Busy week

Well, the lambs are all here!  They’re getting bigger and stronger every day and starting to make me laugh out loud watching them play together in the evenings!

 

Roy’s been off all week, so we’ve been busy starting projects – – and trying to finish a few.

 

The barn is all cleaned out from the winter, and we’ve started a nice big mulch pile to compost down for future gardening needs.

 

We’ve dug a dozen or so post holes in the back field.  We’ve got a dozen or so more to put in before we can start stretching fences over them, mounting gates, and stretching high tensile wire to prepare this field for the sheep.  That will be so much safer and easier than using the portable electric fencing back there.

 

Today we’ll try to sneak in a few more seeds and onions in the garden before the raindrops come.  We will also be gathering cut firewood from the woods and bring it up to be split before the hot summer arrives.

 

We’re excitedly preparing our 16 fleeces for the CT Sheep, Wool and Fiber Festival this Saturday.  We have quite a variety from which to choose!

 

Our family will be there helping out with the sale as well as helping to demonstrate fleece skirting.  We hope to see you there!  If you want to purchase fleeces, we suggest arriving as close to 9am as possible!  

 

If you’re not there for fleece, there are so many other things to do and see, and the only fee is $5 for parking!

 

A celtic group called Fiddleheads will be performing Celtic and fold music from 11am until 2pm.

 

Windham Woolies 4H group will have a Kids Corner with crafts and games for children.

 

A sheep dog trial runs throughout the day.  Watching those dogs work a flock is awesome!

 

If food is your “thing” – lamb stew and fried dough…need I say more?!

 

State Veterinarian Mary Jane Lis will be available at 11am to answer questions in an open forum.

 

From 1pm until 3pm, Jo Judd will have a wool quality workshop.  It’s a must if you have wool breed sheep and need to know more…

 

If you’re thinking about alpaca, which are quickly growing in popularity, there will be a free seminar at 11am – Alpaca 101.

 

And here’s the rest of the schedule:

 

RED BARN I


Hosted by Happily Hooked on Crochet Club

9:30 Introduction to Crochet

11:00 Tunisian Crochet

12:00 Introduction to Crochet

  1:30 Crochet with Roving

2:30 Introduction to Crochet


 

RED BARN II


Hosted by the Nutmeg Spinners

11:00 Skirting a fleece for handspinners

  1:00 Basics of hand painting yarn and fiber



RED BARN III


  Sheep Shearing – top & bottom of every hour

starting at 9:30



RED BARN IV


  10:00 – Angora Rabbit Care

  11:00 – Knitting with Beads

12:00 – Kumihimo

1:00 – Sheep 101

  1:00-2:00 I Made it with Wool !

2:00 – Shetland Sheep Primer

 


 

RED BARN V


10:00 – Color Blending with a drum carder

  11:00 – Spinning Wheel Clinic

  12:00 – Knitting Cables

  1:00 – Hooking with Fleece

2:00 – Needle Felting

  3:00 – Hand Spinning Artisan Yarns



RED BARN OUTSIDE


9:00 – 4:00 – Bobbin Lace Demonstrations

 

Last, but not least

I’m happily exhausted.

 

I got up at 3am for my normal “lamb watch” and found Matilda in labor.  An hour and a half later, her ram arrived!  At 9 1/2lbs, he’s a sweetie – up and ‘at ’em right away!  

 

By the time he was up and nursing and we were sure there were no more lambs coming, the birds were chirping, the sun was coming up, and the other ewes were calling for their breakfast!  It was chore time already!

 

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We’re so pleased that all of the lambs and ewes are doing well!  Now we can concentrate on the garden, the fiber festival on the 28th, and our broilers that will be coming in a couple of weeks

 

— and of course, we can enjoy watching the lambs frolick!

 

 

Twins!

Just a couple of hours ago, with lots of help from Roxanne and Drover, parents, we welcomed a new ram and ewe into our flock!

 

A week of visitors

Lambing time is always a great time for visitors to Morning Star Meadows!  Our first visitor of the week got more than she bargained for!

 

One of our son’s friends from North Stonington Volunteer Fire Department visited on Sunday with her children and neice and nephew.  It’s a good thing she’s an EMT, because we put her to work helping finish up with Molly’s lambing experience.  We love to put our visitors to work while they’re here — just enhances their experience all the more!  But it was a small “price” to pay to see a lamb only a couple of hours old!

 

Monday and Tuesday brought 3 more batches of visitors!  I don’t know who ooh’s and ahh’s more over lambs — the kids or the adults!  

 

Here’s Molly posing with her daughter

 

Molly’s big singleton

 

Roy and I went for a walk after we got her settled and I picked her a bouquet of clover to congratulate her.  I figured she’d prefer that to roses…

 

2 ewes down — 2 more to go!  Matilda and Roxanne are both due toward the end of next week.  In the mean time we’ll enjoy watching this new little girl and the triplets frolicking around!

 

Molly’s turn!

Molly’s udder suddenly started to rapidly enlarge yesterday, so we bedded her down in a lambing jug last evening.  This morning her udder is ginormous!  

 

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There are thunderstorms predicted tonight.  

 

I expect drama.  

 

She will have all the opportunity to lamb on this beautiful, dry, sunny, warm spring day while we are awake and watching her, but she will choose the drama of darkness, cold rain, and dangerous lightning tonight.  It’s just always the way!

 

Enjoying the sunshine!

Wow!  Hey, “Keesh!”  What’s happening down there?

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I don’t know, “Oma Letta” – maybe you should call the other girls!

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What?  What do you see?  Can we eat it?!

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No.  They’re too cute to eat!  Come and see, “Sue Flay!”

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Mom is so proud – and protective.

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She and baby are enjoying some goodies.

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Hey!  What about me!

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What do you want, buster?  She’s mine right now!  You have to wait your turn!

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Ok.  I’ll wait right here…But look!  Here come some girls that want to hold us!  Will Mom allow?

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Guess so!  But not for very long!  And only if I watch you VERY closely!

The triplets make their daytime debut

The first and third lambs born – the ewe has a bit less white on her nose — otherwise it’s hard to tell them apart!

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The moorit (chocolate brown) ram with horn buds already!  A pound heavier than the other 2, he was definitely a big one to deliver!

 

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Everyone is going to have to learn to share Mom!

 

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Triplets!

I can’t believe I guessed it right.

 

I thought Bindi might have triplets.  I even predicted that they would all be competing to break out of there first and get all tangled up.  I prepared for having to assist, hoping that if I prepared, Murphy’s Law would take over and I wouldn’t need to do a thing!

 

But alas, Bindi definitely needed a bit of help with this crowd!

 

Firstly — if you’re squeamish, just a warning.  Lambing isn’t without a bit of blood, so if that might bother you, don’t look at the photos.  :  )

 

When I went down around 10:30pm last night I found that Bindi had passed her mucus plug.  This indicates that she’s entering the first stage of labor.  Her cervix has dilated enough to alow this plug to dislodge.  It was very fortunate that I saw her before this telltale sign when I did so that I could start watching the clock to be sure things progressed as they were supposed to.

 

Usually there some fetal membranes should start to be visible within a couple of hours.  Roy went to bed and I went back down to check on her around 11pm.  I sat on a bucket in a corner outside the pen and dozed a bit, waiting for things to change.  

 

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Around 11:30pm I checked her and there were the fetal membranes.  

 

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Now we start timing again, expecting some pushing and feet appearing within an hour or so.  

 

About 12:15am I went in to wake Roy.  

 

She wasn’t pushing.  No lamb was visible.  We decided to wait until 12:30am and then scrub up and check her.

 

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As expected, when I examined her there was nothing in the birth canal, but further in there were feet…a couple of heads…yep.  At LEAST twins!

 

I grabbed the 2 front feet closest to me and followed them back to find the head that went with them.  The head was upside down, so I had to rotate the whole lamb (one handed, mind you!) and then line the head up with the feet and pull down and out.  One 6lb spotted ram lamb on the ground, breathing.  Mom’s happy and licking him and talking to him.  I’m happy.  

 

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And we’re hoping that the next lamb will now find his/her way into the birth canal without assistance. 

 

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The second lamb should start coming within 5 minutes or so.  We see a new set of fetal membranes, but again, no pushing…no feet protruding.  Time to go in again.

 

I scrubbed my arm and regloved and reached in.  I feel feet and the top of a skull with small horns.  I feel the jaw of another lamb below that.  Yep.  Triplets!

 

Lamb number 2 was VERY uncooperative.  I managed to find 2 front feet, and was 99% sure they belonged to the head with horn buds, but ever time I tried to get that head up and pull on the feet, the head would twist and not stay in the birth canal.  I was getting tired, so it was time for Roy to try.

 

We tried everything to reposition that lamb, even putting Bindi’s front end up on a bale of hay — then her belly – trying to keep her rear end up off the ground.  Roy was getting tired and was pretty sure the head was just too big to fit.  We were contemplating a Caesarian, when I went in one last time. 

 

This time I got my hand up over the skull and directed it into the birth canal while Roy pulled down on the feet.  Bindi was getting tired and no longer needed anyone to restrain her, so Roy was free to help.  When I was sure that the head was in the right place, Roy put traction on the feet with all his might, pulling downward.  I pulled my hand out at the last minute and sure enough that big boy was out on the ground and breathing!  

 

I gave him a bit of a swing around, head down, to try to clear his airways with centrifugal force and we sucked the resulting fluid from his nose with a bulb syringe.  Roy and I are both amazed that he’s doing so well!  A big moorit ram lamb.  He’s going to be a lovely solid brown!

 

It’s now about 3am and Roy reminds me that we’re not finished yet.  Bindi’s still not straining.  The lambs can’t nurse yet because she really doesn’t want to stand up, and I can’t say I blame her!  I scrub and reglove and go in.  Easy — one head and 2 front feet — twist a bit to get her into position and pull.  A spotted ewe lamb on the ground, breathing!  She’s almost identical to the first ram, which is kind of neat!  Mom is interested in all three of them and Roy and I are trying to get her to stand, which she eventually does.  I went in one last time to be sure there wasn’t a fourth lamb!

 

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We move the happy family indoors, out of the cold.  Mom tucks in to the alfalfa pellets and some fresh hay while we make sure each lamb is able to nurse, which they all do quite vigorously!

 

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Finally.  Time for bed:  4:30am!