little more cute overload, the little boys who arrived just before the white twins have found a nice hiding space to sleep.

Under the manger.

Under the manger.

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More Lambs! (7 Days till Spring)

Two days ago, Wednesday, we welcomed two new lambs to our flock. Sons of Betty are Hans and Kristoff. Kristoff has the little white spots on his head and neck to match Sven born earlier.

Hans and Kristoff

Hans and Kristoff

Hans and Kristoff

Hans and Kristoff

Both boys are doing well.

This morning, Friday, I went out at 5:30am to do chores to a chorus of 2 new lambs. Belamina had Elsa and Olaf! They got sweaters right away since it was only 10 degrees out. Took mom awhile to settle down but she is feeding them well.

Elsa and Olaf

Elsa and Olaf

Elsa (in green) and Olaf (in blue)

Elsa (in green) and Olaf (in blue)

Oh, and Olaf has his moms eyes. So pretty!

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The Joys of Owning Sheep

There is so much enjoyment from being a shepherd! Sheep are fun animals. If raised right, they enjoy attention and will follow you around. The production of wool is a dream. Especially once you learn how to use it! And of course, there is your own supply of meat.

My first knitted sweater.

My first knitted sweater.

I finally finished knitting Kaylin’s sweater. It really wasn’t too bad! I’m now knitting a present for someone and then a sweater for Patty! This wool is from our ram Alfie. Patty’s will be, too.

Then of course, there is the spring lambing. There is nothing cuter than lambs!

Sven at one week

Sven at one week

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Welcome Sven to the World! (16 Days till Spring)

Sven

Sven

This morning, we welcomed Sven into the world. He is son to Barbara, a first time mom. He weighs 13lb 10oz and is doing wonderful! Barbara is being the perfect mom.

The family decided to name the lambs after the characters in Frozen this year. Just shows what our winter was like!

Barbara and Sven

Barbara and Sven

Bellamina in waiting...

Bellamina in waiting…

Bellamina is likely to have twins and soon!

Bellamina is a bit...wide.

Bellamina is a bit…wide.

Poor thing, I don’t know how she can stand up.

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Crisis averted with 24 days left till Spring

Whew! I never want to go through that again! Going out to the barn in subzero temperatures every 2 hours was just about all we could handle. No lambs last night, though.

Woke up at 5:30am this morning to this:

Yes, that is -14 degrees!

Yes, that is -14 degrees!

But it is almost Spring. The next questions to be answered: When will the lambs come and when will the sap start running?

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