Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Hey! We have numbers now JUST LIKE MOM ......
Yes, the lambs are marked with the same number as the ewe's ear tag. Since this set of twins are both ewe lambs, one is "39" and one is "39 dot". That way, when the lambs are in a group or at a distance, we can tell who they are and to which ewe they belong. Even a sick sheep can blend in and move with the flock when you're tryng to approach and get a better look at them. At Wild Rose Farm we find it easier to spray mark the lambs so that we can pick out and evaluate them without having to get right on top of them. Shortly, they will sport small numbered ear tags of their own --- right ears for ram lambs and left ears for ewe lambs. It's just another way to sort them out without having to check for plumbing! When a ewe lamb graduates and is added to our flock, we place her permanent ear tag in the right ear.
And finally, to those who worry about the self-esteem of sheep who are "just numbers", here's a quote from a wise old extension agent ..... "IF A SHEEP HAS A NAME, IT'S TOO FAT!". In other words, it's a pet and is likely to be overfed and give you trouble giving birth at lambing time. Who am I to argue with an extension agent?
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
2) Things are starting to gel for the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival. Quick vendor acceptance e-mails (& phone calls for those without e-mail) were sent out on the 22nd & 23rd. Formal letters to follow next week ..... a few applications are still trickling in. This is going to be the best WS&FF ever! Tidbit of the day - we have several alpaca vendors coming this year. Everyone LOVES alpacas, hmmmmm? <-- inside joke for friends of alpacas!
See you there!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
Five more weeks to go 'til the fiber festival. Get ready all of you knitters, spinners, felters, and fiber artists! We'll have juried fiber and handmade craft vendors, plus fiber animals for you.
Here we are today going over the plans for set up at the 6th Annual Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival. Darlene, Phil, Mary Lou, and Carol are shown in one of the buildings that will house fiber vendors upstairs and lamb cooking demos + food vendors downstairs. The festival will be centered in Buildings 8, 9, & 10 at the Greene County Fairground. We walked around and laid out areas for the Sheep to Shawl Contest, Sheep Shearing Demonstrations, the Sheepdog Herding Demo, and the PA WAgN Sheep Production & Marketing Workshop.
The stage & tents will be set up near the buildings and we'll have a track roped off for the Pedal Tractor Pull for the kids. Here are a couple of shots of the building interiors if you're interested as a vendor. Of course there won't be a flea-market or quads & cars in the building! This year is shaping up to be a great one with new and returning vendors ..... I'll list some vendors and their websites on this blog later after we send out acceptance letters. Remember, April 21st is the deadline for juried craft & fiber vendors!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Our shearer Don got started at 11am and he had 32 wooly sheep to shear. We have fine wool Rambouillet ewes, medium wool Polled Dorset ewes, and crossbred ewes that are various percentages of both breeds. Red ear tags are Rambouillets, white tags are Dorsets, and the x-breds have yellow tags. There is a noticable difference when shearing the denser fine wool sheep -vs- the coarser wooled ewes. Don switches from a flexible shaft motor driven shearing machine to an electric hand shear from time to time. The hand shear is used to take off the chest & leg wool on some of the dirtier sheep so as not to dull the shearing machine blades. The sheep are controlled in various positions and essentially rolled around so that the fleece comes off in one piece. The shearing area is a 4x8 sheet of plywood covered with a carpet remnant that is constantly swept clean of hay & wool tags. All of our fleeces at Wild Rose Farm are individually bagged and identified with the ewe's ear tag number. We also get a wool sample from each yearling and send it to Yocum-McColl in Denver, CO to be micron tested. We are constantly selecting for finer fleeces and longer staple length on the Rambouillets. We have micron tests on all our sheep and can help spinners select a fleece based on that characteristic. There's quite a bit to learn about wool and fleeces if you're interested! The Rambouillet ewe lamb below was the last one to be sheared. She's standing behind a crossbred ewe lamb. Finally, at 6pm all of the sheep were sheared, the fleeces were bagged, and we said goodbye to Don for another year! Misty - if you're reading this, I think I found a fleece that's yours to try! I'll be sending a sample from #29!And yes, the bags are stored with the tops open so that the fleeces have room to breathe until we process them for sale or yarn or show ........... a couple of the fleeces will make it to the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival in one way or another!
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Check back for pictures!