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Sunday, April 28, 2013

Yee-haw!

This will be brief, because it's been a super-busy weekend (more about that later), but I wanted to take a minute and share the big news.....drum roll please....


Holly had her lambs!
Not just any old, run of the mill lambs, mind you. She had two gorgeous EWE lambs. Apparently, Holly carries spots!
So far her milk supply is looking good too (knock on wood).


Fleece and conformation looks great too...as far as one can tell on a newborn lamb anyway.






So far 4 lambs born, two sets of twins, all ewes, all out of Crosswinds San Diego. Exactly zero of them have names.
The next group should start around the 5th of May, that group was all sired by Sommarang Ivar.

Ande-not amused that I wouldn't let him in the barn while Holly was lambing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Holly, still livin' large.


Well, it doesn't seem like Holly feels any particular urgency to pop out those babies. 


I am cautiously optimistic that she will produce enough milk, as her bag looks as though it is filling nicely. That is, of course, unless she produces an entire litter of lambs; which looks entirely possible.

I skirted fleeces yesterday. I was pretty happy with most of them, although the oppressive heat of last summer took a tole on some of them, and there were a lot of dry, sun-bleached tips, particularly on the black fleeces. I haven't gotten my micron reports back yet, so I will be interested to see those numbers.

This is one of my favorites-it is from a yearling ewe, who just happens to be a daughter of our dear friend Holly...yes, Holly, the very same full-figured gal that is pictured above. The yearling ewe's name is Rio, which, in retrospect, was probably a poor name choice. I can't seem to say her name without thinking of Duran Duran.

This is why we are giving Holly another go at lambing.

This moorit fleece shows the sun-bleaching. This is from Odessa, another yearling ewe.



The samples below are from Mandalay (Mandy). Her fleece is nice, but not very consistent. The first photo is from the neck/shoulder area, and the second photo is mid-side....it's still nice, but I would sure like to see that first fleece type all the way through!


Athena. I love this girl. She is a two year old, spotted ewe. She is due to lamb in the next few weeks.



The samples below are from Bella, a three-year-old ewe, who hates me with every fiber of her being.
Neck and mid-side. She is spotted and modified, so there is a wide range of moorit-based tones in her fleece.

Aaaaand a random chicken picture...because I have no new lambs.

If Holly doesn't lamb soon, I'm about to start squeezing!!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April showers bring........worms!

Remember last summer, when I was endlessly whining about the drought? 
Well, I am most certainly not going to complain about the copious amounts of rain that we have been getting this year. We desperately needed the moisture and I am happy to have it. 
But
it's been a lot of rain. Sooooo much rain. A . Lot. Of. Rain. 
But it's okay, I'm not complaining, I am merely stating a fact. Did I mention that it's really, really wet?
5 inches of rain in two days on top of already saturated ground is.....good. 
I always wanted a pond. We now have a pair of Mallard Ducks living in our ditch.

After the heaviest rain, the ground started belching out worms by the thousands. I thought we were having a Worm Apocalypse of sorts. Turns out, we weren't. I know this because I found this interesting bit of information about our wiggly little friends on the internet: 
"Dr. Dennis Linden, Cindy Hale, and other worm experts say that worms do NOT surface to avoid drowning. In fact, they come to the surface during rains (especially in the spring) so they can move overland. The temporarily wet conditions give worms a chance to move safely to new places. Since worms breathe through their skin, the skin must stay wet in order for the oxygen to pass through it. After rain or during high humidity are safe times for worms to move around without dehydrating. It is true that, without oxygen, worms will suffocate. But earthworms can survive for several weeks under water, providing there is sufficient oxygen in the water to support them."

Who knew?

Well, Dr.'s Linden and Hale, I respectfully disagree. I don't know how "safe" it was for the worms to move about over the ground, because the next day, when it didn't rain, some of the stragglers didn't make it back to the grass and the driveway was covered with what could best be described as dried up 'Worm Jerky'-a windfall for which the roosters were most appreciative.

Interestingly, or maybe not so much, my very first job as a kid was collecting worms after the rain for my neighbor who was an avid fisherman. He would pay me a penny or two for each worm. Come on, I was like 8 years old, it seemed like a good job at the time. I digress.

This is part of the Mississippi River, or, I should say, part of the river, plus parts of a park, a road, a train track and a few other things that the river claimed when it came out of it's banks near the building where I have my Farmers' Market booth. 


And then random things floated by. 
I have no idea what that is, but somebody's going to be looking for that.

I am anxiously awaiting warmer temperatures, because, in spite of all the rain, it hasn't warmed up enough for much of anything to grow. Overnight the temps have still been in the 30's-40's most nights.
The buds on the trees haven't opened all the way yet.

The Daffodils are putting forth some effort. Yeah, Daffodils. Good job.

The Robins have been back for some time now. That's a sign of Spring, right?


Rhubarb gets an "E" for effort, but that is about all that is growing so far.

We have no new lambs yet. Yes, we are still waiting for Holly!! 
So here is a rerun. More pictures of Lilly's girls.



And a random rooster face......because I have no new lambs, no flowers, no pretty pastures to show you......but I'm not complaining.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lambs!

 Quick update before things get crazy. Sorry, the pictures aren't great because the lambs are still in the lambing jug.
The first of the 2013 lambs arrived last night! Two EWE lambs out of Crosswinds San Diego x Sommarang Dolly (Lilly). Both are very dark moorit. One is a gulmoget, both are spotted. Yay Lilly!

Of course they don't have names yet!
 If you know me, you know that I haven't even thought of a theme for names yet. 
Why do I do that every year?

I'm not sure what is going on with the Billy Idol hair on these two, but hey, work it, girls!

The gulmoget has good crimp to her fleece right now, with the crimp falling off a just a bit towards the back. I will be anxious to see how her fleece develops. The moorit spotty has looser crimp right now. Both are very soft.



Ande is still trying to decide if he likes them...he's pretty sure he doesn't, mostly because they are diverting my attention away from him.


 Little (no name) gully girl. With solid sides, like her sire :).

 Love the nose on this girl.






I'm not looking forward to this. Holly is next in line. 

I stole, and froze, some colostrum from Lilly's ginormous udder after her lambs had a full day's worth in their big, round bellies--just in case Holly's milk production is not up to par by the time she lambs. I also have powdered colostrum as a back up, and milk replacer--just in case.
 Holly, you were a good mom before, I hope last year's milk shortage was just a one-time event. Don't let me down, girl.
Does she look like she's smirking in that picture? I feel like she's smirking....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

No lambs yet, but hey, a blog post!

Well, I guess we have a lot to catch up on since my last post was in October of last year.
You thought I was dead, didn't you?

First things first though. I know that everyone is anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first lambs, myself included. Just in case you hadn't noticed, the lamb countdown gadget thingy is down to zero...ZERO..somebody needs to tell my ewes.
I have about 13 ewes that are bred. Two are due any day now, the rest are due starting around the first week in May.

Why two groups of lambs so far apart, you ask? Good question. Surprisingly there is a method to my madness.
Firstly, rams are busy folk and they have schedules to keep. I used two rams, one was a rent-a-ram, the other was one of mine that I sold, but I wanted to use him on a couple of ewes before he went to his new home. There was a lot of ram-schedule-juggling that had to be done in order for my ewes to get bred, and for the rams to get the job done at their own farm as well.
Secondly, one of the ewes in the early lambing group, Holly, was my problem child last year. Previous to last year she had always been a good mother, but last year she had twin lambs and did not produce enough milk for both lambs, so I ended up with a part-time bottle baby. I would not normally breed a ewe again that had issues with milk production, but since she never had problems before last year, and because she has great conformation and fleece, I am giving her this one last try at motherhood. Given her difficulties last year, I decided that it would be best if I timed breeding so that Holly, and just one other ewe, would lamb earlier than the rest. The timing will allow me a couple of weeks to deal with any potential problems with Holly before the rest of the crew is due in May. If I end up with a bottle lamb I will have time to get it off to a good start (and get some sleep myself) before the rest of the bouncing fluffballs start to arrive and demand all of my attention.

Lilly is the other ewe that is due aaaany time now. Her sides are beginning to look a little sunken in and her tail ligaments have started to loosen. With the exceptions of triplets in 2011, and a HUGE single last year, Lilly generally has twins and she looks like a good bet for twins again this year.


Holly, the problem child.


Lilly and Holly are both bred to Crosswinds San Diego. 
Diego is a black, spotted gulmoget with great horns and nice fleece. He was one of my favorite lambs from last year. He now belongs to my friends, Craig and Cindy, from Whispering Winds Farm in Waverly, Iowa..

Diego (Firth of Fifth Avyt x Sheltering Pines Mirabile Visu).
Fall micron was: Avg. 23.1  SD 4.7   CV 20.3   CF 93.2%      SF 22.3

If my ewes cooperate, I will soon be photo-bombing you with lots of lamb pictures, so I won't get too carried away with this post. We'll catch up on the other farm shenanigans later....hopefully you won't have to wait another 6 months!

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