Monday, August 8, 2011

Lazy Sunday

It was a lazy Sunday for the residents of Crosswinds Farm.
Jordan did a little sunbathing.

White Chicken and her friends took a nice dust bath.

Rooster Cogburn and Mr. Swagger rested in the shade.




Bailie rested as the fluffy clouds floated by.

" Ahhh, yes, I get a much better view of the clouds this way."

The ram lambs took an afternoon siesta as well.

Yup, a lazy summer Sunday............ for THEM maybe!

I woke Sunday morning to find a littering of pears all over the ground, shaken loose from the tree by some strong overnight winds. So, after I did my regular rounds of feeding animals, cleaning water tanks, and counting heads, I started my morning by filling bucket, after bucket, after bucket, with pears. I was still a little sleepy so it took me a moment, but as I was filling the buckets it occurred to me that pears don't easily get knocked off of the tree, which could only mean one thing....oh, no, the pears are ready to harvest already! I don't have time for this now! I checked the fruit that was still left on the tree, and, sure enough, they snapped off very easily.

Pears are kind of odd in the fact that they ripen from the inside out, so if you wait until they look ripe on the outside, they are actually over-ripe, and at that point, the fruit pulls right off the stem, like this...
Luckily, I only found a few that were to that point...I guess I will be making pear jam this week....A LOT of pear jam.  I am really glad that my other variety of pears ripens much, much later- usually not until late October, but then again, the Bartletts have never been ready this early before, so I may be in for early harvests all the way around, UGH.
Yeah, and it looks like I may have a few apples too...just a few..

After I dealt with the piles of pears, it was time to move on to other things.
I had another rack of hay that needed to be emptied, stacked, and the rack needed to be returned to my neighbor/hay guy.
Another 129, sixty-pound bales of hay unloaded, stacked and stored for winter. Yes, of course they are stacked a certain way....why do you even ask? You know that I am insane.

Hay was done, now eggs needed to be gathered.

Next it was time to cut grass....

..and cut grass...

 ....and cut grass.

Next, I checked the garden and found that something was eating my tomato plants.

Upon further inspection, I found these big fatties- Tomato Horn Worms.

They are both cool, and disgusting all at the same time. The chickens, however, did not find them to be disgusting at all, in fact, they found them to be quite tasty. 

With the garden de-bugged ( yes, Alanza, your Tomato-babies are safe now), I moved on to watering, watering, watering everything since, once again, we have had very little rain and the gardens are looking a little stressed....with the exception of my Amish Cockscomb, which seems to be doing very well in spite of the hot, dry weather.

After all of the outside morning chores were done, I still had the usual inside household tasks of cleaning, doing laundry, and washing dishes ( No we don't have a dishwasher, unless you count me), and before I knew it, it was time to start all over again with the evening farm chores.
Where was Gary while I was doing all of this, you might ask? Well, he wasn't exactly slacking either. He took a week of  'vacation' time from his regular job, to work 14-16 hour days at his part-time job all week. 

Yup, just another lazy Sunday.

" Blah, blah, blah, Sheep Lady. Work, laundry - whatever, can you keep it down? I am trying to rest over here!"

"Ahhh, yes, there is nothing like taking a leisurely dust-bath on a quiet Sunday afternoon."


"Wait, what?"

"What did you say Sheep Lady? What's a stew-pot? Was that supposed to be funny? I don't get it. You're joking, right?"

Don't worry chicken, I was Joking, of course ; ).

Monday, August 1, 2011

Now that's a sheep of a different color!

First, you should know that my sheep are still alive after the 'tree-eating incident', we have reconciled and I haven't sent them off to market....yet!
We finally got some rain here last week. The temperatures are still above normal, but they are somewhat less oppressive than they have been. I guess 90 (ish) degrees feels more tolerable after you have been living with 100 (ish) degrees for a while. Even the animals seem much more comfortable and the pastures look as though they will turn green once again.

I have been evaluating ram lambs, as well as taking a closer look at the ewe lambs that I am keeping. I need  to make some decisions about which ones I will take to the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival to show, and which of the ram lambs I need to sell. I have found a few surprises in my little lambies...good surprises, mostly.
I have a lot of sheep in my flock that carry modified color genetics, so I expect some surprises in color variation from time to time, but this year I have some crazy colors going on. The sire to most of these lambs was Firth of Fifth Avyt, who has a lot of modified genetics in his pedigree as well.
Remember these guys? Apollo and Thor.
I noticed some fleece changes in these boys when I was evaluating Thor ( black flecket) to send him to his new home at OK Acres last month. I don't have any 'grown-up' pictures of Thor, but I did take some fleece pics before he left.

 When I parted the white spots on his fleece, I was surprised to find streaks of modified black underneath. Very strange.
I then checked his twin, Apollo, to see what was lurking under his white spots and found similar changes, although in moorit tones.

Under the moorit spots ( moorit = brown for my non-sheepie readers), I found light mioget...that's not unusual, but.......

 ........under the white spots are variations of modified moorit.

This is what a sample of the white spots look like. White tips with shades of modified moorit in the middle and then back to white at the's like fleece Candy Corn...only non-edible....weird!
Now I was curious as to what some of the other lambs' fleeces were looking like.

Remember this guy? This is Pegasus, he was born with very straight fleece that looked like dog hair.

Well....not any more!

This is a sample of his fleece.'s a little hard to see in this picture, but he is modified as well, he will be Shaela. He only has a very small white spot on his chest, so I can't tell if he has the same color changes as the other lambs under the white. But his black is definitely changing.

Even his ears are kind of funky!

This is Athena, she was the last lamb born this year, so she is quite a bit smaller than some of the others.

So far there isn't much change under her moorit spots, but as I mentioned, she is younger by almost a month, and her fleece hasn't grown as much as the others yet.

But, there is a lot going on under her white spots! 

I am certain that her fleece will change at the skin like the boys have, but it will be fun to see what it does.

So far those are the lambs with obvious changes, and those are all 'keepers'.

I have been watching this guy ( Helios) and he hasn't changed much. He looks slightly lighter at the skin, but there is not enough change in him yet to definitively say that he is modified. He is also out of Avyt. Helios is on my 'For Sale' page on this blog.

OK, so all you color genetics fanatics, what's the deal with the on again, off again color situation??
Side note; there are no ag genes at work here.
Discuss amongst yourselves...but hurry, I have to figure out what to register these babies as. 
I will check some of the other lambs this week.


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