Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sun Sets on PASA Tour ....

Despite the HOT weather, we had a great day at the PASA Summer Farm Tour today at Wild Rose Farm.  We started the day with 4 sheep in the barn.  Separate from the farm tour, Ashley came to pick up her registered Rambouillet lambs.  The timing was good since we had to be here all day, anyway.  A ram lamb & a ewe lamb have found a great new home.  
That left WRF #802 and her lamb in the barn for everyone to see.  Seems that they already have a bit of a following from their recent blog postings.  Just about eveyone who came then went down into the pasture field to see the rest of the ewes and lambs hanging out in the shade.  One of our visitors had to come and see "U" to assure themselves that she really existed somewhere besides cyberspace!  They feel like they've been watching her grow up ..........  ;~) 
Boy, did Claire get her share of attention too.  We had a small group watching as we wiped fly repellent on her face & legs.  Livestock like days like today when there is a strong breeze.  They face into the wind and it helps keep the flys off of their face.  Claire was in her glory, gently taking animal crackers off of anyone who wanted to give her a treat. 
We did some indigo natural dyeing and showed a fleece being skirted on a table in the barn.  Once the yarn is washed and rinsed, we'll show you the pictures of the blue & teal colors that we made today. 
We had lots of questions about sheep, wool, & the possibility of buying a freezer lamb.  Keep in mind that our freezer lambs are ready in November/December.
Finally, at the end of the day, #802 and her lamb headed back down into the pasture to join the rest of the flock at feeding time ..........
Thanks to everyone who came to visit us at Wild Rose Farm!

Friday, July 23, 2010

LAST CALL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow is the big day & Dorset ewe #115 says "last call"!   Wild Rose Farm is open from 10AM to 6PM for the PASA Summer Farm Tour.   The indigo dye pot is ready to go and the tent is going up in front of the barn.  Look for the PASA Farm Tour sign and the balloons at the end of the driveway.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

If You're Coming .......

If you're planning to visit Wild Rose Farm on Saturday for the PASA Summer Farm Tour, look for this sign.  We will post it on a white board at the end of the "lower driveway" where you will want to turn in.  This is the end of the driveway that has the split rail fence on each side.  Come on down and park in the grass on either side of the driveway in front of the barn. 
We will set up the tent in front of the barn with the yarn and wool products for sale.  We'll be demonstrating natural dyeing and we'll also have fleeces on the sorting table to "skirt" for the fair.  The lambs and ewes will be just a short walk down into the pasture field if you want to go see them.  This will be a great opportunity to see the lambs that we have for sale as breeding stock. 
Also ..... if you're thinking about putting in a spring development or livestock stream crossing, those can be viewed when you visit.
If you're coming from Pittsburgh, you will pass Raccoon Creek State Park between Janoski's Farm Market & Wild Rose Farm.  There is a boat rental there and you can cook out or pack a picnic and swim at the beach. 
Can't wait 'til Saturday!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Come See Me & Mom!

It's just around the corner ..... Saturday July 24th ..... it's the .......
PASA Western Region Summer Farm Tour !  Wild Rose Farm is one of the farms on the tour again this year.  You'll be able to see our youngest lamb and his 12 year old dam, WRF #802!   We'll have our natually dyed yarns, Rambouillet combed top, spinning fleeces, wool quilt batts, and even some Dorset x Rambouillet ewe lambs for sale!   

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Meet a New Fiber Farmer!

We met Darlene of Sunnyside Wools at the Oakland, MD Mountain Fresh Farmers' Market last weekend.  There were some really neat felted items and Wild Rose Farm picked up a felted "Man in the Moon" Christmas ornament.   Enlarge the picture & see the green & red & white bearded item in front of Darlene - very cool!  We talked about the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest and hopefully Sunnyside Wools will come to the festival next May ...... maybe demonstrating needle felting?????   Amazing how fiber people connect ..... I always wear a WS&FF t-shirt when I'm out a markets & festivals.  The fiber people always notice the shirt and a conversation starts!  Check out the products and summer farm tours at Sunnyside Wools.

Monday, July 12, 2010

They're Not Ours!

Attention blog followers and local friends!  The 3 sheep (one is a horned ram) that are wandering around the Hookstown area did not escape from Wild Rose Farm ........ they've been seen munching on gardens and roaming around wooded areas.  We've had calls and a couple of people have stopped by to check with us to see if we've lost any sheep.  I hope the owners find the escapees ..... call the Greene Township office if you know where they belong or if you've lost your flock!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Last Lamb!

We now officially have the last lamb of the season at Wild Rose Farm ...... #802, a 12 year old Rambouillet ewe delivered a ram lamb during the day.  It's still in the 90's here and she had the lamb under the shade of the pine trees.  We brought them down to the barn area this afternoon and created a shady spot for them for a couple of days.  I specifically went looking for her last night to see how she was doing.  She was looking pretty full and she had dropped in around her tail head.  Nothing going on this morning, so was thinking that something might happen today.  It's amazing in the spring that you have to worry about freezing temps, now we're concerned about the heat! 
A word about the late delivery.  A "tight" lambing season is preferred and most of our lambs are born in a 3 week time frame in late April/early May.  However, we leave the ram in with the ewes as long as possible if he's not pushing them around.  It's one less chore to do and the ram is happier in the flock.  If we were to cull a ewe for not having a lamb, we wouldn't be going to the auction until we weaned off lambs from the other ewes and put a little weight back on them.  There are always a few ewes to cull and she would just join them.  Now at least we got a lamb.  This is only her 2nd single lamb in her "career".  Not bad for a 12 year old ..... and yes, we checked, she still has her teeth. 
Evening grazing for the flock - temps in the 90's! 

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Browsing Deer

Timing is everything.  Tonight I was sitting outside on the porch skirting a Rambouillet fleece that will be processed into yarn.  It's a nice spot to work since you can see the sheep if they're grazing in the front pasture.  I saw Claire with long ears pricked & looking attentively at something in the distance.   Following her gaze led to this whitetail doe browsing on the sumac leaves.  They don't really mind being near the sheep, but Claire's approach will usually run them off. 
A little research into natural dyestuffs found that sumac leaves contain tannin, which is especially useful for dyeing vegetable fibers.  We dye wool fibers, so I don't have experience with using sumac leaves.  Tannins are currently being studied for their natural de-worming properties.  So maybe there is something about the deer eating the leaves if they can reach them ......

Monday, July 5, 2010

Morning Chores

It's July 5th and the temperature will get into the low 90's today.  We decided to get out in the morning and do some work before it's really hot out there.  The ewes and lambs have been separated now for several days and the noise level is down, but they're still calling to each other.  Here's one of our good mothers with her lambs on opposite sides of the paddock fence.  We have to use the livestock panels to keep the lambs from slipping through the fence rails.
The ewes get shade in the barn and the lambs head up to the shade of the pine trees on the hill behind the barn. 
We did some work on our Rambouillet ram this morning.  He has small horns. or "scurs", and one of them was curving in towards his head just behind the right eye.  We removed the tip of the horn using obstetrical saw wire.  We slipped the wire behind the horn, held his head tight, and using a back and forth motion, sawed through the horn.  Care must be taken not to cut back where the horn is still alive and growing.  The horn is not "living tissue" at the tip, so it's like clipping a fingernail, but still rather annoying for the ram.  The things you learn on this blog!  
Saw Wire with handle grips ........

Friday, July 2, 2010

Before ......

A nice peaceful scene minutes before we moved the flock up to the paddock to separate the ewes and lambs for weaning ...........
By dark it was time to put the fans in the house on "exhaust" to get some sleep!  Deep "baas" from the ewes in the barn, more shrill "baas" from the lambs outside.  We did leave the 3 youngest lambs out with their dams, so that there were some adults in the pack of lambs to provide organization and guidance.  It's very hard to move lambs anywhere as a group because they just haven't figured out how to follow the shepherd with a grain bucket.   They mill around, they flee in a panic, and/or they jump sky high when cornered.   The yearlings are also in the lamb flock, but they're only slightly more tame (!) at this point.

Mary Todd Daylily - very thick growth & sturdy stems & flowers! 
Love my daylilies .........

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Weed Eaters!

Here are the Wild Rose Farm lambs munching down on a big burdock plant.  All that's left after the ewes & lambs got to it are the stalks.  Sheep truly do prefer weeds.  Interesting sight tonight in the pasture field.  We are moving barn stones out of a pile to start working on a retaining wall.  Some sumac trees had grown up in the piles and it was time to cut them down and add them to the burning pile.  Well it seems that the deer not only investigated the skid steer loader tracks last night, they also ate all of the leaves off of the cut down trees.  Three deer were back eating the leaves off of the next pile of sumac tonight.  I wonder what they're getting out of those leaves?  Just like the elephants on the plains, the birds occasionally catch a ride on sheep!