Friday, May 29, 2015

River Oaks is on the Move

The new pole barn is going up in Ogilvie...
the new coop is ready...

and the 5 chickens and duck who survived the fox at my house are getting used to their new home...

We've got 33 two-week-old chicks in the studio at Ogilvie...

and ducklings are hatching in the incubator at my house...

I am going crazy trying to declutter my house so it can go on the market. I have too much stuff! I've gotten a million minor repairs done and still have more to do. If only I would have done all those minor things years ago.
The realtors came to stage the house and take photos yesterday. They did a fantastic job! The place looks good, but it feels so empty now without all the artwork on the walls.
They also took a couple photos of my Teeswater cross ewe lambs...
47% Teeswater, 34% Wensleydale, BFL twin ewe lamb.

Annie, 47% Teeswater, 50% BFL triplet ewe lamb

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Raw Felted Fleeces!

We had a beautiful weather for the raw felted fleece class yesterday at Shepherd's Harvest. I was lucky to get a great group of students who had no qualms about getting in there and helping out when things went a little off (like when my portable water heater sprung leaks because I failed to drain it out before winter and frozen water burst the pipes).  Thankfully Sid ran to get a new one, but in the meantime the ladies helped move our tables outside and hauled buckets of hot water so we could get started.

They all made gorgeous fleeces! Left to right in the photo above, an Ag dual coated Shetland fleece, a white  Corriedale and natural colored Corriedale/Wensleydale X fleece that was pieced together, a white Icelandic fleece, a Gotland fleece, a white Bluefaced Leicester lamb fleece, an English Leicester fleece, and a moorit Shetland.

I wondered how Corriedale would do because it's so fine and the staple length was 4-5". We were worried about it not catching in back, but it did and what a nice dense fleece/rug it turned out to be.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

My Raw Felted Fleece Class at Shepherd's Harvest

It's coming up soon, my Raw Felted Fleece on May 15th at Shepherd's Harvest in Lake Elmo, MN!
There are still three openings at this time. Here's a link to the class description and registration:

I love teaching this class because it's such an individual project. Each fleece is unique and we all get to learn from each other's fleeces.  And who doesn't love to immerse themselves in all that wonderful, aromatic, sensual wool?

I will also be teaching this class at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival in September.  I'm really looking forward to going back to WSWF. I will bring my Teeswater cross lambs and Shetlands for the sale area. Maybe I'll even train Roxie's biggest ewe lamb to walk on the lease so I can show her.

The land has been cleared and our new barn goes up in just two weeks.  There's so much happening these days! I'm still trying to declutter my house so I can get it on the market.

The darn fox took out half my flock of chickens and ducks a couple weeks ago. I'm down to one broody duck (14 eggs in the incubator for her) and six hens. Sid and I decided to incubate all the chicken eggs for the week after the attack (it got the rooster) and we now have 72 viable eggs.  That will give us lots of purebred Barred Rocks and Barred Rock cross chicks!

Because of all the housing, moving, and building projects going on this spring, I decided to cancel my booth at Shepherd's Harvest this year.  I will be back next year.  Be sure to mark your calendar to attend the 2015 Shepherd's Harvest, it's always a fun weekend.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Lambs, lambs and more lambs!!!

Things are happening fast here at River Oaks Farm & Studio -- so fast that I don't have time to post!
In this post we'll start off with photos of all the beautiful lambs that were born in March.
Luna started our lambing off on March 13th with a set of triplets which I thought were sired by Jester, my 94% Teeswater ram.  I witnessed Jester breeding Luna and marked the calendar. Sure enough, she lambed right on schedule, two ram lambs and a ewe lamb. But as they have grown older, I noticed that their faces are narrower and not as fuzzy as Jester's lambs. Also the natural colored lamb is definitely gulmoget and there were no other colored lambs sired by Jester. Then it dawned on me that a little white BFL/Shetland ram lamb (whose mother is gulmoget) was in the next pen. Then I remembered he managed to get into Jester's breeding pen early on. So now I'm thinking these three are 3/4 BFL and 1/4 Shetland.  Oh well, they have very soft fleeces, the natural colored one is wethered and he'll have the best fleece type for raw felted fleeces.  And the ewe lamb can be bred to Jester this fall since she's unrelated - so it's not all bad news. :-)

That night, Godiva contributed a nice black ewe lamb sired by OK Acres Elvis.

The next day was my birthday and also a very special Pi day, 3-14-15. That afternoon Camille delivered twin moorit gulmoget lambs sired by Elvis. The ram lamb has tiny horns developing, and his name is Pi. The ewe lamb is named Emma, after my grandmother who also shares the 3-14 birthday.

Roxie, my 2 year-old BFL/Finn ewe had triplet ewe lambs sired by Jester on 3-19. They have the most beautiful faces!

Left to right: Roxie, Leta, Rita, and Luna in back
It seemed like forever before the rest of the ewes lambed, they were SO big, I was watching them like a hawk.
On 3-26 I had three ewes in labor all at the same time. Rita, my BFL ewe had triplet lambs sired by Jester, all were white, two rams and a ewe. She's never had white lambs before, but she has had triplets for the past two years. This year I really thought she'd have quads.

Eva, a 6 year-old 3/4 BFL ewe lost a set of moorit twins sired by Elvis, due to the placenta coming before the lamb. I had never seen this before and didn't know what to do (I have since learned that one has to go right in and pull the lamb in this case - but Eva had never lambed before and she was definitely not dilated). I had a call in to the vet, but by the time she was on her way several hours later, Eva had delivered the first of the twins and the second came shortly afterward without problems.
By then my BFL ewe, Leta was laying down pushing. I thought she would have triplets, so I immediately decided to foster one of them to Eva. I was hoping Leta would have a natural colored one, but she had all white ewe lambs (sired by Jester).  I took the last one over to Eva as soon as it was born. I rubbed Eva's placenta all over it as well as Eva's milk on its head and butt.

Unfortunately Eva didn't fall for it so I put the lamb back in with her real mom, Leta. She accepted it back for a few hours and then rejected it later that night. Darn!

So Little Orphan Annie spent the night in the house.

Gracie, a Shetland Mule, delivered an Ag grey ewe lamb that night. I was running out of jug space!

Audrey, a Finn/Shetland ewe delivered twin ewe lambs sired by Elvis in the wee hours of 3-28.

She was followed by my Wensleydale ewe, Wanda a few hours later. Another set of ewe lambs sired by the Teeswater! These two are So cute.

Minnie finished up lambing on 3-31 with a nice set of purebred Shetlands sired by Elvis. A moorit smirslet sokket ram and a moorit gulmoget ewe lamb.

So 24 lambs born, four sets of triplets, five sets of twins, and two singles. Twenty-two live lambs.
It was a ewe lamb year with 16 ewes and 6 rams. I have been supplementing the triplets who seem hungry. All the lambs are doing well and growing like weeds. They are now 4-6 weeks old and I'm about done supplementing them.

I will have several ewe lambs for sale and a few ram lambs. The 47% Teeswater lambs are all white with various amounts of brown markings on their faces, legs and hooves. Their fleeces are going to be fantastic!

The Shetland lambs were all twins and singles, and they are well-fed fat little buggers. I will posting the lambs for sale soon.  I need to cut back on my flock (now at 43 sheep) because I am selling my farm and MOVING!  Yes, the sheep and poultry are coming with me; we're building a beautiful new barn for them. ;-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Another chapter closes. RIP Ozzie


In the midst of all the joyous spring happenings (birthdays, lambing and shearing) my loyal 11 year-old Australian Shepherd, Ozzie became terribly ill. He began consistently vomiting and eventually he refused to eat. I took him to the vet on St. Patrick's Day. The diagnosis was pancreatitis. He was on sub-q fluids and penicillin for a week. There were points when he looked like he was going to make it. He would bark at visitors and come with me for chores, but he never regained his appetite. Yesterday he took a turn for the worse and he passed away during the night.

I'm sure going miss him, he was a big presence in this house since 2003. He was a great watch dog and very smart. You'll notice him somewhere in many of my sheep photos. He was a link to the life I used to have. Things change, life goes on and now there's one less link to that old life. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Raw Felted Fleece Classes

The weather here in Minnesota is unseasonably warm, the ewes are about ready to lamb, shearing is scheduled in two days, and I'm home washing and felting fleeces. It sure feels like heaven to me. :-)

I will be teaching some raw felted fleece classes this spring and summer.

The first class will be at Shepherd's Harvest in Lake Elmo May 15th. I will also have a booth there May 16-17, 2015.  Class registration begins March 15th, here's a link to the class description, there are lots of good classes lined up this year.

I will also be teaching it in Ogilvie, MN by appointment. The class is about 6 hours long. The cost  is $125, which  includes materials, handouts, a lunch of wood-fired pizza and refreshments. Bring your own 1 to 5 pound raw fleece. Come and see the sheep grazing and felt a fleece! Contact me to sign up or for more information. This is a messy project, so we will need to work outdoors.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Focaccia - yummm!

This past summer, my friend Sid and I sold focaccia, eggs, and goat milk soap at the Farmer's market in Isle, MN. It's a really great little farmer's market with a friendly atmosphere. I would bring my wheel and spin between customers. Spinning always garners interest from the crowd. We were usually sold out of focaccia way before the end of market hours. Sid is a great cook and comes up with some great combos for toppings (wild rice & cheddar, red onion & rosemary, garlic & mozzerella, to name a few). The best part is, focaccia goes with just about anything.

We will be selling handmade artisan focaccia again tomorrow, Nov. 22nd, at Barb Dreyer Studio's 15th Annual Open house, from 10 a.m.  to 4 p.m. The address is 6916 Canary RD, Grasston, MN.
Barb will have her award winning pottery for sale along with other locally made beverages and edibles.  Stop by if you get a chance!