Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

We had another quiet New Year's Eve. I can't remember the last time I stayed up till Midnight. Sarah spent her night in Rhode Island, she still makes the annual trek to my Brother Andrews. She goes up with Eve and this year with Ryan. The numbers are dwindling down.
We did have a mild 'celebration' on New Years Eve Eve, Bryan set the chimney on fire. I mention Bryan specifically, because those of you who have been following my blog for awhile, will remember that I set it on fire our first winter. Of course when I did it, the chimney cap wasn't dripping flames, just saying. We got our visit from the fire dept, I think all the trucks in the station respond, thankfully they weren't needed. Bryan had most of the fire out by the time they arrived, but it was still a good to call them. So we are thankful we ended the year on that note, instead of beginning the new year on fire.

New Year's Eve was much more mundane. Yesterday I began to clean out barn stalls so we could move the 2 pregnant Ewes into the barn to await the lambs. I was able to clean one stall and figured that the 3 Angora boys needed a clean stall also, so I moved them into the clean stall and began the monumental task of cleaning their old stall. I tend to deep litter the barn stalls which is great for warmth in the winter, but a real pain when it comes time to clean.
Today was another 40+ degree day, so out the goats went and Bryan came to help clean the second stall. We got that done as well as Pan's stall, though it is so small it only took 4 wheelbarrow loads. Pan (or Tiny Tim as he is shaping up to be) got to wander the barn and yard. He is still separate from the other goats because he is so small, the other goats, (Flo) pick on him. So while they were locked up in the main field, he was free to wander at will. Will usually takes him to the Barn firs for some fresh hay. After awhile, we noticed he hadn't been seen for some time. Bryan went to look for him in the barn, no sign, the field, no sign, the yard, no sign, the bottom of the barn, no sign. You get the picture. What makes this hard to comprehend, is that he is wearing a bright red coat.
How do yo lose a goat in a red coat? He never wanders far, so I wasn't overly worried. I went back up to the barn, and wedged between two bales of hay, was small goat butt. I don't know if he was stuck or not, but he came out chewing. so he was at least happy.
He then wandered to the chicken house for some grub, and then to the garden, no grub there, and finally back to the upper barn for more hay. He is finally putting on some weight, is it any wonder? He will never grow to his full potential, though so I will be looking for a new buck later this year. Pan, of course will always have a home here.
The sheep were 'free ranging' today also, sometimes we open their gate and let them wander between the fields, It started to rain and they all found their way to the barn. I took this opportunity to pen the 2 pregnant Ewes into the 'maternity' ward. It turns out that the girls were bred when we got them or shortly after when they were still with Apollo. Because of this, i don't know when they will drop their lambs. All I know is their bellies are large and their udders getting large. Normally I wouldn't mind them lambing outside, but without a clue as to the date, I feel safer with them inside the barn, away from the coyotes that pass through the field sometimes.
They seem quite comfy in the new digs, but the remaining Ewes were not happy at all, keep in mind that the 3 remaining girls are daughters of the 2, and they miss their mommies. As with most mothers when they know that their children aren't really in any danger, they seemed not to hear the wailing from the outside pen.
I did stop to get some pictures of our resident Hawk, he circles the field on a daily basis, and thankfully, doesn't make it up to the chicken house. Knock on wood, but we have only lost 1 chicken, last year, to a hawk. He is truly beautiful to watch.
He wasn't the only one catching mice today, Slinky, one of the barn cats caught one and had a great time with it.
A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that at least one of my younger hens had been laying eggs in the outside duck hutch, a place that freezes overnight and usually during the day. I closed up the hutch and figured problem solved. When my egg numbers in the chicken house did not increase, I figured they were on strike, as happens in the winter. Not so we found out today. Bryan had closed up the goat trailer yesterday, today he went up there and there was a chicken inside of it, he said there wasn't one yesterday. There are cut out 'windows' that she had used to go inside, but was unable to get back out. When Bryan looked in the trailer, there were 2 nests, chocked full of eggs, most of course had been frozen. I wish I had taken a picture of that, sneaky birds! I have 2 options to try and solve this dilema, 1 is to leave them locked up later in the morning and the 2nd is to just close the trailer and hope they return to the chicken house, some how I don't think it will that easy. We shall see.

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