Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tail Banding

On the second or third day after the lambs are born it's time to band the tails. That means putting a tight rubber band around the base of the tail. In a few weeks the tail shrivels up and just falls right off. This is done to keep them a bit cleaner on the back end.

It's generally a painless process, except for the first few minutes after applying the band. During that time the lambs will often flop to the ground as if partially paralyzed, baaing in protest. The first time I did it I thought something was seriously wrong, but I was positive I applied the band correctly.

I decided I would check back a little later and if the lamb was still on the ground I would call someone more experienced for help. Twenty minutes later I went back out and the lamb was up and about as if nothing had ever happened.

Tuesday I banded Ewenice's twins. The first was down for a second and back up and normal again before I even got everything ready for the second. The second twin took it a little harder.

Here he is, certain that he's been paralyzed.
He floundered up and then flopped down again. Ewenice is showing her concern. #1 lamb in the next pen is saying "What's the big deal? I had that and it didn't even bother me!"
This picture is from this morning. As you can see they are all out of the barn now and playing happily together, showing no ill effects.
Here's my assistant, next to my bucket-o'-tools. We banded the #4 lamb this morning.
In a few weeks the tails will fall off and they won't even notice!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Carli Update

This is mainly to let relatives and other interested parties know that Carli did get a job and started this week. The rumor is that she even gets health benefits after her probation is over (either 3 or 6 months, I'm not sure) which would take a strain off of us.

In the picture she is wearing her new scrubs and she's ready to work on your teeth! Her adoring fan is Clyde.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Francine Number Three

Last night my husband and I were arguing discussing which ewe would be lambing next. He said Francine, I said Baby. He was right. But I don't feel bad about being wrong, because, as you'll recall, I did say I'm not an expert!

Francine must have had her baby around 6 or 7 am. It's a girl!
I had put both 3of4 and Ewenice in one stall with a divider between them in order to leave one stall open in case of a lambing. I'm not sure if Francine had her baby in the stall or not because the stall was clean (no bloody straw) and both she and her baby were out in the big area of the pen.

When I found them it was 8 am and the baby was nice and cleaned up already. I put them in the barn so they could bond.

They are both doing quite well.

Tonight I'll be letting 3of4 and her lamb out into the big pen and I'll put Francine and her lamb in 3of4's place. The usual practice is to allow the mother and lamb(s) 2 - 3 days together to bond. That way it will free up the other stall again in case Jamie or Baby have their baby.

Lamb count to date: 3 boys; 1 girl.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Ewenice Next

We slept in a little this morning and when I went out at 9:00 to feed Ewenice was in the barn with two brand new babies. From the looks of the babies and Ewenice (she hadn't yet delivered the afterbirth) I'd guess they were born an hour or so before. (First born is behind Ewenice.)
Here she is kind of giving me the stink eye! Of all the sheep she is the most distrustful. I don't hold that against her though; that's just in her Cheviot nature.

Total lamb count: 3 boys, 0 girls.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Friday, May 23, 2008

3of4 First!

This morning I went out to feed and 3of4 stayed in the barn for a long time. My first thought was that she either had her baby already, or she was about to. Sheep won't eat just prior to lambing.

Within a few moments she eventually did wander out. I was surprised to see how much her udder had expanded. She looked like a milk cow! Look at the picture below and you can see how big her udder is and how puffy her vulva is. Another huge clue that she'll lamb soon is the hollowness around her backbone. You can easily compare with the other two ewes.

After feeding I went inside to get my camera. I went next door to take a picture for a future project and when I returned 3of4 was back in the barn laying down. Uh oh! She was not really interested in eating so I knew she would lamb today. Soon.

Fortunately I had cleaned out one of the stalls last night. I hurriedly spread fresh shavings and then straw on top of that. I "shepherded" 3of4 into the clean stall and sat around to wait.

She followed all the classic signs and symptoms that are described in my sheep books and in the internet articles.

She wandered restlessly around the stall.

She'd lay down.

Then get up again.

Several times she stretched out and I got a little excited and nervous, but it wasn't time yet.

She got up and pawed the ground and laid back down, perfecting her nest, several times. She also started baaing and grinding her teeth more frequently. Finally it was time. Her first real contraction came in earnest.

Here you can see the feet coming out.

Her baas were becoming heartwrenching and I was hurting just watching and hearing her.

After what seemed like forever and several futile attempts to progress I saw the nose. It really wasn't that long but I couldn't stand it anymore. I knew the lamb was positioned correctly so I put some gloves on and helped pull while she pushed. Finally the head and shoulders were out so I let her do the rest on her own.

Hello, Son!

Now I have to go back out and iodine the naval and make sure he's up and about. He was already trying within minutes of being born, so I know he's good and strong.

For a first-timer, 3of4 did great!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Deviled Quail Eggs

What do you do when you have 25 quail eggs in the refrigerator? Make deviled quail eggs! Honestly, I think they are even better than chicken eggs because they are the perfect size to pop into your mouth in one easy bite. No muss, no fuss! And delicious!

The following recipe can also be just as easily used on chicken eggs. The measurements can be increased or decreased to taste and consistency (some people prefer a thicker yolk mixture). I've found that I never have a problem with these deviled eggs just sitting around in the fridge. They usually disappear on the first day.

Obviously you'll need eggs. Boil the quail eggs for 3 minutes. Chicken eggs will need to be cooked for at least 6 minutes to make the deviled eggs. I like to leave them in the fridge overnight. It helps with the peeling later.

The shell on the quail eggs is kind of tough so it needs to be done carefully so as not to wreck the egg. The shells seem to come off a little easier when I dip the cold eggs into hot water for about five seconds prior to peeling, and then peel them under a small stream of cold water. This also works well for chicken eggs.
Once all the eggs have been peeled it's time to cut them in half lengthwise and carefully pop the yolk into a separate bowl. After popping a few eggs into my mouth I had about a cup of yolks.
Now for the rest of the ingredients: mayonnaise, worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, horseradish, seasoned rice vinegar, my favorite Aromat seasoning salt (or any other salt if this isn't available), paprika and cayenne or chipotle chili powder, and fresh cilantro leaves (the last three ingredients are for garnish).
Mash the egg yolks and mix in with 1/4 cup mayo. Add 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon mustard, 1/2 teaspoon horseradish, 2 teaspoons seasoned rice vinegar. Mix well. Now add the salt to taste. I like about 6 shakes of the Aromat Seasoning, maybe about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon?? To make the mixture completely smooth I used my stick blender. Then I put it in a plastic baggie, snipped a tiny hole in one corner and squirted it into the waiting egg whites. You could put it in a pastry bag with a star tip if you want to get fancy. Then I sprinkle a little chili powder on some of them, a little paprika powder on some of them, and place a cilantro leaf on some of them.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Camera Play

Every once in a while I like to play with my camera. Sometimes I actually learn something new. Sometimes I end up getting some interesting pictures.

Sometimes I don't.

One of these days I may actually learn to use my camera properly; I may learn how to set the specific dials and settings to get what I really want. I keep hoping it will infuse into my brain through some sort of bizarre osmosis, but I really know it doesn't happen that way.

Anyway, here's a couple of shots of my red cabbage. The sun had just gone down and the sky was just starting to darken. The first shot is with the flash. The second shot is without the flash. I find it interesting how different the colors came out. By the way, the second shot is more true to the actual color.

Here we have the lovely little cobwebby kind of spider that made her web in a corner of the big pipe gate. Her actual size is about the size of the tip of a pencil! In real life her babies are barely visible to the naked eye. Macro photography is fun. You see things you normally wouldn't!

Something I'm really at a total loss about is night-time photography. I have gotten some good lunar shots only because I looked on the internet and set the dials as described. Otherwise everything's a total crap shoot. Of the rising moon pictures below, the first has a longer (apparently) exposure time. I didn't write down what I did for each picture so I can't say for sure. But it looks like the sun, doesn't it?

It's the moon. I like this picture of this series the best because the sky is a pretty blue and the cars have left long streaks of light.
And here I've turned the dial for the third time to something to get this shot. I could look up the picture to get the details of what the settings were on, but that would mean I'd have to actually make an effort. And I really don't care.

And now for one of my favorite subjects. You knew this had to be coming, right? These were all taken with the macro lens. I've found by accident (see, it does work sometimes!) that the macro lens takes good portrait photos. Well, okay, not necessarily of the baby, but when there is a background. The background gets all blurry and you really focus on the subject. The main drawback to my macro lens is I have to manually focus it, and with my eyes it doesn't always come out too sharply.

The first two are with the flash on, the second two are with the flash off.

Okay, enough of that!

For now.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Change of Pace

First of all I need to make a few corrections. The photo from May 12th where I said "I believe this is a female red cardinal" is indeed incorrect (remember I said "I believe..."). I've been informed that it is a house finch. Also the cactus identified as "chollo" from the May 14th blog is correctly spelled "cholla". I blame Google for that one. I'm sorry about the incorrect identifications, and thanks to Kenny for the corrections!!

Secondly I realize I forgot to give proper credit to two of the photos from the May 13th blog. The pictures of the bobcat and the bunny on the golf course were taken by my SIL from OR. I don't know if she wants to have her name made public so that's all I'll say for now. The bunny picture is exactly how she took it, but I did play with the bobcat picture and enlarged it using my Nikon Picture Project software. Sorry for the omission!

Now for the change of pace from the sheep butt photos!

Here's the latest on the garden. Our poor neglected garden. With the weather turning scorchingly hot we should have been watering once in the morning and once in the evening. I took a look at it yesterday afternoon and realized it was not in the best of shape. Most of the plants were quite wilty but they did spring back after being given a thorough watering. The only real casualties were maybe some of the marigolds and the melons. The cabbage, tomatoes, herbs, grapes, and peppers look just fine this morning. I even found a few red tomatoes. They will be the first (besides the grape tomatoes!).

Lovely, prolific, sweet grape tomatoes.

Heat Wave Tomato, what else?
Georgeous red cabbage.