Friday’s Farm Fotos

August 20, 2010

The Fridays keep coming around way too fast!  My weeks never seem to be long enough to get everything done I want to get done.  Oh well! 

At any rate, here are a few pictures from around our little farm this past week.  I’m just putting them up in the order they came out of the camera!

I saw this critter one day as I was walking back from the mailbox.

green frog

A haven from the snakes?

Maybe he was just looking for some sunshine, or maybe he figured out it was a good place to keep an eye on any snakes hanging around.

There are still lots of Eastern Swallowtail Butterflies hanging around on the Joe Pye weed.

yellow and black butterflies

Butterfly Cafe

Here’s our silly lady llama getting a drink from the water hose while The Farmer tries to fill up one of the drinking pools.

black llama drinking water

Well water is nice and cold!

You can see Toby, the farm collie, in the background hoping The Farmer will turn around and spray water at him.  Keira wants sprayed too in this hot weather.

black lama

Shower Time!

And I can’t resist taking more pictures of butterflies when I walk by the pond and see them.  This one is a female Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly.

black butterfly

A sip of nectar by the pond.

It’s easy to tell the black ones are females, but harder to tell which yellow Swallowtails are male and which are female!

Here’s our female goat and a couple of ewe sheep hanging out under the big oak and walnut shade trees in the back yard.

goat and Shetland sheep

Shade tree air conditioning!

And lastly, here’s a Blue Jay I saw at the birdbath this morning.  I don’t often see them around close to the house.

Blue Jay at bird bath

Getting at drink at the local pub.

And there you have it, another week on the farm!

Shearing Sheep

June 28, 2010

Saturday The Farmer and I did a long put-off chore.  I kept putting it off because I kept hoping I could find someone else to do it!  Shearing sheep is hard work, and I know I’ll pay for it with at least 2 or 3 days of mega-pain levels.  (Thoracic chronic nerve pain doesn’t take kindly to such activity!)

But no one wants to come out back of beyond to shear 3 little Shetland sheep.  So after getting some new blades in the mail last Thursday, the first free day was Saturday and that was D-(IHTDT) Day!  (That translates as Dang! I Hate To Do This Day!)

So although they looked nice with their fluffy wool. . .

Shetland sheep resting

Coconut, the flock matriarch

It was time for it to come off.

The ewes all have different colored wool.  Coconut has white wool, and Papaya has what’s called shaela wool in Shetland sheep circles.  Shaela wool is sometimes described as “black frost” and that’s exactly what she has.

black Shetland sheep ewe

Papaya

Our third ewe has musket colored wool, which is a light sort of brown.

sheep with light brown wool

Valrhona

However pretty they looked, they also looked HOT when the temperatures are in the high 90s (F.) around here.  So it was high time to lose the wool coat.

We didn’t try to save it, though Valrhona had some especially gorgeous wool.  We just aren’t that adept at shearing, and there are too many second cuts. 

Part of the problem is that shearing machine is heavy at 3 1/2 pounds.  That may not sound like much but when it’s shaking in your hands and you’re holding tight, and the machine gets hot, and you’re moving it through some thick wool for about 3 hours while bent over the sheep… trust me, it’s heavy and hard to handle.

I never meant to buy a shearing machine in the first place.  I called the company to order clippers, but let the guy talk me into shears and have regretted it ever since.  Besides being heavy to work with, it is also very easy to cut the sheep when using shears.  Which is another reason it takes us so long!  I don’t trust myself to go zipping through that wool without also zipping through some skin!

At any rate, the job is done for this year.  They are now grazing in relative comfort, even though it’s hot outside!

black wooled ewe

Near Naked Sheep

.

2 sheep

Grazing in the cool of the evening.

It did help that Papaya and Valrhona held still to be sheared, almost as if they were just so relieved to get that wool off they didn’t care if we handled them.  Our usual ultra-friendly ewe, Coconut, was a different matter however.  She squirmed around and ended up with a couple of cuts because of that.  The Farmer was using scissors to clip some wool off her back legs, and she had to stop twice to pee on him.

That’s life on the farm!

Oh, and if you’re wondering what happened to the pictures of the actual shearing… well, it’s hard to hold a camera, sheep and shearing machine all at the same time!

Friday’s Farm Fotos

May 21, 2010

Here we are, another Friday, and time for some miscellaneous pictures from around the farm this week. Per usual, in the order they came out of the camera.  Here we go!

Here’s the retired matriarch of our Shetland sheep, Miss Coconut.

female sheep

Got it made in the shade. . .

 She loves having her head scratched and is always looking for treats.  (I have NO idea how she got that way.  Must be The Farmer handing out treats, yeah, that’s it. . .)

This one is an interesting combination of beauty and the beast… beastly odor that is.

Beauty and the Beast(ly odor)

That Monarch butterfly is on a Voodoo Lily.  It’s the only one I see growing this year.  *Someone* keeps mowing down the bank where they grow. . .

Here’s a closer look:

Dracunculus vulgaris

When that big bloom opens, it generally will lay down horizontal.  And smell.  And attract a LOT of bugs.  (There’s more pictures and info about this plant at Voodoo Magic.)

And of course, I have lots of hens and baby chicken pictures, so here’s a couple of those:

On the move!

.

chicks

A chick, chick here. . .

Oh, and here’s another picture of the rambling rose growing up in a big oak tree.  I put a couple of arrows in there so you can see better how far it is up into the tree.

Paul's Himalayan Musk Rambling Rose

And while we have lots of bluebirds and Tufted Titmouse birds and robins and such flitting around, there are also still lots of cardinals to brighten up the place.

Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis)

And speaking of bluebirds, we have some nesting nearby.  Here’s one after it took off from the nest. . .

Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis)

And one of the bluebirds is looking down at the hidden nest here. . .

Eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis)

Their nest is hidden in a pipe that is bracing a gate post.

The arrow marks the spot!

The nest is just below a hole in the pipe, so I can see it’s there, but I can’t see in it.  Can’t see down the pipe either, because it’s too close against the fence post.

It’s been raining this morning, so I wondered how the little Tufted Titmouse baby birds were doing since that’s just an open hole in the post.

Rain doesn't seem to dim the appetite of baby birds!

They seem to be doing fine, in spite of the rainy weather!

The rain doesn’t keep the sheep from getting out to graze either.

A Trio of Shetland Ewes

And last for today, a picture of a bloom and buds on my Country Lady rose bush.

Country Lady Rose

That’s it for this week.  Have a great week-end!

Still Snowy. . .

February 15, 2010

Okay, so we still have snow, and still getting more snow. Granted, around here it doesn’t usually last long. It often snows in the morning and the stuff is gone by the afternoon.

Three Shetland ewe sheep.

A little snow here, a little snow there. . .

Still, I’ve seen enough white stuff. We’re in the south. A little bit goes a long way.

Snow on white Shetland sheep ewe.

A dusting of snow on ewe.

Of course, I’m grateful we’re not getting dumped on like our relatives in West Virginia or Virginia and the D.C. area!!!  That’s way more snow than I want to handle these days!

Spring is coming. . . I just know it is… but to be the shortest month of the year, February sure seems to last a long time!

Sleeping through grazing guineas. . .

February 11, 2010

I guess when you’re tired, and it’s time for ewe to take a nap… a few guineas going by and pecking in the grass around ewe doesn’t make much difference.

Shetland sheep ewes and guinea birds.

At any rate, the old matriach of our little flock didn’t seem to notice when she had guineas all around her. And they can be LOUD.

Guuinea birds and sheep ewes.

I guess if ewe need a nap, ewe need a nap.