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 ...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lambing Starts At Wild Rose Farm!

Wild Rose Farm #141 With Twin Ewe Lambs
We had 3 sets of twins born yesterday ... between the lambs coming and the off & on thunderstorms, the blog post was delayed until today! The first one was #141 at 5AM with a set of twin ewe lambs.
Rambouillet ewe #403 followed around noon with a ram lamb & a ewe lamb.
Rambouillet #403 With Her Set of Twins
We also had a set of Rambouillet ram lambs from #406 at 11PM. She followed us up to the barn with one lamb born and had the second one in the barn, just beating the rain coming down!
All 3 sets are doing well now ... back out to check the pastures in a couple of hours.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Update & Filler Material!

Snow White Takes A Dust Bath!
No, that's not a new silver gray llama in the Wild Rose Farm pasture! Snow White found the ashes after we burned some pine tree limbs on the hill behind the barn.  She did a pretty thorough job of dusting herself - everything is covered except her head.  It seems to work - no flies were bothering her last night.
Our friends had another lamb born today, but we are still waiting. We're supposed to get a thunderstorm & possibly hail this evening, so we'll see what happens. :~0

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

While We're Waiting ...

Photo Credit To Devin M. 
A Good Mother With Her 1st Lamb!
Here's a guest picture from Devin. This 1st time lambing ewe came from Wild Rose Farm and did a great job for her new family. Devin was kind enough to forward this classic picture of them comfortably bedded down ... She is one of 4 ewe lambs purchased here, so we'll wait to see what happens with the others!   As of this evening, we're still waiting for lambing to start here.
Wild Rose Farm 2-Ply Bulky Art Yarn - Getting ready To Knit!
Meanwhile, our 2-ply bulky Rambouillet art yarn has been purchased & knit up into a hat & mittens by our first customer for this batch. It was custom processed and sold right off of the mill by Ruth at The Mill At Meadowlands.  The rest of the yarn was shipped to us and boy, is it "soft & squishy". 
Here's another picture that was forwarded to us ... it looks great!
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet 2-Ply Bulky Art Yarn
Knitting by Dee - Thanks!
We'll have this yarn for sale at the Waynesburg Sheep & Fiber Fest - May 20th & 21st.  Come squeeze it for yourself, lol!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Early Grazing ...

Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Ewes Grazing
The ewes are now out grazing for the better part of the day. We move the electric net fence every day to provide fresh grass & you can see the area in the foreground that was grazed the day before the picture was taken.  It was overcast and rainy a couple of days ago when we took the picture. 
Since then, the temperature went up and boy, did the grass jump! The leaves are coming out & filling in on the trees & now the dogwoods are in bloom. Can lambs be far away now? :~0
It's out to the barn today to get the first pens ready ...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Getting Ready For Lambing Season!

Backing Out of the Barn at Wild Rose Farm ...
Lambing season is due to start in the next week, so we took advantage of some sunny & dry weather to clean out our barn. The ewe lambs and Snow White spent the winter sheltered here munching on round bales of hay. That nice bedding pack gets to go out to be composted before we spread it on the fields in the fall.  This is the non-glamorous side of the sheep business! Now we're setting up the pens for the ewes & their lambs when we bring them in from pasture.
Later when we went to get feed at the Rogers Feed Mill, we found them starting on a months long renovation project.  The area that has been torn down contained the offices and apparently was once a church building ... concrete floors, a warehouse, & indoor plumbing are coming, hopefully by the end of summer!
Rogers, Ohio - Rogers Feed Mill -Demolition & Construction Underway!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Grazing & Waiting!

Putting Up Net Fencing Before Grazing
We're getting ready to start some light grazing at Wild Rose Farm. We usually wait until mid-April when the grass starts jumping to begin grazing. The electric net fence is up to guide the ewes up to the top pasture on the other side of the Loafing Shed. We'll graze this area first before bringing them to the pasture around the barn for lambing season ...
Meanwhile, here's a look at the 2-ply yarn that we were waiting for at The Mill At Meadowlands.
Rambouillet 2-Ply Bulky Yarn!
This batch is moving on to the skeining process ... Yay!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Watching & Waiting!

Rambouillet Ewe #401 Has News For You!
That's Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Ewe #401 (with the horns), and her siblings, #404 & #405 with some news for their wool wearing friends.  As we speak, our Rambouillet wool is in process at the The Mill At Meadowlands ... whoo-hoo!
Mill owner Ruth has been corresponding back & forth with videos & pictures once the carding process started. 
Nice & Airy Rambouillet Wool Roving Before Spinning!
Here's a sample of the first 2-ply that we were looking at ... achieving a hand-spun look & feel. Keep watching on the mill FB link above.
Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet 2-ply