Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chuck has taken up archery of late.  He seems to be
really enjoying it. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

Look who's here!

A ewe lamb, from Ilse, sired by Xcite.  Boy is she strong
and smart.  She practically leaped up and grabbed the
nipple and started sucking until her little belly was round and full.
Her name is Harper.

Easter Leg of Lamb

1 boneless leg of lamb
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, chopped

 Combine 1 tablespoon oil, honey, rosemary, thyme, oregano, salt, and pepper in a small bowl; whisk well. Brush mixture liberally over lamb to coat, rubbing mixture into meat. Cover and refrigerate 4 to 8 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F. Remove lamb from refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature for 30 minutes. Place in a roasting pan.
Toss potatoes with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange around lamb in roasting pan.
Bake until lamb reaches an internal temperature of 140°F, about 60 to 90 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to rest 10 minutes, slice, and serve.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reprise of March 2008 post - Breeding Philosophy

Its seems that with the start of lambing here just days away, revisiting my breeding goals would be a good idea.  Other than changing the number of years that have passed since the first BFL lambs were born at Somerhill, I'm pretty satisfied with continuing with these goals in mind.

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, 14 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. 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, good 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

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Somerhill Larue

This is the yearling ewe that is entered in the national BFL
show and sale on Memorial Day weekend up at Wooster Ohio
during the Great Lakes Fiber Festival.  She is a daughter of
Llwygy X1 and her dam is a daughter of Beeston Laird out of
a Beeston Loyalty ewe.    She will be for sale on Sunday during
the Banner auction.  This is probably the only X1 daughter that
will ever be sold, and she is a beauty!
She's standing a little tucked under in these 2 pics, but you
can see the length of body and level topline on her.  And look at that
depth of body.   She is up on her pasterns, excellent legs, including rear
 angulationShe's got a beautiful, refined head and good bite.  Her earset
is very upright and she's got good blue color.  She's very smooth and
graceful when she walks, too.
She's a little squeezed by two big adult ewes,
but you can see the super loin she has, and
also the muscling on her leg.
Baby Larue

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


This was sitting at the intersection of Groves Hill and
T Ridge roads last night.  Don't know who it belongs
to, but they must have been having a bad day.
Just struck me as funny - funny enough to turn around
and get this shot.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Sheep loose in downtown Zanesville.

Saw these bronze sheep on the sidewalk on my way
through town yesterday afternoon.  They are fabulous!
I did not notice this one is wearing ice skates until I looked
at this photo just now.  I may have to go back to Zanesville
so I can check the others more closely.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Somerhill Xtra

Somerhill Xtra.  Twin, ARR son of Llwygy X1 out of a Laird/Jamie
ewe.   He is smaller framed than the other X1 offspring, but has
a lot going for him structurally.  He's got a really pretty earset, too.
He will be for sale at the BFL national show in May.

Somerhill Xact

Llwygy X1 son, out of a Barlaes Titus daughter.
Also has some Ebony Boy and Jamie blood.
He will be at the national show in May, but it looks like he is
headed for Canada after that.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Rabbit and Wilted Spinach Stirfry

Rabbit & Marinade
2 teaspoons  soy sauce
2 teaspoons Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 pound rabbit meat, cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
Stir-fry Sauce & Vegetables
1/2 cup Tamari Walnuts, (recipe follows- make these ahead)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon  soy sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine, or dry sherry
1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil
3 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1/2 cup slivered red bell pepper, (2-by-1/4-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons slivered fresh ginger, (1-by-1/8-inch pieces)
2 cloves garlic, minced
8-10 ounces fresh spinach, (8-10 cups), trimmed
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions, (1 bunch)

Tamari Walnuts - Place 1/2 C coarsely chopped walnuts in a small skillet; heat over medium heat until hot. Drizzle with 2 tsp soy sauce and stir until the nuts are coated and the pan is dry, about 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl to cool. 
  1. To marinate rabbit: Combine 2 teaspoons soy sauce, 2 teaspoons rice wine (or sherry), 2 teaspoons honey and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil in a medium bowl. Add chicken and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.
  2. Make Tamari Walnuts. Set aside.
  3. To prepare stir-fry: Stir cornstarch, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon rice wine (or sherry) and 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil in a small bowl until smooth; set stir-fry sauce aside.
  4. Heat 1 teaspoon canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add half the rabbit, a few pieces at a time, and stir-fry, turning up the heat as necessary to maintain a steady sizzle, until the rabbit  is no longer pink in the center, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the rabbit and any juices in the pan to a plate. Repeat with another teaspoon oil and the remaining rabbit; transfer to the plate.
  5. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the hot pan and heat briefly over medium-high heat. Add bell pepper and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add ginger and garlic; stir-fry for 20 seconds. Add spinach, about half at a time, turning to combine with the seasonings. Cover and cook just until wilted, 30 to 60 seconds.
  6. Add the reserved rabbit (and any accumulated juices) to the pan, along with scallions. Stir the sauce and add it to the pan; stir-fry over high heat until the sauce has thickened, 30 to 60 seconds. Serve immediately, sprinkled with Tamari Walnuts

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Update on Ti Kita's babies

Ti's babies have opened their eyes, and are constantly hopping out of the nest box.  They've not gotten strong enough to crawl back in yet, so there is lots of picking up kits and putting them back going on right now.  Ti is getting used to me reaching in and touching them, and has gotten less grumpy about it.  She is a protective mother.
Looks like there are 3 REW, 1 lilac tort, 2 blue torts, and 2 creams. 

Oleander's babies are doing well.  There are some REW and the rest will be fawns, creams and torts.  They are still too young to decide colors for sure.

More Mess

Spent yesterday cleaning up the rabbitry and Chuck's workshop.
We won't know about the refrigerator, 2 air compressors, 2 chainsaws, some electric handtools, and my grooming blower for a few days after they have a chance to dry out.  We lost lots of paper things; books, owners manuals, etc that were in Chuck's toolbox.  I threw away most the paper and plastic in my storage cabinet.  Lost all my Calf Manna and grain treat mix.  They were in sealed containers, but still got muddy water inside.  Luckily, the rabbit feed was in a big trash can in a sheltered area that did not get the force of the water, so it did not flip over.
The buns were all high and dry in their new cages - I don't have the bottom cages in my stacks anymore.  The wooden frames Chuck built me were all covered with mud, sticks and leaves, but he hooked up a big pump to the generator and pumped creek water to wash down all the walls and floor and shelves, etc that needed to be washed off.
Once we got the electric netting that was near the creek untangled and replaced with new sections, the sheep went out to graze and sleep in the sunshine.  They'd gotten wet during the night, but since they had been freshly shorn, did not get all that muddy.  Neither the dogs nor the sheep wanted to go into the front sections of the barn.  Likely the water rushing through there suddenly while they were sleeping was an unwelcome surprise, and they are leery of going back up there.  LOL   All the straw bedding was scoured away by the water, so it must have been a scary few minutes in there!  The whole back section of the barn is full of wet, muddy straw with lots of woody debris, pop cans, and some trash mixed in.  The trash came from the across the road, where we store it until the trash pickup (on Monday, so we had a weeks worth).  We'll have to wait a few days until that dries out enough to be able to clear it out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

What a MESS!

This was my rabbitry this morning. Last night just after midnight, we had a brief but violent rainstorm which dumped 1.5 inches of rain in about 15-20 minutes.   The culvert under T Ridge Rd. plugged, causing a tiny creek about 6 inches deep and a foot wide to fill the ram paddock, flood a machine shed, &  wash all the stuff out of it.   Then a HUGE hole opened up above the culvert, which relieved the pressure and allowed all the pent up water to wash across the front of the main barn, filling it with 2 feet of water.   This morning, we have everything up to that level covered with mud, sticks, and leaves, and the barn floor has about 6 inches of pudding-like mud in it.  
So this is what the rabbitry looked like this morning..... that is my storage cabinet blocking the doorway - filled with mud and ruined supplies.  The refrigerator we have all our sheep meds in was also knocked over and filled with muddy water.  So was Chuck's BIG HEAVY metal tool box.  Both air compressors were in the muddy water, and everything on the lower shelves in his workshop,too.
The refrigerator (already picked up and righted) the big, heavy toolbox were pushed across the floor and flipped over by the force of the water. 
Those tires washed out of the shed across the road and down into Chuck's workshop.

Rabbit show in Washington, PA

Judge Ron with first place colored junior Satin Angora doe, Somerhill Saraid.   
BOB Somerhill Baton Rouge(tort) and BOS Somerhill Red Dragon. 
A rainbow on the way home. 

More baby French Angoras

Hi-Jinx and Oleander's newest.  She had 8 - white, creams, torts & fawns possible

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Eddie and father Earl Pickenpaugh shearing the sheep.  They also brought along Eddie's sons Patrick and Blake.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Lahmahjoon Pizza

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots
  • 1/2#  ground lamb
  • 4 medium plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting
  • Your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/3 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts 
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots; cook, stirring often, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add lamb and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and drain fat. Wipe out the pan; return the meat and shallots to the pan and stir in tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes begin to break down, about 3 minutes. Add parsley, cinnamon, salt and pepper and stir to coat; remove from the heat. 
Place a pizza stone on the lowest rack; preheat oven to 450°F for at least 20 minutes. Roll out the dough and place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or inverted baking sheet, using enough cornmeal so that the dough slides easily. Slide the dough onto the preheated stone and cook until the bottom begins to crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven using a large spatula and place it uncooked-side down on the peel or baking sheet, making sure the underside of the crust is completely coated with cornmeal. Quickly add the toppings and slide the pizza back onto the stone. Continue baking until the toppings are hot and the bottom of the crust has browned, 12 to 15 minutes. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Ti Kita and Hi-Jinx new babies

Somerhill Hi-Jink and GrCH Somerhill Ti Kita's new babies. There are 3 REW, and the rest are creams and dilute torts. I just weighed their 4 month old lilac tort daughter, Tiddlywinks, and she is 7#.
Somerhill Tiddlywinks - lilac tort

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dinnertime at the farm

The BFL ewes, and note Penn and Buddy in the background, also having dinner.
Across the aisle from me at the farmers market is a blacksmith.  This is his display of a collapsible outdoor grill he makes.  Today, we played a practical joke on Dan.   
Mmmmm....when will lunch be ready?

Spring Flowers

Don 't know why this little weed always makes me happy. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Saucy Coconut-Rabbit stirfry

  • 4 teaspoons canola oil, divided
  • 1 pound rabbit meat, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, minced (optional)
  • 1 bunch scallions, sliced, whites and greens separated
  • 2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup “lite” coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce 
  • 4 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 6 cups sliced napa cabbage
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil 
Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a wok or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add rabbit meat and cook, stirring often, until cooked through and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the rabbit pieces to a plate. 
Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in the wok or pot. Add jalapeño (if using), scallion whites, mushrooms and ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant and the mushrooms start to soften, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir in coconut milk, fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in cabbage, the rabbit and scallion greens; cook, stirring constantly, until the cabbage is slightly wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in basil just before serving. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Lemon and Oregano Lamb Chops

Freshly grated zest of 2 lemons
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper to taste
8 lamb loin chops (1 1/2-1 3/4 pounds total), trimmed
1/4 cup tahini (or other nut butter)
1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt, preferably Greek-style
1/4 cup diced seeded cucumber, peeled if desired
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1-3 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. 

Combine lemon zest, oregano, 3/4 teaspoon salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the mixture onto both sides of lamb chops and set aside for at least 10 minutes or refrigerate for up to 1 hour. 
Meanwhile, combine tahini, yogurt, cucumber, lemon juice, garlic, parsley and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Whisk in enough water to thin the sauce to desired consistency. 
Heat oil in a large ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the lamb chops and cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Turn them over and transfer the pan to the oven. Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into a chop registers 135°F for medium-rare, 8 to 14 minutes, depending on thickness. Serve the chops with the tahini sauce. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Beautiful new roving available

25% white French Angora, 75% teal BFL wool.   The picture does not do it justice - its a beautiful color - like ice on a frozen lake.  $5 per oz.

Water water

I seem to be drawn to water lately.  This is the Tuscarawas, one of 5 rivers in our county.  The others are the Walhonding, Mohican, Kokos...