Friday, May 29, 2009

This is Bliss' ram lamb, who was just born 3 weeks ago. He was the last lamb born. My first impression of him was that he would develop into a very nice ram, and so far, he is not disappointing..... He has good conformation and muscling. His deep blue coloring is really eyecatching, and he's got that "look at me" attitude! I've got his mother for sale right now with him at side for $400, and I'm beginning to think that is an awfully good buy for someone. :^)
Here is a picture of our black BFL ram lamb. He is 4 weeks old now. Behind him is Lourdes, Rowan's ewe lamb. She was born 4/11 so is 7 weeks. What a beauty she is!
Its raining here - we've gotten about 1.5" this week. We've been needing it, so I am definitely not complaining.
Speaking of complaining - oh my! Last night was the first night the BFL ewes did not get their nightly shelled corn snack, and oh, the moaning and gnashing of teeth. They bellowed at Chuck while he was doing evening chores, and they bawled at me while I was feeding the rabbits and washing and filling Gypsy darling's milk bucket. Chuck is moving them to fresh pasture this morning, and that should help make this sad and sorrowful time easier for them. :^)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

This is my darling Gypsy, our "bucket baby" of the year. Its impossible to get a picture of her that does not look like this - she won't leave my side when I'm in the barn. So until she is weaned, her pictures will all look like this. :^)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Freedom is Not Free!

The bivouac of the dead
By Theodore O'Hara, 1847

The muffled drum's sad roll has beat
The soldier's last tattoo'
No more on life's parade shall meet
That brave and fallen few;
On Fame's eternal camping ground
Their silent tents are spread;
But Glory guards with solemn round
The bivouac of the dead.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

I've been trying to get a clear picture of these flowers for a few days now. The locust trees on the farm are in full bloom, and have long panicles of white flowers. Next will be the wild cherry trees.

Great Lakes Fiber Show

Here are a couple shots of my booth at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, Ohio. I took my BFL yarn, new roving, dyed locks, bags of washed natural colored mohair, a brown sheepskin, some angora yarn, and some misc skeins from some of my spinning this winter, plus a couple fleeces.
Annette came a spent the day with me, which was very nice. She made a display on angoras, and brought some of her notecards with original photographs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I'm fried.........

This has been a busy 2 weeks at work. Last week, I posted the picture of the 2 day Ag School Days program our office does each year. Well, Monday, we did another version of it for 80 4th and 5th graders from Secrest Elementary. We invite their third graders each year, but one of the teachers is .....shall we say...........cranky, and does not let the kids attend. So the 4th and 5th grade teachers decided they wanted their kids to have the experience too.
Then yesterday, we did an event at our property called Moore Memorial Woods. This property was donated to the district to use for education. We had 120 5th graders out there for the day. We took them hiking, showed them all sorts of wildlife skins and skulls, had live salamanders, turtles, frogs and such. My boss did a demonstration of our Enviroscape, which shows how things we dump or that get washed into streams make it into our water supply. My class was on sustainability of natural resources - which is not really my forte'. :^) But I managed to make a 40 minute class on it, complete with a game using popcorn showing the kids how they can use a resource without using it up. They were great - we had some really interesting discussions, and they came up with some ideas that had never occured to me.
I'll top off the week with a 2 day fiber festival on Saturday and Sunday. So by the end of the weekend, I'll be very tired of talking and walking and standing on concrete. Probably Monday I'll hole up and read a book - very quietly!
Here, Dustin, this is the sample skein I did using the original lilac dyed wool for my BFL roving. As I suspected, the lilac was too "blue" and spoiled the look I wanted. It would have darkened the roving, and anywhere the yellow and lilac touchs, it makes an icky brownish, muddy looking spot. See the ugly area on the right end of the skein? I did not use the lilac in the roving I just had done; I dyed another batch in magenta, which did the trick. :^) I'll have the pretty lilac dyed locks for sale at the festival this weekend in Wooster -there are 2# total.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Some of our cute, loudly spotted Katahdin Lambs

These last two are my favorites. They are a set of twin ewes. Their parents are both solid white.

NEW BFL roving!

My first batch of BFL roving came back from Stonehedge last night. Chuck called me to tell me the UPS truck had just delivered 2 boxes. I could hardly wait to get home and open them! I have 9# of this roving. Its a blend of 2 parts orange to 1 part each of yellow, hot pink, and magenta. It turned out exactly how I had envisioned. I'll have this for sale at the Great Lakes Fiber show in Wooster, Ohio this weekend. If I have any left, I'll get it up on the website roving page early next week. its $32 per pound. What should I call it? Sunset? Tropical Punch?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Annette took this picture today of all seven of the Satin Angora does in the show at Canton. Aren't they beautiful! ?

Oh, yes, we've got her hooked now!
This is Vici with her new little Satin Angora doe she got at the show in Canton today. She is chestnut colored. (the rabbit, not Vici - hehe)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

This is Cyrenaica, with no wool. She is a nicely marked broken chocolate tort Satin Angora junior doe. Her mama is Mandalay, who just won BIS at the UARC specialty last weekend. Her sire is HH Hastings, a broken black buck I got from Joan last fall. I did not plan to keep any of the brokens from the litter (they are not showable) but this little gal has a butt to die for! You can't even feel her pin bones, which is SA is pretty unusual. Besides, she has beautiful sheen, and as you can tell, is very pretty and sweet to boot.

Meet the Voodoo Kids. The white is Bacaloo, a buck. With him are his sisters; Marinette, a cream, and Ti Malice, a broken blue tort. They are just short of 2 months old, and growing like weeds. All have very dense wool with lots of texture, and Lou especially has a great body. I'm hopeful I have a new herdsire on my hands here. Their sire is Mercedes Benz.
BTW, Voodoo is all healed up and looking good.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Ag School Days

Each year, our SWCD office works together with the Noble office to hold Ag School Days for about 350 3rd graders from Guernsey and Noble counties. Its held at the research station near Belle Valley (not far from our farm). The kids get to fish, learn about healthy streams, soil characteristics, livestock production, electric safety, how chickens are raised, forestry issues, wildlife of Ohio, and generally see how farming effects their daily lives.
They get to hold lambs while learning how sheep are raised. At my station, Ed shears a sheep while I explain how and why it's done, and then the kids get a quick lesson in how the wool gets from the greasy, smelly stuff in their hands to finished clothing.
Its' a lot of fun, and the kids really seem to enjoy it. We get the greatest letters and pictures back from the kids later. Most of them mention fishing and holding the lambs as their favorite things.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Pictures from the UARC Specialty show

Kudos to show secretary Kathy Taylor for such a well planned show! Here's Janet, holding her BOB certificate for her SR Giant angora doe. The doe is the HUGE ball of fluff in the show box in front of Jan.
Here's the English show. That's Liz on the far right. Joann Schoolcraft won BOB and BOS in this show. Notice Tina in the background, also taking a picture. :^)
Here is Tina and her husband, Scott. Liz in the background, with Kathy at the end of the table. They are watching the French Angora judging. Tina's colored SR buck, Golden Boy, won BOB. Kathy's colored JR doe won BOS.
Here is another shot of Tina and Scott, with judge Terry Fender. You can see Janet on the far right, doing the writing for the show.
Here is judge Terry Fender looking over one of the Satin Angoras. That's Pam and Janet writing. The blond lady in the background is one of the So WV club members, Elinore. I've known her for years. I won BOB and BOS with my Satins, and eventually, Best in Show for the angora specialty.

Friday, May 8, 2009

BIS award for the UARC Angora Specialty in Mineral Wells

Click photo to read certificate and see detail of lacework in pure angora shawl.

The UARC Angora Specialty was held in Mineral Wells, WV today. We had a nice turnout - 10 people entered angoras in all 4 breeds. I was the only one showing Satin Angoras. Judge Terry Fender shocked me by awarding Best in Show to my colored SR doe, Somerhill Mandalay. This was Mandy's 3rd leg, too, so she has finished her championship. Yippee!

I took some photos of the show, and will write more later and post them, too.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Moon over my lambie?

I know - I'm the Queen of Corn. :^)

Colorful Twins

We're getting some really loud lambs this year. We had 9 lambs born today.


It rained most of the afternoon yesterday- just light showers. Then for about half an hour in the evening, the rain really came down. In that 30 minutes, we got 1.4" of rain. We had water running down the drive, roaring through the culvert (remember that tiny stream picture from a few days ago) across the barn paddock and into the creek. The creek quickly jumped its banks. In the time it took Chuck to put on his boots and walk down to the barn, the electric netting was inundated and being washed away. He managed to grab it and pull it back away from the creek before it got hopelessly tangled or torn to shreds. We closed the sheep and lambs in the barn for the night, worried that the ewes would try to cross the stream during the night to go back out to graze.
During the night, the creek returned to normal, and Chuck replaced the netting and the ewes are back out grazing. That's the advantage and curse of living at the top of a watershed. It floods quickly, but the water drains away quickly, too.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The last BFL lamb of the year

We started out with a ram, and finished up with a ram. That makes 17 ewe lambs and 8 rams.
This is Bliss with her Lockerbie sired son. He is 25% Titus, 12.5% Loyalty, 12.5% Jamie, 6.25% Ebony Boy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Where do you put the quarter in this thing???

Looks like a carousel ride to me!

Right on Schedule

The Katahdins were due to start lambing today, and these arrived right on schedule. We had a single red ewe lamb this morning, and these twin rams were born just about the time I got home from work. There are 40 Kat ewes that will lamb in the next 2 weeks. These are hairsheep. They get thick, short underwool in the winter, which sheds out to a sleek coarse hair coat in the summer. They are shedding now, and so look raggedy. We notice a lot of birds nests lined with the shed wool.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Sheep Thrills

This morning, Collette was in the barn bawling while I was feeding the rabbits. Now, sheep don't always appear to be that smart. Often, a ewe will be walking around, calling for her lamb while its trotting along behind her, trying to keep up. However, she was still raising .....cain.....when I was ready to leave, so I went and checked on her. Sure enough, the little black guy was nowhere to be seen. So I headed out to the paddock to look for him. Up and down the stream, making sure he had not fallen in and drowned. (please, oh please don't let that be it) Check all the electronet to make sure he is not caught in it. Meanwhile, Collette is trailing behind me, bellowing BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaa every 3 seconds. Then we check behind every rock, tuft of grass. No black lamb. I looked at Collette - "are you sure he's not in the barn?" We went to look again, BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaa. Sure enough, I hear a tiny "baaaa?" in return as I entered the barn. He was in the center room, having crawled behind a wooden gate and then could not back out. I unchained the gate, fished him out, and put him down for mama. Silence. Blessed silence. Nothing but the sound of smacking lips as he had breakfast. Collette looked up at me, smug and serene, as if to say "Look, I found him".

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Miramar and Trieste

Here are my two red Satin Angora does, Miramar and Trieste. They are sisters - can you tell the difference? The only way I can tell is that Miramar has a bigger head. Well, and their ear numbers. Miramar is also friendlier, the result of raising a litter and getting lots of attention because of it.
Miramar has one leg. I'd like to show and finish her championship once her litter is weaned. Trieste has 2 legs, and I hope to finish her title in the next couple weeks. She does too, since she had her mouth stuffed full of wool this morning, a sure sign she'd also like to raise a litter.
I'm waiting on one ewe to lamb (Bliss) so what do I do? Right, take the camera to the barn with me. Naturally, no new lambs. Bliss is out at the far end of the pasture, stuffing herself with succulent grass washed clean by rains that have been falling steadily for about 36 hours. There are brief breaks in the showers, with beautiful sunshine and spots of blue sky. The sun is out right now, but the sky to the west is grey and threatening.
This is the tiny stream that runs out of the ravines north of the house, through the two paddocks served by the old sheep barn, under the road through this culvert, along the side of the main barn, and into the main creek. I love the sound of the water. We get turtles in this little pool, which are fun to feed cat food in the evening.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Miramar and her litter

Miramar's litter is getting big now. There are 2 chocolate does, and I can't seem to get the 4 chocolate agoutis sexed - they keep movng around too much to keep track. :^)

Look what I got!

I'm beginning to figure out the game the sheep are playing this year. All I need to do to get a ewe to lamb is leave the camera at the house when I check the barn. And just yesterday, I told my boss I had given up hoping for a black lamb this year, and see what I got today?Shoulda' said that earlier in the game! This is Collette, with her new son. The sire is Lockerbie, making him 25% Titus, 12.5% Jamie, 6.25% Ebony Boy, 1% Laird.

Oh great - some new hosta eaters have arrived

The new fawns are starting to arrive.    We have a love/hate relationship going.  The deer love to eat our flowers, and we hate it.  L...