Monday, April 28, 2008

Loretta's Contribution -or- Darn it! Not Another One!

When I got up Saturday morning, I immediately went to: 1. Turn the coffee pot "on"...and b. Checked the monitor in the office running "Sheep-O-Vision". Loretta had been acting suspicious on Friday and I had wondered if she had progressed along. Well, at first I thought it was something wrong with the camera in that part of the barn, but I saw what appeared to be the beginning of something working its way out of Loretta's posterior. To the tune of "There's mucous! (Only another shepherd or person living with one would understand the excitement those words bring to a shepherd's heart) She's in labor!" I ran back to the bedroom to get dressed. I barely had time to tell my DH I was headed to the barn when I heard, "Don't forget your phone." from my beloved spouse.
Loretta's labor progressed very fast, even for a first-timer. I checked on her then went about my business feeding the other sheep and making sure the others weren't around to bother the expectant mom. After feeding, I went back in and spied two big feet where feet aren't usually found on a sheep...but no membrane! No fluids! Oi!
Loretta was up and down. She was in the throes of deep, painful contractions without making any headway in getting this "pod-being" out of her body. By that time I noticed a nose and mouth with a big tongue hanging out of it. The tongue was pink, but if things didn't progress along it wouldn't be pink for long.
By that time my Dh had arrived to help anyway he could. I donned gloves. Enough time had passed and Loretta was getting weaker with each contraction. The nose was even starting to move back inside! I had forgotten how slippery these little guys can be, so I asked Hishonor to hand me a towel so I could get a good purchase on the front legs. With the next contraction, I pulled while Loretta pushed and out he came! Yes, damn it! Another HE!!!!

Above is a picture of the unnamed ram lamb Loretta presented to us. (I repeat..."Damn it!") He had a bit of a problem finding the right spigots on Mama, the problem being that he had such tall legs. Soon he had his first meal and Loeretta continued cleaning him up.

He has the Skittles Stamp, a krunet marking, on the top of his head. And Loretta is a fierce protector of him. Her sister came close to inspect this new wind-up toy that her big sister had and Loretta tried to bash away all relations in protection of her new son.
We are almost finished lambing here for this year. But I may have to start thinking of another ram. Since we've had my friend, Skittles, out of ten lambs so far, only one was a ewe lamb. The rest have been carbon copies of their sire. It's like Skittles has created his own army of Mini-Me's running around. My talks with him have fallen on deaf ears. He's out to create an army of rams under his control. So far, it seems to be working.

Darn it, Skit! I hope you remembered where you put your suitcase as you may be leaving...or at the very least you may have a roommate - with horns as impressive as yours! Got the word now?


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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

More Pictures During The Intermission...

We're not through with lambing here at Oleo Acres, aka Sheep Thrills Farm. We have Ailee and Loretta to go. Both are first-timers never having had lambs before and both are taking their sweet time about getting on with things! What is it Lucy from Peanuts says? "Argh!"
I knew that they were not cycling with their mothers when they went in with the ram, but I didn't think they would be this far behind. It appears Loretta will lamb first as her udder is really filling in and the lamb(s) are starting to drop. I expect she'll lamb in a couple of days. Ailee, on the other hand, is trying to maintain her girlish figure or holding everything in when I'm looking. Her udder is developing, but not as far along as Loretta's.
So, to entertain you between the periods of mass hysteria that lambing is, we offer you the following photos. Enjoy!

"Are you my father?"

"OK...which one of you knuckleheads woke me from my nap? And who's been touching MY tire?"

"London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down... Hey! Didn't the Big Thing with Two Legs say London Bridge is in Lake Havasu City? Where's that?"

Sheep Thrills Jerry Lee

Sheep Thrills Elvis

OK, Boys! Heads up, straighten those legs, and get those horns growing in correctly! No slackers in this outfit! Everyone better make the cut this year...you need to go find your own herds. We're full-up here. :) And tell those Aunts of yours I want ewes only for the remainder of this breeding season! (From their lips to God's ears...please!)

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Friday, April 18, 2008

A Wee Stretch of the Legs

This afternoon, wind or not, I decided that the two ewes who have lambed had the look I get when I've not been to town for a couple of weeks. You know the one. The look that says "If I don't go outta here, I'm going to go crazy just talking to kids!" We have had more winds this spring than I care to think about. Springs here used to be such a nice season. Not any more. They have fallen to the bottom of my list in my favorite season ratings. At least with winter you know you'll have cold, bitterness, winds, chills. This spring has just teased us enough to give us a promise of nice days, then slapped our faces with both sustained winds and terrible gusts (50 mph).
But the moms needed to get out and stretch their legs...if only for an hour.

Above you see our resident lamb-sexer checking twice to make sure a ewe didn't slip past in the excitement of freshly birthed lambs. Nope. He's still a boy, darn it.

Now, I say that with reservation. The Husband-and-Supporter of The Shepherd was just delighted to see this little spot-headed lamb. He uttered those dreaded words, "He's a keeper!" quickly as if they lingered a bit too long in the air they would be shot down by The Shepherd. I just stared back in reply, mumbling "We'll see." in as glum a manner as I could without totally crushing his exuberance at seeing this lamb with the painted head

Above is Lacey with her new little family. She is such a good mother. At first I had both the girls with all their lambs out together. Soon, I noticed that Amanda (below) had taken her boys to explore their Dad's pen. She introduced them to the Tire-Toy, specifically mentioning not to touch it.

All in all, a good time was had by all. All, that is, except The Shepherd who by this time had a whopping migraine headache and was looking forward to 6 ibuprofen and a Coke. No one complained at going back into the barn, away from the wind and the dropping temperatures that hit us in late afternoon. Tonight we're supposed to get to 17 F, with more wind. I made sure the shutters were closed on the barn and a board placed across the moor to block an icy winds from chilling anyone.
It was then I noticed that the wethers and Skittles were standing at the fenceline watching the little ones cavort around. As I looked around I saw that the two first-time-expecting ewes had lined their fence trying to get close to these little bundles of energy. You could see a look of amazement on their faces. Soon, they too will have bundles of energy of their own.

On your toes, boys and girls...new arrivals mean serious decisions need to be made as to who stays...and who has to have a new home!

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Blogger Problems

I haven't forgotten anyone. I have been having problems getting Blogger to upload pictures today. Hopefully, I will have them up by tomorrow in a new entry. Hang in there and keep your fingers crossed! :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lacey's Long Day...And Mine, Too!

At about 1430 hrs. this afternoon, Lacey finally began her delivery in earnest, delivering two lambs. This morning she was very restless and wouldn't eat much. I spent most of the day near the monitor in the office. Lacey usually lambs quickly but this time she kept dragging her feet. It appears that both are ram lambs. Yes...it is VERY apparent that the talk I had with Skittles went in one ear and out the other. I will double check myself later just to make sure I did get the sexing correct. I was trying to dip navels, check sex, and was getting licked by Mum all the while. It was clear I was interfering. I stepped back and let this wonderful mother take over and do her job. She's in heaven. She has two babies again.
Above is mother Lacey cleaning off one of the lambs. I usually hesitate to interfere with the bonding activities of a ewe and her lambs, but today the wind was picking up, coming into the barn and trying to chill the damp lambs. I managed to find a few clean towels in amongst the lambing supplies so helped Lacey dry off her offspring. Below you can see that the older sibling has a spotted face! WoHoo! Spots! Markings! Anything but solid black or brown!
And here's the culprit himself...er, sire, I mean. He looks rather pleased with himself, doesn't he? (Shaking head) Must be a guy-thing.

Well, Skit! We're halfway though lambing. You'd better darned well have a ewe lamb up your sleeve somewhere, Bubba! So there! Remember...we are all replaceable! (Shh...don't tell him I really don't mean that. I just want him to think about it for a while)
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No News...

Miss Lacey is playing games today! She did not eat much this morning and has been "nesting" in her jug, coming in from outside on her own. She's restless and trying to dig to China. So far, there have been no other progressive signs of impending birth - except I know we're headed that direction. (I won't go into graphic detail here at this point.)

What I really think is that she loves toying with me....come on Lacey! Get with it!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thar She Blows!

We're off and running! Amanda presented us with two strapping ram lambs this morning! Boys (darn it) and Mom are doing well. Apparently that discussion I had with Skittles did not sink in. That'll teach me to have a serious conversation with a ram right before being turned in with the ewes.
Now we'll keep closer eyes on everyone else. I really expected Amanda to have tripoets this year. Who can tell? I have to make a trip to the feed store so I'll leave my DH to watch the monitor. He just finished putting a new connection in as we've lost the camera in the other side of the barn. At least we have a camera where it's critical.

As for me...I think a cup of hot tea is in order. :)
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Friday, April 11, 2008

Amanda the Obscene -or- Look Out! She's Gonna Blow!

As you will see from the following two pictures, Amanda really does look like a tick about to pop! I was out at the barn changing bedding in the pre-delivery waiting area as well as making sure the jugs were ready for use at any time. When I got to the barn, both girls came outside to greet me. You can tell they were both reposing by the straw stuck to them.


Amanda is HUGE and her udder is big and tight. If this keeps up, she's going to have "horizontal spigots" instead of teats! They are almost to that position already. Poor girl. As I was removing old bedding she kept coming to see if I was done or not. Then she'd wander out into the pasture to catch up to Lacey. When I was through I called them in. Lacey managed a little trot, but Amanda just waddled quickly towards me. One thing I did notice was that she was wagging her tail quite a bit - a sign that lambs are jockeying for their starting positions, no doubt.

Above, you can see that Lacey is no slouch herself in the width department. I really thing Lacey will have twins. Amanda is either going to have triplets or a couple of really big bruisers like last year. She does seem bigger on one side...way bigger than what just one lamb would take up. We'll just have to wait and see won't we?


And while I was outside I saw we had a neighbor stop in to see what's going on. This is a Blue Heron who lives in our neighborhood. When he starts coming around I know it's time to re-new my fishing license and throw the crayfish trap in the stream. Yummmm....etouffee!
Looks like I will be home for a while - back and forth waiting for lambs to start. I notice that when the younger expectant ewes are in the pasture, Loretta will lie down when her babies start moving. Whatever she's doing she stops, and with a puzzled look on her face lies down, then eats the grass around her. Strange. But I guess no stranger than pickles and ice cream.

And so it begins...
Hmm...Maybe I better call the vet just to make sure he hasn't made out-of-town plans!

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Waiting Game

While I've got the older ewes together for lambing to begin this weekend, I've separated out both Ailee and Loretta, along with the notorious Blessa, by themselves. Ailee and Loretta will be lambing in a couple of weeks - depending on when they settled.
You can see by Loretta's udder development that she IS indeed with lamb(s). You can also tell that Loretta is not the dark brown/black lamb she was when she had to have her horn scurs removed. She's becoming much more steely blue-grey. I think she's becoming much prettier. I can hardly wait to see the lambs both she and Ailee will have, being one-step away from their mothers I'm hoping for some color this year other than black and brown. :)

This picture below is of Pearl, my favorite bantam Ameraucana hen. Nosey Josey just thinks she runs the place, but it's really Pearl who does. She is the hen I've seen keeping all others in line and chastising other chickens if they don't follow appropriate protocols around here. When chasing chickens into the barn at night, usually the dawdler is Bluey, another Ameraucana hen. Well, Pearl will jump on whoever is last in the door for being late. They all mind her. And she watches me, when I'm out there, just to keep tabs on what I'm doing in HER pasture.

Even Slick, the rooster, minds his peas and cues around Pearl. He's a handsome devil and he knows it.

And below you see a picture of the reason why the songbirds are in hiding and the chickens are in the barn today. This little guy is one of the raptors we have in their area, but he wouldn't let me get close enough to get a great picture. He was bigger than a Kestrel...he could even be a dark phase of one of the falcons we have here. The wind was bothering him and when I came out onto the deck to get a better picture, he took off, showing me his tail and backsides as well. He might have been a Cooper's Hawk. I hope to see him again. So far, the birds have not started singing again so I know he's still in the area.

Watch out, Chickens! Keep your eyes to the skies today. He sure looked hungry to me and Bran took all the mice this morning.


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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Another Test -or- This Is What I Do When Waiting For Lambing To Begin

Your Birthdate: May __
You lucked out the the skills to succeed in almost any arena.
Put you in almost any business or classroom, and you'll rise to the top.
You're driven and intense, but you also know when to kick back and cooperate.
Your ability to adapt to almost any situation is part of what's going to make you a success.

Your strength: Your attention to detail

Your weakness: You can be a little too proud of your successes

Your power color: Turquoise

Your power symbol: Arrow pointing up

Your power month: August
What Does Your Birth Date Mean?


And as a friend of my daughter says:
"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, brandy in the other, body totally worn out yelling, WOO HOO what a ride!" -Scott-

How true! (re: the quote)

When I Grow Up...

My friend, Tina, put this on her blog. The "Inquisitiveness" might be a tad on the low side for me as I love trying to figure out anything and everything, which tends to make my DH shake his head at times. (It may have driven my family crazy, but it sure came in handy doing investigations.) Note that no where does it mention "Shepherd" in this list. I took it twice just to be sure...but this is what it came up for me:


Career Inventory Test Results

Extroversion70%
Emotional Stability50%
Orderliness66%
Altruism63%
Inquisitiveness80%

You are a Persuader, possible professions include - entertainer, recruiter, artist, newscaster, writer/journalist, recreation director, librarian, facilitator, politician, psychologist, housing director, career counselor, sales trainer, travel agent, program designer, corporate/team trainer, child welfare worker, social worker (elderly services), interpreter/translator, occupational therapist, executive
Take Free Career Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Friday, April 04, 2008

Ladies in Waiting...and Waiting...and Waiting


My two older Shetland ewes should be lambing in about 10 days. That is, if they don't explode first. I don't worry about Lacey, but Amanda is the one who always looks like a tick about to pop. She had two very large ram lambs last year - and the way she's looking this year, it'll be the same or triplets.

Amanda is the darker of these two ewes. I also took a photo of her from the back as it illustrates just how big, wide, and explosive she really looks but it was a bit too graphic and I wanted to keep my PG-13 rating here. Trust me...she's b-i-g and it ain't all fat!


I've had to separate the two ladies from the younger girls as I noticed Lacey's ewe lamb from last year, Blessa, was trying to nurse Lacey. Blessa had a total look of surprise after her mom's fleece came off. It was almost as if she said, "Oh, look! There IT is!" It was a look as if Linus had found his blanket after Lucy hid it for a long time. And seeing her mother's developing udder, she dove in again, looking at her mother then complaining "Got milk?". The answer was no, but that didn't keep Blessa from trying.
So, Blessa and the younger bred ewes are keeping each other company while Amanda and Lacey get a bit of a rest - and a more restricted diet as they both tend to pack on the pounds while pregnant.

At least they haven't asked me for pickles and ice cream...yet.


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