Archive for Lambing

Snow to Spring


…to our Wits End Farm website. Our goal is to make your visit enjoyable and educational, while sharing the beauty and rhythm of nature that daily touch our lives.  We use our homepage to chronicle the happenings at our 22-acre family farm located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

Both animals and humans let out a sigh of relief when the first warm Spring-like days arrived recently.  We had snow on the ground for two months, beginning with a blizzard-and-a-half in mid-December.  We had all the sheep in the barn for over a month, and they were all champs because no one became ill or lost condition, including the pregnant ewes.

Dave-with-ewe-in-barnAfter a storm dropped two feet of snow atop what was already there, some neighbors had a ‘Snowmageddon’ pot-luck dinner.  What to take when treking through the snow over a mile to get there?  A tossed salad secured in a Tupperware lidded bowl and carried in a backpack.  By the way, they brewed some ‘Snowmageddon’ porter made with snow in it for authenticity.

Now the forsythias and cherry trees are in bloom, and we’ve enjoyed the first 70-degree days.  The snow seems to have insulated the grass during the cold because things seem to be greening up earllier than usual.  As the leaves bud out on the lilacs, 16 new lambs cavort in the field with unbridled enthusiasm.  As of now, there are 13 Border Leicester lambs and 3 Bluefaced Leicester lambs.  All the white border lambs are all progeny of Merlin, our champion ram from Overlook Manor Farm.  In particular, there are several really nice ram lambs.  Check out Merlin’s photo and photos of his get on the ‘Sheep for Sale’ page.  As for the ’baby blues,’ they are all enchanting ewe lambs, two of which are silver.  The photo of two of them is further down this page.

With Springs come plans to attend the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, held at the Howard County Fairgrounds over the first weekend of May.  I will have several Border Leicester yearling rams for sale there, both white and natural-colored,  along with several Border Leicester ram lambs.  I also will have two natural-colored Border Leicester-Bluefaced Leicester cross yearling ewes that will be for sale.  Their fleeces are something to behold.

We also have news of our friends in Pennsylvania who have the therapy sheep; Mike and Sue Reifsnyder. By the way, Sue has written a child’s book about raising sheep.  I will be illustrating it for her and will publish it in a limited edition for sale at our pens at Maryland Sheep and Wool.  All proceeds will support Mike and Sue’s mentoring program for troubled kids.

The First Warm Days of Spring

With more than a dozen lambs doing lamby things out in the field, there is an excessive amount of ‘cute’ to be had from every vista.  The important looking fellow below is Horatio, Wits End 1001, who weighed 14 pounds at birth and tipped the scales at 40 pounds at one month of age.  Needless to say, he’s a sheep with attitude, and he constantly tests the patience of the ewes as he makes the rounds bumming milk, mounting other lambs of any gender and generally making a nuisance of himself.  “Hey, just keeping folks entertained,” he says.

Lambing 2009 – A Great Success

WitsEndSheep123-BOur flock of 10 Border Leicester and Bluefaced Leicester brood ewes began earning their keep when six-year-old Natasha lambed one afternoon in late January. Fortunately, she had come inside for the task, and the 12-pound ewe lamb and nine-pound ram lamb were up, dressed and eating when we found them during afternoon feeding.

Three more ewes lambed by mid-February, producing six more lambs, including a set of triplet Bluefaced Leicester ewe lambs. The last ovine bundles-of-joy arrived by mid-March, and we were thrilled to have a second set of triplet Bluefaced Leicester ewe lambs.

Looking at our thriving 2009 crop of 21 lambs, we are so thankful. With 16 ewes and just 5 rams, we have a wonderful selection of breeding-quality females to renew our brood ewe flock and share great genetics with others. Moreover, our girls got through lambing and gestation without mishap, and produced a more-than-200-percent lamb crop yet again. How’s that for girl power?