Monthly Archives: February 2009

Jen-a

Not much of a post, but here is something I just thought of. Over at Farmer’s Daughter they are talking about naming a horse. How exciting, by the way!

Anyway this got me to thinking – I’ve never clarified how to say my name. I was forever being called Jean-a by substitute teachers so some of you may think of me as Jean-a. However, my name is Jen-a. That’s Jen, and then an “uh”. Thank my Mom for the original spelling! 🙂

So what assumptions might we have made about all of you that you could clear up?

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Euthanasia and Eagles

This was brought to my attention last night at a chapter meeting of the Michigan Vet. Med. Association. Apparently there is a link between the improper disposal of euthanized pets and the death of eagles and other wildlife that may consume the pets later on.

At the same time there comes the proposal of Davie’s law. From just skimming the bill it appears that this law would require injectable euthanasia of shelter pets in place of using gas chambers or other means. I don’t disagree with that law for shelter pets only, and if they are being properly disposed of. However, at the vet meeting they suggested a similar law would expand to require injectable euthanasia of all animals. I don’t see that ever happening due to rights of owners to do what they want with their own pets. I can’t find any information on such a proposal so I suspect the vets were overreacting to Davie’s law. Obviously such a requirement would make the incidence of accidental deaths more common and could ridiculously affect the safety of our food supply.

In any case – please be aware of this issue. I know it isn’t pleasant to think about but it obviously happens and could be prevented.

New Life!! (Updated)

Here’s what I came rushing home to find!


I was going to write “he was mostly dry…” and just realized in all my excitement I never even looked to see whether it was a male or a female! I’ll get back to you on that! Anyway, it was mostly dry already. Mama was doing a good job standing over him so he didn’t get injured by the other ewes moving around. Every thing I’ve heard has said to let them lamb with the group, then move them to their own little pen or “lambing jug”. I had a little pen set up for her already so I gently picked up the lamb and carried him, at eye level for the ewe, to the new pen. They can still touch noses with the ewes and with a calf on one side. The goal is to give them a few days to bond on their own.

My only concern right now is that I haven’t seen him nurse. I’ve seen him nuzzle around back there but not latch on. He did urinate but I’m not sure if that could be from his time in the uterus or is from nursing earlier. They need colostrum within the first few hours and he could have been born as early as 9 AM. I tried to hold him up to her udder but Bonnie wanted nothing to do with it. I’m going to check again in awhile, he was sleeping when I left and seems alright.

Off to check blogs and then see what this thing is: boy or girl!?

BTW, thank you everyone for your good luck. 🙂

I was just thinking, based on where I saw the urine coming from, it must be a girl! Duh! I’ll still double check though.. lol

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Update 6:30PM:

She’s eating! Yahoo! I was not looking forward to dealing with it if she didn’t eat. Also, she is definitely a she, I looked this time. Sorry for all the gates in the way, I was using zoom so I didn’t disturb them too much.

You can’t see it in the picture but her little tail was just a waggin’. I tried to video it but couldn’t get enough light. I’m thrilled that it is a ewe lamb, that means we’ll get to keep her if she’s anything decent. She’s the first lamb ever born on this farm. *big sigh of relief*

Prepping for Lambs


Lambing is imminent, I do believe. We’ll see whether it happens tonight, tomorrow, or Tuesday. I do have to work in the morning but only half the day. I hope it happens before my full work day on Tuesday! Bonnie’s due date is officially tomorrow, the 23rd.

I’ve borrowed Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep and Raising Sheep the Modern Way from the library. With the knowledge I gained from the books and the recent MSBA Conference I have put together a few supplies:

-Clean, dry towels to assist with drying off the lamb, if necessary.
-7% tincture of iodine to dip the navel
-Dull scissors to snip back the cord. 2″ is the recommended length.
-Glass bottle and nipple (we don’t have any pop bottles!)
-60 cc syringe and size 8 french red rubber catheter, for tube feeding. I hope we don’t need this one!
-Elastrator and bands. I won’t use these until 2-3 days for tail docking and again around 10 days for castrating.
-(not pictured)We also have an ear tagger and tags to ID each lamb before they leave the lambing jug. That way we can know for sure who’s who.

I’ve been crawling around in the pen like a fool trying to get a good look at her udder. Wednesday I noticed it starting to swell. Now it is huge! Tonight she didn’t have much interest in grain and walked away from the feeder. She was scratching at her side with a hind foot. I know kicking at the sides is significant but I’m not sure if the scratching was unusual. She is “talking”, making little grunting sounds every so often. There is no obvious discharge or contractions yet.

I think she is quite enjoying playing this game and having me dote on her. Brian has forbid me from checking on her again right away so I’m waiting rather impatiently for the next check. Wish me luck or say a prayer for me – I’m way more anxious than the mama ewe! 🙂

Me & My Valentine

Okay this is a little late for V-day but I saw it over at Farmer’s Daughter and thought it looked like a lot of fun. Play along if you like!

Me and My Valentine

What are your middle names?
Brian’s is Keith. Mine was Marlene but I changed it to Rose (my maiden last name) when I got married. I figured I was lucky to have a name that could work either way and I wanted to keep it. No one uses your middle name much past 8 years old anyway.

How long have you been together?
I think we started dating in September of 2006. So let’s see… 2 1/2 years. Married 6 months on Monday!

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
Almost a year. I thought we were just going out as friends, who knew I was slowly being seduced!?

Who asked whom out?
Well, actually my cousin asked Brian if he would take me out, but I was standing right there at the time. I wanted to go to the John Deere dealer’s grand opening and you had to be invited. Carrie knew that Brian had an invite, and he was nice enough to take me as his guest. Pretty generous considering I was dressed in full Carhartts and a huge red furry coat so all he could see was my nose (I dressed nicer for the party).

How old are each of you?
I’m 22 and Brian is 26 now.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
None. Brian’s brother passed away in 2007 and my sister lives about an hour away so we don’t see her much. Brian has some great stepsiblings that we see more often.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
I would say just that we both work full-time at jobs we don’t like and want very badly to find a way to make this farm support us. We do pretty well together though.

Did you go to the same school?
No. I graduated with around 125 students and Brian graduated with 25, in districts about 45 min. away. It took me awhile to realize that is how he knows everyone 3 years ahead of and behind him in school plus all their siblings.

Are you from the same home town?
Nope! And I’m glad. It is so nice here, people are much friendlier than where I’m from. I love it here!

Who is smarter?
I’m more book smart but Brian has more hands on skills and more common sense. He’s good at pointing out the obvious when I’m so busy analyzing that I missed it.

Who is the most sensitive?
Me, I think. I get overwhelmed much more easily. Brian has had some rough things happen in his life so he’s really good at being tough and not showing emotion. I’m glad he’s a little more open with me at least.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
We were going to a local place, Angie’s, for fish every Friday night for a long time. Lately we’ve been trying to stay home.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Well we went through Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin on our Honeymoon. The western end of the U.P. is probably just as far I guess and we do go visit Brian’s uncle there. We don’t get out much. 😉

Who has the worst temper?
I’d like to say Brian, but we both have our moments. We’re really good at, “Remember what you told me…”

Who does the cooking?
We used to be pretty even but I think I do it a little more often now. Brian does start dinner a lot of nights and usually makes breakfast on weekends, so it is still a close call.

Who is the neat-freak?
More so me. Although he lived alone when I met him and that place looked okay.

Who is more stubborn?
We’re pretty equal. Both bullheaded!

Who hogs the bed?
Me! I love to cuddle! He used to complain but has since given up. He does admit to enjoying the middle of the bed when I’m gone.

Who wakes up earlier?
Brian. I get up when he leaves. We found it was too crowded in the kitchen and we got crabby with each other that early. I usually stay up a little longer reading or watching TV.

Where was your first date? J&D Implement grand opening dinner. Next was Applebee’s and a walk around Media Play.

Who is more jealous?
Definitely me, unless Brian hides it good. I just don’t trust girls, and there are a lot of them around here that don’t think twice about sleeping with a married man. I do trust Brian, but women can be pretty convincing…

How long did it take to get serious?
Almost a year. I was dating someone else and Brian would take me out “as friends”. Finally I realized that I was wasting time with the other loser when the nicest, sweetest guy was right in front of me. About that time Brian invited me up to the Semi Truck Show at the Mackinaw Bridge. After a whole weekend of diesel fumes I was in love!!

Who eats more?
Brian, for sure. I snack a lot though.

Who does the laundry?
Me. He used to know how…

Who’s better with the computer?
Me! He’s getting better though. Damn craigslist.

Who drives when you are together?
Brian likes to drive.

Include a wedding picture or a picture from your early dating days!

Here’s us that weekend at the bridge:

Christmas 2007, newly engaged:

And on the honeymoon:

Pillow Thief


Brian went to bed early, he’s still not feeling well. I stayed up until after midnight cleaning and reading. I finally woke up at 9:15 this morning thanks to a barking puppy. I knew the cat had been sleeping on my head and when I turned around this is what I saw. Apparently my head had been on that little spot there between his front and back legs. Thanks buddy, I didn’t really need my pillow anyway! 🙂

Knitting Socks


There has been a long running joke, or at least a funny saying, going on between my Mom and I. She tells everyone that her daughter is “growing” sheep, and she is learning to spin yarn and make socks from their wool. Everyone laughs and thinks that is the cutest thing, but it is true. My Mom took one step closer to her goal by attending a spinner’s meeting and learning the basics of that art. Now she really wants a spinning wheel but they are quite expensive. As another step on her path I surprised her with a gift certificate for Christmas. It covered the cost of a class where we are learning to knit socks! My best friend got the same gift and was also very excited to learn with us.

The first class was last Saturday and we had a blast! At first we all felt like fools as we tried to piece together the information we had learned from books, the internet, and each other. It is nice to learn all those little tips and jargon you can only get from a real professional. Our teacher, Faith, is just wonderful, and so is the shop where class is held.

In the above picture you can see how much progress I’m making. When I got the first sock to the stopping point I took a leap and started the next sock on my own. I’m not sure that it is perfectly right, but I’m enjoying the project even if I have to redo some of it. I’m quite sure that the second sock is one stitch wider than the first but I suppose that will be okay.

I told all my friends and family to expect gifts of homemade socks from now on. We have been to about a dozen weddings in the last couple years so when the dozen baby showers start up I’ll be all ready with lots of little baby socks. I’m already interested in another class on making slipper-type things, I’ll keep you posted.

What do you like to knit? Were you surprised at your abilities? How did you learn your hobbies?