Sunday, May 30, 2010

Open House & 1st Cutting Hay

Yes, of course our 1st cutting hay was ready to be picked up out of the field the same day as the Wild Rose Farm Spring Open House.  Well, it hardly felt like spring!  Temps in the mid-80's and a little breeze.   This was the first year that we didn't put the ewes and lambs in the pen next to the driveway ..... too hot!  It wouldn't be fair to them to be hanging around all day in the sun.  At least we had the day old twins in the barn and 2 ewes with their twins.   Our first visitors of the day came early and had a chance to feed our bottle lambs.  We have 2 lambs that are being supplemented since the ewe wasn't giving quite enough milk for them.  The kids really enjoyed the bottle feeding and then we went down into the pasture field to find "U".   She seems to be developing her own fan club!  No sooner was the open house over than we were packing it up, grilling some supper, and heading off to pick up our hay.   We unloaded the first trailer load and then brought the 2nd load back at dusk and parked it in the barn to be unloaded Monday morning.  Why Monday?  Because we headed out to Wooster, Ohio for the Great Lakes Sheep & Wool Show on Sunday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Open House At Wild Rose Farm!

"U" reminds everyone that tomorrow, Saturday 5/29 11AM - 6PM is our annual open house ......
Just in time for the Wild Rose Farm Spring Open House,  Rambouillet ewe #315 had a set of twin ewe lambs today.   Readers know that we've been waiting for her to lamb for a little over a week now.  She was put in a pen at 8:00AM, and by 9:30 there were 2 lambs.  We got an inquiry on a Rambouillet ram lamb and another ewe lamb today from a young woman who has 3 Rambouillets from our last ram, the Schaffer ram out of Colorado.  Time to pull the records and see the bloodlines on the sheep that she has so that we can pick an unrelated ram lamb for breeding. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pasture Check

Here are some of the sights while we're conducting a Wild Rose Farm pasture check.   First, the ewes and lambs seem to be swimming in the tall grass!  They follow little pathways and mowed strips.  But not all is sweetness and light ...... Just over the fence, below the right side of the picture above, we find this view over the hill!
Many old farmsteads have a dump on the property.  Sometimes the dump is in an old house foundation like my grandfather's farm.  They are usually over a hill, or as far as someone could heave their trash over the fenceline.   As I walked along the fenceline patrolling for any potential lost lambs, I rediscovered this mini-dump over the hill.  It must have been out of sight, out of mind for the prior owners ........  :(

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Big Sky Country???

Is this Montana or just another slice of Western Pennsylvania?   One of our neighbor's farms is much closer to West Virginia than we are at Wild Rose Farm.  We stopped over to ask a "technical" sheep question and found him working on his tractor in the driveway.  The no-till corn planter is hooked up and ready to plant 10 acres of corn tomorrow.  There is level ground on this farm and as you can see, the "steep" sections are properly devoted to permanent sheep & cattle pasture.   This is the view "up" from the driveway. 
Several farms around here have their 1st cutting hay down and raked, so haying season begins for another year ....... 

Monday, May 24, 2010

Looks Good For Her Age!

This is Wild Rose Farm #802, a 12 year old Rambouillet ewe.  She is standing to the right of a yearling ewe and we think that she looks pretty good for her age.  At first we didn't think that she was bred, but now she seems to be filling out.  Time will tell, so we'll keep watching.   One of her companions is #315 and she is huge!   She's giving us a funny look as we come up behind her to check things out ..... "any day now", she says.
And begging the indulgence of the audience, here's a shot of some of our gorgeous peonies shown off in a classic "Lady Head Vase" .   I clearly remember us picking this out at the Thrift Drugstore on Brodhead Road in Aliquippa, in the mid-60's, as a present for my mother.  We walked to the store with my father to buy it.  This lady looks best in lush peonies .....  and she also looks good for her age!  :) 

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rainy Day @ Wild Rose Farm

Thank goodness after the downpours today that it wasn't last weekend during the WS&FF!  We had another set of twins born in the field yesterday, but we brought them into the barn last night.  No sense leaving them out at this early stage.  Here is #35 and her twins ..... one ewe lamb and one ram lamb.

While out tonight on "pasture patrol" we spotted a deer in the far corner of the field.  This is where 2 sections of our fence come together.  The doe jumped up and over the fence into the pasture ..... I suspect that she has fawns inside the fence.  We've noticed this in other years and we think that they may find the fenced pasture a safer place to keep their fawns. 
Look closely at the picture --- it's starting to get misty & foggy.  Double click on it to enlarge it and you can see the "V" of the doe's tail on the other side of the 10 strand high tensile fence. 
Aaaaaccccckkkkk!!!!!!!  Blogger is having trouble uploading pictures right now!   It's time to move on, so we'll try to add the pictures tomorrow. :(
Yea ..... pictures successfully added.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

And the WINNERS ARE ........

At this year's 7th Annual Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival , we had all kinds of great vendor booths.  There were fiber show veterans and several vendors on their 1st, 2nd, or 3rd show.  We all know how it is just starting out and we like to encourage artists who have really good hand crafted specialties.  During the weekend, we have an anonymous judge or two circulating through the festival.  They look at the booths for things such as signage, clear pricing, & product display.  They also engage the vendors by asking questions, etc. and judge their ability to relate to the public about their fiber, art, or craft.  With so many fantastic vendors, it's hard too pick just one, so we pick two!   "BEST FIBER VENDOR" and "BEST NON-FIBER VENDOR".   Blue ribbons and 2010 crocks to our happy winners ....   Thank you to all of our vendors for a great show and the positive feedback that you gave to the festival!
Best Fiber Vendor ----- River Ridge Fiberworks <-- Check out their sign! 
Best Non-Fiber Vendor ----- Tatting By Tabitha <-- Exquisite work & demos at the festival!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Room With A View ......

In this installment of our 7th Annual Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest review (!), we found ourselves as guests at the The Rosefield.   Let's call it a "test rest".   WRF jumped on the generous offer to stay overnight & be closer to Waynesburg, instead of the hour and a half drive home Saturday night and then back to the festival Sunday morning.   The B&B is not open just yet, but we got to enjoy some hospitality and stay in a nice suite.   If you spend the night at a farmstay, you expect to be awakened to the sounds of roosters crowing.  That happens at The Rosefield too, but their signature wake up call is the braying of donkeys in the valley!  Wow.  Here was the view from my window in the morning ..........     
The backroads drive to the festival wound along through farms and valleys. 
Here's one of the jewelry vendors .......
Tomorrow ..... Best Fiber and Non-Fiber Booth Contest Winners!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

By Popular Demand!

Here it is ..... the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest  "People's Choice" winner from our first Fiber Art contest.  This little brown baby coverall with "booties" was just one of the cutest things!   Everyone just picked up the little feet and smiled!   Of course lots of votes were cast and there were piles of votes for everything.  One item that also attracted attention was the green & pink tea cozy below ..... several people wondered what kind of hat it was and thought the the 2 openings were for your ears!  :)   The blue/green scarf entry in the front center came from a fiber artist in Canada, so we were really pleased with that. 
Let's switch gears and look at one of the fiber vendors, Columbus Park Fiber & Quilting of Erie, PA.  Look at the great colors on all of the batts.  Everything from natural to pastels to vibrant colors.   They also had spinning wheels for sale that customers were able to try out.  You surely want to "try before you buy" on this kind of investment!  
And, as we're also prone to say ..... meanwhile, back at the ranch, after a fabulous weekend, the wind and rain was falling on Monday and Tuesday.  The lambs were in the barn until around 5PM today and here they are just after they got out,  full of pent up energy.  One jumps and here they come!  Front & center = twist!

Tomorrow's post: "A Room With A View .... And A Loud Sound!"

Monday, May 17, 2010

Back From the Festival!

We needed today to recover from the Waynesburg Sheep and Fiber Festival ...... for the committee members, it started on Friday.  Rain barely hit the fairgrounds on Friday, but I know that it was all around us in western PA.  The owners of Crab Apple Llamas of Latrobe were being pelted by hail when they were loading to come and set up Friday evening.  Others drove through cloud bursts on their way to Waynesburg.  The weather on Saturday and Sunday was absolutely beautiful!  Saturday started @ 9Am with the shearing for the Sheep to Shawl Contest (S2S).  By 2:30 in the afternoon, these shawls were judged and ready to be auctioned off.  Loyalhanna Spinners (center) placed first in the contest.
In the Fiber Contest, I was thrilled that one of the entries from Beaver County won Reserve Champion.  Karin is from the Chix With Stix Knitting Club that meets at the Beaver Memorial Library.  She made a gorgeous shawl for the contest.   Several of her friends made the trip to Waynesburg to enjoy the festival and check out their entries ..... Karin had to work. :(
Another exciting item for WRF was this hat knit by Darlene from yarn that she purchased from Wild Rose Farm last year at the festival.  She used a skein of natural and one dyed with logwood.  Isn't it beatifully done?  We love it! 
More about the weekend to come ..... stay tuned! 
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we had 1 lamb born on Friday, but no new lambs since then.  It's pouring down rain off and on tonight & tomorrow, so the ewes with lambs are in the barn for now.    

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

More Festival Vendors!

This weekend is the 7th Annual Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest at the Greene County Fairgrounds just off of the I79 Waynesburg, PA exit.   I'm getting questions about the event and vendors, so here are 8 more vendors that haven't made it onto our festival web-site yet.  On the web-site, go to the bottom and click on "Vendors".  
Here are the additions:
Fiber Vendors: All Strings Considered, Sheep Thrills, & Crabapple Llamas
Craft Vendors & Wineries: Long Yin Jewelry, Tustin Run Specialties, Beth's Beads, Plum Run Winery, & Thistlethwaite Vineyards
See you at the festival!  If you're a Wild Rose Farm blog follower, come up and introduce yourself .... I'd love to meet you!  You never know, you might win a prize if you're the 1st one ...............

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

24 Hours .......

The ewes and yearlings were enjoying a sunny & breezy day on Monday.  It turns out that the ewe in the front had a set of twins overnight in the pasture.   But before that happened, on Monday afternoon, Wild Rose Farm x-bred ewe #29 (see her story here last spring), had a set of twin ewe lambs in the pasture.  One of our Rambouillet ewes was sniffing around her and trying to get to her lambs.   That is a pretty good indicator that she is getting ready to lamb herself  ...... she's looking for her lambs.  It's important that the ewes have enough room to get away from the others when they are going into labor.   Anyway, she followed #29 and her lambs being carried up to the barn and she was put into her own pen.   She had a set of twin ram lambs in the barn by this morning.  Then when we went out to check the pasture this morning at 5AM, our friend #325 had a set of twins - one of each.  So ...... 3 sets of twins in 24 hours.  Definitely a good day! 
Look closely for lamb number two at the top of the picture ..... getting covered with hay from #29!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Off To The Races!

The lambs were at it tonight!  The races start as the sun is starting to go down in the evening.  A sideways jump, a twitch, who knows ...... and then they all take off.  This nightly event will only get bigger and last longer as more lambs are added.   It's so funny to watch .... their little faces look so determined & serious!

Going Batty!

We've been getting some questions about our Wild Rose Farm wool quilt batts, roving, and combed top lately, so here are some pictures of the Dorset wool batts and the Dorset roving.  The 1st batt is approximately 1.5 lbs @ 60" x 22".  The 2nd batt pictured is approximately 1 lb @ 60" x 20-22" wide. 

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Twins Last Night ........

The follow-up to Friday night .......... Wild Rose Farm #47 had twin ram lambs.  Last year she had twin ewe lambs.  We're glad we brought her into the barn since we had heavy T-storms and high winds all night.  High winds all day today and dropping temperatures to a forecast low tonight of 38 degrees. 
The ewes and lambs enjoyed the setting sun in the pasture this evening and the wind has slowed down. 

Friday, May 7, 2010

Lambs Any Time Now ......

We had a single Rambouillet ewe lamb born yesterday and then a single crossbred ram lamb this morning.  Both were still out in the pasture this evening, but were brought in when one of the pregnant ewes started paying too much attention to them.  A sure sign of impending lambing!  Well, as I write this at 10PM, she has started to go into labor, so we'll be out tonight to check on her.  It's supposed to T-storm with possible hail & dropping temps, so we'll bring her into the barn after she delivers.  No sense trying to move a ewe who has started into labor ..... they want to go back to where they think their lamb might be, so it just causes anxiety.  No, we'll wait it out ......

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lambs Out to Pasture!

The Wild Rose Farm lambs have been outside enjoying the sun.  Almost half of the ewes have lambed so far with no real problems (knock on wood).  Everyone is healthy at this point!  It's just amazing to watch the newborns struggle to their feet and instinctively start to begin to try & nurse.
Once they get to be a few days old and start to venture away from their mothers, the lambs seem to do everything in a group ..... here they are following one of the ewes back up to the barn, only to turn around and come right back down again!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ewe Talk'in To Me?

This little #37 twin ewe lamb is not sure that she likes what she sees!   Hmmmm ..... looks like a little caution is in order.
One of the Dorset ewes #105, had this ram lamb.  Notice the swirl/bump on his head?  That's the beginning of a set of horns. You can usually tell at birth if a lamb is going to grow a set of horns.
And finally, here is a picture of one of our 1st timers cleaning off her lamb born on Sunday.  This lamb is up and nursing at about an hour & a half after being born.  She did a pretty good job of mothering up her lamb.  Sometimes with a first lamb, the ewes aren't quite sure what to make of the whole process ..... they'll keep licking and circling the lamb as it tries to get in and nurse.  We find it best to leave them alone for an hour or so and see what happens.  Most times it works out!   Notice the blur of the tail?  Lambs wiggle their tails when they are getting milk! 
 We've also had 3 sets of twins since we saw #330 & her twins in the last post .... the weather has been in the high 70's/low 80's and rainy the last 2 days here at Wild Rose Farm.  
Too busy to sort fleeces for the upcoming  Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest ,  but we'll get on that this weekend!  We shipped some Rambouillet combed top to San Francisco last week, so we're waiting to hear how that turns out.  Marie found us on  Local Harvest ..... check it out!