Friday, June 23, 2017

Farm Activities ...

Sheep Watching The Cherry Picking!
We've been busy with all kinds of activities here (and not here) at Wild Rose Farm. On the home front, the sour cherry trees were loaded this year and we got a lot picked and "put up" as they say.
Cherry Picking 101!
 So far the count has been 2 cherry pies, 8 quarts of frozen cherries, and a dozen half-pints of cherry jam.  We've been sharing the tops of the trees with the birds and the season's not done yet ...
1st Fresh Baked Cherry Pie of the Season!
During some pruning work along our road frontage I discovered a previously unknown (to me) mulberry tree.  The branches were hard to reach, but a quart of mulberries managed to find their way into the freezer too!  A few of the ewes and lambs found their way over near the fence line while I was picking the mulberries and kept an eye on things ...
A Few Of The Ewes & Lambs Morning Grazing
 Do you ever wish you'd done something 20 years ago?  On one of our rainy days, we drove to D-S Livestock Equipment in Maryland & picked up this piece of equipment to add to the end of our processing & sorting chute. We've been an operation that makes the sheep pay for their equipment and this will make processing and hoof trimming a lot easier for us ...
D-S Livestock Equipment "Roll O'Matic"!
Finally, this week we took what I call our "non-committed" wool to the Washington County Wool Pool. I volunteered with check-in for both days. It's a great way to get to talk & meet with regional shepherds!  This year the high bidder for the pool required that the wool was NOT GRADED and had to be shipped in plastic wool sacks. They will re-weigh & grade the wool and then send checks directly to the producers.  This was a big change and some folks were not happy since they had already bagged their fleeces according to past practice.  We made sure to separate all of our fine Rambouillet wool in one bag.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Just Routines!

Wild Rose Farm - Done Grazing Here!
The ewes & lambs have settled into a routine now that everyone has been processed with ear tags and they're out grazing. They spent the evening & overnight in the "hospital pen" near the barn to graze it down. When you do a graze with high stock density in a limited area, they say it's a third, a third, a third. One third eaten, one third trampled, one third remaining.  That looks about right, lol, and now we'll mow off the stems & seed heads.  The sheep were off to the pasture on the other side of the Loafing Shed ...
Leading up to the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest, I noted that we were running low on our Rambouillet combed top and needed to have more made. We quickly skirted and took 20 pounds of raw fleece out to the Great Lakes Sheep & Fiber Show in Wooster, Ohio over the Memorial Day weekend. We dropped it off with Zeilinger Wool to be processed ... yay!  They make a lovely combed top for us and we'd sold a bunch at Waynesburg.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest Wrap Up

Very Cool Sheep Signs!
Finally, a report from the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest LAST weekend! Have I told you about the sheep signs before on this blog? They are sponsored by businesses and gather contest votes for favorite sign prior to the festival. Prizes are awarded, but that's not my area so I'm not up on the details, lol! They all have a little dry erase board on them and they're used all over the festival for directional signage.
Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest - Fleece To Shawl Contest
The Fleece to Shawl Contest had 3 teams entered for the competition on Saturday.  Each team has a different theme and you can see the results above. The Loyalhanna Guild has a sea theme and here they are at work!
Loyalhanna Spinners & Weavers Guild - Fleece to Shawl Competition
There were also a lot of entries this year in the fiber arts contest and here are a few in pictures from the hand-spun skeins category.
Best Of Show
Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest - Handspun Skeins
Overall, the weather was good - no rain to speak of until about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, and then it cleared up as the vendors were packing to leave.  Even the sheep signs weren't having any trouble with the weather and the alpacas were working the crowds!
Couldn't Have Matched Better If You Tried!
Lippencott Alpacas Visit The Vendors ...

More pictures in the next post ... after a week of t-storms and lambing chores here at home, it's off to the Great Lakes Sheep & Wool Show in Wooster, Ohio tomorrow.  We have Rambouillet wool to drop off with Zeilinger Wool to be made into our Wild Rose Farm combed top ... just spent most of the day in the barn skirting fleeces. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival

2017 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest
It's time for the 14th Annual Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest this weekend, May 20th & 21st! We're all tagging and packing up our "stuff".  We've got a great group of vendors this year - it just keeps getting better.  New this year is a Maker's Space on Sunday manned by the Washington County Spinners & Weavers Guild in Building #10 --- come join in! 
Wild Rose Farm will be bringing our new Rambouillet 2-ply Bulky Art Yarn.   Be sure to check it out ... it's so soft.  Thanks to Ruth & the crew at The Mill At Meadowlands! 
We're wrapping up the lambing and the grazing is good. The picture below shows the dwindling group of ewes waiting to lamb grazing with Snow White and the 7 yearling ewe lambs.  We've been brush hogging daily to try and keep up as we graze each section.
Grazing Background, Mowed Foreground

Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Her Charges In A Sea Of Grass!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Raining Again & More Lambs ...

Wild Rose Farm "Patches" At 6:30AM Pasture Check
We had several very pleasant days earlier this week and nice weather for lambing. It dried out and we were also able to brush hog parts of the pasture that have already been grazed. The lower parts are still soggy so those areas have to wait.  Our lamb checks continue around the clock & we're up to 23 ewes that have lambed. 
7PM May 11th = Left - Snow White Watching, Middle Alone #408, Right Alone #117
The second picture shows what it looks like when ewes are "thinking about" lambing. I walked through the pasture and took this as picture heading back to the barn. By 10PM, #408, who was pawing the ground in the above picture had delivered a ram lamb.
Rambouillet #408 & Ram Lamb - 10PM 
No one else delivered overnight, but our 6AM pasture check found Dorset #117 with a set of twin ram lambs under the pine trees. She had moved on from standing alone near the water tank earlier.
Here's what it looks like at 10AM today ... now #99 is starting to "stare into the distance".  That's her "above" the llama - 2nd ewe in the distance. 
Snow White & Ewes At 10AM 
Hopefully this gives an idea of what we watch for and observe when we are doing our pasture lambing checks!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunshine, Twins, & Grazing!

Sunshine At Wild Rose Farm, Finally!
After several rainy, cool, & windy days, we've got sunshine!  The ewes really enjoy a fresh section of pasture and it's not so "washy" to eat. In the rain, we stepped up the pasture checks to every 2 hours to make sure that we got the lambs in to the barn before they chilled. Mission accomplished.
We had 2 sets of twins born in the rain & 2 more sets of twins born today ...
We Were Born In The Rain, But We're Fine Now!
We're Nice & Dry In The Barn ... And Now The Sun Comes Out! 
Wild Rose Farm Dorset Ewe #118 With Twin Rams Born This Afternoon
Hey - What's Going On Down In That Sheep Pasture???
We're grazing in the pasture below our neighbors and the Goat Mahal. Of course, the goats come down to the fence to check things out!  When we moved the net fence this afternoon, we saw a doe leave for the back of the field. She probably has a fawn hidden in the pasture so we were careful not to cause too much disturbance.  It's probably gone by now. We've noticed that does will take advantage of the relative safety behind the pasture fences.    

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Rain & Drizzle In The Pasture
The last 2 days have been rainy off & on. We had 2 sets of twins born yesterday - one set in the early morning rain around 6AM and one set around 2PM in a brief sunny period. We had to towel off the morning lambs and milk out a little colostrum to make sure the smaller, 2nd born of the two got off to a good start.
When Will This Rain Stop?
It's critical in weather like this that we keep up the lambing checks about every two hours. Here's my selection of farm footwear for every scenario!
What The Fashionable Farmer Is Wearing ... Complete With Stylish Boot Jack!
Finally, a lamb conference in the barn mixing pen ... they had just finished racing around the hay feeder.  I think they are discussing their Kentucky Derby picks ...
Wild Rose Farm - First Lambs In The Mixing Pen