The Ozark Homestead

The Journey to a Simplier Self-Sufficient Life


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Dreaming of Spring

After below freezing temperatures last week, the warmer temperatures this week have  me dreaming of spring and all the wonderful things that come with it. This weekend, I spent time fine tuning my garden plan and making my shopping list of seeds and plants I need to purchase. I made more seed pots from paper towel rolls and newspaper. I cannot wait to get out there and see lovely veggies growing in my raised beds.

Heirloom Seeds

In addition to dreaming and planning my spring garden, I am excitedly anticipating lambing season and the arrival of my fuzzy faced smiling little lambs.  I need to inventory all my supplies and update my lambing kit to ensure I have everything ready when those little lambs start arriving.

Ariel and Her Lamb, Chloe

We bred nine ewes and according to when they were marked, I expect to have lambing season spread out over the entire month of April. That means very little sleep in for me in April. Even with the barn camera, I lose a lot of sleep going out to check on my girls of times a night when it gets close to their time to lamb.

Spring in the Ozarks also brings about the abundant beauty of nature. We are blessed with hundreds of beautiful dogwood trees and other flowering trees. Hiking through our woods in spring is a spectacular display of Missouri wild flowers. It also brings an abundance of colorful mushrooms.

Ozark Homestead Dogwood

Spring means shearing time and processing lots of wonderful wool. The first few year we sheared the sheep ourselves. Not knowing what we were doing made that task brutal on the back and stressful to the sheep, not to mention they looked awful afterwards. The wool wasn’t very usable. Last year we had a professional shear them which went much quicker and smoother.

Spring is a very busy time of the year and takes a lot of planning to prepare and make the task easier. Dreaming of Spring and the abundance it brings makes the dreary gray days of winter a little brighter.

 

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Kodak Moments at the Barn

Amos the WetherIt never fails that the times that I leave my phone or camera inside when I go to the barn, that is the time when the animals decide to have a Kodak moment. This morning was one such time. The temperature was only in the single digits this morning so I was in a hurry to get out to the barn to get water to the animals.  In my hurry, I forgot to bring my phone with me to the barn. With the bone chilling cold and being so bundled up,  every task was difficult. I had on my wool glove liners and hand warmers under my Frosty Grip gloves. I had to remove the gloves to open the rabbit cages and change out their water bottles. I worked as fast as I could, but my hands hurt so bad that I only finished one cage before I had to put the gloves back on to warm my hands.

As I was rushing around to fill the chickens and ducks’ water, from behind me I hear mama barn cat coughing.  I turned to look and saw three of her 6 month old kittens rush over to her as if to see if she was alright.  Ariel, a Babydoll Southdown ewe, then walked over, bent her head down and pushed one of the kittens out of the way and then came the Kodak moment.  Ariel gently touched her head to the head of mama kitty as if comforting her.  It was so touching to see the interaction between the mama cat and her kittens and between the cats and the sheep.

Jynx Kitty

The ewe’s relationship with cats is quite different from that between the cats and the rams. My wether, Amos, chases them off every time they stray into the rams paddock.   On more than one occasion,  I have witnessed Jynx, our black kitten, being chased by Amos and leaping on top of the rams shed to escape him. Oh did I wish I had my camera the morning that Amos had Jynx trapped on top of the ram shed and Jynx kept poking her head over the roof to see if he had left yet, only to have him ram the shed and nearly knock her off the roof. Cat claws don’t hold well on slanted metal roofs.

I love taking photos of the animals, but find it hard to capture those moments that tell the story.  An opportunity for a great short occurs, but by the time I unzip my pocket and whip out my camera, the animals have moved on.  I am looking forward to warmer weather so that I can spend time just sitting on an overturned bucket and observing all my barnyard critters and hopefully get some awesome new photos that tell the story of life here at the Ozark Homestead.