Monday, April 20, 2015

Peeps!



  


The Peeps arrived at the feed store today! After some rancher-friends stopped in and delivered a cat mid-morning, I jumped in the car and went after the baby chicks.  I ordered 25 of various breeds:  Rhode Island Red, Buff Orpington, Barred Rock, White Rock, and American Auracana.  They are ALL just so cute!  I had to stop by the town-grankids' house to let them see the chicks and hold their fuzzy little bodies for a few minutes before I went home.  There is just so much wonderment in a fuzz-ball chick -- the loud peep-peep, the warm, soft body, the kind eyes, the little feet, the handful-size of them -- all captivating to little hands and hearts.

After getting home I set up the chickie coop with a large box, heat lamp, feed and water and set the peeps free, one at a time, making sure to dip each beak into the water before letting them go.  They seem very healthy and active which is a good sign.  The neighbor grankids took their turns holding each color of chick and picking their favorites.  It'll be an everyday event for them, checking on the peeps.

The new cat that came to live with us is a neutered male cat.  He's a silky, black cat who is very friendly.  I left him in the barn and plan to keep him in there a couple days so he knows where "home" is.  That is, of course, unless he finds his way out.  It is far from escape-proof for cats.  So far he seems happy to be here. I hope he proves a good mouser!

We are still busy calving cows, and it's been a good spring for it.  The weather has been mostly mild with no heavy rains or snows to complicate things.  We're hopeful that we will get some good spring moisture yet, but for now, the dry days make calving easy.  We will brand the heifers' calves this week sometime.

We moved the sheep herd to summer pasture yesterday.  Oh, how I wish I had brought my camera.  I suppose the sheep were strung out for a half a mile trailing behind me.  Such a sight!  They were happy to get to the pasture where there is less old grass and more of the things they like graze -- weeds, little spring flowers, clover starts, sweet peas, wild celery and onions.  Sheep go crazy for those non-grassy plants, but they'll still eat their fair share of shortgrass.  The lambs are almost as big as their mothers right now.  They're doing great.

I'm enjoying the beginnings of spring on the prairie.  More and more birds have migrated home; I have a few tulips, hyacinths, and daffodils up now around the yard, and the pastures are beginning to green up. I spotted the first golden peas which are a herald of spring.  We don't have leaves on the trees yet, but their buds are fat and splitting out so it won't be long.

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Let's go fly a kite!

 Peach & Toodles

 FirstBornSon (aka:  Daddy)  Little Boy Blue, Peach
 Flying kites way up to the moon!







Mr. Banks:
With tuppence for paper and strings
You can have your own set of wings
With your feet on the ground
You're a bird in flight
With your fist holding tight
To the string of your kite

Oh, oh, oh!
Let's go fly a kite
Up to the highest height!
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring
Up through the atmosphere
Up where the air is clear
Oh, let's go fly a kite!


(Mary Poppins)

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Whirly-Twirly Circle Skirts...

 (Bee and Rootie Tootie) 

Hello!  More new twirly skirts to show you! 

The pattern is free, courtesy of Made by Dana.  One good thing about this pattern is you can also make one for yourself!  There is an adult version and I 'm excited to make one for myself.  These skirts go together fast because they are so simple -- one piece of fabric with no seams, a wide elastic waistband,  and a hem.  Fast and easy.  

Do you see the brown skirt above?  Mama asked me to make a pair of brown skirts because these girls wear their skirts every day, doing everyday girl stuff like riding bikes and playing in the garden dirt with shovels and buckets.  So brown skirts were a must!  For now, the girls wear their skirts with jeans or leggings since it's too chilly for bare legs.

Look here!  
Even our newest baby grandgirl got a couple twirly skirts!  The baby version of the circle skirt takes a fat quarter, a 14-15" chunk of 1inch elastic, and a hem.  I did a bias tape edge on this skirt, and I like how it finishes the edge and helps the skirt hold it's flair.  The baby circle skirt tutorial is also from Made by Dana HERE!  Don't you just love the crocheted baby blanket?  Mama made it! She's become a very good, self-taught crocheter. 

If you'd like a quick and easy project for a little girl (or big girl), this is it!  It would make a fun gift too.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Hanging out...


It's a breezy day in the country today -- let's say stoutly breezy.  In fact, downright Windy!  I needed to wash work clothes and kitchen laundry, and since there's sunshine and a "breeze," I'm all about hanging out.  I've always been one of those lazy renegade clothesline people who leaves her pins on the line to weather and wear, but after this winter, I'm going back to the clothespin bag.  I found that the old pins were leaving greasy, black marks on my clothes.  Pooh!

I made myself a simple clothespin bag out of one of the legs of my old favorite jeans.  I found the good tutorial at Gwenny Penny and did everything she did except instead of the cute pocket, I added a well-worn and well-loved embroidery from an old dish towel that my daughter embroidered when she was a little girl.  I had been saving that dish towel and using it for years, and today it got a new purpose --  a decoration for my clothespin bag and a sweet reminder of those 5 li'l chicks of mine who were the best helpers ever!  They were known to help hang out the laundry or take it off the line when a dusty wind was coming or when rain clouds were looming.

This isn't much of a pretty little sack, but it's a worker and it's practical.  I added a little clip to the belt loops so I can slide it down the lines as I pin the laundry, or I can clip it securely closed and hang it on one end of the clothesline when we have a stout breeze like today so the pins won't spill out. 

Are you a line dryer or a tumble dryer?  Or both?  Tell me your tips and tricks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Calvies galore! and more to come...









Most of the first-calf heifers have had their babies with a dozen more left to calve.  Then we begin calving the mature cows.  We brought them home so they are in nearby pastures so we can check them easily and keep tabs on them.

I am so thrilled that we've had some early, spring rain this week!  Yesterday morning we awoke to rain coming down.  I captured .3" of rain in my cute, garden rain gauge.  The utilitarian rain gauge is cracked.  This morning we had more wetness to report and tallied up another .25" of rain.  Every little bit adds up here on the prairie.  What I love about this good land we live on is that it takes very little moisture to produce the native grasses that grow here.  Our annual average rainfall is about 11-12" per year.  Not much, is it?  But it is enough.  I'm hopeful that the rain keeps falling and the sun keeps shining.  Actually, it's perfect when it rains at night and the sun shines in the day!  I'm all for that!  Have a happy day!
........................................................

The friendly cow, all red and white,
I love with all my heart:
She gives me cream with all her might,
To eat with apple-tart.


~Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Vernal Equinox!

 This is what it is looking like here on the first day of spring.  Not very green or cheery, but warm.  No daffodils, no tulips, no rainbows.  Mostly it's just brown with a hefty wind blowing the dirt around, but hey, it's still spring, and I'm excited that those greengrass days are on the way.  I'm seeing little shoots of green poking up through the dry grass, and the sharp points of tulips and daffodils are  just now poking through.  Hooray for Spring!

 Sue is enjoying her rides in the caker pick-up these days.  It's much warmer than it has been and that makes riding in the back much better.  After we feed the livestock and we're on the road into the house, Sue and Charlie jump out and take a mile long run home.  I think it's one of their favorite parts of the day.

The lambs are all docked now and they're growing like weeds! They feel so good with this warmer weather, and I love to watch them jump and frolic around just like you would see in the storybooks.


Hubs had some FSA stuff to do at the county seat yesterday so I decided to ride along with him.  We decided to call upon the aging aunts who lived there while we were in town.  Aunt Virgie who lives in senior living and Aunt  Betty who is in the nursing home were both so excited to have visitors, and we thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them too.  Now that I am a smartphone user, I was delighted to be able to share some photos of our grandchildren with them.  I had some photos of sheep on my phone too and Aunt Betty was particularly fascinated with those.  Several years ago we bought 50 head of ewes from her when she was going out of the ranching business.  So the sheep that you see in my photos are descendents of Aunt Betty's flock.

The visit reminded me how very important it is to call on old folks.  They really do love hearing from us or having a visitor pop in now and then, but don't assume, like we did, that these old folks don't have anything to do!  We were tickled when Aunt Betty reminded us that they were playing Bingo at 2 and it was her favorite game.  We had just arrived at ten minutes till.  We got the stink-eye from several old ladies who were presently seated at the table and ready to play.   We were holding up the game. It was a short visit, but sweet.  I was reminded how much my own parents always enjoy hearing from me, either by phone or in person.  I hope that when I'm an old lady, my children and nieces and nephews will come visiting me too.

Wishing you a Happy Vernal Equinox.  Equal daylight and equal night.  What did your first day of spring look like?  

Friday, March 13, 2015

New arrivals daily!

American Robin (wikimedia commons)

Redwinged Blackbird (wikimedia commons)


Western Meadowlark (wikimedia commons)

Fluffy (our tomcat)

So many feathered arrivals and more on the way, and yet one furry arrival who did not come from so far away.  Fluffy, our tomcat, has come back to the barnyard.  We saw flashes of him up at the lambing barn, but he would not come to our calls. He hid and played shy.  He has come back around us again and I'm wondering why?  He often goes out for the summer.  I'm thinking I have figured it out -- maybe.  First off, it's spring and there might be a pretty little she-cat he's interested in.  And the other reason that I hope he is home for is mice.  I don't know how it is where you live, but where I live we have a large mouse and rabbit population.  One might call it an explosion!  The barns, the granaries, the chicken coops and around the homes -- mice everywhere.  I have always been one who is quick to throw some mouse poison out, but now with the little grandchildren around, it is just not safe to do it.  So I am hopeful that Fluffy is home to catch mice.  We have  three other feral cats around -- Shadow (a black cat that is here and there like shadows on the ground), Boots (who was raised in the chicken coop years ago), and Mr. Darcy (a friend's cat who always ran astray decided  the country life might be best).  All make a living on their own.  

Yesterday I had my daughter get on the Facebook Buy/Sell and ask if there was anyone with cats or kittens to give away.  I need some good mousers!  She has found me one so far, and his owner said he's a good mouser.  I think cats are my safest mode of mouse and rabbit control.  We'll find out.  I'm going to try to find a few more.

On another note, we've had beautiful, warm weather.  It's been fantastic for docking lambs and calving heifers.  It's a pleasure to be out and about when your work is outdoors.  We are noticing, however, that our lack of winter snow has left its mark.  The dirt blows and blows.  There is no moisture in the soil.  I'm hopeful that we'll get some spring rains soon.  Until then, I'm getting my daily dose of sunshine and my attitude is cheerier than it has been.  The robin call:  cheery-up cheeri-o makes me smile too!


Saturday, March 07, 2015

Feed my sheep....

 ....and while you're at it, feed my cows too!
 

I loved seeing this morning's setting of the moon while the cows walked up to the feed ground.
The sheep were waiting at the gate for the tractor and for the 
pick-up truck to bring them some breakfast. We didn't disappoint them.


 We are all done lambing except for one ewe who has yet to have her lambs.  
We turned her out with the others.

 It has turned pleasantly warm these past couple days. 
The ewes and lambs are enjoying the sunshine and warmth.
Me too.

Can you pick out Baba Blacksheep?  
She's outstanding in her field.

After chores, all of us went up to the Old Shed and docked the early lambs.  My goodness, but we had some big lambs there.  They were hard to hold. There were 66 ewes and they had a total of 102 lambs.  That's a lambing percentage of 154%.  Not bad.  We'll see how the rest of the bunches dock out.

Thanks for stopping by.
I hope you're having a pleasant day.
We are!

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Calvies...



 The first baby calves were born today!

They were born to heifers (first time moms).  We are just about finished lambing with only eleven more ewes left to have their babies, and now we are starting in on calving the heifers.  They require a little more attention and care since they are having their first babies.  Birthing is the name of the game around  here!

This photo looks a little distorted since I took it through a crack in the wall of the barn. This pair was experiencing their first time nursing, and so I didn't want to interrupt them or distract them in any way.  Both calvies and mamas are doing well. 

It's been a cold, cold week here so we've been busy keeping the ewes and lambs fed and watered and sheltered until we get through it. There has been a lot of mucking pens and carrying water buckets and hay.  I feel like now that we are nearing the end, I am finally in shape!  Perhaps I should hire out?  It sounds like the weather is going to shape up and warm up for us later this week.  It'll be a good reward!  I look forward to seeing little lambies and calvies skipping and playing in the sunshine.  Are you ready for some warm sunshine too?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

New grandbaby girl!

Lyla Mae is waving hello to all of us.
Today is her birthday.
She was born early this morning at 2:26.
She is 7 lb. 10 oz. and is 19" long.
Mom and Dad are well and happy.
Lyla will join her sisters Bee and Rootie Tootie.
We're all so excited and blessed.




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