Knitting definitely helps me deal with the ups and downs of farming. I find the repetitive motion very soothing. Here are a few of my recent finished projects! How many of you knit?

Farming is never easy…

Last year was a particularly difficult year for me. I had several losses including my first dog I ever owned, my grandmother, and lastly we lost Purdy at the very end of the year. I had my Labrador since my 16th birthday and she was with me through all my major life changes. My grandmother always called immediately after reading my blog posts and we would talk for awhile about it. I never realized how important that was for me until she was no longer there. We also moved to a new farm this past year. I had so many big dreams for my previous farm and it was emotional and hard for me to let go of those dreams. We have a new farm and have spent the last 6 months or so building new fences and planning our new farm.

The most recent thing that happened was Purdy our livestock guardian llama became injured somehow while out in the pasture. We thought that she was going to pull through but on Christmas Eve she took a turn for the worse and sadly passed. I spent a considerable amount of time in the barn while she was sick which only made me more attached to her and harder when she passed.

We are starting this new year off with my daughters second birthday which was wonderful to see the joy of life on her face. I have started setting up our nursery as our second baby is due in March which is scary but also wonderful. Our ewes are due to start lambing any day now and today was llama delivery day.

I decided Cacia Farms wouldn’t be the same without a llama and today our new boys were delivered! Willie and Waylon will grow up to be our new livestock guardians for our sheep. They are only 1 1/2 years old so they have several months before they can go in with the sheep. In the meantime I will be socializing them and getting them used to all the farm things (this translates to llama snuggling and walks)!

I hope everyone’s new year is starting out as wonderful as mine has been!

Christmas Presents…

Everyone has that place or activity that soothes their soul mine is spending time in the barn with my animals. I find all aspects of it relaxing including cleaning the horse stalls. This morning I was minding my own business cleaning out the stalls and listening to the sounds of my barn. Our barn cat BC Mouser was in the loft growling at some sort of prey he was after. Occasionally I heard Mouser pouncing away upstairs while I was cleaning. I decided to take a short break and go look out at my sheep and horses out the back door. As I was walking under the loft area I get something drop on my head. I thought perhaps Mouser had knocked so hay off onto my head. Well as I reach up to knock it off my head it moved… yes it was in fact alive. Mouser had dropped a half dead mouse onto my head. The mouse was still alive enough to scurry off after I had a small heart attack and got it free from my hood much to Mouser’s dismay. I’m grateful I have a good barn cat to keep the mice under control but I do wish he would keep them to himself!

Purdy Awesome

Our wonderful guard llama sustained an injury a few weeks ago as some of you may know. We have done everything we can to try to heal our llama unfortunately she does not seem to be getting better. She is still eating and drinking and happy so we will make her a small pasture space just outside the barn. This way we can keep a close eye on her in case she gets worse and she will still have lambs to cuddle.

That’s not normal!

Purdy our llama is one of the key members of our farm as she guards our sheep. Tuesday when she came in for dinner we noticed she was a little crooked… as in her super long neck was really wrong. We have put her up all comfy in the barn and have her on the meds we can to help her heal and be comfy. We think she had some sort of trauma but not sure how it happened. Hopefully with time and care she will get better. This was last years farm Christmas photo hopefully she will be all better for the picture this year!

You’re Best Day

My Grandad always said he never remembered his best day of watching tv and horses were the best part of his childhood.  I truly believe every little girl needs a pony in her life and every horse needs a horse crazy girl to love them once in their life.  Growing up I always had a dog to tell all of my secrets to and spend my days with, my dog was my best friends. Henley is going to get to grow up with Dickens being her best friend.  I know that Dickens has had many little girls over his lifetime and I’m sure he could tell some pretty wild stories.

Henley had her second pony ride last night on Dickens. I hand walked him while Jeff walked next to Henley and she of course told him what a good a boy he was and gave him a carrot.  She was grinning ear to ear the whole time and when asked if she was done grabbed he saddle horn and said no one more time. Of course Henley’s dad is going to have to buy her a pony saddle and all the matching gear!

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

All The Stars Aligned

Every now and then the stars and planets align in life and great things just fall into your lap.  Anyone who has met my daughter Henley knows that she is animal crazy just like her mom and dad.  Although we have two horses already they are adult size horses and just not the right fit to be Henley’s first horse.  Well a couple months ago I was chatting with my mother when she asked me does Henley want a pony?  I resisted the urge to immediately scream of course my daughter wants a pony, I thought I better run that by my wonderful loving husband.  Surprisingly my husband was completely on board with getting said pony and actually thought it was a brilliant idea.

Plans started forming as to how and when Henley’s new pony would get here as he lived in South Carolina at the time.  Janet one of my mom’s friends had this pony for her children and he sounded perfect.  Dickens  is a Pony of The Americas pony and is absolutely adorable.  He is in his late 20’s and has had many little girls who have loved him and cared for him.  Janet being wonderful offered to drive Dickens all the way up to upstate New York for us.

Yesterday was the day that sweet Dickens finally arrived!  They didn’t get here until late last night as they were driving and Henley didn’t get to meet him until this morning.  The pure joy and delight on my child’s face when she realized there was an extra horse in the barn and that it was hers was amazing.  Henley immediately pet Dickens and told him he was a good boy, she then proceeded to feed him several carrots.  The gentleness of this pony with my daughter amazed me he seemed to just know this little person is mine and I must take good care of her!  I think that this sweet pony is going to thrive here with my little girl and I cannot wait to see how their bond and relationship grow!

Counting eggs before they hatch…

I recently ordered hatching eggs again as I just really missed my Orpingtons that we had at our old farm. I got 17 total eggs in the mail 3 of them were Russian Orlof eggs a bonus from the breeder. I let them set and loaded them into the incubator dreaming of having a beautiful rooster and lovely hens. I monitored the temperature and humidity closely and then it happened… my incubator started making a funny noise and fluctuating the temperature. Well of course I panicked because I was emotionally invested in this hatch. I ran to tractor supply to get a new incubator (and also accidentally came home with 9 ducklings which is a whole other story). I set up the new incubator made sure it held the correct temp and humidity and loaded my eggs inside. During the entire incubation process I candled the eggs at the appropriate time and everyone was looking good! Well day 21 came and no one hatched. Day 22 on egg pipped but couldn’t get out. I’m not one to let a baby chick die since it couldn’t get out so I helped the little one out. Day 23 one other egg pipped this one also needed help out but didn’t look to good so I wasn’t hopeful. Well I thought as long as they both survive they should be ok. No other eggs hatched. Many things could have gone wrong the eggs could have not all been fertilized, the temperature fluctuations and new incubator all could have played a part in the low hatch rate. Well the last baby chick died so now I was once again panicked so I ran to the local farm store again and bought some lavender Orpington chicks that were a bit older I just needed to figure out how to keep them together but the little one safe from the older chicks. I fashioned a quick little cafe for it and put them all in the brooder together. I worried all night about the little chick. Turns out the little turd escaped and was snuggling with all the older chicks this morning. I hope it makes it and maybe next year I will try hatching eggs again but for this year we’re done and now moving into winter preparations.

Wonder Dog

Well it’s only 8am here and I have already had to wrangle the sheep twice. Until yesterday I would say our ram is an angel who never escapes …. until yesterday. Unfortunately wonder dog Gus does not move Cliff our ram. The ram just stares at Gus and Gus gets frustrated. This means every time Cliff gets out I have to walk out and put a halter on him and drag him back to where he is supposed to be. Well this morning I have had enough so he gets to spend the day with his new pal Hubert. I was going to move Norma over with the big girls but in true farming fashion she flopped down and played dead. I had Henley strapped to me so I wasn’t in the mood for dragging Norma to the other pasture. Everyone will just have to get along today. After I got Cliff put away I sent Gus to fetch his ewes which he did marvelously. Here’s hoping the sheep stay where I put them for a bit.