Saturday, March 24, 2012

Farmwife's Journal - March 24th

Well, it looks as if our sugaring season is over.  What a strange season!  We had hoped to do some tours, but we just could not plan for them because the weather was so unpredictable!  Sadly the boiler only got fired up one time!  Since we need a good amount of sap to start the boiler, we had to just hold on to the sap we had collected and hope for more.  In the meantime, the sap in the barrel went bad because of the very warm weather, and we had to dump it. :(  All in all we ended up with about 4 gallons of boxelder syrup.  About the same as last year, which is somewhat surprising since the daytime temperature was so much higher during the run this year.  Nevertheless, it was fun collecting the sap, and we are looking forward to some good syrup on our pancakes and waffles! :)

As you have seen from the video, we are lambing!  Even though we only have a small flock, lambing season is always chaotic!  You must be ready to change your plans at any moment.  The first ewe to lamb (about two weeks ago) had a very hard time.  We knew she was in labor, but the poor thing just wasn't progressing.  Mike decided he needed to check her.  While I held her, Dr. Mike discovered that the baby's front legs were both back, which explained why the ewe was having so much trouble.  As Mike worked to get the legs forward, the ewe and I both groaned. :)  Having been in labor, I can only imagine what that ewe must be going through and it makes me ache inside! :(  Anyway, the baby was stillborn and was followed by a twin - also stillborn.  That was a sad beginning to our lambing season!  Our next three ewes had twins.  One mom ended up with mastitis which we cleared up with a homeopathic.  Her lambs got a little week, so Emily has been bottle feeding them with the milk she gets from milking our ewe who lost both her lambs and some formula, as needed.  They are doing much better now.  Then one of the lambs from a different ewe had lung congestion.  He sounded terrible when he breathed!  So we gave him several doses of garlic and honey and that cleared it up.  As I write, we have one ewe left to lamb.  She is HUGE - there must be three or four lambs in there! :)  We expected this ewe to go first, but she is following what seems to be the rule for ewes who are lambing and that is... to be unpredictable! :)

The plants under lights are growing well, so are the plants in the garden! :)  The spinach from last year looks great, and I will probably start picking some next week.  In March!  Can you believe it?  We are going to set up our outdoor greenhouse today and move the plant that are under lights into it.  We will keep a little heater in there just in case the weather does what it usually does in Minnesota. :) 
I finished my Family Herbalist course about a month ago, but I still have to take the test.  Since I had some extra time before the course needed to be completed, I thought I would just study more for the test before I sent for it.  But life has gotten so busy around here that I have not been studying.  I decided I'd better send for the test (I have two days to complete it and send it back) because then I will be forced to study and get it over with.  Mike and I have talked about the idea of me taking more classes, and he thinks I should.  The next set of courses will take me one year, in theory, hopefully I can get it done in half that time.  After that I will have two more years to complete the Master Herbalist program.  I am so hungry for the information that that seems like an eternity, but Mike tells me, "One step at a time!" :)  I have been known to get in over my head, so I have to be careful! :)  My role as a wife and mother are far more important to me than any thing else I could do in this life, and I don't want anything to sneak in and pull me away from that! :)

The puppies are doing well!  Princess went into heat this week for the first time.  She is 7 months old.  Boy, that was an experience!  It was quite amazing to see a 90 lb. dog get over a 4 foot fence, and she kept getting out until we finally, as a last resort, chained her up.  She had completely lost her mind!  The movie Bambi refers to that as "twitterpated" :)  But her pen is now electrified.  And needless to say, she is no longer attempting to escape. :) 

There is rarely a dull moment around here! :/

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