Many thanks to Bobbie for making this wonderful quilt for the Care Farm raffle. We are selling tickets for the raffle now and will be drawing it at the Pop-up Market. There will be a variety of other prizes too. If you would like to buy a ticket, do contact either Jo or Isobel at the Care Farm.
We have had a number of people interested in having a stall at the market. Hopefully, there will be stalls selling plants, home produce, Canadian namaimo bars, home crafts, Neil's Yard products and Poppy's pies.
We will be serving tea, coffee, cakes, biscuits, hot soup with a roll and cheese & chutney baps.
We hope you will be able to join us there.
Jo went to visit the flock of Jacobs from which we had some lambs last year. She arrived just at the point when Mrs Turner (ewe) decided to give birth to her quads. She delivered the first 2 quickly and they were on their feet immediately. The next 2 were a little more difficult and it was lucky that help was on hand. Mrs Turner did very well and kept all 4 new borns feeding well all night. After Lorna gave them some extra colostrum, we were able to bring two of theses ram lambs back to Wick Care Farm. The clients voted on their names with the result - Sunny and Shaun. They have panda markings on their face and look very cute! They settled down well and have been a delight to all our clients and visitors.
We were worried that 2 was a difficult number of lambs to have... what would we do if something happened to one of them? We approached another breeder to ask whether they had any multiple lambs / orphans they would like us to look after. To our delight, we were given 2 wonderful lambs which we called Sherlock and Spot. They immediately settled in with the other 2. These came from a 4 horned flock. Spot has 4 horns but Sherlock only has 2.
When we went to fetch Spot, we were offered 2 shearlings (last year's lambs)too. This was a great opportunity as we are hoping to start our own flock and have our own lambs next year. They have 4 horns too and are very pretty. When we went to collect the shearlings, we were offered 2 more lambs.. We called these Starlight and Stig. A couple of weeks later, we were given another one which we call Sprout! Our little flock of lambs are of varying sizes but are very lively and doing well.
Our new 4 horned shearlings settled in with our last years lambs very well. When we took our 3 wethers (castrated ram lambs) to market, we were left with 4 ewes - a good number to start our own flock next year. We called the new ones Ruby and Ronnie. Ruby had been bottle fed and halter trained and was immediately friendly. Ronnie has been a bit more nervous of us. However, she is now feeding out of our hands and has calmed down considerably.
We have had a very busy summer! We have welcomed several new people - both clients and volunteers. We said goodbye to our darling OT student (but she is still keeping in touch and attending our sales). We opened our doors on 2 other regular days and hosted many school and home educator visits. We have looked after our poultry who are now huge compared to the fluffy balls there were at Easter. Our pigs are getting larger and it is getting near the time when we will have to say goodbye to them! Below are some pictures that better describe what we have been up to!
The poly tunnel was built in April. Many thanks to everyone who contributed with their donations. We could not have done it without you.
We renovated the trailer that is fitted out to carry people. Our first trip was on a boiling hot day and we needed umbrellas to stop us getting overheated. Phase 2 of the plan is to make a canopy! Any volunteers?
We have celebrated many birthdays....
Now we are picking lots of produce...
While the duckling and first gosling (yet to have names..) were having their first taste of grass, cracks were appearing in the other 2 eggs. One of our clients said " this will be a historic occasion"! Unfortunately for those clients, nothing more than a small hole appeared throughout the day. After another 12 hours, I got impatient and started to help the process... I immediately regretted it as I seemed to have punctured the yolk. I was worried that it would not survive. Hours later, a slimy gosling slid out into the incubator, looking quite alert but very messy, covered in yolk and bits of shell. Meanwhile, the other one was still only a hole. However, the next morning, the other one had hatched and both were looking fluffy and alert in the incubator and making themselves heard. Very relieved, I left them there to fluff up more.
After nearly a day in the incubator, the new goslings seemed impatient to be out. I was worried what would happen when I introduced them to the other 2 who looked huge in comparison. I waited until the end of the day and tentatively put them together. There was some exploring of each other with their beaks and quite a lot of 'chat' but I persevered and watched. Still concerned, I returned again in an hour to find them all asleep in a heap... Phew!
The 2 new ones seemed much more steady on their feet and were trying to eat grass the next day. The slimy one still looks a little like a dinosaur; however, he is very active and enjoys exploring the yard. (I say 'he' but I am not sure what sex any of them are. I googled how to sex a gosling and inspected their vents. My guess is that the little greyish one is a gander, and the others are all female... I may regret having posted my guess!)
The weather was beautiful for our final Easter Activity day. The chicks may have changed and are not the fluff balls they were, but they were friendly and curious and did not mind being handled. However, the stars of the day were the first gosling and the duckling. They were both very content to sit in the laps of the children and be stroked with care.
The egg dyeing was again a success and the nest building was very good. All around us, we could see wild birds collecting material to build their own nests and the pigeon in the barn had laid an egg which was very visible. As we sat having our lunch, the first swallows appeared. We opened the attic door for them and immediately there were twitterings there too... Such an exciting time - full of hope and promise. I realise that I must have created this website a year ago as the post about the swallows building their nests was one of my first!
I cannot believe how yellow or how soft our new gosling is. The colour in the photograph here is not as intense as it appears in natural light. For the first 2 days after hatching, the gosling could hardly stand. She shuffled around and kept falling over, looking very comical.
Luckily for her, she has a companion. A friend hatched a duckling last week but went away on holiday so 'duck' has come to us for his holiday. The pair were immediately curious and explored each other with their beaks. Now they are inseparable.
Today seemed the warmest day of the year and Spring has sprung! The unlikely pair had their first taste of grass and sunshine. They seemed very comfortable on grass and ran around after us. So different from 3 days ago. However, after their excursion in the garden, they were exhausted! Snuggling up together under the lamp, they could not keep their eyes open...
On Tuesday evening, we detected a small crack in the egg but it was hardly distinguishable. By the next morning it was a small hole that got bigger..
By lunchtime, it had pushed out of the top and was sitting with its bottom in the shell. It was looking very wet and weak. When it eventually pushed itself out, it couldn't properly stand and lolloped around in the incubator. After a few hours, it looked much better - it had fluffed up and looked quite alert.
We had our first Easter activity day today. It was great fun and enjoyed by all. The feedback was great..." You make us feel so welcome". " It is easy to bring any aged children to the farm, there is always something for them to do." " Brilliant as always". "I loved having the chick in my hand". Such comments are so gratifying and make it all worthwhile.
The day was a mixture of handling animals and crafts. Dyeing eggs has always been a tradition in my family and I always enjoy it. The excitement of the unwrapping is always there for me - even after all these years!
We have begun our spring planting in earnest and the primroses and daffodils are out. The supplementary feeding of the birds is working well and everyday we see crowds of birds in the hedgerows.
About 3 weeks ago, we had our tractor stolen. Almost before our eyes. Despite having given chase, we never found it... However, thanks to our insurers, we have been able to buy a replacement - another John Deere. Here some children are enjoying it.
Our new chicks have arrived. Small balls of fluff. We have 15 commercial brown ones and 4 white leghorns. I am always looking for white eggs at Easter time because they are easier to dye. I thought it would be a good idea to have a few hens that lay white eggs. As always, small chicks bring a smile to people's faces.
We are now waiting on a couple of goose eggs which are warming nicely in the incubator.... Fingers crossed.