Sunday, July 05, 2015

4th of July Already?!?


 
I can't believe it's already mid-summer. Hope everyone had a good 4th of July. Sid and I went to Wahkon to watch the fireworks on Mille Lacs Lake. Half of the fun is sitting on the lakeshore watching the people. The other half is watching the fireworks going off all around the lake. We've had some beautiful weather so far this year.

The strawberries did especially well, and Sid's homemade cranberry wine turned out excellent. Life is good!
Sid in the new barn weighing one end of the 26' white oak tree trunk.
We got the center pole for the spiral staircase this week. It's a white oak tree trunk. It came from our friends' farm and weighs 890 pounds. According the rings, it's 84 years old. It will be the focal point of the main floor here in Ogilvie, but I'm afraid we need to make a hole in the north wall of the house in order to get it installed.
The new barn in Ogilvie is finished, but we still need to do some dirtwork before we can put up fencing for the sheep. I can't wait to get the flock moved to the new farm and see how fast they clear the brush. I will need to invest in coats for all of them.
Good news! It looks like Mystery is pregnant after all. She's bagging up and her belly is looking pretty big. The bad news is she chose to wait until after Elvis (the Shetland ram) left. So the sire of her lambs is either Mason, my Bluefaced Leicester ram who jumped the fence at the end of January and stayed with the ewes through February -- or Jester the Teeswater ram. I'm keeping a close eye on her because she's 4 years old and this is her fist time lambing. I didn't intend for her to start off with crossbred lambs.
I've decided to sell all my registered Bluefaced Leicester ewes. I have three 4 yr-olds and two yearlings. Ruby, a triplet yearling out of River Oaks Rita, is in the photo above. I love the Bluefaced Leicesters, they are all excellent moms, but they all delivered healthy triplets last March and I really do need to reduce my numbers.
I am really excited about the Teeswater cross lambs' fleeces.
I will keep most of the TeeswaterX ewe lambs and my BFL/Finn and Wensleydale/BFL ewes.  Maybe a couple of my favorite Shetlands too.
Watching the TeeswaterX lambs grow is interesting. Some are growing quite quickly and others are staying small. Of course the triplet factor may be part of that.
Jester has filled out and become a very nice looking ram. He's pictured above grazing with Mystery and below grazing with one of his sons (this is one of the larger lambs).

I have two Jester sons (Teeswater/Bluefaced Leicester) that are looking good as potential wool flock sires. They are triplet brothers out of River Oaks Rita, so they carry color. I will be at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival this fall and can deliver sheep there.
I found a new little horse trailer so I can haul rams and ewes separately -- plus all the supplies necessary for the Raw Felted Fleece class I will be teaching there on Sunday, Sept. 13th.

I taught a class for the Minnesota Feltmakers Guild in my new outdoor class space last month. It's always a fun class and everyone learns from the fleeces and from each other.
First step -- evaluating the fleece. Photo by Micah Kinder.

Students lay out fleeces as the wood fired pizza oven gets warmed up. Photo by Micah Kinder.
Micah and I working on her fleece layout. Photo by Sid Frantz.

Sid served up some delicious pizzas. Photo by Micah Kinder.
Thankfully everyone was stilling smiling during the rolling portion of the class. 
Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the finished projects from the class. But two days later I hosted the Artrageous art group here. It was a bit chilly, so we all snuggled up under my raw felted fleeces.

Photo by Thelma Olds




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