Twas the Night Before the Storm!


We are expecting a major snow even over the next 2 days with 6-10″ of snow in the forecast. We were very fortunate that our hay guy was available today to deliver 100 bales so we could top things off in the barns.

The loft in the buck barn is now full! I think this loft holds around 18 bales.


Dominic is very happy. When I went out to feed the boys this morning Dominic peeked out from inside the igloo, I’m happy that he has discovered how much warmer it is in there.


The chickens were happy to see the hay guy because that means they get the extra sweepings tossed into their coop area.


Killarney has all kinds of scars and swelling above his eyes from the ramming sessions that the boys were having last month. He has also been ramming the fence a lot lately to try and scare Bablo and Dominic away from his girls.


The girls sheep barn is full to the rafters, I think over 100 bales are up in the loft safe and dry.


Gardenia, Kia, and Ava are a bit more docile with Killarney running the flock, we will all be happy when the breeding groups are broken up.


I think Gidget was bred last month on Romeo’s first attempt.


Addison went into heat yesterday and has been shaking her tail at Romeo for the last two days. Pebbles (black and white) may have been bred a few days ago. She has such a soft voice compared to all the girls.


Pebbles is my Mini-Alpine and I am really excited to see how much milk she produces next year.


Romeo is very gentile and pays the girls a lot of attention. Here he is giving Addison kisses.


I have no idea if Lara has been bred or not but she can’t wait to get back to the rest of the girls so she can be the head of the flock again.


Hoss is also quite the gentleman as well. He doesn’t get pushy like Killarney or the other boys who were sent to freezer camp, he is still just a fluffy loveable lug.


The girl’s goat barn is jammed to the rafters as well. I think there is just under 50 bales in the loft here. It should take quite a while for the 7 goats inside to eat it all.


More kisses for Addison. I might have some problems this year if Gidget gives birth first as the “Queen” likes to make sure everyone knows she is boss.


The loft in the ram barn is also full, this one holds about 35 bales. Once the breeding groups are broken up only Hoss and Killarney will be hanging out here so it should last quite a while.


The extra bales that wouldn’t fit into any of the lofts are behind the barrier in the ram barn, a little extra never hurts.

Once the snow hits any hay replenishment has to be done via a wheel barrow traversing ice trails. This is not fun. I think the hay on hand should last us until well into March? I sure hope so.


Azalea hopes the hay lasts all winter too. She is in with Hoss because Killarney is her father. As the lone Cascade in with two Icelandics she has to struggle a bit with their bossiness, but Hoss has overall been very nice to her.


Laboring Day

They hay racks have really cut down the mess and wasted hay in the sheep barn, but we still need to clean it.  So this Labor Day weekend was spent doing just that!

The ram shed was cleaned clear down to the boards and left to dry while the rams were busy out in their pasture.  They only get to graze in their pasture once a week so they didn’t even notice the work that was going on.

The girls barn is a bit harder to keep clean because of the amount of traffic.  As the lambs are sold off things become easier although I do miss the lambs!

I love a clean goat barn with the smell of fresh wood chips!  Too bad it doesn’t last very long.

The waste hay was dumped in low areas in the forest to fill in mosquito breeding spots while the hay that had more poo in it was spread in selected area to improve the soil and fill in holes.  The places where we did this last year have grown lush and green, I hope it keeps working.

I wasn’t the only one exhausted by the end of the weekend!

Thanks Dad

My dad was here visiting last weekend and decided to do a little carpentry work. Addison was skeptical and pretended to ignore him.

She couldn’t ignore the new gate he put in, it created a new holding area for me that I can use separate the new moms from one another.

He also put installed guard rails in the berthing stall to prevent the little ones from slipping under the fence, I learned that the hard way last year.

The new gate tucks away nicely when it isn’t needed, I love it!

Unlike Addison Gidget is very impressed.

The cattle panel between me and the rams was working but less than optimal.

My dad cut the cattle panel to fit and reinforced it with some treated wood. He told me that this should keep me safe!

This too is a temporary fix as when he returns he promised to put in stalls like he did for the girl sheep and the goats. He will reuse the cross beams in the girls barn to make two more gates, I love my Dad!

Oh, let’s not forget the latches he installed on the Ram shed to keep both the top and bottom pieces of both dutch doors secure – he thought of everything.

Spring Cleaning, Sheep Barn

Yesterday Duluth set a record for the highest temperature ever on this day at 75 degrees! The Commander and I decided that the time had come to clean out the barns, the sheep barn was first up. Look how deep the waste hay is!

Gardenia was curious about what we were up to.

The middle stall was already cleaned out once this Winter so it shouldn’t be too hard to clean. This stall is Lara’s favorite so I’m hoping to get her in here to have her lambs.

The end stall was also cleaned but it gets the most use so this one will take a bit more work to get ready.

Once Gardenia and Azalea saw that we were in the stalls they came charging in to see if I was going to dish out any grain.

It took quite a while but we finally got everything cleaned out. The waste hay was relocated by wheel barrow into a marshy area that the Commander cleared out just before the start of Winter. I hope this will serve as my compost area, creating new dirt and filling in the marsh at the same time.

Once everything was cleaned out I put down some diatomaceous earth (DE) to prevent any bugs from settling in. Gardenia and Azalea were curious so I brought everyone in to have a bit of grain.

Unfortunately Lara and Zoe (the two new sheep) didn’t like how the barn looked with all the waste hay removed so they were too afraid to go back in with the others.

We tried to lure them in with grain, no luck. We moved the hay bowls into the barn and yet they still stayed outside.

When nightfall came we still couldn’t get them to come back in, no amount of attempted herding, chasing, or bribing could get them inside. A few times the sheep would sneak up behind us and stare (laugh) at our pitiful efforts. The Commander finally gave up and closed the barn for the night, Zoe and Lara spent the night outside.

This morning the Commander opened up the barn and fed everyone inside in an attempt to use the girls hunger against them. Once he left they finally went inside to eat so I’ll try to put them away tonight using a bit of grain.

Around here it is way to dangerous to overnight outside, especially this close to lambing. If I can’t get them to overnight in the barn this is going to end in disaster.

New Ram Shed

The ram shed is finished, kind of. It still needs to be painted and then my dad will build some gates and stalls inside. You can see the girls barn in the background through the woods. There is still a lot of work left to be done before the pasture is ready.

The building has dutch doors on both ends. The open door will block the window, but when the door is closed sunshine and fresh air can still get inside.

A shot from the inside looking towards the house. The building is 10 feet wide by 14 feet long.

A half loft is lit by two skylights. The loft can easily hold 25 bales of hay.

A shot through the open back dutch door.

We are only going to winter over at most 4 rams so this shed should be plenty big. The rams will have to wait for a bit before moving into their new home as we still don’t have any fences up in this area.

Curse of the BBQ

Last time I posted that we had hamburgers on the grill, boy did they taste yummy!  Unfortunately the Minnesota Winter struck back and hit us with 3″ of heavy wet snow.

This was my lovely view the next morning.  No grilling today.

Before, you can see the waste hay……..

….and after, the hay is buried in snow!

Here is the floor of the sheep stall that the Commander cleaned out.  It still didn’t look too appealing so I gave it a few days to dry.  Once the floor was swept again, sprinkled with DE, a few wood chips and straw added and it should be ready for lambing.

My sheep area has 3 stalls and a aisle way, this picture is taken from the doorway.

The stalls should provide plenty of room for a mother and her lamb(s) to bed down and spend some quality time together.

I just need to clean up the one closest to the front door, the ladder and the feed hay can go in the loft when the time comes.

Orchid can’t wait for the lambing to begin. I told her, “Go ahead, you can be first!”  Oh yes, we are expecting a blizzard tomorrow with winds gusting to 40 knots and a possible 8-10″ of snow – ugh!  The curse continues.

Hillbilly Sheep Shed

The snowstorm Tuesday was brutal, thank goodness a lot of the snow has melted in the last two days. The electric fence looks so funny buried in the snow. It wasn’t funny to see the rams tent crushed under the weight of the slushy snow, so we had to come up with a different shelter before the next snow storm – quick.

We looked around and decided that the dog panels surrounding the garden were available for winter use so off to the ram’s pasture they went.

I took out a 30 x 20 foot tarp and attached it to the panels with zip ties. The roof is made of 2 extra waterproof sheets of plywood and some tin roofing left over from the demolition of the old Blue Barn

We left the pop-up tent inside the shelter but placed it on an old plastic shed platform that we stored firewood on. The boys new winter home should protect them from rain, wind, and snow. Its not pretty, but it should get them through the winter. A bonus is that we can actually close them up inside if we need to.