Friday, July 30, 2010

Lots of Moisture----weeds!

My sheep pasture is rolling hills, hollows and trees. The goats cleared the brush, and are gone. They would strip the prickly ash brush, the following year only a stick remained, a small thumb size root made for easy pulling. So the brush is gone.  I used a small hand scythe on the thistles. After 6 years, most of the thistles are gone. This is the year for worm wood--that's what we call it around here--- a sage like plant with a terrible smell,
The lower stems are as hard as and the size of lead pencils. Using the scythe is not working...its too hard on me and my arthritis. I thought the riding lawn mower. I picked the rocks, set the mower deck as high as it would go and still run, and carefully and slowly mowed where I dared. It looks wonderful. What to do where the mower can't go? I got out an old weed eater I bought at a garage sale. I ran through alot of string but it cut the worm wood. I bought another 100 ft electric cord and I am unstoppable. Most of the pasture looks like a park. Today I rest.....if my doctor knew what I was shhhh!
My camera doesn't have a zoom. So when a lamb poses I take some pics and hope for the best. This pic is a bit fuzzy but it shows the girth, size, depth and gorgeous fleece on my moiget ram lamb "Butte" from Gail. I purchased his yearling (she lambed this year at 12 months) dam "Belle" as well. Thanks so much Gail.  Belle is my largest ewe, she is bigger than the mature ewes! Butte is too shy to come up for grain so his fantastic gain is on grass alone. He and the spotted ram lamb from Corrine will each get part of the flock.
 Met Butte 'the brute' at 100 days of age. Boy I sure like him.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My sheep still amze me!

They graze rain or shine, day and night. They are returning to their bloom after nursing lambs. These ewes really put the body and soul into milk production. Fleeces are grwoing back and they look like sheep again.
This winter I have 2009 tender first cutting for fall and gestation, and if it ever stays dry for a week
green fine 2nd cutting coming for the first part of their lactation. With the carryover I easily have hay for two feeding seasons. I like it that way.......poor hay year, I have hay on hand. Get a chance for some really nice hay...I will buy and store it. My mentality stems from 1976, my first year of milking cows on my own.......No rain.......40 acres of corn make a pathetic silage pile, I have to scour the country side of hay. Grasshoppers came out of the woods and ate the garden. 30 miles north of us, Army worms stripped all the leaves off the trees. Temps were hot, no clouds and sand devils swirled about.  Our taste of the dirty 30s. It made a lastly impression on this then 21 year old.

Till later

Friday, July 23, 2010

He's Home!!

Our daughter Jess married 6 years ago. Her husband Dave is a great guy. If I had to pick a husband for Jess, he would be my pick. I have told him so! Shortly after their wedding, Dave left for Air Force Basic Training in Texas. My parents and Jess traveled down for his Academy Graduation. Then Dave was off to his first assignment in New Port News, Virginia. Jess moved in with us. They missed each other terribly. Jess announced she was going to find an apartment and move to Virginia. Jess went on line, found an apt, send the deposit and first month's rent. We packed up their pickup, Jess and I traveled to Virginia. When we got Dave from the barracks, he was thin and very quiet (he is not usually quiet)  Jess said Dad what do I do? I said just hug him and you do the talking. Poor guy.
From Virginia, they moved near an Air force base in Florida. They bought a home and stayed for three years. Hurricane Katrina hit hard. They were excavated to Tennessee. Their home was one of the few not destroyed.  
The Air Force implemented an Early Out Program (as it felt it had too many enlisted men) Dave was 26 when he enlisted. An excellent Corpsman, but being older he was always team leader. He didn't enjoy being in charge of 18-19 yr old boys. The pull back to Minnesota was too good to resist. Their home sold in 3 days--one of the few still standing. Dave's remaining 3 years was turned into 6 years with the Air National Guard. With the Air Guard, Dave traveled to Pennsylvania for heavy equipment training. Another assignment was building a road on the US/Mexican border. While he was there. He toured a Border Station and visited with the Border Patrolman.
In June 2009 Dave began the process to become a candidate for the Border Patrol. Excessive background checks, multiple interviews, physicals and a mountain of paperwork. December 6th Dave received a letter of acceptance to the Border Patrol and an offer of employment..... Training school to start in two weeks.
However Dave's unit had been called to Afghanistan! He could have opted out, but his replacement would have been a man with a baby due soon. Because he was called to active duty, the Border Patrol would hold his job and training until he returned.
Dave left mid December. He endured 120 degree weather and sand storms while building an airplane runway.
Yesterday Dave returned home!!! We are blessed. He is home safe and sound. Soon Dave well leave for six months of Patrol training in New Mexico. The letter politely states that family should not follow as the students will receive extensive training and learn Spanish, and they do not need the distraction of family. So Jess will remain in Alex working at the Post Office and learning Spanish.
Jess does OK on her own, they have no children. After training, Dave will be assigned to the Southern border and Jess can follow. I have chatted plenty! here's a pic of Dave and Jess


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ah temptation!

Yesterday Corrine posted pictures of a loud spotted black/white ram lamb Brewster. We have spoke of him before.........waiting for the other nut to drop. He is a beautiful ram. A large sized lamb with great fleece of good crimp.  Sire's fleece tested 20.7 microns, dam 4 yr old fleece 28, both Sommarang bred.
I have several ewes that carry spots.......I want to get some spotted lambs.
Side note: Brewster's one nut doesn't bother me. I understand he will sire some one nut rams-
they will be market lambs. A neighbor had one nut and had 5 kids. My great grandmother got a 
free 'wether'.  the wether wasn't fixed properly and sired a large Spring lamb crop.
Brewster will travel with Corrine to the Jefferson Wool Festival in September. He will ride home with Garrett.  Thanks to both for getting Brewster's pick up close to home

So next Spring we will have some of these in our barn!

So here is Brewster.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Good Day of Pictures!

The rams
Einstein  3 yr old Agouti Gray His sire was HST marked dark moorit , dam is Nancy's musket ewe Alice. Alice has raised 20 lambs in 8 lambings and still going strong!
Tundra 4 month old  Moorit with a Big white spot  Butter soft fleece

Butte 4 month old Mioget  A chunky fellow with large leg of lamb,  very crimpy soft fleece

And lastly my fancy 4 mo old ewe lamb Tulla with favorite ewe May, Tulla is twin to Tundra

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Finally a cooler less humid day,

New  pictures were taken today. My sheep are enjoying the breeze as they graze.
 And the ewe that started my want/need to have more Shetlands. May is very sweet, the one at my side.
She will follow me as we take the flock out to pasture. May who started it all!

Friday, July 16, 2010

They are here!!

Way back on March 7th I reserved six Shetland ewes from Garrett. The wait has been a long one. But this morning early, before it got warmer, we traveled the 50 miles to get them. Garrett had them penned, he wormed them and we put in ear tags (yellow with black numbers). So I can tell who is who.  Beautiful youthful ewes. All in good body condition, good fleece, bright eyed and quiet.
The six are two Miogets- "Autumn and Twix", two Katmogets "Castle Rock and Snow Cloud", one Gray "Shasta" and one non-fading Black "Dark Chocolate".  Several carry spots so next Spring lambing will be very exciting. Garrett was a good host as always. We looked over this year's lambs.Garrett pointed out the lambs from the ewes I had purchased. 
Thanks Garrett for the unique opportunity to add some really good ewes to my flock

So the flock is set. 12 ewes and my ewe lamb Tulla. Here they are in their winter fleece.

2005 Autumn
2007 Twix
2008 Castle Rock

2007 Snow Cloud
2005 Shasta
2007 Dark Chocolate

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sheep barn in full bloom!

I believe that the barn should blend into the yard. Orange daylilies, Arctic Willows, Hollyhock and
a Plum tree in the corner. Oaks bring up the rear.

Boys on their own!

My 3 yr old ram Einstein, 2 ram lambs Tundra and Butte are enjoying vacation. This morning I removed them from the flock. The rams are on a small pasture I was saving, tall grass and clover. They are busy munching, they don't mind being away from the ewes..Now that the ram has been removed, the ewes are going out to the far end of the pasture.. Before I was inciting them with a leafy branch to follow me I look out the window,,there the ewes are eating in the far end! great!  My 5 ewes and big ewe lamb Tulla.
I like to take pictures  so here you go

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A very green summer!

The flock two days ago in belly deep grass. With all the rain, its like a lush jungle! Everything is so green! Every time it rains I think of the farmers trying to make hay. I have a bit of 2nd cutting coming if my neighbors gets a chance to get it up!
We had strong winds, thunder that rattled the house and a 1/2 hour heavy rain with a bit of pea sized hail. Then the sun broke out!
A few pictures of the views we see from our yard. I tried to capture the rainbow..faintly show mid picture just above the trees.
 And lastly, one of our mighty oaks that stands guard in our yard.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lilies are opening!

Enjoy the Lilies, Day and Asian, names like Strawberry Cream, Raspberry, Ruffled Lady
Here is a sampling, more varieties loaded with buds but not open yet

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New critter pics!

Introducing Belle a yearling Mioget. Belle is long wide and large. Belle's ram lamb Butte is large for his age, nice junior sire. I like my ewes on the bigger side, remember its a grade flock, so I have what I like. I chased the Registered Boer Goat rainbow, now I am just settling in with tame ewes that can raise a good lamb. The many colors and markings is a big bonus.

Third pic is of Yarrow, a four year old musket. She tends to stay darker than some muskets. After shearing, Yarrow went through the rise and was slick sheared a week ago. She is a long framed ewe that stands good on all four. In my editing and cropping I lost a new pic of Palisade. I got a good shot of the Silkie hen and her chicks.
So that's all for now


Saturday, July 3, 2010

They're home!!

We traveled to Hamburg, MN  Visited with Gail and her family, I looked over her sheep. Most are very tame and come up to you. All were exceptional Shetlands. I pointed to certain ones, got their name and history.  I chose Belle a moiget yearling and her modified moorit ram lamb. Belle is a large yearling as is her lamb, both with nice crimpy fleece.  I picked out Yarrow a musket, carrying spots. Yarrow is a big 4 yr old, raised a nice set of twins and is in good condition. She is out of BlueBell. Yarrow will come and lay her head in your lap.  The third choice was 6 yr old Palisade, a black carrying spots. Like her name Pal is a real pal, very tame and amiable.
We visited some, loaded up and headed for home. The sheep were comfortable in the pickup box with good air movement and a white painted roof on the box kept them cool.

We got home safe and sound. We unloaded them. Now I brag how big my Bella is, well Yarrow, Belle and Pal are bigger than she! I am very pleased with my new ewes. Pictures courtesy of Gail, Little Red Oak Shetlands.
Belle last fall at 7 months old.
Yarrow with one of her lambs
Very please with my new additions.  So the count is 5 ewes, 5 lambs and Einstein.

Oh on the way to Gail's we picked up the 10 Splash blue Silkie chicks (a week old) I managed to buy the Silkie momma hen too. They are resting in their new digs, a modified hutch (solid floor)

Till later


Friday, July 2, 2010

A Few Sheep Pics,,,,,,,,and an adventure

LRO Bella's  ewe lamb Tulla. At 11 weeks old she is awesome! Good length fleece in fawn? She is an Ag moorit. Look at her face, beatuiful.  Her mom Bella is HST marked modified moorit. She is three and large, just what I like for my Hobby Shetlands. She has proven to be an excellent mother and milker. If you call her name she will come. if you have a treat for her, she will follow you anywhere! Bella is ready to wean her lambs.
 May arrived at my farm as an open ewe. She was bred late and has a nice set of crossbred market ram lambs.  Don't let her short legs fool you she is a work horse. When I am in the pen she will come over for her chin scratch. At 5 she still has years ahead of her!
 And the Champion of the flock, Einstein. Einstein originated from Bluff Country. Sired by black HST ram Windswept Zorro and a triplet out of Nancy's infamous Alice ewe. Alice has had 20 lambs in 8 lambings and raised them all! At nine Alice has all her teeth and raised big set of  triplets this year. Einstein is wide, long and wide. As he has aged and his testosterone, he has a bit of scadder on behind his head.  His fleece is soft, has good handle and good length.

 Have have impatiently waited for the calendar to turn to July. So its weaning time, and the ewes I have spoken for are ready to come home!
Pickup and box are ready to go. The box is 6 years old and has hauled a lot of goats and sheep. This Spring the box got a fresh coat of paint and some new bolts in places.  It has serviced us well.
Our old 98 Chevy truck is ready and able
The box is covered with air slots for passive air movement, fresh air without a draft. But if you look inside.......Its empty! Ah but tomorrow that will change! End boards will be in and if you look through the slots to the inside.....well let's just say my micro flock will grow! 

Till later