Friday, December 12, 2014

Ewe Lambs

Wild Rose Farm Ewe Lambs
The lamb selling season is winding down now and we have several ewe lambs available that would make good replacements or flock starters.   The lamb with her chin on the gate is a Rambouillet.  Notice how she has a greasier or slightly darker fleece.   The other 3 in the picture happen to be Dorset x Rambouillet crossbreds.  We put an ad in the Farm & Dairy classified section.  You never know, but we've been asked in the past to hold lambs to be Christmas presents.   Probably like some of my readers who are farmers, I've also had to by-pass requests for nativity scene lambs.  If they weren't bottle fed as lambs, they can be too skittish to stand peacefully in a little pen while kids reach out to them.    And no one really wants to have bottle babies anyway, so that's a good thing!  ;)

Friday, December 5, 2014

One Picture Will Do ...

Dorset Ewe Lamb Winking !?!
Sometimes you get the perfect shot ... unintentional, but perfect!   Most of the of the lambs say "Baaaaa!".  This one is saying "Blehhhh!".   Have a nice weekend ... :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Riding Shotgun

Hauling & Clean Up Of Spruce Tree Branches
Well, the blown down spruce tree is "mostly" cleaned up now.  The root mass and the main trunk are left, along with 2 branches spiked into the yard.  They are in so deep, that they will have to be pulled straight up & out with the tractor drawbar.   We're planning to add two big 8' logs to the pile of wood for the sawmill this winter.  It should make some nice wide spruce boards.   Just noticed 2 pumpkins left behind on the posts ... we'll have to take them to the sheep. 
Then I spotted a little head in the next picture.  It looks like the pup Jazzy is riding shotgun.  Click on the pic to enlarge.  She's the picture of seriousness looking straight ahead!  :)
Wild Rose's Jasmine - Call Name "Jazzy" - Riding Shotgun

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Rams In At Wild Rose Farm

Three Dorset Ram Lambs
It's Thanksgiving weekend, so it's time to start the breeding schedule at Wild Rose Farm.  This post should have said "Ram In At Wild Rose Farm", but we ended up putting 3 ram lambs in with the 37 ewes to be bred this year.  I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but our wonderful Performance Tested Dorset Ram purchased in 2013 managed to kill himself this summer.   Best we can tell is that he broke his neck ramming the boards in the ram pen.  No sign of a struggle or flailing hooves, just laid out with a broken neck.  He was fine at 11AM and had only been dead a short while at 4PM chore time.  :(   A freak accident for sure, but of course it happens to the BEST animals. 
Anyhow, rather than purchase another ram, we decided to put 3 of his ram lambs in with the ewes this year ...
Amusingly, they are so happy to get out on grass, that they are hanging in a little group at the moment munching away.  I'm sure that will change by morning!
Fence Sitter Pumpkins Are Nice & Soft Now!
As I was walking back to the house, I noticed the pumpkins on the fence posts & realized that they were ready to heave in to the sheep!  I split them open to get them started. 
Ewe #47 Enjoying A Pumpkin!
YUM ... nothing like a soft, squishy pumpkin for Thanksgiving dessert ...
Rambouillet Ewe #404 - Any More Pumpkins?
You can also see the ewe's ear tag numbers painted on the right hip so we can identify who's been bred as the rams mark them.
Yep - Here's Another One To Share With Ewe #34 ...
Another interesting thing tonight ... I noticed that the sheep were munching on the dried, mature Chicory stems & seed heads.  We hadn't grazed this paddock for a while, so they'll end up carrying forage chicory seeds out to be spread with their manure. 

Ewe Clipping Off Chicory Stems & Seeds

Monday, November 24, 2014

Before & After

Before - Fall Colors Above Driveway Late October
I happened to have some pictures of our fall colors taken at sunset in October - the various screening trees & shrubs have filled in nicely.  The outhouse/toolshed is situated at an angle in the flower bed and "looks like it's always been there", or so I told my SIL a couple of weeks ago when she visited.
Today we were busy hauling lambs in what was perfect weather for that chore.  Temps in the high 60's and really high winds as a front was moving in.  Listening to the radio as we returned, we heard about regional power outages and accidents due to trees & branches falling.  We dodged broken limbs and debris on the road periodically the whole way home.   Our neighbor was out picking up branches in her yard as we went by.  
As we turned down the lower driveway, I joked "Well, the outhouse is still upright!"  Ha, ha, ha.  Then I said "WHOA - look at that!!!".   Mr. Wild Rose Farm said, "Look at what ...?". 
After - Massive Spruce Tree Fell Perfectly!
There it was(n't) --- the huge sheltering spruce tree had been blown down.  You can see one of the large side branches shattered & sticking up ... the tree was tall and wide.  Click for a close-up.  That rock to the right on the lawn was leaning against the tree trunk!
Looking Toward The House At Dusk 
Well, we won't need a stump grinder for this one either.  From the house we spotted a dead tree along the fenceline that had been blown down, so after cutting that off of the fence, it was back to the spruce.  The driveway is now passable. :)
Clearing The Driveway
Tomorrow?  Pasture patrol of the rest of the fencelines checking for more downed trees.
As I post this blog, the corner of the house next to me creaks with the wind.  The farmhouse is pinned and pegged construction - the corners are tree trunks two stories high with a 90 degree angle cut out of them to form the inside corner.  Interesting, huh? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Cold Front & Snow Arrives

Wild Rose Farm Sheep Moving To New Pastures
We're experiencing more unseasonable weather here - this time it's freezing weather.  This is more like January with temps in the low teens.  The ewes had finished grazing the field up past the Loafing Shed.  It had snowed all night, but with the ground being "warm", the snow wasn't sticking.
Llama Snow White Bringing Up The Rear
Notice the fence-sitter pumpkins are still out there ... they usually make it past Thanksgiving before we smash them and feed them to the sheep.   Hmmmm.  What's that dirty spot on Snow White's neck?  And ... what is the shepherd carrying with him?   Let's look back in the photo sequence.  The pup follows along everywhere during chores.  Quick --- had to pick her up before the sheep rushed past as the gate was opened! 
Picking Up The Pup!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Fall Grazing Starts

Wild Rose Farm Ewes Grazing Off In The Distance
We started grazing again late last week.  The sheep are over by the Loafing Shed, but it doesn't look quite that far.  These pictures are the "long view" from our kitchen picture window.
Let's back up a little now ...
Fall Colors Behind The Pines
Just noticed the school bus in the background on Rt 30 ...
Hillside Above The Loafing Shed
Heading back to the house after the grazing paddock shift in a light mist of rain ...
Chores Done For The Day ...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What's That?

Wild Rose Farm Ewes At Sunset
The ewes were making their way over to the fence yesterday afternoon ... I was taking a little break from the dining room remodeling project (why it's been so long between posts) and decided to take some pictures.
When they got up to the fence, it was "Hmmm, what's that little thing?".
What's That On The Other Side Of The Fence?
We've had this puppy since last Thursday...  :)
Jazzy Isn't Too Sure About Those Sheep Either!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pure Sheepy Joy!

Wild Rose Farm Ewe #37 - Are You Bringing Apples?
I've been gathering the apple & pear "drops" for the sheep and 'ol #37 keeps an eye open when she sees me with the bucket.  These are the fruits that we can't use for pie or apple sauce, so the next best thing is to let the sheep "Hoover" them!
Wild Rose Farm Ewe #37 Keeps Her Eye On The Prize ...
Only about a third of the ewes seem to be interested and #37 is the ring leader.  Sometimes she'll have 3 or 4 down before the others realize what's happening.
#37 & Friends Munching
It gets a little crazy as the ewes gobble the closest fruit ... we stay nearby until they finish in case one of the apples would get stuck on the way down.
#37 - Don't Talk With Your Mouth Full!
I had noticed that one of the Rambouillet ewes has some green algae on her wool.  We've seen that occasionally when the weather is rainy & overcast.  It will go away eventually in the sunshine.
#37 Scarfs Up The Last Apple
Today they got 2 buckets of apples & pears after saving the "good" ones for a couple of pies.  We didn't spray the trees and it turned out to be a good year for apples.  The pears are ok, but they're a less desirable variety that is an excellent pollinator for the other pears.
Wild Rose Farm #37 - Gotta Love That Face!
As hard as it is to believe, all good things must come to an end.  Two buckets are enough for today #37 --- you don't want to get sick or tipsy on the fermenting apples! 
SERIOUSLY ... No More Apples Out There???

Monday, October 13, 2014

Neighborhood Belties

Belted Galloways Grazing On The Skyline
One of our neighbors has a herd of Belted Galloway cattle, aka "Oreo Cookie Cows".   They were grazing on top of the hill and looked very striking from a distance.  His well kept, manicured farm starts just on the other side of the line of white fencing.  The horse pastures in the foreground need a bit of tlc and some lime, but the color made for a nice fall scene ...

Friday, October 10, 2014

Change Of Scenery At Wild Rose Farm

Foggy Morning Grazing
The picture taken this morning in the heavy October fog is virtually the same scene as in the previous post taken at sunset ... what a change of scenery!  We were supposed to get rain today - which never happened - and the fog got heavier before it finally burned off late morning.
Morning Chores Done ...
I had already freshened up the "X" on the barn doors & had planned to do some more painting today, but it was too wet & cool to get that done.  The theme this week has been "if it's white and doesn't move, it's getting a coat of paint"!  
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet #401 & Crossbred #34 Grazing
We'll just have to wait for another string of sunny days to continue the painting projects ...

Ewes Watching The Shepherd

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Baaaaack & Forth At Wild Rose Farm

The Flock Grazing On A Fall Afternoon
The temperatures have dropped since the weekend and we're going back & forth between sunshine & rain.  It had been dry, so we could use the rain.  
The sheep have been going back & forth too.  No rhyme or reason.  One goes and the others hurry to follow ...
Llama Snow White - "Now Where Are Those Sheep Going?"
I was taking pictures when the flock reversed course and headed back to the pine trees.  Did someone find the dropped apples along the fence line?  Who knows?!?  They moved fast enough to leave Snow White wondering what the heck happened to her grazing buddies.
Just as fast as they left, in minutes they came hustling back towards the camera.  Go figure.  Sometimes you just have to be there to witness the silly activity ...
Wild Rose Farm Ewes Rushing Back To Graze

Friday, October 3, 2014

Wool 101 - A Lesson From Wild Rose Farm

Dear blog readers -
Ever wonder how wool is grown & how it turns into a nice handspinning fleece?  The condition of pastures plays a key role, like keeping out burdocks, etc.  But ...
Picture #1 - Your handspinning fleece on the hoof, staying clean.
Wild Rose Farm Ewes Grazing
Picture #2 - Your handspinning fleece at rest, staying clean.
Wild Rose Farm Ewes Resting
Picture #3 - Your handspinning fleece at rest, NOT!
Wild Rose Farm Ewes Also Resting
I was amused by this Rambouillet ewe who decided to plop right down in the middle of the only nasty spot in a couple of acres!  The Dorset ewe lamb on the left & the crossbred ewe on the right had more sense.  We had burned a pile of fence line brush cuttings on the roadway and she couldn't resist.  Usually, we see sooty noses when the sheep have access to where we've had a bonfire - they  like the ash and minerals.  The donkey and the llama also like dust baths and will roll in ashes.
The good news is that most of this will wash off over the fall & winter before spring shearing.  Ha.  This is why the most spectacular spinning fleeces come from jacketed sheeep!  :)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Glenda & An Afternoon Snack

Wild Rose Farm Donkey Glenda Hears The Call!
Here's a little peek into the routine at Wild Rose Farm.  It starts with a call ...
You never know from which direction she'll come - that's her value as a guardian, I suppose.  Then after scanning the horizon for a few minutes, I detect motion.   There she is, coming up from the bottom of the field.  It takes a while for her to amble up & sometimes she'll stop to bray.
Meanwhile, the sweet corn is peeled & the husks become a delightful donkey treat. 

Glenda Paws At The Husks
So ... no sweet corn is microwaved or grilled in the husk here at this farm!  :)
Glenda - Those Ears Are Always Swiveling!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Any Leftovers?

Ewes Cleaning Up Leftover Corn
We dumped a little leftover shelled corn into the feeder and the ewes closest to the feeder gobbled it right up.   It was a "you snooze, you lose" kind of moment.   We had called the sheep over just to get a routine look at them ...
When we went back to pick up the bucket, this little gal walked over calmly as if to say, "any chance that there's a little bit in there for me?".
Dorset Ewe Lamb - Any Leftovers In There For Me?
We put 3 ewe lambs that we are retaining out with the ewes.  That way they aren't mixed in with the lambs that are for sale.  We'll move them back to the barn just before breeding season once our lamb numbers are down.  They're fine getting their share when we actually feed - we use 3 feeders, so everyone can get in with room to spare. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Routine Upkeep

Snow White Is Suspicious!
We had gathered the flock up at the back of the Loafing Shed in preparation to give Snow White and one of the ewes a deworming.   Though she is tame, has been shown, and can be led around in a halter, Snow White won't be caught in the "open".  And naturally, she will be the last one into the barn or pen.  You can see that she is casting a wary eye on me as I hold them up near the building waiting for the feed to entice them.
Oh Look - Here Comes A Bucket Of Grain!
 Once the flock spotted the grain bucket, they followed it into the shed.  Guess who put aside the camera, ran up, and closed the gate behind?  :)
Llama haltered.   Llama dewormed.   Mission accomplished.   As you were ...
Whew - Glad That's Over!