Monday, June 29, 2009

It Won't be Long Now .......

The bluebird box now has 2 young ones. I guess nature sorts out the weak ones. We'll see how this story continues. No one has been near the box for several days and the adults weren't there when I quickly got this picture. As I left though, the female made herself known by her angry chattering from the fencepost. She must have been reurning to the nest & popped right back in after the coast was clear .......

We won't go near the nest until the weekend, but I wonder if anything will be left in there? They grow pretty fast.

How about a Wild Rose Farm lamb picture or two? Here's a Dorset x Rambouillet crossbred twin ewe lamb. She and her twin ewe lamb will be for sale once they're weaned. They were born on May 4th. Remember if you're thinking of buying a lamb, or any sheep for that matter, you really can't buy one unless you already have sheep at home. They are flock animals and can be quite terrified if they don't have at least one or two more to hang out with. The exceptions are the bottle lambs, but it's every shepherds desire not to have any of them!
This is a nice close-up of a single Dorset ewe lamb from our #105 ewe. She was born on May 5th. The Dorsets have a chunkier build than the Rambouillets. She just pulled her head out of the trace mineral salt feeder ..... zoom in and you can see the reddish brown mineral on her nose. She will also be for sale after weaning.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Calm Before the Storm

Here's an evening view at Wild Rose Farm taken before the recent rounds of evening thunderstorms. After finishing up in the garden, this is how the sky looked.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

On the Move

Here come the Wild Rose Farm ewes and lambs back from the far pasture that they've been grazing. They'll spend the day in this paddock and then move to a new section of pasture. Now here's an eye test ....... click on the image below & look closely at what they've brought along with them ......... When they rush into fresh sections of grazing, they stir up insects. The barn swallows come diving and swooping all around them feasting on the invisible cloud of bugs! This is a nightly happening here since we move them to fresh grazing every evening. There were at least a dozen of the swallows swirling overhead & dive bombing between the sheep.

Also nearby are a family of bluebirds. In fact, we have several bluebird pairs in boxes scattered around the farm. This pair found an unconventional spot for their nest ..... inside an electrical box in the picnic shelter. The cats roam all around here, but they can't get at this box. There seems to be 3 or 4 young ones in the nest, but they're hard to see & we don't want to disturb them since we just discovered them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Well hey, the hay was ready!

Excellent drying weather, so the hay was ready today! If you've ever made hay, hauled hay, or stacked it the barn haymow, you'd appreciate the weather today. It was 77 degrees F -vs- some of the temps in the 90's when this gets done. It was fairly breezy in the field, but of course there's no breeze in the barn where we're unloading & stacking. What a great picture of Jerry and his son following along making sure each bale pops out just right. He sure has a lot of energy!
And look what awaits for tomorrow ..... the bales that we picked up today are on the left & of course, the raked hay on the right will be baled for us to pick up tomorrow after work. That will be all of the 1st cutting square bales that we'll need this year. We carried over about 100 square bales from last summer. That's a good thing ..... you really don't want to run short of hay in the winter. Once we get this done, I'll get back to some wool emails that I'm working on! This is just like getting the sheep sheared .... when the shearer is available, you drop everything. And as we all know, you've gotta "make hay while the sun shines"!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Hey, Hey, Hay!

It seems like EVERYONE has hay cut this weekend. We dropped the Wild Rose Farm trailer off tonight and hopefully we'll be picking up some first cutting hay on Monday. There was a window of opportunity for hay around here before Memorial Day, but if you're not a full time farmer, many times you can't get everything done on schedule. What a gorgeous day for mowing hay or just about any other outdoor activity.
Speaking of outdoor activities, look who was out today with the small group of sheep that we've had in the barn ..... yes, it's our natural colored ewe lamb "U". There are 5 lambs in this group including our last lamb born this week. The 4 older lambs were having a great time racing up and down this strip of grass as it got cooler in the afternoon. These are the sustainable lawn mowers at work!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Wrapped Up .....

OK, the lambing is officially done at Wild Rose Farm. Our last Dorset ewe had a ewe lamb on Tuesday. Both are doing well. We put the rams in on Thanksgiving weekend and don't take them out until a few weeks before lambing. It keeps them from being a separate chore to feed & water and of course, they like to be in with a group of ewes. The other aspect of this plan is to cover exactly what happened here. This ewe didn't get bred in the normal 1st 17 day breeding cycle, but probably on her 3rd cycle. By keeping the ram in longer, we get something, & it's not a total waste. Here we have a good mother who kept stamping her foot at me when I got close to her lamb. And you know that we like protective ewes!

Speaking of protective, look who else was "beside themselves" while I was checking on the new lamb ..... these barn swallows were swooping back and forth. They resigned themselves to perching here because I was too close to their nest. The photo is grainy, but getting closer was impossible and the barn was pretty dark. We have quite a few barn swallows this year. They're supposed to bring good luck we hear! They swoop over the sheep in the evening grabbing the insects that the sheep kick up while grazing.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Like Mother, Like Daughter

They learn from mother ...... here is a ewe happily munching on that bane of the reclaimed pasture, multiflora rose. The sheep will strip every leaf that they can reach. Lambs learn from what the ewes do.
Note these 2 babies striping the leaves off of the weeds in preference to nibbling on grass. In some cases, weeds with their deep tap roots are considered to have more nutrients/minerals because they are pulling them up from the subsoil. Doesn't matter --- sheep will graze brambles, brush, and weeds in preference to straight grass.

Here's a history lesson regarding multiflora rose. It was once promoted by the various conservation agencies as a natural "living fence" and as a shelter plant for birds and wildlife. Louis Bromfield in his noted book, Malabar Farm, spent a page or two extolling the virtues of multiflora rose. He planned, as time permitted, to plant it on both sides of his fencelines so that by the time that the wire failed, a living fence capable of "turning cattle" woud be well established! Aaacckkkk! Hard to believe in retrospect. Other than that interlude, I LOVE the book!