Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday Milking

The weather up here in the Finger Lakes has been hot like most of the North East but fortunately where we are on Skaneateles Lake we seem to be getting a steady cool breeze that has kept the flock pretty happy. Eyes are in the pink and panting is down to a minimum.  They have plenty of shade and a few glugs of ACV in their drinking water helps them keep cool.  They were all sheered last week except our lambs of course and that aids in keeping everyone fresh during these hot hot days.

Today was my first time out milking as we have had a very busy springtime.  Seems like though most of the lambs are eating a substantial amount of grass and hay they still are in need of mama's milk.  Since milkiness is one of my breeding priorities we still had plenty milk to go around for them to share.

Considering no one has been milked since last year and this was Benta's first time on the milking stand they were all pretty darn well behaved.  Aniella gave George at bit of a run for his money but he sweet talked her and she settled right down so that I could tap into the liquid gold!  They were all relieved to have that udder pressure released and not a one kicked or squirmed.

That's Mr. Paul holding Ania just to make sure she doesn't pull out of the head piece while I milk her.

These girls were happy to be milked!

Once the sheep were all done being milked, I checked eyes and made sure every one looked healthy.  Hooves look a little shabby, but those will have to wait a few days.

As soon as we let those baby lambs out of their stall, it was off to find mama as fast as they could!  As you see here with Aniella and her little one diving head first under mama.

The milk was plenty as I said for being so late in the game to get started this season.  But all in all out of three ewes I was able to collect just over a quart of milk.  Boy did it look fresh and yummy but I didn't drink any...I saved it all for soaping later this week.  Can't wait make some super moisture rich soap with our organic sheep milk!!
As you can see, this is about as processed as it gets before becoming soap.  First they graze, then I milk them, then I filter the milk like this...

From here it is frozen where it retains ALL its nutrients and enzymes, until it is ready to be mixed with the lye and made into YOUR favorite tub time treat!!

Here are a few shots of the girls after we were done milking!

And our one black ram lamb of the season.  He was our oops baby! But what a cutie he is!

So from that sad first day of lambing to our first hot day of milking all in all its still pretty darn good to be a sheep farmer.

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Lambing Prep 2012

Hi everyone.  Its been quite a few months since I posted last.  Lots of happenings at the farm.  For one I began a small business making gourmet sheep milk soap!! It is very time consuming but so much fun and rewarding.  After about three months of using the soap, my horrific eczema that tortured my hands has absolutely disappeared!!! There really is something to this handmade organic sheep milk soap.
If you want to check some of my goods out here you go .

Now, seems like just yesterday we were wringing our hands losing sleep waiting on our first crop of lambs so arrive on the farm.  After three perfect births we thought we were pretty hot stuff as far as shepherds go LOL...but now its that time all over again and frankly I am a nervous wreck!

I have checked my lists and double checked them.  All the necessary items and some not so necessary goods are well stocked in the barn.  Heaps of towels an bottles of molasses are standing by.  Hooves have been trimmed and ACV added to their water troughs.  I know I have forgotten something...I'll think of it.  Funny how no matter how well versed I thought we were the excitement takes over and nerves along with it. 

True, this time around we have more possibilities of multiple births.  And though the thought is awesome, the real deal makes me shake in my boots.  Icelandic's are known to be excellent mothers to multiples but one can't help but worry about all those "what if"'s you read about in the sheep books on your shelves.  Nature certainly does know what she is doing. One has to know when if at all to intrude on their moment and help them just a wee bit.  Its the knowing when that makes the butterflies take flight in this shepherd.

What are some of your concerns your worries more than any other?  What are your lambing delights ?
Would love to hear from you fellow shepherds who's experience or lack their of brings them to this lambing season full of wonder and excitement!

God Bless all your lambings!!