a calm busy day before another calm busy day

Boo and Marcel.



Wee Marcel is still slowly improving. he is even gaining weight. He sleeps well and took two little walks outside and around inside the barn yesterday. Tonight he will go to tiny feeds every three hours. Altogether he drinks a little over two cups a day of milk and plenty of water in between and the same during the night.  He drunk cows colostrum for the first 24 hours and now his milk is fresh raw cows milk with an egg and honey. All systems are go.

The first Cardinal came to visit today. Below is rather a bizarre shot .. I do not have a bird watching lens, but I could not let him go un noted. He comes every year at this time to scope out the location. Soon he will fly away again, back to town where it is warmer no doubt and when he returns he will be bringing his brother and their wives and it will be spring. They do this every year. He is right on time.


My milking machine did not turn up yesterday as promised. Maybe it will come today.

day-three-032 day-three-047

Mr Sperm has advised us to start Sheila’s hormone treatment today instead of yesterday. So her hopeful heat will coincide with the delivery of Herchel’s sperm.  The little overnight delivery man will drop it out here on Tuesday morning. My sperm! I will say, effusively; rather an awkward word but you know what I mean.  It sounds too much like effluent to be a really nice word. Thank you! I will say. You are so kind.


And I will put the three doses of baby Herchels in the fridge and then as soon as Sheila is in standing heat, (which means she will stand still with her back legs straight down and locked and her ears and head up – hoping I am a boar while I sit all over her back) hopefully that day and then the day after, we will do the deed thrice. So much for me to learn here.  But first, today, we will flood her system with estrogen. And hope against hope that she winds up and comes into heat. Or she will spending the rest of her life posing for calenders and hocking them off to pay for her feed.


Grazing the floor. Marcel investigates everything twice.

Good morning. If Marcel continues to do well and as soon as he is stable, putting on weight, and on four hourly feeds, I will make a warm pen for him next to the sheep in the barn. He is not a pet. He does not belong in a dog crate. He is a sheep and for him to be able to think like a sheep and behave like a sheep and be at ease in a flock of his own, he needs to be with other sheep, even if it is through a fence. Otherwise he will be bullied. Also he needs to be able to run and jump and be a lamb which is impossible on hard- wood floors. He is not a cat or a dog and though it is very convenient to have him in the house I would be doing him a disservice to keep him in here too long. I have a feeling that Mama may take him under her wing, she is very protective of the others but all these things must be done slowly and in a timely fashion. There is that Time thing again.

I love seeing animals in the fields, don’t you.

I hope you all have a lovely day.

Your friend on the farmy


P.S. This time last year Mama’s four lambs were a day old. There is a lovely shot of Tilly here when we still thought she was a Murphy (boy).

This time two years ago, there were plants sprouting in the garden. (And a very sweet shot of Queenie on a string. )

69 Comments on “a calm busy day before another calm busy day

  1. I’m happy to see Marcel improving! Also, very happy that the cardinal is on time. This winter has been so bizarre. It must be especially difficult for the birds and all the creatures who live outside.

  2. For some reason, with all the busyness it entails, this all struck me as being the slowness and gentleness of life! Always a delight to visit here, even with all your snow this winter.

  3. Have you talked to Sarah The Crazy Sheep Lady about House Lambs? She seems to have it down to a science…Seeing Marcel up on his little hooves warms the heart, for sure!
    Crossing fingers and toes for Our Piggie…life as a calendar girl would be so unfulfilling…

  4. I was very curious about how Marcel would be “folded into the fold” so to speak, and you’ve explained it all. I’m glad you think Mama will take him under her woolly wing. Let’s hope she does, living up to her name. Your comments about Marcel not being a house pet remind me of Temple Grandin and all she’s taught us about loving animals. What’s at question is their well-being and their happiness on their terms, according to their natures. (Actually, an excellent lesson about love in general, don’t you think?) So here’s to you and your wisdom, Celi. And here’s to Marcel being a real little lambikin in the springtime! Frollicking, high kicks, aerial acrobatics and all…set against wide open green and fresh fresh air. All that he could dream of.

    • How I wish more people would embrace the wisdom of Temple Grandin! Some of the over the top animal rights people would do well to learn from her. I love all my animals, my dog is a family member but bottom line he is a DOG! I will not dress him up like a person or drag him around in my handbag, I love him enough to let him be a dog!

  5. It is quite something not to get too attached to your animals C. Well you know what I mean. You are attached to them all, but somehow there is a difference with a pet, so as hard as it is, you are always doing the right thing.
    Have a beautiful day and hope it is a wee bit warmer.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. Mr. Sperm – ROFL 😉
    BTW your link to the four lambs isn;t working – one too many http:// at the beginning of the link.

  7. Do you think Sheila would agree to popping in the top picture of Boo and Marcel while collating her calendar? 🙂 Both Daisy and Queenies legs appear to be getting shorter – have their calves dropped? By the way 1st linky (to last year’s lambs) isn’t working? So good to see Minty, Tilly and Mama. Laura

  8. The care with which read through these farming details surprises me. It’s all completely alien to me…..the mechanics of it all, that is. I’m delighted things are going better and that the cardinal has arrived to announce that Spring has not been forgotten. I was worried that it might have been.

  9. Keep us posted about the lamb (and all the others…I wouldn’t want to leave them out). I love hearing about all of the animals. I’ll start my farm work on a CSA in April as usual and these stories really get me ready for it.

  10. Sweet photos of Marcel and Boo, and such a lovely explanation of how it must be for Marcel to become a sheep and not a pet. You are wonderfully gentle but realistic with your reader’s about farm life. Thank you for that. Here is a dose of positive energy and hope that Mama takes Marcel as her own, and that Sheila blossom’s in heat. There is another educational read for us there… I’m curious how you will accomplish insemination. It sounds rather difficult!

  11. No matter how heart melting that first photo is, you are right! Wee Marcel does need to be close to his own kind. The Cardinal splash of red brings much hope for all.

    PS, The link to the four lambs from last year, will not work for me.

  12. While I’m a firm believer in not overfeeding bottle lambs and I don’t know how big Marcel is, 8 oz doesn’t sound like enough daily milk and if he’s trying to fill up drinking very much water, at this young age, he may not be getting enough nutrition. The rule (made to be broken when needed of course) of thumb is 15-20% of his body weight per day. And while he can pick at hay and even a little food, his system doesn’t really start processing it until I’m thinking at least two weeks.

    • Oops so sorry, I will go back and amend this .. obviously I was not clear. He has about a cup per quarter. Because I feed him often, little sips, it might end up being a bit more than that anyway actually. Today I will make notes and measure it!! I do hate writing numbers because even though I have raised quite a few lambs on bottles I just feel my way through, thank you for the formula though. I think I am about right as it all works out to be about 4 cups in 24 hours. I should NEVER write in the middle of the night when I am sleep deprived. Thank you for pointing out that error. Thank you for clarifying the hay. At his stage they pick on it to stimulate the rumens development. I will go back in and fix the post, I would hate you to think I was starving him! (laugh!) c

      • I could just as easily have read it wrong too early in the a.m. as well ;-). I’m glad he’s doing so well. Sheep and lambies are tougher than most people think :-).

        • This one is a great surprise to me. That he survived, he is already putting on weight too which I am grateful for. I am also grateful that you popped in to correct my error. I am always open to advice. I need to go back and read how you introduced blossom back into the flock when she was older, I am afraid my three girls are a bit bossy.

          • Not to worry, mine have all integrated just fine and Crazy Maisie even lived in the kitchen for at least 10 weeks. She was the super tiny lambie that couldn’t tolerate “formula” and nearly starved to death while eating well before the local dairy goats started milking. Whew! http://myfavoritesheep.blogspot.com/2012/12/funny-maisie.html

            I hope you really don’t mind my chiming in. I figure, as they say, we are all walking each other home. I know how concerned you are about your animals and maybe if something doesn’t help you it might help someone else…

            • I really do not mind at all, one of the best things about this group of people is that we all can put in our tuppeny’s worth with tons of care and kindness and feel confident in our reception.. . also i do add the vit e once a day.. that was a great tip too.. thank you.. c

  13. You are so wise in the ways of animal husbandry. But I have a sneaking hope that Marcel always remembers his first nanny and surrogate mother (Boo and you).

    I’m so glad you’re seeing signs of Spring. I planted some dwarf narcissi bulbs in tubs last November, and they are already showing colour, and their heads have bent, showing imminent flowers. That cardinal bird is nothing like the cardinals we had in Seychelles, which we loved to bits and which used to land on our breakfast table and pinch our toast.: Different continent, different birds.

  14. The time thing again… There’s new life coming, new life already here, lives being lived and lives ending. It’s how the world turns, but I love how you observe and record it. Marcel might be needing a bit more milk, I think, but you’re the one on the spot, and I can’t see you force feeding him if he doesn’t want it…

    • I do see what you are saying, but cows milk is not easy for a lamb to digest so at the beginning I go very very slowly, lots of water mixed in, his volume is more than his 2 cups a day of course. Then there is another 2 cups at night too. I have gone back and amended that whole paragraph, I was even getting myself confused!. I was quite garbled..maybe I will get a little more sleep tonight.. c

  15. The picture in my head of you, um pretending to be a boar for Sheila is hi-larious! Oh, the pictures of that would be priceless. Here’s hoping she cooperates.

  16. Your post from last year talked about the wind. How ironic..they are predicting 50-55 mph winds for tonight into tomorrow. Make sure you tie everything down out there! Glad to see Marcel is up and about. What a cutie. Let me know if you need a babysitter! 🙂 Of course I may need a row boat to get out there!

    • yikes, my forecast only says gusts up to 40mph. I had better get everything in order. Might blow some snow away?.. c

    • Having a sheep bond with a sheep dog would make the farmers at home cringe.. He is in his house in the barn now and Mama is poking her head in and out in and out of his gate calling to him. Very sweet. he will come in at night though.. storm etc.

  17. I have quickly come to look forward to your kind, simple description of life and all the things that truly matter. Your observations of Marcel and the need for him to be among his own kind was so spot on, and not just for the wee lamb. Thanks for the daily reminder that a deliberately chosen life, one that bucks the trend of consumerism, can be rather delightful and rewarding. I am glad it’s you, not I, trying to figure out how to impregnate Sheila, however!

  18. The photo yesterday of Sheila’s naughty face showed me her mouth for the first time–I mean a really good look. Awesome lips. Would she bite me if I said hello to her? What do pigs’ teeth look like? Goofy questions I know. And I’m so glad to hear Mama is calling to Marcel already. Is he doing more baa-ing? It must be something to hear that in the kitchen.(I understand you said he’s in the barn at the moment. I’m talking about when he’s in the house.)

    • oh yes his little feet go knock knock all over the floor, but he will only baa when it is feeding time and he is still in his crate. Other wise he just follows me or one of the dogs. Or a cat if he happens upon one of those! Pigs teeth are long and yellow and look terrifying. next time i see her yawn when i have a camera i will try and capture them for you. c

  19. Good morning!!!
    Been sick with a nasty bug I picked up…bah…then yesterday I took a nice fall on the ice. Ow!!!
    Had a long heavy parka on that covers my tushie so I didn’t get injured. Just sore muscles today.
    I am really getting tired of this weather like everyone else I am sure. You have to move so slowly or down you go!
    So much news! Marcel! Great name choice! Boo you are just the most amazing nanny! You could
    get him a job doing this! He is very good at it! I noticed that Marmalade has grown considerably!
    Summer is growing so tall. She is like a budding Mammoth Sunflower! And she is a minx! Drives me crazy and then can be so sweet and loving! LOL
    Mr. Sperm! That is a good one! Ha! Life is quiet here as spring has not sprung yet…hubby is moving
    beans to the elevator this week. Busy for him! Me not so much.
    Looking at seed and plant catalogs! I get so many and pour through them like juicy novels! 😀
    Great photos and glad to see all is well and exciting as usual at your farmy!
    Take care! (((Celi)))
    Mere 🙂

    • Good to hear from you Mere. Now stop trying to run across the ice! Naughty! We have to slow down a bit. Though today we have slush, in the next few days we are back to freezing again, won’t that be nice! take care. c

    • Good to hear from you Mere – was wondering where you had got to (you were missed!).

  20. That first shot showing Marcel from the front is somewhat indicative of why you made the analogy to a “Biafran”, but it’s great and encouraging to hear that he is eating and he looks more bright eyed (and bushy tailed) each day. Here’s to continued success and soon to the flock! 🙂

  21. I have this mental picture of Marcel being bullied:
    Other sheep, intimidatingly: ‘Baa!’
    Marcel: ‘Grrrrrrrrrrrr -woof!’
    Other sheep: ‘Eek!’

  22. Marcel is looking stronger. I hope Mama will adopt him. Life on a farm revolves around time, doesn’t it? Time to sow, tend, reap, milk, feed, and sleep as much as you are able.

  23. How warm the Spring of the year before last seems in contrast… I’m imagining Sheila’s “process”, and wondering if hocking calendars wouldn’t be easier… But then Celia at Fig Jam & Lime Cordial posted a great Char Sui Bao recipe… and I see your point.

  24. Our cardinals showed up yesterday, too. They must have taken the same flight yours did.
    I had wondered how and when you were going to transition Marcel into his flock and home. He’ll certainly be much happier. looks like Mama can’t wait. The has just about stopped but the skies are solid gray and it never did get into the 50’s as forecast. Too much snow on the ground, I imagine. I hope they’re wrong about the winds, too. We’ll find out in a couple hours. Batten down the hatches!

    • It is howling here John! Thankfully it should be past us by around 11 tonight.

      • It’s started here, too, Connie, and it’s 10˚ warmer than it was when I wrote the last comment. With everything supposed to freeze tonight, this is one roller coaster of a day!

  25. I just had to laugh when the thought came to me, “I’ll bet when Celi was a little girl growing up in NZ she never thought she’d say, ‘And I will put the three doses of baby Herchels in the fridge and then as soon as Sheila is in standing heat…’ ” 🙂 I just love the cardinal in the snow! We don’t see Cardinals in our locale, but every May I will see one brightly colored migrating Oriole that I swear just remembers where we live and comes back to the feeder for a couple of days and then off he flies–to return in a year. It’s thrilling to me! Hope the milking machine arrived today!

  26. Oh Marcel is quite adorable, he is probably going to be happier in the barn too after all, I’m certain he doesn’t think he is a pet either! We’re expecting 2-5mm of rain which is apparently a lot this time of year. There is danger of flooding because the grounds are still frozen and the water will have no where to go. This weather sucks.

  27. I am glad Marcel is doing so well he can go to the barn & be near his fellow sheep. He certainly is all legs. I wonder if Boo will be spending more time in the barn with his little charge out there?
    So funny to think of the look on the delivery person’s expression if you did swoon & become giddy telling them that your long anticipated sperm delivery. I hope Shelia does become mentally unbalanced from all that estrogen flooding her stout virgin body. A few of my friend went through IVF and they all spent a little time coming unglued after their series of estrogen injections. It is frustrating that becoming pregnant is so easy for some & such a battle for others. I wish you & Shelia well with the protocol. I think she would be a devoted mother and the piglets are sure to be beautiful as both Shelia & the bore are quite good looking as far as pigs go..
    Love the photo of the cardinal. I am a birdwatcher and I so miss the bit of cheer they bring to the dull Winter landscape. There are many interesting birds in the NW, but none of the brightly colored birds I fell in love with being raised on the East Coast. I have seen a pair of Eastern Blue jays who appeared last year & live nearby/. I suspect that with the global warming many of the birds from more Northern latitudes will continue to migrate to more areas of the US where they have not existed before. I have been reading about the large number of Arctic Snowy Owls that, for the past few years, have been migrating further & further South of the Arctic where they live for thousands of years. They are now a common sight as far South as Florida. Such a rapid change in bird species migration outside the boundaries of their natural habitats is disconcerting. I wonder what Darwin would think of how man has negatively impacted the natural order of life.

  28. So…..where does cow’s colostrum come from anyway…besides the obvious, how do you get it? Is it from the pregnant cow, or just any milking cow? Thus far I’ve only ventured into raising chickens…cows, sheep, and pigs are a bleep on the radar but will be a huge leap for me. Love your blog!

  29. Saw more bird flocks winging north very early this morning. (Wonder if our big cardinal pair will leave us now or stay like the little couple.)
    As cute as little creatures are, asking for trouble keeping them in too long. Know one calf my sister-in-law bottle fed and kept in the kitchen for a long time, never understood why he had to stay outside with the other – it ran through several screen doors the next spring. Those big eyes so sad and pathetic.
    What will Boo do when Marcel relocates. Do hope the weather moderates. Wind is very strong here today – Molly is wild with energy.
    You’re doing a great job foster lamb mom. Get some sleep – you can write less right now!

    • We have a few more cold nights coming and he is fattening up so after that he can go into his pen in the barn. Boo will cope. That must have been nasty.. calf through screen doors.. yikes.. c

  30. The cardinal is so striking: red against the white snow. And little Marcel looks so sweet.

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