Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some things to ponder on sheep............

I wrote these thoughts in answer to some questions a friend asked, and she found them helpful enough, I thought I'd share some questions to ask yourself. They are questions I ask myself from time to time.

For a small flock to be profitable, you need to focus in on what 2-3 things are most successful - taking into account your interests, limitations and abilities. What I like about sheep is that they do produce multiple products, giving them the potential to be more profitable than other livestock.

Take a look at the breed(s) you have. What are their strengths? Weaknesses? How are you taking advantage of their strengths? If you are not using them to their advantage, why not? If you don't want to exploit their advantages, why do you have them?

Selling breeding stock can be successful, but you will need to spend time on advertizing, promotion, record keeping, culling and selecting to develop a reputation for good breeding stock.

OK - wool. You can market it yourself. It CAN be a profit center. However, you either need be willing and interested in spending the time to market individual fleeces, or rethink your marketing plan. A different way would be to produce a high quality wool to sell at wholesale price to someone else who will retail it. (think making a run of yarn, etc) But to do that, you need to be producing a fairly homogenous type of wool. You'll need several fleeces, and they need to be of consistant breed and type.

I think a MAJOR problem in the US sheep industry is that we try to do too many things. In the UK, they either focus on breeding purebreds, or producing mules, or buying mules and breeding them all to a terminal sire to sell all the lambs for meat. We try to do all the steps, and end up messing around with too few ewes and too many rams and too many breeding groups and not doing any of it well. :^)

Somerhill Newmains

Another pretty face, this fellow just left for the "Big E", a sheep show in Massachusetts, on Wednesday. I drove up to Cleveland and met someone who was attending the show with a trailer load of natural colored sheep, and she took him the rest of the way. He will be living in New Hampshire now.
He also is Titus/Loyalty breeding, and is a twin to the other ram lamb I am keeping back to use for breeding this fall. His twin brother, Nethy Bridge, will sell at the Banner show & sale in Wooster next spring.

Somerhill Neilston

One of my picks for limited breeding this fall. He is Barlaes Titus/Loyalty breeding, out of my best ewe line. He's codon tested ARR/ARR. Although he is a triplet, he is well grown and will be ready to breed some ewe lambs in November.
The girls will swoon when they see those long eyelashes.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rabbit on a Stick

For those of you who can't get enough of the "fair food on a stick".

2# deboned rabbit meat, cut into cubes
3 T olive oil
clove of garlic, minced
1 T rosemary
3 T grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Combine ingredients in gallon baggie and marinate rabbit overnight in refrigerator.
Place rabbit on skewers, roll in flour, egg, and then seasoned breadcrumbs. Brown on all sides in skillet, then place skewers so that ends are on the edge of a dish or pan, suspending the meat; and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Stuffed Rabbit Armagh

1 whole rabbit
3 T olive oil
2 T flour
2 c breadcrumbs
2 lg cooking apples, chopped
1 T thyme
1 T salt
1 egg
3 T butter
1 lg onion, chopped
2 T parsley
1 T sugar

Wash and pat dry rabbit, then rub with olive oil. In skillet, melt 2 T butter and onions, fry til soft. Add apples, fry til soft. Add remaining butter, remaining ingredients, and fry until browned. Place rabbit in casserole, stuff with stuffing mix, place excess stuffing around rabbit. Add about 1 cup chicken broth, cover with foil, and bake for 2 hours at 350. Add more broth as necessary to keep stuffing from drying.

Recipe??? :^(

Last Friday was the first week I missed posting a recipe since I started doing that in November of 2009. Sorry...... I'll post one right away!

The blimp

This came directly over our building at work on Friday PM. What fun! Everyone dashed outside to get a better view.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Wool Gathering

Please plan to come to the Wool Gathering at Young's Dairy north of Yellow Springs in western Ohio this weekend. (south of Springfield)
This is a BIG fiber event with loads of things to see, touch, and buy. Plenty of kids activities, and if your family does not want to spend lots of time shopping, send them out to do the fun activities at the dairy, or drop them off at the restaurant to eat ICE CREAM!

Here is more info on the festival.

I'll be there as a vendor, on the left wall of the lefthand tent, about halfway back. Come visit and say "HI"

Monday, September 13, 2010


His legs keep getting longer! Check out the ears - he's defective. LOL
What a good, smart boy he is!

More Colors

These will be available at A Wool Gathering this weekend, too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rabbit Summer Sausage

From my friend, Dustin Maschino of Dusty's Angora Haven.
2# ground rabbit
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp mustard seed
5 tsp liquid smoke
2 T Tender Quick curing salt
1 c water
Mix together in bowl, divide into logs.
sprinkle with more pepper, pat in.
Wrap in netting (Dustin used aluminum foil, poking holes to allow drippings to escape)
Then wrap in plastic wrap (Dustin skipped this step)
Refrigerate for 24 hours.
Remove plastic wrap and place on broiler rack and bake at 300 degrees for one to 1.5 hours.
Remove netting once you can handle - netting will stick once its cooled.
Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 24 hours before eating.
Thanks, Dustin!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Transport Available to Northeast

I can get sheep transported from here to the Big E livestock expo in West Springfield, MA in midSeptember. Contact me soon to arrange for health papers.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Look what I've been up to this weekend

These will be available at A Wool Gathering in Yellow Springs (S of Springfield) on the weekend of September 18-19. Its BFL lambswool - 2 ply, 3.5+ oz, 250 yd skeins. You won't believe how soft until you touch it!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lamb Osso Buco ala Melanese

From one of my customers at the market:

1/2 c butter
4 ea lamb shanks
1# lamb stew pieces
1/4 c flour
1/2 c dry white wine
1 c peeled tomatoes chopped or used crushed

grated rind of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, finely grated or minced
anchovies (optional)

In large sauce pan melt butter. Flour meat well, then brown well in butter. Pour in wine and allow to simmer until wine is evaporated. Add tomatoes and leave to simmer over low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring frequently. Cook until meat separates from the boe and add water as needed. (I plan to use a crock pot)
Serve over risotto, fettuccine or linguini type pasta. Sprinkle garnish on top.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Trieste Siesta

News from the Fraleys

Here I am with Maddie and Alex Fraley and their BFL yearling ewes, Babydoll and Vogue. The girls showed at the Stark county fair in open class this morning under judge Budd Martin. He placed the ewes 2nd and 3rd in a class of 7. He then selected them as first pair of ewes.
Alex also showed a ewe lamb and ram lamb, and placed 3rd out of 6-7 in those classes, too. In each case, the sheep were complimented on their excellent feet and legs and length of body.
I think once the girls get a better handle on fleece care and presentation, they'll be hard to beat!

Look who was waiting for me at work this AM

How cute! Seems we get to see a lot of wildlife here around the office building. Butterflies, hummingbird moths, lots of birds, a blue heron, the occasional deer. We see eagles and vultures flying in the aircurrents that rise off the hillside on the other side of the freeway from us. Yesterday, we had a bat flying around inside the entryway. All the women upstairs in hospice were screaming like girls. Us farmgirls downstairs just rolled our eyes, blocked open the doors to the building, and waited for it to fly away.

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...