When you have lambs being born, you always have to plan ahead for the following season especially when you plan to retain. This year, we were able to trade some of our gorgeous brown Finn ram lambs for the replacements that we will need for this fall and next year! Our stock here is all tested and we have not introduced anything new that was not tested. And so our new boys, Clark (Gable and grey) the CVM ram and Burl (brown) the Finnsheep ram lamb were quarantined and had to pass their blood work tests before joining the rest of the herd.
Clark is such the gentleman and has joined his ladies. I'm hoping for some lovely CVMs and Cormo CVM Finn crosses in the upcoming Spring. Clark seems happy and has no complaints. He has been courting and kind to his ladies. Clark comes from Heelside Farms in Benson, NC. This farm is full of nostalgia for us and is where we got our very first sheep while still in NC and just getting started. Carolyn and Ricky were so kind and coached us through the whole process. Carolyn also taught us many things about wool and how to get started in that department as well. It was sweet to be back there and exchange our brown Mugwort for their grey Clark. Mugwort quickly found a new home with his own ladies and will hopefully make beautiful brown lambs for the Beasleys soon!
We also exchanged another brown lamb to the Hambys at Fairwinds Farm in PA. They have named their new fella Brick and our new brown Finnsheep ram lamb from them we named Burl! Funny how these two names are so similar - although I really had a rather woodsy name in mind! I think that both of us are very pleased and it was so good to connect with the Hambys again! We originally met this family at the MDS&W festival and were a surprise YCP recipient of a lovely HST black Finn ewe that was a gift from them. Wow! This ewe was such a great addition to our farm, and we immediately fell in love with her. Of course, it's so very nice to bring in another very stout and handsome ram from such lovely people. Burl will be covering our brown Spring ewes in next year's fall. We are expecting great things from our lovely new boys from dear friends all around! A lovely summer with reconnections and new rams to add the the weavings at WoodSong!
With all the chaos of pups, I have not kept up with writing, but this morning was noteworthy enough to get me to sit and remember my literary habit. This morning during chores, Lorna tracked a grain-eating skunk down in our field. Got sprayed in the face. While we were working out our end, she continued to track so that we could take care of the invader. Problem solved... at least one of them. I can certainly say that she is more than just a pretty face! Poor Lorna.
In other news, the puppies have all gone to their new homes with the exception of Elberta who is waiting for just the right working home. It's so nice to trade the puppy pen for having our living room back! Lots of snuggling and cuddling of my big dogs is in order. Poor Benji has had to be isolated as both girls (Lorna and Tansy) went into a strong heat at the same time. As we had not planned to have so many consecutive litters here at once, I let Lorna know under very certain terms that we were going to be waiting till Spring at least before welcoming more puppies here. Lorna laid by where the whelping box used to be to let me know her position and remained there in that place through much of the heat. She is not happy with our decision, but is starting to perk up a bit at this point! Funny how much she seems to know! She really was disappointed. Having the living room seems a good consolation prize though as Lorna climbed up for a good snuggle together.
As for Tansy, she is still just a pup and in fact just turned a year old! She has managed her heat well and was extra sweet and snuggly also. Love my girls! Both have now returned to their full bouncy selves repelling birds of concern and apparently skunks. Herding also, but more about that later. Benji is now back to roam in his domain and life is returning to a nice normal rhythm with the B( -enji) L( -orna) T( -ansy)s!
New puppies here? But wasn't it Peach's turn? Sadly, Kendy Sawyer, our kennel partner had an accident coming off her horse. So at WoodSong farm, we are raising a third consecutive litter having taken in Kendy's Peach who was bred to our Benji. While Kendy is recovering, we are trying to take care to include her as we can while raising all her new Peach blossoms! Unfortunately one pup (#7) did not make it, but here is a peek at the new pups here.
In the meantime, only Asher is left here from Winter's litter and will be going home tomorrow. All pups are in there new homes from the previous two litters after this. As you can imagine, we are quite busy trying to keep all our duck in a row. (Isn't that the collies' job?) I am so excited to hear how all our babies are doing and always look forward to updates from their new families on our Shepherd's Hearth facebook page. And the blossoms will continue to bloom also! It appears to be a big puppy year for our farm and kennel!
Heroics of yesterday - Tansy walked up to my son and barked and took him down to the chicken gate that had been left open. 7 chickens had already escaped and were wandering the yard. At this point Lorna came to see what was going on and to help. Tansy would corner and hold chickens with her paws for my son to put back in. Interestingly, Lorna brought the chickens to Tansy next to my son to hold down for my son! (I guess the dogs don't have as much confidence in our chicken catching skills! 😆 ) Other chickens had escaped to visit the rams where Lorna took her turn holding chickens and waiting for us to put them over he fence. I love watching the girls team up!
Want calm sheep? Got Finns? Last night, we brought up a lone ram lamb to visit a guest. This sheep stood still being pet with no halter. Happy just to be there! We raise traditional Old Time Scotch Collies here that work the sheep when it's time and relax when it's not. My kids were throwing the frisbee for the dogs who were whipping around all over not far from this lamb. This was late evening during peak sheep spook hours! He never even baa-d. The guest's Cocker-Spaniel was not upsetting either. In fact, after the ram lamb relieved himself, we even took him in to visit our litter of pups. Outside on the driveway, the big collies came and inspected on occasion giving an occasional lick to see that ram lamb was OK and things were as they should be. That is their job. And of course, true to Finn tradition, there was much tail wagging. Our sheep seem to sense when it is time for the dogs to work and when the dogs are just part of the family. Finnsheep are wonderful sheep to work with! They provide for us in many ways. I personally find them incredibly therapeutic also. None of us minded petting our Finn ram lamb and he accepted this as quite sufficient payment for his excursion. Finnsheep are wonderful!
After the Pride and Prejudice pups, Lorna and Tansy have formed an incredible bond. Lorna, I think, was so grateful for Tansy's help in gathering and distracting while she needed space from puppy teeth and nursing. These girls have continued their partnership in many ways. Some pictures of the girls loving on each other and playing in the middle of the Spring litter where they could both enjoy puppies fully.
Kind neighbor sends us her frizzle chickens who are being picked on and four collies meet and supervise. Nice friend with truck and trailer pulls up with new Kerry bull and Lorna alerts and points. Winter watches. All collies lay and watch while our new bull exits trailer and goes to find his herd. All in a moment of a day yesterday in the life of our collies.
Nanny dogs are invaluable! They watch the pups when mom needs a break and can play without worrying about tender parts being molested by teething cuties. Tansy is very much looking upon the "Pride and Prejudice" litter as her serious job and is thoroughly vested in her role as Auntie. I often have my hands full moving the pups from one spot to another, but Tansy will faithfully stay with the pups and babysit until I have moved the very last pup to where we are headed. She plays so gently and will suit her firmness to the pup and energy level involved. Occasionally, I would ask her to be easy at the beginning, but now I realize that she very much seems to have these controls built-in! What a relief! Kitty (now the biggest of the P&P litter) is Tansy's special friend. She seeks Tansy out to play and tease. Tansy seems to especially love her also! If there is a pup that is a bit too rough or confident, Tansy will gently correct and teach in a very cheerful manner. Such a perfect golden playmate and example! Thank you Tansy for so much help raising these pups! What would we do without you!
Once upon a time Kitty found her perfect spot to sleep. True, it was unconventional to sleep in the litter box, but usually this area was untouched, cool, and solitary. All of these things made the perfect sleeping spot.
But then one evening the inevitable happened! Someone had corrupted Kitty's perfect spot. She stood in her corner and stared hard. Nothing happened. She barked loudly. Nothing happened. She began scare tatics and pouncing. Nothing happened. So Kitty pushed clean litter towards the yuck with her nose to push the yuck out of her perfect sleeping spot. All was well and Kitty went to get a drink while Collins promptly came and took that perfect sleeping spot.
Picture is of Kitty back in her spot. All's well that ends well.
This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.