Duck pictures!

I took some pictures of my ducks… 😀 Enjoy.

~JoAnna

Baby ducks

Baby ducks might be the cutest thing in the entire world. Seriously. There’s nothing like them.

My baby ducks are about 6 weeks old now and I’ve just released them to a pond on our land so they can swim and forage for food. Since we first got them, I’ve been putting off letting them wander free because I thought they’d just run away. I was delighted and completely shocked that not only have they not run away, they follow me EVERYWHERE.

Apparently they’ve imprinted on me and think I’m their mama. We still put them away at night in their little cage but they walk happily in once I put food in there. We actually lost one on Friday because I didn’t put them in. (It was their first night out of the cage) We’re pretty sure an owl took it because there were no signs of struggle or feathers anywhere near the pond.

Anyway in the mornings I go to let them out and they’ll just stand at my feet until I walk down to the pond with them. And if I try to leave and they happen to see me, they will RUN after me to try to follow! When I manage to get away without them seeing, once they figure it out they’ll cry ALL day until I come back and sit with them. It’s ADORABLE!!!! And completely irresistible. I wish I could spend the entire day with my little flock of 6 ducks. 🙂 If you’ve ever thought about getting ducks, do it. They’re SO fun! I have Khaki Campbells and they’re so sweet. 🙂

I’ve only named 3 of them because they’re a bit hard to tell apart. One of the girls is Speckle because she has a white mark on her throat. Another that had a smaller white speckle on her throat was named Parson (because it looked like a Parson’s collar) Her speckle is VERY small now that her feathers have come in but she has white tips on her wings so I can still tell who she is. 🙂

I named our boy Wembly. I read the Fraggle Rock books as a child and I always loved Wembly. I thought it was the perfect name for a duck. Unfortunately, I don’t have a clue which one is the boy…or if we actually still have him. Chances are that we do. I hope so because I want MORE ducks someday!! 🙂 If not, I’m buying more because I love them.
~JoAnna

Sheep pictures

I LOOVE the Tunis red faces! 🙂
~JoAnna

More sheep…? Yup.

Yes. We bought more. They will be for meat but I’m still super excited. We bought three ram lambs. Two are Tunis and one is a Tunis Hampshire cross. They are not “fixed” yet but that will probably have to happen soon. I was hoping we could possibly try to get them to breed our Suffolk girls before we make them whethers but since we’re most likely getting our registered Tunis ewes in the next week or so, that’s probably NOT going to happen.

I am actually surprised, the Tunis x Hampshire is pretty cute. Somehow he ended up with a sort of grey face which I really like. 🙂 I guess genetics don’t work like the color wheel. Black and red do not make maroon. haha. Apparently they make grey.

We’ve already noticed that the Tunis are MUCH calmer than the Suffolks and the Hamp cross. We call the Tunis x Hamp Grumpy because he’s just GRUMPY! While transporting him back to the farm, he didn’t sit down ONCE. The other two were completely chill and just laid down almost immediately. But all three of them combine are bleating far less than the Suffolks did when we got them. And they took their wormer like champs. 🙂 I’m gonna try to get out and get some pictures of them today. I need to go do animal chores. Sheep, ducks and goats. There’s NO end!
~JoAnna

Sheeps!

Pictures of my sheep taken by a dear friend:

🙂 Can’t wait to get MORE!!!!! haha.
~JoAnna

Sheep Shearing!

Today I sheared my sheep for the first time! I was so excited and nervous. Nervous because the shears that you use are INTENSE!! I don’t have a picture of my shears, but they’re pretty rugged. You can google electric sheep shears and see what they look like if you’re interested. All in all, it went pretty smoothly. They didn’t fight me too much except getting into the stantion (sp? It’s the stand with the head gate that we use to milk goats by hand. It just so happens to work for shearing sheep as well!). They got a little jumpy sometimes and one of them YELLED the ENTIRE time. It took me about 40 minutes+ per sheep. I went really slow because I had NO clue what I was doing. Seriously. I’ve watched three YouTube videos and that’s IT. They look a little scraggly, but overall not too bad. 🙂 Here are some pictures:

We tried to save most of the top wool (the useful stuff) but since I didn’t have any idea how many inches of wool there was on there, there was probably less useful stuff than there should have been if a professional had done it. I got about 3.5 lbs of good wool. And I had maybe…5 pounds of waste? I’m not really sure. I didn’t gather the waste and weigh it. It’s actually not waste though because we can use it in the compost for the garden. It’ll be great fertilizer! So it was scary and I nicked them each a few times with the shears (Which I felt HORRIBLE about) but we had an antibacterial spray that was a pain reliever too so that helped. I’m just so happy their sheared and won’t be hot for the rest of the summer! I think they’re much happier now and I don’t think they totally hate me. They still came up to me after I sheared them. In my mind it was like a “thank you for shearing us. We’re much cooler now.” type of look. 🙂

I’ll have wool of my own to use at the spinning class I’m taking next month! Yay!
~JoAnna

Looong day

Oh my goodness it’s been such a long day.

Today started by taking the two whethers (boy sheep that have been…erm…fixed) and the steer to the slaughter house. I was not a part of this process but I woke up when Ben did (6:30). I think I went back to sleep for a little while actually but I’m still beat!

For some reason this week my emotions have been completely out of whack. Like one second I’m mad, then I’m happy then I’m in the depths of despair. It’s weird. Well I was over thinking the whole animals going to the slaughter house this morning so I was pretty depressed. I decided I’d distract myself by working on the market bag warp I’m putting on my loom. That didn’t really work. I somehow forgot that all I do when I’m weaving is think and I didn’t feel very positive so my thoughts spiraled into depression. (big surprise…thinking is dangerous)

Well then Molly came in to let me know that my baby chicks were piling again (they pile on top of each other which causes whatever chicks are on the bottom to suffocate. Awesome…I lost 6 chicks yesterday because they pile when they’re freaked out and they didn’t like the storm) So I spent the afternoon wracking my brain about how to get the chicks somewhere where they would have more space, cleaner living conditions and access to actual sunlight. We tried moving them out to the chicken coop where all the grown up hens live but they piled and I lost 3 earlier this week. Well that was the day before yesterday so we figured we’d move them back.

Then when Molly and I were in the process of moving the chicks from my shop to the coop, the goats got out of their pasture and into  the strawberries. Once we chased them out of the strawberries they ran down the path to the other garden in the bottom ground and got into the broccoli and corn! So we had to chase them back up into their pasture. While we were chasing goats all over creation, the calf that is in the same pasture as the goats got out and started to walk down the path to the bottom ground! At this point it was like 4PM so I called Ben and said we needed help. He had absolutely no trouble getting Fiona (the calf) back into the pasture and we got all the goats back in within a few minutes of that. Freaking cow whisperer. Seriously. He’s SO good with cows.

The ONLY consolation I have is that the sheep were good and stayed in their pasture happily eating away. I love sheep. They might not always be the brightest of animals, but they’re sweet and when they see a fence, they stay in it. It’s a miracle.

The chicks seem happy in their freshly strawed coop and all the other animals are where they are supposed to be now but I’m exhausted.

I’m trying to think positively and find something to be excited about.

Molly and I had fun cleaning out the camper that we got from the grandparents to house the WWOOFers. (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) Grandma left a bunch of stuff in there so we went through it. There were a few pillow cases in there so I might try to cut them up and use them for the market bags I’m weaving. I’m not a huge fan of rag weaving, but I’ve never personally done it (or if so, not since I was a kid) so I might try it. I am quite tired though. I gotta go start on dinner in a few minutes. Food will be good. 🙂
~JoAnna