Friday, April 29, 2016

Outstanding In Her Field!

Wild Rose Farm #142 With Twin Ram Lambs!
Here's a quick picture taken around 10AM with my cell phone while I was out standing in the pasture field. I was checking on first time lamber #142, when I got a call from a potential alpaca vendor for the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest.  We chatted as I watched the ewe and her lambs. Then I decided, "hey, I've got this camera, let's take a pic", so I worked my way down closer to check as she cleaned her newborns.  About an hour later, the lambs were moved up to the barn and #142 followed along very well.
And so did Snow White ... once she saw the lambs being carried, ever curious, she followed along into the barn.  She sniffed around checking out the lambing pen set ups and then ambled back out the door.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Twins Arrive!

Wild Rose Farm Dorset Ewe #118  With Twins
Yesterday morning, #118 delivered her first set of lambs - one ram lamb & one ewe lamb. That's what shepherds look for ... twins from ewes on their first lambing and good mothering instincts!
Nothing else as of this morning, but here are some nice pasture scenes to set the mood.
Snow White Resting
Grazing In Front Of Stone Pile & Dogwood
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Ewe #401 Coming For A Treat
Triplets Last Year - Hmmm - Wha'cha Think?
In the bottom picture, you can see both of our ewes that have horns. #401 is a Rambouillet with small horns (too long to be called scurs) & X-bred #134 behind her with true horns. I've got a small bruise on my arm right now from her hooking me as we were doing vaccinations last week ...

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Storks Arrive At Wild Rose Farm!

A Pair Of Geese Arrive Early This Morning!
The storks geese arrived this morning just after the 6:30AM pasture check.  Huh? I know that storks bring babies, but I guess geese bring lambs! We had heard the honking and didn't see any geese in the sky. Then the dogs saw them & started to bark. We've had geese land in the pasture before, but this was a first.  :)
Dorset Ewe #1445 Separated From Flock At Dawn
 This is what a ewe close to lambing does ... she begins to separate herself from the rest of the flock.
Glenda On Patrol In The Next Pasture
Finally, this evening around 6:40PM, Dorset ewe #1445 went into labor. By 7:10 she had a single ram lamb, the first of our 2016 lambing season. This is her first lamb and she immediately started to take care of it and clean it off.
Wild Rose Farm Ewe & Newborn Lamb Nearing Dusk
Wild Rose Farm - Snow White Is Fascinated By The New Lamb!
Snow White couldn't take her eyes off of the new lamb. After several of the other ewes had sniffed the new lamb and moved on, Snow White approached and gently sniffed at her new charge.  Ewe and lamb are now in the barn resting ...

Sunday, April 24, 2016

All Is Calm ...

Hey Lady - Why Do You Keep Coming Out Here To Look At Us? 
Everyone is still standing around as of this evening with nothing going on.  We'll just keep checking!  Just before I was going out to the barn to work on more fleeces, we got a visit from one of our blog followers. It's nice to know that folks are out there watching the comings and going of the flock ... I promised lamb pictures "soon", so now we're feeling the pressure to perform.
We got another lamb's wool fleece and another Rambouillet fleece skirted today ... at least something is getting done around here! :~0
Wild Rose Farm - #420 Rambouillet Fleece In Dazzling Sunshine! 
Wild Rose Farm - Ewe Lamb 0538 X-bred Fleece
Wild Rose Farm - Ewe Lamb 0538 Fleece Close-up

Saturday, April 23, 2016

In Other News ...

Dusk Cell Phone Pic Of Nothing Happening!
We moved the ewes last night so that they are now grazing close to the barn. The waiting continues at Wild Rose Farm ... nothing as of this morning.
Yesterday our Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival committee had our "walk-thru" meeting at the fairgrounds. Building #8 has been renovated & expanded, so that called for me to whip out the 100' tape measure and get updated dimensions. Next comes a new booth layout map ... the fun never ends!
Lena With Felted Flower Purse From 2015 WS&FF
The building looks so empty without the vendors, but Lena from Lippencott Alpacas decided to show off a felted flower purse that she got last year from long time returning vendor River Ridge Fiberworks. That's the 2016 festival t-shirt tucked under her arm ... sneak preview below:
2016 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival T-shirt!
The featured art sheep are Katahdins from one of the Breed Pavilion flocks at their home farm.  We're less than a month away from the festival now!
2016 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival Poster 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Other Activities Around The Barn

Glenda & Diamond Playing
It's funny what you see when you spend time around animals in their environment. This was the scene above the barn near me while I was skirting fleeces yesterday. Glenda had been hanging around outside watching me because skirting fleeces is just so interesting.  Since it was close to afternoon feeding time, Diamond appeared and went out through the wire panels to see Glenda.  I've seen them from a distance before, but this time I was close enough to get some pictures ...
"Take That!" Says Diamond
We've seen Diamond sitting on a fence rail next to Glenda & walking up to her in the pasture, but never this part of the relationship. The cat pictures make a kind of transition to another event. I came in for the evening to find an email relaying the news of the passing of my cousin, the "original" Dr. Phil. Dr Philip Edward Kaldon and his wife debbie, aka Mrs. Dr. Phil, were well known cat people.  Dr. Phil wrote Sci-fi and had more acclaimed works, but here is a link to a fun(?) little story, Brooding in the Dark
It's one of my favorites. If you've ever pondered the "internet of things" and AI (not the agricultural kind of AI!), you might enjoy the personality of 193.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Waiting & Skirting ...

Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Ewes Under The Pine Trees
No lambs yet as of this evening, so work continued without interruption on the fleeces today. Taking a break at noon, by walking out to the ewes to check on them, we turned up some pushy ewes ...
WRF Rambouillet #403 Would Like A Treat!
And "as long as you're handing out treats", #401 says, "I might as well push up to the front of the line". It's hard for me to get back far enough to take a picture! :)
WRF Rambouillet #401 Pushes Her Way In Too! 
Since there are no pictures of lambs yet, we'll have to settle for 2 more yummy Rambouillet fleeces that we skirted today.
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet #332 Fleece
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet #410 Fleece Fills The Bag!
Rambouillet #332 Fleece Close-up
Rambouillet #410 Fleece Close-up

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Watching The Calendar!

Wild Rose Farm Lamb Fleece
We need to put a calendar up in the barn. Our lambing season should start any minute now, so we need to let the ewes know what today's date is! As of this morning, no new lambs ...
With the sunny weather & temperatures in the mid-70's for two days, it's time to skirt some fleeces. This is a nice lamb fleece from a twin daughter of Rambouillet #405, so it is a 50/50 Rambouillet/Dorset cross. The skirted fleece now weighs about 4 lbs.  The 0477 number is her lamb ear tag. We will put permanent flock tags in over the next month or so ... I need to order another batch of tags.
0477 Lamb Fleece Close-up

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Chores Almost Finished ...

Beautiful Day At Wild Rose Farm!
We're wrapping up the pre-lambing festivities here at the farm.  We had temps in the low 80's this afternoon as we brought the ewes up for their vaccination boosters.  We ease them up in stages through the various fields so there is no rush or overexertion.
Snow White Gets Vaccinated Too ...
I was going to brush out Snow White & even up her clip job, but I ran out of time once we got started giving the ewes their shots.  We'll have plenty of time for that later, I guess.  It was just getting dark as we took the flock back to the Loafing Shed.  Now begins the early morning and late night checks for lambs!
Gathered & Waiting To Move

Friday, April 15, 2016

2016 Shearing Done!

Only 6 Sheep Left To Be Sheared! 
We finished the rest of the shearing yesterday here at Wild Rose Farm. Our shearer has his own flock of 100+ ewes, so he arrives here mid-morning after his chores are done.  Mind you, after he finishes here, he heads home to do his own chores again. We split the sheep into 2 groups here now and do about half at a time.
How does the sheep that you're after know that she is the one?  Rambouillet ewe #332 started to spin around just as the picture above was snapped ... she was next and she knew it!
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Ewe #332 - Very Nice Fleece!
This is #332, but the tag you see in her left ear is her scrapie tag - we put flock number tags on the ewe's right ear as you see in the 1st picture.
Guess who got a full body clip this year? Yes, that's llama Snow White & she's standing pretty quietly for her clip job! Her early handling and showing career before she came to us certainly serves us well.
Wild Rose Farm - Snow White - Off Comes That Heavy Fleece!
 One thing that she didn't want to do was stand on the shearing board & carpet.  Oh well ... I got some of the prime fleece as it came cleanly off & now what to do with it?  For the record, by this afternoon, she had found the spot where we had burned brush over the winter.  She enjoyed rolling around and taking a nice dust bath in the ashes.  She is now a dusty gray color & no longer shows up as bright white against the green grass like the ewes ...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Almost Frozen & Temps Dropping!

Drooping Daffs ...
I went out this afternoon to cut the almost blooming early red tulips and did a little yard tour.  First I encountered the big drooping daffodils in the front yard.  It's hard to tell, but only 1 bloom could be saved, the rest were frozen & iced over. The forsythia bushes had been frozen and had turned an orange/yellow color ...
Frosted Forsythias ...
The red tulips around the outhouse looked good, so anything close to blooming was cut to bring inside!

Wild Rose Farm Outhouse Tulips!

Tulips Starting To Open On Windowsill ...
Finally, the rhubarb bed that is used for natural dyeing had a bit of snow, but the hardy leaves shrugged off the cold so far.  Hard to believe, but after dipping into the teens tonight, the long range forecast is calling for temps in the 70's next Saturday ... ahhhh, Spring!
Wild Rose Farm Rhubarb Plants In Recently Edged Bed

Friday, April 8, 2016

Change Of Shearing Plans!

What The Well Dressed Shearers Are Wearing!
We got 25 of 46 sheep sheared yesterday with temps in the mid-40's.  We mutually decided to reschedule the rest for next week after this cold front passes.  The shearing machine is still hanging from the nail in the rafters and the board + carpet are leaning against the wall.  Click to enlarge & notice the footwear repair with sheep duct tape! :)  Our shearer does not wear felt booties like some do when shearing.
Wild Rose Farm - Another Nice Fleece Comes Off!
Once again, all of the fleeces are recorded, evaluated, bagged, & tagged as they are being sheared. With just 2 of us to help catch, sweep, bag, and move fleeces, we don't have time or room to set up a skirting table. I usually have a couple of bags of belly wool, dirty top knots, tags, & hay filled neck wool that I've pulled off as we are shearing. One of the ewes was sick last year and so there was one fleece with "wool break" that will end up in the tag pile at the wool pool.
Wild Rose Farm Fleeces "Bagged & Tagged" ...
Rambouillet ewe #422 with a 19.9 micron test produced a nice spinning fleece that we will sample for the Virginia guild project.  Once again, Rambouillet ewe #410 has another great show fleece - look for this one again at the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest Fleece Show in May!
A Glimpse Of Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Ewe #410 Coming To A Show Near You! 
As they were sheared, the hungry ewes were released to pasture. They ran around munching until we finished, cleaned up, and then opened up the barn paddock gates to them again.  A sudden downpour sent them running back up to the barn where we closed them inside ... but not before some sheepy confusion about where they were supposed to go.  Typical sheep!
Bright White Sheep Flock Back To The Barn
  Yep, they ran past the open paddock gate and stood outside where they had been penned for shearing.  :)
A Bucket Of Grain Calls Them Back To The Gate Behind The Barn ... 
Snow White & the full fleeced ewes were sent back to the Loafing Shed to wait until next week.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Ready For Shearing Day!

Headed For The Barn!
Today is shearing day at Wild Rose Farm ... notice how nice and sunny it was yesterday! Temps are now hovering around 43 degrees and will be falling later today.  Oh ... and it's drizzling with spotty heavier rain throughout the day.  Yuck. Unfortunately, that's the way it goes when you schedule in advance.
Wild Rose Farm - Wait 'Til You See How We Clean Up!
Everyone spent the night in the barn to keep dry and we'll get about half of them sheared today and the other half probably tomorrow if all goes well.  Being newly sheared, they'll have to stay inside for a week or 10 days depending on the weather ... they always have access to the outdoors & they make the choice.
Wild Rose Farm Dorset #115 - I'm Ready To Get This Done!
Dorset ewe #115 was one of the first ewes marked as bred last November ... let's follow along and see if she is one of the first to lamb.  We have an order for a Rambouillet fleece for a guild study project in Virginia, so I'd like to get that put together and shipped by Monday.  :)