Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunny & Cold Again!

Wild Rose Farm crossbred ewes #47 & #50 are waiting their turn to have their hooves trimmed. Nothing like 20 degree temps to bring on a routine maintenance project like this! Actually, the frozen snow covered ground is ideal. To trim feet, the sheep are flipped over onto their rear ends, feet up, similar to the shearing position. The snow cover keeps the wool clean while they're sitting on their rumps. #50 is a really attractive yearling ewe with a 23.2 micron test on her lamb fleece. We're really looking forward to seeing her first full fleece sheared this spring.

At the other end of the spectrum is our other 12 year old Rambouillet ewe, #802. She just got a new apricot replacement ear tag today. This is her 3rd ear tag over the years. We have a picture of her with her 1st lambs ..... a pair of twin ewe lambs. She was quite the looker in her day. We checked today and she still has her teeth .... that's a good thing with sheep !

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Old Farmhouse .....

On Saturday, the possibility of a controlled demolition of the funky dining room fireplace was discussed as part of the consideration for installing a wood burner ........ well, leave the house for 6 hours on a rainy day and you don't know what you'll come home to find. Sadly(!), we have no before pictures since "we" didn't realize that a project would spontaneously break out! The lovely gold vein mirror tile glued to the masonite over the cheesy mantel was the first to go ..... :)
We had hoped that the old cooking fireplace would be stone, since it has a stone foundation in the basement, but it turned out to be brick. It was hidden under that ubiquitous long, narrow, & shiny red brick that was used to modernize old fireplaces & kitchens in the 50's & 60's.

So how's this for a project?!? The old stove pipe opening on the top has been filled in and so have the warming ovens on the lower left .......

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunny & Warm!

Warm is a relative term in January, but it was in the 40's today & sunny in SW Pennsylvania. Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet ewe #321 was enjoying the sun. Just 2 weeks ago, she was pawing in the snow! The ewes were very frisky when they were let out on pasture. The ram was racing around chasing everyone as a new round bale of hay was brought out for them. He'll stay in with the ewes until a few weeks before lambing, unless he starts butting the ewes around. He spends the rest of the year by himself, so we do maximize the time he is with the other sheep ..... besides, that way we don't have to feed and water him separately.
We got a brochure for the SW PA Winter Sheep Workshop in the mail this week. It looks like my old PSCE collegue, Walt Bumgarner, has put together a great program --- see page 2 of the brochure. I last heard Dr. Ken Turner speaking on the study of naturally occuring plant tannins as antihelmenthics. Well, due to another class commitment on Saturday mornings, WRF won't be able to attend this excellent program ...... :(
I'll have to be content to read the proceedings from the July 2009 Appalachian Workshop & Research Update.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Roadtrip For Supplies

We took a roadtrip to Lehman's Hardware in Kidron, Ohio on Saturday. Here's a look at the rear parking lot!
Among other things, we picked up some supplies & spare parts for our new Aladdin oil lamp. We're considering a wood burner and there's nowhere better to go and look at all of the options & models available.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Out & About!

We're getting ready to put out a new round bale of hay, so the remains of an old bale were spread around to provide a bedding area. The ewes are released from the area where they're feeding so that the tractor can get in to drop off the new bale. At this point, the sheep decide to follow along for the "adventure". But once they get into the fresh open snow, their heads go down and the pawing begins! The ewes are doing a combination of eating fresh snow for water and pawing to get down to the grass. Another thing to notice is the snow on Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet ewe #321 ..... again showing how well insulated the sheep are. The Rambouillet fleeces are especially dense & thick.
Here are 2 more happy Rambouillet ewes working together .....Yum! Of course, as soon as the new hay bale is in place, they all run to the bale and munch like they've never tasted hay before.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hey - I'm a Keeper!

Today we sorted the lambs and put permanent apricot eartags on the 4 Rambouillet ewe lambs. We had a lot more Rambouillet ram lambs this year, so we only have 4 ewe lambs to keep. The good news is that they were all born as twins .... yea!
We're also keeping "U", but you knew that already!

The older bred ewes were out foraging around while we put a fresh round bale of hay out for them. They really go through the feed in cold weather like this. The baling twine has to be cut & pulled off of the bale before it is ready to feed. The bale sits on a pallet to keep it dry & off of the ground and then a round bale feeder is set up around the hay. That keeps the sheep from pulling hay out and wasting it and from jumping up on top of the bale and making a mess of it.
The sheep were doing just fine, but this "bundled up" blogger was ready to come in out of the cold. Let's just say that we're not in the group of shepherds that lambs this time of year ..... Brrrrrr!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Frolicking Sheep!

Here are the lambs taking a break after a frolic in the snow. It may be cold outside for us, but the sheep are perfectly comfortable. We looked out the picture window this afternoon and the lambs were racing around, head butting, twisting, and jumping up into the air! Throwing on a coat and sneaking up on the lambs got us this shot of them running in the field.
Meanwhile, the ewes were more sedate and focused on their feed! No silly galloping around for them .........
By the way, here's the thermometer to put it all in perspective .......

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Snow Keeps Falling .....

A little snow is falling every day in SW PA. Another couple of inches fell since this picture was taken yesterday. Our temps are in the mid 20's, but it's supposed to get colder & down into the teens for the weekend. Nothing like a little energy in the form of shelled corn for the lambs!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Off They Go!

Last night was a flurry of activity here. Here's the stack of Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival vendor applications waiting to be mailed on Monday! Lots of printing, folding, & stuffing. The fellow at the post office says he has a customer who can't remember the name of the "Forever" stamps, so she calls them "Whatever" stamps. Well, I bought 100 of the "Whatever" stamps yesterday for the festival mailing. We just got the new festival artwork on the 2010 flyer. Local Greene County graphic artist Colleen Nelson did another great job. This time, the festival art features sheep gathered around open barn doors as a woman works inside on her pottery wheel.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Wild Rose Farm rings in the New Year with a Christmas gift of preparedness. Wow. This Aladdin Lamp comes from the "branch of the family" who believes that you can never be too prepared for whatever comes along out here in the country ..... ice storms, snow storms, hurricanes, and just plain old civil insurrection(!). Some people got Y2K generators, but most of us on farms already had generators and/or wood burners. Has it been 10 years since everyone was worried about Y2K???
If you want to look at all kinds of neat "non-electric" stuff like this, check out Lehman's Hardware Store in Kidron, Ohio and their virtual catalog. It's definitely worth a day trip from the Pittsburgh area.