Monday, March 19, 2012

It Bee Spring!

Even though it's still a few hours until the spring equinox (1:14 AM March 20 to be exact), that season seems to have already arrived here.  One clue is the mind-bending 72 degrees on the shady north side of the house. A few days of these temperatures have woken up.....our "tree bees". Yay!  The roving honeybees who set up shop here last fall have survived the winter.

Working so hard the camera can't catch them :-/

 They were out in full force yesterday and coming back with their pollen baskets stuffed full thanks to the pussywillows and choke cherries in bloom, plus all the spring flowers suddenly bursting open.

Glory of the Snow (I think)

First daffodil of the year!
 (bug sold separately, not available on all models, see your dealer for details)

A seriously lost crocus in the middle of the lawn.  ( ?!? )

The boys ventured out to look for any new grass that might be trying to grow.

Ike, Isaac, Ian and Isador

Jared, Tux, Mr. Bill and Rocky

But of course the best signal that spring has come is the arrival of lambs!  I started doing 2 AM barn checks a few nights ago just to be safe and Sunday's 2 AM trip revealed a pair of twins from Gem, already up and tottering around, and triplets from Ilsa.  They were born on day 146 of gestation, so technically 2 days early, but of course these things can vary a bit and still be within normal.

"This is me on the first day of school with my really cool lunch box!"

"That's my sister.  She thinks she's so cool just because she has a white mark."

"My dopey brother thinks he's sooo big, but I have a bucket so I win."

Ilsa's triplets getting up for a snack 

Nah, I just faked them out so I could sit back down in the warm spot

Bacardi is a first time mom and very abley had a nice set of twins just before evening chore time. 

Yeah, they're mine.  <smile>

The mom is a moorit but her fleece has faded tremendously to this fun sand color - changed naturally from the inside out that is, not faded from sun or environment.  One of her genes apparently controls fading, and just as some black sheep will fade to gray so too do some moorits fade to a taupe color. However, the hair on her face and legs has not changed, only the wool.  Ain't genetics fun?  Speaking of genetics, here's an interesting factoid.  Look at the ewe's eye in the picture below.

Red "white-bunny-eye" reflection

We've all seen animals' eyes reflect greenish yellow at night.  That's due to the tapetum lucidum  reflecting light.  Sheep eyes reflect that greenish color unless they are moorit or carrying the moorit gene, then they will reflect pink when viewed at a certain angle.  This is not only a fascinating story for the many cocktail parties we all doubtless attend, but even more importantly useful when deciding whether to keep a black lamb who may or may not be carrying the moorit gene.  Pink eye shine - yes; green eye shine - no.  (The upper picture of her shows green eyes, but it's more a function of the camera flash than a contradiction of what I just said.  Trust me.)

"Oh, for crying out loud - is she going on again about the eye thing?"

"Hey, for some of us who are going to have black babies, it matters!"

Judging from the wide loads walking around there will be lots of babies to test it on.

"Watch it with the 'wide' comments!"

Stay tuned for a daily dose of lambie cuteness.


  1. Oh so so cute!!! And really interesting about the eyes. I'm going to have to go check!

  2. I'm loving the warm weather, too. Those ewes look like they're about to explode.

  3. How adorable! I'm fascinated by the genetics lesson!