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The day we marked as the first day the girls would deliver has gone and now it is a daily waiting game.  I walk to the barn every morning with my cup of coffee and look or listen for a  new birth.  In moments, I will start my journey to the barn.  Many of the girls will deliver around 10 o’clock.  I do not know why.

We spent the whole afternoon in the main garden trimming and planting new perennials.  We pulled weeds and secured a tuteur so the winds do not blow it over again.  Several clematises have been trained on different sides of the structure.  We are hoping for a glorious show this year.

Today is Earth Day and I must decide what to do for the earth.

April 22, 2019


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Waiting.  Waiting.  I go to the barn daily and look to see who has swollen to an almost gross proportion.  That ewe will be delivering soon. There are a few new mothers and they are not as round as their older counterparts.  Ten more days until the calculated date of birthing and then the work begins.

The daffodils are in full bloom and they look great.  The pastures are growing and green is returning to the yard.  As I get older, I have noticed many shrubs and bushes have been planted in my garden.  And it looks great.  

When I first started gardening, I had to have and bought every color I could find.  Not anymore.  The garden has been toned down and only several colors are planted in the existing beds.  Shades of green dominate and I find them relaxing and a very important part of the garden.

My last comment is, climate change has brought two noxious weeds into the garden and I daily remove and try to kill them.  The one weed is called Hairy Bittercress and it is not a native.  Tiny white flowers and when you pull them out, it will shot seeds for more.  Nice.  The blue weed is Veronica and not a native either.  Pretty but grows everywhere.

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Gormless.  The word used to describe sheep and sometimes it make me angry.  People cite the story of the flock  that went over the cliff to their death.  But they are wrong.  Read this from a study done at…just read this article below.  Being with our sheep every day, I have had this feeling they are much smarter than people have said.  This study proves to me I am right.

www.bbc.com

New research, however, reveals that sheep are far more intelligent than they have been given credit for. Scientists at the University of Cambridge have found that the creatures have the brainpower to equal rodents, monkeys and, in some tests, even humans.Feb 20, 2011


I put all the information in the article you could use to further your investigation if you do not believe me.  So I voiced my opinion and let me know what you think.

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"What to write about,” is a phrase I think about daily.  Things happen on the farm and I do not  write about them because I would be repeating myself.  But then agin, most of us repeat ourselves.  Since we are beyond mid-winter, I have noticed a few things:

1.  The bucks are showing no interest in the does.  There is no more urinating on themselves and constant crying to the opposite sex.  Even the does are more interested in eating and not in lovemaking.

2.  The sun is warmer and feels great on the face when we have the luxury of a cloudless sky.  Sunny days are priceless and welcomed in Pennsylvania.

3.  The chickens have started to lay eggs.  In fact, we were gifted four eggs yesterday and we are still in winter.  The owner of Hines told me the new feed would have the chickens laying eggs.  It did.

4.  The girls in the barn are starting to show baby bumps.  We still have several months to go and I know from experience that the bumps we see are most likely food that they have eaten during the day.

5.  Some of our original flock has died because of old age.  There is one rickety old gal that is fed by herself and is always at the gate for her private dining room.  At this farm, age has its privileges.

The snow is pounding the landscape and it will be one of those days we are house bound.

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February 20, 2019

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The polar vortex has left and now we will deal with temperatures in the mid to upper forties.  Who’d a thunk it?  So that means we will be dealing with the mud.  Mud-mud-mud!!! So while that is all taking place, we are applying and sending applications for festivals and two farmer markets. September and November are completely filled with festivals and one holiday.  Just so this endeavor is profitable.  

And back to the polar vortex.  It was so cold that I noticed round silver dollar disks in the hay on the floor.  I tried my best to figure out what they were and then it came to me.  It was frozen urine and I have never seen that. That will also tell you how cold it was in the barn. 

 No one shivered this year except for the new buck from Virginia.  He was not acclimated to our temperatures in Pennsylvania.  Biff has survived and I am sure he is enjoying this spring thaw for the week.

 February 3, 2019

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Campestral was the word of the day.  It certainly pertains to us.  Ours are covered in yellow grass and tons of mud.  Areas between a gate will literally suck your boot off.  This is such a cheery feeling!

Animals seem to be enjoying the warmer weather we are having this early period of winter.  Every day they are taken out into an assigned field and they stay there all day.  Many return with enlarged stomachs from eating what is left in the fields.  Days are gray but they do not complain.  

This interval of time is the only period that the shepherds get a break from all of their duties. We still have morning and evening duties but the span between that period is mine.  Since it is January, I will begin to clean out closets and drawers and donate what I do not use.

January 5, 2019


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Lately I have several ewes banging heads.  If I disperse the animals, these head bangers will find each other and begin the banging of heads.  There does not seem to be much research on this  and a fellow breeder suggested dominance in the breed.   She may be pissed she did not get what she wanted for Christmas.

Breeding is over and we shall see what happened while we were not in the barn. We purchased a new red buck and he spent the breeding period with three red does.  The results willl not be in for about 147 days.  2019 will be exciting.  Let’s hope we have an average or ample rainfall so we can have hay cut this year.

Markets have been writing to us and we have been deciding where we are going this year.  My short retirement will be over in March.  And from there it is a try-state journey until the beginning of November.

Wishes for a healthy and safe New Year!!! 2019
















































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There are days I feel immured in manure.

I have always enjoyed alliteration in literature and when I can, I will use it.  Do I use it in the barn speaking to the animals?  No, but I do talk to them daily.  Some sheep treat you with total distain and others come very close for a hidden tidbit.

Breeding is not fun.  The rams may love it and wait all year for it but it has not been the best year.  The animals certainly know where they belong and know the routine.  But the mud, poop, and animals here and not there.  The fear of not enough hay.  Two old gals and will they be alive in the morning?  It can be frustrating and maddening.  But then there is spring!!!!!!

The day you go to the barn and the first baby has arrived makes the paragraph above seem insignificant.  That I know and that I am glad.

Dec. 14, 2018

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I was in the barn and said to myself, “ You need to write this in the blog.”  Two days later I cannot remember what had happened.  We finally divivded the shepp and goats into breeding groups.  It was an exhausting experience becasue you need to put animals in stalls in a very controlled and organized manner. Some stalls contained both goats and sheep.

 The next morning when I went to the barn, I found a doe in the corner screaming and noticed the ram ramming her.  When I pushed him away while  beating him with a rubber bucket, I noticed the blood and missing horn on the doe.  He must have been trying to “have his way with her” and resistance casued the ram to lose control.  

I removed the doe and buck and they have a private stall.  She has been quiet and very studied in her actions.  Oh, the life of a shepherd can be burdensome. I hope her newbornes this year were worth the struggle she went through!

December 7, 2018


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Yesterday it snowed eight to ten inches!  A major snowstorm and yes, it was beautiful but we were not prepared.  The chickens squwaked becasue there was nothing in the coop to eat.  In the barn the loud susurrous came fro the ewes and does concerning their diet too.  That night I had trouble sleeping because I am worried about what we will feed the animals all winter with little hay in the barn.  We need 400 more bales.  The search continues.

One month ago we gave all the animals a copper bolus and a shot of BoSe.  It has been suggested by our vet because our animals seem to be deficient in copper.  Copper is needed by both animls but more for goats and less for sheep.  The livers of our sheep from several necropsies  showed their livers had  very low copper levels.  The copper bolus is also going to help in the elimination of some adult parasites.  Resullts will not be known for a year.

So back to the winter wonderland and I am now off to the barn.

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© William Churchill 2014