Monday, October 23, 2017

What's For Supper?

Wild Rose Farm  Ewes Around Loafing Shed Door
After working with the ewes at the barn on Sunday, they trailed back over to the Loafing Shed.  Of course they know that their grain ration comes out of the front door and they attempted to get inside ... "I knew you kept the goodies in there!", they seemed to say.  You'd think they hadn't eaten for days.
On The Way To The Feed Bunks ...
The fall color here has been fleeting & slightly drab. A lot of the maple leaves went from brown tipped and yellow to "gone". Some are still turning orange & red, but not nearly as colorful as usual due to the dry & hot weather that we've had. See how dry it is in the woods around the water tank?
Wild Rose Farm Ewes Enjoying Spring Water
BTW, now is the time to come out and look at ewe lambs if you'd like to start a flock! We also have several Rambouillet ram lambs left & they'd be great to breed a small flock this fall.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Pollinators & Gathering Goldenrod!

Wild Rose Farm - Lots of Bees Here!
There were plenty of honeybees & other native pollinators buzzing around as I gathered more goldenrod for more natural dyeing projects. This picture came from a clump of flowering goldenrod stems next to the roadway. I ended up leaving one of the "not fully opened" stems for the bees ... feeling a little guilty, I guess!  There are also a TON of black walnuts falling everywhere right now. Every walnut that I gather from along the driveway goes right into the pot of water to soak for a dye bath.
We've finally gotten a bit of rain, but not as much as we'd like. Take a look at how dry the soil is here as we broke a little ground for a small garden next year.  The soil test sample has been sent off to the lab at Penn State and we're waiting for the results & soil pH to come back.
Talk About DRY Soil! 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Perfect Day For The Farm Tour!

"Hey Llama, Why Are You Looking At Me Like That?"
We had a perfect fall day for the 1st Beaver County Self-Guided Farm Tour. Temps ranged from the high 50's to the mid 60's with big, puffy white clouds and a nice breeze.  We were able to have Snow White & the ewe flock grazing right along the driveway in the small "Hospital Pen".
We were so busy talking with everyone and answering questions that I only got one or two pictures taken when the crowd thinned out near the end of the day - oh well!  Llama Snow White was pretty popular with the visitors. The young fellow above kept talking to her and asking why she was looking at him so funny ... we told him that she usually only sees sheep and they don't ask her questions!  One thing that I did notice - look closely at the grass in the pen. The flock spent most of their time grazing as far away from the people as they could get. The grass next to the front fence line is still tall after 5 hours!
Glenda did not disappoint either, with her random & raucous braying next to the folks looking at the lambs in the barn.  Thanks to everyone who came out and visited us at Wild Rose Farm!
Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Her Flock Back at the Loafing Shed

Friday, September 29, 2017

Waiting For Tomorrow ...

Ewe Flock Heading Up To The Barn
It's been bone dry here for the last several weeks. We finally got a small shower this evening & it was enough to send the sheep running back to the Loafing Shed, but not for long!  Here they are coming back up towards the barn once the showers stopped. It still wasn't enough to soak the ground under the trees, but the temperature dropped.
That's a good thing for tomorrow - Saturday is the 2017 Beaver County Self-Guided Farm Tour and Wild Rose Farm is on the map. With the cooler weather, we plan to have the flock grazing in the pen above this one along the driveway. The grass should have been about 4 inches higher in that pen, but there hasn't - been - any -  rain.  :(
The tour starts at the Beaver Farmers' Market where everyone who is registered picks up their swag bag and a tour map.  Snow White and her sheep with their soft wool yarn await!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

New Career For Ewe Lambs!

Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet Ewe Lambs Leaving
Couldn't Get Anyone To Pose For The Picture!
With so much natural dyeing going on (I mean really?), we forgot to mention that 3 Rambouillet ewe lambs left this week! They are happily embarking on a new show & breeding career for a dedicated young lady. Her show experience includes sheep, market hogs, and various types of poultry ... and that's just what we gleaned in 2 visits with her. :)
Can't wait to see how they do for her next year!
2017 Beaver County Self-Guided Farm Tour
Here's another clipping from Lancaster Farming - stop by if you're in the area! 

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Dyeing Goes On ...

Natural Dyeing at Wild Rose Farm
Greens & Lace Weight Indigo Skein 
Here are the results of our natural dyeing yesterday ... some of the goldenrod has been over-dyed with indigo to produce some lovely greens. Once you have an indigo dye vat up & running, it can be used until it is exhausted. The dye vat will take multiple dips of the yarn skeins to darken the blue color.  The yarn airs out between dips as the dye vat rests. The light blue lace weight yarn skein was done after we finished the greens ...
Everything from yesterday is rinsed and hanging out to dry, whew!  Next up - more blue & purple.

We're getting prepared for the "Beaver County Self-Guided Farm Tour" on Saturday,September 30th. We'll have our Wild Rose Farm Rambouillet yarn, combed top, & wool available for sale.
Of course, we have lambs for sale too if you need some of those, lol!   
Sign Up For the Self Guided Beaver County Farm Tour!
*** Wild Rose Farm Is One Of The Tour Stops *** 

Monday, September 18, 2017

We're Dyeing Now!

Wild Rose Farm Indigo Dye Vat & Our Yarn
We started to do some natural dyeing over the weekend with our new yarns. The indigo dye bath is working out nicely. We've done some of the 2-Ply Bulky Art Yarn in 2 shades of blue so far. The foam & bubbles, aka the "flower" that you see on top is a sign of a healthy indigo dye vat. The bath is yellow-green under the flower.
Indigo Yarn & Goldenrod Dye Bath
Next up is the goldenrod dye bath. The goldenrod flower tops are soaked for 24 hours, simmered for and hour, and then the yarn is added to the bath and also simmered for an hour ...
Rambouillet Wool Yarn Entering the Dyebath
Here's the result!
Wild Rose Farm - Naturally Dyed Goldenrod & Indigo Wool Yarns

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

More Rambouillet Yarn Arrives!

News Flash! Yarn Arrives At Wild Rose Farm!
We've been hanging out & waiting for our next batch of yarn to arrive from The Mill At Meadowlands.  Here it is! A box of 2-ply, 200 yard skeins of our own 100% Rambouillet wool yarn arrived on Monday.  Now it's time to get serious about dyeing, lol. Three different types of yarn have been weighed so that I can start the natural dyeing process.
Now, out to clip some goldenrod ...

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Snow White At Dusk

Wild Rose Farm - Snow White & Ewes
We had finished working with the ewes as it was starting to get dark.  Snow White & the flock are waiting for us to open the gate and let them go ... the weather is cooling down and the ewes are starting to butt heads.
Here's a pet peeve of mine.  I see these slow moving vehicle reflectors hanging all over the place where they don't belong & folks become oblivious to their safety significance.  We spotted this caution at the Big Knob Fair in the antique tractor and steam show area:
Proper Use of Slow Moving Vehicle Signs!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Lambs For Sale

Wild Rose Farm Ewes In August
It's August and we've got ewe lambs & ram lambs for sale. All of the ewes have been separated off from the lambs and they've been grazing with Snow White ... see her in the upper right of the picture? Of course, they have been walking back & forth and she sees no need to follow them each time. Smart llama!
And why are they walking back & forth? We weaned the last 3 ewe lambs from their mothers the evening before this picture was taken. Those 3 ewes keep walking back to the gate to call for their lambs.  Occasionally, the rest of the flock follows them.  The 3 lambs are in the barn (penned up with the older lambs) and they keep bleating for their mothers. It takes about 2 days for them to settle down on both sides. Then it's peaceful & quiet again ...
Three Wild Rose Farm Ewes - Where Are Our Lambs?
Aside from working with the sheep, we were at the Hookstown Fair for several days. Here is the 1st Place wool hooked rug ... very nice entry again from this lady!
2017 Hookstown Fair - 1st Place Hooked Wool Rug 
Take a look at this massive heavy weight team from the Saturday morning draft horse pulling contest. They are from Florida and were on their way to somewhere north of here ... just "pull'in through" as they say!
2017 Hookstown Fair - Unhitching Heavy Weight Draft Horse Team From Florida

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Lawrence County Fair

1st Place Rambouillet Ewe Lamb Resting 
After The Show
We made a trip to the Lawrence County Fair to see the sheep show. The Rambouillet ewe lamb that was picked up in late July seemed to be an old hand at showing and was resting calmly after the show.  It looks like she took the Penguin Stanley Cup Hockey theme seriously, lol!
We wandered around the grounds and spotted the Mercer County Spinners & Weavers Guild set up and doing spinning and weaving demonstrations. Their natural dye workshop sample cards caught my eye & reminded me that it's time to collect goldenrod & walnuts ...
Mercer County Spinners & Weavers Guild 
Natural Dye Sample Display Cards

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.