Friday, November 23, 2007
Now that we're down to only 20 sheep here and no chickens, life has been much simpler. After breaking up Bombarde's breeding group, I only have three breeding pens to keep fed and watered. I've fed the last of the whole corn that I had bought to flush the ewes, so now they're back to hay, water and mineral until March. Hopefully not having grain around will cut back on the mouse population in the barn this winter.
I'm happy to say that Amber, Brita and Geronimo went to live in Missouri at Mark Tucker's place. I met Mark on Nov. 18 at the Mall of America and we loaded the lambs into his well-built trailer for the ride down south. It was a cold day, but they did just fine I'm told. From his reports, Amber and Brita are already coming up to him for treats but Geronimo is still a little suspicious.
The next day I drove Bombarde up to Grand Rapids, MN so that he could live at Boston Lake with Sabrina's flock. I have to say that is the very LAST TIME I will put a mature ram in a dog kennel in the back of my van and drive through the middle of nowhere all by myself for two hours. Bombarde has always been a well mannered ram. I hand-sheared him last spring and he was a perfect gentleman, he walks well on a halter too. So I expected him to be no problem at all during the trip. But after about 45 minutes of driving, he decided to start bashing the kennel. And it was quite startling to me when he did. The whole van jolted! The wire panel door bent and the lock was wrecked. Thankfully, I always tie a strand of twine around the front of the door for just such an instance and it held up until I FINALLY got to a gas station in McGregor. I tied more twine on the door and turned the kennel so if the door got bashed out, he would be bashing the side of the van rather than the back window. It was pretty nerve-wrecking, but we managed to get to Grand Rapids right on time to meet Sabrina. Being the sensible shepherd that she is, she drove her new truck with a really nice wooden crate in back that Bombarde was happy to walk into. Fresh air and fresh hay!
Now I just have two Shetland rams left...Boggart and Eli. I've put them on the MSSBA sales site as well as the NASSA site and my own website because I'm hoping we will not keep any Shetland rams this winter.
The day after dropping off Bombarde, I sold my Ashford Traveller. I shocked myself by doing that. It was my very first wheel and it was so pretty. A great little versatile wheel. But I do have three other wheels, each with it's own purpose. I'm fine with that. And I'm glad someone else will have a nice little wheel to learn to spin on. I guess it was good Karma to pass it on because that day Stan won "dinner for two" at the grocery store where he works. He came home with two thick rib eyes, twice baked potatoes, a salad, fancy loaf of bread, and a pumpkin pie for dessert. Yum, that was so good!
The other night I got to go with my youngest son to the Guthrie and see "A Christmas Carol". The new Guthrie Theater is a huge building which houses smaller more intimate stages so they can do different productions at the same time. I was in the fourth row and it was just fantastic. I hope we can see more plays there now that I know how to get there. Matt had to go to the play for his psychology class and I didn't want him going all alone, so I tagged along.
It's great for me that he's taking his Liberal Arts generals, because he had to see the Georgia O'Keefe exhibit too. I got us some free tickets and we went there on the 18th (after dropping off the lambs with Mark) . It was so great to see so many of the O'Keefe pelvis bones and sky paintings in one room. She has such a way with color and oil paint! I was especially intrigued by her sculptures which were based on her goat horns studies. They are very much like Shetland rams horns.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Here is a photo of the handy wire we use for a catch pen. It's really just a 16' hog panel that's been bent into a U-shape so that it's about 6' x 4' . We got it with a fiberglass calf hut from a dairy farmer years ago. As in the photo, I use the combo as a lambing jug in the spring. The wire portion alone makes a handy extra shelter when covered with a tarp. And I attach a 3' peice of panel for a door on the open end and it works as our catch pen when we need to move sheep around. It also fits perfectly inside the truck topper so rams can't butt the windows in transit. Really handy! I'm not sure how a person could bend the panel like that though.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
I got the deer tick about 6 weeks ago when the neighbor dog killed those chicks and I had to spend a lot of time searching the woods for the other chicks.
I wound up having to have the tick's head removed at the clinic because it was really embedded in my waistline (that was also the day I made those felted slippers and I was bent over for an hour felting them on my feet).
Anyway, they told me to come back for a Lyme blood test in about 2 weeks. I was feeling fine so I didn't go back. Until about two weeks ago I started waking up with treacherous headaches, nausea, a stiff neck and hot flashes. Some days I felt fine, but more and more I'd been having those awful headaches and feeling sick, so I went to have that blood test on Monday. It's a good thing I did! Now I'm back on the doxycycline for three weeks. At least I don't have to worry about staying out of the sun this time. :-)
I plied my first big skein on my new wheel last week. This is going to be so great! It was 5 1/2 ounces and 345 yards. I think I could get more on next time. The yarn was from my white Shetland combed top which I had spun up on the Victoria. In the photo below you can see the size of the Louet bobbin on the left as compared to the Ashford Traveller bobbin in the center, and the Kromski Symphony bobbin on the right. The Victoria bobbins are about the same as the Kromski bobbins, that's why I needed a full size Louet wheel.
I'm glad to hear from Shepherdchick that she has more than four wheels. Now I don't feel so bad about wanting to keep all my wheels. :-)
I washed Harley's fleece already. Oh, it's so nice and silky! I'm really happy with the fleece I got from mating Windswept Boggart to my Bramble ewes. I just wish Harley's horns had been farther apart, he was such a great little ram lamb otherwise. This is another good reason for breeding polled rams. Every year we put most of the ram lambs in the freezer due to tight horns.
Monday, November 12, 2007
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Beechtree Dougal, white BFL yearling ram who carries color:
Cocoa, moorit 5 year old blettet shetland ewe who carries spotsJasmine, yearling black blettet shetland ewe who carries spots
Mabeline, white 2 year old Shetland ewe who carries Ag and spots
Elsa, white 2 year old Shetland ewe who carries modified genetics
Derra, Shetland mule (50% Shetland/50% BFL) out of Cocoa and Dougal
Delia, Shetland mule (50% Shetland/50% BFL) out of Mabeline and Dougal
Granite gets our unregistered Shetland ewes. They carry spots and it would be fun to see if their colors and spots are manifested in the crossing program. The Shetland mule fleeces are long and crimpy and have the softness of BFL. I can't wait to see this type of fleece in colors too! The ram lambs will go to market. We've found the crosses outweigh the purebreds by around 30% at 3-4 months old. Of course Derra and Delia's lambs would be 3/4 BFL which should be great for fleece too...
This leaves River Oaks Lucy and Dot with River Oaks Harley for a couple weeks...unless I can find another pen for Harley until Dougal goes off to work at Kimberwood Shetlands... Then maybe we'll get Kimberwood Harrison, a black gulmoget ram lamb here for them and Abby. Dougal's ewes will go in with Granite's group for clean up duties.
Sure enough, Smokey had her twins while I was teaching up in Grand Marais. They are already a month old and still very black. She deliv...