Spring Update

Happy spring!
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Since late February, I've spent the majority of my time and energy working on my mother's estate, but of course, the homestead keeps moving along...and that's a good thing. There's nothing like spending time with the rabbits, for example, to make me smile. And it being spring, already I have many homestead happenings to share.

The biggest news is that our Soay sheep had their first lamb on the first day of spring!  It was really difficult to tell if Shannon, our ewe, was pregnant or not. She gets REALLY fat when the grass is lush. In fact, she was so huge last year, I thought she might have a fall lamb. But...nothing. Later, I noted when Shaun, our ram, was obviously in the rut and counted forward about 148 days (the usual gestation period) and figured we might have a lamb in March or April. Every day, I looked for Shannon's udder to drop. And...nothing. And then one morning, my husband was down by the pasture and called me: "Come see the lamb!" The lamb was still wet.

Brains (one of our roosters) with our hours-old lamb.



Mama and baby, a few days after birth.

Proud papa.

It's been interesting to see that Shannon birthed and kept her lamb in a forested area, rather than in open pasture or the sheep shelter. I immediately laid down fresh hay in the shelter, but they haven't been in it once, as far as I can tell. The lamb is perky, though, running around and wagging it's tail furiously when it nurses. The Shannon and Shaun are both protective and I haven't gotten more 5 feet from the lamb yet.

Other fun news includes the addition of a new rabbit to the homestead. Meet Bluebelle (yes, with an "e" on the end, so I can call her "Belle" and have it mean "beautiful"). She is just a baby now, but will grow into a large New Zealand rabbit. Her fur color is somewhat unusual and is called "blue." Soon, we plan to add a blue New Zealand mate for her.

Bluebelle.

The rabbitry is feeling busy right now, as I recently weaned Fiona's kits...and already she is pregnant again.

A couple of the harlequin male kits.

The chickens and quail are overloading us with eggs (I've been giving as many away as I can) and our three barn cats are busy leaving us dead rodents on the porch. We also adopted my Mom's indoor cat. (I never thought I'd have an indoor cat again!) He is 10000% housecat, though, so he's the only animal we have who is not pulling his weight...haha! 

This year, we'd planned to establish a large vegetable garden, but since I'm so busy with my mom's estate, I doubt that will happen. Maybe fall; we'll see. But that doesn't mean there aren't garden chores to do. My seedlings are nearly ready, and I recently pulled every remaining vegetable out of the ground. I manured the asparagus bed (bunny poop is a gold!) and now I really need to weed!

Winter garden goodness!

 
A lovely late winter sky over a few of our new fruit trees.
Plum blossoms.

And speaking of gardening and food, did you know I have a lot of spring-themed books? Right now, my Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook and Ultimate Dandelion Medicine Book are popular, but there's also Starting Seeds, Grow the Dirty Dozen, and A Vegetable for Every Season, among others. Have you read them yet? :)






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