Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just a few more>>>>>>>

Shetlands are like potato chips you can't have just one! I have several ewes from Gail. All are very tame and will eat pretzels out of my hand. I sit down on a cement block and they gather around, I really like that. Gail calls them puppy dog sheep. Some days I have more a petting zoo than a hobby farm. Gail had some good ewes that needed a new home. Emails back and forth...I chose 4 ewes, yrlg Poppy and her ewe lamb Pansy, yrlg Splash and a mature ewe Panda Bear. Today we met and pickup them up. Visited for a bit and headed home.
I have to say if I didn't make a dime on my Shetlands I would still have a flock of them. Very friendly. easily tamed, easy to handle. colors and markings aplenty. Breeding starts Oct 15...
mid March.....lambs-- a dash of this, a splash of that, a dab of that,,,,,,,,colors galore!
Here are some pictures courtesy of LRO, Gail
Poppy as a lamb
 Poppy as a bred lamb, long thick abundant musket fleece

Poppy and her ewe lamb Pansy   

Splash last fall as a lamb, now she is mioget

 Panda Bear, black with sun faded tips

Friday, August 27, 2010

The babes are on their own!

The momma hen started laying, so she is with her new beau. The 12 chicks are on the own!
They range from dark--almost blue, traditional splash and a few are very light blue.
Very colorful group....Silkies are take a long time to tell whose a roo/pullet....So by Spring
I will be able to sort, pick and choose.....they love table scraps!  One stood on Nessie's hand
the other day  "Hey grampa look!"  She is 6 and has been coming to the barn since she was a baby
I like to start the love of critters early!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Green Fine Hay for my ewes at lambing........found!

I contacted three farmers for a load of nice 2nd-3rd cutting hay. We have been getting rain 4-5 days a week since mid June. More than 20 inches has fallen! It's made haying difficult. Each farmer called.."sorry Jerry it got a lot of rain on it" In talking to my son Darren, he mentioned his neighbor Dan,  a dairy farmer. "Dan always gets his hay up early, so its fine and has good color."  I called Dan. Yes he had a load on a wagon, 2nd cutting Alfalfa/Orchardgrass. Good sized bales, good smell and nice early cut.. $2.50/per.  Dan said You can pull the rack home, unload it and bring it back.. So I schedule my son to help. We went last night and got the load. The plan was Get home, unload, take the rack back--Well-- We got hit with rain for about 15 minutes before we got home, We tarped the rack in the rain, both of us got soaked.  We dried Darren's clothes, fed him some pancakes and he went home. Early this morning, I took the tarps off........we have a good dry breeze and the sun is out.........letting the surfaces dry off. By 10:30 the bales were completely dry,appeared as if they never got rained on! 60 bales went into the barn...and 70 bales in the garage, yes the pickup will sit out this winter... again..
I started dairy farming in 1976, age 21.......a bank loan for a herd of cows, rented a barn and lived in a trailer. That year we had a drought.....bought 40 acres of standing corn. It made a pitiful pile of silage with very little corn in it.  Hay was expensive and hard to find.  So since then I always stored more hay than I need. This year....I have 370 bales of good hay........with 11 ewes, 2 ewe lambs and 2 ram lambs....I have hay for a couple of years. I figure get it when and while you can.
A pretty sight an empty hay rack !  And bright green hay!

Something new, something blue!

I purchased a bearded Silkie hen with 12 bearded Silkie chicks.  Muffin raised all 12 chicks. She started to lay and the poor hen will squat for a rooster, and I don't have one. So the search was on for a nice correct- Silkie Splash roo-- fluffy round 'ball' shape, all fine fur like feathers no hard normal feathering, with a small walnut mulberry colored comb and fully bearded-- no wattles.  There are some ugly Silkie roos out there! Big red walnut combs that look more like big growths and with red leghorn wattles. Well I found the perfect roo on Backyard Chicken Oregon!  Thanks to the USPS express mail he is on his way here. Due in tomorrow morning at our Post Office,  Big Boy and Muffin being both Splash blue will produce all Splash blue chicks.......boring?  Not at all, Splashes can be dark, light, very pale blue.....all beautiful. Silkies are notorious for going broody several times a year. So I am hoping they produce a batch or two over winter
Here is Big Boy in all his glory.......

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fall is in the air?

This morning our temperature is 56 degrees, overnight low 48! I am not complaining it's just a shock after our 88* and high humidity. A light jacket works for me. Pesky insects hide in cool temps, and the sheep enjoy grazing all parts of the day. This picture was taken out of back door Saturday evening. I had a line on 40 bales of 3rd cutting hay, but the other night, the seller's hay shed flooded in the 4-7 inches of rain that fell. So the search continues.
But for us a lust green August is a rarity. The trees are extra full, brilliant green all round. Beats brown dormant lawns and dry pastures. My pasture has lots of forage yet to be eaten. Another first--- grazing till or into October! There have been years the flock is on full winter hay rations by September 1st!
Enjoy the cool temps, good outdoor project weather,

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beautiful, Gorgeous OK I am biased

My ewe lamb Tulla. She has a beautiful fawn fleece and a spotted face. Her fleece is very soft, has crimp, good handle and some loft to it. She outgrew her brother a bit, now at 4 months old she is big girl. The other ewe in the second picture is Shasta my large 5 year old ewe,,,so Tulla has quite a frame already! Her dam Bella is among our largest ewes. Bella is very tame and with time and maturity Tulla will be too. I speak to their remarkable size as I like them unregistered spinner flock. 
Butte is a 4 month old huge ram lamb from Gail. His mother Tinker Belle is my largest ewe. Tinker lambed at 12 months old, and now at 16 months old she is my largest ewe! Talk about size. Here is a fuzzy picture of Butte, ah someday a digital zoom camera. Butte is wide, large, deep, thick powerful April ram lamb. His abundant, soft mioget fleece he inherited from Tinker Belle. Butte was shy among the other rams, now that they are sold he is getting is first taste of all his gain was on grass and milk!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Muffin and her brood!

Muffin and her 12 chicks. Muffin is a Splash Silkie. The blue color gene in poultry gives a variety
of offspring when you mate a blue roo with a blue hen. The chicks will be 3 colors. 25% will be blue splash 25% will be black and 50% will be blue. Blue Splash is the result of the chick receiving 2 blue genes for color. Mating Splash to Splash results in 100% Splash chicks. Muffin was mated to a Splash roo. Her 12 chicks are splash...from pale blue, light blue splash to dark splash.
I purchased Muffin with 12 chicks. There were 3 Splash hens in the pen and a very correct Splash rooster. Muffin mothered all the chicks. I was there to buy the chicks and talked my way into buying the mother hen too.  She is doing a wonderful job of mothering and teaching the chicks to be chickens. Muffin can be picked up and she sits quietly in my lap, doing a soft cluck as if she is purring.
All 53 of the layer pullets have been sold (I kept my layer flock) so this morning Muffin and brood got a bigger pen.
After taking Silkie pictures I was going to snap a new pic of my ewe lamb Tulla, my! how she has grown. But the flock had headed out to the far reaches of the pasture. So I will carry my camera in my pocket during chores, so when Tulla poses I am ready!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Waiting on some hay

 One can hope..........
I'd like to get about 40 small bales of choice fine second/third cutting alfalfa for when my ewes are nursing. I have 2 sources.  Both are having a heck of a time getting hay up this year. We have gotten rain 3-4 times a week and some have been heavy 2-3 inches.  When a nice day does come along, the hay needs to be cut, then it lays on moist ground, hard to dry before the next rainfall. One farmer said he will have third cutting toward the end of August. So far we have gotten a lot of storm activity and more rain. Hoping for a drier rest of farmers can get some field work done. Pastures are still lush green. Plenty of grazing. 
See here's the deal one hot morning, I moved my first cutting around so I have a space for the new 40 bales.  Mind you I have almost enough hay for 2 winters. I have it arranged so I can fed the first cutting and come to the fancy hay at lambing time,,,,,,,plans do tend to go awry.......and patience is a virtue that should be sold in pill form!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer passes so quickly but.....

I can't wait for November 1st. That's the day the rams get turned in their respective groups. There
is 3 yr old Einstein.....Ag Black and carries HST, ram lamb "Butte" a modified moorit and ram lamb "Brewster" a true spotted black and white. Twelve ewes........4 to each ram? Decisions, decisions....
The ewes are gaining back their sleek beauty and are looking fantastic. In walking my pasture, there is a lot of forage out there! Thanks for all the rain........maybe they can graze till mid October. Starting to count the numbers for winter mode. Today I sold the 2 wethers from May and the ram lamb Tundra. All the fleeces sold right after shearing. I have 54 started pullets- 30 Buff Orpingtons and 24 Ameraucana/EE on craig's list. 15 Buff Orps are being picked up tomorrow. My layer flock is 8 Ameraucana pullets all laying-- 8 eggs 3 days in a row- they just started 3 weeks ago. In the flock is 4 younger pullets-- 2 Ameraucana and 2 Black sex link and I ended up with a beautiful Ameraucana roo-----blue/cream/ red gold mix! oh and there's the Splash Silkie hen and her 12 splash Silkie chicks..........
 Just chatting

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More weeds met their doom!

You know once you get started and it looks so nice, you gotta keep going!  I scythed the whole pasture during the first crop of weeds.....4 this time I used the riding mower and the weed eater. This morning I did a 40ft x 40ft patch with the mower. It was a bit rough....I got hung up a few times on ancient gopher mounds that the grass had covered. No rocks in the patch. Now I have a handful of solitary weeds to scythe down. When I had my Registered Boer Goat Brood stock-- a lot of goats  there was no time. Now with my dozen Shetland ewes the rythum has changed. Plenty of time of projects and time to sit watching them graze. A few shy ones to tame this fall, once you get then tame they are big babies. My granddaughter can hug May, Pal and Yarrow. and they just stand there. happy I guess,


Monday, August 2, 2010

Poor May! Update May's boys are sold!!

May has a set of twins born later than the others. The rest of the lambs were weaned long ago. In the morning, the flock goes out to pasture, May is by the barn nursing her lambs. As soon as I find a home for her ram lambs, it will be more peaceful.
Nice ram lambs, 10 weeks old, Border Leicester/Shetland cross,will make good eating or fiber pets.
The lamb facing the camera has soft fleece as a BLF cross. I can wether them before they leave. To go as a set, so May can rest.  All offers considered.