Whispering Pond Farm

Whispering Pond Farm

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Continued Cooler Weather

Cooler weather, almost freezing weather, continued all week. Freezing temperatures arrived north of here last week. Thankfully, it did not freeze here. Warmer weather caused everything to begin to bloom; flowers, trees, and Bob's favorite, the blueberry bushes. I think, after much observation and scrutiny of all the plant life, everything has survived. I was able to plant lettuce, spinach, and Swiss chard in the herb garden last weekend. Bob started several flowers and vegetables in the tack room/green house. Most of them have germinated and he placed them under grow lights on Thursday. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and marigolds are more successful if they are started inside. Paul Shetterly is coming next week to shear the sheep and trim their hooves. The one ewe continues to limp. Hopefully, he can look at her again. We were able to castrate both of the older lambs, the younger two need to be castrated next week. Most of the lamb's tails are off. I wiped all the tail stumps with disinfectant. Most of the lambs have some diarrhea as well. I am attributing this to the onset of green pasture grass. None of them are coughing or droopy, red flags to illness. Ruthie and Sweet Pea continue to wait for the birth of their kids. Their udders are getting larger, a good sign. Goats are curious creatures. They are interested in everything, pausing to investigate every inch of their environment. Always happy to see me. Ever hopeful for a bit of grain or a back scratch. Gentle souls. Sweet Pea will hold her ground however, when a lamb or chicken become too intrusive. Stomping or shaking her head, with an occasional head butt given to the offender. No nonsense, thank you very much, have a nice day. The barn needs to be cleaned, feed needs to purchased, gas for the equipment obtained, all today. A good day for all those things. It really is still too chilly and wet for garden work. Well, maybe just a little garden work today. Live well, Carmen

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Cooler Weather

Cooler weather has arrived along with soaking rain! The ewes are thankful. It was unseasonably warm last week, 40 degrees above normal. Too warm too fast. All the animals were stressed. The free choice mineral bin was a popular hang out and the water tanks were never full enough. I cleaned, weeded, and rototilled the herb garden. It always is a huge project. I think about spring cleaning when placing the mulch on the garden in the fall, trying to place enough on, but not too much. The thought being if I clean and organize well in the fall the spring cleaning will be minimized. A good thought. It never happens. Oh well, the herb garden is ready for spinach and lettuce. Hopefully, that will happen today. Live well, Carmen

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Garden

Much to Bob's disappointment we spent the majority of the weekend cleaning up several barn yard manure piles and spreading them on the garden. These piles were a culmination of a winter's worth of uneaten hay and manure that surrounded to two mangers in the barn yard. These piles are like icebergs, the tip or top of the pile is very small compared to the rest underneath. You just keep shoveling! The good news is the manure quality of the piles was great. Bob didn't think there was quite enough however, so he got a pick-up load from Angie Anderson and spread half of it in the big garden and placed the other half in the compost bin. The compost bin manure will jump start the compost already in the bin from last winter. We should have great compost from the bin by midsummer. The seeds I ordered last week came. Bob sorted through them, pulling out the ones he wants to start inside. Hopefully, he can start planting inside today. My tack room is heated and makes a perfect green house this time of year. I want to clean up an area in the herb garden and plant the lettuce and spinach tonight. The weather has been unseasonably warm, a great chance to plant early, cool weather seeds. Hopefully, it will not frost again. Right! The newest lamb is well. She is as big as any of the other lambs and holds her own during rough housing play. The goats are due in two weeks. It will be great having fresh milk to make new cheese! Live well, Carmen

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

It's Been Rough

It's been a rough 48 hours for the newest lamb but she was on her feet this morning nursing. She looks like a bad horror movie. I left the blood and birth fluids on the lamb so Leila would smell her and know she is her's. Leila allows the baby to nurse and is quite concerned about her. Amazing. I treated Leila to some of the alfalfa hay this morning. Simple things are the best.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Life Continues

Yesterday began, and ended, as so many others have this last month. The surprise and relief of having new life arrive. Will our last ewe, Leila, have her lambs her lambs today? She is getting so uncomfortable, hard to get up and then lay down. She is so big! Surely she will lamb today. The first lambs were born three weeks ago. Did she catch late in the month at Paul's? How long is too long? The night was spent getting up every four hours checking. No lambs. I made my way to the barn around 07:30am. Daylight Savings Time pushed arrival time forward an hour. A beautiful, warm morning. This is a fickle time of year in Michigan; warm and gentle followed by cold wind, ice and snow. This day would be warm; a blue cloudless sky all day. I gave everyone their grain, opened all the doors. The oldest lambs, with their mothers, graduated to the big pasture today. Running around the turn out shed too many times to count, chasing the chickens. The third set of lambs were moved to the space left by the older lambs, under the cricket attached to the barn. Leila could be with them, bask in the sun. She didn't want to leave the barn. I moved around to encourage her to leave and realized she had started to lamb, an amnionic sac was apparent! Finally! With mixed emotion I placed her in the larger jug. Yes, finally, but she's so big. Triplets? She was not a good mother initially last year. It took a lot of hand milking, placing lambs on her, forcing her to accept her baby. Knowing it would be awhile before she progressed Bob and I cleaned the barn. Staying busy makes the time pass. Another sac appeared. This doesn't seem right. More time, too much time. A call to the vet. Dr. Kramer says it's okay. Okay, membranes are still bulging. With the others membranes bulge and then the sac is broken by the front feet squeezing through the canal. A nose, not front feet appear. Break the sac, clear the nose, try and push the lamb back in and find the front feet. I can find the front feet but can't bring them around, can't push the lamb back in. It's too big. It's too big to deliver nose first, with shoulders and legs to follow. Bob tries. He can't. Dr. Kramer will come. He makes the drive from north of Ionia in 30 minutes. Quickly, and yet an eternity. He his able to push the lamb back in, find the front legs, realign, and with chains attached, pull the lamb out. Agonal breathing, dusky tongue, eyes open. The lamb is huge, as big as the three week old lambs in the pasture. Attempts to arouse the lamb during the assisted birth of his twin fail and Dr. Kramer euthanizes him humanly with an injection. The twin is smaller. Stressed, but not traumatized, by the prolonged labor and birth of her brother. Weak, but not too weak. Dried, and given Leila's hand expressed milk she attempts to nurse. Bob removes the dead lamb, takes him to be buried, to remove his smell. Leila continues to search and call for the dead lamb. Leila shoves the unfavored lamb away rejecting her attempts to nurse. Lamb and mother are placed in the smallest jug. No room to push the baby away. As the day progresses; after hand milking, showing the baby where to nurse, rubbing milk on the baby; Leila starts talking to her baby in the low soft tones ewes use. Maybe this baby will survive. The unfavored life, the smaller twin, maybe. Milestones to reach; 24 hours, 48 hours. Dr. Kramer gave Leila an antibiotic and medication to contract her uterus. We must watch for continued bleeding and infection. Watch, wait....Live well, Carmen

Saturday, March 3, 2012

It Was Toady

Not yesterday but today. I left everyone in the barn this morning. The wind was blowing, remnants of the storm that tore through the Midwest last night. Checked on the two remaining ewes to lamb at 10:00 am. Nothing, no new lambs. Came back to the house and took a shower. Bob was due here at 12:00pm. He was running late, so I thought I'd get a head start on the barn. Saturday is total barn cleaning day. Rabbits, chickens, goats, and sheep. I thought I would empty the manure spreader and be ready when he arrived. I walked into the barn around 12:30, expecting Pinky to call loudly, Ruthie the same, and the rooster, always letting you know he's around. Instead quiet. Muffled noises of shifting bodies and feet, chewing of cuds, and then the small voice of a new lamb. Lulu's two new lambs were standing, looking, talking to their mother. Lulu is an amazing mother. These are her first babies, yet she acted like an ancient soul, drawing on inherent knowledge, instinct, to take perfect care of them. Nudging, encouraging, cleaning, talking to them in the low, soft tone a ewe uses with her lambs. I placed them in the smaller jug. It was clean and ready for just this purpose. Everyone else went outside. Doors open, barn clean, tails banded on the older lambs. All activity started again, except for a small corner of the barn, where a new mother cleaned and nursed her babies, like her mother and grandmother before. Live well, Carmen

Friday, March 2, 2012

Will it be Today?

Will it be today? Will the other two expectant ewes lamb today? Will I be able to forego the every four hour, through the night barn checks? It is a beautiful day. Sunny and warm (40 degrees). No breeze. Today would be a great day!