Posts Tagged With: sheep

God’s Special Gift

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Springtime view of the sheep shed

Life has been a bit hard on this sheep journey. This is the first year that we lost any babies. Not fun and buckets of tears shed even now when I think of them.

Sadness is a hard lot in life. But… God can surprise us with a special gift. And that is what happened the Saturday before Mother’s Day. You see, I was meeting a friend for lunch and had the timer set for when I needed to go get ready for lunch. As I went out the door to accomplish this task, I heard the loudest caterwauling from the sheep shed. I hurriedly locked the door, ran down, and hollered that I was coming and was really thinking it looked like James had gotten himself in a pickle, and I probably needed to extradite him from something strange he had tried.

Alas, as I got closer, I realized it wasn’t James in a pickle but Abby. She was laying there with a head and neck sticking out of her rear. YIKES!!! Who knew she was even pregnant?  The last baby born was almost two months before. We had decided she wasn’t. Thankfully, I don’t think she was in her pickle for too long as she still had energy to get up and try to stay on guard till she decided if she could trust me at this moment. I grabbed my phone (thankfully with me, though often not) and called Mark to come fast as Abby was in labor and it wasn’t looking good.

Well before he got out to the shed, I had already made some rapid decisions. You see, the problem was that Abby had a head and neck hanging out, but there were no hooves with them. This meant that our new little one was trapped and his shoulders couldn’t get out with his head. He wasn’t moving and was looking quite lifeless.

This birthing process is a bit more than tough.

I had but two thoughts. If the baby was dead, I had to get him out of her before a dead baby caused her troubles. If he were alive, I had to get him out of her before he was dead. So without much more thought and nothing to hand, I just reached into Abby and grabbed a leg and shoulder and pulled the baby out. Plop he went on the ground. But  … was that the ever so slightest sign of a breath, quiver, movement? I immediately cleared out his mouth and rubbed him down. Soon we had open eyes and a living baby boy! I was ecstatic and at that moment Mark arrived. I told him my tale, and he went to get a towel and some food for Abby who definitely was happy to get a treat for all her troubles.

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Abby still trying to clean up her new little boy

Now Abby was in overload on being a mother. Not sure if it was from watching the other new mother’s for the four months before or pure instinct, but she went to town cleaning up her little son. I have video of the fastest tongue in the west. She was so busy with cleaning him, that when he got up and tried to nurse, she would move away as he was too short for her to lick when back there. But they got it together finally.

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Have you ever seen anything so sweet?

It took the two of them about three days to leave the environs of the shed. That was a sign of how rough the birth had been on little Daniel. He didn’t seem to have it together with his legs so I went and got him some selenium and vitamin e and after one dose of that, he was bounding around much better.

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My scrawny blessing getting much better

You know what the gift is with Daniel? (Named for one of David and Abigail’s sons.) I lost little Simeon to tetanus a few weeks before. Talk about crying buckets, and I still can for the little one that could run like the wind. He amazed me. But this was like a special gift from heaven, giving me back my Simeon. They look so much alike. And I think Simeon’s sister thinks the same. Daniel spends a lot of time with Anna and she plays around with him. While he was so tiny, she was the only one that came to him.

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Daniel exploring with Anna

Talk about a favorite in the flock. This little fellow, who is a special gift, is a favorite of all who see him. so much smaller than all the rest. Friendly. And growing. I could share a multitude of pictures as I’m always taking the camera out to check on him. He’s a month old now, and I haven’t tired of him yet.

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Picture taken this morning of the little feller

So God’s blessings are surprising and new each day. I feel like Simeon is back with me. I told my friend that she saved this little one’s life, if not his mother’s as well, as I would not have been out there to here his mother holler or know anything was up until probably way too late – if we weren’t getting together. And oh that lunch date, it got put off for a little bit till we were all done and were sure that all was well. I then left, leaving Mark to check on them while I was away.

God is good!

 

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Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

This and That

So I wanted to just add a few miscellaneous items to the memory banks here. Too much cuteness around here to keep to oneself. As well as things are happening but small enough to not need a whole post unless I start really short ones. Which might not be bad, but we won’t type all that is running in this brain on that rabbit trail.

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An escapee trying to get back inside.

So first, I go out and check on the chicks as they do run out of water. (Mama has gotten smart and bought a larger waterer than is here seen.) But one day she went out and here was one outside their home. Hmmm… This cage has chicken wire and gauged wire all around the bottom. No way a girl could get out unless she flew through the top which is just cattle panel. Not sure, but she was trying to get back in and was easy to catch on the backside between the cage and the blue tarp. Hopefully, no more escapes as you can’t fix a problem you don’t know what is happening.

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Gimpy enjoying grass and pecking the ground after being inside for a couple of weeks.

Now on to Gimpy. She is the little girl who I found almost starving to death. I got her inside and investigated and her beak was overgrown on top which makes it hard for them to eat and hence they starve. So we got it trimmed but then she wasn’t using one leg and limped quite poorly. So she got to stay inside while that was trying to be sorted. The only thought there is that it somehow got strained at some point as there was no obvious damage or illness or cut to it. So some epsom salt baths and inside care has helped a lot. Her daddy felt sorry for her so would take her out and has created his own nightmare now. She loves being with him and pecking at his beard and climbing all over him. Now is time to reintegrate her in the flock. Alas she isn’t too sure of that although she wants friends. When put in with her old friends their over attention and reestablishment of order isn’t to her liking and she runs back to daddy. So some work there. She does get to go outside and be near others as she has her own larger cage now.

Moving on from Chickens.

I never get tired of being with the sheep or lambs and when not in the pasture you have to settle for pictures. Who could get tired of such sweetness? Never. I just noticed that the two lamb pictures I picked are the two girls.

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Lydia, daughter of Ruth

Lydia was our first surprise in January and she is quite the solid girl now. So pretty with her darker color although it is fading fast It is staying in her face and legs like Samuel and Joseph did last year. She actually looks so much like Joseph. I only noticed now but with this picture quite huge on the computer screen her wool on her forehead is all curly.

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Anna, daughter of Rebekah

Who could not want to stare at that face forever. A little pensive. Maybe she is wondering where her twin brother is. Alas, it was sadness over the weekend as we lost him. (Have you ever wondered at that phraseology? I didn’t loose him, I know exactly what happened and that he went to sleep forever at the vet. Alas, though I do feel loss at not seeing him with her.) Her best friend never came back to her after I ran out of the pasture with him in my arms. Simeon managed to get tetanus, and we almost caught it in time to heal him but not quite. So after some IVs and overnight at the vet, it was best to just put him out of his misery. He was the smallest of all the lambs but boy could he run like the wind. I have not seen in reality any creature that could cover ground the way he could. Alas, maybe he just didn’t have what it would take for the long haul and so this was best for him.

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Rebekah looking on her Simeon with Anna beside

So moving on from sad things to accomplishing something. Or at least getting it moving along.

I am weaving a twill pattern with variegated yarn. It is for the twill weaving group at my guild. Now I just picked a pattern I thought I would like. Ha! It wasn’t so exciting in the end. It was a wide kind of feathery leaf looking pattern that seemed that it should work with the yarns I wanted to use up. But when I did it, the pattern ended up a bit scrunched and is just a bunch hills. The picture below is definitely not some spread out feathery leaf pattern. Now I wasn’t totally dissatisfied with it but just not excited about it. I’m thinking it will make good washcloths. Ok, will see if I cut it up that small.

Now, as it was variegated yarn, and I have but six bobbins, I wound them and worked back through them to get the repeat of the yarn looking right. You can tell where I would six more and went a second time. Yep, lesson in checking the pattern and picking up with the same place in the repeat.

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Taken from under and a bit blurry

Now I do have another yarn that is variegated and one I actually like the colors better so decided to try it on the warp. This warp pattern has three ways to treadle it so decided to try the second one as it was a pretty pattern as well. Of course, to me, I love the way this is now looking. But the funny thing, as I look at it, is that all three yarns are suppose to be 8/2 cotton. Now the warp was a green 8/2 and the same for both wefts. The first weft was a bit slubby but nothing really dramatic. But the second is a smooth lovely yarn. So does the second one look like the picture? Nope, of course not. I’m weaving it. It is actually spread out more than the picture in the book. The blocks are much more square there. So can I blame it on the yarns that they each look different and that difference is in the two opposite directions, and not on me? The warp didn’t change between and yet one is set too close to look like its picture and the other is set too wide. The yarns are a bit different but who knew they were that different? Ok, yeah, if I was more of a perfectionist, I could have worked these to try and be more as the intent of the pattern was, alas it is me doing it and it is working so we’re good.

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How pretty.

As I look at this one now, I am amazed that one would think I actually measured out the repeat and planned this to match up. I did nothing of the like. I just started weaving on the same warp as the last one. I don’t know how long this will last but here’s hoping for quite a bit of ways.

So that is it for a This and That for today. I need to go get some weaving done.

 

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

All Sweetness

I had to share some baby lambs. They are the height of entertainment, and I so enjoy just going out in the pasture and being around them. Their zest for life, exploring, fun, and of course a quick nip from mom in the middle of it all is incredible. So here is a record of some of the fun of late.

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Little Bit, Benjamin, and Boaz having fun while Anna and Simeon are being born in the background.

This picture I find fun just because if you don’t know what is up, you may think it rather boring. But the three boys in the front were playing and resting, while by the tree in the background, Rebekah has birthed twins in the last few moments and have them with her. New life on the farm.

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Simeon, Anna, and Isaac

Now these three were just being downright cute playing together. Simeon and Anna are the twins you can’t see in the first picture. Simeon, born second, is still smaller than his sister, but I love how the twins we have hang out together. Best friends.They had each other for five months and continue hanging and watching out for each other. Simeon got banded today and was making some noise. I am assuming it was of the “I hurt” “They did something to me” sort. It was a quick sister that ran over to see about her brother.

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Boaz

Now to get to lay in the trough seems to be a safe place to all the babies. They very much find that security can be found in its walls even if there is a board in there that makes the floor slant. Alas, as they also like to poop in the same trough, it is now turned upside down so they can jump up on top (or the bottom depending on perspective) and lay down and play. A whole lot easier to sweep up sheep nuggets.

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Joshua and Caleb

Back to twins again. Joshua with his horns and Caleb with his fireworks. They are best friends as well. Hanging out together. Their mother Leah is doing an amazing job with them. Here you can see Joshua’s splash of brown on his back. Not sure yet how much of their dark color they will retain, but it isn’t fading much yet. Out of all the lambs these two are friendly for some reason. They don’t readily run away when you walk by and are easy to catch, though I don’t do that much, but a quick pet is always in order. Love feeling their wool.

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Follow the leader

I love this tree. Mark wants to cut it up and get rid of it. Alas, can you see what fun it is as a play gym? Last year, I had a fun moment with Samuel and Joseph playing on it but had no camera with me. This year, I caught the babies having a right good ole time running up that trunk. Much higher than Samuel or Joseph ever went.

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We’re taller than you are!

More fun on the tree. They played how many lambs can fit on this trunk. If the two at the top want to come down and the two that are lower want to go up, who has to give way? If your slipping, is it better to just let yourself fall off? How far of a jump is it, really? In this picture are all the boys. Anna and Lydia must have decided to let boys be boys and go off and be young ladies.

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Oh such cute faces.

Too many cutie pies to just have a few pictures. Same day as above but now we’re playing under the limbs of the same tree we were climbing.

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Shearing Day. Can’t you tell?

So shearing day came with all its rain. What do you do when you have no real setup for keeping sheep dry? We had to play with the barn and make space inside for them which worked well for feeding them through shearing. Each baby had to wait behind until their mother was done and then they got to go out together. Alas with the rain, these three decided that they’d just rest under the shearer’s truck and stay a bit drier than the others. Or it was safe in a weird non-normal weekend. Yep, one mom is checking in on them.

I think I will end this here. One picture of the very first lamb of the season and as she is a few weeks older than the rest, she looks quite a bit bigger. The big sister to the tribe.

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Lydia two and half months old

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lydia Joins the Flock

Have you ever had that total surprise? That surprise you were not expecting at all? That morning that you go out, half asleep, and do chores. Then you realize that in a stall is a little fluff of brown that is too small for everyone else and can only be a new baby?

That happened to me when I went out on the 24th of January. A totally different day from the recent dreary as all get out ones. It was bright sunny. But there was this little bit of a lamb standing by her mother. She caused me to hurry and put out feed and run to the house for a towel and camera. The towel was for making sure she was dry as it was a cool morning, and I didn’t want her to be damp for too long. Had no idea when she was born. The camera was for the obvious.

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I don’t know how old but only minutes from when I first saw her.

Now this was surprise. Who knew that Jacob had gotten to Ruth in August? Certainly not I. But he fathered with her a lovely and, although she looks half asleep here, one of the most feisty lively little ones to be born – ever.

She must have been born quite some time before as she was mostly dry and mama had taken care of her quite well. This was Ruth’s first baby as last year she was quite ill and so didn’t have a lamb. Glad we didn’t cull her or we would have missed this little bundle of joy.

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Sitting on my lap and hollering quite loudly for mama to come and rescue her.

One of the activities I try to do each time I’m out is to hold Lydia for a bit of time and get her used to me. At first she was fairly easy to capture. Now that she can duck under anything at top speed, it is much harder to catch her. She can run like the wind. Outrun anyone (Well, except the horses, but I bet it is a close call there.) in the pasture. The first week I so enjoyed just sitting and holding the ugly little thing. Thankfully, she has aged well over the couple weeks of her life and doesn’t look quite so silly as the above picture. She is growing into those huge ears. Albeit, I may joke about that picture but she is so cute in it really, despite the silly look.

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Some rest time together. Mother and daughter.

Despite my doubts about what kind of mother Ruth would be, she has done quite well. She is not a helicopter mother like Naomi was, but she does keep tabs on her baby at least by sound. I guess it is good that she isn’t a helicopter mom though, as her little girl does absolutely love to explore and head out to who knows where. But when mom is done eating, when they get their feed, she’ll come out and call a couple of times and Little One will come running. Or when Lydia is suddenly needing mom she will holler and eventually they find each other.

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Lydia inherited her father’s long legs. Mom watching behind.

When it went back down to really cold we did create a coat for her as they don’t make then her size around here. It was a sleeve from a sweatshirt that had to be cut a bit to fit her but it kept her much larger mama happy to think she wouldn’t freeze at night. It actually kept her dry as well and didn’t soak through with some of our rain. But with extended rain arriving along with warmer weather she got to be freed of her little coat. Alas, that green coat made her so much easier to find in a pasture against the dullness of winter that she blends so well into. I could kick myself though as I didn’t get a picture of her in it. Maybe I’ll have to put it back on her for a picture. That will make her happy. Not! We did buy materials to make our own baby lamb coats. Will see, if I decide she needs one that fits better.

So a last picture that I think any mom would appreciate. Little One is settled for a rest (something she doesn’t do often) and mom also gets to rest a bit as well. When I went to take this picture they were both settled in with eyes closed.

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Nap time at the nursery.

We are expecting babies in March so, yep, a January one was a surprise but a sweet one.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering about my fibery pursuits. I do have a new warp on the loom, but I don’t have any pictures yet of it. It is good as at my weaving guild, I am participating in a twill weaving group and must have something I wove to go with the theme by next meeting. That has helped to get a warp on and it is all ready to start weaving unless I find a problem with it. Hopefully, not. Fingers crossed. Will be weaving tomorrow.

 

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Too Much Cuteness to Keep on the Farm

So life is pretty nice this spring. But of course, if you can just go outside and see new babies having fun, how can one be down or depressed. Nothing like sweet lamb smiles and hopping, and playing, and nursing, and … to put a smile on your face.

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Joseph and his very serious face

The boys are growing so fast Samuel is 25 days old today and Joseph is 18 days old. They are both full of life and fun. They spend a lot of time playing together which makes me happy they were born a week apart and have each other as companion. You can’t get too much of those sweet brown faces.

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Samuel standing tall

They still need their little boy rests and side by side is where you will find them. One would think they were twins. Really, it is only when they need their respective mothers that they are apart. And though they are such fun and a joy. They aren’t alone anymore as the only littles on this farm.

Tuesday morning doing chores I thought that Naomi was acting quite beyond weird. She didn’t run up for their treat (they get a little  each morning and late afternoon but hard to count it as feed as they don’t get a lot). In fact, she stayed by the trees with the two boys. Why did Samuel and Joseph hang out with Naomi? She isn’t either of theirs mother.

After chores I went to check on her and though everyone had moved to the upper pasture, Naomi was laying down by the fence with guess who? Yep, Samuel and Joseph were right there with her. This part of the story still puzzles me as this was not, nor is, the norm.

Then I went out later again to see about her and what greeted me?

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A brand new baby Phoebe

Naomi had a baby girl in the sand. This was fairly recent as Phoebe’s (took a long time to name her so she was Little One for a day) cord was still wet and somewhat red. Naomi still had placenta hanging out her rear that soon finished coming out so got it taken cared of quickly. But having a baby in a sandy area does present a bit of a problem. Though Phoebe was cleaned up on her head and legs, who wanted to lick all that sand off her back? Not mom. Boy was I wishing I had brought a towel out with me. But who knew.

Now despite a nice very thin girl, Naomi seemed very tired and over-done. I was wishing I had come out just a bit earlier to check on her, as I am assuming the birth wasn’t as easy as the boy’s were. I gave her extra feed which she gobbled down. But still little movement or care.

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Mommy and daughter enjoying a good lie down

I then remembered about molasses water for new mom’s to help bring back their energy (all the time I spend watching homestead vlogs does come in handy – thanks Rose). Ran in the house and got the molasses and ran back to the barn (now “ran” is the wrong word here as this kid runs for nothing except real emergencies, a good hurry would be a better term) poured a glug into a bucket then ran water in it till it was dissolved and set it by Naomi. She downed the whole thing in no time.

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In the upper pasture eating and exploring

Having to leave, I texted Mark an hour later asking how all were doing. He said they had gone up to the upper pasture and Naomi was grazing and Phoebe laying nearby. I was so happy at that point. They are both doing well despite how thin Phoebe looked or tired Naomi was. Today most of Phoebe’s sand is worn off. I am giving her some electrolytes to help her along as she needed an extra boost. But all in all, they are wonderful and out having a good day today.

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Found mom after a short separation

It is a wonder to watch the mother’s and their babies. They can get a bit apart and one or the other will call. Then the other responds, and they call back and forth. Then you can see the joy when they find each other and all is well again with the world. I would love to know the baas as they hear them. Sometimes the mom’s just ignore them and sometimes they immediately jump up and go searching. Same with the babies listening to mom. One day, the boys were ignoring both their mom’s as they played. Then with just one baa from each of the moms, both boys jumped and were across the pasture in a second and at the moms’ side. I wonder if that last baa was the, “If you don’t get your bottom over her this second, you will grounded till you graduate from high school!!!!!”

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Another New Member to the Farm

Ok, so maybe one can have too many baby pictures … nope, I doubt it. Samuel was born mid-day Palm Sunday, and only Mark got to see him brand new. I missed out that Sunday. But the next Sunday, and Resurrection day no less, I got to be the first to meet a new little.

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Joseph and mama Rachel

I headed out to do my normal morning chores and on Sundays it is generally a quick job in order to get ready and off to church. Alas this morning we were almost late.

I thought I saw something strange in the pasture as Rachel was a little ways out and a hollering. Not normal. But the odd bit was that her legs looked brown. They aren’t. Now just the afternoon before I commented that she looked about to pop. Her udder was full and all looked ready for a baby. Turns out she was, as sometime well before 7am Sunday morning, she gave birth to Joseph.

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Exploring his brave new world

I hurried out to the pasture and got to meet another little boy. So sweet. Spent a bit of time with him and his mother. All looked very well. His cord was dry, and he was clean and dry. I’m thinking he was born a good bit before. I went hunting for any remnants and found the afterbirth in the sheep shed. The odd bit is that it was partially under the wall. Not sure how Rachel managed that.

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Joseph with his white spot

Needless to say, if there was a doubt, there is none as to who is his father. Just like Samuel they got their father’s color gene. Although they were darker when born and are fading some now, it is good to see it there. I will say that Joseph, to me, always looks like he is crying as he has that white spot between his right eye and nose. Always makes me think of a tear drop.

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Following mama around the pasture

Can you imagine finding a new lamb in the pasture on Resurrection morning? The day we celebrate that Christ, The Lamb of God, came to cover all our sins with his shed blood. But that wasn’t all. He was buried and rose again three days and nights later. Triumphing over the grave and death. No more need of the sacrifice of lambs. I must admit, I had a bit of communion with just myself the Lord before heading to get ready for church.

And although I did manage to get there before the service started, I was late enough for Mark to call and see if there was a problem. Then I had to tell everyone. Even those who really didn’t care. Too bad. They got my bubbly joy anyway.

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Newest Member of the Farm

So this weekend I went to the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas Art Camp. Had a great time learning about making pine needle baskets and other crafts.

But the best part of the Weekend?

When just getting back in class Sunday afternoon, I heard my phone vibrating and decided to check it. It was Mark wanting to let me know that we had a new lamb. Hannah had probably just birthed a little dark boy just minutes before Mark discovered them. Mark did a video that he sent and then we FaceTimed so I could watch them. No doubt at all who the little feller’s father was. The Herd Ram we bought is a Gulf Coast Native that has the color gene. His legs and head are dark brown but not his wool. Well, Jacob sent more than a little color on to his little offspring that looks to have it all over and even in the little wool he’s born with. Here’s hoping that it doesn’t all fade away.

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Samuel almost 48 hours old

 

But on the farm, the event started when Mark heard Candy, his horse, having an apoplectic fit out by the fence. He went out to see what the trouble was and there was Hannah and her baby. Must have just been born. As in just been born. After a quick check all seemed well. Candy must have seen what was up and decided someone needed to check in on her sheep. She does watch over them carefully.

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“My little baby boy. So sweet.”

So what do you name a new little one? When we picked up the twin bottle babies, it became natural that they be named James and John. After that all the sheep were named from the Bible. So if you have a sweet mama who is carefully watching over her baby, and her name is Hannah – it rather is a no-brainer that her little boy should be named Samuel, and Samuel he became.

James was butting poor lil’ Samuel, so Mark moved he and his mother to the backyard. Also we could keep an eye on them and make sure that he was nursing well and she was doing well as a first time mama. Well, it is a plus on both accounts. She keeps such a watch over him, and he keeps a close watch on her. They aren’t ever too far apart. He drinks frequently. Hops all around and checks on what mother is eating. Then there are breaks to just lay down and rest and maybe take a quick nap before trying to find that never ending milk supply. I’ve seen him wet and poop and all seems well.

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“Mama, who are these people, and why are they taking pictures of me?”

So Palm Sunday we receive a new baby lamb. The day that commemorates the Lamb of God willingly entering Jerusalem knowing that before the week is out he will die on a cross but three days later that glorious morning would come when Mary Magdalene and other women would come to the tomb at sunrise and hear an angel tell them the great news of a Savior who died for all our sins but that death could not hold Him. He had power over death and rose again bringing life to all who believe.

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto Him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. John 1:29

“He is not here: for He is Risen, as He said.” Matthew 28:6

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. BUT thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15:55-57

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lena’s Dress is on the Loom

For some time. Probably since I started weaving and saw the first picture. Found the first description. I have had a desire to create a dress that would be a copy of Lena Dancy Ledbetter’s that she spun, wove, sewed while 14 years of age during the American Civil War. I won’t have an exact copy to say the least but I am hoping for something that will be close. I have the skirt and bodice figured out but not the sleeves yet. But then that is getting ahead as we still have 12 yards of cloth to weave first.

It has been a bit of a trial to get it on the loom. Getting the yarn ordered and here. Then while dressing the loom realizing that I am very short on heddles. Yep. Confirmation this is my biggest project yet. So ordered more and loaded the shafts and continued on.

Today I finally finished threading the reed and started weaving.

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All dressed. Yes one problem found and fastest fix was to pull a thread and add a thread.

So we are ready to weave. How will it go? I’m hopeful with this warp and was so careful dressing the loom. Thankful that it seems that there was only the one problem. This is a Basket Weave as Lena called it, but today we call it Log Cabin pattern. So every other thread was a different color. But then I had to make that harder as I wanted the dark thread to bookend each square so the squares are 13 picks each. Same as Lena’s. So, somewhere I ended up with three dark blue together. Oh dear, such mustn’t be at all. So, checking and yes, there should have been a natural in the middle so just pulled the middle blue and added a natural. As this was found when threading the reed, I didn’t want to spend the extra time moving threads all the way to end to make it work out right without adding the thread. So here it is. Hope it doesn’t drive me bonkers but then I usually have something hanging off the back before completion so won’t be much different.

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Header woven

Excited to start and see if it was looking right. I had thread from my last project still in the shuttle so used that for the header. It spaced out quite easily and looked pretty good. So went and wound four bobbins with my natural and navy blue yarn. Just a side note. Lena’s dress was black and white. I just didn’t want to be exactly the same in color. Not that I don’t like black and white, as I do. But then I wanted it to not be quite so jarring so was going to do a grey and natural, but in the end, it ended up navy blue and natural. I think it will look rather nice.

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A start at 12 yards.

So yes there are a few things to see here. I do think this is my widest piece and at first had a bit of a time getting the wefts to be smooth. A few bits wrinkled up and poking out there. But the last three sets are looking good. It seems like I do need to go back and look at one line again. I noticed it before, but it looked like it was just illusion and it was right. But looking at the picture the same warp line is looking too distinct. Need to check that out again. After that, 12 yards of counting to 13 over and over and over and over and over again. I think this will take just some of my music to listen to and not stories.

But this isn’t the only fibery thing around here. Finally, was able to pick up my last Gulf Coast Native lamb. It is a ram that has the color gene and boy is he lovely.

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Jacob

I had already decided to name him Jacob as I had Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. So he needed to be a Patriarch. I thought. Alas, the only one that thought sounded good as a name for a lamb was Jacob, so Jacob it was going to be. After I picked him, and they asked if I had a name for him, it dawned on me he was well named. What better for a colored sheep. Now his color shows strong in his face and legs but maybe it will move to the wool in bits with his offspring.

And I can’t end without a Sarah picture. She is growing so fast. No longer getting a bottle. Alas, she would like to argue that point. We sit and sing in the evenings together. My sweet baby that is already looking older than this picture but still such a sweet, white, child-like face compared to the rest of the flock.

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The sweetest of babies. Little Sarah.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

Bent Oak Flock

I have not reported to myself in awhile. Not that anything has not been happening around here. But the biggest news, I want to record here and remember. I am collecting Gulf Coast Native sheep. We are up to eleven now.

I wrote about James and John joining us here on the farm.They weren’t named yet and that took some time to find the right names, but a friend suggested the Apostles as a naming scheme and as the bottle babies were twins, I decided that James and John would work great. The day they arrived how tiny and helpless they were.

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James & John on the ride home. So tiny.

Then came the call of another orphan baby girl. Of course, we would jump in the truck and head to Bryan (an hour away) at 9pm on a Sunday night to pick her up. She was without a mother probably most of the day and didn’t have anything to eat. So warm bottle in the truck, we headed out and went and picked up my little precious one. My sweetheart. My heartbeat. My warm hug, My warm kiss. My …. In case, you can’t guess I love my Sarah. I named her Sarah in hopes that she will one day be the mother of a little nation of lambs.

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Sarah’s first night. She got to stay in the house as it as cold out.

Then I found two more boys to add the farm. Mark went to pick them up one day and brought them back getting home just after dark. They were not sure they were happy at all with a new home and new people. Especially, not being around people too much. But they soon made friends with James and John and since they came together they became Peter and Andrew.

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Peter, Andrew, James, and John

So we were up to five lambs and Mark was out checking on lambs ready to go to new homes. He was bitten by the bug. Now I was already in line to get more from where the orphans all came, but Mark decided we needed twelve. Who was I to argue? So not long after we were headed to another farm to pick out four girls to bring back. That was an adventure of running my hand through lots of wooly backs and picking the softest ones. Yes, my husband may be thinking leg of lamb sounds good but his wife though loving lamb as well was mainly thinking in terms of wool. So four more girls came home with us. They were named continuing on from Sarah to Isaac and Jacob’s wives. Then added Hannah in for good measure.

I might add that at this point, he also made a cage to fit in the back of the truck for hauling lambs and about anything else that will fit.

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Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Hannah in back

Exciting we were up to nine lambs now. Then, it was finally a good day to go and pick up two more girls from the farm where I got the bottle babies from. So east we headed again and what lovely girls we picked up. They are the oldest of all we have as they were born in December so larger, more self assured, and just downright lovely to look upon. Alas though, this must be becoming too common as I do not have a first day picture of them. Why didn’t I?

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Naomi and Ruth. Really thought I had great pictures of them but must go try again.

So now there are eleven and one more to come. We have a ram reserved until he is weaned. Then one more trip to pick up a baby and we will be set … for now. They are so much fun. “They” say chickens are the gateway animal to a farm, and though I do love my chickens would affirm that statement, lambs are the heartbeat of my farm. I still love my eggs but oh, to sit out with lambs is a far greater joy.

I did just check and do not have a picture of all eleven together. Guess it is time to head out again with the camera. Aren’t we thankful for digital cameras today. I’d hate to know how much film I would be using up right now or how many awesome shots I would have missed by not just snapping all the time.

I am working on good pictures of each one for the sole purpose of learning their individual characteristics so that when someone asks who is who, I don’t have to check ear tags to remember. Not all have them have tags, but boy I am glad the ones that do have them. Thankfully, they are the ones that look the most alike.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

I’m Joining My Ancestors

I come from a long line of farmers. From about any angle as you travel back in my personal history there are farmers. Did I say I come from farming stock? There were a few who didn’t get the memo that they were suppose to be farmers but considering most of my ancestry has been in the States since the 1700s and before and didn’t live in cities, the given is that they were the farmers that they were.

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Last summer in my little world

Now I live on my own little piece of land and we are building our own little world on it. I often consider what I have and what they had and the agriculture census’ from the 19th century are interesting to compare what we each have. Of course, they had more land than we do, and had crops that we don’t, but I do like seeing where we cross over and this week I even added to our similarities.

Looking at the 1850 agriculture census for Jasper County, Illinois – horses, milch cows, other cattle, sheep, swine are the common animals. With some oxen thrown in here and there. Well, we own one horse and have our third foster looking for a forever home. We don’t have a milch cow, and I believe that would be too much milk even for me to make and use in butter, cheese, etc. The other cattle is taken care of. We have the five heifers still and hopefully four will go to market soon and one will be in the freezer. I doubt the swine will ever come into play but you never know.

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First page of an 1870 agricultural census entry for Hidalgo, Crooked Creek, Jasper County, Illinois

The early agriculture census didn’t include chickens but by the 1880 agriculture census poultry is included as well as how many eggs you got by the dozen over the last year. And yes, everyone has their poultry. So I can claim to have joined the poultry crowd. I’m sure the earlier dates they all had them as well but for some reason whoever set up the categories of the agricultural census didn’t think they were important. I wonder if they were so ubiquitous that it would be easier to see who didn’t have a dozen chickens than who did.

But did you notice that I missed one of the animals up above? My 3 great grandfather John Cummins had 18 of them in 1850, 7 in 1860. Eliphaz Brooks had 14 in 1850. James Carr had 22 in 1870. Reuben Carr had 43 in 1860 and 25 in 1870. Montraville Washington Utley had 10 in 1870 (and yes that was a common name in the family and I wonder where it came from) 10 in 1870. And lastly Jonathan Cowger had 10 in 1870.

So last Saturday evening I got a message from a friend that has Gulf Coast Native Sheep and she had twin boys whose mother had died. Did I want to take on two bottle babies? Can you guess how long it took for my heart to start racing and going ballistic at the possibility?

After talking with Mark and lots of messages back and forth, I went and picked up two sweet boys to add to the farm.

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All packed up to head to our new home

We made the run on Monday to pick them up and they have been so much fun. Quite entertaining and boy do they love feeding time.

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It is a lovely day

Now they have a whole new world to explore, and I get to join my ancestors who also had sheep. Can’t wait to see what the future holds. And the poor boys are still waiting on names. Their new mother is very particular about names and so they are still just The Boys.

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What is this?

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber | Tags: | 4 Comments

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