Thursday, April 29, 2010

They're the same age.

The vet told me so.

Despite the fact that she's as big as his head.

They're within a month of each other, at the most. Crazy.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A bit of mad, a bit of glad, and another egg in a pan picture.

Yesterday, we found our first double-yolked egg.

Funny, these were so very common at the university poultry set-up that I worked at in college. One out of every ten eggs was a double yolk. This is our first double-yolk in two years. They had about one-hundred chickens, ours have fluctuated between nine and seventeen. Proportionally, that still doesn't make sense. I wonder what else affects double-yolk production.

You want the glad or the mad first? I'll do mad. Let's end the post glad.

We live about 3/4 of a mile from the desert. Just past the farms, with their rock piles, is the desert that has defied farming so far. Out on this desert, sheep ranchers bring thousands of sheep and dump them there for the winter and early spring. These sheep don't get the kind of care that sheep do when moved to summer camps. After all, there are not a lot of predators out there (and losing a few out of a thousand doesn't seem to bother them) and where are they going to go?

Looking for water, that's where. It can be a pain in the butt to go out and check the water tanks as often as is needed, I guess, and what's a day or two without water going to do to them? Send them out across the desert in a desperate search. And they're pregnant. I have very strong feelings about their owners. Those feelings got much stronger yesterday.

Yesterday, Matt saw three ewes staggering off the desert and onto the road, barely standing. One had just given birth to triplets about 100 yards into the desert and none of them had made it. Another had twins. The last had triplets who were no more than an hour old and very weak, forced to stumble along after their mother as she looked for water.

Matt came to get us to help him and we went to get them. The momma with the twins was gone. Matt searched for her for two hours that afternoon and never found her again. The other two were panting and staggering. I caught the three lambs and we took them down the road really slowly until we got to our goat pasture. We led them to the watering trough and then backed off until a few hours later when I went out to get these pictures.

The three babies belong to the big ewe. The little ewe - who we haven't mouthed yet, so we don't know for sure, doesn't look more than a year old.

The bigger ewe looked strange to me, and I finally figured out what it was. This is her left profile.

This is her right profile.

No eye. Just a red, raw hole.

Watch. In a few weeks, when coming to pick up their ewes, the owners will drive by our property, see those sheep and come with a trailer.

Now on to the glad.

I experienced something that was very similar to deja vu. I was walking Physion from the milking stand back to the pasture and it hit me. The earthy, rainy smell, the heavy air pressure, my neighbor's rock wall,

the cool temperature, my wellies, the rock driveway, the green pastures...

If I had been leading a horse instead of a goat, I could have been back in Ireland, working at the stable. It was a good, good feeling. I just closed my eyes and let it soak in for a minute. Then Physion got impatient and pulled me on.

It's a steady, soft rain that's been going since late last night. My plants are loving it.

The combination of the cooler temperatures and the steady moisture is making them perk up more than my hose watering was accomplishing.

This is rhubarb that I transplanted from our other property.

And I have some hope that finally, after three years of trying, I might - just might - have fresh, home-grown strawberries to eat this year.

That makes me very glad indeed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Today the planting began.

The outside planting, that is. I've got tons of starts going in the garage, but outside I did my first real planting today.

We've had upwards of two weeks of windy, cold weather now. We've had to put all outside projects on hold. The arbor, the flower garden, the food garden. Today we had warmish weather and Matt took Gray on a work trip with him, so it was just the girls and me.

I planted 75 strawberry plants, 13 pounds of potatoes, and got most of my garden marked off. I've planted strawberries for three years now and have never gotten more than two or three berries. Maybe here, with more sun, I'll have better luck. Potatoes always grow and I always get a fair amount, but not last year - last year the Colorado Potato Beetles got them. This year I'll be on the lookout for those.

While I did that, the girls took advantage of the warm weather to play.

This long rock pile sits between part of our property and the field behind us. The farmland in this area is so rocky. These were pulled from the ground and stacked in a pile along the edge of the field.

There's something about a long pile of rocks like this. It's made for playing and exploring on.

You can have so many adventures on that. Today my girls were pirates mostly.

Thought I'd show you this - this is our view to the south. Still lots of snow on those mountains.

Tomorrow I get to plant peas. If the weather holds.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Standing at attention.

I've never seen any factory-produced eggs do this.

The picture doesn't do it justice. Those egg yolks weren't flattening out or breaking easily, and they weren't a pale, insipid yellow. These farm eggs, especially the spring ones, are bright orange and sturdy. I love it.

And with spring here, the girls (mostly Ainsley) can't be kept off of the horses.

Ainsley mostly rides Daisy, while Hannah rides Princess the pony. Halfway through one of the rides, Hannah talked Ains into trading mounts and after riding for a few seconds, Ains exclaimed "You is on a big horse, Hannah!" It had apparently never occurred to her while she was riding Daisy that Daisy was a big horse.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring means snow.

At least it does here, and I've come to expect it. Usually, though, the snow comes and is gone within one day - maybe two. We got snow last Friday night.

We ended up having our Easter egg hunt inside on Sunday because it was still hanging around. Here it is Tuesday and it's *still* here. We even had hail yesterday, but that's just piled on top of the snow. It looks like it's here to stay until at least this weekend.

Butterfly is loving it. He doesn't look happy in this picture, but he's in his element. He won't come in the house at all anymore. He sleeps in the middle of the yard in the deepest snow he can find. He's constantly bugging Cygnus to play with him. It's adorable.

So now we just wait for the sun to come back.