Stonehaven Lambs

A Grey Day (can be bright)

Since I am committed to another 2 weeks in away working before the Black Sheep Gathering, I have been spending lots of time with sheep and in sheep-related passtimes. Halter training, tidying up yearling fleeces, studying lambs. I will make my decisions about who comes with me to the BSG at the eleventh hour, but always enjoy the time leading up to it.

This young lad is one of our Fantasie’s sons (by  Shady Oaks Spats); a real looker…he hasn’t  told me what his name is yet, but rams don’t get registered until they grow a bit more…so you have time little one.

If this his brother weren’t so flashy, Fantasie’s other son would fall more into the spotlight. I think that he is very handsome in his own right:

They get their big-boy ear-tags and CDTs and worming on Wednesday;  I won’t know for sure until then, but I am fairly certain that both will be greys.

While I am on the subject of greys, this little (to-be-grey) girl is Miss Molly, another Spats lamb, out of our lovely Sunniva (you saw her with her mother the last post). I am liking her more and more as she grows.

Her sister  Lucy (in-the-sky) will also be grey. This little minx started asking for attention when she was around 2 weeks old. It is very hard to capture her in a whole-sheep photo…we go from this:

To this:

One more grey sheep…this little cutie is Faith’s son by Matteus. He has Matteus’s personality and a super-soft fleece. I love his color right now. And I think that he has lots of potential and lots of presence…but time will tell if he makes the grade. (No, he doesn’t have a name yet either, but needs one desperately!)

Even if he isn’t grey, I can’t end without mentioning Jiggs….seven weeks old now, and we are beginning to wean him from the bottle. The feedings are less frequent, and the milk replacer is getting diluted to encourage him to graze…which he is more and more enthusiastic about.

But whenever he sees me, he looks longingly and hopefully. Very hard on my mother’s heart…

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Almost relaxed…

I finally had some time today just to BE out there in the pasture with the lambs…they are growing so fast! Granted this is NOT news to any other shepherds, but it always seems miraculous to me that they go from tiny little clinging-to-mom babies to self-sufficient grazing animals all in the space of six weeks.

Now I run the risk of moving mouths (cudding) in any photo…but I am thrilled to see that. More words another time…when I will tell you who is who; for now I will just share the sweetness with you.

As I was out in the paddock in the middle of the day…and the weather is warm at last…many of them were “shaded up”…mamas and babies.

I find them all so beautiful to my eye….it is grand to be home!

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Another Homecoming

My part-time work off the farm means that there are many sad leave-takings and many happy homecomings. This past trip happened just three weeks after lambing…by the time I left for AZ, Jiggs had spent his days with the mamas and lambs, but hadn’t spent any nights in the barn. He still thought that he was a dog or maybe a cat, but he was ready for the transition. So while I was away, he lived full-time with the flock.

By the time I came home this time, Jiggs had found his “inner sheep”. And thanks to Brook’s intelligent fostering (read: no shmoozing), Jiggs now comes for his bottle at feeding time, but immediately runs away to rejoin the other sheep…no snuggling, no interest in people at all…

I am happy to see that he is now as agile as the other lambs and that his little legs have grown straight and strong. I am sure that our friend and acupuncturist Karen made all the difference in the beginning. Karen is a shepherdess too, and this spring, when she had a lamb who was unable to stand up after birth, she used acupuncture, and almost immediately her lamb pulled up his hind legs and stood!

So I asked her if she thought she could help Jiggs and with the supervision of 3 Border Collies (Toby’s eyes are glowing by Jiggs’ head), Karen placed needles strategically to strengthen his legs. What a difference…what a blessing!

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The world according to Jiggs

My story: the really truly double life of a bottle lamb….

I sleep every night in the house with my human family; I wake up in my box in the dining room and as soon as I ask, my bottle is ready. I have to wear these things on my fanny when I am in the house; guess that it is OK, but they do annoy me….

After my breakfast, I take a nap on whichever dog-bed I like…there are three to choose from and I try them all:

Then I get to play in the house until chore-time; Lefty is my favorite cat. I follow him around, and I think that he likes me too, but sometimes he climbs up to this big high place…why is that?

Then when it is time to go out to the barn, I go along with my humans and my dogs:

All during the day, I stay with the other lambs and the big sheep…I have some favorite friends (all of them look like me except one). They know their way around, and so I follow them ; the little girl in front of me is my sister Maggie:

The other lambs run and play for a long time and it makes me tired…so I take little naps to rest up between the races. Soon I will be as big and strong as the rest of the lambs…

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Just a little breathing room…please?

The time since my last working trip to AZ in March, and the upcoming one (just one week away) has been filled with lambing and catchingup on farm chores. Lambing was intense this year (all of it happened in a week, and most of it in 5 days). I will put up some lamb photos soon, and give some lambing stats.

The lambs were pretty thrilling this year, except for the surfeit of boys (2 to 1 rams/ewes)!

There are lots of patterned lambs; to tease you a bit, these are Jiggs best friends in the lamb group (Flute Celeste’s and Spats’ ram/ewe twins):

And of course, next time, there will be more stories about Jiggs Himself.

Here is his namesake…a little look into the past for those of you who might remember the comic strip “Bringing up Father”.

After lambing was over and I had some rest time, I began getting ready to go away again…but not to AZ. We just got home from what proved to be a 5 day trip (one day traveling each way and 3 days there) to Central Oregon. After lambing, I had to organize roving and yarn and fleeces and sheep and all that was needed for a display at the Small Farmer’s Journal Auction & Swap-Meet.

This event occurs each April, and last year moved from Sisters, OR to the fairgrounds at Madras. The new site is perfect and the feeling was that of a country fair. We had a vendors’ booth again this year, having missed the past two years…but now we are committed to lambing early enough to be there every year.

We had a grand time! We chatted with spinners and knitters and weavers…saw some old friends, and met some new ones. I did my best to addict new spinners; sent them away with drop spindles and soft Shetland roving to spin. We fed knitters stashes with our yarn, and the trusty Schacht Matchless gave confidence to some folks who had wheels that they were struggling with for one reason or another.

This trip I got to see my dear Scout again (all grown up into a lovely young woman)…she came by each day (when she had time away from the auction) for a refresher on drop spindling and on knitting. It was amazing to see…she didn’t need much refreshing! Her body remembered both skills after a 3 years lapse! No telling what she will be doing by the time we come back next year….

And as a plus, I got in some good knitting time on Brook’s Gansey sweater…it has been a LONG process, but I am about one hour from finishing now. Woo hoo!!! I will post a photo of the Finished Object next time. Better get on with the knitting!

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In our wildest dreams…

2010 lambing is finished here at Stonehaven Farm….all the lambs were born in 5 days! The whole time was intense, but Thursday night was amazing (6 ewes lambed between 8:00 PM and 8:00 Friday morning). I can’t imagine how those who lamb out hundreds or even dozens of sheep manage to survive. We had no sleep and were running on empty.

But Friday morning brought a crisis (the only lambing problem this year, but it was a big one)…so sleep was not an option.

Solveig, a 2 year-old in her first pregnancy looked as though she would single and it didn’t seem as though the birth of her lamb was imminent. But early Friday morning, she lambed silently and without any real preliminaries. It was very cold and windy, and even though Brook had wrapped the barn in tarps, Solveig had chosen a cold spot against the outside barn wall, in the least protected place.

When we found her in labor, Solveig had just birthed a second lamb. These two seemed premature and were very weak and chilled. We moved them to a jug and although we gave them colostrum,  gave them sub-Q CMPK and all the usual support, and warmed them, the first-born didn’t survive.

To our amazement, a third lamb was born in the jug; this little ewe was the largest of the three, and seemed very strong. The little ram (second born) was unable to suckle, and so was tube fed for the first 24 hours of his life. Each time he was taken out of the jug, we rubbed him all over with the placental membranes and Solveig seemed to accept him back. But ultimately the lamb’s being taken out and put back so many times was too much for this first-time mom to accept…and she became very protective of her third lamb.

So the little ram came to the house where we could nurse him in the warmth. The next 48 hours were intense for him: still unable to suckle, he was fed with a syringe fitted out with a Pritchard nipple on the end every two hours. This went on for two more days; he didn’t learned to suck properly until he was 5 days old!

But now our little one is a going concern, and runs and leaps and bounces after humans and dogs….the cats draw the line though and stay clear of him.

His name is Jiggs….the first really truly bottle lamb that we have had in 12 years of lambing:

Jiggs gets stronger every day and more charming! Although he finds rugs the easiest to manage, today he learned to negotiate the bare floors….expanding his universe by at least 3 times.

He wears two diapers strategically placed…arrangements for rams are more difficult than for ewes!

Over the days since his birth, Jiggs has become friends with all three of the Border Collies…but it was our Toby (the middle BC) who adopted Jiggs,  He licked and nuzzled the little lamb from the beginning, and I think that Jiggs was comforted by it. Soon he was running through the house with the dogs…I began to wonder if he would be able to figure out his identity someday when he went back to live with the sheep.

We didn’t want to put it off too long and so on Thursday, Jiggs made his first trip outside, a short  supervised visit in which he was investigated by a barnyard delegation:

He is used to creatures that are taller and larger than he is, but the llamas were a bit overwhelming:

He quickly became frightened and Minden picked Jiggs up to comfort him….llamas weren’t so scary from this vantage point!

“Hmmm, maybe you aren’t SO dangerous after all.”

Yesterday Jiggs made two short trips to the barnyard, one with us there for comfort and another in which we left him for a little while on his own. He seemed to noodle around nibbling on this and chewing on that, and kept his distance from anything that moved….we hoped that he hadn’t been in the house for too long.

Today, after his late morning bottle, JIggs went out in the sunshine to be with the mamas and lambs. Mostly he hung out on his own, but when Brook went out to bring him in, he found Jiggs jumping and playing with some other lambs! What a relief…he WILL be a sheep after all!

More lambing posts to come…stay tuned.

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Badgers & royality

I have been ill for over a week now with a nasty flu bug, trying desperately to find the energy to write again….just now managing to cobble together photos of more of this year’s lambs….some taken in the winter pen, some out on pasture.

There are two badgers this year:

One of them is Helena’s beautiful grey katmoget. Helena comes from Dailley katmoget lines. and she has maintained the intensity of her markings and has a luscious intermediate silky fleece. This little one looks like a grey clone of her mother.
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And the other is Plein Jeu’s spotted katmoget ewe Jewel….what a lot of genetics in a small package…I love her silky soft fleece and her sweet personality. Yes, she is staying on at Stonehaven Farm!
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And then we come to those with crowns:

Here is Cascadia’s second ram lamb (his brother is the wildly spotted fellow). But this boy will carry spots, and if his horns develop well, he will be for sale to pass them along!
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He has a close match in Sarah’s princeling (interesting that both of these lambs have siblings with intense body spotting):
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Here is Premontion’s little krunet ewe (twin to her HST)….looking much like her mother did as a lamb at Bluff Country, but with a smaller crown:
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And the last crowned lamb, this little charmer (one of Musette’s triplets) who has markings that I can’t decipher completely…blettet or smirslet, bielset?, flecket? Help anyone????
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In addition to those wearing crowns of various design, there are 4 moorit (or at least brown-based) ewe-lambs and 3 solid ram-lambs (2 blacks and a moorit). They are all beautiful to my eye but their baby pictures don’t do them justice….more photos coming now that they are all out on grass.

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A few lambs at a time….

A few more lambs to add to those from Sunday. The gulmoget girls this time! We are as thrilled with Constantine’s ewe-lambs as we were with the ram-lambs!

The amazing Towhee did a repeat of her last year’s Constantine lambs….two little ewes: a black gulmoget and a brown-tone who almost certainly will be a fawn (like her yearling sister Hedda). These ewe-lambs are just as full of personality and mischief as Runa and Hedda were.

When I went out to the barn today, I found both of Towhee’s little ones on poor Amelia’s back…but by the time I grabbed my camera, only the moorit (to be fawn) girl was llama-riding.

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I have been slow finding out from the lambs what their names are this year, but this sheep made it clear that her name was (Miss) Scarlett. I distinctly heard her say, “Fiddle-dee-dee”! She is a carefree thrill-seeking little monkey. And I love her….

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Her gulmoget sister is super-friendly and equally charming (I am smitten with this little one too)….she told me her name right away too. This is Peony…not the best photo of her, but it will give you the idea. I promise a better one soon:

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The other gulmoget ewe-lamb this year is Mimosa who was our first and tiniest lamb whom you have seen…now grown into a beautiful young lady. I would like to say demure, but she is as rowdy as the rest. Caught in a quiet moment here….

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There will be more in the next day or so, and hopefully I will have calculated the statistics from this year’s lambing.

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More lambs!

Another post from an airport! I am waiting for the flight that will take me home again. This winter and spring, there have been lots of homecomings…always joyful….when my work takes me back to AZ. I brought some new lamb photos with me last week, intending to post them in my evenings after work, but THAT didn’t happen. So having some quiet time now, I will show you a few more of this year’s beauties!

And there are sure to be more photos when I get home…it is amazing to think that the lambs are nearly twice as old as they were when I saw them last!

This time the gulmoget boys and their handsome brothers:

These are Chloe’s two ram-lambs; I was SO hoping for a ewe from her this time (this is her last breeding) but it was not to be. Instead she gave us two very nice ram-lambs:

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Time will tell if the “moorit” boy will be a light moorit/fawn like his mother. The gulmoget fellow has light nose leather and light fleece…I feel that he will be a fawn. He is bright and curious about everything!

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Imogen also gave us two ram lambs: a gulmoget and a black. They are both substantial well-put-together little rams.

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The black has such presence and the most lustrous fleece.

The gulmoget has very interesting facial markings. Instead of the tear-drops that guls usually have, he sports markings that are a true “reverse badger”!

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We are so pleased to have these young lads from Constantine…he only sired ewe-lambs last year (no Constantine, we are not complaining). The dams of his lambs this year have my favorite fleece types…long single coats. Can’t wait to see these beauties grow up.

Stay tuned….more gully lambs tomorrow!

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Oh my, my!

We have been gathering photos and here is the first installment: This post will be about the explosion of spots in our lamb crop! We DID ask for it….

It all began when Shady Oaks Spats, a perfectly marked HST from older Dailley lines made a “business trip” here last fall. We are grateful that Marybeth trusted us with him (a beautiful ram, so kind and well-mannered…but that wasn’t a surprise, considering where he came from).

Spats left his mark as you will see..not only a few spots, but LOTS of them and most showing HST. We hoped that we might have one or two really nicely marked lambs from the group, but this was amazing!

Most of the ewes who were given to Spats came from Stephen Rouse of Sheltering Pines when he was in flock reduction mode a couple of years ago. But one of them (the lovely Premonition) began her life in Nancy Krohn’s Bluff Country flock. Both Nancy and Stephen have been breeding animals with spots for several years…Nancy concentrating on HST.

All Spats’ girls are superb individuals in their own right; 5 carried spots and/or had a krunet or little smirslet markings, but only one was herself an HST.

Here is Spats…click to see the larger version:

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Flute Celeste gave us a stunning little HST ewe-lamb in her first pregnancy…her fleece is uniform and crimpy from head to tail:
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Premonition had a small krunet marking as a lamb, and she gave us one krunet (photo later) and a lovely full-fledged HST:
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Plein Jeu (an HST katmoget) had twins this year, a “monocled” HST ram lamb with the silkiest softest fleece of the group:
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But she also nearly cloned herself with an HST katmoget ewe-lamb (who also has body spotting):
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Sarah (who chose me when we visited Stephen) is a spotted emsket beauty who gave us twins…a yuglet flecket ewe (and a smirslet ram…photos later):
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Cascadia is registered as smirslet and has thrown spots and HSTs before, but she no longer has visible markings…given the chance this year, she did it again! Two ram-lambs, one smirslet (you will see him later on) and another a wildly spotted yuglet boy:
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But here is the “piece de resistance”: Musette gave us triplets in her first pregnancy! We were dismayed and concerned, but she is the penultimate mother to these beautiful little ones (the first day out, she did a “lighthouse” baa to let them know always where she was…clever girl) and I see her touching them often with her nose (counting 1-2-3). It was hard to see them all in one photo, so here are several perspectives:
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She asks them to follow her everywhere…the perfect mother.
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The first-born is a petite little HST ewe-lamb, the second a pretty little smirslet sprizzled ewe-lamb (still don’t know what to call her markings), and the last to be born was a big (relatively speaking) bold HST ram-lamb:
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Thank you Spats…we are well-pleased.

Stay tuned ….there were so many other lovely lambs born here this year, not to be displaced by all this flash.

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