Spring at Last

After this long, cold, scary winter, it’s wonderful to be able to go outside without a winter coat and boots. Of course there were some bright spots in the fall. breeding season was fairly smooth. But Priss kept coming back into heat so she could spend more time with her handsome ram, Briar.

Priss and Briar

The sunset came earlier and earlier but with the flies gone we could switch to deep bedding so we didn’t mind putting the sheep to bed earlier.

Glorious Sunsets Every Night

Virginia devised a contact-free feeding system using a large funnel and some pipes for Briar and his buddies for when I was feeding on my own. Briar figured it out real fast.

Briar with the new feeding system

With the heavy snowfall all the sheep could do was stand outside their shed in a small cleared patch. It was a great relief when it melted.

Finally the snow melted

When it wasn’t too cold there would be lots of snuggling. Stirling still liked to climb in my lap.

Out of boredom Stirling taught himself a trick.

Stirling’s Trick

Finally April came and the lambs began arriving. Last year we had bred late and got five ram lambs. This year, we decided to test the theory that you get more ewe lambs if you breed early. It worked! All girls. The first to deliver was Ella and this time she decided she would let the lamb nurse so no more headlocks. We named the lamb Billie and she is just as friendly as her brother Stirling.

The next day we stepped out of the shed and the was our first time mother, Little Bit in labor in the yard. She had twins with very straight, black fleeces. They will probably turn grey just like their mother. And like their mother, they are very shy. They are Trixie and Mimi.

The last to arrive was Savannah’s little girl, Taylor. Her chocolate fleece will probably turn light like her mother as well.

As adorable as these little girls are we still had lots of the animals needing some loving. It’s a full time job.

Then there are the worst dogs ever.

Nothing tires them out

Life with Chickens

When we first bought our new place last summer there was no fencing or accommodations for our Dominique and Orpington chickens; just a field, a wood shed and large pole barn.

So among the first ten things we had to do was convert the wood shed into a chicken coop and build a run. For this Virginia had lots of help.

Now this is what I see every morning. Every. Morning.

Then it’s time for watermelon and cucumber.

Of course, once we get those finished it’s time to get more chickens – Americanas this time.

But one chicken is still not happy with the chicken palace. Phyllis prefers the hay bucket.

Smudge prefers my lap.

Then in the heat of the summer they get their shade where they they can

The base of this pine tree has the best soil for dirt baths.

Now we have Cochins, Blue Marins and “olive eggers”, oh my. Virginia never saw a chick she didn’t like.

We have moved the older Cochins from the cages in the garage to their own apartment in the run. The younger ones will join them soon. Ivy is keeping guard.

Fortunately, the egg business is doing well. Almost covers the farm assessment requirement.