Happily, spring is just a couple weeks away. It doesn’t much look like it, since we’ve been inundated in the past two weeks with an accumulation of 18 inches or so of snow–which we are NOT prepared for here in Northeast Missouri! Last week three of us were stranded in town for the night simply because the small amount of new snow drifted so badly on Lost Branch Way that my dad even got stuck in our four wheel drive truck! We are very grateful for the moisture, though, since the drought last summer really depleted our water supply.
The primary location for the 2013 Missouri Blueberry School was moved to town, as the snow was too bad out here. It went very well, however, and many brave people came out to practice pruning some of our blueberry bushes amid the drifts of snow.
Below is my dad giving his talk during the blueberry school, along with Patrick Byers, a University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist.
Another pic of the pets is in order. We saw this this morning and had to document it…
It really is a love-hate relationship!
The lambs are still coming. “My” black sheep had twins yesterday! I saw she had a white one, so I went outside to investigate. Seeing a mostly white exactly-like-a-Katahdin lamb was kinda disappointing after all my speculations as to what a black Finn/Romanov crossed with mostly white Katahdins was going to look like. But, I was then delighted to watch the birth of this:
Like Mother, like daughter. 🙂 And she is turning out to be a pretty good Mother, thankfully, since I had heard that her breed might not be too good at lambing.
Mama is keeping a wary eye on the black thing that makes weird noises and flashes.
As I come back up to the house after documenting the mulching of the asparagus patch with pictures, I am greeted by this adorable picture of canine (and feline) cuteness.
Camilla (more often known as Her Highness) has persistently earned the right to be up in the front yard with the dogs by enduring their habit of ignoring her one minute, chasing her out of reach the next, and showing her all sorts of other undesirable attention.
The dogs are absolutely in love with their favorite blue squeaky toy, and it rarely fails to be brought to our attention upon almost every occasion of us being outdoors for any length of time. It was originally Edmond’s favorite, but Sadie (the yellow one, who is Ed’s mother) has also adopted it and tries to show Ed that she is the one really in charge of it and everything else. In fact, recently the blue toy mysteriously disappeared for about a week, and then just as mysteriously resurfaced. We have reason to believe Sadie thought things were getting a little out of hand with her son and decided to confiscate it to reveal her absolute authority over such matters. (She has been known to bury things.)
The dogs see that I present a prime opportunity to play fetch (Ed’s favorite) or keep-away (Sadie’s favorite), while Highness observes the proceedings from a safe distance.
Wow, a certain blue thing can really earn you some focused attention!
Yes, our farm has been graced with the presence of four lambs within the past few weeks. In spite of their unintentional arrival at such an early date, they seem to be thriving even in the cold. The rest are set to arrive in February…due to a final escape of the rams last fall.
If you’re searching for a project that will both amuse and annoy you, allow me to suggest hand-shearing a pet sheep, without really knowing how. That is, I did print off instructions from the internet for guidance, but there’s nothing like a little experience.
As a side note: Not just any brother would cheerfully assist his sister with shearing her pet, but mine did.
As you can see, everything is in order. Sheep in a (supposedly) helpless position, brother holding it in place, shearers–and bucket of soapy water to clean them–handy, and instruction paper secured to the ground for easy reference.
We started on the belly, but never really finished it since it was too easy to cut her. We proceeded up the neck, around the head, and down her body. Grant actually took to it much more naturally than I did, so he did the tricky parts. At first Karisey (the sheep’s name) protested vehemently. She then decided to be good for a while, (probably just so she wouldn’t get heat exhaustion), then renewed her attempts to escape.
“In case you wondered, this is NOT fun!”
Emerging from her stifling coat.
Free at last! Doesn’t she look so funny! I may try carding some of the wool, just for fun.
The newest member of the flock and definitely one of the cutest…but she feels like a bit of a black sheep, wouldn’t you know.
She really is completely black but her wool is bleached out from the sun. Having wanted a black sheep for a while, I was very excited to make a trade (back in August…I’m a little behind with the blogging) with our friend Mrs. Miller, giving her the former “Lucy” (one of my grown-up Katahdin bottle lambs) and receiving the adorable former “Karise”. Now, Karisey and Lola Lulu each seem happy in their new homes and Lola Lulu, I was informed, had twins this week, her first lambs.
Karisey is part Finn, part Romanov, and will require a shearing every spring unlike our Katahdin hair sheep, so in a few months I may be learning to shear a sheep by hand. Thanks to Mrs. Miller, Karisey is friendly and hopefully will tolerate an inexperienced shearer with grace. 🙂
For one thing, not too long ago we sold the rest our Katahdin lambs from last year!! Here are some of them ready to leave in January, although these were not the last to go.
A couple pictures of the ever-present donkeys.
Not too flattering, Jessie, but kinda amusing.
Blueberry plants in the snow.
And shortly after that, in early February, we got a REALLY big snow…at least, for us. Northerners would probably laugh. But as young northeast-Missourians who haven’t seen much deep snow in our area, we thought this drift outside our front door was amazing!
The dogs analyzing the situation.
Hello! Abriana here, to update you on some of the happenings around our farm and wish you “happy spring”! Here in northeast Missouri, the snow has vanished (for now), the sun is shining, and the grass is greening up! Also, baby animals continue to appear.
The newest member of our little farm is “Angus the Calf.” His mother abandoned him and I was happy to adopt him. Angus weighs at least 60 pounds and drinks about 2 quarts of milk replacer twice daily.
I must slip in a picture of our darling Labs—Edmond and Mercedes.
Here is Grant cleaning off the concrete floor of the barn.
A shovel has endless uses. Grant is employing this one to break the thin sheet of ice on the water tank.
“Green Acres is the place to be, farm livin’ is the life for me”
On Monday, our first lambs arrived, a bit inopportunely, since we were just about to leave for Columbia for the day when we discovered they had made their debut into the world. (Unfortunately, we had originally decided for the first ones to come in April this year, but the ram escaped and ruined our plans.) A ewe had a set of tiny twins, but by the time we had rushed out to get everyone situated, Daisy (a friendly three year old) had decided she wanted one, and claimed it for herself. Since its real mother didn’t want it anymore, I was delighted for Daisy to take it. Thirteen more lambs came in quick succession, crowned by a set of triplets on Wednesday morning. (Daisy had a lamb of her own the the day after she stole the other one).
The Lord has blessed us in a lot of ways already this year…mild weather while the lambs were arriving, Daisy adopting the lamb and then only having one of her own instead of two, many sets of twins so far, and the triplets.
Twins! I think the lambs this year are the cutest yet!
This isn’t a very good pic, but you can see all three of the triplets not long after they were born. The third one is in the right bottom corner.
Here’s the picture I promised of the latest donkey foal. He is already two months old, and one of his favorite pasttimes is chasing sheep. He also likes to eat, annoy Jubilee (the other foal), and climb the dirt mound.