Born this morning – Samson! Sired by Karat, out of Princess. We are thrilled to have a baby to enjoy and halter break this summer.
Update – Samson at 12 days:
The pasture is swarming with spunky lambs. Our first babies were born on April 7, and lambing may be complete; two of our “old ladies” have not bagged up yet and are keeping us guessing as to whether they will lamb late or not at all. All lambs were born live and are thriving, which is a lot to be thankful for. Some will be available – partial list and some pictures have been added to the Sheep for Sale page.
Iris is smiling on my kitchen wall now that I’ve put up NABSSAR’s 2019 calendar, featuring Kindergarten Farm’s photo on the January page. I took that picture about a year ago, and it’s just as snowy today. The sheep are already eating through their second round bale of the winter. Hard to believe we’ll be watching for spring lambs in just over 3 months! If you’re looking for quality Babydoll Southdowns, let me know. We still have plenty of room on our waiting list, but it tends to fill up fast over the winter.
…my calendar tells me there’s only two days left of it. This has me reflecting on the happy times and the work, the collective effort that went into training horses, raising another crop of lambs, and getting the abundant hay crop in place for winter. And sympathizing with all those raising livestock in drought-stricken regions whose hay crops are not so abundant this year.
While flipping through summer photos (which are few because it seems the doing is usually more important than the recording), I came across a few I want to share.
Grandmother and granddaughter take a 12-mile trail ride with Caramel and Dolly.
July lamb born – first ever for us. We’d given up on lambs from one of older ewes – figured she was done lambing or taking a year off, and then she surprised us with this little one. She is growing up, and is available. See “Sheep for Sale” for details.
The speed at which these lambs are growing is incredible. All the ewes have lambed, except one old girl who is probably done or taking a year off. (Update – she eventually did have a little ewe!) Every lamb was born live – a cause for celebration, as there’s usually a stillbirth or two – a second born twin or a large single for a first time mom. We’re seeing a lot of nice dark legs and very sweet faces on solid bodies that are muscling up nicely. All the ewe lambs are spoken for. We still have a couple of available ram lambs who will be wethered soon if no one requests them as breeding stock. Brutus sired our entire 2018 lamb crop.
There’s always lots of work to do on the farm, but nice weather means it’s time for a lot of fun jobs. Grandma Janette has ponies picketed out to graze in the yard every day this time of year. The grandchildren help with this when they visit, as well as with gentling the younger horses, saddle training, and practicing loading on and off the trailer. There’s a nest of kittens to check on in the barn and donkeys who are always hoping someone will bring them a slice of bread. Poncho the donkey helped with some landscaping work last week, or at least got harnessed up and looked useful for a change!
Newborn lambs and high winds/drifting snow are a bad combination. Over the weekend we were so thankful to be able to bring the sheep inside. After a midwinter predator attack, we repurposed one end of a building, built a temporary pen, and have brought the sheep in every night since. Some years our 3-sided sheds are adequate even through lambing, but this year late episodes of winter weather have made better shelter essential. We’re still feeding some hay, which is unusual for us in April.
Brutus’ lambs are looking great, and so far we have 6 ewe and 3 ram lambs. Pictured above: Left – Anna and Elsa, 8 hours old. First time mom Iris is doing a great job with them. Middle – our daughter with one of Millie’s triplets. They’re getting a few supplemental bottles, and she calls them “the sniffy babies” because they are quite friendly and come up to nuzzle people. Right – ewes and lambs waiting for the storm to end so they can be outside.
Wild little antelope – that’s what our young ewes often act like for the first year or two. This year, I decided to put some effort into taming the 3 we kept. In November, after the mature ewes went in with the ram, I caught and worked with the young ones daily for awhile. Soon they were walking beside or just ahead of me fairly cooperatively. After the first couple of weeks, I started letting our two youngest children, aged 2 and 4, come out and help.
While not exactly submissive, the little ewes do come running at the shake of a grain bucket now, and are beginning to trust people. This will make shearing, lambing, and other human interactions less stressful. I plan to use my newly learned strategies on next year’s lambs when they’re younger, right after weaning, and hopefully our sheep customers will have halter-trained babies by pick-up time!
Merry Christmas from everyone at Kindergarten Farm. James went out to help grandma Janette with chores after presents this morning, and was excited to have snow on the ground! God has provided through another year, and we have so much to be thankful for. Thanks to everyone who worked with and did business with us over the past year; we wish you and your families the very best.