I know it's been awhile since I wrote here but I didn't realize just how much time has passed. Thanks Mom for alerting me to this.
The end of the beginning
Butterscotch started us off with our first lambing in April 2014. She had twins then and each year after. I kept her first female lamb from 2014, and another one in 2015. The first female I named Bella after Isabella, one of the women from whom I learned about sheep as a teen. Bella is a lovely sheep, bigger than her small mother, and also a good mother. And Bella bellows; she has a big voice. She likes pats on the head.
This year Butterscotch had twin boys. She had some udder issues which I think I wrote about before. The udder got better. The bottle supplementing of the boys became unnecessary. Butterscotch however remained thin. So, in July I pulled her out of the flock along with Marmalade. Marmalade has no teeth so she is much older than I realized. Butterscotch still has her teeth, and one set of baby teeth which indicates she is likely about four years of age. Good mothers that consistently have twins each year, I wanted to give them some TLC and get some weight back on them. So, these ewes and their lambs became my TLC group.
After awhile I removed the lambs from them. It was time to wean them and Butterscotch was not gaining. Marmalade had gained and was ready to return to the flock, however I kept her with Butterscotch for company.
At this point there were some other symptoms of illness in Butterscotch. I won't gross you out with all of the details, however, working with the vet, test results indicated a coccidiosis infection. We treated her twice with two different prescriptions and the test results showed a worsening. This took place over several months and by now Butterscotch was on her own, inside, thinner and weaker. A decision had to be made and we made it. We euthanized her. It wasn't what I expected to be using my rifle for. I felt very positive about this as Butterscotch needed help to move on to her next journey - this expression shared with me by the vet staff really helped.
Some times I wear my orange hat while riding Oz the orange tractor. I know, it's Halloween too..... Well, Oz has been getting a good workout as we muck out the Big Barn. In the past I do this in summer but summer was so incredible hot that many things did not get done. Now that it's cooler - way cooler some days, cool enough to wear that bright orange hat - the job is getting done.
As of this morning I am also completely finished. I'm working on the corners where Oz cannot get to. So, I get the bucket about half full, manipulating the bucket to loosen the layers in the corner, then I back up a bit and pick at it and fill the bucket by hand.
I have found most of this task rather boring. Riding the tractor one morning I became very chillled as there was a sharp north wind and even with that orange hat I was not moving my body enough to keep warm. Oz did all the work. So, as much as I felt bored I thought through the enormity of what I was completing. That Oz was picking up in a few minutes what would take me twenty minutes to toss into a numerous wheelbarrows and dump into the garden.
Yes, this is great garden fodder. Putting it on now it will decompose and get tilled into the soil in the spring.
The two box stalls in the small barn are done by hand. I have completed one. The other, larger stall I am hoping to utilize Oz for completion. I can get the bucket inside the large doorway of the barn and fill it by hand. I may have to use the wheelbarrow to get it from deep in the stall to the bucket. It's still a short distance to push the wheelbarrow. Oz's help is appreciated.
There have been many fruits to harvest this year, despite the drought conditions of the summer. Yet, we did have many things that did not do well or did not produce at all. What we did have kept me busy enough.
Squash once again did super well. When I bought some heritage tomato plants the man gave me two started squash plants. He thought they were spaghetti squash or some other kind. I kept referring to them as spaghetti squash until I finally realized they are delicata. They are very lovely to eat and I continue to serve them like spaghetti squash. There were lots of delicata and butternut squash.
Although production was down I still managed to get enough zucchini to make several double batches of relish.
I grew corn this year for the first time. I'll grow it another year and hope for a much improved product. What we had was quite tasty. I grew it in patches among the squash in a very large expanded section just for these vine crops.
Last year's melon crop consisted of ONE. This year, since the squashy section was much improved and larger and the melon was not usurped by other vine types of plants, we had lots of delicious cantelope. We ate the last, fist sized one at Thanksgiving. I cut it into 8 slices and we each got a nibble.
We found apple trees we did not know we had. It was a bumper crop. Sister and I made several batches of apple sauce. I made more. I put some in the beet - apple chutney I made - with store bought beets. Hubby has trimmed up the young apple tree so as to nurture it along. The most tasty tree did not have apples in the past. And we could not reach the fruit but gathered windfalls from underneath where the pond had dried up. Who knows what next year will bring.
I have yet to finish harvesting the potatoes. And I must get the garlic in.
Happy Birthday Mom
So, thanks again Mom for the reminder to get to my blog. And, Mom, Happy Halloween and Happy Birthday!!