Winner, winner…

…chicken dinner.

About a week ago, the fox came out on a chilly night and prayed to the moon to give him light. He took 3 of our hens to his nice warm den, there were the little ones, 8,9, 10…

Very sadly,  I found 2(deceased) of the three where he’d been arrested by Nessie, our Border Collie, in attempts to cut him off.

Yes, it was the night of the “Sap Moon”, the “Worm Moon”,  the beautiful full moon of March 23, 2016, and I had forgotten to close the door on the coop. Shameful.

Coincidentally, the week before, I’d set up the incubator with a full compliment of eggs to hatch out with my after-school helper, Maggie.  We culled recently, after candling the 42 we’d set, and we have 22 fertile eggs that will likely hatch out this coming Wednesday or Thursday.  Maggie and I have agreed that she’ll come over after school on the day they hatch regardless of her activity schedule, because…priorities!

So, sadly, as the fox is back to his old spring-routine of dining out, we’ll be having to put the hens & ducks, turkey & peacock, into lockdown.  It’s rough on poor Mario, the white peacock, because the hens pick on him while he’s displaying in captivity.  They like to go behind his back and peck at his backside and he’s working so hard on displaying that he doesn’t shake them off.  And they have pecked him sore.  He’s big enough to sit on them, but, he’s kind.  He doesn’t.  I like that he is kind.  I just wish that they weren’t pecking on him.  In the future, when the fox-scare is over, he’ll resume free-ranging with the gals and they’ll leave him alone.

I had so much anger that day that the fox nabbed my hens.  So much.  I lost my beautiful little Silky and she was the one that I could count on to set on the eggs in the clutches in the henhouse.  She was a good mama last year to the duckling and chicks she’d hatched out.  And I lost my poor Dominique that was so friendly she’d let you pick her up. I thought he’d gotten Lady Lakenvelder, but he hadn’t.  He’d gotten one of my Araucanas.  Darn him.

Another goodbye was to Petal & Doris, two little Shetland ewe lambs that were born to Pansy & Darcy last May. It was not nearly as tragic as the hens’ end.

I have only put off sending Petal to her new home about 8 times.  Seriously, her new owners, at Wayfaring Farm in Alford, MA, had been hoping to have her since she was a tiny one.  But, I can be honest here, I had been having some serious helicopter-sheep-mom issues.  I made several and many excuses between last May and now to not send Petal off.  And then Petal & Laird, whom Holly, the farmer, had thought she’d like too, and then when Laird’s spots were shorn(he’s now an all white wether with black markings on face & legs, no longer spotty), it was just Petal again.  I thought, “Oh, Petal can’t go off alone! She’ll be so distressed.  She’ll make so much fuss and then no one wants a distressed sheep!”

I told Holly as such, that we ought to wait until Petal had been bred and had lambs, NEXT year, and then she could go off with her lambs and live with them.  And then it hit me while I was driving to pick up my rug yarn order…I was NEVER going to part with Petal.  My ulterior motive was becoming apparent to me.  I would make excuses til the end of time because I was gun-shy from some of the other sheep sales I’d made.  As well as I am a hoarder.

So I realized then and there that Petal should indeed be able to go off to a new home and have a good life, a new life, with a wonderful farm and I couldn’t be happier to see her placed there.  And I thought, for my own peace of mind, I’ll send Doris with her.  I had never intended on sending off little Doris.  She is sister to David, daughter of Darcy. (No worries, this is not the Table of Nations.) She & David are named for my parents.  But there I was, again, making excuses for keeping her.  I realized, though, that she was the perfect companion for Petal and that Wayfaring Farm would be getting two very healthy, very beautiful ewe lambs for continuing Shetland breeding on their own.

Holly came, bearing pork from her farm and coffee from her local favorite coffee spot, and we had a great catch up.  Then we loaded the ewes into the back of her car and I threw in a frozen turkey, too, and hugged goodbye.  I’m trying not to be too burdensome with requests, but I did text her the next morning to ask how the girls’ sleepover went.  And then I texted her later on to ask her how they were doing after 24 hours away from home.  I refrained from texting her every six hours, like I was thinking I should, and she sent me reassuring emails that the girls are assimilating wonderfully, they’re blending right in with her sheep & goats and have new friends already.

It is so hard being a parent.

But sometimes its very exciting to be a parent! I watched my son weigh in his limit on his second day in a Bassmaster Southern Open in Jasper, AL yesterday afternoon, on my phone, while I was feeding sheep and goats and alpacas and horses their early supper and I couldn’t believe it, between the baahing, I could see that that kid was in league to grab first place! I squealed and sent him a congratulatory(hopeful) text.  His career as an outdoor-journalist has him covering professional bass fishing tournaments all over creation, so in order to actually compete himself, he has to take vacation days and particpate in select competitions that are not connected to his employment, avoiding conflict.  His whole life has been consumed by his passion of fishing, so this was a great, great accomplishment.  I’d had a wedding tasting to attend/serve in nearby Arlington and couldn’t be in touch while there, but as soon as I left last evening, I phoned him to find out how the dust settled and, had he indeed won?  And he had.  It was great to chat on his way home from Alabama(driving to Kentucky) and hear the happiness and excitement in his voice.  I did ask him if he might want to buy his mom some tractor implements with his winnings…

O.k..  The ewes, that are very, very due, are having me on.  They were, none of them, technically due until April 8th and thereafter.  A couple of weeks ago, however, the alert was sounded because Nessa’s bag was quite full and she had mucous-y discharge and for a first time mom, I thought that labor was imminent.  Our first-time moms here, in the past, have been not very noticeably bagged up until they’ve delivered, making me think that Nessa was ready.

Or not.

It is coming up on the actual due dates and All The Single Ladies-in-waiting have been separated and shuffled here and shuffled there to keep them within the LambCam view and also so that I could feed/tend to them accordingly.  If they were to lamb, then I wouldn’t worry about them being out in the cold or the yucky paddock with so many other sheep around them, and also, the bustling of the entire group of ewes might be dangerous when feeding the Ladies-in-waiting, should they get butted into.

I watch them pretty often, here, on my online camera, and you can too if you don’t already.  And this coming Saturday, the 9th of April, at 8pm, there will be a LambCam LIVE Chat session to answer questions, discuss comments, and share the latest.  There might even be lambs in the stall with us!

This coming month we have Ellen Mason Design sponsoring our LIVE Chat.  One lucky winner will get her Ann Carolyn Smock pattern, recently released, and another will receive her mitten pattern (on Ravelry) + yarn! To enter, just leave a note, question, comment, in the comments-section of this blog before 7:30 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, April 9th.  We’ll draw & announce the winners at the end of the LambCam LIVE Chat.

And, heads’ up, there are many and sundry events coming up this year at the farm.  In more detail, in another post, I’ll share about the upcoming Mothers’ Day Open Farm we’ll be hosting.  You can also read about our Wardrobe In A Weekend Workshop with Sonya Philip & Ellen Mason(sold out) here, my teaching a From The Woods Natural Dye Workshop(sign up now) at nido in Lincoln, VT  here, and our Vermont Colored Wool Retreat with French General(sold out) here.  We have a yet-to-be-announced Needlefelting class with The Felted Gnome Knows coming up, too, so learn more about Susi Ryan here.

See you this coming Saturday! (P.S.: Tis my daughter Sarah Jane’s b.d. that day, I’ll be missing her very much and will probably lapse into a few baby stories.)

Ellen Mason Design

Ann Carolyn Smock Pattern

Ellen Mason's mitten pattern & yarn


Birdseye of All the Single Ladies-in-Waiting, watch the LambCam LIVE Chat this Saturday at 8pm Eastern!

All The Single Ladies-In-Waiting


Little Doris


Little Petal

42 responses to “Winner, winner…

  1. here’s wishing that lambing goes well! Holy smoke, April 8 is right around the corner. And thanks for the chance to win, both of those patterns look great.

  2. Tammy, I love reading your stories about your life and family. Those pics of little Doris and Petal are adorable. I can understand why you were so reluctant on letting them go. Being a mom is a tough job. It’s such a roller coaster ride with one’s heart ❤️
    Hope you have a great week, J

  3. Tammy, so dear to read this and picture in my mind your voice. I’m sorry about mr fox! Happy to read tat Doris & petal are settled. And where in Alabama did your son fish?? Congrats to him. Blessing to you. Looking forward to the lambing.

    • Katey, thank you for such a lovely note! Jody fished in Alabama on Smith Lake (Jasper?) – the first day was cancelled because of the terrible weather so it ended up being a two-day event vs. a three-day event. He had a great time and has a great crew of buddies that all rented a place together so he didn’t have to camp! Thanksfully, with that awful weather, right?! Looking forward to lambing myself, hopefully not for the next few days as we’re getting dumped on with snow and the temps are supposed to be low-teens for a couple of nights!

  4. Great photos! I especially likea the one of the mittens and what you did with the ends.

    • Thank you, Margaret! Those are Ellen’s mittens(Ellen Mason, she’s the knitter!)

  5. Lovely blog. I remember doing the lamb watch when my daughter was in 4H. I am waiting patiently for my pattern to arrive. I have been watching Ellen’s Etsy store all March. I was very happy to order it last week.

  6. So sorry about your chickens :-(. On positive notes …. looking forward to your lambcam and love Ellen’s tunic pattern

  7. As always, a wonderful and very enjoyable blog. Life on the farm is fascinating, and you are a natural story-teller. Watching the lambcam all of the time now, waiting anxiously for the lambie-pies! Received your note today. Thank you! Best wishes

  8. Hi there Tammy, it’s Marjan again! 😉 Looking forward to your lamb cam time tomorrow, I missed the last one due to time confusions (the three hour lag). I’ve been watching those pregnant ladies for several weeks now and I’m ready to see some lambing. Last year I think I saw at least 6 being born! Your smock-pattern price looks fabulous! 🙂 Groetjes!

    • hurrah, Marjan! Great to see you here! And tomorrow night! Yes – set your reminder for Eastern time 😀 Thank you so much for the participation! And I agree, Ellen’s patterns are so beautiful!

  9. Looking forward to the chat tonight and can’t wait til he new babies are born!

  10. Howdy from Texas! Funny story. My son, Jake, rescued the neighbor’s chicken from my other son’s dog one afternoon this week. Aussie came barreling around the corner of the house, chicken in mouth and he instructed her to drop it. She did and the little chicken ran under his pickup truck. He put Aussie in the house and sat down on the pavement behind his truck. The chicken came running out from under the truck and jumped up on his leg. It tickled him so! He had no idea that the neighbor had two chickens so here he sat with a chicken and no idea what to do. He called my other son and found out it likely belonged to the neighbor. He picked the chicken up and it began to peep so he put it down and as he walked next door to give it back to the neighbor, the little chick began following him to it’s home! We have gotten several chuckles over this story!

    Oh, and I’d love to win that smock pattern!! See you in Mid-May!! Julie

  11. Paisley’s lambs are just adorable and she is an amazing mother!!! Perfect Saturday morning! Is black a recessive gene? Or is the ram black? Two Ewe’s, congratulations Wing and a Prayer Farm and Happy Birthday to Sarah!!

    • Oh Tammy, the first 2 ewes are gorgeous and so healthy!! A great start to the lambing season!! I am guessing the little explorer weighs about….8 pounds 3 oz. Big girls!! Thanks for letting us share in that wonderful happy event!!! Good Luck to Nessa!!

      • <3 Thank you so much for participating! I just wanted to let you know that the little explorer weighs 5.6 lbs! Her "big" sister is 5.9 lbs! Thanks anyway, I really appreciated the participation!!!

  12. Thanks to Ellen for turning me on to your blog! What an interesting read! Sorry about your hens. Congrats to your son!

  13. Ah bless you! It’s so hard to let our babies go, but you raised Petal and Doris well and they look beautiful. Well done! X

  14. Thanks for sharing stories of your busy, full life. I hear you! I’m planning a few
    spring makes and either pattern would be wonderful (it’s still freezing here).

  15. The birth of Paisley’s ewes was SO amazing. I have watched a LOT of lambcam over the last few years. Never before seeing the actual birth. SO, I could not believe my eyes when the baby lamb was coming out. I started crying tears of JOY. And then when the second one came I was shocked. I am so happy that this birth went so well. So happy for all of you. Happy Aries birthday to SJ.

  16. I am guessing that the white ewe weighs 4 lbs. and the black ewe weighs 5 lbs.

  17. First, let me say thank you for sharing – again! It was beautiful. She looks much more like a Lambie pie now. All cleaned up and fluffy! I’m guessing that the combined weight of these two darlings is 9.4 lbs. Will definitely be watching tonight!!
    Question. Who do you think will be next? Oh, what names did MJ give to the new babies?

  18. Ok … Here it is! Yea!! I love everything about you and your farm! We all have a little helicopter mom in us! I feel the same way about my little preschool class in the spring…when they will soon leave my class. XO

  19. Congratulations, Baby Momma! Twins! You did well, my dear! Beautiful babies! I’ll see you soon in September! Can’t wait to hug all the kids! I’m guessing those twins weigh 10lbs each! xoxoxo

  20. When we lived on 10 acres, we had chickens too. Ones I loved dearly, and then a huge feral cat got in the hen house. It was a sad morning. I hope lambing goes well!! And, I just love Ellen’s designs. Good luck to everyone!

  21. Congrats Tammy on the two new additions to your animal family! They are too cute! It was the first time I saw a live birth and I cried with happiness! I hope they’ll bring you lots of joy! Here’s to the lambing season! Xx Marga

  22. I’m so glad to have another opportunity to hear you talk about what’s happening on your farm, especially with it being lambing season. How often do you have to assist with a birth? With a normal birth, how long is it usually between when you no labor has started and delivery? I hope everything goes smoothly for the remaining ladies in waiting!

  23. I just discovered this blog and enjoyed every word of this post, though I am very sorry that Mr. Fox got to your henhouse. I am enamoured of Ellen’s smock pattern, so thank you for the chance to win a copy!

    • Dear Asuksi: Thank you so much for your reply/participation! I would love to be able to contact you to share your information with Ellen Mason – you were one of our winners last evening in the LambCam LIVE Chat! Email me at! 🙂 Tammy

    • Dear Joan: You won the weight guesses!! They were 5.6 & 5.9! Great job!!!! Send me an email at and I can set you up with your prize!!!! Thank you so much for participating!

  24. Tammy, was so awesome watching the twins born on periscope this morning! Thank you again as always for sharing. My guess on the weights are 10 lbs and and 10 lbs 11 oz.

  25. Thx for sharing Paisley’s lambing! The twins are just precious and adorable! The black one is feisty! And the spots on the white one make her artsy! They must weigh 9-10 lbs each! The black looks heavier- than the white! Great weights on them! You made my day by sharing on Periscope!

    • Dear Erin: Thank you so much for commenting and participating in last evening’s Lamb Cam LIVE Chat! Paisley “chose” your comment as one of the two winners! Send me an email at if you could to make arrangements to get your winning!! Thank you so much!! (P.S.: The weights you offered were not correct, but thanks for guessing! Their weights were 5.9 for the larger, black lamb “Poppy”, and 5.6 for the smaller white, “Polka Dot” lamb!

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