Tuesday, August 8, 2017

New Ram Joins The Flock

Suffolk & Dorset Rams Ready To Unload
We traveled to the annual PDA Performance Tested Ram & Buck Sale on Saturday and brought home a new Dorset ram. Our friend went with us and got a Suffolk ram for his flock. It's always amusing on the ride home as passing cars, with both kids & adults, stare, smile, & point at the sheep.
Bidding Underway On A Suffolk Ram 
The auction picture above shows an interesting aspect of the sale ... the man seated on the stage is accepting internet bids while the Amish men in the front row join their English counterparts in the live bidding from the floor.  Hair sheep (Dorpers at this sale) seem to be getting more popular as sheep shearers are getting harder to find and year to year wool prices are erratic.  Also, meat goat bucks now far outnumber the rams being tested & sold. In watching the bidders, most of the goats were sold to folks from Eastern PA.
Dorset Ram Settles In At Wild Rose Farm 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Off To A New Home!

Wild Rose Farm #557 - Loaded Up & Leaving! 
The first Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet ewe lamb sold this season headed off to a new home over the weekend.  She leaves comfortably ensconced in a large Rubbermaid tub tucked into the back of a Jeep!  There was barely enough time to remember to take a picture as she thinks about jumping out ... I'm sure that she enjoyed looking out the back window during her air conditioned ride home.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

I Brake For Wool!

Auction Find - Drawer Box of Wool Tapestry/Needlepoint Yarn - "Before"
Many of our followers know that Wild Rose Farm has a little vintage or "up-cycling" wool goodies sideline.  It started several years back when folks were asking for wool fabric or blankets for felting or crafting. I occasionally found wool items at auctions or estate sales and offered them for resale. A sideline was born and now it seems that I see wool everywhere ... yes, I brake for wool!  One woman even gave me two Norwegian wool sweaters knowing that I will find a good home for them ...
Auction Find - Sorted By Dye Lot - "After"
 This big box of wool yarn came from an auction last weekend ... it was in a large closet full of acrylic yarn and scads of cotton crochet thread stashed in plastic tubs. Guess who won the bid & choice of boxes? :)  Seems that the Amish ladies at the sale were after the sewing & crochet thread ...
But there's more!  My travels over the last 2 months yielded these lovely finds:
Eastern Pennsylvania Stash of Wool Yarn & Corriedale Sliver!
Central Ohio Thrift Shop Collection of Wool Yarns!
I've even stumbled across some G.C. Murphy's wool yarn recently at a random yard sale. You just never know what's hiding in a nest of acrylic yarn. Granted, I've picked through stacks of yarn and found no wool, but here's a funny one ... a mothball scented chest full of acrylic yarn ... uh, what's up with that?!?

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Look At Our New 2-Ply Rambouillet Yarn!

Wild Rose Farm - 2-Ply Rambouillet Wool Yarn
Here's a glamour shot of our yarn finishing up the process at The Mill At Meadowlands. We have ~200 yard skeins of this 2-ply, but I don't have a total skein count or wpi on it at the moment ... details, details!  Rumor has it that it's soft & squishy too ... a lovely farm yarn.  You'll have to stay tuned for the details on this batch!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Yarn Processing Continued ...

The Mill at Meadowlands - Skein Winder
Wild Rose Farm 2-ply Rambouillet Yarn

Here's another picture of our Rambouillet 2-ply yarn in process at The Mill at Meadowlands. The skeins will be ~ 200 yards. The bobbins below will be wound off next and turned into skeins ...
It's interesting to see the process and Ruth makes sure to keep you posted every step of the way as we make decisions on the final product.  Or, as she likes to say, "what kind of yarn the wool wants to become", lol! :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

More Yarn Coming!

The Mill At Meadowlands
Ruth Processing Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Wool!
Wow! We had a chance to view our Rambouillet wool processing at The Mill At Meadowlands a couple of days ago. We visited family in the Chester County, PA area and then took a ride to the mill in Maryland to see our wool being processed. Thanks to Ruth, owner of the mill, and Brianna for taking the time to explain & show off the process.  Brianna was operating the spinner and here is a sample of what our current batch of 2-ply looks like ...
The Mill At Meadowlands
Wild Rose Farm - 2-ply Rambouillet Yarn Sample On The Spinner!
We picked up our finished 3-ply "sport/DKish" weight yarn while we were there. It's currently resting and releasing the moisture from the mill spinning process. All in all, a great visit and we've gotten some really soft, squeezable fine wool yarn ... can't wait to gather some natural dye materials as the season goes on and start dyeing some yarn!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Out For A Morning Stroll!

Two Wild Turkey Hens & Their 5 Little Ones Tagging Along!
Just before we went out to do the usual morning chores & feeding, these 2 wild turkey hens showed up at the stream crossing in the pasture field.  This is the second time in a week that we've seen them at that same spot. Today they decided to walk across the paddock & come up on the driveway.
You can just see four of the five little ones next to the fence. A couple of them had hopped up onto the fence rail, but I wasn't quick enough to get the picture. The picture was taken from the kitchen window that was opened very carefully so that the hens didn't get spooked. They are experts at detecting motion & noise!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Rambouillets In The Barn

Wild Rose Farm Ewes & Lambs Heading To The Barn
We're getting ready to sell some lambs, so we started the weaning process. Every Rambouillet ewe lamb this spring was born as a twin to a ram lamb. So ... if we want to sell a ewe lamb, we end up weaning both the ewe lamb and the ram lamb off of their mother. We now have 12 lambs in the barn. Registration papers have been filled out & sent in for 5 ewe lambs and 1 ram lamb. We'll wean another group of lambs once we give the last newborn lambs their booster shots and move them out of the barn.
Final lambing update: WRF #143 had a ewe lamb, the last lamb of the season, on the 4th of July!  

Thursday, June 29, 2017

More New Lambs!

New Ewe Lamb at Wild Rose Farm!
Well, who knows what happened, but we have a group of 3 ewes that are now lambing. These are their first lambs and we figured that they were not bred for some reason. Then they seemed to be getting a little bigger, so we penned them in the barn to keep a closer eye on them. Sure enough, their udders started to fill in and we now have 2 new lambs. The first one from #146 was born on Tuesday and last night #147 had a ewe lamb. One more ewe to go!  We pulled the ram out on February 4th, once he started to rough house with the bred ewes, so it was possible for these three to get bred. Let's just say that this saved them from the auction as non-breeders (and the lamb & rice "natural" dog food bag).

Friday, June 23, 2017

Farm Activities ...

Sheep Watching The Cherry Picking!
We've been busy with all kinds of activities here (and not here) at Wild Rose Farm. On the home front, the sour cherry trees were loaded this year and we got a lot picked and "put up" as they say.
Cherry Picking 101!
 So far the count has been 2 cherry pies, 8 quarts of frozen cherries, and a dozen half-pints of cherry jam.  We've been sharing the tops of the trees with the birds and the season's not done yet ...
1st Fresh Baked Cherry Pie of the Season!
During some pruning work along our road frontage I discovered a previously unknown (to me) mulberry tree.  The branches were hard to reach, but a quart of mulberries managed to find their way into the freezer too!  A few of the ewes and lambs found their way over near the fence line while I was picking the mulberries and kept an eye on things ...
A Few Of The Ewes & Lambs Morning Grazing
 Do you ever wish you'd done something 20 years ago?  On one of our rainy days, we drove to D-S Livestock Equipment in Maryland & picked up this piece of equipment to add to the end of our processing & sorting chute. We've been an operation that makes the sheep pay for their equipment and this will make processing and hoof trimming a lot easier for us ...
D-S Livestock Equipment "Roll O'Matic"!
Finally, this week we took what I call our "non-committed" wool to the Washington County Wool Pool. I volunteered with check-in for both days. It's a great way to get to talk & meet with regional shepherds!  This year the high bidder for the pool required that the wool was NOT GRADED and had to be shipped in plastic wool sacks. They will re-weigh & grade the wool and then send checks directly to the producers.  This was a big change and some folks were not happy since they had already bagged their fleeces according to past practice.  We made sure to separate all of our fine Rambouillet wool in one bag.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Just Routines!

Wild Rose Farm - Done Grazing Here!
The ewes & lambs have settled into a routine now that everyone has been processed with ear tags and they're out grazing. They spent the evening & overnight in the "hospital pen" near the barn to graze it down. When you do a graze with high stock density in a limited area, they say it's a third, a third, a third. One third eaten, one third trampled, one third remaining.  That looks about right, lol, and now we'll mow off the stems & seed heads.  The sheep were off to the pasture on the other side of the Loafing Shed ...
Leading up to the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest, I noted that we were running low on our Rambouillet combed top and needed to have more made. We quickly skirted and took 20 pounds of raw fleece out to the Great Lakes Sheep & Fiber Show in Wooster, Ohio over the Memorial Day weekend. We dropped it off with Zeilinger Wool to be processed ... yay!  They make a lovely combed top for us and we'd sold a bunch at Waynesburg.  

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest Wrap Up

Very Cool Sheep Signs!
Finally, a report from the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest LAST weekend! Have I told you about the sheep signs before on this blog? They are sponsored by businesses and gather contest votes for favorite sign prior to the festival. Prizes are awarded, but that's not my area so I'm not up on the details, lol! They all have a little dry erase board on them and they're used all over the festival for directional signage.
Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest - Fleece To Shawl Contest
The Fleece to Shawl Contest had 3 teams entered for the competition on Saturday.  Each team has a different theme and you can see the results above. The Loyalhanna Guild has a sea theme and here they are at work!
Loyalhanna Spinners & Weavers Guild - Fleece to Shawl Competition
There were also a lot of entries this year in the fiber arts contest and here are a few in pictures from the hand-spun skeins category.
Best Of Show
Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest - Handspun Skeins
Overall, the weather was good - no rain to speak of until about 3:30 on Sunday afternoon, and then it cleared up as the vendors were packing to leave.  Even the sheep signs weren't having any trouble with the weather and the alpacas were working the crowds!
Couldn't Have Matched Better If You Tried!
Lippencott Alpacas Visit The Vendors ...

More pictures in the next post ... after a week of t-storms and lambing chores here at home, it's off to the Great Lakes Sheep & Wool Show in Wooster, Ohio tomorrow.  We have Rambouillet wool to drop off with Zeilinger Wool to be made into our Wild Rose Farm combed top ... just spent most of the day in the barn skirting fleeces. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Festival

2017 Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest
It's time for the 14th Annual Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest this weekend, May 20th & 21st! We're all tagging and packing up our "stuff".  We've got a great group of vendors this year - it just keeps getting better.  New this year is a Maker's Space on Sunday manned by the Washington County Spinners & Weavers Guild in Building #10 --- come join in! 
Wild Rose Farm will be bringing our new Rambouillet 2-ply Bulky Art Yarn.   Be sure to check it out ... it's so soft.  Thanks to Ruth & the crew at The Mill At Meadowlands! 
We're wrapping up the lambing and the grazing is good. The picture below shows the dwindling group of ewes waiting to lamb grazing with Snow White and the 7 yearling ewe lambs.  We've been brush hogging daily to try and keep up as we graze each section.
Grazing Background, Mowed Foreground

Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Her Charges In A Sea Of Grass!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Raining Again & More Lambs ...

Wild Rose Farm "Patches" At 6:30AM Pasture Check
We had several very pleasant days earlier this week and nice weather for lambing. It dried out and we were also able to brush hog parts of the pasture that have already been grazed. The lower parts are still soggy so those areas have to wait.  Our lamb checks continue around the clock & we're up to 23 ewes that have lambed. 
7PM May 11th = Left - Snow White Watching, Middle Alone #408, Right Alone #117
The second picture shows what it looks like when ewes are "thinking about" lambing. I walked through the pasture and took this as picture heading back to the barn. By 10PM, #408, who was pawing the ground in the above picture had delivered a ram lamb.
Rambouillet #408 & Ram Lamb - 10PM 
No one else delivered overnight, but our 6AM pasture check found Dorset #117 with a set of twin ram lambs under the pine trees. She had moved on from standing alone near the water tank earlier.
Here's what it looks like at 10AM today ... now #99 is starting to "stare into the distance".  That's her "above" the llama - 2nd ewe in the distance. 
Snow White & Ewes At 10AM 
Hopefully this gives an idea of what we watch for and observe when we are doing our pasture lambing checks!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunshine, Twins, & Grazing!

Sunshine At Wild Rose Farm, Finally!
After several rainy, cool, & windy days, we've got sunshine!  The ewes really enjoy a fresh section of pasture and it's not so "washy" to eat. In the rain, we stepped up the pasture checks to every 2 hours to make sure that we got the lambs in to the barn before they chilled. Mission accomplished.
We had 2 sets of twins born in the rain & 2 more sets of twins born today ...
We Were Born In The Rain, But We're Fine Now!
We're Nice & Dry In The Barn ... And Now The Sun Comes Out! 
Wild Rose Farm Dorset Ewe #118 With Twin Rams Born This Afternoon
Hey - What's Going On Down In That Sheep Pasture???
We're grazing in the pasture below our neighbors and the Goat Mahal. Of course, the goats come down to the fence to check things out!  When we moved the net fence this afternoon, we saw a doe leave for the back of the field. She probably has a fawn hidden in the pasture so we were careful not to cause too much disturbance.  It's probably gone by now. We've noticed that does will take advantage of the relative safety behind the pasture fences.    

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Rain & Drizzle In The Pasture
The last 2 days have been rainy off & on. We had 2 sets of twins born yesterday - one set in the early morning rain around 6AM and one set around 2PM in a brief sunny period. We had to towel off the morning lambs and milk out a little colostrum to make sure the smaller, 2nd born of the two got off to a good start.
When Will This Rain Stop?
It's critical in weather like this that we keep up the lambing checks about every two hours. Here's my selection of farm footwear for every scenario!
What The Fashionable Farmer Is Wearing ... Complete With Stylish Boot Jack!
Finally, a lamb conference in the barn mixing pen ... they had just finished racing around the hay feeder.  I think they are discussing their Kentucky Derby picks ...
Wild Rose Farm - First Lambs In The Mixing Pen

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lambing Time Routines

Wild Rose Farm #50 & Twin Ram Lambs
It's only been a week, but watching & moving ewes and lambs is starting to be a blur! We have "routines" & routine times to go out and do pasture checks.  As soon as I say that, you know that lambing doesn't go according to schedule, so you just have to roll with it ...
After bringing ewe #50 and her twins in this morning, we did the feeding and settled everyone in for the morning.
Another thing that needs to be done when possible is collecting colostrum to freeze in case it's needed to save a lamb. We milked out one of the ewes who had a single lamb late Wednesday night. Usually a single lamb will use one teat and the other teat can be milked out the first time to collect the colostrum.
Worth it's weight in gold when you need it!
300ml of Colostrum For The Freezer

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Watching The Pasture

Snow White With #134 & Her Lamb
We had 3 ewes that lambed today. Thankfully, no one lambed yesterday during the drenching downpours and high winds. Snow White was on duty again ... here she is near our #134 horned ewe and her single lamb. It was windy today too. Just get a look at those clouds!
Snow White Watches #134 & Her Lamb Going To The Barn
While the other sheep act silly and start to follow along, Snow White watched us carry off the lamb with the ewe following. Almost as if "it's ok to take the lamb if you're going to the barn".  We just came back in from the barn where we brought in another ewe & lamb in the dark.  The ewe had lambed under the trees ... and Snow White was camped out just below the pines.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Good Morning From Wild Rose Farm!

Wild Rose Farm - 6:45AM Peaceful Pasture
A "once over" of the pasture this morning revealed a peaceful scene ... nothing going on here. Or is there? Most of the ewes were behind me, but there were a bunch in front of me scattered out grazing. As I got closer, I noticed a ewe behind Snow White watching me.  See her? I still didn't see anything until I walked by above them and saw something bright white between them.
#144 With Her Ewe Lamb
I moved in even closer and everyone got up ... #144 was sticking close & taking good care of her first lamb.  The ewe lamb looked great and was an item of attention & curiosity for Snow White.  Ewe & lamb are resting comfortably in the barn now near the 4 sets of twins.
Snow White Watching Ewe Lamb
Another late post & it's time to go back out for a late night pasture check ...