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Showing posts from August, 2008

MN State Fair and on to Jefferson!

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We brought a couple Shetland Mule lambs to the Minnesota State Fair last week. They were wonderful little sheepie ambassadors -- friendly and soft fleeced.

Their only drawback IMO was their loud voices. I kept apologizing for their loudness and the people kept saying that was what drew them in off the street. I thought it was funny how many people "baa" right back at them. ;-) We brought Elsa's twins, they are smaller and more Shetland-like than the other mule lambs, but friendly enough for a stay at the fair.

On our second day at the fair, a local news station did a segment on shearing sheep with Minnesota shearer, Doug Rathke. After shearing a Suffolk for the news cameras, he quickly did my two Mule lambs. I am now the proud owner of 3 pounds of skirted, silky soft Shetland Mule lamb fiber! ;-) I plan to bring it to Jefferson next week.

The girls look so cute without their fleece. They have plenty of time to grow it back before winter comes. I'm tempted to shear…

Horse Trailer, horns and hydrangeas

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Our latest major farm purchase -- a used horse trailer. Can we afford it? No. But I thought it was a very good deal so we bit the bullet and bought it last night.
With Bluefaced Leicester sheep, the option of popping them in a dog crate and driving all over the country is not quite as easy as it was with Shetlands. That is a great thing about the Shetlands, they are very mobile. But my two year BFL ram Dougal, is getting pretty heavy, I would guess he's around ~150 lbs. The thought of lifting him up into a truck bed isn't very tempting. This is a small trailer, but I think I could fit about 6 adult BFLs in it, or 8-10 Shetlands. Of course the gas consumption will limit its use to the bare essentials, but we will use it for hauling hay home from our Ogilvie property too. And if we ever decide to get into beef cattle, we'll be all set. :-).

People were interested in the horn growth on the BFL crosses, so I thought I would snap photos of the heads of our Shetland Mule boys…

Garden, Chickens, and Horn growth

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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 Ameri…

Micron Test Results & Updates

Good news, no more broiler losses on the raccoon front. In fact no sign of Mr. (or Mrs.?) Raccoon in the past three nights. I set up the live trap and the barn cam, but no action so far...

Cora's doing well, back with the flock and on the mend hopefully. Her bag is still warm and pink and engorged. I hope she doesn't lose it. I'm not sure what happens after a case of mastitis like this. Does it just not function the following year? The only other case we had was blue bag and the entire side was lost.

I got my test results back from Texas A & M while I was gone last week. I sent in 16 samples from our Feb. 28th shearing day. There aren't any really low micron counts as in past years' tests, but there aren't any over 30 either, which is an improvement, so that's good news.

Flock average: 27.0 microns, SD: 5.7, CV: 21.2

Here's the breakdown by breed and Individual sheep:

Purebred Shetlands: Lucy (yearling ewe) Mic: 24.8, SD: 4.5, CV: 18.3 Abby (ye…