Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Direction

Our goal with our hobby farm is to allow the animals support themselves and help feed us.  So far the only animals that have done that is our sheep.  The sheep that we got because we didn't want to mow our lawn.  But we have ended up with only a young ram that I am not happy with.  
The breeder we bought the Pelibuey's from has moved and we can not find more.  

It has been 6 months since we had any lambs born. 
 I MISS baby sheep.  

Our ram is the last one born after I got rid of his dad after he became too aggressive.
He is pretty but small and his horns are not growing well.
I'm just not thrilled with him.  
When he tries to get loving with the girls they walk away from him or chase him away.

We need the money from selling sheep to help keep the farm performing AND watching the lambs while working on the property make it more fun.  

We have been looking for a new direction to take the sheep in.  
We decided on Painted Desert Sheep. 
Today we bought 3 Painted Desert Sheep.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Eagle Project

Teen Son has been working on earning his Eagle in Boy Scouts.  He put up a fence for sheep and goats to be able to graze at our High School. 

It fences off a pretty steep hill and really is only good for animals. 
The project is something he has been planning for almost 2 years and actively working on since spring. 
Last weekend he and a bunch of volunteers finished it.  
We took our sheep for the day on Sunday. 
We loaded 6 sheep in our single horse trailer.
  When we dropped the sheep off they ran out of the trailer then ran back to me.
It took about 15 ninutes until they started exploring and eating.    
  Darling Husband decided we should check on the sheep and when we got there they ran to the fence asking to come home.
Then they started eating again.

Now he just needs to finish the paperwork.


I spend too much time on Facebook. 
  I belong to a lot of community boards.  2:30 one afternoon I saw a posting of someone getting ready to leave town and wanting to get rid of ducks.  I didn’t see an amount and said I would take them if they were free.  Not expecting to get any but it doesn't hurt to ask.  At 3: I got a response saying they were free AND they would bring them to me.  YAY So I started figuring out a place to put them to have them get used to the dogs and us before we let them into the pond but I didn’t put too much effort into it because I was ½ sure it wasn’t going to happen. 
Ducks and sheep meeting for first time.
  The 9 Dutch Harliquine Ducks arrived at 4: and after we put the ducks in the ½ of the sheep pen we don’t normally use I showed the ladies who were giving them to us the pond.  I think that convinced them they were giving the ducks to a happy home.  Right away Oakley got protective of the ducks and when one of the ladies went to go into the duck pen Oakley gave her a low growl. 
The man we bought our pigs from saw the postings on Facebook about the ducks and asked me if we wanted more.  I know nothing about ducks and asked if they would fight or if the two groups would get along.  He thought they would get along as soon as a pecking order was established.  So he brought his 9 mixed breeds of ducks over 2 days after we got the first batch. 
Wild ducks checking out the new ducks.
Every year in the fall 3 to 10 wild ducks spend winter in the pond.  I guess they fly this far south and decide why go further. 
Happy wild ducks.
The wild ducks arrived the same day as our second set of 9.  We went from no ducks to 21 or more in 2 days. 

We kept the ducks in the enclosure for 10 days.  When I decided to let them into the pond they were not happy to leave the encloseure and kept running back to it.  Finally I decided to pick one up and put her into the pond and see if the rest would follow. 
Nothing happens without the sheep helping.  They did chase a few ducks out of their pen for me.

The first duck that I dropped into the pond at first acted shocked and started swimming for the bank but then realized how wonderful swimming was and started splashing in the water. 
  I did 4 more and the response was always the same with each one, a shocked get me out of here followed by woo hoo how fun! 
The ducks left behind were quacking like crazy but the ducks in the pond were too happy to quack they just swam and explored the water.
They almost are over the edge.  
From here they can see the pond!  PLEASE go in!
Please water is just 5 steps away!  
 See your friends having fun!

  I tried herding the rest into the pond but they kept looping back to the pen so I went back to picking up each one and dropping it into the water.  I did 9 more when Wonderful Teen Son came home and helped with the rest.  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Deer's Bad Lamb!

Deer is a great mom!  
She knows the dogs are there to protect her and her baby so when she has a new born she will allow the dogs to be near her baby. 
She lets her lamb play with the other lambs but is always near.
Ready to make sure her lamb is safe and beside her.
Sure her lamb can jump into all sorts of fun places.  
BUT Deer's lamb must always stay where Deer can get to her!
Deer's lamb decided to take a nap under the Boy Scout Trailer - or maybe she was just being a bad lamb.  
At first Deer wasn't too upset.
Then Deer realized she couldn't see her baby and her baby wasn't answering.  So Deer started pushing the trailer, stomping her feet, franticly baaing to her lamb.  
You can see her stubborn lamb watched her as she got more and more upset.  It dawned on me Deer must feel as out of control as I felt when Teen Son would hide inside the clothing racks at Target. 
Finally her lamb got tired of hiding from Deer and decided to play with the other sheep on the slide.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Introducing Black Jersey Giants

In our goal to have all meat products grown on our property we bought chickens again.  Our feed store had 8 Black Jersey Giant’s and we brought home all of them.  
They spent their first few nights in Stick Boy’s room but they outgrew the aquarium we had them in quickly. 
I let them into my fenced in garden a few afternoons to give them freedom from the aquarium and get them used to us and Oakley and Luca.  
Then we moved them into the chicken coop with the old TV cabinet so I could keep them warm with a heat lamp.  

They grew wonderfully but on the third day I let them out I forgot 2 things: Oakley is still a 1 year old puppy and not to be trusted, and I am easily distracted.  I did not check on them often enough.  
That night when I went to put them up I could only find 3 of the 8 chickens.  The turkey and hen were fine but after an hour of looking I could only find 3 and unfortunately 1 of them had been in Oakleys mouth, it was unharmed but still not how Oakley is supposed to take care of the chickens.  I never found any feathers of the others.  The next day one of the chickens came home and gave me hope that more would come home but still we have not found any of the 4 missing chickens. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Good Bye Onyx

In the beginning……

We never wanted to have cattle or any farm animals…..

A friend of my brother-in-law had a cow and her bull calf. 
The cow was loud and lonely and whenever she was lonely or hungry she would moo, the neighborhood kids would throw rocks at her.  My brother-in-law asked if we would keep the cow and calf in our pasture.  We said sure but they had to take care of them, we didn't want animals and the responsibility of caring for them.  We worked together to fix the fencing in the lower pasture and then we started caring for Onyx and Marshal two Lowline Angus Cattle. They were both halter trained and walked on a leash better than my dog does.  Onyx and Marshall had very good blood lines and Marshal would go to different ranches in Central and Southern California to be the herd stud for a while and then come home.  At one point they decided to breed Onyx so they took her from our pasture to their corrals to try to get her to lose some weight.  Then, they sent her to have a vacation with a nice bull.  She came home after a pregnancy test showed she was pregnant.
Two weeks later she had a bull calf but again Onyx mooed every time she was out of food so they brought her back to our pasture and the boys asked to name the calf Hulk the owners thought that was a fun name. 

The owners hoped they would be able to have both Hulk and Marshal continue to be leased out as a stud and breed Onyx every year or so.  They were busy trying to fix up a new piece of property that they could keep their animals on so we took over more and more of the cattle care. Then the market changed and no one wanted Marshal anymore as a stud.
 As Hulk grew we were reminded to be very careful of the names you give animals.  Neighbors were working on their fence and gate across the street from us and Hulk would want a closer look and he would put his head over the fence and start walking.  The fence bent over and Hulk would check out the tool boxes and anything else he wanted.  Sometimes Onyx and Marshal would follow Hulk, sometimes they stayed home.  Their owners and I installed an electric wire to keep them in but Hulk didn’t mind.  One rainy night someone called us saying they thought they saw a cow on the road.  If you have never experienced the joy of looking for a black cow and 2 black bulls at 1am on a cold foggy rainy night on a black road you don’t know what you are missing, then when you hear the running footsteps of said bull as he comes running to you because he hears you calling and shaking the grain – you really haven’t known fear and joy.  Fear that your 1000 lb bull isn't going to stop and slide right into you.  Then the joy of scratching the bull on his chin and walking him, his mom, and brother back into the pasture knowing everyone is safe.  Then there is always the joy of 2am fence repairs. 
We contacted the owners, we were sad but we couldn't keep the bulls any more.  They were busy and without Marshal’s stud fees and with things not going well on their property, they decided to send all 3 to be slaughtered.  We were so sad but we couldn't risk the bulls getting out and damaging something.  The day before the butcher was to come, Teen Son asked if we could keep Onyx, and since then we have had Onyx as a pet.  She lives with the other cows and when we throw the food to the other cattle we will often hand feed Onyx and give her special treats.  When the cattle get out we throw a lead on Onyx and the rest of the cattle will follow her back into the pasture.

Yesterday, Onyx had a difficult childbirth and we had to pull the dead calf from her.  We left her to see how she would recover and she did get up and move about a little but then she laid down again and didn't
get up, she started shaking and acting like she was in pain.  I contacted a vet and he was hours away and after hearing her symptoms he suggested I call the butcher.  Luckily the butcher was able to come and ease her suffering.  The calf’s foot had ruptured her rectum. 
I want to thank Onyx for all the lessons she taught us.  I want to thank her for helping us move from a family living on a large piece of property to a family who grew things on and cared for the property.  I will always think of her with love and fondness. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


It has been a busy year.  Yesterday was the birthday of the first lamb born on our property.  
We have decided to make some changes. 
I sold some lambs in January and that was a mistake.  Right now we have so much grass we had to mow our lawn for the first time since buying the sheep.  
Hot Rod has become too aggressive.  I love him and have learned a lot from him but he is going to hurt someone so he has gone to become my friends ram.  The most important lesson from Hot Rod is not to give lots of love and affection to any future rams.  Let them grow up afraid of humans.  The reason Hot Rod became so dangerous is he loves to be scratched under his chin and if you do not respond fast enough to his desires he is more than willing to ram you.  
We have decided that our baby born New Years Day will be our new ram.
He is a handsome young ram with a healthy cautious nature when it comes to humans.
Beautiful sweet Blackwell had twin girls this spring.  I thought she was too old but she is a wonderful sweet mother and her girls are fun loving and curious just like she is.  
Blackwell seemed to be suffering heat exhaustion pretty regularly and our winter/spring has been really warm so we decided to shear the sheep early.  
Blackwell after shearing is the the gray sheep.  Her poor babies didn't recognise her so they spent the hour and a half after we finished shearing her running around screaming.  Even hours later they would nurse from her and then look at her and "BAAAAAAAA" they would run around frantically looking for someone who looked like their mom.  
We decided to avoid that with Dot and her baby.  So we decided to have Twenty-Something Daughter hold the baby while I held Dot and Teen Son did the shearing.  It worked really well.  
The lamb is sleeping on the shearers that we only use on the finer hair.
Even young sheep enjoy a good red wagon.
We didn't have time to shear Max and that turned out to be a good thing because she gave birth to twins 2 days later.  Sadly one was stillborn but we have a very healthy young ram lamb.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tree Fodder

We are always searching for ways to cut down on our feed bill.  Luckiy we have a lot of trees on the property.  So every few days I like to cut a couple branches of the trees. 
 The cattle LOVE certain trees and just nibble on others.  Eucalyptus trees are fast growers and the animals love to eat it.  It also has the advantage of seeming to be a fly repellent.  If I can give the cattle several branches of eucalyptus every few days I don’t worry about flies causing problems for the cattle.  The problem is Darling Husband and I have 2 very different styles of cutting trees. 
I like to cut 1 or 3 branches and give that to the cattle every couple days.
  Darling Husband wants to cut a couple big trees and not have to do any cutting for another month. 
In November I convinced him to buy me a small battery powered chain saw and I happily trimmed trees for the last 2 months trying to cut the trees so that the trees would be more bushy along the property line so our neighbor doesn’t have to look at the storage area on the property or just getting some of the trees trimmed nicer. 
I have gotten to the point that there are only a few trees for me to cut that my little chain saw will go through so I have been asking him to cut the bigger trees down so that when they grow big again I will be able to cut those branches with my little saw.  2 weeks ago we cut down several trees that were not giants and the cattle and sheep were in heaven for about 5 days.  This weekend I was determined to have Darling Husband cut one of the mammoth trees down.  This would provide food for the cattle and cut a tree that looked like it was forming a crack and I felt if we cut it down we could control it’s falling. 
Styx likes to play in the sticks as his mom eats near him.

Darling Husband was reluctant.  I said fine! I went to cut one of the small trees that I can cut.  Darling Husband heard that Fine! And thought he better cut a big tree.  Wonderful Husband cut the tree I was hoping he would cut then we started cutting up the branches to give to the cattle. I picked up a branch to throw over the fence, the branch didn’t budge, I realized my foot was on the branch so I lifted up by foot while I was still pulling on the branch and BAM

Darling husband and I had a nice Friday night Date in the local Emergency Room.  I scratched the retina of my right eye with a eucalyptus branch.  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcome 2015: Year of the Sheep

Welcome to the world little lamb.  Hopefully having a lamb born on the first day of the Year of the Sheep is a good sign. 

Sheep year is time to heal after the chaos of 2014's Horse year. 

What is of value now is intimacy, family and close friendships.

 We can be more caring, kind and sensitive with each other. 
Develop a gentle heart, open to love and acceptance on all levels.

 Another theme of Sheep year is to express your creative side. Now is the time for art, creativity and cultivation of beauty. If you ever wanted to explore your creative side, this is your year.
Do not give up, be pessimistic or become discouraged because Sheep can only move forward!  From
May 2015 be a year of healing, happiness, and peace for everyone.