Wow, the year is half over! Already!
Happy Canada Day! I know there are challenges right now in Canada, yet we need to come together and celebrate our nation for the place it is - good and not so good. Every country has history that is unflattering. We can work together and heal and move forward, together.
This year's lamb crop was excellent, once again. We had 24 lambs born and lost 1. So there are 23 afoot. Shepherds desire a 1.5 average or higher. Ours was 1.9 for quite some time and then dropped down to 1.8; an excellent productivity rating. We had 2 sets of triplets this year which contributed to boosting the average. One ewe was barren.
I supplemented 6 lambs with bottles. I am so glad that is now over. Hungry lambs require extra nutrition. After awhile it just becomes a nuisance. This year two of them became jumpers and I was always filthy and bruised. I am still well greeted by (former) bottle lambs when I enter the barnyard and they get a scratch on the head. The jumpers have stopped doing so and my bruises are healing.
Nap time at the horse shoe pit
As much as I enjoy the animals, the goal is to sell lamb for meat. Auction prices this year have been very very high, 25% higher than the year before. Although I will be raising my private sale price this year, it won't be a 25% increase. Thus, I will not work hard to sell privately this year but intend to send most lambs to auction.
Shearing day was, as usual, a busy day. I have a garage full of wool. It is lovely. I really want to get it into the hands of spinners and wool fibre crafters and artisans. It has been challenging since vending events have been cancelled due to COVID 19. If you would like wool, I have it! No reasonable offer refused! See the Wool page on the website.
|Shearing day 2021
In this photo, the shearer is on the second to last sheep, Cookie. He had to stop to clean the clippers. I had grabbed Cookie's lamb and sat down and she relaxed in my arms. It was a lovely feeling. This lamb has stolen my heart and I guess I'm going to keep her now. I have named her Ginger. I kept Cookie's female lamb from last year by the same ram and they look completely different. Here is a photo of Cupcake after she was shorn for the first time this year. Her wool is divine!
We lost our house dog last September and have no plan to replace him. We loved Beau dearly and had him for 12 years. My house is usually cleaner now without a house pet.
The guardian dogs, Ruby and Millie, continue to do their job well. We frequently hear coyotes and have seen the odd one but nothing gets close to the sheep. Ruby is now 6 years of age, and Millie is ten. I recently took Millie to the vet since for weeks she has had noisy breathing. My hunch was correct; she has a breathing challenge. Diagnosed with Laryngeal Paralysis, nothing can be done. It is a degenerative condition. We have no timeline. We will monitor her to ensure she is comfortable and make the decision to euthanise her when her quality of life deteriorates. We will not replace her until after she is gone as this would be too stressful for her.
|Millie the Maremma and Limpy the laying hen
When my 20 hens began to fall of in their egg production it was time to consider replacing them. With the pandemic it has been more difficult to purchase birds from the producers. I found an ad on kijiji for some young layers and I followed up. I gave away my old birds, keeping behind one. When I got the last batch of birds they didn't know to roost. This was strange, but anyway, eventually they figured it out. I helped them, going in after dark wearing a head lamp, picking them up off the floor and setting them on a roost.
One bird I got had a limp. The lady from whom I purchased 5 birds at the end of the summer said she was fine the day before I came to pick them up. I brought her home and put her in a cage for 3 weeks. Nothing changed. She ate very well and laid an egg almost every day. We called her Limpy and let her out with the flock. Limpy is now the boss. She shows these new young girls how to roost and where to find the best worms. Limpy continues to lay an egg almost every day. The new girls haven't yet begun to lay.
|New laying hens
We have had Jet Cat for over a year now. Since Beau has gone, Jet spends lots of time around the house. Beau did not like cats. Jet has a roasting pan to sleep in outside the kitchen window. The roasting pan is on a high cabinet and is lined with a towel. Unlike a box, the roasting pan will not blow away.
Jet is a failed house cat. I am way too allergic to have a cat indoors. She is an excellent mouser and has figured out she is not coming into the house. She has however discovered the lawn furniture on the verandah, especially the ones with the comfy cushions. Jet rubs noses with the ram and the goat in the Small Barn. Millie won't let Jet near the Big Barn - which is too bad as there are rodents there too. Ruby and Jet have an understanding, if not a friendship.
Enjoy summer 2021!