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Today should be the start of lambing season for Sheep Thrills Farm. The girls are uber-pregnant right now, with two showing signs that labor may be beginning soon. The first photo below is one I took about a month ago, right after shearing. It was obvious then the girls were all “with lamb”.  Loki did manage to figure out what breeding season was all about.

Udderly Pregnant

I am really looking forward to seeing what we get with this breeding from Loki. When I was researching his pedigree I noticed all his sire’s first generation (called F1 generation when using artificial breeding) were white, but when I looked farther into the F2 generations offspring, all sorts of colors and spotting showed up. I know Loki carries spotting as he does have a mottled nose of black and pink as well as some sports, although small, on his face and ears. I am really hoping for a multitude of colors this year. That said I also realize Mother Nature has the final word no matter how I plot and plan.

Ewes live to be moms. They excel at mothering above any other creature I’ve known, humans too. They’re OK with skipping a year, but give them the choice and they’d have litters of babies if they could. (Not unlike the Finn-sheep who do have litters) I can see in the girls’ eyes that while they are at the very uncomfortable stage, each one is hoping for lambs to mother. I have to be on my toes that one ewe won’t steal another’s lambs, which has been known to happen. They just love those babies!

As soon as we get some lambs I will post a few “baby” pictures. The lambs haven’t even hit the ground and I ready for lambing to be over with. As I wasn’t sure if Loki could handle the job (I’ve always used full-grown rams before), and with the stress of the dog mauling attack in February, I wasn’t sure we’d have any lambs here at all. But where there’s a will, there’s a way – and Loki most definitely found “the way”.

Rascal, the Gardener's Helper

Rascal, on the other hand…could care less about lambs and more about sunshine.

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Sven: “What did she say, Ole? Did she say we have to go?”
Ole: “Yup. That’s what she said. She said that because I’ve been ‘feisty’ with the other wethers, I have to go. Well, OK…I guess I did try to take over when Skittles left, but Colin didn’t push back, so I just took over. I think that was a mistake, Sven.”
Sven: “Well, duh! Ya think? Geez, thanks for nothin’, Bro! I sure hope I go to a fiber flock. I have the most wonderful black fleece.”

Yes, it’s been a hard decision, but the time has come for both Sven and Ole to find new homes. While Sven has stayed sweet and does have incredible fleece (may have to re-think him), Ole has become a little devil at times for unknown reasons. I should have tossed him in the trailer with Skit when he left to keep him company to Colorado, but I didn’t think of it then. Naturally.
For some reason, Ole became very pushy for attention which slowly turned into bashing other sheep out of the way to get attention, to finally throwing his head into the Shepherdess when she didn’t move fast enough to suit him during feeding. Mistake. Lethal mistake. He’s got to go – one way or another. As my friend, Lois, states, “Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers.” She’s right. Ole has to go.
Sven may be another matter, but he may go also. I got to thinking after advertising the boys on Craig’s List that if I do sell both these boys, I won’t have any black fleeces left in the flock. Both Colin and his sister, Loretta, are iset with more of a frosted black to their fleeces. Sven’s is almost totally black. Ole, on the other hand, is turning iset as well, so why keep him?
Wethers usually have just one job on a sheep farm – to make fleece. Or to make meat. Since they aren’t capable of breeding their lives tend to be shorter than those of breeding quality animals. If their fleeces go coarse for some reason, or they develop bad attitudes, they need to go elsewhere. Sometimes that “elsewhere” is the freezer. So, with limited space hard decisions must be made at times. One leaves that a better one might take his place.
Ole was wethered for being an “assertive” lamb. He would have made a very dangerous ram with that attitude. No matter what we did discipline-wise to him as a lamb, Ole insisted on being in the middle of everything. And if you had cookies in your pocket you better come forth with them or get butted. Wethering (the removal of testes in male sheep to render them sterile, for the non-shepherd readers) usually changes the personality to where that sheep can become a sedate, friendly, productive member of the flock. Wethers usually make great pets. And it has worked for these past years, but for some unknown reason, Ole started developing more aggressive behavior – way more aggressive behavior. He went over to the Dark Side.
This change might be due to different things, but I’m hoping that a change in location (i.e. different flcok or becoming a fiber pet) might be just what he needs. It’s that or the freezer. “Life is too short to waste time and affection on bad wethers.” And all manner of discipline has not been effective. (sigh)
So, if anyone reading this wants a wether…just contact me. 😉

And below, you see just a sampling of what happens to me when I try to just relax to watch tv…that’s L’il Rascal on my lap. “L’il” because he has a hero, an inspiration in his young life – “Uncle Rascal” of Rascal’s World, for whom he was named. And some of you wonder why my laptop can’t fit on my lap sometimes. 😉

Just blame Rascal…and Daisy, and Pixel, and Mooch, and Shadow, and Ziggy, and Europa! (When my DH snapped this photo, three other cats had been in the chair with me just before he came in the room with the camera.)No wonder I can hardly move when I get up.
Maybe it’s time to finally install that Ejector Button.

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One year ago today, under our front deck/step, a hungry, dusty, very pregnant young cat, abandoned by her humans, delivered her kittens. Young and on her own, not even a year old herself, she raised six beautiful babies, all safe and secure in her well chosen den. About mid-May, two humans not only trapped her, but removed said decking and nabbed her six babies as well. That’s how Mama (aka Daisy May) came to live with us.
And as those kittens grew, we were able to find good homes for all but two of them: Mooch and Rascal.

I can’t imagine life now without Daisy and the “Bonzo Brothers”, as we affectionately call Mooch and Rascal. They have added to our lives in richness and warmth with their antics and love.

You did good, Mama…

…now will you move so I can have some of my own pillow?

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The kittens, Mooch and L’il Rascal, know I’ve been busy getting things straightened up around the house before my HHWB (Hired-Hand-With-Benefits) goes to the hospital.

Apparently, they take their work very seriously as shown below…

Need I say more? I think not. The picture truly is worth the 1,000 words that crossed my mind upon this discovery. Thanks, lads. I appreciate the thought…I think.

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I walked out into the sunroom today and saw this…Rascal sleeping on top of Mooch. Best of Buds. It doesn’t get better than this. 🙂

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Poor L’il Rascal!

I haven’t been feeling too well lately. Mom took Mooch (who used to be called Groucho, but he told Mom he didn’t like that name so picked Mooch out instead…)and me to the v-e-t two days ago. She said they were going to “fix” us, but I didn’t think we were broken. Mom pushed us into a thing called a PTU which I think stands for: Prisoner Transport Unit, then we went to see Dr. Rob. We’ve seen him before and all he’s ever done was check us over and give us a sharp thing called a “shot” then we came home.

But this time Mom left us there! Aunt Kim, Dr. Rbo’s helper, gave us a shot then we both started to get very sleepy! I couldn’t keep my eyes open. All I could think about was why wasn’t Mom here taking us back home to Mama? And I was so very hungry and thirsty ’cause there was no food or water out for us last night.

The next thing I knew I woke up with my tummy hurting so much. Mooch’s tummy wasn’t naked at all, only mine. It hurt to move. It hurt so much I didn’t even want to think about food or water or even playing. Mom made us stay in our room. She kept the room dark and quiet and checked on me all night long.

I am doing better today. Mom fed us warmed canned food last night and I was so hungry I ate ’til my tummy stopped talking to me. I’m still not wanting to play with Mama, Uncle Shadow, or even Mom and Dad, but I feel better after each nap I take.
I’m going to take another nap now, so Mom said she wanted to talk to you all and tell you what happened while I was asleep at Dr. Rob’s…

(I had taken both Rascal and Mooch in for neutering on Tuesday morning. Mooch’s surgery went just fine, but when Rob started in on Rascal, he found that Rascal had only one descended testicle. That being the case, Rascal was then immediately prepped for abdominal surgery for removal of the remaining testicle. Much to Rob’s surprise, he could find no other testicle in Rascal – he said he looked and looked but there was absolutely nothing…not even a hint of a second testicle. We will watch Rascal closely as he grows for any signs of typical tomcat behavior. If he does exhibit the signs of an intact male cat, he’ll go back in for surgery. If not, it will become apparent that he only had one to begin with.)

…so don’t you worry…you go ahead and sleep all you want. We’ve all got your “6” Little Buddy…sweet dreams. 🙂

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I’m Famous!

My name is Rascal. I was named after a cat my human-bean likes named Rascal. He has even blogged about me today! My human-bean mom said I acted alot like Rascal, so that’s why I have this name. I was living with my mom and brothers and sisters in a very small place underneath a front deck. I don’t remember much about that. My mom always told us all to be very quiet when she was hunting ’cause something called a coyote would get us. Or an “owl”, whatever that is. We were very small and it was cold. We would huddle together for warmth. Mom moved us there when she found human-beans who liked cats lived in the house. They were very big and had noisy animals in another thing that looked like a house. The animals made baaing noises and clucking sounds came from there too.

Then one day, we heard Mama meowing for us to be quiet! She was caught in a trap! Very soon, someone was trying to take our house apart! Then something big grabbed us, one by one. The human-bean called “Dad” gave us to another human-bean called “Mom” and she put us in a big box with warm towels in it. They made sure all my brothers and sisters were with me! All six of us!

The next thing we knew, our Mama was there with us! We were all together! Yay! The box-thing was closed up. It had a wire front so we could see out, but we couldn’t get out. We stayed there very quietly. The human-bean called “Mom” gave us food and water. Our Mama was so hungry, she ate it all up! The next day we saw someone called a V-E-T. He said our Mama was “negative” for FeLV and FIP, whatever they were. Then the human-beans moved us into the house into a room of our own! They kept bringing food and water and milk to Mama. We were glad ’cause she was so tired and thin. And she was sniffling in her nose. Then we went to another V-E-T and he said we were all OK. Well, we knew we were all OK…we were together!

So, we’ve been here for a couple of weeks now. We are getting bigger and Mama doesn’t want to feed us much anymore. We like the food the human-bean brings us and we never go hungry anymore. The “Mom” Human-bean said she is going to find us all homes with other human-beans who will love and care for us all our lives! And our Mama won’t ever have to worry about being alone or hungry again! We are so happy now!

We do have to share though. There are five older cats here. Two are very grumpy to us, but the others are trying to take care of us and watch us. They try to play with us too. But sometimes Mama attacks them because she is still trying to protect us even though she knows we’re safe now.

Above is a picture of me and my brother, Moose, and sister, Pippi. We are sleeping in something called a cat-tree. I never saw a tree made out of cats before. We like the nest at the top.

And here’s a picture of my other brothers and sisters playing. I wish we could stay here together furrever, but “Mom” says there are other peepul who may want nice cats in their lives. She said she would promise to be very picky about where we go. We don’t want to leave each other. But, somehow we have learned to trust Mom and Dad. They have never hurt us. They like to pet us to make us purr and they even play with us!
I sure hope I can live up to the other Rascal’s name. He must be a great cat to have me named after him!

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