Tuesday, March 30, 2010
When we first got our Bluefaced Leicesters (BFL) my first goal was to establish different bloodlines, since they were so rare in the US. Now, 15 years later, there are quite a few breeders, and enough new genetics have been imported from the UK that inbreeding is no longer an issue.
So now - I am selecting for productivity traits. I have a flock that can lamb unassisted, and have nicely shaped udders and well placed teats so that I don't have to supplimental feed the lambs, or help them learn to nurse. I want ewes with nice, long, strong backs that can carry triplets without becoming broken down and sway-backed. I also select for stock that is up on their pasterns, since my flock is expected to graze year-round, which means a lot of walking. Also, I want heavily pregnant ewes that don't have weak pasterns, and rams that can support their weight on their back legs for breeding.
Like most Leicesters due to their roman noses, BFLs can have bad bites. So I am careful to select for lower teeth that meet the upper dental pad. I also have to watch for good fleece coverage, since BFL are prone to "peeling" along the belly, chest, and around the leg and tail area.
Of course, since I am raising registered stock, I also need to select for proper breed type. Besides good general conformation, I also want good blue skin color, correct lock structure in the fleece, a big roman nose, and ears that are properly set. Its fun, but hard work, and maybe someday I will have "perfect" sheep
Monday, March 29, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
These are Hannelore's girls - Tibbie and Tabitha. Tibbie comes from Tibbie Pagan - a poetess. Not sure if I will be brave enough to use the full name when I register her. What do you think? They are HUGE! But Hanna is big, too, and popped them out. They are constantly eating, and very active already.
These are Caliope's triplet girls, who were cold this morning at 25 degrees. They got to sleep in front of the heat exchanger in my spinning room until the day warmed up. Their brother is quite a bit larger, and he is doing great - hopping around his mama. Notice the girls' matching "sweaters" (which used to be sleeves of an old shirt of mine) I really should make brother something to wear, too. How about a scarf? Or a beret?
Friday, March 26, 2010
1 2-3# rabbit, cut up
2 c white wine
1 c dried beans, soaked overnight
1/4 c olive oil
1 large onion, sliced thin
1 c all-purpose flour
6 artichokes, hearts and short stems only, halved
1 c coarsely chopped celery
salt and pepper
2 c chicken broth
2 T flour
Juice of 2 small lemons
Lightly salt the rabbit pieces. Boil the white wine until you can no longer smell alcohol (about 2-3 minutes), take off the heat and cool. Once it’s cool, add the rabbit and marinate overnight in the fridge.
The next day, take the meat out of the fridge, pat dry and let come to room temperature for at least 1/2 hour.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
Once the rabbit is ready, dredge it in the flour and brown it on all sides in the olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven. Add onions, wine marinade, dried beans, and chicken broth. Salt & pepper to taste. Cover and bake in oven. Add water if necessary.
After 2 hours, stir and arrange to avoid sticking, and add celery and artichoke hearts. Cover and bake another 30 minutes.
Whisk together lemon juice and 2 T flour, and add in a few spoons full of the broth from rabbit. Then gently fold into the rabbit mix, and serve with fresh, crusty bread.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Bijoux had a ewe lamb this afternoon. "B" is a new mother - she is not quite a year old herself. She did not clean the lamb really well, and seemed a little put off by it trying to nurse, so we left them alone for a couple hours to bond, and then moved them into a jug. "B" followed right along, and is very careful and gentle with her new young lady. Once we showed her why the lamb kept trying to latch onto her tender udder, she settled right down and let her nurse. They are getting along just fine now this evening. "B" even stood and let me milk her without restraint as long as the lamb was right there where she could touch it. The new little girl is named Joni - after Joni Eareckson-Tada. Her sire is Lanark.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This is Calais, a coming yearling, who will be for sale at the show & sale during the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster Ohio on Memorial Day weekend.
Her dam is SHF Pegasus, a nine year old domestic bred ewe who is the backbone of my flock, and her sire is SHF Lockerbie, an AI son of Barlaes Titus E+ out of a Jamie bred ewe. This makes her 25% Titus, 6.25% Jamie.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The ewes look great - sleek and clean. I love to see them out in the fresh, green pasture when they are so clean and WHITE.
No lambs born today - I suppose they are waiting for the rain tomorrow......instead of the sunshine and 73 degrees we enjoyed today.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Friday, March 19, 2010
Mama Aislinn's beautiful profile.
An optical illusion makes her look tiny, but Rhiannon is a big, tall ewe lamb. Chuck had to re-position her head to help deliver her, and she was slow to get up, so we're keeping both in a jug to make sure she is OK. She is strong and up and about tonight, under her mother's watchful eye.
2# lamb kabobs - I cut cubes from leg steaks.
1/4 c cooking oil
3 T soy sauce
2 T sugar
1 T chopped dehydrated onions
Put oil, soy sauce, sugar and onions in a gallon baggie and swish around to mix. Toss in lamb cubes, shake bag to coat meat with the marinade, and refrigerate overnight.
Put lamb on skewers, season with black pepper, and grill on medium heat for about 10 minutes, until meat browns and sugar starts to char, but be careful not to overcook and dry out lamb.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Got this message and photo this morning from Alex and her BFL ewe, Keryn. This is Keryn's 4th lambing for a total of 9 lambs! She singled as a yearling.
"Yes! Quads out of Somerhill Keryn! 2 solid black, 2 solid white. All nursed, we need advise! Unassisted in the night."
This is the slate roof on the back of our house, showing the date it was built(1886). We wanted to get a clear photo of it before we have the entire roof replaced. The front of the house was reroofed 20+ years ago with asphalt shingles. The entire roof is in need of replacing after a storm this winter damaged the asphalt shingles. As you can see, the slate roof has been patched and repaired over the years.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
These French fellas are available for sale, although they will not be ready for another month. The black one has reservations for a trip to San Antonio, TX. The fawn and the white are not reserved. They are related, but from different parents. $50.00 each. Be careful, the fawn one will attack you and lick you! LOL
Saturday, March 13, 2010
I took lamb to the market for the first time today. This is the poster I made to attract attention to the booth. It has the prices, cuts of lamb, and some yummy looking photos. I also put up something about the rabbit meat. It seemed to work - I sold stew meat, kabobs, chops, ground lamb, and a boneless leg today.
Friday, March 12, 2010
2 tablespoons peanut oil
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup green onions -- thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro -- chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic -- chopped
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms - raw -- fresh, stemmed, caps sliced
4 T soy sauce
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons lime juice -- freshLime wedges -- (optional)
cilantro -- Fresh sprigs (optional)
Directions: Sprinkle 1 side of steaks with fresh black pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Place steaks, pepper side down, in hot oil and sear 2 minutes. Turn temperature down to medium and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 5 minutes per side. Set aside, keeping warm in oven. Add butter, sliced green onions, cilantro, ginger and chopped garlic to same skillet and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Mix in mushrooms and soy sauce and simmer 30 seconds. Add whipping cream and simmer until sauce lightly coats back of spoon, about 3 minutes. Stir in limejuice. Spoon sauce over steaks, and garnish with lime wedges and cilantro sprigs, if desired.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Mules are the backbone of the commercial sheep industry in the UK. They are a cross between a BFL ram and any of the smaller, hardy hill breeds of sheep. They are known for being able to raise a good, fast growing set of lambs on a pasture system. This girl had delivered,cleaned and fed the lamb and was keeping it up in the middle of a 17 acre hillside pasture. Although it was grain feeding time, she stayed right where she was, refusing to leave the newborn to get her evening meal. I love this picture - you can see the loving, attentive mother in the curve of her body, cradling the lamb. See how she moves her rear leg out of the way so the baby can find its way to her udder?
Tonight, she and the lamb will likely join the flock at the feed bunks. By now, it will be steady on its legs and hopping around with its mother. For the next few days, she will insist that it stay close at her side, and will constantly come over and touch the sleeping lamb with her nose to reassure herself that its safe. But soon, many more lambs will be born, and they will begin running in little packs, playing and jumping with their friends.