Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Keepers ......

Here are the "keepers" from the Wild Rose Farm 2008 lambing season.

The 2 ewe lambs above are registered Rambouillets. We only had five Rambouillet ewe lambs and we sold three to Ashley since she had been waiting for a couple of years for the Rambouillets.
The lamb looking directly at the camera is a 3/4 Dorset x 1/4 Rambouillet out of our #80 ewe. After years of twin ram lambs, she finally had a ewe. This lamb really put on a ton of growth strictly on grass.
The picture of 3 lambs shows the two Rambouillets on the left and one of our registered Dorset ewe lambs. She and her twin are out of our #103 ewe who was able to raise triplets on her own 3 times.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Winter = Warm & Wooly!

We had more snow overnight & during the day today at Wild Rose Farm. Here's a look at something that I've been wanting to share about how the sheep handle the winter weather. This picture was taken from a distance early this morning, but look closely, enlarge the picture, and what do you see? Snow on the backs of the sheep! It's even more dramatic when we've had 6 or 8 inches of show. They start to look like mounds of snow in the field. They are so well insulated that the snow doesn't melt as it falls on them. In fact, if you look just above & to the right of the ewe in the foreground, you'll see dark spots where her companions were resting before they got up. If you're out walking in the woods and fields, you'll see similar groups of "deer beds".

Today we put out another fresh round bale of hay and moved the Dorset & x-bred ewes into the the same group with the Rambouillet ewes and ram. Now we just have one group outside to feed. We took the last little group of market lambs to the auction on Monday and got a nice price for them. They were our smallest "tail enders", but at this time of year, there are few market lambs available, so it's been a good time to sell. As we were finishing up in the barn this afternoon, the snow started again. The ewes are enjoying one of their new round bales of hay. We always have 2 or 3 round bale feeders available so that every ewe can get as much hay as she needs in the cold weather.

Notice another interesting thing about animals. I was standing all the way up next to the barn taking the 2nd picture, but notice the one ewe on the left looking directly at the camera. When you're out working around livestock, you don't need to worry about anything sneaking up on you ..... the animals are very alert to any movement.

what happened?

Can't figure it out right now, but my posts below "disappeared" from the page until I added this new post ..... what did I inadvertantly do to cause that?!? Aaaacckkkk!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival Update!

Busy, busy, busy here at Wild Rose Farm! One of my side activities, just for fun(!), is my role as Craft Show Chairman for the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival. The festival is now in our 6th year and we're growing. We're also moving this year ...... we're going to be at the Greene County Fairgrounds, since the festival dates were on the same weekend as the Waynesburg University Commencement. This is going to provide an opportunity for an indoor venue -vs- the street festival that we've been doing for 5 years. Anyway, I just flashed out a bunch of emails updating our past & future vendors on this change of venue.
For those of you FIBERHOLICS interested in attending the festival, the committee also adjusted the hours based on vendor feedback. We will move up the start time to 10am on Saturday & Sunday and finish at 5pm both days.
We'll need to get the application & times updated on the festival web-site!

Here's a picture from the 2008 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival to get everyone in the mood!

Look at the eager border collie in the foreground .... was he part of the sheep herding demo?

Put this festival on your calendar if you knit, spin, felt, or crochet. If you're a yarn shop owner, here's a chance to add some beautiful local fiber and handmade yarns to your inventory. We'll have fleeces, prepared fiber, and yarn from various breeds of sheep as well as alpaca, mohair, angora, & cashmere.

The festival is also a source for local pottery, handmade baskets, local wines, and handcrafted soaps.

Monday, February 16, 2009

4 More Weeks of Winter .....

The groundhog said that there would be 6 more weeks of winter, so now we're down to 4 more weeks left. The snow cover melted away last week and the ewes were enjoying the cool & sunny weather today. This was a busy weekend at Wild Rose Farm. Three registered Rambouillet ewe lambs went with Ashley to their new home on Saturday. We sorted off the last of the market lambs on Sunday after 2 of them were picked up by a customer. The few remaining lambs went to Eight-Four Auction today. We have a couple of market lambs on reserve right now ...... basically everyone else is a keeper. We're down to the Rambouillet ram, the bred ewes, and 5 ewe lambs.

Now it's time to focus on the yarn & wool! There's plenty of work to do.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Water in the Winter?

Here are a couple of pictures of what sheep like to do in the winter for their water needs. Even while they're given access to open or free running water, the ewes prefer to eat snow. They just munch along eating clean snow in front of them. Of course, this wouldn't work if it was in a trampled down bedding area, but it gives you an idea of the adaptability of farm animals and wildlife.
Here we see Wild Rose Farm Dorset ewe #114 enjoying fresh snow on a cold & sunny day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Wooly Breakout!

Here's a look at our farm bell on Thursday night to give you an idea of what it's been like here since the last post. The temperature has ranged from 9 to 35 degrees.

All week long we've had snow, rain, snow, etc., so it was just a matter of time until we had a wooly breakout. The Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet ewes basically just walked over and out of their ice covered electric net fenced area and into the pasture. We keep them confined to smaller areas with access to round bales of hay to keep them from nubbing down the pasture grasses once they've gone dormant for the season. Sheep can really do a number on pastures with their ability to bite right down to the dirt (remember the western range wars with the cattlemen?), so this is a graziers way of avoiding that problem. Except when the fence loses it's charge! Grazing animals seem to know almost immediately when the electricity goes out.

Here are the happy grazing ewes wandering randomly around the field enjoying the sunshine. They got out yesterday. Today the temperature went up to 45 degrees, so we'll be able to re-set the electric net fence and put them back on their hay bales .....

The fence was pulled out and draped over the paddock rails to dry off.

Yesterday you couldn't see any grass under the snow & ice but with temperatures steadily rising overnight, tufts of grass are everywhere.