EweLineFall is definitely here, with cool nights, and finally, some rain, after a long drought. In August, I weaned all the lambs, and put the ewes in drylot on hay for the short term. This saves the green grass for the lambs, giving the fields a rest until fall rains refresh them. It also gives me a good opportunity to walk the line and look at the condition of all the ewes, survey their udders, and spot any problems that need addressing before breeding season in November.

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LastLambMaybe

I might like to think this was my last lamb of the season, born already atypically late, in July. But I still have four ewes that I’m pretty sure are bred, which means they likely lost pregnancies late in that crappy, stressful winter, and re-bred, in, like, late March. One is definitely developing an udder, so seems for-sure. The others ones, I can’t tell by looking. I’ve done a couple of blood tests on them, and they indicate positive results, but they are on the edge, and  seem so hard to believe. They are all yearlings or two-year-olds, so to breed so far out of season is really odd. But, it has been an odd year.

I have them in the barn, so if they surprise me, at least I’ll spot them right away. During the summer, I don’t check the pasture sheep at all in the mornings, and only do a cursory review in the evenings, because they are pretty self-sufficient this time of year. So it’s not super convenient to have ladies-in-waiting. Not to mention, their schedules will be totally off for breeding back in November. This waiting game has caused me to not even wrap up my lambing records and stats yet. This winter was sure a weird and inconvenient one!

HayTrucksOur hay was delivered a couple of weeks ago, it’s always nice to have that milestone checked off the list. 37 tons, which is just about what I used last year. This was four long flatbed trucks and a trailer’s worth.

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MosesWithCoat

Having grown up in the dog show world, I’ve always objected to coated breeds being shaved down. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine. Why buy a coated breed if you are not going to care for the coat, and are just going to brutally buzz-cut it into a miserable-looking hack job? IMO, shaved dogs look terrible, no matter how skilled the groomer. Not to mention, there is a lot of theorizing about whether shaving coated dogs is bad for them. That it’s stressful for them to go from coated to nearly bald and feeling vulnerable. That they are vulnerable to sunburn, and overheating, since coat can actually insulate them from the sun. That the blunted hair coat ends will grow back matted and harder to groom.

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This.

Horses3

Went prancing by our farm today. My mom called to say they’d seen it, and to be on the lookout when it made its way towards our house a few minutes later. I was sorta ready with my phone camera, except I thought they were coming from the other direction, so I didn’t get a close-up of the bride-and-groom white horse-drawn carriage. You can click on the photos to see bigger versions of them.

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SanJuanFerry

Here is the only picture I captured from Saturday. I went to the Washington State Sheep Producers (WSSP) Sheep School. There were several sessions held. This was the last one, and the only one I could swing schedule-wise. It was on a farm in Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island. So a bit of a travel effort to get there. Mostly a hardship in catching the 6:20am ferry in Anacortes, Freezingwhich is an hour away. The ferry trip is 80 minutes, but I was able to work on my computer the whole time, so it didn’t feel like travel time. Not to mention, the San Juan ferry route is beautiful. This view was from my seat on the ferry on the return trip. Sometimes I think of ferry travel as a pain, and it is. But, it’s also such a lovely aspect of our region, how can you not adore an excuse to ride on a big boat through gorgeous waters to an island destination? The enthusiasm of all the tourists on the ship reminded me of how lucky we are to consider ferries mundane…

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FirstLambs

Notwithstanding the twelve unplanned lambs born in January and February, here are the official first lambs of the officially planned lambing season! A couple of white and brown ewelambs. Lambs should really start arriving in earnest today, and this ewe was due tomorrow. So, these twin girls got a jumpstart on a sunny Thursday. I didn’t see them born, just found them clean and fed on a midday check, my favorite kind.

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