The thermometer certainly does not want to convince us that it is spring yet. Nonetheless, the pace has quickened like it always seems to when we hit spring. Lambing was finished a month and a day after it began. On the 10th of April Ursa Bear delivered a single ewe lamb, Winnie the Pooh Bear. She was followed by Pookie who gave birth to twins, Wascal and Wabbit . Since then the ewes and their lambs have been doing well. In total we had 112 lambs born this year. As always some of the lambs are growing faster than others. A few lambs have had minor health problems and a couple of ewes have had to deal with mastitis. In the later situations it looks as though we have it under control. It should not result in any devastating losses as it sometimes can.
As we worked through the final week of lambing we also had enough time to prepare for the annual posting of our fleeces to our web site. The 127 fleeces went up for sale on April 15th. The vast majority were sold within the first 24 hours. (A couple of our long term customers refer to the first day as a fleece “feeding frenzy”. At the time it often seems to be an apt description.)
Since that time sales have continued on at a more dignified pace. As I write, we are down to two remaining fleeces, both colored. Ulrika and Roxie both need their fleeces to find a loving home. They urge any and all spinners to visit our colored wool page.
Despite the cool temperatures we are still experiencing, we are creeping onward into spring. The last few evenings as I have done my evening “bed check” in the barn, the sounds of peepers and tree frogs could be heard in the pond to the north of us. “Our” barn swallows returned during the last week of lambing. The barn is now a happier, noisier place with them swooping in and out. The first few pairs that arrived are already rebuilding nests. With any luck we hope to have at least 30 nesting pairs by early summer, the majority of whom will bring off at least two broods of chicks before summer’s end.
It is time to get the pastures ready for grazing. Once the grass is high enough the fences must already be repaired from the damages of winter and the pasture watering lines pressurized and checked for leaks. The first day that the flock gets out on pasture cannot come too soon for both the sheep and us.
On other fronts, the two of us are starting to gear up our other operations. The Bed and Breakfast will once again open for guests on the 1st of May. The Art Gallery follows with its opening just a little over 4 weeks later. Sandwiched in between is the 15th annual Shepherds’ Market which is put on by the Door County Sheep and Goat Raisers and hosted by us in and around our gallery space on May 16th and 17th. There is always a diverse collection of fiber related products for sale. The two of us will be selling any of our fleeces that otherwise have not yet sold. In addition we will have a selection of handspun and mill spun yarn, some finished products made with wool from our flock, plus a beautiful selection of rovings that Gretchen has been working on over the winter. (More about the roving next time!)
So far the Hepatica are blooming along the edges of the woods. Soon their blooms will appear throughout the hardwoods to be accompanied by Blood Root, Trillium and Trout Lilies. It is a good time to be where we are and to be able to be out to enjoy the show!