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Ups and Downs

Colonel's Blog, Earthdate 24 Dec 2022

Hey ya'll! Good morning from the farm.

It's still very cold this morning and ensuring everyone has fresh water is getting more problematic. The blue balls of the frost-free waterers were frozen to the sides; a bit of boot was all it took to free them. One of the sheep water tubs was so brittle that when I hit it to break the ice, the tub just cracked. The other one had water under a couple of inches of ice so after some hammering, the sheep have access. The birds are venturing out of their chick-shaws this morning.

The joy I expressed over duck eggs the other day was tempered yesterday. We currently have a 6-month lamb in the living room in front of the fireplace, attempting to warm it out of hypothermia. Based on our experience from last winter, I am not hopeful that she will make it. Even worse, the much anticipated arrival of our first milk calf occurred yesterday, the coldest day of the year, and it was stillborn. It was too small and never stood up. "Happy," the new mother, was doing everything right and we were encouraged to see that. Since we were planning on having a couple of months allowing the calf to have all of her milk before we started milking, we are now behind in our preparations. So, today we will finish the stanchion in the new milking barn so we can begin milking. We will freeze the first few days of colostrum for use in case of nursing/rejection issues with any of the future farm babies. All of the animals can use cow colostrum and, while not as good as their species-specific colostrum, what we can freeze is way better than any replacements we can purchase.

Chin-up, back straight...we've got farming to do! Merry Christmas!!

Rich and Shelley

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