Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Queerer than a quail's egg

So, here's the update on the farm:

We now have quails which arose by my friend Faye giving me some quail eggs & Lynne lending me an incubator. It only took 17 days before they hatched, 2 weeks under a heat lamp, 2 more weeks under a regular light bulb & 3 additional weeks before the dang things were laying their own eggs. These little birds mature faster than a blink of the eye.
(Pic of chicks at 2 days old)

We had a 60% hatch which, according to the web sites, is normal for commercial so I can't help but be pleased. We have 2 males & 3 females which have been separated into 2 large cages. This is just temporary until Mark has built the aviary where they will be raised free-range for their eggs.

Next we borrowed the services of a neighbour's broody hen to hatch a batch of eggs which are due later this week. We wanted to save on hydro & the neighbour thought it would be neat; works for us all.

Got a couple of chickens too, but that's another story.
Peace out, Boop

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Splish, Splash........

Well, it's not me taking the bath, but the alpacas sure seem to enjoy it. A new addition to our family came way of a friend whose hubby picked her up another Alpaca through a sale. Unfortunately, the new little guy wasn't accepted very well by her long time 1st existing one Buddy.
Lynne knowing that I wanted another told Faye that I'd likely be interested & that is how he came to stay.

Picking the name seemed like a no-brainer as well since we already had "Splash", lol. "Splish" is a little different looking that Splash because he is a Suri alpaca. They don't have fleece like the Huacaya kind, but pencil-like long locks more like an angora goat. Very silky & soft.

Here we have a picture of "Splish" on his way home in the "Shrekmobile". This is what we have always referred to our van as, but will quickly have to change it to the "alpaca shuffle van" since this seems to be it's new common use.
Splish & Splash; it was love at first site. Please don't tell either that the other isn't female. They're still younglings & neither one has noticed the difference yet, lol. They are the best of friends & are like Siamese twins.

Splish enjoying his new pool which was my kid's old sandbox which got converted when we filled the drainage holes in with silicone. It works great because we can flip the sides up to cover it at night leaving no carnage to pick out in the morning .

And finally, the whole family together: 2 lambs & 2 alpacas in perfect harmony.

Peace out, Boop

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Al-pac-a fun

All about "Splash" the alpaca that is, lol. He's the latest addition to the farm. Bought from a friend of Lynne's a couple of weeks ago, Splash is settling in. He's in absolute love with the 2 lambs & doesn't like to have them out of his site even for a minute; a very protective brother.

*Splash getting out of the van; yes, doesn't everyone travel with an alpaca*

He's about 10 months old & from last year's babies. His colouring is mahogany although the sun bleaches it to a brown on top. He will take hugs & is extremely curious, but training will likely go much quicker once we get him halter broke. Of course the halter is ordered, but getting it here is taking some time. Guess there isn't a huge call for alpaca halters? Who knew, lol.

Anyway, he's quite lovely & likes to press his nose up against the glass window in the door off of the Foyer & look in. This can certainly startle one at night when you're not expecting it I'll tell you. Then there's the day last week when I had the dogs out & went to let them in only to find Splash, the 2 larger dogs & the 2 lambs in the house. Not sure who was the ring leader on that one, but it was comical just the same.

*Splash with his partners in crime: Luna & Blizzy*

Life has sure changed around here with these small farm animals, but it's been a very positive thing. The joys of bottle feeding lambs & watching your alpaca scratch himself only to pass the loudest bit of wind you've ever heard are extremely entertaining. Wouldn't change this for all of the money in the world.

Baa-bye, Kym
*Another nice picture of Splash can be found here.*

Monday, May 7, 2007

Life as a sheep farmer

The other day I decided to call up my friend Lynne & see if I could go over to see her lambs. I had met Lynne at our Spinning Guild & when we had got talking about fleece-bearing animals, she invited me to come have a look. Her stock is mostly raised for meat, but she did have a few crosses that were fleece worthy.

It was May 19th when I made an appt. to go see Lynne's farm & her livestock. I packed our wellies & surprised the kids by picking them up early from school. Once there, we were taken out to the barn to have a look. There were many different types, but the small bottle fed Romney lamb caught my attention. Before I knew it, I had fallen in love & was making plans to purchase my 1st couple of lambs.

Once finalized, the kids & I headed home, picking up take-out on the way. We only had 2 hours to eat, & get the place ready for when Casey & Lynne were due to drop off our purchase. We worked like crazy to get the small barn-like shed & dog run ready. Almost as soon as we had finished, our friends had arrived with Luna & Blizzy; the children had already picked out names on the way home. Luna was the dear Romney X & Blizzy was a companion Dorset/Charollais. Both were born very close to each other & Casey thought would get along well.

C & L were kind enough to bring some hay, grain & milk replacer to get us started. Luna of course was still being bottle-fed & Blizzy was likely going to have to be weaned as they weren't sure whether she had been or not.

My friends stuck around to have coffee & meet Mark who was very good & didn't chase them off the property with a shot gun (private joke that involves threat if anything breathing was brought home again, lol). After they left & we were truly on our own, I took a deep breath & claimed that whether for better or worse I was now a farmer. It was a great feeling to finally be on the road to achieving a life-long dream.

I must say that I probably unindated poor Lynne over the 1st week with questions & concerns, but she was very patient & understanding; and we're still friends, unless she's just being kind. LOL.

It's been almost 3 weeks now. I have learned so much & am enjoying every second, including all the crappy jobs (pun intended). I can finally tell you what a "flake" is (stop laughing Lynne), I can prepare milk replacer formula, clean eyes, noses & ears, trim hooves, help put up a fence, shop for straw & hay & know what the going prices are for everything involving their care.

Blizzy is completely weaned & Luna will soon follow. They seem to be thriving, have learned to eat grass & drink water from a dish. You might think this would be obvious, but like babies, they have to learn these things. They get along with all the other Castle Critters, are leash trained & come running to greet you when you go outside. They are happy, friendly & healthy. Can you tell that I'm really loving them?

Peace out, Boop
PS- more pics here

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Funky Lamb

Hi everyone,

As I am trying to make my life just a wee bit easier, I have decided to use this space to promote stuff from "The Creative Castle"'s side line which is selling things that pertain mostly to knits & fibre arts.

I didn't want to use my blog for that purpose because some just aren't interested or might have found the shameless self promotion & sales insulting.

This is a way to show what's up at "The Castle" & what will be for sale on Etsy without getting anyone's nickers in a twist. Just another outlet: plain & simple.

So, until I have something to put up, I'll talk to you all later,

Baaa-bye, Kym