Friday, August 10, 2012

Lamb update, sort of..

Look at that! I'm back again already!

Well, my whining about the weather in my last post paid off; the day after I  posted, we finally got rain! Clearly I have just not been complaining enough and need to do so more often!

And not just a smidgen of rain, mind you, we got nearly 2 inches!

Of course 2 inches of  rain is not going to undo all of the damage that the drought has done, but it is a start, and it made me positively giddy! Things are even starting to turn green!

So, you are probably wondering what happened to all of the lambs from this year? Well, some have already left for new homes.....and, as you may have guessed, a few are staying here. I still have a few ram lambs that I am evaluating- it has been a slow process this year. Without green pastures to munch on all day they don't seem to be growing as quickly this year. Another challenge has been trying to keep the animals free from internal  parasites. The sheep are trying to graze on pastures that are already eaten down to the ground, and because they are eating so close to where they...well....poop...I have also had to be vigilant about checking to see if they need deworming to ensure that they are not continuously picking up worm eggs. All in all they are doing very well and have been pretty worm-resistant.

First some of my 'keepers'.
This little modified Gulmoget/katmoget is out of  Crosswinds Halley, and Whitepine Nessie's Monster Mash ( M&M).
Her name is Mandalay- Mandy for short.
I am sure you can tell right away why I wanted to keep this one..who wouldn't want to keep a lamb that freaks you out every time you walk in the barn because she looks like she's dead?
This is her baby picture.

She has matured very nicely.

Okay, so she's not totally mature and refined....just the way I like them!

Another keeper is Crosswinds Palisade (Sadie) Luna x Avyt
Lamb photo.

Here is Sadie all grown up.

Odessa ( Dessa) ....or as my husband calls her, "Fence Neck"...we have had to rescue her twice having her head firmly stuck in fences, one wood, one wire...she's not picky.  
Dessa is out of Crosswinds Menemsha x Avyt

And Crosswinds Rio
(Out of Crosswinds Natale Holly x Avyt). 
Baby Rio

 It's hard to get a good photo of her since she is usually in my lap.....she also likes to put her neck through the fence ( Note the missing fleece).

 Here are a few of the remaining lambs. I was going to post all of them, but I will do a few today, and the rest n my next post. I do have a waiting list for rams, but sometimes after evaluation,  lambs don't necessarily always match up with the traits that people on the waiting list were interested in, so some may still be available to good homes.

Firth of Fifth Avyt x Crosswinds Ashumet
Colfax, as a lamb.

...and now.

Love this guy! Colfax is a solid black ( possibly modified) ram with great conformation and fleece. Full horns that look really good so far. Carries moorit and spots.

If this guy wasn't related to every ewe I own I would be keeping him.

Remember these little spotted Gulmoget boys?
Crosswinds San Diego (Diego) and Crosswinds Dakota

I am thinking about keeping one of these boys, but I change my mind about which one every other day. I am watching their horn development and how their fleece is looking. Initially they had almost no crimp in their fleece, but now they both have very nice crimp coming in....very different from each other, but both nice.
Diego has more of a 'purled' type fleece. It is very soft.

 Dakota has more defined crimp coming in at the skin level....I'll be interested to see how both rams turn out. I will likely be sending fleece samples for micron testing next week. I know, it's just lamb fleece so the results won't tell me a whole lot, but it will give me a baseline for now.

More next time. Tomorrow is market day and I still have nut rolls to make!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Whine Fest 2012

Well, hello there friends. It's been a long time. You probably have been wondering why I am giving you the 'silent treatment'. Where are the lamb photos? Where is the Chicken Math?

It's not you, it's me. I have not been carrying my weight in this relationship.

I have always tried to keep my blog somewhat light-hearted, and I have tried very hard not to post whiny drivel.  I know you all have problems of your own, and you're not reading this to hear about mine. Well, I didn't mean that like, "Boy, you reeeally have problems", I just meant....well, you know...we all have stuff.

I have found it difficult this summer to find much to blog about that didn't include a lot of complaining, so I have just not posted. My little cousin recently left me a comment about my lack of blog posts, and her father followed it up with a comment speculating that I would probably blog again when it rained....I am not sure if that comment was his empathetic understanding of how my ideas had dried up like the surrounding landscape, or if it was intended as a smart-arse remark synonymous with 'when hell freezes over', either way it was an accurate assessment. It hasn't rained, and I am pretty sure that Hell hasn't frozen over, but I feel like I need to purge this summer out of my system in order to move on to other, more positive things. So, my friends, this post will contain some whining and complaining...okay, A LOT of whining and complaining.

I know, you are all tired of hearing about the drought, and most of my US friends are in the same boat, so I shouldn't complain, but I'm gonna ( see above...I need to whine). Here in Northern Scott County Iowa we are in the Extreme drought category.

I can't even remember the last time we had any measurable precipitation...unless you count my neighbor Miss Effie's official total in her rain gauge after the last "rain"- One drop, a cobweb and a dead fly....not really what we were hoping for.
My pastures are toast.

For the first time ever, I have been feeding hay to the animals all summer long. 
I normally stop feeding hay in May, when the pastures have greened up, and start feeding hay again in October, when there is no longer fresh grass. The price of hay has sky-rocketed, adding to my frustration, and the extra months of hay debris is already showing up in the fleeces on the sheep. I don't jacket my sheep to protect the fleece, and can't even imagine doing that when we have consistently had temperatures in the upper 90's, and 100's all summer with heat indexes around 110 on many days.

The critters have been seeking relief from the heat wherever they can find it.....I am not sure how effective it is to just shade your head...but it is, after all, a chicken....I never claimed that they were the smartest creature in the barnyard.

I have no garden this year.......
Well, that is an exaggeration. I have a garden, I found this little guy yesterday and gave him a drink of water.

.... OH! And I have these.....
dried up blackberries.

And........dry, misshapen pears..

Oh, and I had AN apple! One, singular, apple on my tree earlier this has since fallen off.

And who could forget my container garden? Okay, so it's a long-forgotten bag of seed potatoes that I just discovered in the counts, right?

The neighbor's corn looks green from a distance, but a closer inspection reveals pathetic, stunted corn stalks  
drying up and desperately pointing to the sky.


So, in order to get over this funk that I am in, I am going to try to look on the bright side, and put a positive spin on this situation.....

Okay, so, on the plus side......
Oh, yes! There are no mosquitoes this year. No standing water = no place for mosquito larva.
The price of propane is going down! There will be fewer crops that need drying, so the demand is down........

AND, we haven't had to mow the grass all summer, so, there is that.

Okay, I've got nothing else. The next posts will be back to lambs, and chickens and all things of a  farmy nature.

After all, the forecasters say that we DO have a "good chance" of rain tomorrow night. HAHAHAHAHA!
Yeah, right.

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