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Crazy Spring Day on Z Farm…

24 Apr

Spring Lambs 011

Just thought I should post an update about how things have been going here on Z Farm. I started off my day with getting awakened much earlier than I had planned, could not go back to sleep. My soon to be thirteen year old daughter is still sick with some horrid stomach ailment and is on her second day in bed.
I swilled down 2 cups of coffee and headed outside. The morning is absolutely beautiful, bright, sunny, warm and a sweet, spicy freshness to the air. First stop is the sheep barn/Chicky Girl coop. I loosen the pull cord to the door on the coop and all the Chicky Girlz and roos dash down the ramp chattering happily into the sun in their freshly pine chipped yard. Scattering scratch for them, fresh water next.
Onto putting Mommy Sheep and her lambs out. We have collars on the turning three-week old lambs and lead them while Mommy follows us to the turnout. We close them in and put fresh water inside for them. Mommy Sheep has tamed down a lot, but she freaks out so bad when trying to lead we don’t even try! They are contentedly grazing now. Walking back to the Sheep stall part of the barn, I open the fancy gate made from a pallet, pick up the lid of alfalfa and step over to the tires that serve as feeders out in the pasture. Putting a chunk of hay in each one, filling water and back to the barn. I step out-of-the-way as I open the door to the stall; Lamm-E and Sagen buck and jump as they are liberated into the pasture.
Tying the door at the top and bottom keeps Mr. Smarty Pants Lamm-E from butting the door open! Next we carry out the cage that has the Ameraucana chicks in it, they are starting to get their feathers and are so awkwardly cute. Some of the care of the animals is repetitive; food, water and clean beds at night and food, water and pasture during the day. That said I walk on the chipped path to the horse barn. Ms. Peep is the first one to be cared for. She is a one-legged Ameraucana hen that has survived a weasel attack and a rat attack, she is a spunky girl! The old grey mare “Silver’ is grained, then her daughter Beauty, the pony Zena is given an “I’m sorry you’re fat sprinkle”. Goaty Mommas grained next, Little Goaty Girlz (yearlings) grain. Hay for horses in arena, alfalfa hay for goats outside.
My friend in Farmdom is just pulling into the driveway. Sigh, today we have to disbud the twin Mini Manchas born last Wednesday. This is the most unfavorite chore when you have Dairy goats. Sure the horns can be left, since most do not have the luxury of free ranging animals without fences the choice is made to disbud and prevent getting heads caught in fence squares. It also makes milking easier as they put their head into the stanchion to eat grain while being prepped and milked.
Plugging in the torturous disbudding iron, put the dog in the house and finish drawing up the vaccines and syringe of corn syrup given to each goat kid after the procedure. I only have the job of shaving the tops of each head, giving the shots and counting the longest, smelliest ten seconds while the red-hot iron burns a ring around the hornbuds. After both are ringed, the procedure is repeated.
As soon as we make sure each kid is not showing signs of shock, we rush them back to Momma and she lets them nurse. After a couple of hours the kids are up and tearing around the stall like all is forgotten!
Led both the horses out to the arena and fed them hay, water is fine. Pony Zena can wait until after lunch, if she is put out too soon she will drive the big horses away and eat All the hay!
I am sure I forgot some things to list on here, but it is time to eat lunch. Leftover Chicken Tetrazzini will hit the spot.
Next post will enlighten the reader to another crazy day on Z Farm
thanks for following!

My sheep is soooo fat!

15 Mar

Every Sunday for the last 6 weeks, we are asked the same question “Any lambs yet?”. No, she is still fat, although it did not seem possible that she is even wider than last week!
On our farm, we have raised Bummer Lambs and been blessed with the lost, little ones thriving. The combination of children’s prayers, hard work, fresh raw Goat’s milk and a Lot of Love are a reckoning force united!
The children enjoyed raising the lambs so much that last year that when a new friend from church called one afternoon asking us to take in a “Bummer Ram Lamb” we did not hesitate! After several months, he was so infatuated with our goats that we were on the search for a species similar companion for him. The Goaty Girlz were getting quite annoyed with his constant bleating and his lovingly following them around from sunrise until dusk!
Our friend Sarah gave us Lambie (Now a 200# ram!) offered to free lease us an ewe unrelated to him until after she kidded in the spring. We were enthralled and asked a friend Sam who owns a truck and canopy to transport the living link to our future flock.
Sam arrived at our farm and we drove over to pick the sheep up.
Let me enlighten you by what transpired when we went to bring her home. Most people who raise sheep for meat, only have their sheep handled once or twice a year for shearing, vaccinations, deworming and feet trimming. I had purchased a book on Sheep and read many sources to ready for this new venture. Even though I spent hours researching raising sheep, I never thought that other farms would not raise sheep like our Lambie! This sheep of ours can be summoned anytime of anyday by just walking outside and talking over by the pasture. He comes running, tail wagging and face turned up anticipating a scratch or treat. Knowing he is a “Ram”, he is not led around and we set up feed while they are locked out to keep him sweet and not too demanding or give him opportunities to get rammy!
It was a beautiful, unseasonably warm fall day and the first red flag was as soon as we pulled up the driveway we were greeted with “park over here and don’t let the sheep see you!”.
I figured we would have to treat them so we could shut the pasture gate as it was the middle of the afternoon and usually they would of been out grazing. Next, Sarah who owns the sheep proceeds to rip me a new one because we didn’t call right before we left! I apologized and was thinking to myself that I had just talked to her less than 2 hours before and I had called already, but oh well!
Now, I almost forgot to mention that my friend “Sam”who owns the truck with canopy confesses to me on the drive over that he is afraid of sheep! I burst out laughing hysterically because he is a tall man who looks like he can take care of himself! He did not grow up on a farm or have much exposure to sheep except while strolling in a childhood friends’ pasture a ram suddenly appeared who chased them everywhere.
We were standing over behind the barn when I heard “okay, you need to come help, I have her!” exclaimed Sarah.
As we come round the corner, we glanced at each other and ran towards her. Sam is directed out into the yard to the other side of the feeder. I quickly grab a hold of the rope that my spry, grey lady friend is grasping. Looking down into the stanchion is a lovely ewe who is clearly terrified! A rope is noosed around her neck and Sam looks at her, not knowing what to do next.
Sarah yells at him “get her on the ground and put the lead around her, then go get the truck!” I run around to where the ewe is bucking, snorting and frantically trying to get away as if she is in fear of her life! Sam has obviously overcome his fear and as gently as possible puts his knee on her and rolls her over as she is still kicking and trying to turn to get up. We succeed in getting a lead around her neck and convince her to buck her way towards the truck.
When we reach the tailgate, Sam reaches down and grabs fleece at the nape of her neck and hips and picks her up and puts her in the truck.
With lightening speed he pulls the canopy hatch closed and we simultaneously wonder if this ewe settle down as she wildly runs around inside of the closed canopy. Sam reaches in and slides the windows to keep her safe and ventilated on the way home.
We say our thank you s and pile in the truck, and I nervously peek behind us at our new addition to the farm. She finally stops and stands in the corner during the ride. She is a nice looking ewe with huge gold-colored eyes and a beautiful fleece that has multi colors woven through it. Sarah says she is a Cheviot and Icelandic cross and Icelandics are famous for the soft, long beautiful fleeces they sport.
surprisingly, she jumps right out of the truck and compared to the first introduction to this sheep named Diane she is easily led to the barn. Since I knew the owners of this sheep and how healthy their flock, I did not quarantine her. Ironically my Mom’s name was Diane, my children think this is so funny!

Now almost six months have passed and yes, my sheep is still soooo fat that Sarah says she may have triplets!

Lambie smiling

Keeping one glove…

8 Mar

We had lived at the house in town for seven years. Now, against all odds our dream had come true. We had just purchased a home in the country.
Amidst our crazy busy schedule; up at 5 am to get ready for work, son ready to be dropped off at school across town and enough time to navigate through the stagnant traffic of city life five days a week.
Not taking a lunch at the regular time, my boss let me take my break at 2:30 so I could go and pick up my son from school. He came back to work with me and after work, we drove home, ate dinner and went out to take care of the horses who were boarded at a private barn.
Being four months pregnant, I was a little particular about the way I wanted things to line up! The weather that November was typical for the Pacific Northwest and being that we were in the elements so much, I had just purchased new hats, gloves, boots for staying warm and dry.
It had taken me awhile to pick out a pair of gloves, I have children’s sized hands and feet and the choice was overwhelming! Finally I decided upon a turquoise pair of gloves, they had grippy dots on the palms and stars on the backs of the hands.
When the offer was accepted on our new house, we did not have long to sell our house in the city. Friends and well-meaning family warned us not to buy the house until our city house sold.
I recall receiving the phone call from the realtor that our offer was accepted, literally five minutes before it expired! I stood there holding the phone receiver in my hand, my husband asking me “what? is it good, what is it about?”. After slowly hanging up, I looked up at him and told him. “We have less than two weeks to sell this house before our first payment is due!”
The realtor we had already spoken with was wonderful and gave us some tips to make things go well. We packed most of the personal items, stored them in our huge garage and burned a Sugar Cookie candle in the entry. Less than a week later our house sold to a young couple buying their first home.
Mind you, it certainly wasn’t our great works that sold this house for us. It was meant to be and sometimes you have to step out and have faith. This was one of those times.
We packed and packed and drove out to the country house. It was such a wreck with much to be done prior to it being close to habitable, but that is another story!
We love our new home, yet there are adjustments with any move.
Being out in the country, it is DARK after the sun goes down! While unpacking, I realized that I couldn’t find the box with gloves and hats. Our house didn’t have a wood stove yet that was operational and we were sleeping in the front room with oil filled base heaters to be warm. We were still traveling to care for the horses and it was cold in December! We had over a foot of snow on the ground shortly after we moved in.
Darn, where is that box? Finally found the box and gleefully pulled all the warm winter stuff out and looked again. There is only one of my new gloves! Well, I had put some mismatched socks in a bag and brought them with us because I hadn’t time to match them up before we moved. I searched all over the place, sigh, only one of my new gloves could be found.
For some reason, I am an eternal optimist. Can you believe that I kept the one glove? Why? Growing up with bare minimums, I appreciated little things. For example in our family at Christmas we were given necessities; socks, new undies, new outfit if we were lucky.
I wanted to hold onto the idea that I could find that glove!
Time passed and my beautiful daughter was born, my ten-year old son growing and that fall I “spring cleaned”.
Surprisingly the second glove appeared out of nowhere. Rather like when a lost sock finds it way home. I was overjoyed!
We were out doing farm chores and I finally got to wear my pair of gloves, reunited at last! Filling water buckets, one of my hands got wet and I took off the gloves and put them in my pocket.
Tired and satisfied at the work we had done, we went back into the house and hung our coats up to dry.
I put some muffins in to cook, set the timer and dashed out to do chores. Not one thought about the gloves.
Next day was the weekend and we were all outside, reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves…pulled out…one glove.
Not again, I frantically searched all over to no avail. Sigh, setting the glove aside by this time feeling like it is the precious.
More time passed and that spring we were having shavings delivered.
We were in the shavings room and scraping the floor clean. I had already found 2 socks, a flip-flop and a hat. I look into the turn out and see a spot of turquoise amidst the grass. Could it be? I rushed out and lo and behold, the long-lost glove!
At first I was ecstatic, I could justify keeping the one glove to my husband who likes to razz me for my eccentric behaviors!
Then as I reached down to pick it up, I noticed that it was in tatters. One of the animals had liked the texture and it was only a scrap of glove now.
It sounds silly, but I was so disappointed. I went back into the house and really thought about why had I kept that mismatched glove for so long? What drives me to keep a huge bag of socks waiting to be matched? Why couldn’t I be like my friends who just throw everything away without remorse?
Mulling this over I came to realize that I have hope in silly things, including people when others do not. Gloves, socks, children I always have faith and hold out when others just go and buy new. Growing up with little I see things differently, constantly looking for the good. Whether you be a glove, sock or wayward person there is always something positive that can be found if you look hard enough!
Hope is not encouraged in this me world and I am content to be peculiar and be on the search for it, as I pull on mismatched gloves.
One glove navy blue and one glove…turqoise.