Saturday, March 9, 2013

Springtime mess and baby lambs

It feels an awful lot like spring outside today!  The sun is shining and everything is melting into muddy pools of mess.  The baby lambs are bounding around in the paddock and the ducks are pooping on the back porch.

I wonder sometimes if I have given you a romanticised version of life on the farm.  I am about to burst the bubble!

This week has certainly been a taste of spring.  It's been a little warmer each day - getting to above freezing most days which make working outside much more pleasant - and LOTS more muddy. (I am pretending that we won't get any more snow but I am probably just fooling myself) The back hallway where we come into the house and leave our barn clothes is also the main entrance to our home.  Right now it's dirty-with-bits-of-hay-and-shavings and full of poopy muddy boots.  Right outside the door is the ducks favourite place to hang out because it's out of the wind and it faces south so it warms up and melts there first.  I often look out the kitchen window to see 6 or 7 ducks splashing in the melting snow and talking to the cats.  They get along really well with the cats trying to get friendly and the ducks mostly ignoring them. The ducks are always trying to get the last of the cat food as well so there's lots of flapping and noise when they fly up on the table - I've already mentioned the poop.

The walkway to the driveway was an ice covered slope until DH and son sprinkled it with a mixture of sand and salt from the local works department depot where you can get it free for the taking.  We were not aware of the salt until it was too late - it's not my first choice because the damage to the grass and it's not great for the ducks or chickens feet either. They did such a good job but went completely overboard on the amount required to do the job.  Now the walkway is a muddy mess - but it's not slippery!

The driveway is all slop.  Half frozen and half mud we just sorta tiptoe through it to get where we need to go - thankful that there is plenty of snow to walk through to clean off our boots afterwards.

The eaves-trough leak right above the main entrance to the barn so now there is a puddle big enough for the ducks to swim in right in front of the door.  You need to be careful not to slip but quick enough not to get too many icy cold drips down your back from the melting roof.  The water from this new little pond backs up and runs into the barn creating another muddy icy patch to navigate.

Oh joy!

The other day through a series of mishaps most of the sheep got loose.  As I came out of the house all I could see was the whole flock running down the driveway towards me headed pell-mell back to the paddock. Even little Opal - 5 days old was running with sheer abandon through the mud and ice.  If sheep could grin - I'm sure they were all grinning.  What fun for them - not so much for me. 

This morning we needed to dock the lambs tails.  We should have done it sooner but it's a two person job so I was waiting for my daughter to be at home.  The best time to do tails is when they are still confined to the lambing jug.  After about day 4 those cute little buggers can run faster then I can!  We managed to catch the first two without too much trouble but Opal gave us the run around.  I'm sure it would have been comical to watch.  

Yesterday was a sad day as we said goodbye to Freddy - the first lamb born on the farm last spring.  We sold him to friends of ours but neither of us has a truck or a trailer so we had to get creative.  We made a temporary "holding cell" in the back of the van and placed an old piece of carpet on the bottom to catch the mess.  My son and I managed to get JUST Freddy out of their pen and tied an seatbelt-like strap around his belly.  He was not impressed but we had to move him from the barn up a slippery hill and into the van.  There's no driving down there in the winter time.  It was quite the show!  Freddy fought us all the way as we pushed-pulled-dragged him to the van and hoisted him in.  It was like taking a very strong naughty dog for a walk!  All went well and out home made "holding cell" did the job really well.  I am still looking forward to the day we have a proper trailer!

For all the muck and mess I wouldn't trade living here for the world!  Isn't she sweet!!


  1. wow thanks for sharing...I really have to get up for a visit :)

    1. Just come when it's not so muddy!!! but come soon!!!

  2. One question: what is 'docking' their tails and why is it done?

  3. I knew I should have added that information! :) Lambs are born with cute little furry tails but as they grow older the poop tends to get stuck down there and this provides the perfect conditions for worms. It sounds mean but it really is the best in the long run. I dock tails by using a special elastic band applied with a specific tool that cuts off the circulation and eventually the tail just falls off. There are other methods but this one seems the most humane. You can see the band in one of the pictures above.

  4. Thanks for the farmyard reality check, lol! Spring is one of my favourite seasons, except for the mud. I don't have a mud room, so you can imagine what my kitchen looks like (the back door opens right into it). I always enjoy reading about your comical farm adventures! Maybe not so funny for you, though ;-)(wrangling sheep and all...)

  5. Cute doesn't begin to describe them! OMG!! I am in love! I want to be you :). If I had lambs, I would never have time to blog, cook, see friends, talk to hubby, take showers, get the picture. All I would do would be just kiss their sweet faces all day.

    1. Ha - Doreen you're cute :) They ARE just adorable!


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