summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

summer greens at Mountain Glen Farm

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January Walk

Quite frankly, I do not like the month of January.  It is usually too cold for much outside time, I cut back if not stop my daily walks altogether, and I start feeling the aches and pains of my winter sedentary life - ugh!


I just could not endure staying inside one moment longer.  I put on my hooded sweatshirt, my  down work jacket, my combo knitted scarf and hat (which I absconded from Becky), my combo knitted gloves/mittens, grabbed my camera and was almost ready to head outside.


Shoes.  What was I going to wear on my feet?  My rubber boots are too uncomfortable for any kind of distance and my worn out Nikes are too smooth and thread bare for the elements that I was about to encounter.  I rummaged through my closet and found a supportive pair of shoes, complete with deep treads, that I haven’t worn in over one year.  I just hoped they would not hurt my feet. 


I started my walk.


The ground was solidly frozen, except for a sliver of mud that frosted my path. It was enough mud to cause slipping.  I hate to fall, so my stride quickly slowed from toddler to baby steps.  Every step was hazardous in my mind.  But, I was determined to accomplish a winter walk.  My shoe choice was perfect -efficient, comfortable and much safer than my slick-soled Nikes.


I was going to keep my walk short, but the weather was so relaxing - cold, just at freezing, but with no wind - I was dressed well, so I decided to make my usual hike.  Peace surrounded me, as well as four dogs who all decided to behave today.


At one point, I came upon an electric gate.  I knew it was HOT because the cattle were grazing on the opposite side.  I could not figure out how to effortlessly open the gate, so I opted to crawl under the hot wire on my hands and knees.  I got slightly muddy, but I was where I wanted to be without much exertion.  The dogs watched and wondered, totally animated with tilted heads, what I was doing. In their minds, a gate…simply run under or jump over - easy.


As I neared the pond, the late afternoon serenity became more apparent.  I was enveloped with quiet. Nothing stirred except for me and my companions.


The pond was still covered in snow, a dusting from the previous day, and parts were definitely frozen to some degree.  My favorite heron was nowhere to be seen.  For that matter, no birds were around.  The quiet was so peculiar.


I returned home with three dogs…somewhere along the line I misplaced Avalanche (she has a habit of secretly wandering off), and with no falls.

Buddy  is rarely without a stick.  He carried this BIG one on the entire walk with the hopes that I would play 'Fetch'.
NO WAY! One throw of that stick would surely put my arm out.

I guess I should rethink my January outings. Today was tranquil and well worth the effort for a bit of winter exercise.


A January walk is not as bad as I had anticipated.


I will try it again soon.

Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Lambing Season Has Begun...And, So Has My Worrying

The lambs have begun to arrive - our early lambs for 2015 and right on schedule.


Today, our first two lambs, cute as always, were bouncing and hopping around within minutes of their birth.  One was full white and the other had a black face.  Mama ewe grazed contently.  All was well.


The day was cold, but sunny with a slight breeze.  It was a very comfortable winter day; a good day for lambing.


I was constantly looking out the window checking on those two babies.  A convenience afforded me by recently moving the pregnant ewes into the barn paddock next to the house.  


Within the hour, two more lambs were born.  Both of these babies were totally white.  And, both were up and nursing, healthy and strong.


I watched these babies almost constantly throughout the afternoon. 


A black vulture flew low over their heads. Black vultures are not kind to newborn lambs. Then, I noticed a huge red-tailed hawk perched in a nearby tree. He had a 'bird's eye view' of the family. Do hawks eat lambs? I did not want to take any chances.  I went out and chased the hawk away. 

ewe and her twins...notice the hawk (large white mass) in the nearby tree - too close for my comfort
Then, I remembered…we have been hearing coyotes nightly for the past week.  These coyotes were very near to the house and very vocal.  Our dogs responded in kind.  Hopefully, the dogs deterred the coyotes from advancing closer to the house and closer to our sheep.


As a precaution, Glenn and Becky moved the two, new mama ewes and their four babies into the barn for the night.  These four would be totally safe from any predator. (At least, for the moment.) A heat lamp was positioned to provide heat for the newbies during the below-freezing temperatures of night. 


I went into the small barn pen (approximately 10 feet X 16 feet) and had Becky hand me the black-faced baby.  She was so light and fuzzy and soft.   Mama ewe immediately became nervous and tried to find her missing lamb which was a mere two feet away in my embrace.  Evidently, two feet was too far away.  I carefully placed the lamb on the ground and she was reunited with her mama in a second.  Calmness was immediately restored.


As for the rest of our ewes and last season’s lambs, they are still very vulnerable to the coyotes.


I really hope that our dogs will keep the killing coyotes away and that we do not have a repeat our disastrous 2014 lambing season in which we suffered multiple lamb losses nightly. 


Regardless, my worrying has begun! 


Friday, January 9, 2015

Baby It's Cold Outside

Yesterday, the temperatures were in the teens.  Single digits if you follow the 'feels like' numbers. I do.
my windows at 4:00 in the afternoon - pretty, but...
Glenn was kind to do my outside chores.  After all, he was already bundled up in sweatshirts, and coveralls, and insulated boots.  I watched from inside. 
Buddy seems to get colder than the other dogs, so Matt bought him a vest to keep him warm
on the cold days, and nights, of winter.
Today promises to warm up to a balmy 32 degrees. 
I will venture out then. 
I am definitely a fair-weather farm wife.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year!