Sunday, August 10, 2008

Garden, Chickens, and Horn growth

The garden has gone into jungle mode! Look at how tall my corn is now. There are lots of silks appearing on the stocks and the tassels are in full production. I hope we get some nice big ears of sweet corn before the frost hits. It's hard to believe we're in the second week of August already!
No ripe tomatoes here yet, but LOTS of green ones. The tomato plants were as tall as me, but two fell over in a storm last week so any sense of order that existed in the garden is now gone. I am all out of frozen tomatoes, I'll need to freeze a lot this year. Hopefully the corn too.

We had the 26 remaining broilers processed at Nelson Shine Produce in Brainerd, MN on Monday, August 4th. This was our first experience hiring out the processing and it was so worth the expense. Those birds look great all vacuum packed and plucked so clean. I hope they taste as good as they look.
(In the background is a can of orange licorice ducks that I got the Lake Wobegon shop at the Mall of America. They're pretty good-- "farm raised on small ponds". )
The broilers were 7 weeks old and averaged about four and a half pounds each. Some were over 5 pounds and some were under 4. I'm just so glad that the broilers are gone. They required a lot of monitoring to make sure their water and food supply was full. Now we're down to just our laying flock of 8 birds. The four pullets have learned to roost at night. Our new rooster is quite in charge of the older hens. He finds them food, clucking away and they all come running. He's protective of them when the dog or cat get too close, and he crows to the neighboring roosters all day long. The other roosters are about 1/2 mile away, but their crows carry quite a distance. I hope the neighbors enjoy the country sounds.

Here are the various horns in my flock. In the photo above you'll see the 3/4 Shetland in front who is smooth polled. His sire is a polled gulmoget Shetland. I love his fleece and his chunky body. In the upper right you see a 3/4 BFL ram lamb. He's got scurs about 1/2 inch or less. On the left is River Oaks Marshall, my modified moorit ram lamb. He's an F3 Holly and his horns are tight, but his fleece is really nice. He's shown below with his twin, Maverick. Look at the wool on his poll and his cheeks -- I'm tempted to wether him for a fiber pet.Below is a shot of my two boys with very nice wide horns so far, River Oaks Julius (F2 Minder in front) and McIntire (F3 Holly). Their fleeces are long and soft too. I'd like to show them at Jefferson this fall if I can fit them in the van along with the Shetland Mules I'm supposed to bring. I need a trailer!
I'm still watching Reuben's horns, he's really got nice fleece.And then we have little Bo, his are coming along too...
And we can't forget Leonie, she is McIntire's twin (F3 Holly) and has tiny scurs.

5 comments:

  1. Your lambs are beautiful, Becky!

    I know what you mean about needing a trailer. I'd like a different one! ;-)

    Looking forward to seeing you at Jefferson. I'm going to head down on Friday morning. Anyone that wants to crash at my place on Thursday night is welcome....

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  2. Thanks for the pictures and explanations. It helps me evaluate what I have at my place. (Very little)

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  3. I plan on arriving at Jefferson on Friday, but probably not until the afternoon. It will be fun to see you again and all the other sheep people. Sharrie, are you coming to Jefferson too?

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  4. I liked seeing your horn photos. It helps me anticipate what I might see on my cross bred lambs next year. I am planning to come to WSWF for the first time this year. I decided not to bring sheep and just spend the weekend exploring and watching the shows. Maybe I will bring sheep next year if I have a lot of fun this year.

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  5. That's great that you're coming to WSWF Carol! I think we will be able to learn a lot about Mule production from the UK judge that was hired for the NAMSS show. I really like the BFL/Shetland crosses, but that isn't commonly done in the UK - it's mostly Cheviot Shetland crossing. So I wonder what the judge will think of Shetland Mules...I plan on bringing a yearling Mule (T-Bone's mom) and her Shetland mother. And I will bring the Shetland's 2008 Mule ewe lamb. I chose the BFL as crossing sire rather than Cheviot due to the BFL's fleece quality and docile personality.

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