Shades of Ireland

Monday, January 31, 2011

Bo Peep is pooped.....

Being Mama to 70 lambs is nearly a full time job. I only have one bunch that is still not quite got the hang of the self feeders. I am thinking by tomorrow they will have figured it out and make my life much easier.
I cannot believe how incredibly fast they are growing. Right now, they are easily cleaning up about 35 gallons of milk a day.

This is where four of the pens come together and share a corner. As you can see, other than that black lamb, all 40 of these guys are all about the same size.

Neil had this past weekend off from work....... well, working for someone else at least. The weather was incredibly warm and beautiful and we worked ourselves almost to the point of exhaustion. He and Seth got another inside pen built and also got 3 outside pens put together.  My friends, Dorothy and Tammy, came and spent Saturday helping me to get the barn and soap room cleaned up and better organized. Tammy is my soap and lotion making partner and we had made quite a mess this past summer getting all that stuff made.
Now I have to shift gears and use that space for milk processing.

Then we got word about the weather forecast for tomorrow. Merciful heavens! Mother Nature can be so cruel. On Saturday, it was 72 degrees. Tonight, we are waiting for the snow to get here. We are under a blizzard warning for tomorrow and expecting nearly a foot of snow.

We have been scrambling getting ready. I am afraid that it will too cold for the younger set of lambs that we just moved out. So we had to rearrange things to make room for them to come back into the barn. I stripped and cleaned all the pens, rebedded them and brought the gang back in. Ammonia is a respiratory nightmare for animals that are kept in a barn. I work very hard to keep it pleasant for all of us.

The guy who owns these lambs and milks their mothers is in quite a fix. He has ewes dropping lambs everywhere. Yesterday, he had 30 more lambs at his place. I can't take them because we are just full up. We feed these lambs whole cow milk that I enrich with a supplement. I have a big barrel and several large milk buckets that I store it in.
The red barrel is a rain barrel that Seth made for last summer. It is being repurposed for the winter....
The sheep guy buys this milk from a nearby Amish community. Since the blizzard is coming, he made sure that he brought me all the milk that he could find. He stopped at a  farm that he had not been to before. The young lady who was milking was so relieved to sell him her milk. They have a "station" where they all take their milk to sell as a group. She was dreading having to drive the horse and buggy ten miles to the station throught the snow in the morning to deliver her milk. He is going to try to make it back late tomorrow to make another pick up. If he makes it through to all the farms that he buys from, he will be a very popular guy in the Amish community!!

So, while I am juggling feedings, mixing milk, making bucket feeders, trying to keep up with the sheep, we still are milking Holly, the Jersey cow, and bottle feeding this calf.

You might remember him. He was the little guy born in the last bitter cold and snow. His mother was just not able to make enough milk for him. So, he is now going to be Adam's bucket calf for the county fair in July.

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