Sunday, March 28, 2010

News that has no use.

While we are waiting for lambs, let's keep abreast of all the important goings on in Northern Scott county- shall we? For those of you who are new to my blog, this segment highlights all of pulse-pounding drama and criminal activities that happen here on the East coast of central Iowa as documented in the police report section by our local, rural newspaper. This much treachery and nefarious activity could not possibly happen in one week's time, which is how often the paper comes out, so I save the more intriguing snippets and compile them here-just for you.

The first item of business is this blatant disregard for peace and order.....

Maybe I am being naive here, but isn't loud music the hallmark of Ice Cream truck?

This next story struck me mostly because of the brutal language involved.
"Ha!" "What?"

Oh, the horror! Someone, quickly get those children a bowl of chips and put them back in front of the video games where they belong!!! We can't have children playing OUTSIDE!

Did they really need to turn him in to the resource officer? Was he made to sit in the Principal's a teeny tiny chair? These are just some of the things that I think about when I hear these disturbing stories.

For me, driving into someone else is always the best means to conflict resolution.

As much as I was concerned for the welfare of this poor fellow lost in the trees, it occurred to me that 'East Iowa street' is in town, and being that we live in Iowa, there are not vast expanses of forest abounding. Curiosity got the better of me and I located the area in question.................

A few trees between the railroad tracks and the road. In defense of the poor man lost in the trees, the time stamp on this report was 1:38 in the morning and Del's bar was just a few short blocks away.

It's a good thing that there is not a lot of identifying information in that report about the lost keys, we wouldn't want just anyone to be able to walk in and say, "Has there been a set of keys turned in with a NY ring, two keys and a mini flashlight?"

What? Juveniles using foul language? This is exactly the kind of thing that we have a police force for!

Hide the women and children! Five motorcyclists can only mean one thing-there are five people on motorcycles. People on motorcycles=bad!

Ummm, problem solved then.

This guy has more trouble than a motorcycle gang riding into town.

This was perhaps my favorite. I PROMISE you, my friends, I don't make this stuff up. If you think that here in the Midwest we don't have celebrity encounters on a regular basis, this just goes to show you how wrong you are. Not only do we have celebrities, but they come here to wreak havoc on poor, unsuspecting, law-abiding citizens.

We are on to you, Cindy Crawford!

If you are a glutton for punishment, click here to read previous news posts.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mama mia that's a lotta chickens!

A few months ago, I decided that I was going to need more laying hens since some of my 'old girls' are getting...well...old, and like many of us, they aren't quite what they used to be.  I am also planning on parting with my Mille Fleur Leghorn hens (they are INSANE) so that is going to leave me a few chickens short of a full coop-which, coincidentally, is how many people would describe me. I placed an order for chicks with Sand Hill Preservation (my very favorite hatchery) very early this year because they often sell out of some of the rarer breeds early in the season.  I ordered 20 chicks all together, comprised of four different breeds: Blue-Laced-Red Wyandottes, Golden  Laced Wyandottes, Welsummers, and Blue Orpingtons, 5 chicks of each breed. I only need about 10 replacements, but Sand Hill doesn't sex any of their chicks, so going by the assumption that approximately half will be male and will not stay here, 20 seemed like a reasonable number.

Glen and Linda at Sand Hill are nice enough to accommodate small orders for those of us that are able to pick the little peepers up at their hatchery-it is only about 10 miles from my house. Small orders require some patience though. The hatchery does their best to fill small orders in between their regular shipping orders, and all breeds are not necessarily available at the same time, so you need to be flexible. This morning Linda called me to let me know that some of my chicks were ready. My Blue-Laced-Red and Golden Laced Wyandottes were there waiting for me!

I filled up the 'baby pool' -no water, just bedding...I'm not THAT crazy! I filled the feeder with chick starter and mixed up some sugar water to get the babies off to a good start once they got home. Then off I went to retrieve my new charges.

When I got to the hatchery, Linda greeted my with my peeping box of friends. She handed me my invoice and let me know that my 5 Blue-Laced-Reds were in the box and that Glen hatched some extra Golden-Laced so he gave me 7 instead of the 5 that I ordered........really, I only ordered 5 of each, I promise, but OK great, I can use 7. It's called Chicken Math. I have gotten accustomed to Glen adding a couple of extra chicks to the order; Sand Hill doesn't kill any of their extra chicks like most hatcheries do, they would rather send them home with someone.... someone that has s.u.c.k.e.r. tattooed on her forehead. As I was walking away with the box-o-chicks, Linda said, "Oh, he added a few 'filler' chicks too to help them stay warm on your way home." OK,  I am pretty sure that Glen is aware of the aforementioned fact that I live 10 miles away since I get chicks from them a couple times a year, and that I do have heat in the truck...I believe I've been Chicken Mathed.
I asked Linda what breeds the 'extras' were. Linda replied, "Could be anything, maybe some egg-layers... maybe something for the stew-pot." Stew-pot? Have you MET me? Clearly nothing raised on my farm is destined for the stew-pot! I thanked her and happily drove away with my little box-o-chicks.
As I drove down the road, the box was peeping quite loudly. I opened the lid and put my hand inside so that the chicks could gather under the warmth of my hand. Boy, I thought to myself, that looks like a lot of chicks....hmmm. I glanced at the chicks and then down at the invoice-5 Blue-Laced-Red, 7 Golden -Laced....I flipped the invoice over-12 filler chicks........12 filler chicks...12...wait, what? OMG. That can't be right. Well, long story short...I looked at the invoice when I got home, I counted each chick as I dipped their beaks in the sugar water, and it was right, there were a total of 24 chicks. 24. Twenty-four. Chicken Math.
That's alotta chicks!
After the shock wore off it occurred to me that only half of my order has been filled. Stay with me here, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Let's review. I ordered twenty chicks and I received half of that order-which turned out to be the first ten that I ordered, plus 2 extras, plus 12 filler chicks, so half of my original order of 20 is 24...makes perfect sense. I still have, in theory, 5 Blue Orpingtons and 5 Welsummers coming....5 of each.....5(ish). Chicken Math is so confusing. Maybe I better build a bigger coop.
I hope some of my chicken addicted friends will be interested in some roosters in a few weeks!
"This Chicken Math made me really tired. Good night!"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Extreme makeover-nekked sheep edition.

 I left a message with my shearer last week and was waiting anxiously to hear back from him as to when he would be available to makeover my sheep...the girls were getting pretty shaggy and with only one month left until lambing I really needed to get them sheared and vaccinated. Plus they just take up so much room in the barn when they are all wooly!
Since there is only one shearer in the area, I am always at the mercy of his schedule and I was a bit nervous when I didn't hear back right away-I had visions of trying to hand-shear all of my sheep and was remembering the "Ande haircut debacle" of last year. Well, the stars must have been properly aligned because it worked out that he was free this afternoon. The weather has been a bit warmer too which sure made me feel better about getting the girls all nekked in the cold.
Just look at how much space they take up fully dressed.
See how many more sheep fit in the barn nekked??
Willow will demonstrate the shearing process.
Fully clothed Willow.
Willow in the hands of her stylist.
Nekked Willow. Incidentally, I was worried about what condition my pregnant girls would be in under all that fleece-it is very difficult to feel their structure through their thick wool.....but it doesn't look like any of them are in danger of starving anytime soon.
Some of the girls were much more nervous about getting a makeover.  Marie was in charge of dragging gently guiding the ewes to their hair appointment. Some of the girls were less excited about the process than others.

Cassie needed a bit more encouragement.
Marie reminded me at that point that I really need to work on halter training this spring...whatever.

I never get tired of watching the outer fleece peel away from the clippers, revealing clean, beautiful fleece underneath.

More before and after shots.
Edrea post-makeover.
And some of her shorn fleece.
Edrea's micron count from last fall was a bit higher than I would like to see (27.6) but her CV was 22.0 and her other numbers were decent....her fleece sure spins up beautifully.

Here is Luna before.

...and after.
Halley pre-makeover.
.....and after.
Yes, the "baby bumps" are much easier to see now that the girls are going 'el fresco'.

Here is a big "baby bump".......oh no, wait, that is my wether, Rocky...apparently he has been enjoying spending the winter in the ewes barn....and eating more than his share of grain! He would normally be out in the ram pasture, but I didn't keep any rams over the winter so he got to bunk with the girls.
Here are some more fleecy photos for my fiber addict friends. Enjoy!
Now to get all of this fiber down to my processor for spinning!

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