Monday, June 18, 2007

Iowa, Come watch the corn grow.....or.....Iowa, Gateway to Nebraska

White Chicken asks,

"Can we talk about something besides sheep today?"

Here in Southeastern Iowa the daytime temperatures have been hovering around the lower 90's for the past 6 days, which is not all that unusual here later in the's not summer yet. The hot weather is really hard on the animals, but the humidity that we have here in the Midwest is what makes this type of weather so unbearable. Last night we finally got a reprieve from the heat as a cold front pushed in and brought some much needed rain along with it.

It is amazing how a little heat and rain can make the garden.... and weeds, go into a wild growing frenzy (maybe the horse, sheep, and chicken manure have something to do with it too). After I spent most of the afternoon weeding the garden, I was planning on taking some more photos of the sheep to post here. While trying to get a photo op from my uncooperative ovine friends, I noticed how much the corn fields around us have changed just in the last couple of days. It occurred to me that non-Iowegeon people that read this blog may ( or.. may not ) be interested....then again I think there are only 2 people that read this, so no harm done. Now, many of the other Shetland breeders who's farms I have visited or blogs that I have read, have beautiful views of mountains, or peaceful lakes, or rocky slopes filled with wild flowers....we have corn. Okay, it is beautiful corn, if you ask any of my farmer friends, but It's corn. I would be remiss if I didn't mention soybeans too, but with the greater demand for corn and the price going along with the demand, there is a lot more corn being grown. So, without further ado. Our sweeping view of the....hmmmmmm, I think I will call it maize, it sounds more alluring.

This is our view to the north. I was standing next to our pasture fence to take this photo. Right now the corn is about even with the top of our posts which stand about 53". I don't know who came up with the saying, "Knee high by the forth of July" but it is clear that they weren't from

...and the South...

...and the East..

....and the West

Hmmmmm, do you see a theme here? Now, I must say that there ARE very picturesque parts of Iowa with hills and trees. We happen to be in the Mississippi Valley area which has much less diversity in the landscape, but it has it's own charm nonetheless. There are also some benefits to raising animals in this river valley, we have extremely fertile farmland, so there is always plenty of pasture, and feed is always easy to come by. I can buy really good alfalfa hay from my neighbor for $2.00 a bale. We always have a clear view of the night time sky and the fireflies lighting the fields like twinkling Christmas lights. It may not be the most scenic place on earth, but we are happy here. : )

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lamb updates

.....and they finally have names! I can't believe how these guys have changed in just a month and a half. This is Crosswinds Apollo, Trillium's lamb. I am really tempted to keep him. He has great fleece, conformation, and I love his spots. So far his horns are looking good. He also has a very nice temperament, friendly, but respectful.

Apollo is very flashy and has some really nice spotting.

Isn't this a cute little fluke tail?

Next is Crosswinds Flying Ace, Daisy's lamb.
Ace is also a really nice ram lamb with good conformation. He is very similar to his sire, who I am going to continue to use, so I really won't have a place for Acey here as a breeding ram. Ace will be for sale.

Crosswinds Sandpiper. Piper is a black krunet, he wasn't cooperating for photos so you can't see the white spots on his head very well. He has good conformation, is a very nice boy and so far looks like his horns will be good, he has more of a double coated fleece. Piper will also be for sale.

Crosswinds Don Diego, he is Sandpiper's twin. This little scurred ram lamb is unbelievably cute, unfortunately he will have to be sold as a wether....he is a bit cow hocked so he would not be good for breeding, but he will make someone a nice fiber pet or ram companion.

Crosswinds Theodore.

Teddy is another one of the boys that I am undecided about. His dam "Willow" is one of my favorite ewes. He looks as though he will have Willow's wonderful fleece, good conformation and tiny little fluke tail. He looks like he is a "half poll" he started with flat horn buds that eventually grew to less than 1/4 inch and then one fell off yesterday. I will have to watch him and check with the "polled Shetland people" for a better idea of what he would be classified as.

Crosswinds Isabella
Bella will be staying here. She is a VERY friendly girl (I don't think we spoiled her or anything)and she has really soft single coated fleece and good conformation.

These are ,of course, the new, they don't have names yet, but they are both scrumptious!

Thursday, June 7, 2007


Remember Sage and her voluptuous belly? After all of the months of anticipation, she finally decided on Monday morning to deliver two spectacular lambs, quietly, unassisted, in between my frequent visits to the barn to check on her. That's my Sage!

......And yes, she had a ewe lamb! This little girl does not yet have a name. She is a lovely solid dark moorit (brown) color, she is quite petite and feminine and she looks like she will have nice fleece and good conformation. Needless to say she will be staying here.

And of course, there had to be a ram in there too (#6 ram of 8 lambs born)! This guy is a keeper though, he is completely unrelated to any of my other ewes since Sage was bred when I bought her. He also carries a relatively rare color pattern called Gulmoget. He also looks like he will have very nice conformation.

Now that lambing is over and everyone is safe and healthy, I can breathe a sigh of relief....for the moment. On to phase two. Unfortunately, I can't keep all of the now I will have to do my final evaluations and decide which ones will be leaving Crosswinds and go on to sire their own flocks. I already have a pretty good idea of who will be staying, I just need to make sure that my selections are not based on my emotions, only what will be best for the boys in the long run, and whether or not they will fit in to our breeding program.

I have been very lax in posting lately (as some of my friends have pointed out). I will add some current photos of the other lambs soon. It is unbelievable how much they have grown since I last posted, especially seeing them next to the "new" babies.

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