March Comes In Like a LION…

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

…and out like a lamb. In our case, it’s for real! Come and check out the new babies at the corrals; you’ll just fall in love.

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  1. Heather says:

    This is our second season of lambies, as the kids call them. We have one ram and two ewes. Now both mommas have two sweet babies (4 all together). It is so much fun watching them jump and play! Our first season only saw one survivor, but this spring is going to be wild out there with all the running around! I love to watch the babies chase the chickens. Enjoy!!

  2. Jackie Davis says:

    I too have had lambs this spring, if you can call Feb. spring in southern IL. All were born on freezing cold mornings with lots of snow on the ground. Mine are hair sheep and great mothers. This year I had a 200% lamb crop and some crazy colors. Oh how I love to watch them play in the pastures. The last set of wild colored lambs will get to stay here as replacement lambs. The rest will provide food for my friends and I. Thanks for sharing your babies with us.

  3. Carlisa says:

    Here in Texas spring to me is Bluebonnets and Thunderstorms. We have not had much rain this year so far, but April is usually wild. Spring is warm sunny days and cool nights perfect weather for getting out and camping.

  4. Darice says:

    The hallmark sign of the entry of spring is when my cherry blossom trees begin to bud. When they have fully bloomed, I know that I am definitely into spring. Their beauty reminds me of the regeneration that comes with spring.

  5. meredith says:

    March is going out like a lion here in Va.- we had 80 degrees early last week and it has been 40 and rainy here for the last three days! Welcome April- lets see if you can do a little better than March!
    We brought home our first two lambs for my daughter to raise and show last weekend. Our farm used to have sheep up until the late 70’s and has been straight cattle ever since. So these two girls (Dixie and Belle) are reviving a tradition. Our Ram will arrive in May when he is old enough to be weaned. I have never had sheep myself so this is quite a lot of fun! They are awesome.

  6. Congratulations! This brings back memories. When my daughter was a student at Hampshire College in MA we helped "birth" some lambs one year. It was a great experience. Some of the little ones looked like real life-sized Steiff stuffed animals! I’ve never had sheep myself, nor did my parents on their farm, so it was fun to read about yours. Here’s hoping all the rest of your babies make it through and thrive!

  7. Congratulations! This brings back memories. When my daughter was a student at Hampshire College in MA we helped "birth" some lambs one year. It was a great experience. Some of the little ones looked like real life-sized Steiff stuffed animals! I’ve never had sheep myself, nor did my parents on their farm, so it was fun to read about yours. Here’s hoping all the rest of your babies make it through and thrive!

  8. Sharon Roberts says:

    This is my first time to write in. We used to raise sheep on our small farm here in Northern CA. Now we just have chickens, but I remember one birthing many years ago where a mama was down and not delivering. I had to put my arm in and I pulled out 3 stillborn lambs. A very sad day.

  9. Nicole Christensen says:

    Love the pictures! Their little faces are so sweet! The babies are just precious! What a great way to welcome Spring. Farmgirl hugs! -Nicole, Suburban Farmgirl Blogger

  10. Jan says:

    Hi………….This is my very first post on MaryJanesFarm!!! I am very happy that I have finally joined in on all of the "MaryJane" happenings.

    I am the daughter of sharecroppers here in Texas…….so I guess you can see I am "sort of" older!!! We had sheep when I was a little girl and I still remember watching Daddy and some of the neighbors shearing the sheep.

    I was always afraid they would get accidently cut but I don’t recall that happening. The wool was fun to hold in a bundle across your chest to feel its "fluffiness"…….not sure if that is a real word.

    Anyway………..I (and my husband) live on a small farm and bluebonnet time here in my part of the world was very small this year. We are in a horrific drought. Our pond which is normally full (1-1/2 acres) is down to a small dot in the middle.

    Animals are having a tough time. I have ducks and chickens and have a small orchard and garden going. The rabbits, however, have eaten the tops of most of my plants so it will be the "survival of the fittest".

    Anyway………..glad to be here…………and Libbie…your sheep are adorable!!!

    Regards……….Jan……."Farm Girl"

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Shear Madness

[Previous Rural Farmgirl, June 2010 – January 2012]

The time has finally come for shearing the sheep. Come on over with me to the corrals and let’s see what our shearing operation looks like this year. Bring your muck boots and good humor!

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  1. Joan Kapanke says:

    What a wonderful "event"! I live in the mountains of NC and we have a small "farm" with 25 chickens and 2 horses. We also tend lots of gardens for flowers, veggies and herbs. I sell my extra eggs to a few neighbors, and 4 dozen a week go to a small catering company for which I work 3 days a week. Having spent my middle life in the city in Florida, I love our retirement in the country. Enjoy reading your blogs every month, and wish I had the time, land & energy to really get into farming!

  2. Therese says:

    The first picture is delightful. They can be such characters! I love the smell of fresh washed wool. Your story and pictures make me want to do some felting! Thank you for sharing

  3. Cathy K says:

    Wow, you sure shear your sheep early! We don`t do ours until June here in the Salt Lake Valley, and that is well past lambing season (which is just about over here). Still waiting for my friend`s Tunis sheep to lamb, any day now. We had lots of twins this year, no triplets like last year. Now you must tell the readers about banding the tails and about Little Boy Blue, the nursery rhyme “leaving their tails behind them” (originally) vs. “wagging” or “bringing their tails behind them (modern version). Hugs, Cathy K in Murray, UT

  4. Rosalie in NH says:

    Every Mothers’ Day weekend my small New Hampshire town hosts the New Hampshire Sheep and Wool Festival. Folks from all over New England bring their sheep, goats, alpacas and rabbits–anything with a fleecy coat–to our State fairgrounds to display, compete, exchange ideas and make connections.
    Shearing demos are always well attended. All the newest equipment and techniques for animal care are presented. There are spinners, weavers and knitters working away through the whole weekend.
    My favorite is always the sheepherding competition, known here as the Dog Trials. There are generally about 20 to 30 dogs, mostly border collies, competing for ribbons, small cash prizes and the admiration of a hundred or so fans.
    Shepherds and dogs work together to gather and corral small flocks of very nervous sheep. With whistles, clicks and voice commands the shepherds communicate to the dogs which way to go, when to stop, creep, chase, block and crowd the stock. Some of the dogs need barely any direction at all. They know their jobs and how to get them done!
    One year, for fun, the shepherds’ association challenged the onlookers to corral 3 sheep without the dog. Three women volunteered. How hard could it be? If a dog can do this, surely 3 smart, strong women can succeed!
    Those gals right smartly managed to get 2 of the 3 sheep into the pen. The third was not so cooperative. They chased and bluffed that ewe all over the field. It appeared the lone sheep actually wanted to be with the others, but wanted to do it her own way. Meanwhile, naturally, the other 2 escaped and the fun started all over again. The contest continued for another 10 minutes or so and all but the sheep were exhausted. Two sheep were now back in the pen but the last was still on the loose.
    Not to be defeated, one solidly-built lady grabbed the final sheep around the middle, carried her to the pen and hoisted her over the stile. That sheep couldn’t have weighed less than 60 lbs. and squirmed and kicked all the way. The applause was explosive!
    Then the shepherd sent his oldest dog into the ring and Shep had those 3 woolies in the pen and secure in about 2 minutes and 10 seconds! And no heavy lifting!
    The Humane Society won’t let us hold Greased Pig Contests at the State Fair anymore. The Women Wooly Wrestlers may be the wave of the future!
    Many thanks for sharing the experience of Shearing Day. Happy Lambing!

  5. Kris says:

    Thanks so much for all the great pictures. I love sheep. I am getting my front pasture ready for some sheep. My friend has Suffolk ewes about ready to lamb. I will get some for meat. Then another friend has Shetland-Cheviot that I want for the wool. I hope to be getting some in the next few months. I can hardly wait.

    My heifer just had her 1st calf, a bull, a few days ago. That was very exciting. Glad it’s over and she had a nice healthy calf. I also have 2 does due in a few weeks. Also getting lots of chicken and turkey eggs now.

    And a few pigs getting ready to go to market middle of April.

    So busy days here at Outback Farm in North Georgia. I am loving all the new babies!

  6. Megan says:

    We are shearing right now too, but we have a tiny flock, so I get all the wool to spin! 🙂
    Happy lambing!

  7. irina pivtchev says:

    hi very interesting how your sheep get sheared! i as a kid did 300 + sheep at easter time i sheared by hand the old way! hard work but i was a dummy–my dadsfriend from canada showed my dad how to shear sheep he was a old russian man so me being curoious i thought i should do this too–well it turned out the russian taught me very well and i was stuck shearing all the sheep every year during easter break growing up! :]

  8. Jeanie Allen Davis says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post. We have a friend who learned to shear her own sheep. But rather than sell the wool, she cards, washes and spins it. And, yes, she has the wool labeled as to which ships was the contributor. Also loved your photos.

  9. Joan says:

    Thanks for the shearing story – been a long time since last I was ‘there’. We are still having a bit of Winter so not much happening here on the mid-eastern plains of Colorado. Oh by the way I live in a ‘burb’ but my sons family lives on a 5 acreage just up the hill so I still get to enjoy his ‘farm’ – 4 horses, a flock of chickens, 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 of the most of the most grandchildren. For me I do my ‘farm girling’ in my back yard with a windmill, watering tank (which I use for tomatoes) and dream that I’m on a ‘real farm’. Keep up the good work on those boys – ah God’s blessings are many.

  10. Lorrie says:

    thanks for sharing, I too am in the midst of lambing seaon here in Diamond Lake,WA. I just love my little hobby farm and coming from city life this is a BIG change for me, but will not ever go to that hustle and bustle anymore. I wish we had some shearing professionals in my area as shearing for my husband and I is an all day affair for the few I have to shear and I am sure that if anyone saw us they would be having a good laugh sure. We really enoy the country life and the hard work really is gratifiying. Take care and have fun.

  11. Izzy says:

    I have just begun breeding German Angoras for hand spnining and I would like to learn more. I have a new litter of kits, a buck and a doe. I am harvesting a humongous ammout of wool just from these two! I am interested in atending a shearing party. Will there be any near Minnesota in the near future? I have several friends who would also be very interested as well.

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