"It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." A.Holmes

Sunday, March 27, 2016

New Life ~ Goslings for Easter

 New goslings for Easter ! My Sebastopol Geese keep trying to raise a family but the last two years Ella was unable to successfully hatch her many eggs. It was very sad for me knowing all the diligent  care and tending of her eggs laid in a nest in the goose pen was of no use, none hatched. Even sadder was discovering that each and every egg had a fully developed gosling inside that could not break free of its' shell.

This year Ella began laying eggs under the rhododendrons, a place she'd never be able to protect herself or her eggs from predators or our pet dogs. I took her eggs from that beautiful but unwise nesting site and placed them in an incubator. Then I re-located 2 eggs in a nest box made especially for Ella in the goose pen. I kept Ella and Fella confined during egg laying season so she would not choose another site. This last Thursday night and on into Saturday some of the eggs began hatching.

The goslings had poked small holes in their shells but were unable to get out. I peeled tiny bits of their shells off and found even the membrane inside the eggs was too hard for the babies to break free of. ( I DID keep water in the incubator and misted the eggs with water every night .) I needed to be careful how I peeled the shell and membrane away so as not to rip delicate baby goose skin and cause them to bleed to death, so I wrapped each egg in warm , wet washcloths and held them firmly while I slowly began taking pieces of shell off to give the goslings room to move and help me extricate them. I also needed to roll back their membrane covering slowly. It was a long process for each egg but looky here.....
... 3 of the 4 successfully hatched Sebastopol goslings ! One baby was still working herself out of the shell when my husband snapped this pic of me and my new little geese. There are 3 more eggs in the incubator due to hatch in a few days. These little goslings have imprinted on me and get very excited when I say "babies, babies, babies ", just like their parents, Ella and Fella , who get very excited when they hear my voice and follow me around like puppies because they're imprinted on me .

There is new life everywhere here at Cedar Pond. New lambs, baby doves, chicks, goslings, new flowers just beginning to bud. New life here in this world is but a small reflection of the blessing of new life given to all who ask for it from God, and unlike our temporal earthly life and joys, new life from Jesus is eternal, "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death , in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we might walk in newness of life." Romans 6:4

Easter blessings to you !

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Silly-Frilly Chicken Is Wearing the Green !

 Of course chickens don't wear clothes, so what's a chick to do to put on the green for St. Patrick's Day ?
 
 Dye her frilly feathers !
Happy St. Patrick's Day to you !
* This little frizzled hen had large mud clumps stuck to her feet and I needed to give her a bath. After shampooing her I rinsed her in warm water with green food coloring added to it.The food coloring will not harm her or her feathers.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Bird Book, Bird Nests, and Cozy Reading

 Last weekend was perfect reading weather. Storms raged over our area making this the wettest rainy season on record. After feeding the animals I decided to take a break from packing and brew a pot of tea for my husband and myself. He settled down to watch a show about chefs and I settled down to read this beautiful book The Bluebird Effect* by Julie Zickerfoose while I sipped tea from this cup by Pip *. I found this tea / coffee cup in a shop on the Oregon coast during a short get-away with my husband. I will always remember that precious time when I see this cup. The cup and the book seem meant to be together to me.
 This is one of many illustrations by the author . " And each chapter is illustrated with Zickfoose's stunning watercolor paintings and drawings. Not just individual tales about the trials and triumphs of raising birds, The Bluebird Effect mixes humor, natural history, and memoir to give readers an intimate story of a life lived among wild birds."  Quoted from the flyleaf of the book. The book is quietly stunning and a good read, especially on a rainy day .


This is one of my favorite coffee cups. I know, it could be used for tea, but I prefer to drink coffee from it and as an extra treat I add real heavy whipping cream. This cup and saucer set by Furnival is a gift from one of my husband's sisters. She especially loves books and I wish we had more time to simply discuss books, authors, illustrators... maybe one day.
 It is still raining off and on , I slosh through mud to do my chores every day. My lambs look like they're wearing boots . No respectable lamb wastes a day lounging under cover when they can be jumping, leaping, and running.When my chores are done though, I am eager to escape the mud and rain and settle down with a hot cuppa and a good book.
" I live for the moment when my gaze meets a bird's - that exchange of awareness of the "who" in each of us, the spark of understanding leaping from the bright bead of its eye to mine. ~ It's that spark gleaming in the cupped hand of my own experience that I want to bring to you. I want to tell you their stories." Julie Zickafoose (  book introduction)

I have been missing my Tea Time Tuesday celebrations and hope they're still being hosted by these gracious ladies ~Bernideen's TeaTime Blog * , Rose Chintz Cottage * , Antiques and Teacups *, and Martha *.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Lamb Storm

~ Cedar Pond's Tilda with her newborn blue-eyed lambs. ~
 What is that verse about March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb ? My March has come in with a lamb storm. In the first three days of March , 7 of my ewes ( female sheep ) gave birth to 9 lambs. I have never had so many sheep give birth at the same time. I did not have enough lambing pens set up for so much action.

A lambing pen, or jug, is a small pen set up to contain a mama and her lamb(s) for at least a day, sometimes 2 or 3 days depending on the sheep. This enables the mama and lamb to bond while giving the shepherd the time to make sure all is well with them, band the lamb's tail, worm the mama. I usually give the new mama warm water with molasses or other nutritional supplements in her water and extra alfalfa. I also make sure she has expelled her afterbirth.
 ~ Cedar Pond's Tovah cleaning her newly born lamb.~
On March 2 I went outdoors in the morning and discovered Tilda had already had twins and had them cleaned and nursing. Great ! I had a clean pen ready for her and her lambs and after spraying the lambs' umbilical cords with iodine I moved them and their mama to the pen with a small bucket of fresh water and alfalfa hay. Tilda's blue-eyed lambs were up and nursing her so I knew everything was fine. I went indoors to get some housework done.
 
45 minutes later I went outdoors to check on Tilda and discovered Gudrid was having lambs. She'd already had one lamb and cleaned it off and another was on the way. Oh no, I had two small pens set up and they had mamas with twins in them and now I had another set of twins, where was I going to put them ? Thinking quickly I ran out to the storage shed and carted a large dog kennel panel to Tilda's pen and tied it in the middle as a divider, making 2 pens out of the one. Then I gathered the lambs (with Gudrid trying to gore me for taking her lambs) and settled them into their new pen with their mama. Whew , I was so sore from the hard physical work this had become. But the lambs were healthy and I now had 3 mamas , counting Buttercup and her twins born earlier, all settled. Now I knew I could take a break, maybe finish my cup of cold coffee.
 
I went to the feed store shortly after getting the mama and lambs settled , came home about an hour later and getting out of the car I heard a sheep bawling and screaming. Oh no, there was Sassafras in the sheep stall with 2 little lamb's feet sticking out of her  and she couldn't push he lamb out. So I had to catch her ( because what sheep wants to be handled when she is in pain ? ) and pin her against the stall wall and hang onto her with one hand, whilst I put my other hand inside her to assess the situation. Sure enough, it was a big lamb who's head was trying to exit Sassafras the same time as the front feet. That was NOT going to happen. I had to slip my hand past the lamb's head , push it back a little and then pull the slippery lamb's feet out far enough to then grip the legs and pull hard. I don't know how I managed this , but I did. The lamb slid out and Sassafras immediately began cleaning her little girl lamb off. Now where was I going to put her ?
~ Cedar Pond's Tasha and ewe lamb.~
 I got creative with kennel panels and baling twine and had everyone housed and then... you guessed it, within the next 36 hours it was bam, bam, bam...lambs! I have been so sore in the evenings from all the physical work required I have been going to bed early ( for me ) after already snoozing on the sofa after dinner. Good grief, I must be getting older.
I am thankful to say thus far all my ewes have recovered nicely from giving birth to healthy and very cute lambs. Today my husband helped me band the tails of the last two lambs born, and the mamas with lambs have been released from their small lambing pens to mingle with each other while the lambs are bouncing, and leaping with the joy of new life. Now only two more ewes to give birth , what bounty for me this year. March came in like a lamb, and a lamb, and a lamb...

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shoveling Poo , Spinning, and Packing

 Look at the late winter sun shining on and through the bottles in my Blue Bottle Garden. Some herbs are just beginning to poke through the soil, the rosemary is going strong, the lilac in this garden is budding. The temperature has been in the low 60's for several afternoons now, and the sunshine is making my animals very happy and busy about all the activities spring brings on in the animal world.
 My free-range chickens spend their nights and mornings in the shed in the left of this picture. I release them after noon to do what they love to do. Scratch the earth for bugs and seeds, interact with each other creating some very interesting chicken drama , nap in the sunshine. A few motherly hens stay indoors to incubate clutches of eggs.
 The chickens are scratching through piles of manure placed here for future plantings. These piles are from my sheep pen. My oldest grandson shoveled all the sheep poo for me. Over the past 20-some years my husband has built up the soil in our gardens using the many, many loads of manure from our sheep, goats, chickens, and rabbits. You know of course, there is a lot of hard work involved in shoveling all that poo. We don't have a tractor , shoveling is done by one of us ( me, husband, or grandson) requiring a shovel ,a wheelbarrow, and a lot of hard physical work.
 Sheep enjoying the warmth of the sun as they snuggle into a downed tree and stump.
 This is a flower bed on the shady side of our home. I dumped 2 wheelbarrows of mostly composted chicken poo into it yesterday. Two of the twenty-five overloaded wheelbarrows of chicken poo I cleaned out of a chicken pen over a period of 3 days. All by myself, just me and my shovel and wheelbarrow. Shovel, load, dump.Shovel, load, dump...25 times. That is a lot of poo. I have been so tired after shoveling so much poo that I have been unable to stay awake late , very unlike me.

In preparing to sell our home we have been taking down poultry pens and reducing the number of chickens I have. We are down to 2 pens of laying chickens, and my silly frillies ( frizzled bantam chickens ) inhabit the old shed and free-range. No more breeding pens for show chickens. I don't think I'll ever show chickens again but I will keep them for eggs and entertainment.
I cleared out my craft room. Last weekend my husband and I carried all the shelving out to the garage, along with many boxes and bins packed and labeled for the move. The craft room is ready to be painted and re-carpeted . After painting and re-carpeting I'll keep in my craft room only my sewing machine and all supplies necessary to work on a quilt I want to finish before we move. The supplies can all be contained in a big basket.

I have a lot of wool to be spun up into yarn. The 2-ply yarn in the picture above is some of my handspun Jacob sheep wool blended with Wensleydale wool  (500 yards of yarn ) spun up in the last few days. I spin most evenings while I watch television with my husband. I can get a lot of yarn spun up and don't feel like I've completely wasted my time when I watch t.v.

My past few days were spent spinning wool, shoveling poo, and packing. I need a nap.

Accomplished This Week~
  1. Poultry pens cleaned and taken down.
  2. Goat pen cleaned.
  3. Craft room packed , ready for painting and re-carpeting.
  4. Tea-cups packed.
  5. 3 skeins 2-ply yarn ( 500 yards ) spun up and ready for sale.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Cats !

 This is what I often awake to, Blizzard my cat staring at me. I know this picture is slightly blurry, but I don't see well without my glasses or contacts and this really is what I see, close up and very personal. Blizzard does not sleep with us at night, my husband does not want the cats in bed. However, when my husband goes to work early in the morning Blizzard opens the door ( yes, he can open firmly shut doors ) and allows Miss Marple , our other cat, to precede him into the bedroom and onto the bed. Blizzard often tries to sleep close to my face but when he wakes me up while trying to curl up on my pillow I move him away and eventually the cats and I settle with them curled up at the foot of the bed. I sleep on quite peacefully with the comforting sound of a purring lullaby.
Our daughter and her children were visiting last week. You can see Blizzard knows he is an important member of the family. He took his place on the sofa to listen in on the conversation, and why not ? Cats, I love them, especially mine .