Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Weather Coming!

Wild Rose Farm had a great time at the Christmas At The Village event yesterday.  We saw several of our regular yarn & wool customers and got to meet a couple more!  We've been handing out the "Save The Date" cards for the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival.  Last night bunches of them made their way into the hands of knitters & fiber folks to take back to their friends and their clubs or guilds.  The camera battery ran out, so no pictures of the show ..... :(    I hate when that happens!
It sounds like we have the snow and cold coming our way tonight.  It was raining earlier today, but the temps dropped and the flurries have started.  It may be a winter wonderland tomorrow ..... we brought Glenda up to the barn yesterday so she has shelter from the cold rain.
As of today, 14 ewes are marked as being bred ..... 7 more to go!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Christmas At The Village

Wild Rose Farm will be at Old Economy Village  on Saturday December 11th for their "Christmas At The Village" event.  We will be selling our yarns, wool, quilt batts, combed top, etc at the Weihnachtsmarkt located in the Granary building.  There will be other local craftsman & artists selling their own unique gifts & hand-crafted items.  The event is from 2PM - 8:30PM ...... you get to stroll through this historical site along lantern lit walkways ..... it's really a great family activity for Christmas.  I always find some really neat one-of-a-kind gifts here. 
The theme this year is Christmas Around The World ..... Hope to see you there!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Ram

Ram & Ewe #329
We put our Rambouillet ram in with the ewes on Sunday.  After first stopping at the mineral feeder for a few minutes, he quickly found a girlfriend.  She was none other than Wild Rose Farm #329!  She's been in the news lately because we shipped her prize winning fleece to the  Lancaster Spinners & Weavers Guild   a couple of weeks ago.  They are studying different breed fleeces, and this was their Rambouillet review.  Here she is hanging around with the ram.
Yearling Rambouillet #403 &Aged Rambouillet #321
  The rest of the ewes decided that the mineral feeder was a good place to loaf too.  Their ear tag numbers are spray painted on their hips .... makes it much easier to identify who is marked with the ram's breeding harness crayon in the light at dusk.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Sorting Sheep

#802 & Ewe Lambs
On Sunday we put our Rambouillet ram in with the breeding ewes.  It's a multi-step process that started with us first sorting off the lambs.  Some are being retained as breeding stock and some are freezer lambs.  We're keeping one registered Rambouillet ram lamb out of our #802 ewe.  We're also keeping about 10 Rambouillet ewe lambs and 3 crossbred ewe lambs.  Here are the "keepers" and a few others out with #802 (on the left), the Wild Rose Farm "grandma".  She'll be 13 years old and we're not going to breed her this year.  Believe me dear readers, she is not happy to be stuck with the lambs ..... she is looking towards the other sheep and of course, the lambs will follow her lead. 
Some of these lambs are for sale.  All are sired by our Rambouillet ram.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Temperatures Dropping!

Boy did the wind start kicking up this afternoon at Wild Rose Farm ..... we had rain, some heavy, for the last 2 days and now the temperature is dropping to 23 degrees F overnight.  At least we don't have to take water back to the sheep any more.  The rain was enough to soak in and recharge the water table, so the middle water tank is flowing now.  The ewes and ewe lambs were really frisky tonight at feeding time.  Jumping and running and head butting.  It's the cold weather and the time of year - breeding season - causing that behavior!   I even got to drive the tractor ....... you can really feel the wind when you're perched up on the seat. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

How Dry Is It?

It seems that if you're not a farmer or not relying on a well for water, you may not be aware of how dry it is around here.  The ewes have been moved to a section of pasture served by our "middle water tank".  This tank is fed by a spring development that always goes dry seasonally.  That season is usually August through September.  Unfortunately, it's not producing a flow of water right now.  That means carrying buckets or running our portable 35 gallon poly tank out on a wagon to where the sheep are grazing.  Of course the temperature "spiked" today up into the high 60's, so the ewes were thirsty.  Time for some heavier rains to get the ground charged up again! 
Here's a look at one of our other dependable spring developments.  This tank is gravity fed by a spring that originally came from the farm spring house.  When we bought "Wild Rose Farm", all that was left of the spring house were a few stones and a collapsed & rotted roof.  We developed the spring as part of our farm conservation plan.  This summer we replaced the old tank and directed it's outflow to a new 2nd tank.  In the picture you can just see the light colored tip of the 2nd tank in the upper right of the picture.  Now what's that floating in the tank?  A bundle of barley straw!  Yes, an old time solution to the green slime build-up in tanks & ponds ..... the water is now clear enough that you can see the inflow pipe under water and the overflow stand pipe.   So ...... these water tanks are full and flowing, but the sheep are somewhere else grazing!  
Moving To New Pasture

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Fall Sunset

There was a glimmer of sunshine this evening after a mostly overcast day.  The skies are really clear overnight and the moon is really bright out there right now.  We'll be bringing the ewes up to the barn tomorrow to de-worm and "tag" them in preparation for breeding season.  Thanksgiving weekend is when we traditionally turn in the ram at Wild Rose Farm.

Monday, November 15, 2010

BSOD Strikes Wild Rose Farm

We are just getting back on line after being hit with the Blue Screen Of Death on our PC.  We've been thinking about a laptop for some time just for the portability - what else? - so that's what I'm on now.  The big PC is visiting the shop & we'll see what happens.  Meanwhile, we just installed web access on this laptop and we're stumbling around setting this thing up! 
No pictures for now, but we did take some lambs to the auction today.  It was time to move a few of the ram lambs out.  We have several crossbred ewe lambs that would make a good starter flock ..... get in touch if you'd like to give them a good home. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Just Grazing Around!

Not much is going on now at Wild Rose Farm ..... the ewes are out grazing the fall pastures.  The ram is back at the barn waiting for Thanksgiving weekend, our traditional time to start the breeding season here.  We finally had a really hard frost here on Sunday and it's been very cool at night this week & looks to warm into the 60's during the day. 
Just before the wind and really cold temps on Sunday, we got a really nice look at the final leaves of the season.   They're mostly gone now ...........
Dawn Redwood
If you have a large yard or a farm, you NEED one of these!

Sugar Maple

Hemlock With Maple Leaves
Wild Grape Vine Leaves


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Barn Renovation

Local Barn Renovation
This barn is several miles away from Wild Rose Farm on a country road.  We passed it on the way to buy pumpkins.  Wow!  I don't know about you, but to me it's really sad to see old barns that aren't being used & are falling down.   There were beef cattle around this barn in years past, but now there seems to be some horses in the pasture.  Did the farm change hands?  We're not sure, but it's really great to see this renovation work with a new blue metal roof and fresh siding.   Who wouldn't love to have the nice outbuildings too? 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch ............ 12 year old Rambouillet #802 leads the ewes & ewe lambs to the feeders!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Butting Heads

As soon as the weather cools down and the days get shorter, the sheep get friskier at Wild Rose Farm.  Today there was a bunch of head butting.  By the time I ran in and got the camera, things had settled down a bit.  This is the last face off involving "U", the aggressor, and Rambouillet ewe #329.  What a coincidence, since we just shipped off the champion fleece of #329 and I didn't realize it was her until I double clicked & enlarged the picture.  Look, there's another of the volunteer pasture pumpkins just under "U". 
And what's up with this little lamb?  Doesn't she know that the minerals are inside the feeder???  :)

Friday, October 29, 2010

New Home!

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but we've been having a few problems with our computer and hadn't been able to download pictures, etc.  I hate when that happens!  Things still aren't back to normal, but we'll just have to keep hacking around.  With a business trip out of town & other unexpected family events, the time goes by quickly. 
This young Dorset x Rambouillet crossbred ewe lamb is headed for a new home.  She joins another ewe bought a couple of years ago by Chris.  She'll probably be spoiled and live quite the cushy life up in Butler County.   Right now you couldn't convince her that leaving Wild Rose Farm is a good thing .... baaaa, baaaa, baaaa!
We got a request for some Rambouillet fleece from a guild out in the eastern part of the state, so we're shipping the Reserve Grand Champion fleece from the Hookstown Fair.  Hopefully we'll get pictures of the results and comments that we can post here.  The guild was referred by Andrew, who bred a ram that we used for 2 years.  The champion fleece came from #329, a 2 year old Schafer ram daughter.  Pictured below is #403, one of the yearling daughters of the Schafer ram & our friendly cookie eating #330 ewe, seen previously in these pages nosing up at the camera.  You can see the density of her fleece.  Last spring, her fleece tested at 21.1 microns.  Can't wait to see it at shearing next spring!  That's #405 standing lengthwise behind her ...... also a Schafer ram daughter out of our #327 ewe.
Rambouillet Yearling Ewe #403
Note to sheep watchers: the whiter sheep in the picture are Dorsets or Dorset x Rambouillet crossbreds. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yarn Pics ......

After washing and drying some of our naturally dyed yarn, I took it outside to take a few pictures in the natural light.  The sun was starting to set & our Rambouillet ram seemed to think that it was feeding time again.  Here he is walking up to see what's going on.  See the pumpkin growing in the pasture?  Several pumpkin, squash, or gourd plants end up in the fields every year ..... they germinate on their own from the seeds of the pumpkins that we feed to the sheep after the season is over. 
In fact, it's time to go out and buy the Wild Rose Farm fencepost pumpkins for this year!
The colors of the yarns didn't come out well in the slanting sunlight, so here they are again on a stack of fence rails that we're saving for another project.  (Notice that the ram is behind the posts with new rails and 2 strands of electric high tensile wire.  You can just see the wire above the pumpkin.)
The blue yarn is dyed with indigo and the green/multi yarn is deep yellow osage orange overdyed with indigo.  The wild grapevine gives a better idea of the colors .........

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back To Grazing

The sheep are back to grazing as of Friday.  They are really enjoying this after munching on round bales of hay for the last couple of months.  It was just soooo dry at Wild Rose Farm that we didn't want to stress the grasses and permanently set back the pastures.  Now that we've gotten some rain, the pastures aren't "burnt out" like they were. We also had the hydraulics repaired on the tractor, so we can follow behind the sheep and brush hog when they're done.  This will be the final pass of grazing for the year.  The leaves are changing color and the maples look really pretty right now.  The hot & dry weather caused a lot of the leaves to just turn brown and drop off in the last several weeks ..... you can see that in some of the background trees. 
We were breaking down the round bale feeders and the clanging brought the sheep running over to see what they were missing.  The banging must trigger their feeding response because, here they are, with that "What did you bring us to eat?" look!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Cleaned Up

Not sure who cleaned them up, but the corn husks were gone the next morning.   Here is Wild Rose Farm #404, one of our yearling Rambouillet ewes, trying a bite.  After making dinner Saturday night, we tossed in the leaf trimmings from a head of fresh local cauliflower ...... they were gone the next morning too.
Wild Rose Farm #404 Rambouillet Ewe
Side note ..... I'm looking at some of the fleeces developing on the yearlings like #404 and the ram.  We may just have to put sheep covers on some of the sheep.  The fleeces look really nice ......

Friday, October 1, 2010

Fall Sky

The sky was really striking tonight over Wild Rose Farm ...... the red really started to jump out at sunset.  We had just finished husking sweetcorn & the husks were throw in to the sheep.  The ewes mostly ingored them, the ram in the outside field munched his down, & Glenda ran away from them.  She circled back after about 15 minutes, tentatively sniffed them, and finally decided to eat one.  We'll see if they're cleaned up by morning!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Somebody's Watching Me .....

Do you ever feel like you're being followed, so you turn around to see who's there?  She definitely did not like the flash and backed right out of the chute!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Returned ..........

We're back from a trip to Columbia, MO for a wedding ........ we don't travel much for long periods of time since we have to get someone to take care of the animals.  Thanks to one of our good friends for handling feeding duties twice a day while we were gone.  Columbia is a typical college town, complete with interesting bumper stickers and dreadlocks(looks like a lot of effort goes into these).   Both pics were snapped at the Columbia Farmers' Market.
The University of Missouri campus is just beautiful & so was the weather.  
Then it was off to the State Capitol in Jefferson City on the way home.  Here's a detail shot of the art & architecture in the capitol building. 
At 10am on Sunday morning, we ended up getting a private tour of the building including the House Lounge & the now famous/formerly infamous Thomas Hart Benson "Social History of Missouri" mural. 
We had a great trip and now it's good to be back home ........ always lots to do here! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Look Who's Here!

Introducing Glenda, our new donkey!  We have been waiting for Glenda to be ready after we picked her out.  She is taking the place of Claire as our flock guardian.  Our friend & breeder stands behind her donkeys with a guarantee.  Not all guard animals, be they dogs, llamas, donkeys, or mules are suited to all species or situations in which they are placed.  While conditioned to all types of animals such as cattle, sheep & lambs, goats & kids, chickens, guineas, alpacas, etc., sometimes a particular "match" doesn't work out.  Guard animals have been known to take a dislike to certain indivduals &/or certain colors of animals or even ignore the animals that they are supposed to watch over.  Long story short, is that the beautiful chocolate Claire returned to "donkey valley" and will be working as a breeding jenny.  She has an excellent temperment and should be a great mother.
Meanwhile, Glenda will be learning her way around Wild Rose Farm.  After she arrived and was unloaded, she went straight down the aisleway to join her new sheepy charges.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Ram By Any Other Name .....

Guess who did this damage at Wild Rose Farm?  Of course, it was the ram.  This was the second time in 3 weeks that he broke a fence board around his pen.  This time he broke 2 different boards, so it was time for an intervention of sorts.
Here is the repair underway. The board at "ramming height" has been replaced by a triple layer of lumber all the way around the pen. Actually, this isn't the first ram to break boards ..... they seem to pick a spot in between posts where the boards have some "give". Then they just worry that spot until it breaks. We had the spare lumber available after tearing out a retaining wall, so there really wasn't any expense involved. To be fair, fall is coming & with the shortening days, it's time for sheep breeding season to start. During the repair operation, the ram stood in the paddock and gazed wistfully down at the ewes!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All Faired Out!?!

The fair season is winding down now & we're into typical September weather.  The clouds were fluffy and the wind was blowing on Saturday morning when we got to Canfield.  Our first stop was the Jersey & Guernsey dairy cattle show where we got out of the wind for a while. 
I just love the "colored breeds" of dairy cows.  Looks like the Guernsey breeders are having fun with the judge .......
Speaking of judging, we talked about "reasons" in the blurb about the market hog about a week ago.  Here is the scorecard from the hay & grain judge for the Grand Champion Hay.  I would guess that 100 is perfect in this particular scorecard  ...... it sure looked tasty!
I suspect that Wild Rose Farm was one very few people snapping pictures of champion hay, but we had to get in line to wait for the next picture.  This is the 2010 Canfield Fair Grand Champion Squash!  Can you imagine loading this one up for the journey to the fair?  Wow.  Those world champion growers keep pushing the limits. 
On our way out of the fair, we passed this colorful exhibit near the old fashioned steam engine displays ....
So, another year, and another Canfield Fair is almost over.  After traipsing around all day enjoying the food and exhibits, we felt a little like these sheep.  I bet it's their last fair of the season too! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Seen @ Big Knob Grange Fair

Look at the shine on that Caddy ....

Country Commentary - It Speaks For Itself !!!

Dear Wild Rose Farm followers ........ it's off to the Canfield Fair on Saturday, so stay tuned.  What will we find to share with you next time???

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

One Busy Dog!

This is Squeak ...... Squeak belongs to our friend shown here helping us load some of his nice 2nd cutting hay onto our trailer. 
She is an Australian Cattle Dog or what is commonly called a "Blue Heeler".  She is 2 years old and what a bundle of energy she is ...... She lives on a farm and has cattle to herd, but she also loves to play games.  Apparently she is a groundhog killing machine, which is a good thing on a farm.  Ground hog holes can cause horses & cattle to break their legs if they step into them.  The other Blue Heeler on this farm, Zippy, is a "retired" red colored dog ..... in her prime, she used to lurk near the cattle at feeding time and snap starlings out of the air!
Anyway, here's Squeak worrying a tire swing for fun ....... just jumping all over it.  This is the best picture we got ..... even the sport setting didn't seem to be fast enough.
Next she furiously barks and chases a bowling ball all over the driveway.  The fingerholes are stuffed with corncobs to prevent her from getting a grip on it with her teeth.  Another favorite game?  Chasing a Kong Toy whipped into the fields off the end of a pool cue for leverage.  She usually catches it in the air on the 1st bounce and runs back with it for more.  Who needs TV when you've got this kind of entertainment?
Green Acres is the place to be .............  :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Wool Winners!

Here are the Wild Rose Farm fleece placings from the Hookstown Fair.  Fleeces are judged on Friday afternoon, so we wait 'til near the end of the fair to get our results.  This year, one of our 2 year old Rambouillet ewes out of the Colorado Schaffer ram had the Reserve Grand Champion Fleece in the wool show.  Her fleece is what we're looking for ..... fine with a longer staple length!  Her fleece tested at 20.2 microns.  This fleece is available for sale.  Let us know if you want more details or a sample. 
Our Dorset x Rambouillet crossbred fleeces (aka the "Commercial Class) won the 1st & 2nd place ribbons in their class.  The 1st place fleece is from #29.  Her fleece has been purchased by handspinners in the past. 
Finally, the Dorset fleeces also got 1st & 2nd in their class.  These are nice lofty, bulky fleeces! 
All in all, we're pleased with a very good showing.  :)  Contact us if you're interested in any of these fleeces.

Another Hookstown Fair closes for the record books!  Oh yeah, that Grand Champion market hog from one of our previous posts sold for $4.50/lb at the 4-H Livestock Auction on Friday night .....
AND, Wild Rose Farm successfully bid on a pen of chickens at the auction.  The 3 birds were delivered to our freezer this evening.  We believe in supporting 4-H and we get a chance to enjoy some great meals this winter!