Monday, April 13, 2015

April Showers

The spring rains have come. Days like today remind us why we lamb in the barn--so much more comfortable for The Farmer as he works with the sheep. Cold rain is also hard on newborn lambs, who struggle to get up and get the hang of nursing. That first hour or two are critical.



Our dog has a tendency to go on walkabout during extended lambing chores. Today she seems content to watch the rain from a comfortable, dry place.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A Busy 24 Hours (including photos of lamb birth)

Lambing officially began last Tuesday, March 31st, with a yearling that had twins. Everything was manageable until Easter Sunday, when we had 10 ewes give birth in 24 hours. Here are some of our "jugs" (a.k.a. bonding pens). The Farmer has 14 jugs set up and they were all full this morning. He has had to move some out to the mingling pens to make room for more.


Not sure how you all feel about birthing photos, but here we go. This ewe already had one lamb on the ground and was working on number two. You can see two front legs... In a textbook birth, the two front legs and head come together. The body easily follows after the head and shoulders are through. The hind legs are back for birthing. Unless the whole business is not textbook, of course.


Typically a laboring ewe will stand for a while, and lay down for a while and repeat as needed. Usually the lamb is delivered while the ewe is laying down.


At this moment, we have 27 lambs from 15 ewes, which puts us under 200% lamb crop. We've had several sets of triplets, but each triplet ewe has lost one of her lambs. Triplets are hard.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Compost Days at Shady Side Farm


We've been composting at Shady Side Farm for about 15 years. We were composting before compost was cool. Though, to be honest, compost has always been cool.

If you'd like increased soil fertility, biology and organic matter levels in your flower beds, your veggie gardens, or on your farm fields, please consider using our compost. This manure-based compost has been aged a year and is ready to use right now.

The Farmer will be available for two Saturdays in April to load your compost and explain how to use it, including application rates. Tomorrow is the first Saturday, April 4, from 9 - 3. We will also host a Compost Day on April 18, from 9 - 3.

Compost is available in (your own) 5-gallon buckets or by the loader scoop in your truck or trailer.

Email us at shadysidefarmmichigan@gmail.com for directions to the farm or answers to other questions.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The In-Between is Muddy and Messy

For well over a month now, those around me have been wishing for spring and grumbling (yes, GRUMBLING) about winter. I have been enjoying the slower pace of winter--I actually read a few books, and made a small dent in my magazine pile. I wove a bit (and cut up a lot of blue jeans) and even managed to get sick and need lots of rest at least twice.

So it hasn't been me doing the Come Hither, Spring! dance. While I have to admit that the longer days and sunshine and singing birds have been working me over, one of the main things I really don't like about Spring is the in-between stage. The messy, muddy stage.

Like when you walk into the back of the sheep barn, and find water. No animals live in the flooded part, but floods tend to get worse if you ignore them. So The Farmer went hunting to see if he could help alleviate the problem.


Ah, yes. The ditch was full of snow, which didn't allow any of the standing water to drain off.


It was time to start digging. This is the time of year when you really want your boots to be watertight.


Brinkley supervised the operation, when she wasn't chasing bunnies.


Eventually, the water started flowing.


And when it flowed, it really moved. This is a picture of the smaller ditch emptying into the larger, county drain. The water came out low in the ditch, under the current water level, creating lots of whoosh and bubbles.


Hopefully this will help with the muddy, messy situation soon. Come Hither, Spring!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cabin Fever? Consider Fiber Fridays


I am thoroughly enjoying the slower pace of winter, though I'm not wild about the extreme cold we've been enduring. I've worked a bit on decluttering, though there's plenty more to work on. I've read a few books. I've spent time weaving and crocheting. I've spent some time doing things that refresh me and contribute to long-term health.

But I hear some rumblings that winter is not widely-enjoyed by the rest of the general public. Something about cabin fever. Mutterings about endless white and cold. Some have escaped to warmer climates for a few days or a few weeks.

If you're stuck here in the great white north and need to get out of the house and do something different, why not come to our Fiber Fridays? We'll hold these each Friday from 10 - 4, until the work of the farm ramps up in the spring.

Bring your wheel or spindle or table loom or needles and hang out in our studio. We'll have water/tea/hot cocoa/coffee available, and there is a Subway nearby if you need something more substantial at lunch time. Come whenever you want between 10 and 4. We'll be working in the studio during this time, so you'll have company. And the on-farm shop will be open from 1 - 4 pm each Friday.

Post below or email me at using the green button in the left sidebar if you have any questions...

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