In January, we bought three new bred ewes from Dancing Lamb farm. We bought and put up the hoop house that we are now storing hay inside. We also put a wood floor in it. (It’s bouncy, but still holding up a year later, so that’s good.) Having the hay under good cover has been awesome. I gave away all of the Shetland sheep, and they are all doing well the last I heard. (I kept Leon, though, and I’m still glad I did, cranky old bastard that he is.) I picked out the flowers for the window boxes that month too. (I didn’t realize I did that so early in the year, but it makes sense. On to the to-do list it goes.) We decided to get Icelandic chickens, and got the call from Elaine at Frelsi Farm that we were going to get an Icelandic puppy too. Bjarki was born January 1. We built three hay feeders, that worked out pretty well, though they are now all in pieces after suffering much over the summer. I’d really like to get them going again. Frank decided what kind of chicken coop we would build. We had a horrible shelter for the llamas, and I tried to get them to use the livestock trailer, without much success. (Misty is really enjoying her very nice shed this year, in comparison.) I spun my first llama fleece that month, and really enjoyed it and loved the resulting yarn, though I hated cleaning it first. Boy was it full of hay and grass and dirt and ick. I spun a lot that month — I haven’t spun since spring, I don’t think. On the sheep front, it looks like we put Baabs in with Miguel at the end of the month, and wondered if she was too young to cycle. She was, it turns out. No lamb from her this year. She’s in with him again this year.
We started February with a sheepie breakout, no surprise there. Then we had the llamas get out just before the Valentine’s Day blizzard, eek. I spun a lot, including more llama fleece and some of the roving that I’ve had for two (three?) years. I made my first ever hat, from the wool I’d spun, because Frank wanted one. That was fun. It almost fits even! I wonder where that is. We ran the sawmill for the first time since we were back. Buster broke off a horn that month, and I had to take him to the vet by myself. I remember that. It wasn’t fun, but I was very proud of myself. We did a lot of work building the chicken coop, in the snow, and actually finished it just as the month ended.
We started March with our epic journey to Green Bay for a weekend party with a bunch of friends, driving through Canada to get there, during a blizzard. Crazy. Then we stopped and picked up the Icelandic chickens and drove home with them in the Audi. That was a hoot. Every time they laid an egg, they sang the eggalulia song. Frank did a postmortem on the two beehives that died, and cleaned all the equipment. We put the rams back together after the breeding season, and used the livestock trailer to keep them from being able to kill each other, and that worked. (We will definitely do that again.) We also picked up Bjarki, and he promptly took over our life! Oh, he was so cute as a puppy! Actually, he’s still so cute, and I’m so glad we have him. The three new ewes joined us that month too. Wow, what a month for new critters: three sheep, five chickens, and a puppy, and a bunch of eggs, which started hatching at the end of the month! All of the plants for my window boxes arrived that month, so we fired up the lights and racks in the basement, too. Busy, busy month.
April was filled with lots of cute baby chicks. I started cheese making in earnest that month, and it looks like that’s the month we decided to buy the horses. (What were we thinking?!) We bought a greenhouse that month, which we still haven’t put together, sadly, and it’s now mostly buried in snow, so it’s doubtful I’ll have it up for this spring, though hope springs eternal! We got four packages of new bees that month, just as a late spring blizzard struck, of course. We sheared the sheep on the 22nd, and our first lamb arrived that morning. That last week of April, the lambs appeared almost every day, and our year of the ram lamb began. Our first triplets ever happened that week with Kaytla, though one was stillborn. That last week, we went to Ohio to pick up the horses, and Valerie minded the farm for us. (during lambing — wow!)
May was filled with lots and lots of lambs. We had the horses boarding down in Swanzey, because we didn’t have any place to keep them here yet. The bees were doing really well, luckily. Oh, we lost Mary (a llama) that month. Ugh. I’m still not happy with how vague the necropsy came back with her, and I am being really really careful to keep Misty in tip top condition. Poor Mary. I still miss her joyful self. I’ve found a couple of reports of respiratory illnesses being blamed for too many deaths in llamas this year, and they’ve said young llamas and pregnant ones are most vulnerable. I worry that the crap shelter they had got them in poor condition, so I’m really hoping the good sheds will keep Misty fine. What a month.
Ugh. Now I’m sad. I think I’ll finish this wrap up later.