Frozen Fruit Posted: December 12, 2013 |
It was -34 last Friday, and we went into town to do Christmas shopping. All the gifts we bought were put into the cab of the truck, along with the kids and I and a friend one of the children invited over. There was not much room in that truck for the groceries I stopped to buy! But buy I did, and the food had to get home. So most of the groceries were put into the back of the truck. By the time we got home the bananas and the asparagus were frozen solid, as well as a couple of the potatoes. The next morning the bananas had turned black, the asparagus was soggy, and the potatoes oozing!
So I took a picture of the bananas, and made a mental note to NEVER buy those things again if I cannot take them home in the cab. Problems like this make me miss my minivan. I love that car! It would take ten bags of feed for the animals, plus all the groceries AND the children without a problem. And everyone would sit comfortably. I could even put garbage in the back to take to the dump if I had to. Now we have a truck that is basically only good for fetching feed, and is not versatile at all. I wish we could get that van fixed!
Lamb is ready for sale Posted: December 5, 2013 |
I went and collected our meat from the packers yesterday. Each lamb was packaged separately and stamped by the inspector so we can sell the meat. The lambs were on the leaner side because they were not grain fed, and the dressed out weights are smaller than the average 50 pound lamb. Ours ranged from 25 pounds to 40 pounds.
Normally, lambs are slaughtered between six and eight months, but ours are about two months behind it seems. If our pasture improves next summer they may grow quicker than this year's lot. We are also looking at creep-feeding the youngest lambs for a few weeks to get them growing quicker than they did this year. It is our first season, and we are learning, so we have a few things to change this coming breeding season.
With this week's cold spell we have put the ewes back into the barn. It helps them keep warmer so they don't get thinner in the cold weather. It does mean I have to be out more often, swapping rams and ewes around, but that is just part of the job. Sometimes I do wish someone else would do it for me though!
I am keeping a careful eye on my ladies now because I am sure that pretty soon some of them will be lambing. Daniel has to get a move on with the jugs in the barn, and it looks like it will be a really cold week-end to be working outdoors. He will put on the heater though and that will help a lot. He worked out a really good plan for the barn that will allow us to keep the lambs warm and safe for their first four weeks in this cold world, and the more I think of it, the more I like it. I do not want to loose any lambs to the cold this year.
Snow Days Posted: December 3, 2013 |
The snow started on Sunday afternoon and did not let up until late last night (Monday). The bus driver called early Monday morning and said the busses were cancelled. She phoned again Monday evening because the busses are cancelled for Tuesday as well. The graders have not been able to deal with all the roads in time, so we will probably only have school again tomorrow. The kids have mixed feelings about this: they don't miss the bus ride or school too much, but they don't like mom giving them chores to do and not letting them sit around all day!
I am heading out this morning to feed the ewes and make sure all the animals are well taken care of, but I will probably put the ewes in the barn tonight because temps will drop below -25 with wind chill. They do have some shelter in the paddock, but we don't want them burning up too much energy to keep warm, we want them to stay healthy during their pregnancies. It means more work for me, but only for a few days until the cold front passes by.
Rams for Sale Posted: December 1, 2013 |
Last week I took ten of our best rams to be slaughtered. It was completely different to what I expected. The butcher had pens in a barn area that were really dirty and smelly. They told me to arrive between nine and ten in the morning, but when I got there they were not ready for me - the butcher was not even there! I had to drive the lambs off the trailer myself, and force them into the holding pen. I am sure they smelled death. The front of the abbatoir was a mess, and even though the cutting area looked clean and uncluttered, I did not like leaving my lambs there. Looks like I will have to travel all the way to Tofield next year for this - I don't think I will be using them again.
We borrowed our neighbour's scale to weigh the rest of our rams. They range from 48 to 110 pounds. We will be selling them on Kijiji and if we can't sell them soon we will take them to market. That will be another new experience for us, and I am curious about the whole process. I do always wonder who buys the rams and why, is it mostly butchers or is it other farmers? But in the meantime we will have to fatten our rams up a bit with unlimited hay, and add a bit of grain to their feed. I don't like giving them grain, it is expensive and I want to raise grass-fed lambs, but because our pasture was not good this year I think we will need to compromise a little. Looks like they will be getting a bit spoiled these next few weeks.
Cold Snap Posted: November 25, 2013 |
With temps plummeting below -25 last week, we decided to give our ewes and rams a break from the cold. The rams were put into the pen in the barn, and the ewes had the rest of the barn to sleep in.
They were eating the bales that we had put out in the paddock to be used for the cow in the winter, and they made quite a mess. The barn is also full of poop now. But at least we did not have to brave the weather and fork out hay for them for a few days, which saves our fingers from frostbite, and the sheep had plenty to eat, instead of being rashioned by our forks.
By yesterday the weather had improved greatly and we put the rams and ewes back in their paddocks. We think that this will be our procedure throughout the winter, because we are sure to be lambing soon and we want the ewes well fed and kept warm during their pregnancies. Young lambs also do not do well in the cold, so the barn will always be open for them this winter. If all goes well next year, we will not need to use the barn in the winter for lambing.
Can we see the sun please? Posted: November 19, 2013 |
I thought we lived in Alberta, but it sure feels like Vancouver right now! I don't think we have seen the sun in two weeks, and I wish I could slash the clouds apart with a magic sword to let the sunshine through! The snow is quite deep already, and it looks like we are in for another day of it. Yesterday the grader came by and if the weather continues it will have to come back again tomorrow, but of course that won't happen. I wonder if we will have problems getting out later this week, or if the kids will have a snow day because the bus can't get through?
Anyway, enough griping. The weekend was good, and the jugs in the barn were worked on. The doors are back, the jugs and the barn have been cleaned out. The latches still need to be put on, and the heat lamps installed. The barn looks really good.
I put the rams into the pen in the barn last night. Some of them are going to be slaughterd this week, and we can sell the meat, and then I want to take pictures of some to sell on kijiji, and we want to keep about six to breed with. They seem to like the barn - it will give them a break from the cold for a while, and then we can toss them in with the ewes when we need the barn for lambing.
Soda is growing and beginnig to chew on everything in the house. We are putting her out with the girls quite a lot in the day, and it seems they are getting used to each other. Pretty soon she can stay out with them all the time, and they can all sleep in the barn together.