Saturday, April 29, 2006

Lamb Olympics

Here are this year's entrants in the Lamb Olympics - Human Vault event. Our 11-day-old lambs find Madison an irresistable climbing toy, and clamber up her back to her shoulders and jump off. Of course, it's cute when they only weigh 8 1/2 lbs....she's given it up to pursue Lamb Track events.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Our Secret

Well, Victoria has been keeping us all in suspense - is she pregnant or not? Today we got our answer. We came home from the day to find Victoria hovering over a beautiful, 7 1/2 pound baby girl. Very dry; tummy very full. Obviously born just after we left this morning. She looks very much like her mother did when she was born. Her fleece also feels very nice - soft and open locks, just like her Mom. Nice black socks, with plenty of the tan hairs that now mark her mother's legs and head. So I expect the two will look much the same. Which means more nice white fleece to spin and dye...

Friday, April 21, 2006

What color?

It would seem an easy task, to look down and say, "What color are these lambs?" Most would say, "Brown." and be done with it. But Shetlands are a breed apart, and so we have eleven colors, and to make it even more interesting we have some 30 different markings (all with Gaelic/Norse names). Now last year, we had Blackjack (a.k.a. Jack) who popped out looking black, and in the light of day worked out to be dark, rich brown. Moorit, as we call it. But these two have only the dark brown hair on their heads in common; on both the fleece is lighter, and on the ram lamb it is lighter than his sister. Oh yeah, Shetlands fade, too. So the birth color is often not the adult color. And the adult color can fade as they age, and change with hormones/seasons. Look at Hattie - she was a black lamb, and has faded with age (being a ripe, old 6 these days) and her fleece has enough black fibers to make the end result a nice silver when spun, but at a glance one would call her "white". And the light coloring around her eyes and muzzle will be gone in a few weeks. Apparently the stress of motherhood turns her almost katmoget...that's one of the marking categories. (*sigh*) Harder than it looks doesn't even begin to cover it...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Guest blogger: Madison - Baby Chicks

These two are named are J.P{left} & Speedy{right}. They are five days apart from birth. They are 3 weeks old. We hatched them in the incubator. It was very hard to wait for them to hatch. J.P has a bad leg injury when he was born, so we treat him carefully. J.P is five days older than Speedy. They are both bantams, and they will not be as big as the normal size adult chicken.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


Yippee! We've got lambs! Hattie gave birth to these two, this morning around 6:00 a.m. The ram is in the forefront, he is a bit smaller and lighter in color. The ewe is darker, but has really cute white hair in her ears and a slash on her head. It's been excruciating waiting for her to have them (although I'm sure Hattie would argue SHE'S been the one suffering...) - I'm learning patience is harder than I thought in these matters...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Snakes in the cellar

Well, we knew moving to the country meant more wildlife, but we certainly didn't expect to have it in our cellar. Here's the first cellar snake of '06, a ring-necked snake, one of over a dozen non-poisonous snakes indigenous to New York. It's still a baby, but a snake's a snake! Lucky (the cat) brought it upstairs to the kitchen so we could all get a better look. After the photo shoot, we let it go in the rock wall. It was about the same size as the ring-necked snake from last year, but much smaller than the milk snake that made it up to the dining room the first year...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Day 1 1/2

This little post is to reinforce what I think I learned about posting the first, I ought to show everyone what the wee farmstead looks like, should anyone care to take notice...This is a look down towards the lower lot from the front porch. Right now, the lower lot contains the Shetland Sheep, and the organic garden plot, and a lot of other interesting stuff we are learning to manage. Plus, I might add, a great deal of poison ivy. I have my first case of the season (scratch, scratch)...

Day 1

Well, like so much else that I try these days, this isn't as easy as it looks...I stumbled into blogging by accident, trying to post on someone else's patient with me. As I get my brain wrapped around this new technology, I'd like to share with you my other big life experiment: Our Farm.