First stage of labor…

Just came back up from my “last check before bedtime” and Bindi is finally starting labor!

 

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The first stage of labor can last anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, so I’m thinking I may not get much sleep tonight!

 

After the cervix begins to dilate, that little lamb (the first of at least 2, I’d say!) will soon start stimulating her to strain.  It’s only when the straining seems to go on without any active delivery that I’ll have to intervene.  Otherwise, it’s just a watch and wait game — watching for, hopefully, 2 front feet followed by a nose.  Last year little Boomer came out with just a nose.  That was an obvious sign that I had to intervene and get his front feet into position.  I’m hoping that this doesn’t happen again!

 

We’ve opened her stall up a bit to the adjacent area so she can do some walking around if she so desires.  We’ve set up lights and taken down all of the towels, lamb pullers, meds, gloves and other apparati that we hope we will not need.  Hopefully all I’ll have to do is towel them off, dip their umbilical cords in iodine solution, and make sure they’re nursing and settling in well with mom.

 

Let the lambing begin! 

The waiting game…continued…

How long are you going to make us wait, Bindi?

 

Bindi is past her due date!  About the only think I feel I can be sure about right now is that those lambs are only getting bigger!  

 

Bindi is tucked away in her maternity stall.  She’s chomping away at hay and seems like giving birth is the last thing on her mind!  I’ve been checking her throughout the day and even in the middle of the night, and I swear each time I turn up she’s thinking to herself, “Why is she here again?!  Did she bring me more food?!”

 

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Her udder is big.  Her belly is big.  The stage is set.  Is she camera shy?  Is she waiting for me to leave her alone for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time?!  

 

Whatever the case may be, there’s no rushing Mother Nature!  Meanwhile we’re getting more and more excited to see her lambs!  

Tater time!

Don’t you hate it when you open a packet of seeds and look in the pack and see WAY more than you know you really need to plant, but you feel obligated to plant every seed anyway?  

 

And then, when they all sprout and you know you need to thin them, you hate the thought of yanking out those little plants that have just reached their secondary leaf stage?

 

Well, I knew this would happen when we ordered a 50lb. bag of Kennebec potatoes this past winter.  I got the call from Fieldworks (great people, btw) on Monday that the potatoes were in, and could we pick them up today as the temperatures were going to go below freezing that night and they didn’t have a place to store them all.

 

I took a ride over at lunchtime and picked up 50lbs of potatoes along with our regular order of 50lbs of Kelp meal for the sheep (Who’d have thought that sheep love something that smells like the beach?  Of course we tried to bring home some fresh kelp after our beach walk one time, and they wanted no part of it!).  

 

Yesterday, while Roy was tilling an area to prepare more space for all of these potatoes, I got to cutting them into pieces.  

 

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It’s best to cut potatoes into pieces, each containing at least one eye, prior to planting.  After the potatoes are cut, the cut sides must be allowed a day or so to callous over prior to being put in the ground to protect the potato from disease.

 

Planting potatoes is the easy thing!  Just dig a trench, drop them in about a foot apart, cut side down (eyes looking up!), and cover.  The tough part (Roy’s job!) is hilling them over after they start growing above the ground.  It is important that the developing potatoes be covered and protected from light so that they will not turn green, indicating the accumulation of solanine, a nasty toxin.

 

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So here are our rows — not exactly straight, but our excuse is that we were following the contour of the strawberry patch, which has a mind of its own.

 

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We stretchedout the tape measure so we could drop potatoes every foot, then Roy and the boys covered them over.  

 

Be careful not to cover a rock instead!  This town ain’t called North STONington for nothing!  Here we demonstrate…rock vs. potato.  Actually, we call these abundant stones “Connecticut Potatoes.”  They actually reproduce themselves!  I swear they do!  There are more and more each year in our garden!

 

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Can’t believe we got them all planted!  It should be a pretty prolific harvest, to say the least!  But our family of 10 can eat a LOT of potatoes, as you can imagine!

 

On top of all of that planting, we managed to get all of the weekly routine stuff out of the way, plus we cleared  out the “maternity ward” and readied it for Bindi.  We mucked out all of the old straw bedding from the winter inside and in front of the shed.  It’s all limed and ready for bedding down with fresh straw when she starts to go into labor.

 

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She’s really not looking like she’s ready to deliver, munching away at her hay this evening.

 

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Oh yeah.  And I had this epiphany today after we tilled up the old compost area for the potatoes (talk about awesome soil!).  

 

Well, actually I just got a bit carried away with the tiller.  

 

But really, I had this epiphany that we were mowing way too much grass, so with Roy’s approval, I bumped out the garden on both sides and added QUITE a bit of square footage to our garden footprint, along with DECREASING the amount of grass we need to mow (which is always a good thing!)  So now we have more than enough extra room for the extra potatoes!  It’s a wonder wenever thought of this before!

 

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And while we were working on all of this, the older girls supervised the normal Easter preparations.  Cookies are baked, eggs are dyed.

 

 

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Not bad looking for starting out with brown eggs!

Our beautiful 13lb Stonyledge Farm ham is thawed and ready to be baked tomorrow.  Easter bread is in the bread machine.  The kids are scrubbed up for Easter vigil tonight.  A
nice glass of sherry sits beside me.  

 

The sun is setting over the barn.

 

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Life is good.

 

May you and your family be abundantly blessed this Easter!

Like a lamb led to the slaughter

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This biblical image has so much more significance to us now that we are shepherds.  

 

I was meditating last night on the beginning of Our Lord’s Passion — His suffering in the garden, His betrayal by a friend, allowing Himself to be captured, bound, mocked and imprisoned, and then I thought about how He was compared to a lamb being led to the slaughter.  I thought to myself – lambs are noisy!  They put up a fight!  

 

But generally sheep are a placid and docile animal – – and obviously Our Lord made Himself even MORE docile than a noisy, fiestly lamb!  

 

Docile…but He was anything but weak!

 

What makes this whole picture take shape is that He can be to us an image of a meek lamb as well as a strong, merciful, loving Shepherd!  

 

A strong leader with the docility of a lamb…    

 

As we near Easter, our family will pray that you all can share in contemplating this mystery, and take from it the example given to us by the Lamb of God Himself, and learn from Him the ultimate love that we can have for one another — that we, too, can lay down our lives for each other.  Not necessarily being led literally to the slaughter, but dying to ourselves a little each day, making sacrifices for others, being strong for others, yet docile.  

THIS is evangelical charity!

 

 

 

 

 

Baby Bump pics!

Less than a week to go!  Bindi, as I’ve said before, looks as if she’s about to explode!  

I really should post a video of her trying to run, but having been pregnant with 16lbs of twins, I quickly  remember that I would not have liked someone to try to videotape ME running one week from delivery (had it even been possible FOR me to run then, which it was not!)

 

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We’re all taking bets on whether or not we’ll see her deliver triplets, but I think we were making those same bets this time last year.  Poor Bindi is a little vertically challenged, and she doesn’t hide her baby weight well, so she always looks deceptively large, I think.

 

Here she is having her breakfast snack.  Obviously part of the bulge you see is from her rumen full of hay and new spring pasture.

 

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And I’ve included this for comparison.  Molly is due just a couple of days after Bindi.  She’s a tall girl and hides those babies much better than Bindi. 

 

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Yeah, I was always jealous of those tall thin women who didn’t look pregnant until they arrived in the delivery room!