A-HA!!!

Coon1For the last few mornings during chicken chores, I’ve found their feeder has been knocked over and is completely empty.  Their barn has some holes in it, and is completely open where the rafters meet the walls so we figured something was making its way in there at night.  We put their feeder inside a lidded metal can and set a trap.  We left a bowl of food in a humane cage hoping to catch whatever is stealing food.  This morning, the cage was still ‘unsprung’ but the bowl of food was empty.  The only evidence of a thief was the mouse droppings left in the food dish.  Hmm… a mouse wouldn’t spring a trap but it also wouldn’t be able to knock a feeder over.  Luckily, our ‘trap’ was a two-parter.  We have a night vision game camera (the Truth Cam) and Brian had set that up in the barn, too.   When we downloaded the video content we got to watch our chickens running around at about 8PM but at 10PM we got some footage of THIS GUY.   Then again around midnight we saw a little army of mice stealing the food from the trap.  Luckily, we have a bigger trap.  It’s going out tonight.  We’re gonna getcha!

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Coon

Do You Have A Snack, Woman?

20Hermione peers over the pasture gate looking for a treat.  This morning, it was fresh greens from our greenhouse.

A Test Milking

Milk1I decided to test milk Bella, CoCo and Elsie this morning.  It meant separating them from their kids overnight. Their udders were so full I got almost 2 quarts with TONS left for the babes.  I got tired of it before they did, I’m out of practice!  It’s going to be a bit before the gals and I are ready for daily milking.  In the meantime, I’ve got delicious fresh milk in the fridge.  One more milking and I’ve got enough for a small batch of chevre.  Hmmm….

Milk2

Fleeceless Beatrice

21Even without her fleece, she’s a cutie!  It’s warming up here, and they still have the barn if needed.  I’m sure the sheep are happy to be unburdened with their heavy coats.

Presents From My Favorite Sheep

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Lucky me!  I’ve had commercial yarn made from my favorite sheep Beatrice’s fleece for a really long while now.  It was uber expensive and took like 9 months to receive after I shipped her fleece out.  Do I knit or crochet?  Of course not, but was hoping to find someone lovely to make me something out of it someday.  That day has arrived!  My friend from Seattle, LimeRiot, knitted me the most gorgeous cowl and socks.  Aren’t they divine?  So professional!  That’s her winding the yarn to prep for knitting.  She’s wearing a Missing Willow Farm t-shirt and holding her very own Beatrice, one of five adorable dogs she and her husband share their home with.  If you’ve never visited her blog, you really must.  She’s so very talented.  You’ll find her at http://limeriot.blogspot.com/

We swapped a few crafty things.  I made her a pottery yarn bowl to assist with future knitting pursuits and used my new embroidery machine to make a kitchen towel with her great dane Quigley’s likeness on it.  Isn’t he handsome?!

Shearing Day

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Yesterday was shearing day.  We have five purebred wool sheep (texel), the rest are either hair sheep or crosses.  We took them to a neighbor’s farm to meet up with the shearers who drove all the way from Michigan.  They had to spend the night in our trailer because it’s important they stay warm.  It gets their lanolin flowing and makes shearing easier on them.  Two of our texels had babies, one was just a day old.  We took the lambs out of the trailer for the journey because we were worried they would be jostled during transport.  Both fit snugly in a tub in the back seat of our truck.

I included a few shots of Beatrice being shorn.  She was the worse of the day, she always is!  The shearers say ‘pet’ sheep are the worse.  I guess it’s because they’re used to being handled, and it’s never manhandled.  The shearers did over 80 total before noon.  Other farms sell their fleece in bulk, that’s a photo of Brian packing it in.  Our fleece came home in separate bags, I sell them individually.  Champion border collie Brit helped keep everyone in line during the morning’s activities.  It’s always a good feeling to have shearing over with for the year, and this team did an expert job of it.  I hope they pass this way again next year.

Every Photo I Take

12Could easily be this one.  My bottle baby from last year, Summer, comes running every time I walk into the pasture.  When I squat down to get a sheep or goat’s eye view photo, she gets right in my face looking for some attention.  It’s a good thing she’s so cute…

My Favorite Days

Chick1 Chick2 Chick3 Chick4 Chick Days at Tractor Supply!  I won’t even walk in there this time of year unless we’re ready for chicks because I can’t walk out without a couple or dozen.  I got four red sexlink layers and ten cornish rock for the freezer.   Bindi was fascinated by the little peepers.  They also had ducks and bantams.  I think I need to visit Chick Days again….

Independent

2The lambs are getting braver about being away from mom.  They are no longer stuck like glue to them.  This little guy went missing a few nights ago.  We heard his mom screaming for him after dark and went out with our ATV and a floodlight and did a grid search of 8 acres after exhaustively searching the barn.  After over an hour in sub freezing weather, Brian found him wedged between our sliding barn door and the side of the barn.  We had to dismantle the door from it’s track to get him out.  We gave him a disappearing magician’s name.  David (Blaine/Copperfield) was too common.  Houdini and Siegfried were too fussy.  Meet Roy.

A Moveable Feast

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There were many doubters about this crazy plan…. but it worked(!)  How to get a lamb on a spit, coals and fire included, from a festival location to an after party 8 blocks away?  Hook it to a golf cart and drag it through rush hour traffic, of course.  There were zero issues on the trip out, a cop even moved the barricade for us.  On the trip back at 4AM, a cop pulled up and suggested there might be a better time to do this.  Seriously?  A better time than 4AM?

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