Saturday, March 26, 2011

At Play

A. is developing Cubby's rock-skipping skills.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Current Lamb Count: Wait, There's Another Lamb?

Yeah. Sometimes, the chaos that is the sheep flock makes it difficult to spot little things like, oh, a newborn lamb.

A. had a crazy day yesterday, full of lawyerly things that resulted in him checking the flock in the morning before the craziness began and then not again until around five o'clock at night. Cubby and I followed him up to the pasture in the evening so Cubby could have a short outing and escape the confines of the four rooms for a few minutes.

When we got up to the pasture, we saw that two of the ewes had somehow gotten through the fence and were munching on the remains of the neighbors' garden. Whoopsy.

A. was hiking up to the top of the pasture to let the wayward ewes back in and so intent was he on corralling them that he didn't even notice the one lamb with an undocked tail and a trailing umbilical cord bleating in the barn. But Cubby and I saw it, so we announced the birth to the shepherd who was up at the top of the pasture trying to break down the fence to let the wandering ewes back in.

A. decided that the new mother needed some milking, as one side of her udder seemed to be swollen, so he called our resident milker (the MiL) away from her dinner preparations and Cubby and I returned to the house to monitor the interrupted cooking.

We mostly failed at that monitoring by the way, as I managed to turn the fish into essentially mush in my attempt to flip it and added a little too much milk to the potatoes that I was mashing while trying to keep Cubby from pulling mayonnaise and balsamic vinegar from the cupboard.

Maybe he was planning on making coleslaw?


So! Current lamb count: Eight--five girls, three boys. And one ewe left to deliver.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cave-Cubby--Take Two*

We were a little late sending out the lamb hides this year. We got them all salted in a timely fashion, which is sort of necessary because otherwise they, um, rot. A powerful incentive for immediate salting.

But after they were salted and put in old feed bags, they just kind of . . . hung around. They sat in the shop, awaiting boxes. Six sheep hides require quite a lot of boxes. Which we never seemed to have. But then Christmas arrived, with its multiple deliveries of presents for Cubby that all handily arrived in boxes. So we sent the salty, dirty, frankly kind of nasty hides to the tannery in Pennsylvania so they could work their magic.

Best rug ever.

We didn't actually sew them all together into a rug, though the thought is tempting. We shall resist temptation, however, and sell them. Because we have enough hides to cover our chairs by the woodstove and you'd be surprised how many random people come to our house, see those hides, and tell us they want one.

Animal pelts are a hot item, apparently. Who knew?

That photo actually shows only five of the six we sent. We're still waiting on one. And once that one arrives, we will have come full circle from last year's lambs to this year's.

Which reminds me! Another Cotswold lamb was born a couple of days ago. So current lamb count: Seven--four girls, three boys. And two ewes still to deliver.

* Cave-Cubby: Take One is here, in case you were wondering what on earth I'm going on about here. A good question in general, actually.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Unrelated Paragraphs

Or, the alternate and entirely too long title: All the Random Stuff that Spews Out of My Brain and Onto the Screen with No Regard for Coherence, Relevance, or Interest.

I dropped a piece of firewood on my foot yesterday. It fell out of the log carrier and crunched down directly on the terminal joint of my big toe. You know, where the bone is right there under the skin and is therefore in a position to cause maximum pain when crushed. Yeah, that one. It hurt. A lot. It hurt so much, I was afraid I had cracked the bone. I don't think that anymore, but it still hurts some. And I'm ready for woodstove season to be over.

Also yesterday, I helped A. move the sheep from the paddock near the house to the upper pasture where there is a bigger barn they can all fit into to get out of the forecasted snow. You would think lambs would just follow right along with their mothers, right? Wrong. We spent a good ten minutes chasing and herding three particularly stupid lambs that didn't know where they were or where they wanted to be, but did know they didn't want to go where we wanted them to go. Stupid lambs.

I am seriously involved at the moment with the BBC2 series Edwardian Farm, for which I can thank Ohiofarmgirl for mentioning it on her site. It's on YouTube. You should watch it. It's awesome. There is also one called Victorian Farm, which I will, of course, have to watch. The time suckage is off the charts. But oh so entertaining.

The forecasted snow did indeed arrive and is even now coming down. Which means the lettuce is a no-go for awhile. As is any chance of getting outside. Oh well. More time for Edwardian Farm.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Animal Planet--Live

Who needs cable when you've got a live dog, cat, and sheep show right outside your door?

Better than TV any day.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spring Rain

Spring rain. Such an evocative phrase, isn't it? Calling to mind warmth and gentle moisture for the new plants, a turn from harsh winter to a less-hostile season.

Except at Blackrock.

Okay, not JUST at Blackrock, but spring rains in general here are not really particularly pleasant. They're . . . cold. And often mixed with some form of frozen precipitation. They create one hell of a mess in the form of mud slicks everywhere that then get tracked into the house, and they do their best to flood the cellar.

Plus, rain soaks the woodpile and makes the fire very cranky. To say nothing of the surly chickens. Chickens don't really dig cold rain, in case you were wondering. Neither do the sheep--it's the one weather that's really pretty bad for them, because it can penetrate their wool and make them cold. The dogs hate it, too, and spend all day when it rains lurking around doors and trying to sneak inside to leave muddy paw prints everywhere.

So in sum, spring rain kind of sucks and every living thing on the property kind of hates it.

It's raining today. But I bet you guessed that.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Luxury is all a matter of perspective. My morning so far, for instance. A couple of years ago, sleeping until 7:30 in the morning, taking a shower, and eating a breakfast I did not have to prepare and did not have to share with a small person who demands considerable attention during mealtimes* wouldn't have seemed like a luxury; it would have seemed normal. But now the new normal involves crazy-early wake-up times and non-stop caring of said small person, so that morning? Pretty damned luxurious indeed.

Thanks to A. for taking the morning shift this morning. And making crepes. He's not so bad after all.

Oh! And another lamb was born last night, which A. and Cubby discovered when they went out to check on the sheep at 6:15 this morning. Nice of Cubby to get A. up early to check on the sheep. It was totally dark and about 24 degrees, but Cubby was a brave little man and stood there in the dark, cold barn waiting for his daddy, who had to rescue the stupid lamb that had gotten stuck in the hay feeder. It was a boy.

So, current lamb count: Six--three boys, three girls. And three ewes still to deliver.

* Because the small person was back asleep, not because I was ignoring him or refusing to share or something.