Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Luna and Birdie

Is this not the odd couple? The little one, Luna, is a bit of a hard luck story. Her mom was down and paralyzed for nearly the whole last month of her pregnancy. We don't know why or how it happened. She was bright, alert, eating normally and interacting with the rest of the ewes and lambs....just couldn't stand up. She didn't seem to be in any pain, so I opted to feed, water and keep her on clean bedding. My hope was that when she lambed, she might recover. Unfortunately, that was not the case. She didn't even seem to know she was in labor, when it happened. Mike pulled all three lambs, two of which we could never get to breathe. Luna is the only survivor of that sadness and it was touch and go with her for quite a while. We named her Luna because she was born on the Vernal Equinox, the night of the "super moon".

Four hours later, that very same night, Birdie was born. Birdie was also from a set of triplets and was a giant compared to her two siblings. The next morning, it was obvious that Birdie was so big and so strong she was taking nearly all of the milk. Her poor little brother and sister were just barely getting by. So, Birdie was picked to go on the bottle full-time and become a companion for Luna. They are so funny together and completely different personalities. Birdie is feisty, noisy and is a bottomless pit when it comes to the bottle. Luna is sweet, quiet and only wants to take her bottle if she is being held in my lap.

I'm not quite sure what the future holds for these two girls. They'll need to be integrated into the flock and spend time with the other lambs, but at this point I don't think Luna can handle it without getting hurt. I'm sure Birdie, on the other hand, will jump right in with all four feet and never look back (except when I show up with the bottles!).

I imagine you're asking......how in the world did I come up with the name Birdie? Though I wanted to name her something that was the opposite of Luna (because she is), but somehow the name Sunshine just didn't fit. Sitting with them one afternoon, Luna in my lap and Birdie, bright-eyed and jumping around, her face just looked like a bird to me. (And I had to come up with something because Mike was starting to refer to her as Tic.....as in Luna-Tic!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

That was then

Yup, that was on Wednesday....warm, sunny, birds singing, bees buzzing......you get the picture. Spring was here. A description of today sounds as though winter is here to stay........gray, cloudy, cold, spitting snow, windy......not the same picture, huh?

We're back to reality with a thud in central Kentucky. Our lovely spring weather has gone elsewhere. I kept the ewes and lambs confined to the barn all day yesterday and the ewes were not happy with me. They wanted a taste of that tender, newly green grass. If I had opened the doors, they would have been outside in a flash, but it was just too cold and wet for the lambs. Today I relented and let them all go out to stretch their legs for a while. The lambs ran and ran and ran around the pasture, so I supposed they kept themselves warm enough. Unfortunately, the forecast calls for pretty much the same cruddy weather for the next several days. There may be a mutiny in the barn before the sun comes out again.

When we were deciding on which version of the barn cam we wanted, I thought seriously about getting one with audio capabilities. You all should be very glad I didn't go that route. Every time I walk into the barn it becomes unbearably noisy. I'm seen as the keeper of the food and I'm greeted with a cacophony of sound. (painfully loud and unpleasant) At this time of year, the ewes are ravenous. All they want to do is eat....all the time. Hmmm...that reminds me of someone else around here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Good news, bad news

First, the bad news. jenknits2 has not contacted me to claim the giveaway. The good news is that the random number generator has given me a new number, which is #7 -Teresa-who wrote, "Lovely! I just recently discovered Susan's websites (have one of her books tho) and I am quickly falling in love! I'm starting one of her baby sweaters today!"

So, Teresa, you know the drill. Please contact me by noon on Thursday and I'll get Spud & Chloë at the Farm, with yarn, in the mail to you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

She's a Rock Star

Behold the power of Susan!! I'm amazed at how many of you stopped by here to leave a comment, in hopes of winning the Spud and Chloë giveaway! I think we can all just say Susan is a rock star in the knitting world. The best part is that she is the nicest person you might ever hope to meet. When I met Susan four years ago, it was because I co-owned a local yarn store and she was in town, with some other knitting authors (Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Stefanie Japel, Ann Hood), for a book fair. We took the knitting authors to lunch (which turned out badly because of such slow service!) and I sat there completely in awe to be in the company of all these clever women. What I remember most about that day (other than the embarrassing lunch experience) is how nice Susan seemed---so down to earth and interested in what everyone else had to say.

I love that so many of you are enjoying the lamb-cam. It took a little convincing to get my husband on board with the idea. He was the one who did all the wiring between the monitor in the studio and the camera in the barn. It's a little more complicated than I first imagined, but it is so much fun. We call it lamb tv and we can waste a lot of time just watching, even when nothing in particular seems to be happening. I loved the comment someone left that there was finally a decent "reality show".

So, enough chit-chat. This morning the random number generator picked number 326, which, after eliminating some accidental duplicate posts, ended up being jenquilts2 - who said, "What a great giveaway and what a wonderful blog. I'm so glad I read about your blog on Susan B. Anderson's blog." So, jenquilts2, please contact me - diannemac1010@gmail.com by Wednesday noon (Eastern time), with your mailing address and I'll get the package in the mail! (should jenquilts2 fail to contact me by the deadline, I'll generate another number).

Thanks again, everyone for such enthusiastic participation! Happy "Spud and Chloë" Spring!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thanks a bunch!

Comments are closed now! Okay everyone, keep your fingers crossed and check back tomorrow to see who the random number generator decides is the lucky winner!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Spud & Chloë at the Farm Giveaway

To celebrate all that is happening on my farm these days; many new lambs (you can watch them on the lambcam-there's the link up there on the right), warmer weather coming our way (finally) and most of all the fact that Susan Anderson is coming to the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this year to teach and to sign her new book, "Spud and Chloë at the Farm", I'm going to have a Spud & Chloë Giveaway. All you have to do to be eligible is leave a comment between now and Monday evening at 8:00 pm Eastern time. The winner will receive a copy of "Spud & Chloë at the Farm", plus enough Spud & Chloë yarn to knit your very own Spud & Chloë characters! (How many more times do you think I can put the words Spud and Chloë in this post?)

This little book is so sweet and the cast of characters are so cute.....I want to knit them all. I'm going to start with Chloë because I've always loved dolls and then I'll knit Spud. He looks just like the kind of plump little sheep that would fit in around here very well. So, who else wants to join me?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

You are my sunshine

(CVM babies - girl on the left - boy on the right)
When I was a little girl, I had an Aunt Freckles (honest!), who played the guitar and sang on the radio in the little town of Thermopolis, Wyoming. When I was about 8 years old, we drove out to visit and my best memory of that time was her playing and singing "You Are My Sunshine" to me. I've always loved the song, for that very reason. Even now, when I hear it, I go right back to being that shy little girl (with plenty of freckles of my own) being sung to in my aunt's kitchen. When my own boys were babies, that was the song I often sang to them at bedtime.

(with mom)
I don't know why, exactly, but that memory came to me today. Probably because at long last we are getting some sunshine and warm temperatures. I thought of it on my way to the barn this morning, so I sang it to the new baby lambs while their mothers were eating (and being quiet for a change!).

This morning started off well. When I arrived in the barn, Jilly had birthed triplets (all girls!), all by herself. They were all up, nearly dry and she was being calm and attentive to them all. Jilly had triplets last year, her first year of lambing, so apparently she remembers the drill. Six lambs from two years of lambing. Not a bad record, I'd say.

I'm celebrating the sunshine and warm temperatures, twenty healthy lambs (so far), the appearance of green, green grass and tiny leaves on the trees by having a little Spud & Chloë at the Farm giveaway. Come back tomorrow and check it out!

ps-I almost put a link to the Ray Charles version because I love it so much, but decided the version from Oh Brother was probably closer to how my aunt would have sung it (much more appropriate for an 8 year girl!).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Something really fun to see!

I've been waiting and waiting for this thing to go online. I don't think we have all the bugs worked out yet, but I am so anxious to share, I'm going to jump in today. Eventually, I'll have a link on the side of the blog and on our future website.

So....here you go....just click on the link below and it will take you to our brand new Lamb-Cam!

Tanglewood Lamb-cam

This morning, while the wonderful Heather at Marestare was helping this practically computer illiterate person get things going, Fiona, one of the CVM ewes gave birth to a set of twins, right on camera!! I'm so sorry you all missed it. Most likely there will be other chances and soon that pen will be populated by lambs, lambs and more lambs. That's Gabby and her ewe lamb walking around in the pen right now and in just an hour or so, the pregnant ewes will come back inside and stay there for the night. Early this morning, we had another set of triplets (thanks again, Henry). We're up to 14 lambs from 7 ewes.

The above picture is apropos of nothing in particular, but the sun is out (finally) and, if I squint, I can see some green grass!

(somebody please let me know if this works!!)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Coming Attractions

I have several coming attraction announcements to make, but today I wanted to announce something we've been working on for a while now. We are having a Special Guest at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival this year! Susan Anderson will be teaching a fun workshop on Saturday morning and in the afternoon she'll be signing copies of her new book, "Spud & Chloe at the Farm" (plus, she has graciously offered to sign any of your "Itty Bitty" books, if you bring them along). My copy arrived yesterday and it is such a cute book! It's a Knit-and-Read Book because there are farm animals to knit and a story to read aloud to your favorite little person. Susan is the nicest person you would ever hope to meet and I know she has lots of fans here in central Kentucky. If you're interested in signing up for her workshop, keep checking the festival website because the sign-ups will start soon.

It's hard to believe that the festival is only a little over 10 weeks away. Of course, there are many of us who have been working on this year, since right after the end of last year's festival. It's going to be even bigger and better, with lots of new fiber and equipment vendors, more food vendors (we heard you!), great workshops and classes, more animals to visit in the livestock tent (where I'll be!) and most surely we'll have nicer weather than we are having today!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

(Triplets-Basking in the glow of the heat lamp)

Busy, busy around here. Some of my girls are not sticking to my schedule, but we have made some progress. Five ewes have lambed, so far. The count is 2 singles, 2 sets of twins and 1 set of triplets--6 girls and 3 boys. Most of it has gone really well, with four of the ewes doing it on their own. The one that didn't had a huge single lamb and had we not been here and monitoring, I expect the ewe and the lamb would have died. It took Mike and I both to get him out. Pretty stressful scene there for a while.

The triplets were sired by Henry and the rest are Ollie's. I'm so anxious to see how their fleeces turn out. Several of the Ollie lambs have those distinctive CVM markings on their faces and silver on their bodies. Marcel's lambs won't hit the ground for several more days. I would love to have some better pictures of the babies, but it is so dark and rainy the glow from the heat lamp is about the best lighting I can find right now.

Spring time is struggling around here. We've had 50's and low 60's followed by buckets of rain, then cold. The trees are budding, daffodils and forsythia are blooming and we have a chance of snow in the next few days. Enough of this stuff!

Friday, March 4, 2011

The best way

After all my fussing, worrying and watching, when I walked in to the barn this morning......there she was; baby number one for the 2011 lambing season. I checked at midnight and again at 3:30 am and nothing was happening. Gabby had her first lamb, quietly and apparently calmly, all by herself early this morning. She had a single little ewe lamb, who is already bouncing around her mama in the lambing pen. Gabby, who as you might remember is the sister of the famous Graham Lamb, is a first time mother and is showing great mothering instincts. That would be the best way for all the lambs to be born........on their own, up and nursing when I find them.

Two ewes were due yesterday and they are still standing and lying around, shifting their weight from one foot to the other, looking off to the distance with that "hearing voices from a far away place" expression on their faces. Gabby was actually due today, so at least she is abiding by my records! I'm guessing we'll have several more babies today or tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bring it

We're ready. The shearers came Monday, which was one of the most awful days, weather-wise, we've seen in a while. (Monsoon like rains and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees between morning and when the shearers left.) The shearers were due at 8 am and finally got here around 2:45 pm, through no fault of their own. The weather had put them way behind schedule. At that point the ewes had been in the barn with no feed for almost 24 hours. (You don't want to feed them before shearing because it makes them all the more uncomfortable.) Honestly, I was almost afraid to go in there. I thought they might riot! In the end, it all went smoothly and eventually they all got some extra grain and hay and extra deep bedding to keep them comfy and cozy through the night. Needless to say, they were happy to go outside for some sunshine this morning, as was someone else.

I spent about 8 hours working in the barn on Sunday. I stripped out old bedding, set up and bedded the lambing pens and got all my supplies gathered. According to my records, the first lambs are due on Thursday (give or take a day or two). I never quite believe it's actually going to happen until the first lambs arrive.

**Here's a list of supplies that I like to have on hand: surgical gloves and lubricant, sharp scissors, betadine (for dipping navels), plenty of old towels, stomach tube, colostrum replacement mix, powdered milk replacer, Pritchard teat nipples, bottles and Nutri-drench. I may not use any of the colostrum replacement and the powdered milk replacer, but because of my history of having so many triplets the last several years, I feel better having the supplies on hand. The colostrum mix can be frozen and when the time comes, the milk replacer can be sprinkled on top of the lamb's creep feed as an enticement and it's good for them. Nutri-drench is just a good product to keep around all the time. It's great to give to any lamb or adult who has been stressed in any way. I have elastrator bands and ear tags ready to apply when the lambs are a few days old. So, there you have it. I'm standing by, just waiting for the ewes to do their part.