Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Getting Back into Blogging

Sometimes it's hard to get back into the habit once you've gotten out of it. Tonight, I found that I really had to force myself to sit down at the computer and start writing. There always seems to be so much to do. My studio beckons - it's an absolute disaster - and I have new students starting in the next few weeks. I have renovations to do in the barn , sheep to tend to, - my house is a disaster.....
and need I go on.

So for an update.

It has been crazy here - absolutely crazy.
Of course - with the regular 40 hour per week job - and the pottery (which is quickly turning into a 40 hour per week job).
Let's add Christmas to this (it was a lovely Christmas by the way) - and then there's Max.

Max - I want you to meet Max:

Do you like the Dreadlocks?

Sorry - I couldn't resist the pirate hat.

OK - so, here's a real picture of Max:

And the story behind Max.

He is a VERY energetic 10 month old pug puppy.
As you recall - in early November, I lost my beloved elderly companion Penny.
I decided that I would like to have another dog - and that possibly - I was ready to tackle having a smaller dog again.

My sister had a pug when we were teenagers - I had a pekingese.

I had forgotten how much work a puppy was/is.

Max is only 10 months old - and we are his 3rd owners (other than the breeders and pet shop).
The last few owners didn't feel up to the task of an energetic pug puppy. So - Max is confused - and a bit insecure - but he is lovable - and energetic.
We are trying very hard to break some bad habits - but he is progressing a great deal.
The cats are NOT amused - but Max is.
The biggest problem so far, has been that he likes to chase the kitties. They turn tail - and he has a heyday. We're working on it. But - we all love him - and I'm sure this will be his forever home.

My Daughter is also home for the holidays. She flew in from Newfoundland on December 20th.
She leaves again on January 5th. We are so happy to have her here. It was early August since we last saw her, and 2 weeks just isn't long enough to enjoy her company. But we are so happy she could make it home for Christmas - and we are enjoying our time together.

Other than that - all is well. Knock on wood. The sheep are well - the chickens are well. The weather is cold (we need more snow). We all have jobs - and family to love, good friends to
spend our time with - what more could we want.

I'll post again soon. I promise.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Presenting: Dailley "Pachino"

"Kalwa Taure Shetlands and Earendel Shetlands, are pleased to introduce our new ram from the Dailley Flock.

Pachino is just over a year old. He has the classic shetland conformation and fleece quality so consistent with his heritage.

He will be a beautiful additional to our selective breeding program.

Heartfelt thanks to Carol Precious for all her advise in helping us select him".

When one door Closes - another opens.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Sad - but HappyTale

I've been desperately looking for my picture box so that I could find a good picture of Penny - our dog.
Let me tell you about Penny:
We think she's about 16 - going on 17 ish. We adopted her from the local Humane Society 15 years ago. I was actually looking at another dog - a white collie cross - but when I got there it had already been adopted. As we were walking through and looking in all the pens - Penny was sitting quiety facing the corner like she had been a bad girl. I asked the attendant what was up with her.
"That's "Bonus" she said - she's due to be euthanized tomorrow. When I asked why - they said she had used up all her time. She was about 2 years old - had been brought in because she "kept having puppies". Well - you know dogs - "Bonus " looked at me with those big brown eyes - and I melted - not on my watch!
We dutifully filled out the applications, went through our interview and brought her home.
At the time - I had a 2 year old - and a 5 year old (Children that is). My parents freaked when they learned that I was bringing a Rottweiler/Lab dog home with the children - especially with all these children being attacked by dogs.

My daughter called her "Penny" - and she soon settled in. But Penny - wasn't about to have an easy time of it.
Being the responsible dog owners that we were - we took her in to be spayed.
The vet opened her up - and out popped "Kidney Worms" - some as long as 3'. I just happened to be working out of town that day - and was tracked down. Did we want to save her - of course.
3 hours later ($700 poorer) - they had cleaned out all the kidney worms. She was actually the first known dog to have survived this horrible affliction. In the process - the worms had already eaten through one kidney. She was weak - but alive. We'll spay her another day.
The worms were sent to the University of Guelph - Vetrinary hospital for the students to study.

4 months later, we dutifully brought her back to the vets to be spayed. While there - ahem, the vet decided to do her blood test for heartworm (do you see where this is going). Uh-oh.
Unfortunately - Penny had never been cared for - and she had heartworm. It was decided that she was not a good candidate for the standard arsenic treatment for heartworm - and now we had to get special government approval to bring in a new treatment from the States. In this treatment - they take 2 long needles - insert them down between the shoulder blades and into the heart and inject a medicine that kills the worms. She spent 2 days at the vets office - and then had to come home for 6 weeks (and be kept quiet). The heartworms die - form a blood clot and then are passed from the system. If she was to get too excited - the clots could kill her.
Keeping this bundle of love and energy quiet was a chore - but hurrah - we managed.

Smooth sailing from here. Penny loved us with all her heart. She played frisbee with the kids.
She guarded all the animals. If an animal was on the property that wasn't supposed to be there - we knew about it. She loved to walk in the woods. We did go through a spell where she kept slipping her halter/collar and taking off into the woods for the night - but she always was right there the next morning. She was a truly amazing dog. She never ever harmed a chicken or sheep - even when they came and shared her food in her dish. We even had her go after a raccoon that had killed a chicken once - scare it off - and then bring the dead chicken back up and place it in front of the garage till we got home. She was a truly remarkable dog. She was afraid of thunderstorms (until she went deaf).

This last year we noticed that she was starting to slow - her eyes were fogging over with cataracts, she walked slower - but she still went on walks with us. About 3 weeks ago - she decided she didn't want to eat anymore. I tried everything - she would nibble at the canned food. I called the vet - who came out and gave her a couple of shots of B12 - and some massage and herbs. She took blood and checked her all over. "She's old" - but not her time yet.
We soldiered on - special food - and lots of love. Lots and lots of love for a dear old friend.

On Tuesday morning, I opened the barn door to find her lying silently curled up in the straw by the door - right where we had left her the night before. She had quietly slipped away in the night. The way it should be. We were happy that she didn't have to endure another long cold winter here. We were happy that we could give her 15 years of love - and she gave us nothing but love back. That rottwieler/lab never once growled or spoke back to us. We never once had to raise a hand to her. She was possibly the best dog anyone could ever have.

We buried her up in the corner of the barnyard (My husband wanted to bury her in the woods).
But I knew that even after she was gone - she would want to be close to us. I can look out and see where she lies - and know that she was always there for me.
I have to go now (because I am crying so much it's hard to type). I'll find those pictures this weekend and put one up on the blog.

Good-bye my dear friend - we will meet again.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

Autumn is here - I love autumn. I love to walk in the woods - and smell the fallen leaves.
There is so much to see.

I actually took these pictures last Sunday on my morning walk.
It was a glorious sunny day.

I took about 50 pictures - but I'll only show a few of my favourites.

This is one of my favourites:

I love the ferns sticking up through the leaves -
the contrast is so striking. And the stump in behind
with fungus growing on it - well - I just think it's
an interesting shot.

This is another shot of leaves.
Again - with the moss showing through.
I really like moss. And in this picture - you have the green moss - and the leaves all around - all the different types of leaves. It's just interesting
to look at.

This next shot - I took in the spring.
This is an area in our woods that floods most
years in the spring. I actually had this picture
done up into an 8x10. It almost looks like a lake
in the woods - but what I really love - is the reflection of the trees - and the sky in the water.

I showed this - so that you can see the contrast
in this next picture:

This is exactly the same area - taken last week.

The water has all dried up - and the area is covered with a thick carpet of leaves. You'd never know it was the same area.
What a difference. But still an interesting shot.
The long shadows of the trees - the open - but enclosed space. I find it to be a very serene

And lastly - my backyard - framed by the trees
as I come up from the woods.

I love nothing more than to see my lovely little flock of shetlands grazing in the back. The sheep haven't noticed my presence yet - or else they'd all be standing at the gate trying to get into the woods.

I have to take a walk out into the woods again tomorrow - I love to document the changes
each week as autumn progresses.

And - I want to see if there was any wind damage in the storm we had on the weekend.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

As My Flock Ages

It's not really unexpected that this will happen.
And it never, ever gets any easier.

Earlier this week, we said good-bye to
Cherrington Elizabeth - born May 20, 1996.
She quietly passed away in her sleep. She had been slowly getting thinner, and this last few weeks - really didn't want to eat. We tried just about everything, but she just wasn't interested.

As a consolation - the day before she died - she went outside and spent a glorious afternoon in the autumn sunshine - she was still quite agile - although very arthritic. I was a bit surprised to
find her dead the next morning - as I was hoping she was going to rebound for us.

At right is a picture of her taken a few year ago (she was terrible for diving head first into the hay).

Bess (as she was fondly called) was one of my first
three original sheep that I got when I started into shetlands way back in 1996. Her sire was Skerryvore Corby, and her Dam was Cherrington Queen Mary.

She was one of those lovely Cherringtons - one of the earliest flocks of Shetlands in Ontario.
And true to the Cherrington Black sheep - even at 13 years old - she still didn't have a white hair on her body. Her fleece wasn't quite as soft as her mothers - but it was still quite soft and crimpy. We are certainly going to miss her in our flock.

At this time, my next oldest sheep are now Kalwa Taure Beatrice and my last Cherrington - Little Dog- who was born in 2000.

Although I've been raising shetlands now for 13 years - it never gets any easier when we have
to say good-bye to one of our beloved flock.

Hopefully my next post will be a bit more cheerful.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Babes in the Barn

Technically - they are in quarantine in my studio.
However - in a few weeks, they will be moving out to the barn.

These babies are my latest Avian aquisitions.
For those not in the know - they are LIGHT

And if you've never had the chance to get up close and personal with one - they are BIG birds.

This trio that I picked up today - were born in
May of 2009. They are huge! They make my standard size cochins look like bantams. The two hens weighed in around 5 pounds each, and the cockerel was around 9 pounds. Remember - they are only 5 months old - they don't fully mature until they are around 2 years old. Right now - the cockerel stands almost 18 -20" tall - the hens are probably around 16" tall.

When I move them from quarantine to regular quarters, I will get some pictures of them with some of the other birds to compare the size.

So - why the light brahmas? Well - I'm slowly building up a flock of the different birds that I'm interested in raising. While researching the different types of chickens - I kept coming back over and over to these birds as one of the types I'd like to see wandering my barnyard.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for light brahmas, but because they are such a large bird - not a lot of people want to raise them. A few months ago, I posted an ad on Kijiji, and was contacted by - David Stuart- who just happens to specialize in Standard Light Brahmas - and surprise - he only lives about 30 miles away.

What a treat it was to go to his farm today and learn about these wonderful birds. He was very patient and informative on how to choose a good quality show bird, what to look for in the feathers and colouring and structure.

Then, after much deliberation, I came away with these 3 show quality birds. I haven't named them yet - but that will come.

I also have some other new birds in the coop - I will have to get pictures and post them in the next few weeks.

Until then - I'll leave you with this picture that I took last weekend out in our woods.
It looks like fall is here. I'm sure that winter isn't far behind.

Monday, October 12, 2009

What's New?

I know it's been a while. I have been busier than usual - as a matter of fact - too busy.
Work has been crazy - and I have had had to work a lot of overtime to keep up.

I also have 5 pottery sales coming up in November - so in the evenings, I have spent a great deal of time at the wheel and in the studio. This hasn't left much time for anything else - other than sleeping.

The good news - we did have one of our silver laced cochin chicks survive. I moved the last two survivors up to the brooder box - and one of them died - but this little guy is a survivor.
I call him/her "Peepers" - just cause when you walk into the garage, he starts peeping at you.
(I think it's a rooster - don't ask why - I just think it is).
He's looking really scraggly right now as his feathers are coming in.

This picture was taken in his brooder box - which he really is getting too tall for - when we walk into the garage - he sticks his head over the top and looks out at us - like an ostrich peering at you over the fence.

The other bit of good news is that my friend Alina, has managed to hatch out several silver laced cochin chicks in her incubator in July - and, next week, I am going to get 6 chicks from her.

So Peepers won't be lonely too much longer.

We have some new arrivals in the coop as well.
I will have to get pictures soon. But for now -
at least this is a start.

That's all for now.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

And Now for the Sad News

So - it's not all exciting and fun in the farm world.
In my last post, I was so excited about my new silver laced cochins. 7 beautiful little chicks hatched after waiting so long.

Sadly - this past week, we had and outbreak of CRD in our barn/coop - and 6 of my 7 chicks died.
Finally, on Thursday, I took the last two and moved them up to the brooder box, where, at this moment, the last chick appears to be recovering. I have been medicating, and it has a heat lamp - no one is allowed into the area for fear of contamination. Chucky is devastated to have lost her entire brood.

For those of you who don't know a lot about CRD (chronic respiratory disease) - let me fill you in.

It is an insidious "mycoplasma" bacterium that invades the air sacs of the lungs of chickens. In itself - it is not a really bad disease. It is much like the common cold is in humans. However - what it does, is weakens the bird - and secondary infection will often jump in - take over - and the weaker birds will die very quickly.

It is Chronic. Meaning - the birds that survive will be carriers - and will continue to infect your flock forever.

What can you do? Most vetrinarians recommend either destroying and burning your entire flock, then scouring the coop with disinfectant - wait a month - then you can start over with a new flock - which is reasonable if you have a meat or layer flock.
The other option is to live with it (as I am doing because I love my chickens). Try not to stress your birds - treat it when it rears it's ugly head - AND - quarantine any and all new birds arriving at your farm for not One, not TWO - but FOUR!!!!! weeks.

I got it on my farm when a friend gave me some lovely little birds last year - which looked healthy - and I stupidly didn't quarantine them long enough. I introduced it to my flock - and it didn't rear it's head for 2-3 months.

Why did I lose my chicks? Well -they have NO immunities at birth - and it typically takes 26 weeks for young birds to develop their immunities. I had brought in a new group of birds (which I am quarantining for a month) - and we had a little extreme heat wave here, which probably stressed my flock out and another outbreak occurred. This outbreak is currently running through my flock - and will take about 10 - 12 days to subside. Some birds are completely unaffected. Any new birds in my flock that have never had it before are currently ill. I have lost 2 of my cuckoo marans. Everyone that shows signs of illness goes into a "hospital" cage up in my studio and receives extra care.
I have been in contact with a vet and instructed to treat with "tetracycline" based medication.
It works. Most birds who show symptoms are clearing up within 2 days of treatment.
I am also giving the birds crushed garlic to help build their immunities - most of them love it.

So - this isn't meant to scare anyone. It is just a cautionary message to say:
Be Aware! Ask questions when buying birds (is this in your flock? have your birds been sick?)
And don't be afraid to walk away if you don't get the answers you should, because although it is a nuisance - it can also cause a lot of heartbreak. Up until last year - I had never had a single sick bird in my flock - it just takes one lapse in judgment to change everything.

So - now - Off my soapbox.
In the next week or so -I will post some pictures of some of the new birds we do have (that are in quarantine).

Monday, August 17, 2009

New Chicks!!

This is very exciting news!

Well - if you're into chickens - it's very exciting news.

Last night and this morning - Chucky, my standard silver laced cochin hen hatched out 7 of her 10 eggs.

I am so excited!!!!!

For those of you that have been following.
(I'll fill in the blanks here).

Standard sized silver laced cochins are not all that plentiful around here yet.

Last year, I bought 2 hens from a lady (I shall keep my sources anonymous for selfish reasons).
She had imported them from the United States.

Unfortunately, and a long story - we had an illness hit our coop - and it killed off a great number of my prized hens - including one of the silver laced cochin hens. I was devastated, because these birds are so hard to find in Canada.

So - the search was on for more cochins - no luck. Finally
- after several months, my source called to say she had
found a rooster for me. I purchased him
(named him Romeo) - and immediately
proceeded to let him woo my little Chucky. That's Romeo in the picture.

I was concerned - as Romeo sounded a bit raspy last week. What a tragedy if I should lose him as
well - then what?

But Chucky didn't let me down!

21 days ago (to the day) - Chucky proceeded to set her eggs. Romeo was sent out to the coop to bother the other hens - as I fretted and worried - until last night when I heard the first little peep.

And this morning when I did my chores -
here's what I found:

They are so cute - and Chucky is the best mom.

The chicks all seem quite relaxed - when you go
near - they pop their heads out to see what is
going on. And they aren't in the slightest concerned when you pick them up.

This is going to be so much fun.

Of course - I have several people wanting
chicks in this area (it's going to be very hard to part with any of these little darlings).

But I am so happy - and excited - and much less worried now, as I have at least grown my little flock a bit - and hopefully will have some more silver laced cochin hens to keep the line going.

Stay tuned for more chicken news in the next few weeks - as I am expecting some more new additions to flock (not chicks) - but some much sought after breeds that I am finally able to get.

Until then - try to stay cool in this heat!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Got the Frizzles?

I said Frizzles - not Frizzies.

I have to say that these are possibly the cutest - and funniest looking chickens I have ever had.

I brought home 4 bantam cochin Frizzles in May as day old chicks. Now - Frizzle is a gene that causes the feathers to curl.

Two of the chicks are definitely displaying the
frizzles - two of the chicks are not - but will be carriers. I'm thinking that bot of these are hens - but I'm still not too sure about the white one - it might be a rooster - in any case - it's very shy.

I can't wait to play with these chicks - and do some cross breeding onto my other birds.

I might even try something like this guy:

He's a polish X frizzle bantam.

I'm still not sure whether to laugh or just feel sorry for him.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Last Lamb of 2009

This morning - the last lamb of 2009 was born at Kalwa Taure Shetlands.

I arrived at the barn at 8 am to find this lovely little ewe lamb born to Kalwa Taure Trinity and sired by Cherrington Harry.

She was already up and feeding - all cleaned up and ready to go.

Trinity is a first time mom - and very attentive, especially since she was in the ewe pen with 5 other ewes and their lambs.

So - lambing is done for 2009. Lucky for us, it was a ewe year.

Totals: 6 lambs - 4 ewes, 2 rams.

Let the races begin!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Surprising Turn of Events

Well - we've had a little surprise in the turn of events surrounding Merlin.

Merlin was to have been euthanized late last week, or early this week given the nature of his spinal injury.

However - due to circumstances - we held off for a few days.

Yesterday - my good friend Cate - who works at OVC, contacted me to say that another option had been presented to medically manage Merlins symptoms, which we have decided to try.

So - as of yesterday afternoon, Merlin went home to Earendal Farm with Cate and Al, where, she informs me he is resting comfortably this morning and is bright and alert.

We know that of course - this is only management of his condition, and that we can't prolong the inevitable forever - however, we are hoping that in this non aggressive environment, he may be able to rest and regain enough strength to possibly enjoy his time here a little bit longer. And, we are hoping to possibly (this is a huge hope) have him sire some more lambs for us before the
inevitable happens. He is just such a beautiful ram to lose his genetics.

So - fingers are crossed - and let's hope for the best. Good luck Cate, Al - and Merlin.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Life

I want to thank everyone who offered kind thoughts over the loss of our Merlin.

He was such a grand gentleman, and we will miss him terribly.

Although this week has been very sad for us with the loss of Merlin - we have also had some great happiness as well:

First on the list is this little cutie. A little ewe lamb was born to Kalwa Taure Jillian and Cherrington Harry. Both Jillian and Harry are gray - our little ewe lamb (as yet nameless - will
also be grey - like her mom).

We have one more sheep to lamb - at least we think she's pregnant (she may just be fat). We aren't so sure as she was put in with Merlin, and now, given his condition, we are quite understanding that she may not be pregnant.

Another source of great joy this week has been:


I think I'm in love :-)

I have spent many months searching for a
silver laced cochin rooster to go with Chucky -
and last week - an aquaintance of mine e-mailed to say she had found me a rooster - and only a half hour away.

Romeo weighs in somewhere around 10 - 12 pounds - he's a BIG boy! Currently, he's in quarantine - and we all stand around and ogle him in the evenings. The silver laced pattern in cochins is still fairly rare - around here at least. I am just over the moon with this guy.

And - then we had a little miracle here on Wednesday night - the same night I brought Romeo home. As I was bringing him into the barn - I noticed a lifeless baby (just born) chick laying on the concrete just inside the barn door.

Obviously - a bantam Old English Game Hen of mine that had nested in the hay loft - had lost one of her eggs - and when the chick hatched - it fell down along the wall - and onto the concrete floor below - poor thing. Momma hen wanted nothing to do with this chick - she already had 10 others. So - my darling Chucky was sitting on an empty nest - I slipped the chick underneath her (figuring it would die).

There is a higher power out there - a few hours
later the chick was peeping away underneath her new mommy.

Chucky is Ecstatic with her new baby - just look at that size difference! (Click on the picture to make it larger). I was going to take it away from her and put it into the brooder - but I don't have
the heart. Romeo - you will have to wait until
Chucky is done raising her "brood"

All together now: AWWWWW!!!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Grand Old Gentleman

Well - this seems to be a year of losses - and sadness.

Unfortunately - this Friday, we will be euthanizing one of the best rams that I have ever had - or seen.

Cherrington Merlin: 2001 - ??? (see post dated June 23rd).

Sadly - Merlin has suffered a spinal cord injury that has left him very weak, and it has been decided that the most humane treatment will be to euthanize him.

I suspected problems earlier this year, when I noticed that he was losing weight - and staying away from the other rams. After shearing in early May, we noticed that his condition had deteriorated - and he was holding up one leg and curling the toes (not a good sign).
This past weekend, we transferred Merlin to the Ontario Vetrinary Clinic at the University of Guelph, so that he could receive the very best care possible from the top veterinarians in
Ontario. My very Good Friend Cate works at OVC, and has been a super help - both with setting up the arrangements - and explaining all of the tests and results to me.

Sadly - the diagnosis that came in today was that there was damage to the spinal cord (most likely from "Ram Play") - and that it would be most humane to euthanize him - as he was only going to lose complete mobility in his hind end.

So - sadly, this Friday, we will be euthanizing Merlin.
To his credit - he had a most wonderful Blue Gray fleece - a gentle demeanor - and gorgeous horns. He also gave us some wonderful lambs - for which we will be forever grateful.

Good-bye to a Grand old Gentleman

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Duckling Update

There's been nothing new on the lambing front. Jillian is starting to bag up - so she should be ready to lamb sometime in the next few weeks. I'm still not too sure if Trinity and Gabriella are just fat - or pregnant. Although my shearer said that he was pretty sure that Gabriella was pregnant. I don't see any signs of an udder forming yet.

So - I thought I would give a little update on the ducklings.

They are growing like little weeds. It's unbelievable!

Just look at the size of them. They continue to be incredibly endearing - and I realize that I am
soon going to have to put them up for sale. That is going to be difficult.

The "Moms" haven't wanted to take them down to the pond just yet - so we have a little pond up in the safety of their own cage - all ready for them.

Click on the picture to make it bigger - they are so hilarious. Everyone goes up the little ramp to the left and hops into the pond. They really enjoy themselves while the moms look on. When they are done swimming - everyone hops out onto the platform at the right (see the little ramp we built and put in the pool for them) - and then back inside the barn they march (there's another ramp just off to the right that goes into their stall in the barn.

Tomorrow - I will have to post some pictures of the chicks - they are growing like weeds as well.
Today we moved them from their brooder box over to a large cage. They are in heaven.

More later.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Surprise! Aren't Genetics FUN!

Not exactly what I was expecting when I got
home tonight.

I had to work at a pottery sale today, so
I stopped in at 2:30 on my way to check up on
Bella. She was not in labour - and was
quite contendedly relaxing in her stall.

So - on my way I went.

I got home at 8 pm tonight to this little surprise.

A lovely little yuglet socket EWE lamb.

She's not quite what I expected - since Bella is
a boring old yuglet (not my words) - and
Bernard is a black ram with a white krunet.
I was kind of expecting possibly a gray yuglet like her mom.

Oh well - surprises are nice.

By the way - Bella did a lovely job and presented me
with not one - but 2 lovely little EWE lambs.

This is more like what I expected.

What is it with all these kissing lambs!!

Anyway - the count stands at:
2 ewes - 2 rams.

2 down - 3 more to go.

We aren't expecting more lambs until around the 15th of June - so we have a little break in the action now.

And while we wait - I'll leave you with a picture
of my absolute favourite chicken.

This is "chuckie" - she's a silver laced cochin.

And she's mad at me - cause I just took her off
the nest - hence the major fluffy look.

Now - does that look fierce to you?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ducklings and Lambs

OK - First the Duckling update.

They are growing sooooooo fast!

And now - they have two moms.
Seems they pestered the Welsh Harlequin hen that was sitting on a nest in the corner so much, that she finally got off her nest - and is now helping with mothering duties.

Look at how long their legs are getting.
I have spent a ton of time in the barn - just watching them as they swim and drink.

This weekend - I will be letting them outside for a bit of fresh air with their moms. It could be interesting.

And here is one of my favourite pictures.

Just look at the rapture on this ducklings face as
it gets a drink of water. I had just refilled the watering tubs.

By the way - for anyone thinking of getting ducks - they are very messy.

OK - and I saved the best for last.
Lambing has started here at Kalwa Taure Shetlands.

Windwater Rosie (or Windwater Caramel - they are identical, and I have to check the tag),

delivered this set of twin ram lambs this morning.

It was almost a disaster.
I put the pregnant girls out in the front pasture
this morning - and noticed that Rosie was standing around just bellowing. She's normally very quiet. Based on that - I decided to come
home from work at lunch time just to check up.

Sure enough - I arrived - just in time to catch
Kalwa Taure Blizzard, licking the little mioget
ram clean. I scooped the lambs up and rushed
them into the privacy of the barn with Rosie and
Blizzard in hot pursuit. After dragging Blizzard, kicking and screaming out of the stall - I left
Rosie to bond with her two boys. Blizzard spent the afternoon outside the barn - bellowing like an old fishwife - but at least Rosie is accepting both of the lambs. By the way - you can't see it in the picture - but the little mioget ram has 2 white feet.

That's 1 down - 4 to go.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


OK - as per Nancy Krohn's request, here are a couple more photos of the ducklings.

I can't really get into the stall and get
too close to them, or the mother freaks
out and tears off the nest to the other
side of the stall - leaving scattered
ducklings in her wake.

So I took these pictures with my zoom lens from the doorway of the stall. She did calm down a little bit.

The babies came out to eat some of the duckling
starter that I put on the floor for them by the edge
of the nest.

Then she calls them back to her - and stands up
so that they can get underneath her

-too cute!

If you look closely - you will see the little pom poms on their heads - just like Mom.

We also have a Welsh Harlequin Duck sitting on a nest in this stall - but man she's a B----!
You get anywhere near her nest and she starts hissing and freaks out and bites you.

We'll just leave her alone.

For now - Norman and the other Drakes are locked outside in the cage at night so that they leave the new moms alone.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Awwww Factor

Here's what I found when I went to the barn this morning.

Awwww! That is so cute.

I don't think there's anything more to say.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


I do!

I just finished glazing this flock.

I had a bit of fun with them - lots of great
colours here :
because we all know that Shetlands come
in such a wondrous variety of colour.

This picture gives you an idea of size.

The black ram is the largest at about
2" long - to the
little lamb - just a bit larger than a penny.

And lots of in between sizes.

So - I took my little sheep to a shearing
party today at one of my friends places.
Dawn Teetzel owns Thistlecroft Shetlands
Nassa Flock #1179.

This is her 3rd year holding a shearing party.
I bring my pottery and rovings (there are other
vendors as well).

I took this picture as I was trying to get into the

I believe there were well over 200 people
there today - a great showing.

And well - I sold most of my sheep (uh - the potteryones that is). Any that aren't sold will
be going to my friend Kim, who is taking them to
the Sheep dog trials in June - and another friend is taking a flock up to Haliburton this summer when she goes on a spinning course.

Keep an eye on my pottery blog - I should have another batch ready to go in the next few weeks.

Oo - and before I forget - an award! For me! I am very excited - this is my first award.
Thank you Jenny for thinking of me.

Jenny Holden of Wandering Gecko Fame: nominated me for this award. Check out her blog.
Hers is one of my favourite blogs. I'd love to nominate her back - but that would be redundant wouldn't it. So - here goes. I'm supposed to pass this award along - and nominate 10 of my favourite blogs for this award.
Since most of the blogs I watch have already received this award - I'll go with 5 of my favourites.

1: Nancy Krohn's: A Shepherd's Voice is a fantastic blog. I love to read about her adventures in Shepherding.
2: Cate DeSantis: Earendal Farm is also one of my favourites. Cate doesn't post often (I will have to give her heck about that)- however, she is incredibly interesting. Her and I share a lot of the same interests - and definitely the same breeding goals in sheep.
3: Kim Parkinson's: Fibre on the Hop is a great blog for the fibre enthusiast. Kim also owns an
online Fibre store (which is where we initially made first contact).
4: Nina's Bates: Odette's Obsessions is another great blog. Nina is also among a circle of aquaintances and has some interesting hobbies - among them - dying fibre with natural plant materials - and some great weaving.
5:Antiquity Oaks is also a wonderful blog, and one of my favourites to read.

OK - that's all I'm going to nominate - I know that's breaking the rules a bit. But there are so many blogs out there that are fantastic. Check these ones out - I hope the links that I inserted work.

Until next time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Shearing is Done!

Well - shearing is all done for another year.

Whew! It's a lot of work - and now I have to start sorting and skirting and cleaning fleeces to go to the mill. Most of the fleeces will be processed into rovings for the handspinning community. This year, we are looking at doing something a bit different - we have several weavers wanting our fleeces as well - so we are
going to be looking at offering shawls and throws that are hand woven.

That will take a while - since I won't get my rovings and yarn back from the mill until at least early October.

Anyway - this is Jeff, our shearer working on
Vivien. Jeff has been shearing since he was -

believe it or not - 8 years old. He comes from a long line of shearers.
Jeff is wonderful with the sheep and really knows his stuff.

I'm impressed with him.

In July - he will be heading to England for a month of shearing - and then this December - he's off to New Zealand to join one of the large shearing groups for a month.

I could do an entire blog about Jeff.

Here are some of the girls out on pasture now that they are sheared. I'm sure they are feeling a bit better without all that heavy fleece.

We did have a couple of surprises (sort of) during shearing. One night in January - our little ram lamb (who is now a wether) - Bernard, slipped under the gate and got two of my ewes pregnant. Little devil.
So - I have 5 pregnant ewes - due to start lambing in the next few weeks.

I'll start introducing them to you now:


"Kalwa Taure Gabriella" to be specific. We call
her Gabby - or Gabby Goose.

She's one of my favourite ewes. She is out of Cherrington Alice, who we so sadly lost the day after Christmas this past Christmas.

Alice was my absolute favourite ewe, and her daughters are just like her. Gabby is now 2 years old, and after losing Alice, we decided that the
genetics were too precious to lose, and that
we should try to carry on that line. Besides, we have so many handspinners wanting our white fleeces, that we need more white sheep.

We bred her to Cherrington Merlin, an emsket ram, in the hopes that the white genes will give us some white lambs. In particular - we would like a white ram - so - fingers crossed.

Gabby is very friendly. And she has a fleece that is awesome!! Her personality is just like her mom's. I can't say enough good about this ewe. I just love her to bits.

And this has been a busy week as well. We went to Carrying Place to pick up a load of chicks yesterday. Carrying Place is about 5 hours from our farm. So Kevin and I went down on Friday night. We stayed at a great B&B called "Timberhouse".
It's a huge timberframe house set in the woods - beautiful. I didn't really want to leave.
Saturday, we picked up our chicks - and orders for several other people, and set off back home.

We had 170 day old chicks and ducklings in the back seat of the truck. With several stops along the way to deliver to various people, we finally made it home safely with our brood. There are quite a mix of breeds in there. More updates as they grow.

And lastly, I took this picture out in the woods last week.

It's in the same place as the week before.
The water has receded a bit, and the pollen is covering the water. What I really love about this picture is the light filtering through the leaves as they are starting to open. The colour of green. This is one of my favourite times of year - when everything awakens. But I love the colour of the leaves as the sun shines through.

That green is so hard to describe.

Until next time.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Walk in the Woods

This morning, after doing the barn chores,
I thought I would venture out to the woods for
a walk.

I took my camera, as a friend of mine
had asked if the trilliums were out yet, and
well, because, I always forget my camera.

I was surprised at how warm it was - really didn't need that coat.

There were actually lots of mosquito's,
but they weren't biting yet. We've had such a wet
spring, that it's going to be a problem with the
mosquito's soon.

Needless to say - the trillium's didn't
disappoint me - they were quite stunning.

The second picture is actually of a pink trillium.

There were also lots of Jack in the pulpit - but
they weren't in colour yet, so I will have to go
out in a few weeks and take more pictures.

Lots of wildflowers were out.

I think my favourite (other than Trilliums)
is the wild violet.

We have lots of them. I just love how delicate
they look.

We also have an area of the woods, it
kind of sits half on our property, and half on
the neighbour's property. This area is almost
always flooded in the winter. I have never seen it as large as this - so I decided to go and investigate.

Click on the picture - it is worth seeing large.
I actually walked over into the clearing - and was
up to my knees in water (thank goodness for

I love this picture, and actually think I'm going
to have it done up in a large photo and framed.

The water is probably about 2 - 3' deep in the middle.

By mid summer (if it's dry) - this area will mostly dry up - and then these most amazing green plants with little white flowers will grow in the middle of this "pond" - it is almost ethereal looking when the sun is shining down on it - like you've walked into a dream. I'll have to try to get some pictures of it this summer, as we are planning on selling in a few years.

And this is the trail back up through the pine
woods to the back pasture. It's still looking
a bit dingy in this area.
But I love this trail - all
you see is the light .......
at the end of the tunnel.

I'll have to take my camera out there with me
again when I go out in a few days. Things change so fast.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Spring has Finally Sprung - I Hope!

OK - so last time - I spoke too soon. But today - well - it's 75 degrees Farenheit - here's hoping!

So, earlier, I thought I would take a little wander around the pasture, take a few pictures, etc. etc.

I very quietly opened the gate by the pond and went in (all the sheep were up by the barn - and I didn't really want to be mobbed).

Guess I wasn't quiet enough - here comes the gang: Stampede!

Well - after much petting and scratching, I was able to resume my walk (when they discovered that Mom didn't have any cookies).

Anyway - you'll remember our tree that
came over by the pond - well - here's what's
left of it.

Kevin went out last week and cut it up.

We left the fallen tree out for the sheep - guess it
was yummy!

Peggy thinks there might still be a few leaves at the top.

This is Jillian - she's starting to look just a
bit raggedy. Jillian was bred in January - and
is due to have her lamb(s) in mid June.

I think it's time to give my shearer a call - see if he can come out for Mid-May.

My daughter gets home from University next week
- just in time to help out. I bet she'll be thrilled!

You can see how dry the pasture is getting.
We are supposed to get some rain in the next few days.

And in leaving - I'll leave you with a picture of "Fawkes."

Fawkes is a Red Phoenix rooster that I got earlier this year. He's still quite young.
He's quite a striking dude - don't you think? His tail is coming in quite nicely - and can grow up to 6 feet long.

I've put another picture here showing a phoenix with a longer tail.
I'm hoping we can get Fawke's tail quite long - but he will need a special
perch for this.

More soon.