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Showing posts from October, 2008

Fall colors, Wild Turkeys, and Cattle

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The beautiful fall colors are history already. The ewe pasture doesn't look like this anymore...Or this...
Things are starting to look Novembery already. Well, I guess November isn't too far off.

Stan and I went over to the land in Ogilvie the other night to pick up a big bale of hay and check to see if the cattle were grazing our pasture. Yes, they were!
Isn't it amazing that those big beasts can be contained with just a single strand of hot wire? In the photo above you can see some of the 40 head of cattle our hayman runs in our pasture. Stan had to fix the fence and move the east line before the cattle could be put out there. There's lots more pasture over the horizon too. These cattle will hardly make a dent in it. I wish I could have my sheep over there making use of all that forage!

I found some crab apples to pick. The deer must have gotten the rest of them because I couldn't find any on the ground.

We often see turkeys over there and this time I had the c…

Lots More Wool! (and a Felt "Painting")

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Woo-hoo! I'm so excited. I got THREE boxes of processed wool back from Zeilinger Wool Company in Frankenmuth, Michigan. I got 6 pounds of Musket (almost a Champagne color) combed top, 9.5 pounds of white combed top (Shetland and Shetland/BFL cross fiber - very nice!), 3 pounds of dark moorit Shetland roving, and two queen size comforter batts.

Above you can see how the combed top comes, nicely coiled and stacked. It took me a while to ball it all up last night, below you can see the results.

I shipped the combed top order out on Sept. 18 and the roving/batt order on October 3rd. I'd say they came through in amazing time. And I can't say enough good things about the quality of the work they did. I don't coat my sheep and I do feed hay year round. So my fleeces have VM, that's why I prefer combed top. The combing process removes all the noils, neps, and VM. IMO, it's worth the extra cost to have a product I can be proud to sell.

That said, they did a terri…

Cool Mushroom & Family Photos

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Check out this cool mushroom. I took several photos of it the other day.

Two of my cousins came over yesterday. What fun it was to see them again! My dad come over from Danbury Wisconsin too. We had a nice afternoon talking about sheep, the old relatives back in the UP of Michigan, and dogs.

In the photo is me, my cousin Denise who is my age, and her big sister, Stephanie. They sure don't look alike do they? Denise got Grandpa's red hair and Stephanie looks just like her dad. On the right you see my dad, it's hard to believe his 80th birthday is coming up soon!

Stephanie lives out in Washington state. She raises Navajo Churro sheep and Basset hounds. She came to Minnesota to judge a dog tracking show/contest - sorry I don't know much about the details, but I was thrilled that she and Denise stopped in for a nice long visit. That last time they came was in 2006 when I was in the midst Bramble Hetty's serious lambing problems. Needless to say, this visit was much m…

Photos of the girls

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Here are some photos of our ewes and ewe lambs. They were posing for me yesterday morning.

Leora, is our white BFL ewe lamb. born April 18, 2008. I love her blue coloring and fine fleece.
Lanora, below, is Leora's mother. She's a two year old BFL ewe. She's on the small side, her daughter is almost as big as she is.
Rhyn is our yearling Natural Colored BFL ewe. She's a big girl.
Above is Derra, a yearling Shetland Mule, she looked so long in that shot. I got a full body shot, below.And this is Elsie, one of the Shetland Mule ewe lambs we had shorn at the State Fair.

And below is Bramble Jemma, just after feeding time.

And this is Jemma's Shetland Mule daughter, #0071. She takes after mom in getting herself full of hay.

Cattle Panel & T-Post Sheep Shelters

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There was a discussion on the Shetlands list about how to make an inexpensive shelter for sheep out of cattle panels, T-posts, and a tarp. We redid our T-post shelters this summer so I thought I would post these photos of the ram shelter. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

This shelter is made with two cattle panels, you can use as many as you want. We've used this two panel size to house about 5-6 Shetland rams over the winter...it keeps them out of the wind and rain and snow and keeps their hay dry.

A word of warning, if you have horned rams, be sure to watch for any poor souls who get their horns caught in the panels. They learn after a while to keep their heads clear, but getting stuck can be dangerous for them.

To make this kind of a shelter, we start out by pounding a row of T-posts in, spacing them the height of the cattle panel apart. So for the two cattle panel shelter, we put in three T-posts about 4' apart. Then about 7' to 8' across from that…

Ready for Breeding Season

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We finished hoof trimming and worming the ewe flock this morning! We started last Monday, but had to stop early when Garrett & Rayna arrived to pick up his ewes. Kathy Davidson also came over with BFL ewe lambs for Garrett, they were gorgeous! So it was a welcome interruption from hoof trimming.

This morning we finished off the last four ewes.This is the first time I've had to trim all the hooves myself. Something changed when we built the pole building - or was it when we started supplementing with some nice alfalfa hay? For some reason, the hooves in my flock are growing like wild fire. I used to get by with having them trimmed at shearing - once a year, that was it. But this year they were done at shearing (end of February) and needed it again by mid-May! And they surely needed it again this fall. Maybe it's the fact that we have had plenty of rain this year...

Anyway, the ewes' hooves are trimmed and I decided to worm them while we were at it. We have lots of big r…