Thursday, April 30, 2009

Monday, April 27, 2009

Tuesday & Wednesday by, Emily

On Tuesday, while we were eating lunch, Jonny mentioned that Barbra had been oozing, and they had put her in a pen. I was very distressed, as today was piano lesson day, and I would have to miss out on a birth. Dad finallly agreed to let me stay home with Mom. Yipee! I checked on Barbra once, nothing, then the second time, me and Mom checked on her together. Hmmm.... seemed close, and was still oozing. So, we walked around the back of the barn to look at the other ewes. When we came back, I ran and looked in at Barbra. Goodness sakes! She was licking off a lamb!!!! (About a 2 or 3 minute birth!) Immediatley we wiped off it's nose. It was a girl. Barbra's TENTH girl! (She's had girls her whole life!) Soon after, she had a still-born and then another girl. I named the first one Blossom, and Dad named the tiny (5 pound) second one Brunehilda. :) ....very cute! And mama and babies are doing well.


After supper on Wednesday night, Mom and Brandon went out to milk. They had only been gone about 5 minutes when Mom suddenly shouted in the door, in a very panicked voice, "Mike! will you help me?!?! One's dropped three already!" to which Dad went racing out, and I went racing to get the kitchen cleaned! (Record kitchen cleaning time, I'm sure!) :) Sue Charlene Tindall had three BIG baby boys! Supper, Samson, and STEWart. Obviously, the boys named them. :/ They are all doing well, and as Dad said it, "Sue gets an A+!" :) Not too long after, and to our great surprise, Nancy had our last three lambs (making 17 altogether)! Nathanial, Nettie, and Nana joined the flock! Because Nancy lost half of her udder to mastitis last year, Nana was not getting enough to eat. I found her, all skin and bones, almost dead and ice-cold with hypothermia in the barn. After drenching her with molasses and milk, and after laying on a heating pad, with blankets piled on her and me blow-drying her with the hair dryer, Nana is kicking her heals, and I'm thoroughly enjoying bottling her! :)

More Tuesday......

Now comes the best of the best!!!!!!!!!! On Tuesday, while watching Barbra lick and nurse her two babies, I heard a small "meow!" (FYI, my cat, Lady, was pregnant, and I hadn't seen her in a day or so.) Immediately, I thought, "that was a KITTEN meow, not a big cat, or Lady, meow!" Frantically, I began searching the whole barn, to no avail. Bummed, I thought "it must have been my imagination." That's when I heard that kitten "meow!" again!!! This time I knew where it came from. Rushing into one of the small goat pens (there wasn't any goats in it at the time) I looked around-to see nothing. Then, I heard it again. Dropping down on my knees, I looked under the goats feeder, and sure enough, there was Lady curled up in a little nest ...with a kitten. I was so absolutely....well, happy, excited, dumbfounded, shocked...and everything once, too!!!!!!!!! She had one kitten-so far- and it was light orange/tan. The next day, Lady had a still born. I was very sad, but still thankful for the one she had. Then, after the stillborn, she had an ADORABLE kitten. He's black/dark gray STRIPED. My friend, Shiphra, said "he looks like a zebra!". :) The first one is a girl and the last one is a boy. I named the girl Blessing, and the boy.......well, I'm still thinking about that one....any suggestions?

Anyways, they're SO cute!!!!!!!!!!! I just LOVE 'em! They are doing great, and will be a week old tomorrow. (If you're interested in one, comment or call us.) .....MEOW!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lamb Tours

Sunday turned out to be an eventful day (to say the least)! As you know, from Emily's last post, we had six lambs born on Saturday. Well, Sunday about twenty minutes after we got home from church, some neighbors came over to see our new lambs. After they left we sat down to lunch, and some other friends stopped by to see the lambs. They had never seen baby lambs before, so it was pretty exciting for them. Just as they left some dear friends called to see if they could stop over and see the new lambs. :) As I was heading out the door to help with the third tour, another family called, and said they were coming over to see the lambs and bringing supper! What a treat-a day of lamb tours, and I didn't have to make supper! It ended up that both families stayed for the evening, and we all had supper together.

While our friends were over, we had an ewe's water break. We put her in her own pen, and anxiously watched. But she didn't deliver the lambs while everyone was here. Can you blame her? :)

After everyone left, and the kids (children :) ) were in bed (about 10:30 pm), Mike and I headed back out to the barn to check on the laboring ewe and Bertha's new lambs. Bertha wasn't doing well. Based on her symptoms we suspected that she was suffering from a lack of calcium, common for older ewes with multiple lambs. She would not eat or drink. Her lambs were pretty small, and not getting much milk from her. We tried holding down some of the other ewes and milking them, but they had all been nursed out. So, out of desperation, we warmed up some goat milk and bottle fed the three babies.

Meanwhile, Jane was still working on delivering her first lamb in the next pen. Finally she delivered a large boy. Based on her size, we knew she had more than one lamb, but she was sure taking her time.

We started to get more concerned about Bertha. She was in a daze, and not getting up. We decided we better do something, since this condition can lead to a comma, and eventually death. So I headed for the house to do some research. I finally found a remedy-seaweed and molasses, and just happened to have them both on hand. PTL! I mixed up a half pound of seaweed with a pound of molasses, diluted with milk, and brought it out to Mike. Together we drenched (a drench is a syringe type tube that squirts it down her throat) Bertha with it. It took us about an hour. By this time it was 3:00am. Jane was still laboring and we decided to go in and take a nap.

While we were napping on the couch, Emily woke us up to ask about Jane. Then she volunteered to go out and check on her, which we gladly allowed her to do. Unfortunately, Emily found two still-born lambs in the pen. One fully developed, the other not. Mike went back out to check on her, and they were finally in around 5am.

After a couple hours of sleep, Mike was up to milk Millie, and after breakfast we were drenching Bertha again, and feeding her lambs. We have been able to get milk for the babies from Jane, since she only had one lamb.

Well, it's been a crazy time. Our schedule is totally messed up, the house is dusty, the floors are dirty, but life is good! :)

Any one for a tour? :)

The Miracle of Birth!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saturday Afternoon Live! by Emily

Saturday started out normal... Mom went out with a friend for coffee, Dad and Jonny went to a political meeting, and I (Emily) was left with Ben, while Brandon worked outside. Ben and I did various things in the house, then came out and worked on weeding a small flower bed. After everyone else was home, we worked on various outside projects, and worked in the garden. I don't remember exactly how it happened...but we were at the garden, and Ben and I were raking around one of the small herb gardens. Dad needed some tool that was in the barn, so Jonny got on Mom's 4-wheeler to go get it. I wanted to go with too, as it was hot, and a cool fast ride would feel good. Anyways, at the barn Jonny was getting whatever it was Dad needed and I decided to run and glance at Valerie quick, who was in a separate pen. I peeked into the pen and to my shocked surprise Valerie was laying down, and a lamb was almost out of her! After I got over my shock, I quickly ordered Jonny to ride very quickly to Dad and get him! I then got into the pen with a towel and wiped off the lambs nose real good...something we always do immediately after birth, so the lamb can breath asap. Soon everyone was there and we named the little girl, as she turned out to be, Vanessa. She was a small but healthy little thing, and was barely out before she was kicking and trying to get on her wobbly long legs. We called the Hendrickson's and Zeglan's, but unfortunately, neither were able to come. Soon after, Vanessa's sister, Victoria, popped out! This was only Valerie's second time being pregnant, so we figured she was done. The lambs were lively and healthy, and were soon nursing up a storm. To our surprise, Valerie laid down and began to push! A third girl, Veronica, was born. They are all so healthy, along with their excellent Momma, and are SO cute!
While Valerie was poppin' out girl after girl, Bertha, over in the big pen decided to join in on the party. We noticed she was oozing goop and blood, and got her in a separate pen next to Valerie. Around the time Valerie was pushing out her last lamb, Bertha was pushing out her first-and yes, it was a girl!!! Betsy-Ann, our sixth lamb, joined the flock! After licking off her lamb, Bertha got back to business, and out came .....not a girl this time, but a boy! Ben and Jonny insisted on naming him Billy. Bertha, determined to keep up to Valerie, soon delivered another boy, who Ben and Jonny insisted on naming Bobby. Whew! Six lambs in an hour to an hour and a half is a lot of excitement! ...but lots of fun! ....and oh, SO CUTE!

Monday, April 20, 2009

All Tapped Out!

Well, the sap run is over! We had a great year for making syrup. The weather cooperated and the trees produced lots of sap. Altogether we were boiling sap for about a month, so personally I was ready to be done. Many days I was running the stove 24 hours a day, getting up every 2 hours at night to put more wood in the stove. So with mixed emotions (mostly joy and happiness), last Monday we pulled out all of the taps (nearly 100) and stacked up the buckets.

A few days later we had a long afternoon of scrubbing and putting away the equipment, today we are polishing the evaporation pan and getting the stove put away, so we can officially declare the end of the season.

Again, it was a very good year, all total we boiled down 713 gallons of sap (that's a LOT of five gallon pails to carry) and canned 18 gallons of syrup. We have some friends that contributed about 1/3 of the sap from their trees, so they got about six gallons of syrup, leaving us a very satisfactory twelve gallons. We typically use about a gallon a month, as we like having pancakes or waffles for breakfast on a regular basis.

Below are some pictures of what was going on around here during the sap run. I was hoping to post some of these during the run, but we were busy not only with the sap run, but with chicks, kids (goat), and lambs. Everyone in the family worked together on various aspects of this. Collection of sap, usually daily - up to 50 gallons a day. Splitting firewood (some by hand, some with a borrowed splitter). Both Jonny and Ben love to split firewood. They have their own axes this year -- we bought them at an auction last year and as a shop project they refinished the handles and sharpened the heads.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Marshall and Marsha!

Last night Mike checked on Molly at around 10:30pm, and she had a bloody show, an obvious sign of impending lambs. Mike and I continued to check on her for the next couple hours, then we got Emily up (knowing she would be the most disappointed of all the children if she missed the birth). Emily and I continued checking on her throughout the night, every hour or so. She worked all night, but no lambs. Little did we know that we were embarking on the longest labor we have had on our farm. Luckily it was at night, and we didn't have an anxious crowd waiting for her to give birth (although we were plenty anxious ourselves). Mike took a turn checking on her at 5:30am (Em and I had been out at 4:30am), and finally she had delivered a little boy. By 6:00am Emily and I were out again (very tired at this point) watching and waiting for another lamb. The lack of sleep had cause a temporary state of goofiness to come over us, and we sat on the hay stack laughing at all the odd names we could come up with for the lambs. At 7:00am Molly delivered another lamb (a girl), but she was stillborn. The lamb looked like it had been dead for a few weeks, maybe a month....hard to say. Molly continued to push. We could see another water bag, but weren't sure what to expect. At this point the boys were out doing chores. We continued to wait, and wait, and wait! At about 9:15am she delivered another lamb- a girl. Within minutes another large boy was born, but he was not breathing. He was the first potentially viable lamb that we have lost in our 5 years of lambing. We believe he died during her long labor-maybe a pinched umbilical cord. It was a somewhat disappointing morning, yet we are grateful to God for the two healthy lambs.

Molly is the first lamb on our farm to deliver four babies. We weighed all the lambs, and discovered that she was carrying over thirty-three pounds of babies around! Quite amazing for an animal that only weighs about hundred and fifty pounds herself! Just glad it wasn't me! :)

The two lambs that survived were named Marshall and Marsha. They are both doing well. We will keep you posted on the rest of the moms, and add some pictures soon.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Still Laboring...

Yes, the sheep are still laboring! As I said in my other post, they like to take their time and enjoy the process. :) Three ewes are in their own pens now, so they can labor without anyone (the ram in particular) bothering them. Our friends have come and gone two times. We have three other families on the "waiting list" to come over and see a birth too. At this point we won't call anyone until we see a ewe's water break or there is a bloody show.
Well, stay tuned.............. :)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Half a lamb anyone?

We had a customer stop out yesterday to buy some eggs and order poultry. She would also like to order half a lamb. If anyone is interested in the other half, drop us an email or give us a call.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Emily and I like to have tea together in the afternoons. Today we sipped Lady Londonberry tea (thanks Natasha!) while we munched on a cookie and read chapter four of "Wilderness Wife". The book is the wonderful story of Rebecca Boone (Daniel Boone's wife) and her loving devotion to a "traipsin" man.

When we finished tea, I went out to the barn to check on the sheep, knowing we could be lambing at any moment, while the guys were off trapping gophers. Molly was acting strange. While all the other sheep sat there lazily chewing their cud, she moved about anxiously, not being able to get comfortable. She would lie down, then get up again. Over and over again she would attempt to get comfortable on the ground, and then get back up again. Pawing at the ground, is another obvious sign of labor, and she did that repeatedly. I just sat there quietly observing. Our sheep have never labored as fast as our goat did. They like to take their time, and enjoy the process. :)

The children hate to leave the barn at times like these. But life goes on! Our voice teacher pulled up the driveway shortly after everyone was clued in on the laboring. Emily tried to talk her into doing lessons in the barn, but to no avail.

After voice lessons, Emily and I went out to milk Millie, and soon after Emily resumed her "labor assistant" position. Everyone else had supper, but Emily is too excited to eat. We called some friends to watch the birth-we'll see if they make it. :) Birthing, no matter who or what, is always a miracle worth watching. Although, I wouldn't have wanted any crowds at my deliveries! :)

Well, just another exciting day on the farm! We sure aren't lacking for activity around here. If it weren't for the fact that publishing posts on the blog takes lots of time, we would be writing everyday! :}

Off to check on Molly again........ hopefully we get some sleep tonight! :)

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Your chickens have arrived!

The first batch of broiler chicks arrived today! Here's a picture, for all you who have ordered your chickens already, of the cute fluffy birds that will some day grace your meal table. (I hope that's vague enough!) :)

The chicks were picked up from the post office this morning. Upon arriving, they were brought out to the brooding pen, built off the chicken coop, and placed under warming lights. They will be cared for there until they are big enough to be put into our portable pens. In the pens, they will enjoy sunshine and a continuous feast of fresh grass and juicy bugs, since they are moved daily.

If you have not gotten your order in yet, there are still some birds available in this batch. Just give us a call or send an email.

Keeping warm! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Easter Eggs!

With Easter fast approaching, we wanted to remind all of our customers that you do not need to spend any time coloring eggs this year.

You can order your colored Easter eggs from us!

Of course they are colored naturally, by God Himself, and ready for pick up.

They come in many colors-- shades of green, shades of brown, and white. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sheep Shearing Day! by Emily & Dad

Yesterday was sheep shearing day! Since lambing time is fast approaching, it is important that the sheep be sheared before that. The Kingery family, some friends of ours, had their sheep sheared with ours. This helps to reduce the costs, as our shearer has a minimum charge. Plus it makes scheduling easier for everyone. So our shearer, Doug Rathke, had our eight sheep to shear plus the Kingery's nine, an easy day for him! Doug is a world class sheep shearer that does a great job.

Doug pulled up shortly after the Kingery family arrived. We all worked on getting our very stubborn eight sheep into a separate pen for the shearing. Normally the sheep don't go into this pen, so they were fearful of what might be in there I guess. Then Doug got his equipment setup, and we were ready to go.

It's really amazing how quick he can shear the sheep - about three minutes! He had a large audience, since Mom invited the Mathison family over, too. We're expecting that most of the mama sheep (Barbara, Bertha, Valerie, Jane, Molly, Nancy, & Sue, to be specific) will probably have triplets. Everybody marveled at now absolutely huge they are! (And we found out that it actually wasn't all wool!) I think Rammer (the boy, also known to me as David) gave him the most trouble, but it's really cool how he just flips 'em over and they become as "meek as a lamb", as some city-fied person would say! :)

The sheep are due starting April 8th, based on a 145 day gestation period. We bought our ram on November 14th... so depending on how quickly the ram got busy, the lambs will be arriving over the next two to four weeks.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Housman Hooligans

also known as "Double Trouble"
Last seen at Housman Farms furtively floating around the big slough in a hijacked sheep water tank.

Strong, healthy, farm boys with lots of energy

May be followed by a goat, dog, cats, sheep, or chickens

Excellent marksmen, approach with extreme caution!

Blog Archive