Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cooling for a few days ....

The temperature is dropping for several days at Wild Rose Farm.  We had hot & humid weather in the low 90's so we want to be careful if we have to move or work with the sheep.  We will probably separate the ewes off of the lambs later this week to wean the lambs.  This is stressful for both sides of the equation, so we'd like the temperatures to be cooler.   We just sent off the registration papers for one Rambouillet ewe lamb and one ram lamb.  Coincidentially, the ewe lamb (#896 eartag) that we've sold is right in the left foreground of this picture ..... I couldn't have done that if I'd tried to on request!  She'll be leaving soon to join 3 other WRF ewes on another farm.   
Here's the first notification on this blog that Wild Rose Farm will be on the "drive it yourself" PASA Western Pennsylvania Farm Tour on July 24th.  Details & MAP here !!!!!! 
Stay tuned for more details to follow. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Wool Pool Today!

Wild Rose Farm arrived at the Washington County Wool Growers Cooperative Wool Pool today around 1PM.  We were finished and back on the way home at about 3:30.   So what goes on at a wool pool?  First you get in line like everyone above .... the line creeps forward as trucks, trailers, hatchbacks, etc are unloaded.   Notice that the loads are all tarped or covered.  Wet wool is a big NO NO!   There were threats of thunderstorms yesterday and today, so no one was taking any chances.  Fleeces must be untied and should be mostly free of "vegetable matter contamination".   That means you shouldn't throw hay over your sheep's backs when you feed them!  That's another reason that some of us who produce for handspinners will jacket our sheep to keep the fleece as clean as possible. 
Each farm unloads their wool onto a table where these folks trained in wool grading examine and classify each fleece as it's dumped out of the boxes and bags.  From left, Bob Calvert, Dustin Heeter, & Don Hunter are doing the grading.  The fleeces are then piled into racks by grade and when the farm is done, all of their racks are weighed individually and then totaled.  The association writes a check for the value of the wool to be paid to the sellers when the mill pays the association.  Since a wool mill has bid on the entire wool pool "clip", each grade of wool has a pre-determined price that is known to the sellers before they bring in
their wool.

The wool is loaded into 2 wool presses owned by the association to make tightly packed bales of wool.  Walt Bumgarner, show here feeding wool into the press says that most bales weigh around 450 pounds.  A bale of fine wool which is much greasier (more lanolin) will weigh close to 600 pounds!  All of these gentlemen, BTW, are current or former Penn State Extension Educators (or Extension Agents as they used to be called).  The bales are labeled and stacked for pick-up.
This gives you an idea of what it means to "tote that bale" !!!!
A few more facts about the wool pool.  This pool was open on Monday & restricted to accept wool from farmers with more than 125 fleeces!   Today was the day for those that had less than 125 fleeces .....  Each producer pays membership dues of $2 and an 8.5 cents/lb handling fee.  Seems pretty reasonable to provide this service with all of the workers,  2 wool presses, scales, and associated equipment.   I know when we hit the road, but I wonder when this group closed the doors and left for the evening ..... done for another year!  Did I mention that it's a great place to meet up with and socialize with friends and fellow sheep producers while you wait? :)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day Visit!

We were working with the sheep, trimming hooves, refreshing lamb paint numbers, and running them through the zinc sulfate footbath, etc. this evening.   The lambs have never seen the footbath, so they don't want to walk through it.  They balk and then finally take huge bounding leaps through it, kicking and splashing up a mess!   You don't want a camera anywhere near that scene.  Anyway, in all of the excitement and confusion that comes with working with lambs, this lamb squirted through the gate & into the ram's pen in the barn.  Of course the lamb didn't know what to do next and the ram seemed to mostly ignore this little interloper ....... Coincidence, or was it a Father's Day visit? :)

Close-up ...........

It's just Claire after we trimmed a little around her forelock & ears ..... her bangs are pushed aside, not gone!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Visitors coming

Visitors are coming on Saturday to look at Rambouillet ewe lambs.  We're always happy to have our lambs go to new flocks.  Wild Rose Farm can only keep so many each year and you never know what the ratio of ewe lambs to ram lambs will be ........ we have another request for a ram lamb & ewe lamb from a previous buyer, so we'll choose different bloodlines for her flock.   Does anybody need some excellent twin Dorset x Rambouillet ewe lambs ??????   
How about these sour pie cherries?  The first batch is picked and will become a pie soon! 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Back 40 ......

After some hoof trimming and booster shots, the ewes and lambs trailed back to the Wild Rose Farm "Back 40".   Nowhere near a 40 acre field, but our back field just the same.   As usual, this blogster brings up the rear, hazing the strays back into the flock and keeping things moving!
Mission accomplished ..........

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Claire Hair!

It was time for a little work on Claire ..... she was starting to shed out her winter coat so we pulled out the curry comb.   She stood there and just enjoyed the scratching of the comb pulling out hanks of hair.   Dust was flying because donkeys always roll in the dirt to give themselves a dust bath.  She still needs more brushing, but look at what came off already!   

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blissful Day!

The young Wild Rose Farm #315 Rambouillet lambs were enjoying the cool & sunny day with Mom! 
And here are the #93 X-bred twin ewe lambs resting .........

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What You Missed!

Here's the crowd at the Rosefield booth .......
If you didn't make it to the Great Lakes Fiber Show over the weekend, here is a sampling of what you missed!
A booth full of beautiful roving and another booth with gorgeous buttons and yarns!
Meanwhile, back at Wild Rose Farm, we took this picture of Rambouillet ewe #315 and her twin ewe lambs on Sunday.  They hadn't been painted yet.  This evening we finished ear tagging and refreshing the painted numbers on the lambs.  After the downpours on Monday, the lambs were looking a little faded ....