This last week our small flock of ewes have been lambing ,seemingly (because of the impending bad weather).It occurs to me sheep always seem to wait for the evening, as soon as i arrive from my day job to lamb after I’ve worked 10 hours in town and commuted 2 hours. Much to their credit and to my bottom line,it probably makes more sense for me to be there to help out in any problem situations that may, and always seem to present themselves,even though my wife is more than capable of handling most situations independently .They say lambs are born,just so they can die on you,and there’s a lot of truth to that(we’ve personally lost two),and it takes quite a bit of time and money to get one on the ground.This week has been no exception,the first ewe to lamb delivered a set of twins,and when that happens there always happens to be one of the two that has the potential to become a candidate for bummer lamb.Feeding a lamb for 30 days on a bottle is not a position i want or cherish all that dang much quite frankly,even though I’ve had several opportunities to buy such lambs at a significant bargain.My thoughts lately have been tied around whether i should keep a ewe back for another breeding cycle if she lambed out and the lamb was lost ,due to twins she could not take care of or weak lambs that didn’t make it,which unfortunately has happen twice this week.I love my girls immensely(nothing cuter than lambs running around) but i am trying to come to grips with the reality of running a profitable and sustainably viable agricultural enterprise,in other words if you cost me money and don’t produce something i can sell,then does it make good business sense to give you a pass,with the potential for another loss?One of the many challenges of being a small producer with small numbers of livestock.When you’re just building a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep,you don’t want to cut any of the animals in the crucial building stage,but you also don’t have the luxury of keeping back unproductive animals that aren’t generating a income.So that’s this weeks dilemma .On a more positive note, the lambs that have made it are doing great and the last ewe looks like a candidate for twins,so we’ll see what she does.Most likely that scenario will go down this evening,when it starts raining.Better get they bottles ready to roll.
Well I’m not sure how i came to have a blog,especially since I’m not sure anyone wants to particularly read my ramblings,but it’s a good way to keep family and friends up to date on the doings of two ex city kids from the bay area turn farmer/ranchers.The whole story behind that particular subject is much to long for a blog page,but if you where to meet me in daily life I’m sure i could tell more than anyone would want to know over coffee.Ha-ha!This week has been social media madness,it all started with a Facebook page for our little ranch,then a Twitter page (still not real savvy on that one),and lastly this blog page here on WordPress.I’ have a new-found respect for those business folks whom are good at juggling all these different media components all at the same time, while also running the day-to-day workings of a successful business venture,in my case a ranch.I’m not sure i’m in that number yet,but I’ll give it my darndest effort.I also work for the county Ag dept,as a tech in the summer,so my life starts to get hectic this time of year. On a purely farming note this is the time of year here in our valley where lambs and calves are being born,birds are coming back to nest or passing through on their way to some far off place,and local farmers and ranchers are antsy and itching to get outside and start to work the ground in anticipation of the fall works.As ranchers we’re allways thinking and preparing for the next winter on the ranch,that starts in the spring with planting pasture for summer grazing and hay crops,gardens for fresh veggies,canning,and freezing for later use in winter and some direct sales through farmers markets and on farm sales,Growing out the lambs and calves for meat for the house and direct market sales.Infastructure chores included,but are not limited to fence repair and new fence construction (animals and cattle, especially bulls are hard on fences) but good fences make good neighbors.Wish someone would tell my neighbor that,Lol! Irrigation planning,garden prep,greenhouse installation,house maintenance,firewood gathering,equipment maintenance and repair,well you get the gist,there’s no end,and now social media upkeep.Sheesh! When will i find the time?!Right now we’re waiting for a few ewes to lamb,had a couple already,lost one bummer lamb sadly,so hoping the rest go smoothly and mother up without needing my assistance,or at least minamally.Cows are down below on grass,and plan on a trip down friday to check them with my buddy whom was gracious enough to let me throw my cows with his on pasture he’s had for a few years,so hoping maybe there’ll be a few new calves down there.Fingers crossed.Also looking forward to getting the garden going full-bore,i fill as if i haven’t had a decent vegetable in a long time,supermarkets just aren’t the same,i just like fresh from the garden.Well all that being said,i guess it’s time to get on the payroll and get ranching,that’s all the blogging i have in me for now,I’ll try to keep this blog as up to date as time permits,till next time.Happy trails!Solomon Sweeting.
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