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Livestock News Round-up

Hi folks, it's high time for a farm update! I realized I completely skipped right over alpaca shearing this spring (among other things) – woops!

It's Officially Spring

(Mostly) great news on the sheep front - they are sheared, and there are babies! Last year we didn't get the sheep sheared until sometime in May, and I had to milk them fully-coated for a month or so. I did NOT want to do that again, and for several other reasons it's just better to get them sheared before they lamb. Their beginning due date was around the 1st of March, so we were getting pretty antsy to get the shearer lined up by late February. Fortunately, everything came together suddenly after weeks of playing phone tag, and the shearer came Sunday, March 4.

Where Did October Go?!

Holy Moley!  I’d say I can’t believe its been a month already, except it feels like it’s been 2 months since my last post!  I have been making soap, prepping wool, felting soap - and not much else.  I estimate that since the first week of October, I have sold something around 400 bars of soap!  And I am operating in an almost-constant state of just-about-out of soap :).

Planting Season

This last weekend was our blackberry winter, the last cold snap of th spring that usually hits right when the blackberries are blooming.  We got down in the mid-30's a couple of nights, with frost in the low areas, but the garden looks fine.  It's been so warm, we already planted tomatoes and peppers, since blackberry winter often stays above freezing, and we lucked out.  We had a WWOOFer for about 3 weeks, until last Tuesday, so the gardens and hoop house are in good shape.

They're Here!


We're Still Here

I apologize for the - what, 4 week?! - hiatus there!  For the first week, I wasn't doing a whole lot besides cleaning, carding, and spinning fleece and knitting a couple pairs of slippers someone ordered.  Then, the next few weeks were surprisingly busy with a variety of activities and I just never had a chance to write anything!  We've hosted 2 different groups, conducted a goat roundup, got our beef back and sold most of it, and gotten the sheep sheared!

Gains and Loss

This past week has, yet again, been one of joy and sadness.  I'll start with the sad - Monday morning we found our last cria of the year, Hank, dead in the pasture.  We are baffled as to the cause.  It was around 8* out, but alpacas are very cold-hardy animals, and he had his mama to snuggle with so I don't think it was the cold.  After I sheared him (in the living room, as I said it was 8* outside!) he didn't look excessively thin - pacas are always pretty lean creatures, and he was still nursing.

Even Better...


...than the sheep kicking off a good year of 2016 with babies is... finishing this one with them :)  Our first lamb was born this morning (Wednesday), a little ewe-ling - or whatever they're called.  She's adorable, and mama's doing great.  These 4 Tunis sheep are all between 3 and 7 years old, so they shouldn't have any trouble knowing how to mother.  The only issue we've had so far is with good-intentioned alpacas.

Latest Arrivals

We have a couple new Solace Farm residents - each of the last two weekends we have acquired one new animal!  Last Friday we bought another sheep from my midwife's sister, this one an actual milking sheep, the East Friesian breed. She's just 7 months old, born at the same time as our goat doelings this year, so that'll be easy to remember.

Farm Update

Yet again, it's been a busy few weeks.  We had a great WWOOOFer for a week, and then 2 more expected shortly after that never showed, so we've again had a bit more to do than we'd hoped.  

Last weekend we got a first coat of plaster on the addition walls.  We had 4 etra sets of hands, so we were able to get the entire wall done on Sunday afternoon.  The weather has been so damp that the walls are still too damp for a second coat, but a slow cure is certainly better than a too-rapid drying.