And it now comes to be the time of the urge, when lowering temperatures switches on the need to make babies, but not with me, oh no, I have done with contributing towards future generations of human beings, no, it is with the Labartere animal crew, that is where the urges are being felt, especially with the goats, but not the girl sheep because tomorrow they will not have any males left to help sort out their urges so their urges will not become switched on, unless the two males who are to be given the end of their lives this evening have already had a go at procreating, in which case we shall have lambs next spring although would prefer not to, next year having been planned as a 'year off' in regards to having lambs, which should give us time to sort the flock numbers out, and also to get another ram after our other ram decided that it was all a bit too much having to keep getting on board so many demanding girls, and died.
But the goats, crikey they are getting frisky. But we have a young male goat, Billy, who seems willing to have a go at fertilizing future generations. He even had a go at Lissie, our cow. And she stood for him, but he couldn't reach the appropriate body parts, and we hauled him out of the field before he did himself, and Lissie, a damage. Lissie did not appreciate this taking away of a male, even if he was of a different animal type, and kicked up a hell of a fuss for a chunk of the day, just to let everyone know that she had a hell of a lust upon her and could something be done about it. No, actually, we can't, because there is no way that we are going to get another male animal here, in particular, a bull. So, artificial insemination it is for her, and for Bonny when she is old enough.
Trouble is, that we don't have a clue as to what to look for in regards to the 'right time of the month' in cows. Pigs are easy, they get a full and spongy fanny. Goats, well we don't have a clue about them either, but it is easier to keep an eye on their rear ends because they always have their tails held up in the air. Cow don't. They have long tails which cover all their private parts, which makes the observations of their seasons difficult.
However, Elise does have attitude when it comes up to 'that time of the month', and this is what we shall to watch out for in the future. Two days ago she was like a demon from hell, refusing to come in to her stall and instead cavorting around the farm like a lunatic, barging here and there, bucking and prancing like a flippin' stallion albeit an ungainly one, and being as absolutely difficult as she possibly could. There are times when we get an almighty surge of thought about perhaps sticking to goats rather than cows, goats being far more manageable, and smaller. But then Lissie does a soft chortle at us, and we melt. She has also taken to licking me, sometimes even giving me a soft nibble. She does not do this with Lester, so it feels like some sort of female bonding going on, one animal species with another.
But she is giving us more milk now that Bonny is off her completely, and since the Universe brought her to us, then we shall smile graciously at the Universe in thanks for this gift, meanwhile also asking the Universe for patience in learning how to understand her prankish moods.
Re: the sheep: It is now nearly noon, and we have just come in from catching and penning the two male sheep who have to go into the freezer tonight. OOoooooh dear! Found two more males who we didn't realise that we had. Thought we had two, found that we had four. So four to 'do' tonight, and methinks that we shall indeed have lambs next spring because one of those four are bound to have got their tackle into gear by now.
So why did we not realise that we still had four males in the flock? They are dark brown in colour, and unless one is grabbed and turned over on its back, then the male tackle is not easily observable. But these four have also started growing horns, which helped to single them out from the ewes.
I think we shall have to de-ball the male lambs as soon as they are born next year. Don't like doing it, but it will have to be done.
Winter 2011, a couple of home made hay bales, and a trailer full of hay and straw, this is what got us through the winter of 2011 / 2012:
Winter 2012 / 2013: I made loads of DIY hay (part of which is in the photo below, the rest filled up the Middle Barn), which was supplemented by bought in straw.
Winter of 2013 / 2014. Didn't make hay this year year, but look at what arrived from a local farmer yesterday.....
.....twenty bales of hay and straw, and at a good price. Does this mean that we are almost a 'grown up' little farm?
And here are Blue and Maz to say hi!
Meanwhile, Billy is out in the pasture with the two young goats and Bonny, the sheep minus their males are in the other pasture, and Lissie is inside in her stall today because we are trying to train her to behave on the halter, and keeping her company in the other stall are the four male sheep who are having their last day. Oh, and the pigs are still as is, apart from two piglets who have been donated to a friend of ours. And the geese and chickens are doing their thing here and there. Life on the farm is always full of happiness, temperamental behaviours, strong words, smiles, and interest. And for us it the same!
Saying bye for now,
And a special thanks to Horst who has chivvied me up to get a blog posted, just to let you all know that we are still up and doing.