Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Sheep and Visitors

Sorry it has been so long (almost a week!)  Joey and I have been super busy the last week with lambs, visitors, offers on our house and just about everything in between.  So here's a quick overview to catch you up to today:

1. Our friends Ashley and Steve came to visit for the weekend.  We had a great time with them.  We ate cinnamon rolls and popcorn and watched movies and played with the sheep.  We had lunch at the 50's diner Slaw Dawgs and all went home smelling like french fries.  On Saturday night we bowled at Mercer's, the local bar/bowling establishment owned by our friend's parents.  We were the only ones bowling so we had a lot of fun.  Oh, and I made a lasagna and burnt all the cheese on top.  Sorry.

2. Our last ewe, Dorothy, had her lamb sometime on Friday night/Saturday morning.  Ashley and Steve missed the birth since we were all sleeping, but they got to witness the umbilical cord cutting (I feel like I've written an awful lot about umbilical cords lately...)  It is another girl.  Ashley named her Scarlett.  She is also very cute.

3.  After Ashley and Steve left Sunday morning, Joey's parents arrived around noon to spend the day with us.  We looked at the sheep and took a few pictures holding them and went out for lunch in Macomb.  They brought us a wedding present that Joey's Aunt Kathy was having a hard time finding a box to mail in (a two-tiered cupcake stand with beads and crystals, i.e. not really Joey's style) and a deer head that Joey had stuffed (not really my style.) 

4. The old renter and her husband made an offer on our house.  It was contigent on the sale of their house (which wasn't on the market yet), they hadn't talked to a bank about a loan, and it was way too low for us to accept.  Also, she claims that the basement floods, which in our knowledge, it has never flooded in the year we have owned it.  So we made a counter offer and told them not to come back without talking to a bank.  They made an offer for $2,000 more and requested that the next time it rains that they come over and check out our basement.  We said no to both.  Don't even get me started on how bizarre this whole situation is.  How many people sell their house to someone who has already lived in it before you?  And then there is the fact that everyone knows everyone in our town (or is related) and have their opinion about who buys our house. Yikes.

5. Joey's sister Marta is coming to visit tonight.  She is taking the train out tonight and leaving Friday morning because she is on her spring break and wants to visit the sheep (no one cares about visiting us really, it's all about the lambs.)  I can't miss anymore work after last week, so she's going to have to hang out by herself for most of the day tomorrow.

6. Our wedding pictures are ready!  The photographer posted them to her website She is going to send us all the photos on a CD-there are 1134 photos!  And then from the CD we can print as many as we want as well as save them on our computers.  I am going to make a few photobooks online when I get the CD from her.  I can't wait!  Now we can fill those frames we got as wedding presents!

Ok, so that wasn't exactly a quick overview of the last couple days but now you're caught up on our crazy busy life right now. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

Go away snow!

It's snowing.  And I'm not happy about it.  Winter is over.  It's springtime.  I know because there are baby lambs in the world and marshmallow peeps on the shelves at Wal-Mart and real baby chicks for sale at Farm King.  Lambs+Peeps=Spring it's a proven equation.  So quit it with the snow already.

On a side note, our friends Ashley and Steve are coming to visit this weekend!  They will be here tonight!  They have never been to our humble abode before and they are so excited about the lambs!  Also, I think Joey's parents are coming on Sunday to check out their lamb grandbabies as well.  No one can resist the lambs.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Multiplying Sheep

Has anyone noticed my "about me" keeps changing?!  I have to keep updating the number of sheep we are raising!  It started at 6, then 7, now 11!  Here's the breakdown of our entire flock:

Dodge (Merino ram) 
Molly (Merino ewe) - 1 ewe lamb (Grace)
Margaret (Merino ewe) - 1 ewe lamb and 1 ram lamb (Maggie)
Dorothy (Merino ewe)
Susan (Merino ewe) - 1 ram lamb
Phyllis (Border Leicester ewe) - 1 ram lamb (Patrick)

The two extra ram lambs haven't been named yet because we don't know if we can keep all of the rams.  We don't want to name any of the sheep we can't keep because then it will be too sad to get rid of them.  However, we already have a merino ram and now we have a border leicester ram so we don't know what to do with the 2 extra merino rams.  We know that we don't want anyone to eat them, so maybe someone will take them for wool production or for breeding stock.  Anyway, we will try to figure something out for our first lambs, but we also have to be realistic farmers as well and ewes are more valuable than rams because they have the lambs.  We only needed one ram make all of our lambs (except Patrick because Phyllis came from another farm.)  But, I have names in mind for the two boys just in case we keep them!

A Lovely Surprise

Sorry it's been a few days, we've been up to our ears in lambing, visitors, and meeting with our realtor (more on that later).  But we awoke this morning to a wonderful surprise.  Molly, our favorite ewe, had a baby girl!  This was a surprise to us because we were pretty sure that either she wasn't pregnant or if she was, she would deliver in a few weeks because she just did not look big at all.  But Joey found her this morning in the barn, happy and healthy.  He had to leave for work so I got up and went to check out the new baby and take care of her cord and her nutri-drench.  She is beautiful, just like the rest.  I named her Grace.  I spent most of the morning before I had to leave for work out in the barn, which has become "the maternity ward."  I had to move the fencing around inside the barn again so that all the moms and babies have their own little area.  I moved Margaret and the twins over so that Molly and Grace could be under the heat lamp.  And then I created another section out of the area where Dodge could come in so that Phyllis, Patrick and Dorothy could come and go from the field since the weather has cooled again.  I guess that week of lovely 70 degree weather was just a little teaser because now we are back to 35 degrees again.  We just want to keep our lambies warm!  Dodge is the only one who can't get in the barn now.  Sorry Dodge, but you are very wooly so I'm sure you're warm enough!  Even Patrick doesn't seem to mind the change in the weather too much.  He was practically jumping from one end of the field to the other this morning.  Leaping and frolicking and loving life.  I swear, watching a week-old lamb gleefully run around is great therapy for the soul. 

So Dorothy is the only girl left now to have a baby.  At the rate we're going of one-a-day, Dorothy could go into labor any minute now.  Maybe we'll have another overnight miracle birth.  You shut 9 sheep up in the barn at night and in the morning, there's 10 sheep in the barn!  Magic!  We have friends coming to visit tomorrow so maybe they can witness the last birth on our little farm.  You never know what is going to happen with these sheep.  We've made it through the lack of sleep, the unmentionable amount of afterbirth, and feeling around underneath unwilling sheep, and at the end of the day we have 5 little lambs, with another on the way.  We feel pretty accomplished.  Life is good when you are a shepherd.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

And Then There Were 10

Susan blessed our flock with another baby boy last night.  Joey found Mama and Baby out in the field this morning and brought them inside.  Joey finally got to do the umbilical cord and vitamins before he had to leave for work.  Only two ewes left that haven't lambed, Dorothy and Molly.  Dorothy could be any day now too, with the rate the other lambs are popping out.  Molly we are not sure about.  She may not be pregnant or she might lamb in a couple weeks.  We've only been married a month and a week and we already have 4 babies!  (5 if you count Daisy the dog because she is our biggest baby)  Now we have to figure out what to do with all these boys!  3 ram lambs and only 1 ewe.  Hopefully Dorothy has another ewe lamb.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Counting Sheep

Last night I dreamt about sheep.  And today, Margaret had twins!  I should be at work right now, just closing down the library for the night.  But at 3:30 this afternoon I got a call from my neighbor.  "Hi, this is Sandy, your neighbor, one of your sheep just burst out a set of twins in the field!"  When she started to say "burst out" I thought she was saying that a sheep had burst out the fence and was running around my yard, or worse, down the street!  It was a much better surprise to hear her finish that sentence with TWINS!  So I called up Peggy and asked if she wouldn't mind coming into work for me for a little while.  She came right over and I packed up and ran home.  It takes me about 10 minutes or so to get home from the library.  I was so excited I think I was going 65 mph down the country road to get to my babies!  This time, we hadn't known she would go into labor when we left for work this morning so we didn't put Margaret into the barn.  She had her babies out in the middle of the field.  My neighbor Barb and I went out to check on her and the lambs.  Both could stand already but we couldn't tell if they were eating or not.  Now let me tell you a little something about Margaret.  She is a cranky lady.  She likes to stomp her hooves if you get in her personal space.  So of course she was stomping away and not too happy that we were close to her babies.  Barb (who has raised sheep with her husband for many years) said they looked like they were doing okay.  We saw that it was a boy and a girl.  I sat down in the field and watched them for a while, hoping Margaret would calm down a bit.  After a while I was able to grab the boy and snip his umbilical cord and give him some Nutri-drench.  I got the girl a while later and did the same.  Then Danny (Barb's husband and our sheep-expert and go-to guy) came over and helped me to get her and the lambs into the barn.  We both had to pick up a lamb and carry it and Margaret followed.  I got her some more water and watched for a while to make sure that they were eating.  I will let them be now for a while.  Joey is on his way home from work.  He missed another birth!  And I got to take care of the lambs again.  I am going to let him name them to make up for it.  (Although I already have a name in mind for the girl.)  Will let you know soon what #8 and #9 of our growing flock are called!
A boy and a girl!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What a life...

Today was a beautiful day out in the country, sunny and starting to warm up a little.  I went into town today (about 20 minutes away) in search of a bread loaf pan, some gardening books, and some groceries for our friends' visit next weekend.  Oh, and some more pants for Joey to wear to work.  I went to the Salvation Army thrift store to see if they had a bread pan, but no luck.  I did find a set of 20 notecards with sheep on them, though.  They cost me 32 cents.  (Wish I could say the same for my groceries.)  Next up was the Macomb Public Library.  They have this awesome section in the upstairs where all the non-fiction books are that has very tall shelves and has a kinda tucked-away feeling.  Every time I go back there, I always spend a long time flipping through interesting books.  And it's really quiet.  And then I start thinking, how long have I been back here?  How long are they open today?  What if they closed the library and no one knew I was back here? (Which would probably be o.k. with me, I'd just stay in the 600's section (science and technology) around 630-640 (yes, that is the Dewey Decimal System) which are my favorite books: essays and history of farming, gardening, and animals.  (Yes, I am a nerd.)  Here is a list of the books I did check out:

The Shepherd's Guidebook by Margaret Bradbury
An American Homeplace by Donald McCaig
Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook (a reprint of the book originally pub. 1950!)
52 Weekend Garden Projects by Nancy Bubel
Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois
Growing and Using Herbs in the Midwest by Rosemary Divock (coincidence her name is Rosemary???)
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally by Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon

Should be some good reading, I'll let you know.  Oh yeah, I did get a cheesy bean and rice burrito from Taco Bell between the thrift store and the library which I ate in my car in the library parking lot.  And then a grandma and her grandchildren got in the car next to me and she kept staring at me like I was some creep eating Taco Bell in the library parking lot.  Which I'm not, I promise!  Interesting how I picked up a book on eating locally after I got fast food.  Didn't even realize that until I typed it.

So then I got groceries and Joey's pants for work.  When I got home, Joey pulled in from work right after me (I must have planned that perfectly so he could carry the groceries inside.)  We let the chickens and the ducks out to roam the yard and Phyllis and Paddy out of the barn into the pasture with the rest of the ewes.  Patrick is frolicking now-adorable.  And the other ewes barely paid him any attention.  He's just "one of the girls" now.  But he still sticks pretty close to his mom.  Joey is looking to borrow some shears now from someone so he can shear around the other ewe's backsides tomorrow to clean them up before they lamb.  Phyllis was sheared right before we got her in January but our merinos haven't been sheared since we got them.  They are big woolly messes right now.  

I am going to try and make homemade bread tomorrow (hence the search for the loaf pan.)  I didn't find a used one so my dad is bringing one of my mom's extras with him when he visits us tomorrow to pick up his old grain binder that he bought out here but hasn't taken home yet.  Can't wait to show him our lamb!  I'll give you the recipe if the bread turns out.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Time flies...when you're reading a book.

I just cannot get enough of our little lambie Patrick or this warm weather we're having!  Lambs and sunshine, a sure sign of spring, right?  

Another slow day at the library today (people must be out enjoying this weather).  Someone returned an interesting book today that caught my eye when I was checking it back in.  I read a few pages, and then before I knew it, it was 3 o'clock and I had read the entire book!  Whoops.  It is called Escape by Carolyn Jessop and it is her story of growing up in an extreme polygamist religious sect and her escape from the community (literally in the dead of night with $20 in her name) with her 8 children and her battle for custody.  It was amazing to read the kinds of things that some people believe in and the extreme lives they live for what they believe.  She was married to a man that was twice her age at the age of 18 and was his fourth wife.  She was abused by her husband's other wives and had no control over her own life or lives of her children until she stole them away in the middle of the night to the sanctuary of others who had fled the cult.  She was the first woman to run away from the cult and actually get custody of all of her children and later testified against Warren Jeffs, the leader of the cult.  It was an amazing story.  It was remarkable to read what she went through for her children and how hard she fought to save them from such a brain-washed life.  I guess I am feeling a little sentimental about mothers who would do anything for their children, especially after my birthing experience yesterday with Phyllis. (Thanks Mom, for all you do for me!)  It was absolutely unfathomable to believe that thousands of women in the United States are living without any kind of rights or freedoms.  Interesting read...just a suggestion from the librarian!

Other than that, not too much going on today.  I'm pretty tired after all the excitement yesterday, kinda like Dodge in the photo below.
It's a tough life, but someone's gotta do it.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's a Boy!

Phyllis finally had her lamb today!  I got to see it happen!  A little before 9 am this morning I was about to eat breakfast when I thought instead, "I will go check on the sheep really quick."  Joey had told me earlier this morning as he was leaving for work that he thought Phyllis would have her lamb today and he closed her in the barn by herself.  When I stepped inside the barn there was Phyllis, laying down, with the lamb halfway out already.  I ran to get my phone and the lambing kit from the house and she got him out all the way just as I was getting back.  She immediately stood up and started licking him off and cleaning him up, she is such a good mother.  I was on the phone with Joey, who was at work :(  I knew I would have to be the one to take care of his umbilical cord so I got the Storey's Guide to Sheep out with me in the barn and read all about the iodine I needed to apply.  I called my mom at work and she was practically in tears she was so excited.  It took about half an hour until he started moving around and trying to stand up.  He looked like a little baby deer, unsteady on his long legs.  He wobbled around and fell down a couple times until he started to get the hang of it.  

I waited another 15 minutes until he could stand and got the iodine out of the lambing kit.  I called Joey and he said that I also had to squirt a vitamin liquid into his mouth to give him energy and nutrients.  I cut his umbilical cord with scissors and then dipped what was left in an iodine-filled shot glass (I hope Joey doesn’t want to use it anymore!)  The iodine helps to dry out the cord and prevents bacteria from getting into the cut.  You have to use blunt scissors to discourage bleeding.  Then I gave him 2 squirts of vitamins and tried to get him to drink milk from his mom.  I sat back and watched for half an hour but he just wasn’t getting it.  I began to worry because he still hadn’t eaten yet and the first milk is very important.  

The first milk from the ewe has colostrum, which contains antibodies and nutrients that protect the baby from bacteria and disease.  He kept trying to nurse from his mom’s front legs.  He even came over and tried to suck on the back of my knees.  I consulted Joey and the book again and they said that sometimes there is a wax build-up that prevents the milk from flowing and that I would have to remove it.  I tried to squeeze some milk on the lamb’s mouth but none would come out.  I could feel that her udders were very full but nothing would come out.  I milked a cow once at the state fair, so I thought I knew what I was doing…but nothing.  So I scraped with my fingernail and got a little wax off.  And then I stuck his head there and his mouth found the teat and started sucking.  He was sucking away but I couldn’t tell if he was getting any milk.  So I got down and was seriously up in poor Phyllis’ business trying to see what was going on down there.  Luckily she was very patient with her lamb and very understanding of me poking and prodding and touching her baby.  Finally, I saw some milk on the baby’s mouth and lips so I knew he was eating.  Also the book says that the baby is eating if his tail wags back and forth like crazy and if his sides fill in so that they don’t have rolls of skin.  He ate for a while and then both momma and baby laid down and fell asleep curled up together.  

Look at those ears!
 It was one of the most amazing mornings of my life.  Last night, I went to sleep not knowing how to do any of the things I have just done to take care of the new lamb, and now I am amazed at myself for doing them.  I feel like a real shepherd now, taking care of my flock.  I set up a chair in the barn and watched them, and I was thinking, “That’s it.  I’m hooked.  I’ve got to have sheep for the rest of my life.”  When I finally went inside the house, I had so much adrenaline and excitement, I realized I was shaking!  I can’t wait to get home from work to see them again and I can’t wait to share them with Joey went he gets home.  It’s been a great day:  the sun is out, it’s starting to feel like spring, we have a new baby lamb, I learned how to take care of a newborn lamb….and my Girl Scout cookies were just delivered to the library! Hehe.

Sleepy Heads

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Room With a View

Doing the dishes isn't all that bad if you have a good view from your kitchen window.  
Such as this:

Phyllis, Dorothy, and Susan resting after a long day of eating grass.
I was just washing the dishes that I made from making dinner (a new enchilada recipe with sour cream and cream cheese) and I looked out the window behind my sink upon this pastoral scene.  On one side of the fenced pasture are all the ewes.  On the other is Dodge, the ram  who is very lonely without his girlfriends.  He spends his day as close as possible to the fence that separates him from his ladies.  He has spent the entire winter with them, but as we are expecting lambs soon, Joey thought we should separate him from the girls and the babies.  Dodge is the sweetest thing (unlike some rams who get ornery and will knock you down) but we don't know what will happen when the lambs come and we want to make sure they are safe.  On the outside of the pasture, there are three deer contentedly grazing in the field where we grew sweet corn last summer.  There's nothing like country living.  I'm so glad that it is still light out when I get home from work now.  Pretty soon everything will be green!  

Look how huge Phyllis is.  It's gotta be any day now...

It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood

Some neighbors ask to borrow a cup of sugar.  Ours called last night to borrow a cardboard box big enough to put a lamb in overnight.  So, the good neighbors that we are (we wanted to see the baby lamb) took the china dishes we got as a wedding present out of the cardboard box and walked over with it to lend a helping hand.  The little guy was rambling around their kitchen on legs that were way too big for his body, curious about the cats that were sniffing him and tripping over the big black lab.  He went under the table and got tangled up in a pile of shoes and walked out with a coat hanger over his head.  He was quite a little character.  When we put him in his box so he couldn't get into more trouble, the cardboard was too slippery for his little hooves and his back legs keep sliding farther and farther out from under him until our neighbor put an old towel in with him.  He was so cute, how could his mother not want him?

Still no word on our own lambs.  Hopefully none of our ewes will orphan their lambs since bottle-fed lambs have to be fed every four hours and they like to get into trouble in the house.
Can't wait for our yard to look like this again!  Come on spring!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Census update!

So we heard from one of our friends at the bar Thursday night that the 2010 census results are in and Vermont, IL has gone from 801 residents to 660!  Yikes!  Maybe a big family will move into our house and help that number a bit...

Home Sweet Home?

Well, our house has been on the market for exactly one week now and we've had two different couples look at it.  We know that the couple on Thursday was the old renter and her husband (and after some sneaky facebook spying I saw she posted on her wall that she actually is interested in the house, not just the  changes we've made.) And then yesterday morning, another realtor from the Re/Max office called and asked if she could show the house this morning at 10 am.  Neither Joey or I were home this morning so we said that would be fine.  We haven't met the realtor who showed our house today, but no joke, her name is Thelma Smiddy.  Doesn't that seem like a name that could only be made up?  Our realtor's name is Becky Peabody.  They sound like they belong in the game CLUE.  Maybe the Re/Max Office is just a cover for something more devious...  Anyway, we don't know anything about these mystery home-buyers...hopefully they liked what they saw.  We had to leave Daisy at home (I am at my parents' for the weekend and Joey is at a thing with the volunteer fire fighters) so hopefully she didn't jump on the strangers and Thelma too much.  (I'm sure she did a little, she can't help it.)  And hopefully she resisted the urge to toss all the pillows from the couches onto the floor until after they looked around (I doubt it.)  So who knows...maybe our house will sell faster than we thought.  Especially with spring on it's way.  Hopefully Phyllis and the Girls will pop out their lambs soon and then the potential buyers will be drawn in by their cuteness and won't be able to resist buying the house with the lambs.

So where will we live if we sell our house?  We just put a bid on a house yesterday that's contingent upon selling our house.  It has 9 acres for the sheep, but it is not exactly the white farmhouse/red barn kinda place.  First of all, the house is on a hill, surrounded by pine trees and has a pond in the back.  And the house was built in you can pretty much guess what it looks like.  But it has kind of a fun retro vibe to it.  Joey and I were both standing on the back patio looking down at the "flower beds" that were just full of those black lava rocks and I said, "this place reminds me of my Grandma's house," just as he was saying, "this place reminds me of my Yia Yia's house."  So maybe we have sentimental feelings about the 60's accents.  It needs some work, but it is structurally sound and has nice wood floors and 2 fireplaces, a screened porch, and a pool!  Oh, and for some reason, there is a pass-through cabinet that connects the kitchen with the bathroom.  So basically you could stand in the kitchen and shake hands with someone sitting on the toilet.  Or serve them food???  So maybe this could be the next Parrillo house?  We'll see, nothing is for-sure yet, but we are starting to imagine ourselves floating in the pool and counting the sheep on the hillside and watching the ducks swim around the pond.  Plus, who could resist the idea of having your own ice skating pond in the winter?!

The ducks would approve 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

That Kind of Day...

It's been one of those mornings...I don't know how it happened, I woke up at my usual time, let the dog out, fed her breakfast, took a shower, got dressed, fed the bunny, made up some left-overs for lunch and then went out to feed and water the chickens and check on the sheep.  Somehow I took a longer time than I thought cleaning the chicken's watering jug and filling their feeder, I looked at my watch and I was running late for work!  So I hastily put the watering jug back into the chicken yard (very carefully, because all 3 chickens and the 2 ducks can tell you are coming in the door and congregate around it.)  I have to open and shut the door and hop in with a 20 lb. jug of water very quickly otherwise Georgia the chicken will hop out faster than you can say "scrambled eggs" and then you have to chase her around the yard and pick her up and throw her back in the door without letting anyone else jump out.  After the chicken commotion, I ran into the house, took off my muddy boots, and realized both of my pants legs were streaked with mud (and who knows what else...)  But seeing as I was running late, I decided to rinse the mud off with a wet washcloth rather than run through the house looking for another pair of clean jeans. 

Our clothing has been hard to find lately because it seems that in cleaning our house in order to sell it, I have found some interesting places to stash laundry.  Joey has to wear khakis and a button-up John Deere shirt with his name on it to work everyday.  He has six of these shirts and the other day he could not find a single one, which resulted in him waking me up waaay before I was ready and me digging through 3 closets, 1 dresser, and 2 laundry baskets before we found one.  I could have sworn that I just washed and folded a couple (but considering there are 6, it seems I am always washing and folding them.)  Last night he asked me if I knew where any of his khaki pants were and told me he had been wearing the same pair for the last week.  I knew I had seen another pair somewhere!  At the time he asked me, I was looked for a pair of socks under the bed (they won't all fit in the dresser so I keep the rest in a suitcase under the bed so I don't have to go upstairs (where the rest of my clothes are) just to get some socks.  And then I pulled out a tote box next to my sock-suitcase and there were 3 John Deere shirts and 2 khaki pants!  You don't even want to look in our coat closet right now, it is stuffed to the brim with boxes and wedding presents and who knows what.

So back to this morning.  Now I had big wet spots on my jeans and had to be at work in 10 minutes.  So I wished the dog Happy Birthday (she's four today) and left for work.  Turns out I left my lunch on the kitchen table.  Fortunately, things at the library have been a little less frenzied.  Tonight should be interesting, however.  I just got a call from the realtor who is selling our house and she said, "You're never gonna guess who wants to look at your house."  Turns out it's the girl who was renting the house from the lady we bought it from and who had to move out when we bought it.  Now, when we were looking at the house we had weird feelings about her (she was there both times we walked through the house.)  And Joey had a dream a couple weeks ago that we were looking at a new house to buy and she was renting that one too and was really mad that we made her move again!  So I am wondering if she saw the for sale sign and just wants to see what we've done to the place or if she's actually interested.  We'll see. So, I will rush home after work and clean up a few things because they are coming at 6:30 to look at it.  I guess I will take Daisy for a long walk for her birthday while they are in the house.  What a crazy day.
Me at work.  At least I can count on the library being quiet!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


There are so many exciting and new things going on in our lives right now.  Although Phyllis and the other girls have yet to lamb as of this morning, we have had news to expect a different kind of baby lamb today.  My favorite cousin is having her first baby today.  It is the first great-grandbaby in my family and it's a girl!  We can't wait to meet little Molly!

Besides expecting new lambs, Joey and I are hoping to find a new house with some acreage for our flock.  Joey started a new job with John Deere a couple months ago but he is currently commuting an hour and 10 minutes.  So even though we have owned our home in Vermont less than a year, we are looking for somewhere halfway between the library in Astoria and Joey's job near Jacksonville, IL.  Unfortunately, nothing has met our expectations and requirements yet. We want something that has a couple acres for our sheep, a barn or an outbuilding, has 3-4 bedrooms and is somewhat charming.  We are still dreaming of a little white farmhouse on rolling acreage with a red barn and pond and an orchard.'s our dream anyway.  We put our house on the market last weekend, so we'll see what happens.  We have a feeling that property doesn't move too quickly in the area where we live so we worry about selling our house.  I also worry that it will sell faster than we find a place we like, and more importantly, that we can afford.

So keep your fingers crossed.  Hopefully the sheep will catch on soon that its time to have babies, Molly won't give her Mommy any trouble, and we find The House That Dreams Are Made Of (or something close to it!)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

No lambs yet...

Any day now we should have a lamb.  In January, we bought a bred ewe (a pregnant female sheep) from a farmer who shows sheep and also writes a sheep magazine.  We heard through the sheep grapevine that he had 60 lambs last week so we thought it was time for our ewe to deliver hers.  We talked to Greg (the sheep guy) last night and he said that was only half of his sheep and the rest should lamb this week.  We have been like anxious new parents the last couple weeks.  We have read all the books about everything that could go wrong and have had our lambing kit packed and ready on the back porch for weeks.  It includes everything from an old towel to long plastic gloves, iodine for their belly buttons and something to clip their tails.  Poor old Phyllis (our expecting mother), we are practically harassing her a couple times a day to make sure she hasn't gone into labor.  We both work during the day so we can't be there for her, but we always rush back to the sheep barn when we get home to check for lambs.  We think our other four ewes may be pregnant as well from our ram, they may give birth to lambs in the next couple weeks as well.    Every evening, my mom calls with a "lamb check."  She's just as anxious to see them as we are.  We have some city friends visiting us in 2 weeks, maybe they'll get to witness some lambs being born.  Either way, we are very excited for when our new babies arrive and we are hoping that nothing goes wrong with delivery.  I think Joey has visions of being like James Herriot if anything goes wrong, but most likely we'll probably ask the neighbor for help.  Just as long as a don't have to swing a newborn lamb around the barn (I read that if the lamb has fluid stuck in its lungs you have to pick it up and swing it over your head...)  Well, I have to go feed the chickens and ducks but I will leave you with that image of me swinging a lamb around the barn!
snowy sheep

Monday, March 7, 2011

City Girl, Country Librarian

I'm new to this whole blog thing, but I thought I would give it a shot.  Mostly, this blog is for keeping family and friends up-to-date on our new life out in the sticks.  Last April, Joey and I decided to leave our family, friends, and jobs in the city where we grew up to move to the country.  Joey got a job with a farmer and we bought an old house in a town called Vermont, IL.  Whenever we travel farther than 20 miles from our town we have to add "Illinois" to the end, otherwise we sound like we're from the east coast.  There's not much going on in our new hometown, we don't even have a gas station.  There are only a handful of stoplights in our entire county.  Let's just say it's a little different from where we grew up.  But we are loving it.  I took a job as the director at the library in the next town over.  I'm having a great time with my job as a librarian and I love all the people that I that come to the library every week.  Things are simpler out here.  We may have to drive 25 minutes to "go into town" and we can't get pizza delivered to our house, but it's all worth it.  Keep checking in for more stories and pictures of our country life.  Pretty soon we'll have our first lambs!