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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.

…brings the first lambs of 2015.

first ram lamb 2015

 

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

paprika with twins

The weather has been a little unseasonably warm…and the mud has kept the animals from getting out into the fields.

I think the young ones have been going a little stir crazy.

Holiday Critters

Colder days have arrived, however, and the first batch of pregnant ewes are showing their situation (and complaining about it, at times).

However, Loretta (our best favourite ewe) is always steadfast and sweet.

Loretta Greeting

Wishing you all the best of the season, and a happy, healthy and heartwarming New Year.

Dear Palmira,

PicMonkey Flower Collage

You would love the sights and sounds and smells and tastes on the farm these past few days.

Sanford

The ewes are doing the long August walk to and from the back pasture morning and night (no thanks to Hazel, of course), and the lambs take turns escaping under the fence to find the better clover.

girl pig

The little piggies are brave and social and love having their foreheads scratched.

 

eggplant

The eggplant are excellent for stuffing (“Just like a delicious pasta supper, without all the carbs!”, you grinned), and the tomatoes and cucumbers are perfect for sandwiches (“Just one more…”).

tomato slice

The garlic is harvested, the blueberries are ripe, and the evenings spread a cooler air over us as we sleep (great for yoga in the cabin, no doubt!).

busy bees

I know you would even take delight in the industrious pollinators that keep us surrounded with beauty and sustenance.

roses

It has been one year. The farm has been through a full cycle of moons.

We think of you every day, and are grateful for the lessons you taught us about opening our hearts, extending our arms and appreciating the bounty of our community.

The cycle continues.

 

Sanford

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

TOO MANY PICTURES!

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

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!

 

 

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

Ironwood Farm lost a valuable part of the landscape and atmosphere this week.

Napping last Christmas

Napping last Christmas

You may remember Pedro, having met him in the u-pick patch, or reading about him in a previous post

Pedro was a crowd greeter, cattle wrangler, world (or at least Kempt Shore) traveller, beloved son to Bebe, snuggle-buddy to Tiny, and constant companion. He will be greatly missed.
~ hj

Surveying his farm from the comfort of his basket

Surveying his farm from the comfort of his basket

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.)

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