Friday, August 29, 2014

You've Been Given Fair Warning!

"Fair Warning" Sign!
This is our 3rd county fair in two weeks and we've seen all of the signs on the livestock displays.
Rabbits bite - keep hands out of cages.  Chickens peck - keep hands out of cages.  Horses & ponies - some bite, some don't want their ears touched ... you get the picture.  Just common sense, but if you don't know animals, sometimes not so common!   :~0
This sign was on a nice display pen of horned Shetland sheep and we were amused.  Turns out that the lady who owns the sheep also trains her Standard Schnauzers to herd sheep.  Interesting!
Big Knob Fair - Shetland Sheep
Then it was on to our 4th fair today ... the big Canfield Fair in Ohio.  More sheep ...
Canfield Fair - Preparing To Show Horned Dorset Rams
The judge was making a point in this Suffolk ram class pictures below- note the 1st place ram on the left is younger & shorter in stature in this class, but he was more structurally correct, heavier muscled, etc.  There's a bone of contention when the discussion comes up on the difference between what are referred to as "show" sheep and "production style" sheep.  We see the judges go both ways and, in fact, the larger framed Suffolk ewes came out on top in their classes.  The judges weigh all aspects of the sheep and make their decisions ...
Canfield Fair - Suffolk Ram Class
After the sheep, it was off to the Largest Squash display, which we faithfully document each year!
Canfield Fair 2014 - Largest Squash 1,124#
 A final note ... look above the 2014 Canfield Fair Grandstand Sign Board.  WPA - 1936.  I'd forgotten about that.  Are there WPA or CCC projects in your town? 
2014 Canfield Fair Grandstand

Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Hookstown Fair Pics

Judging Of The 4-H Poultry Projects
We have a couple of pictures from the Hookstown Fair ... I forgot the camera for 2 nights.  Then we had rain storms on the nights when I had the camera, so it only came out in the larger buildings.  Friday night was a real mess, especially in the parking areas.  We went past the fairground this morning and the one of the back lots still had about 20 "stuck" cars ... oh yea, and 1 stuck "jacked up" 4WD pickup.  Didn't do "the boys" any good when they were flinging mud, but sliding sideways towards the cars.   Hoo boy!  Have to wait to tow all of them out now.    :(
Feeding Time For The Ram Pens
This is the first time that we've seen Tunis sheep at the fair ... their pen sign says "It's A Red Thing!".
Tunis Sheep
Southdown Sheep - Where's My Feed?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Summer Grazing

Wild Rose Farm Ewes Grazing
There's nothing special going on right now ... we're just rotating the ewes through a second time on summer pasture.  We've had good moisture all summer.  As soon as we're done with this section of pasture, we'll stop the grazing, go to feeding round bales of hay, and rest the pastures until fall.  These are cool season grasses and legumes, so they are still slowing down and now need the extended time to recover. 
No matter what the weather, the weeds can still thrive.  I spent several hours this week hand cutting out some little patches of Canada thistle, pokeweed, & horsenettle.  When walking the pastures, you'll come across these little clumps, and it's best to eliminate them before they go to seed. 
It's tedious work, like weed whacking the fence lines ... sigh.  :~(

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Hoopiefest 2014

Hoopiefest Sign Up Again!
It speaks for itself, what can I say?  We were out and about yesterday, but obviously didn't come by this way.  It looks like Hoopiefest 2014 has come & gone.   We didn't see the sign last year - a hiatus or did we miss it? - so we were relieved to see that the tradition continues!
Be Careful On The Way To Hoopiefest!
Getting Closer To Hoopiefest ...
We know that this is an "invitation only" event .... hmmm ..... notice the bag of old golf clubs set out with the trash?  Must have been part of the festivities, 'cause there's no golf course out here!  :~0
Hoopiefest 2014

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Natural Dye Rainbow!

Natural Dye Class Rainbow Of Samples
I finally got the sample yarn skeins from the natural dyeing class at The Mannings racked, stacked, & packed.   I'll submit 2 pictures to my discerning audience because it's all about the lighting!   I'm particularly fond of the over-dyed and dip-dyed skeins. 

Natural Dye Skeins "Mixed" To Separate Colors
Definitely click on these pictures to see the colors.  The Fustic over-dyed with Indigo gave us the green & yellow/gold skein.  That deep purplish skein is another favorite.  Look closely at the subtle color variation ... Cochineal also over-dyed with Indigo.   The bright yellow/orange/pink dip-dyed skeins look great here and also look good after they were "re-skeined" ... the skein gets a different multi-color strand appeal.   It makes you want to go out and set up a batch of dye pots, eh?!?   I may be doing a natural dye demo later in September ... what to do, what to do?  We didn't even get into Sumac or Walnut in this workshop ...  :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

WRF Visits The Lawrence County Fair

We Arrive At The Lawrence County Fair Sheep Barn!
Wild Rose Farm headed out to the opening night of the Lawrence County Fair to see the breeding sheep show.  It was a slow night at the fair - rain storms threatened & the Grandstand program was cancelled.  We were in the show arena next to the sheep barn, snug on the bleachers with everyone else who was taking shelter from the rain.  Oh yeah, some of them were actually there to see the sheep! 
Rambouillet Ram Lamb Escapes To Join His Pen Mate -  Judge Intercepts!
 You Can Tell He Is A Sheepman ...
After waiting through a mix up in the show order - Montadale - Shropshire - Southdown - Suffolk - Rambouillet - (doesn't "R" come before "S" in the alphabet?) - the Rambouillets were only too eager to take the floor!  The ram lamb bolted from the holding pen to join his flockmate in the ring.  Ashley kept her cool and got a chuckle out of it as the judge intercepted the ram lamb.  ;)   Back to the pen he went to wait his turn.  I had a bit of trouble getting pics - dark sawdust, bright & not so bright lighting, folks jumping up in front of me, & manuevering in the show ring - so let's just go with the flow ...

A Snippet of A View Of The Rambouillet Ram Lamb
Setting Up Rambouillet Ewe Lamb In All Breed Championship Ewe Class
One of the things about going to a show is hearing the comments from the judge - positive comments that our Rambouillets are structurally correct and have good fleeces.  The judge looks in the mouths of all of the sheep & checks depth of loin, structure, & soundness.  But when they get to wool breeds, he also parts the fleece on their sides from front to back to check for uniformity & fineness. 
Here are a couple of shots of some other sheep that caught my eye - both are Southdowns.  Take a look at this chunky commercial ram lamb being judged - I wasn't just swayed by his wonderful frosty gray color.
Young Men With A Nice Commercial Ram

Southdown Ewe Class - I Favor The Stockier Southdowns!
After the show on opening day, patriotic Rambouillets "Jack & Jill" get to relax for the rest of the week.
Festive Rambouillet Sheep Pen!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

To A New Home!

Wild Rose Farm Ewe Lambs - An Excellent Adventure!
I poked the camera inside the SUV to get a quick picture of two Wild Rose Farm ewe lambs heading for their new home tonight.  Both are Dorset x Rambouillet crossbred twins - one out of ewe #47 & one out of ewe #127.   They are going with Tammy & Terry to join some goats, chickens, & miniature donkeys.  What a couple of lucky lambs! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Natural Dye Workshop At The Mannings

The Mannings In East Berlin, PA
Wild Rose Farm went on a roadtrip last week to The Mannings for a workshop on natural dyeing.  For those who don't know, folks are drawn from "all over" to the classes conducted year round at The Mannings.  Some of the weaving classes are in-depth week long events, but this was a 2 day class.
The Mannings Natural Dye Class - Out Under The Tent
Our instructor, Juanita Breidenbaugh, did a great job of preparing for the class.  The yarn was freshly pre-mordanted and we had a varied selection of dye materials.  Some of the common plants that we used were goldenrod, mullien, onion skins & chicory.   Some of our instruction was done indoors, but we had fantastic weather to go outside and spread out.
Hanging Skeins Out To Dry
We also used many other natural dye extracts and techniques to come up with a rainbow of colors.  We completed the workshop by learning painting & dip dyeing.  I can see why this class with Juanita sells out every summer ... this was my 3rd attempt to register! 
All Hands On Deck In The Dyepots!
Another neat thing ... check out this "dye pot wagon".  Juanita told us that her husband made it with a gas stove top securely mounted & leveled on a wheelbarrow frame.  Sheet metal is welded around 3 sides as a wind barrier.  You can easily move this from storage to the outdoors when you want to dye.  Needless to say, this is for the more serious production scale dyers out there.  :)  I love it!
We all left with samples of every yarn that we dyed and a recipe handout.  As soon as they're dry, I'll put up a post of the rainbow of colors.