Archive for January, 2011

Five-Lined Skink

January 31, 2011

This weekend was a farm work weekend.  Another friend and I work together on both farms one weekend a month.  On Saturday, we were working on her garden area and when she moved a pedestal from a birdbath….

…this is what we found!  It’s a Five-lined Skink.

Five-lined skinks are common in most areas of Georgia and South Carolina, but are most abundant in the Piedmont.

The ground was cold and he was still in the shade so he wasn’t moving very fast – he’s cold bloodied and his speed increases with the warmth of his body.

Five-lined skinks prey on a wide variety of insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.  See that little snail shell next to his head?  I’m thinking maybe that was a meal at one point 🙂

I had no idea those back feet had toes that long!  Five-lined Skink can also hang out in trees so I’m guessing toes like that would be useful for going up!

The blue on the tail is so beautiful…

The color tells us that he is under a year old.  And yes, if the tail breaks off, they will grow another only it’s not as nice as the original.

That hole on the side of his head is his ear!

Female five-lined skinks lay clutches of several eggs in moist soil or rotten logs during the summer and attend the eggs until they hatch about 60 days later.

When the Skink hatches, it’s about 2″ long and independent.

Hard to believe that lizard came out of this egg at some point- the shell is about the size of a Jellybelly  jellybean.

I moved my camera and and the sun began to warm him up.  Five-lined skinks are most active in the day.

Soon he was scurrying to find some place to hide.  If you look carefully, you really can count all 5 lines.  (the 5th line can only be seen by his head.)

As Spring starts heading our way – I’m sure we’ll begin to see more of these fascinating creatures.

Heidi – the lamb

January 26, 2011

I now have 5 sheep on my farm….never intended to have 5 sheep but this is how it starts.

A cute little fuzzy face, who’s had a rough start to life…

A momma’s heart that loves anything “baby”.

And I said yes.

Truth be told, I prefer “bummer” lambs.  They’re lambs that have been rejected by their mommies or something happened to their mommies and now someone else has to take care of them.  But I only prefer to raise “she” baby lambs because I can still be “alpha” when they grow up.

This is Heidi.  She was a twin but the twin died in utero and the mom delivered about a week early.  Not a big deal if you’re talking human but when you’re talking sheep – it’s critical.  Jan, my dear friend, raises Gulf Coast sheep and she has LOTS of them.  Jan took Heidi inside and didn’t think she’d make it.  Heidi weighed 3 lb 14 oz and a typical weight is anywhere from 5 – 10#.  Jan (also a vet) intubated her – put a tube down her throat- to feed her for the first two days.

The night of the second day, Jan couldn’t get the tube down correctly and didn’t want to take the chance it had gone into the lung.

Jan went to bed not knowing if Heidi would still be alive in the morning….

and she was!!  And she was very hungry 🙂

Jan couldn’t keep a bottle baby – not with all the other sheep she had to care for.  Since she knew I’d raised bottle babies before, she hinted that maybe I might like her.  Of course!!  Who could say no to this face?

So Heidi has been with us since Sunday, the 23rd of January.

She lives in her laundry basket and has only recently figured out how to get out of it.  She just wants to be with people.

This morning, with all the commotion of people coming and going for school and work, she just laid in the middle of the kitchen floor.

And even with all the noise and the dogs…..

she fell fast asleep.

Megan was babysitting today and doing school work with the kids….

Heidi did her schooling in the laundry basket 🙂

She drinks about 3-4 oz of formula every 4 hours and sleeps through the night.  Momma sheep don’t get up in the middle of the night to let their lambs nurse and we don’t either (except one night when we felt sorry for Heidi).

There is some connection between their little tongues sucking and their little tails.

Those tails wag all over the place!  It’s hilarious to watch!

We love to give her lots and lots of kisses……

And she likes to snuggle up in your neck 🙂

Oh, and those ears!!!  So soft!    Just like the Lambs Ear that you grow in the ground.

And Heidi gives kisses too.  But when she’s hungry – she’ll try to suck on your nose or your chin.

Yep, I’m a sucker for cute, adorable, fuzzy faces…..

Welcome to the Lazy B Farm, little one!

Baby Calves and Severe Weather Warnings

January 10, 2011

Last night while I was making lip balm, my friend called my phone.  We chatted a bit and then she says, “Hey, I have a new calf on the ground!”

The downside of this comment was, the mom was a first time freshener and she wasn’t sure what to do with this wet little black thing that kept trying to get up under her backend.

“Butter” was out in the field with the rest of the herd.  Severe weather was on the way and this baby wasn’t even dried off.

L and I talked through what to do – I’m finding that cows and babies are a lot like goats and babies.  I’ve had lots of experience with goats so I was drawing off the knowledge from that part of the brain.

“Let’s dry him off and see if the mom will take to him again and let him nurse.  Call me back.”

I continued with the lip balm and after a bit she called.

“Mom keeps butting him away and looks at him like he’s a monster.  Got most of him dried off but he’s pretty wet still.”

We talked some more and decided mom and baby needed to be in a smaller space away from the rest of the herd.  That way, the mom could be fed grain and while she was distracted, push the baby up underneath and hopefully mom would let him latch on.  The colostrum, the first milk, is essential to any baby’s health and good start to life.

Sounded like a good plan, only problem – one person couldn’t accomplish this task alone.  I quickly went to my computer to check the weather.  It was 7:30p and the snow was to begin in Statham around 10pm.  With clear roads, it’s a 45 minute drive to my friend’s farm.  I quickly calculated and figured if we left right away, I could make it back home shortly after the snow started.  Being from New England, I wasn’t worried at all about driving in the snow.  AND, we have our truck, a Ford F 350 King Ranch with 4-wheel drive.

I went to Dave and explained the situation and he said – go.  I’m telling you, that man is wonderful.  He’s come to realize how important any new life is to me, he may not always understand why, but he respects that part of me;  he understands how difficult farming can be for a woman, especially a single woman; he also knows and respects my abilities.  His one request – stay in constant phone contact.  I put Megan in charge of the phone.

Megan and I gathered all the stuff we’d need, including my headlamp  – the temps were dropping quickly – and we got in the truck, stopped for fuel, and headed out to the farm.

Dry the entire way – no precipitation.

When we arrived, L had moved the panels around to make a small corral for the mom and baby.  Megan and I put on layers of clothes, L and I donned our headlamps, and all 3 of us climbed over the fence and started our trek into the field.

On the other side of the berm, we found the new mom and baby calf.  He was up and trying to grab that teat but she kept butting him away.  We waited a bit to see what would happen and when the baby was pushed to the ground, we knew we needed to implement the plan.

L went over and scooped up the calf and Megan and I had the dubious task of moving the mom up the hill to the new corral.

Some side notes:  when I say she “scooped up the calf”, it’s not as if this is a puppy or human baby – this calf weighs about 60# and squirms, and he’s wet, and we had a ways to go.  It was quite the workout carrying him up the hill.  Close to the corral, L handed off the calf to Megan so she could carry him the rest of the way – L wanted  her to have the “full experience.”

Cows run in herds and where one goes, so go the rest.  Moving “Butter” to the new corral meant moving the rest of the herd – moms and babies.  It was dark and I had this funky light on my head trying to keep my eye on the right mom.

We all made it to the corral about the same time.  Of course, it would have been wonderful if I told you just “Butter” walked through that gate into the corral, but no.  Many went through because there was food in the trough.  Megan stayed with the calf, L culled the rest of the cows and I worked the gate.  And what an efficient team we were!  Within no time, we had all the extras out of the corral and “Butter” was looking at us with the look of, “I don’t think so” in her eyes!

L and I toweled off the baby and I kissed him on the nose.  I do love baby animals!  Next, L put sweet feed in the trough and while Butter was gobbling that up, L put the calf under her.  Mom gave a half-hearted kick and then gave into that little guy.  He sucked and sucked for all he was worth!  The three of us stood by and cheered him on!!

Reality was, if we had not gotten him out of the pasture, more than likely he would have frozen to death during the night.

Still working against the clock, we quickly made a lean-to with a cattle panel over the corner of the corral, tarps on the top and sides, and lots of hay for bedding.

While Megan and L were finishing, I went down to feed Lily.  (I wrote a blog about her a few months back when she had a hurt hoof and we were having to medicate.)  L had Lily penned separately because she’s still limping a bit and L wanted to keep her close by so she could keep an eye on her.

When Lily stood up to eat her hay, I looked at her backend.  This time of year when animals are getting ready to have babies, you’re always lookin’ at backends!  Sure enough, she had a line of mucus about 18” long hanging down.  I checked her udder and it was filling up – two sure signs that she would be calving soon.

We finished up about 10pm and still there was no precipitation.  Lauren called to tell me that UGA and Piedmont had cancelled school for the next day and oh, it had started to snow in Statham.  I got in the truck to drive up to the house and the radio was on the news station.  In a matter of minutes, they listed all the roads in the Atlanta area that were closed and treacherous and please don’t be out driving.  I told Megan we needed to clean up and get going.  We were heading back into the storm.

We drove out the farm gate at 10:19p.  I called Dave to tell him we were on our way.  Our back deck was already covered in snow.  I pushed it, and yes, may have been speeding a bit…..but not for long.  Soon there were a couple of flakes – I really wasn’t worried because all the snow we’ve had since we moved here has come in gently and it took a while for accumulation.

I continued to drive these country roads and within minutes, there was snow everywhere!  At one point, I slowed to a crawl because I couldn’t see the road and I was most worried about the edges – I certainly didn’t want to end up in a ditch!

I really debated about turning around, knowing I could get back to L’s before it was bad.  But that Yankee spirit within pressed forward, relying on all those years of driving in far worse weather than this.

By now there were a couple of inches on the road and I had made it to the 10, a major 4 lane highway.  There were more people on the road than I had imagined but of course, they were probably thinking like I was – how bad could it get in an hour??

The cars on my side began to slow and there were blinking lights up ahead.  A snowplow.  I must admit I chuckled to myself.  What luck!  Of the handful of snowplows in Georgia, I was behind one of them!  I followed that snowplow at 10mph to my exit.  And that was the exit the snowplow turned down – yes!

At the end of the exit, he turned one way, and I, the other.  By now there was about 3” on the road and I was headed for less traveled roads.  It was 11:30p.  We crawled along, my eyes strained to see the road and keep far enough behind the car in front of me.  Not bad driving and I smiled as Megan kept exclaiming, “Mom, it’s so beautiful!”

We were almost to our hometown when I heard the familiar sound of a train whistle.  You’ve got to be kidding.  In my mind, I’d figured out the flattest road surface to get us home.  The worst incline was driving up and over the railroad tracks into Statham.  The next RR crossing down the road was worse and the best one already had the crossing guards closing as we came upon it.  Bummer.

I drove to the crossing and waited back a bit until the train passed by.  Took a wide swing and only fishtailed a little going over the hill.  Phew – that was the worst and I was headed to home.

We drove onto Parker Drive and Megan and I both sighed a sigh of relief.  She kept saying to me along the trip, “Mom, I feel completely safe with you cuz you grew up in this weather.”  Ahh, the faith of a young child to keep me buoyed when my own faith was faltering a bit.

That night as I fell into a nice warm bed, I thanked the Lord over and over for keeping us safe and for allowing us the privilege to help one of His  new born creatures.

I’d like you to meet Curry…..

After we left the farm, the snow came.  And as Murphy’s Law would have it, the lean-to was in  the wrong corner and pretty soon Curry was under snow….

L was out in the snowstorm moving panels and checking on cows and babies.  She finally made it to bed by 2 am.

Curry eventually realized where his bed was and stayed toasty warm all night.

The End

All Day Garden Workshop – April 2, 2011

January 4, 2011

Class fee:

Early registration – $50 per person

After March 1st – $60 per person

**There is a class limit of 30

Please contact Cyndi@thelazybfarm.com to register for this workshop or call 770-289-2301

This workshop is designed to cover all the basics for a successful gardening season.  There will be door prizes and drawings throughout the day, adding to the assortment of tools needed for starting your own garden.  A packet of information will be available for each workshop.

Lunch will be provided by the Lazy B Farm “chefs” using items from our own gardens.

Workshop Schedule:

7:45 am: Meet and Greet

8am – 10: Square Foot Gardening

10:15 – 12:00 pm:  Herbs

12:00 – 1:00:  Lunch    Guest Speaker – Salina from Remedy (herbal shop) in Athens

1 – 2:45:  Beneficial Insects     Guest Speaker – Amanda Tedrow

3 – 5:00:  Hoop Houses

Class Description

Square Foot Gardening

We’ll gather in the classroom and cover the basics of gardening, soil preparation and the technique of Square Foot Gardening.  Together, we’ll construct a square foot garden, complete with plants.

Herbs

Herbs are such versatile plants, although most people only use them for culinary purposes.  We’ll discuss the best way to grow herbs, how to incorporate them into your landscape, and the herbs that grow well here in the Southeast.  As a class, we’ll harvest herbs from the farm and learn how to preserve them for future use.  We ill also discuss the more “unconventional” uses for herbs like teas and tinctures.

Beneficial Insects

I love bugs and have realized how beneficial bugs can be for our garden…if you know the good ones from the bad ones.  During this class, we’ll scour the garden and find “specimens” to bring back to the classroom.  We’ll identify the bugs, whether they are beneficial or not, and how to “organically” get rid of the bad ones.

Our guest speaker will be Amanda Tedrow who has just completed her Master’s degree in Entomology – bugs!

Hoop Houses

You may have heard of hoop houses but what is the difference between a hoop house and a green house?  What’s the benefit of a hoop house?  How can I use them successfully in my yard?

We will discuss this and more in this session.  Time permitting, we will construct a hoop house that will be perfect for any backyard.

What to Bring:

*Notebook and writing utensil if you’re the kind who likes to take notes.  (There  will be handouts for each workshop.)

* Boots and gardening gloves – you will be playing in the dirt.

* Extra clothes if you really like to get into your work.

* Coffee mug if you’re a coffee or tea drinker – helps us in our efforts to be good stewards of the environment

* Containers to carry home plants

* Water and snacks – there will be light breakfast items available in the morning

If you’d like to attend this workshop, please contact Cyndi@thelazybfarm.com to register or call 770-289-2301


Lazy B Farm Calendar for 2011

January 4, 2011

January

6 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9 pm

8 – Beekeeping Series, Class #2 9am – noon

18 – Free Introductory Beekeeping Class @ Homeport Feed Store, Winder GA,  (770) 867-1601

20 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

27 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm   (1st meeting!!)            

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/lazy-b-farm-la…tead-gathering/

February

3 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

17 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

24 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/lazy-b-farm-la…tead-gathering/

March

3 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

12 – Beekeeping Series, Class #3 9 am – noon

17 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

19 – Chicken Workshop 9 am – noon

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/chicken-workshop-march-19/

24 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering    6:30 – 9pm

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/lazy-b-farm-la…tead-gathering/

April

2 – Garden Workshop – All-day! 9 – 5pm

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2011/01/04/all-day-garden-workshop-april-2-2011/

7 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

9 – Beekeeping Series, Class #4 9am – noon

21 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

28 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm

30 – Sheep to Shawl : Sheep Shearing Event 10am – 1pm

https://lazybfarm.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/sheep-to-shawl/

May

5 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

12 – 14th –  Young Harris Beekeeping Conference

19 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

26 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm

June

2 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

11 – Beekeeping Series, Class # 5  – Honey Harvest!

12 – Honey Harvest Event – (open to the public) 1 – 4pm

16 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

23 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering

July No Events Scheduled

August

3 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

17 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

20 – Food Preservation Workshop: Canning, Fermenting, and Dehydrating 6p – 9p

25 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm

September

8 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

22 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

24 – Winter Gardening Workshop 9am – noon

29 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9p

October

4 – Introduction to Beekeeping at Homeport Feed Store, Winder GA,  (770) 867-1601      Free Class

6 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

20 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

22 – Breadmaking Workshop 6p – 9p

27 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm

November

3 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

12 – Beekeeping Series, Class #1     9am – noon

17 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering     6:30 – 9pm

December

1 – Knit and Spin   6:30 – 9pm

8 – Ladies’ Homestead Gathering   6:30 – 9pm