Sunday, December 22, 2013

Rain & Temps In The 60's !!!

Glenda At The Barn
What a change from the freezing weather last weekend!  At Wild Rose Farm, we had temperatures in the high 50's on Saturday and then we were in the mid-60's on Sunday.  Glenda has a sheltered area in the barn, but she was out and about in the rain on Saturday.  She was in the paddock picking around at her hay, then she went out and stood in the rain ....... suit yourself Glenda! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

It Is Freezing Out There!

I just stepped out onto the porch to let the dog out and hadn't put a coat on first ... not the smartest thing to do when it's 23 degrees outside.  But then I noticed the "outhouse" out back and thought, "what is missing from this picture?".  Take a look .......
Wild Rose Farm "Outhouse" In The Moonlight
I'll tell you what is missing ..... a well worn path through the snow from the porch to the door!  Yes, we can be thankful for indoor plumbing.  Obviously, an old farmhouse like this had a real working outhouse at one time.  That's also why some old houses like ours have a large bathroom.  It used to be the smallest bedroom!   Other times, the bathroom is smallish & jammed under the stairway. 
So I grabbed the camera to document the moment .... pretty, but I'm glad that I didn't have to hike outside. The blue Christmas star on the barn reminds us to be thankful for the gifts that we may already have!  ;)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wild Rose Farm At Old Economy Village!

Wild Rose Farm - Christmas At The Village 2012
Wild Rose Farm will be at Old Economy Village this weekend for the Christmas At The Village  event.  After listening to the weather forecast, it looks like we will have snow on the ground.  The candle lit lanterns along the walkways create a festive atmosphere that really brings out the Christmas spirit!   It's a great place to pick up unique hancrafted & local Christmas gifts and enjoy good food & music. 
Saturday 12/7 from 2PM - 9PM and Sunday 12/8 from 2PM to 7PM ...  maybe I'll see you there!

Oh, and the ram count?  Dorset ram 11 & Rambouillet ram 7 ...... over 1/3 of the ewes in just under a week. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving Weekend At Wild Rose Farm

Wild Rose Farm Ewes At Dusk Feeding Time
We had a typical Thanksgiving weekend here at Wild Rose Farm.  Those who have been following us know that this is the weekend when we put the rams in with the ewes to kick off the breeding season.  That timing puts our lambing season in late April/early May. 
This year we are using 2 rams.  The first is our new performance tested Dorset ram & he has 30 ewes.  The second is our homebred horned Rambouillet ram.  He has 12 ewes, none of them yearlings because they're all his siblings ..... his dam is also in with the Dorset ram.  We will use him just for this breeding season and then he will be sold.  If you're in the market for a young registered Rambouillet ram, he's your man!   He would also add some fine wool to a commercial flock.
By the time we got done working with the sheep on Friday, it was getting late, as you can see.  The groups are now in 2 different pastures.
Both rams got right down to business and here is "U" below with the the Dorset ram courting along side ..... you can see his harness if you look closely.
Wild Rose Farm Performance Tested Dorset Ram & "U"
Current standings as of Sunday afternoon?  Rambouillet ram six, Dorset ram four. 
We still have the 2 registered Rambouillet & 2 Dorset/Rambouillet x-bred yearling ewes for sale .... they are in with the Dorset ram, so they can be purchased as "exposed or bred" ewes. 
We still have some spring ewe lambs for sale too ...... Christmas is coming!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

It's Almost Time!

Wild Rose Farm Ewes Grazing After Light Snow
We had an inch or two of snow last night and the temps were in the 20's today.  It wasn't too bad outside since the sun was shining while we were working with the sheep.  Look closely and you can see the ewes have green numbers on their hips in preparation for the start of breeding season.  We added flock number ear tags to the yearlings, trimmed them up as needed, and sprayed on their tag numbers ..... it's much easier to read a big painted number than try to read the ear tags when we're looking to see which ewe has been marked as being bred by the ram.  We'll be using more than 1 rams this year.  The new Dorset ram from the PA Performance Tested Ram Sale will be in with most of the ewes.  He is definitely eager to get out with the ewes .......
Dorset Ram Standing Up And Watching The Ewes!
We'll also use the Rambouillet rams on select groups of Rambouillet ewes.  The rams will go in over the Thanksgiving weekend.  We ordered crayons for the breeding harnesses & FedEx tracking says that they're on the way! 

Wild Rose Farm Yearling Rambouillet Ram #339

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time To Sell Some Sheep!

Wild Rose Farm Llama Lisa Gliding Past Her Sheep!
Doesn't Lisa look like a ship in a sea of fall gold?!?  She came up with the ewes and was headed to the water tank.  Meanwhile, the ewes were headed back towards the rock pile.  It's actually a pile of barn stone that we have stored in the pasture field.  Usually it's the lambs that frolic on the pile, but right now the ewes are using it.  They're a little fiesty right now as the weather cools down and the days get shorter ...... lots of head butting.  Yes, it's getting close to our breeding season at Wild Rose Farm.
It's also time to sell our ewe lambs, so we just put an ad in the Farm And Dairy.  We'd love to see some of the ewe lambs go to new flocks.  We have 7 Rambouillet & 9 Dorset/Rambouillet crossbred ewe lambs for sale and all of them are twins.  We have enough sheep for ourselves, so this is one of those rare years where we will not hold any back for our own breeding program. 
But back to the rock pile ........ !!!
Wild Rose Farm Ewes On The Rock Pile ....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roadtrip After Chores Are Done ......

Wild Rose Farm Ewes - Sunday Morning As We Left For A Roadtrip ...
After rain last night, the morning started out sunny, so we left the farm for a fall road trip.  We headed up to the Pymatuning State Park  area and did some leaf peeping on the way. 
Spillway Pull Off - Hey! That Old Car Brings Back Memories.
I haven't been to the "Spillway" in Linesville, PA since I was a kid going with my family.  Their claim to fame is being the "place where the ducks walk on the fishes' backs".  
Folks At The New Viewing Area- Kids Throwing Bread To The Seagulls 
There's a great new viewing area complete with educational sign boards and a concession stand, which, of course, was closed for the season ......
But here's the Spillway that I remember. Check out the old concrete & heavy fence railing worn smooth by hundreds of thousands of hands!   I have to say it seemed soooo much bigger too!  :)
The Spillway With Waiting Ducks
You can imagine that this place is pretty packed in the summer.  So here's a couple of views of the ducks & carp when people are throwing out fish food and bread ......
The Waiting Game As People Approach ......

Feeding Frenzy - Mallard Gliding By ... Not Enough Bread To Walk On The Fish?!?
After this amusing visit, we headed back home through Amish country in New Wilmington, PA.
Sharing The Road In New Wilmington, PA.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Walking The Pasture

Wild Rose Farm Ewes - Looking For Us?
We went out for a pasture walk & headed back to look at our current ground clearing project.  On the way back, we were intercepted by the flock!   Hey - are you looking for us?  Sheep are torn between coming forward with curiosity and/or turning tail and running away.  There's also a 3rd option. That's the "I'm bored with watching you" stage where they just graze and amble away ......
The wooded area being cleared now contains some fairly large Sassafras trees .... large enough to be cut into lumber, so we'll be saving the logs.  Most of the time, you find Sassafras as twisted, suckering scrub trees, so this was a nice surprise. 
Wild Rose Farm Llama Lisa - Between The New Clearing & Back Fence
Llama Lisa was behind the clearing grazing along the back fence line.  It's interesting to watch her, because she's always looking around ..... and that's a good thing. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meeting Another Yarn Farm!

Underhill Farm At The Sewickley Farmers' Market
Wow - the colors in the picture are just great!  We visited the Sewickley Farmers' Market for the first time this summer ....... embarassing for this farmers' market fan, but the local Ambridge/Aliquippa Bridge has been closed for repairs since March.   Boy, are we glad we went.  We met Underhill Farm and got a chance to handle their yarns.  They have Leicester Longwool sheep & Angora goats.  What a great combination for their luster artisan yarns!
Underhill Yarn Colors Close-Up!
They said that the natural yarns are more popular in the spring, but that they start dyeing in the summer for the fall season.  Seems many folks love the rich colors in the fall.  I promised to keep in touch for the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival next spring & maybe schedules will mesh!  
Check out their web-site for upcoming locations to buy their yarn ..........

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bright Morning Sun At Wild Rose Farm!

Wild Rose Farm Ewes Grazing In The Morning
We brought the ewes up to the barn this morning for a little while.  Seems one of the yearlings was limping, so we had to check it out.  She got her feet trimmed, but nothing was there, no footrot, so she likely stepped on something or had a thorn that worked its way out.  With a shot of antibiotic to prevent infection, back she went to pasture with the rest of the flock.  We'll keep an eye on her to make sure she is walking ok and recheck her if she isn't.
Opening The Gate ........
If you know what you're looking for, you can spot 2 notable sheep in this picture.  Just under the pine tree with a full side shot is "U" ..... you can see her slightly darker color and face markings.  Then the 3rd from last bright white sheep in the sun glare is #401 ..... you can see her ratty fleece with the wool break & I can just detect her small horns.   Like I said, "if you know what you're looking for!".  :)
And Back To Pasture ......

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

New Wild Rose Farm "Outbuilding"!

Wild Rose Farm "Outhouse" - Before
Yes, I've always wanted an outhouse for a toolshed ...... If you look around, you'll still spot them in backyards and around the countryside.  There's even a "brick *#%*house" in one of local towns that I spotted once when we were detoured because of a parade.  I found this Real Outhouses web-site & there is a whole sub-culture of devotees.  Who knew?
Mr. WRF built this one with a solid floor, so it's not a working model, and it's portable if you have a skid steer loader to move it ....... it weighs a ton!

Wild Rose Farm "Outhouse" - After
The window is an antique leaded glass transom window that's been collecting dust for 15 years, just waiting for the right remodeling project.   In a stroke of inspiration, it's finally found a home!  Next will be a coat of linseed oil for the natural colored wood .......
Finally, a place to grow hollyhocks in a historically accurate setting!   Any other landscaping ideas?

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Wild Rose Farm #401 Follow-up .......

Wild Rose Farm #401- Happily Grazing!
The light was getting a little low, but I finally got a unobstructed picture of WRF Rambouillet #401.  Here she is after recovering from "something" this summer.   See how shaggy she is?  That's the "wool break" that comes when sheep are sick or stressed.  In this case, we'll get all of this wool off of her and she'll be fine.  A closer inspection shows that her hooves are also regrowing out stronger.  Sort of like when you smash a fingernail and the new nail is pushing out from the bottom of the nail bed.  We hadn't noticed that until last week.  Although she was sick, she never "went down", which is when you pretty much lose them and they give up.   Just thought of this ...... I'll have to look at her horns and see if there is any sign of her sickness there .... hmmm.
WRF Lisa With Her Sheep!
Here's the sun going down on a cool end of summer evening for Wild Rose Farm Llama Lisa & her sheep ....

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Few More Bales Of Hay!

Neighbor Leon Square Baling
You really couldn't have picked a better day to make some hay.  We got some square bales of 2nd cut grass from our neighbor .... the wooded back ends of properties butt up against each other.  We got 2 trailer loads and picked the bales up out of the field.  The next day we picked up another 20 bales of alfalfa.  We don't really "need" alfalfa, but we like to keep a few bales around in case we need to tempt an animal to eat.   After a lifetime of farming, you see a new tractor & baler .... what a difference that makes for being able to make the rounds without constantly tweaking & tinkering to keep things going. 
A Pause In The Action While Raking ......
This field was an overgrown brushy tangle 2 years ago ....... lots of work went into cleaning it up and re-seeding. 

Loading The Trailer!
And then the short drive back to Wild Rose Farm to unload & stack the bales.   Always a great feeling to have your hay in the barn!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

2013 Hookstown Fair - Over 'til Next Year!

Feeding Time At The 2013 Hookstown Fair!
Don't we all feel this way on the first day of the fair, wide-eyed & eager like the sheep above?  Excited and happy to be out & about checking the exhibits, the animals, and visiting with all of our friends?  The Hookstown Fair enjoyed fine weather for fair week ..... not too hot, just a bit of rain late one night, and cool enough temperatures that the animals were comfortable.  
Exhibits For The Fiber Folks & A Backstory .....
Here was a bit of serendipity in the fiber arts exhibits ..... right next to each other, entries from 2 people who have been Wild Rose Farm customers!  Norma & her husband bought a WRF ram years ago, and Maria came with her mother to buy yarn and combed top as a young person just learning to knit & spin.  Both of them are quite prolific with their entries and I was pleasantly surprised to see these 2 blue ribbons side by side. 
Fair Week .... It's Finally Over .... Whew!
We get a "season pass", so we're at the fair for all 5 nights watching the 4H livestock shows, checking all of the exhibits, visiting the Southside Historical Village, and bidding at the 4H livestock auction to support the kids and fill the freezer.  By the end of fair season in a few weeks, we'll be "all faired out", just like the piggy sleeping it off above! 
Hope you get to enjoy your local fair, even for a day!  

Monday, August 19, 2013

Lone Lamb ......

Lamb On The Loose .....
This little lamb was not doing well in the pen with all of the others.  Nothing specific, she just looked droopy & poor.  So she gets to roam around the barn and come out and munch in front on the lawn area.  She won't be running off since all of her friends are back behind the barn.  Hopefully she snaps out of it ..... sometimes they don't. 
Maybe I'll remember to get a picture of #401.  She was thinking about dying about a month ago.  Again, nothing we could put a finger on, just suddenly hanging her head and looking sickly.  Well, she made a complete recovery in a week or so, but the proof of her stress shows in her wool.  She has "wool break" and is a shaggy creature as she looses the short fleece that she had. 
Anyway, you consult the books, try to troubleshoot symptoms, and "sometimes", "something" works.  It's not always cut & dried with animals.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

2013 PA Perfomance Tested Ram Sale Results

Suffolk Ram Heads To The Barn At JAS Registered Stock Farm
Our last post ended as the truck pulled in at JAS Registered Stock Farm & we dropped off the Suffolk ram - you can bet he was an RR ram!  We haven't seen the auction results posted yet, so here are some highlights from the  2013 Pennsylvania Performance Tested Ram Sale :
Suffolk rams - 7 offered/sold - Top indexing ram sold for $475 & price ranges from $350 to 2 rams that sold for $750 each.  Texels - 6 offered/sold - Top indexing ram sold for $550 & price ranges from $450 to $725.  These chunky rams are definitely becoming more popular.  Senior Dorpers - 2 offered & sold for $300 each.  Junior Dorpers - 7 offered/5 sold/2 walked - Top indexing ram sold for $1050 - others sold for $300 - $325.  White Dorpers - 2 offered/sold - Top indexing ram sold for $725, 2nd ram sold for $550.
Maple Spring Farms - Lovell 13-566 TW RR 4.21 LEA
Senior Dorsets - 6 offered/sold - Top indexing fall born ram above sold to Wild Rose Farm for $600 - others sold for $375 - $650.  Junior Dorsets - 2 offered/sold - Top indexing ram sold for $500, 2nd ram sold for $450. The Shopshire ram from Calvert Farm sold for $600.  Katadin - 3 offered/2 sold - the top indexing ram was walked, the other 2 sold for $600 & $300.  Polypay - 2 offered/1 sold - Top indexing ram sold for $300.  Hampshire - 2 offered/sold - Top indexing ram sold for $450 & 2nd for $350 - both were RR.  Southdown - 1 ram - walked.  And the story of the day - the Merino ram - an entry from Robert Calvert of Calvert Farm sold for $1000.  This QR twin represents years of progress in breeding Merinos and was a great looking ram ..... unfortunately, my picture was blurred, but you can see him in the on-line sale catalog Lot # 138.
Yes, we dabble in Dorsets as a cross when we have enough Rambouillets.  They make a great cross and a good ram, like this performance tested ram, sires some nice replacement females and meaty market lambs.  We can also get some nice longer staple spinning fleeces from the x-bred ewes.
Oh - and here are some of the Suffolk ewes at JAS Farm ...... since we have the same sheep shearer, I may be able to get a fleece or two by spring for my friend Feisty!  You know who you are ..... :)
Suffolk Ewes & Polled Hereford Cattle
Thanks once again to the registered sheep producers who make this sale possible by sending their best rams in to be performance tested.  Not all of the rams make it to the sale - the top indexing rams are considered "flock improvers". 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ram Sale

2013 PA Performance Tested Ram Sale - Suffolk Ram In Ring
Wild Rose Farm went to the 2013 Pennsylvania Performance Tested Ram Sale on Saturday.  We were successful bidders and brought home a new Polled Dorset ram for our crossbreeding program.
The picture below shows our Senior Dorset ram behind a Suffolk ram purchased by our friend who rode up to the sale with us.  More sale details & pictures later ..... it's been a busy weekend!
Suffolk & Dorset Rams - Time To Unload The Suffolk ...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

He Knows Sheep!

For your amusement, here's a link to the Baxter Black column in the Farm & Dairy this week ....... :)

Dumb But Useful by Baxter Black

Monday, July 8, 2013

Check Out The Background!

Grazing Ewes, But Look Closely In The Upper Right!
We walked over to look at the progress of the new doors on the Loafing Shed and then went around to look at the sheep.  The ewes started to follow us as I was taking a few "Wild Rose Farm" pictures.  Then we noticed hen turkeys foraging in the background!  They are around enough when the work has been going on, so they didn't immediately scatter when they saw us.
Here they are below the water tank .......... click to enlarge on both pictures.
Hen Turkeys Scratching Along .....
They didn't have any young birds from the spring hatch with them, so maybe there are other groups around & maybe those hens are more cautious .......

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cherry Pie Time !!!

Wild Rose Farm - Sour Cherries Ready!
Well --- here's the project for the evening!   The sour cherries have ripened enough that they'll be ahead of the birds for a couple of days.   Time to make a cherry pie & put some cherries in the freezer for later.  The temps will be in the 90's this afternoon and the humidity is up today too.  Just below the cherry trees are a couple of blueberry bushes that we'll have to cover before they start to ripen .... you definitely can't keep ahead of the birds on them!
WRF Rambouillet #401 & Twins Grazing
WRF #401 was limping around two days ago.  We looked at her right front foot and couldn't find anything in there, but she definitely poked it somehow.  We brought her up to the barn with her twins & gave her a shot of a long acting antibiotic.  A second shot will clear that up and she's already walking better.  Her lambs are doing well - one ewe - one ram.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Morning Light

Wild Rose Farm Llama Lisa At Water Tank
We had some visitors on Saturday morning, so we walked over to see Lisa and her yearling lamb crew.  They were at the water tank near the loafing shed ..... Nice & scenic & quiet over there.  They still need to be sheared, but they're really clean right now since we've had a lot of rain lately. Lisa is pretty white too ...... of course, that is a temporary state.  She likes to roll in the dust! 

Wild Rose Farm Lisa With Yearling Ewe Lambs
The lambs didn't really pay attention to our little group, but you can see Lisa is annoyed by looking at her ears ...... "why are you here looking at my lambs?".  

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dusk At Wild Rose Farm

Wild Rose Farm Rambouillets #406 & #412 With Lambs
The light was rapidly fading when I got out to look at the sheep tonight ..... these nice looking ewes are with their first lambs.  These ewes were out of our performance tested Rambouillet ram from the PA ram sale. 
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet #412 With Ewe Lamb
You can see that #412 is a bit hesitant .... she wants to run past to the pasture, but I'm a little too close!  Don't you just love looking at the lambs on those sturdy long legs?  :)

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Driving In Circles ....

Round Bales On The Trailer!
It's time to haul hay again at Wild Rose Farm.  We've been driving in circles to pick up round bales of hay this last week.  This final group of bales were made just before a rain last week, so here we are picking them up today ....
We like to get the hay in before they get any weather on them, but the farmers out there know that sometimes it's all you can do to just get bales made before a rain!  We've gotten about half of what we'll need for the next year.  More to come .....
Fencing Out Glenda ....
We rigged up this wall of fence panels to keep the marauding donkey out!  There she is up behind the barn .... all of the fresh grass and she will invariably put the munch on the 1st cutting round bales. She just reaches over the panels if they're on the ground.  I suppose it tastes different and also has slightly different minerals, etc., but it's no fun trying to extract & spike a bale in January that's been severely nibbled ..... :)