Monday, April 02, 2007

New Arrivals

My sheep are on the way! I've purchased 50 Lacunne-cross ewes and 1 ram lamb (with an extra ewe and ram lamb thrown in for free!) from a farm in Wisconsin, Promise Land Farm, and this afternoon they were loaded on the truck for the ride out here to sunny California. The transporter, Ron Keener, has a website and yahoo newsgroup for clients, and the curious, to track his cross-country travels as he picks up and drops off small livestock to primarily homesteader types. You can visit the site and read my anxious messages from the past week trying to pinpoint when he would actually make it to the farm. Now I will be anxiously waiting for updates as to when he will arrive here in Watsonville. I think Friday is going to be a very exciting day around here. We've got lots of work still to do before they come--permanent fencing to install, temporary electric fencing, a tent-shade structure to erect.

Meanwhile, my landlords, Jean Harrah and Bob Thorson, and everyone else on the farm (including the other livestock) have been pre-occupied with the unexpected arrival of three new baby lambs. Because their ram was still a juvenille (and quite a bit shorter than the ewese) when their half-dozen ewes were in heat last fall they didn't think he had successfully impregnated any of them. The black-face ewes are very skittish and it has been impossible to get close enough to inspect them for signs of pregnancy. Well, at least two of them were pregnant! Yesterday two sets of twins were born. The first born didn't make, though his litter mate is quite hardy and healthy. The second set of twins barely made it through the first 24 hours as they were tiny and just skin and bones. We spent quite a bit of the morning watching them to see if they would nurse and worrying about finding colostrum replacer at a local feed store. Fortunately, by afternoon they had both figured it out and their little tails were wagging as they nursed. We're waiting to see now if any other newborn lambs suddenly appear this week!

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