Archive for the ‘Sheep’ Category


…and they’re awful cute!

(I’m having a hard time getting my good camera out to the barn, as I’m usually juggling 8 or 9 bottles, so if you want to see some sweet lamb pics, you’ll have to check out Instagram @ironwoodfleece. But I’ll be back here soon – what else is March Break for, if not catching up on the blog?…oh, and feeding bottle lambs.)

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sheep love

sheep love

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spring snow collage


Well, it’s the second full day of Spring.

Although the signs of the season may not be immediately obvious, a trip to the barn reminds us that Easter weekend is around the corner.

ella's lamb collage

It is hard to see the scale in the photos, but Ella’s new little girl (just 12 hours old) is pretty wee – particularly compared to the porkers (lambs, not pigs) we’re still bottle feeding 3 times a day. Those 5 will knock you over if you aren’t careful! I haven’t been able to get a good shot of them, as they are always throwing themselves at you – full force – to see if you might, by chance, have a bottle in your hand, or pocket, or sleeve.

sun catchers collage

 Everybody takes advantage of any sun beams that make their way through the windows (which isn’t all that often, lately, given the amount of snow piled up. Millie’s twins (on the left) seem to be the only ones that don’t come over to investigate at bottle time. We’re feeding 5, but there are often at least 7 poking their nose in and making things difficult.

panda collage

Lastly, my apologies…I thought I had introduced you all to this little sweetie, but as I looked back through the (very infrequent) posts, I see that I’ve just thought about it.

Sylvia (who is a good mom, but has been battling pneumonia this winter) had two little ewe lambs – one white and one black/spotty, as is usual for her. This little girl is definitely not as precocious as her slightly older sister, but she’s starting to get the hang of things, and pushes her way through the crowd to take her place at the bottle line-up.

Lambing 2015, Round 2, has begun.

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wintery days

I hope, wherever you are, that the wind is not howling too loudly, and the drifts have not piled too high.

After lots of rain and soggy pastures keeping the sheep out of the fields for much of the first part of winter, we’ve been hit by a crazy amount of snow in recent weeks. Something else to keep the sheep in the barns.

snowy days

The sheep are tolerating it, and, so far, are not trying to venture out across the drifts.

The lambs have been behaving themselves, too – and Gertrude’s triplets managed to keep their sweaters on.

Most of the time.

Rupert thought they instantly looked better once they put their sweaters on – “much more mature”. I pointed out that the turtlenecks have that effect (and also served to cover their wrinkly backs).

Sweater collage

They are still being bottle fed…the “green girl” and little boy are getting something from mom, but they need a little supplement, too. The “red girl” (named for the colour of crayon I marked her with, for Rupert’s sake) is getting all of her milk from us. And she is very vocal about it every time we come into the barn.

hungry girl

We have to be careful about not being fooled into feeding her too much. But it can be hard to resist that persistent cry…and that face.

They are doing quite well, though. Down to just four feedings a day (no more 2 a.m. bottles!), and they have outgrown their sweaters.

Which is a good thing, since Millie had twins this afternoon, and the sweaters are needed elsewhere.

millie with new girl

Stay warm.

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…brings the first lambs of 2015.

first ram lamb 2015


I guess Paprika didn’t want us to get bored.

paprika with twins

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I know it has been a while. A long while.

juliet and babe

You’re used to all of the usual excuses, but I’d like to add one more to the list.

Loretta with Lamb


Black Lamb

These lambs are just so cute, and I’ve been enjoying playing with my new camera (although I have not yet progressed beyond the automatic settings!) –  who has time to sort through them all and get some posted for the rest of you to see?
Oh right, all those other bloggers out there that manage to do it all, and still keep the world informed on a regular basis.

Greenie under Willows

But don’t forget all of those other excuses that I chose not to mention this time.

littlest lamb

Well, even my sister, who turned 45 this week, commented on the delay between postings, so here it is.

Birthday Wish

 Hope to see you all again, very soon. ~ hj

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So, I had every intention of sharing with you the contrast between the many signs of spring and the seemingly-unending battle with winter. That will have to wait for another day, however.

Stomper with babes

You might remember Stomper. She was the mature ewe that came to our farm with our first flock or ewe lambs; grouchy, bossy, and the perfect leader to show the young ones how the out-to-the-pasture and back-to-the-barn thing is supposed to work. She was quickly demoted from leader (Ophelia, Juliet and Gertrude took turns in that role until some of these other young know-it-alls moved up the ranks), but she has always been a good mom, and a favourite with the lambs trying out their acrobatics (with her as trampoline).

number three

I’m sure the triplets that were born yesterday morning will enjoy bouncing off her as they race around the pen, too.

number one

Two years ago, she had a set of triplets, as well. This time, she is a little older, and just as diligent, but perhaps a little slower to come to her milk. We helped supplement with cow colostrum for the first 24 hours, but everyone seems to be settling in to the routine now. The lambs certainly know what they are supposed to be doing – even if they don’t always know where they are supposed to be doing it…


giving whole new meaning to the term "sucking face"

giving whole new meaning to the term “sucking face”

Maisie, our final hold-out from the “winter lambing” delivered a ewe lamb on her own this afternoon. She’s not quite sure she wants to claim it, but we’re keeping an eye on her…as well as Gertrude and Alyson, both of whom seem to be giving the signal that we should set our alarms for the middle of the night.

So, I thought you’d appreciate the news of the lambs. The (other) signs of spring will have to wait.

Millie's girl

One last pic of my favourite little girl – Miss Millie’s little ewe lamb, now 6 weeks old. Her dirty face is a result of the waxy gland her mother has next to her udder (it’s how the little ones know where to direct themselves).

And, yes, I’m allowed to have favourites!



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looking over gate

There are signs of life all over Ironwood these days…

little lamb

 … and those of you familiar with our farm, and the events of the past few months, will know how important it is for us to celebrate life.

March lambs

So as the days are lengthening, the seedlings are sprouting, and the lambs are growing, we look forward to the year ahead with a long list of things for which to be thankful.

sprouting chard

I know it has been many months since my last post, with too many happenings to recount here now.

However, armed with a new camera, the strength of friends and family, a foundation of memories, and a renewed dedication to live life to the fullest, I hope to spend more time here in 2014.

sprouting kale

I also hope you’ll come back to visit.  ~ hj

lamb looking over shoulder

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Lester’s news

Yep…it turns out that Lester did get a little busy in the summer, after all. These ewe lambs are firsts for both Lester and Scarlet (who has had an udder since shearing time last Spring, so she’s been keeping us guessing for months!).

Scarlet with her twin ewe lambs, one week old.

Scarlet with her twin ewe lambs, one week old.

And just to ensure there is no confusion, they have their dad’s long legs, and long locks!

(Note the snow on Scarlet’s back…the blizzard of yesterday and this morning reached into the barn, but Moms, babes, and observers all seem pretty content.)

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We hope you have had an appropriate mix of revelry and relaxation so far this holiday, however you spend your days – whether in celebration, contemplation or just vacation.

setting up lambing jug

setting up lambing jug

We woke up to a new lamb in the barn on Christmas morning, and twins born just after we returned from Christmas feasting in Seabright later that day.

pepper with her twins

pepper with her twins

This all serves to legitimize our decision to not go anywhere overnight and just do day trips to see the various relatives.

settling in for the night

settling in for the night

I think that will be it for a while – no more noticeable udders. It may be that we’ve managed to stretch our lambing period over several months! And we still don’t have any evidence that our new ram has done any work…good thing we still have Lukey.

We’re heading out now to put the moms and babes in together for company. Of course, all the other ewes get jealous when they see the nice hay and extra grain that Pepper and Ginger are having. I don’t think they’ve learned to associate it with popping out a lamb or two, yet, though.

I’m continuing to have troubles posting (technical and psychological), but if I get up enough momentum, I’ll have to fill you in on the rest of the holiday happenings (including Rupert playing the part of shepherd in the local live Nativity…).

Happy New Year, all. ~ hj

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