Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Quick chicken updates before the new ones come

The chicks are now 7 weeks old and are starting to look more like chickens, at least most of them do.

This is one of the Araucana/ameraucana/easter egger..whatever name you prefer since they aren't true Araucanas. We like to call this one Chicken hawk. I love the two toned coloring.

And who couldn't love this face?

This is one of the Blue laced Red Wyandottes.

Salmon Faverolle
Barred Rock
I wasn't able to get pictures of everyone.

Last, but certainly not least, is another Araucana. This one is just plain white........

Except for..........

These lovely green legs.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Attempts at lamb updates

My plan for today was to get some good photo updates on the lambs that I have decided to sell. Unfortunately, most of the lambs had other plans. Between elusive lambies and the wicked weather that we have been graced with as of late, I have only been able to get a few photos of some of the lambs. They grow at such an alarming rate that if I get a good picture one day, by the time I get around to posting it a few days later, it is already outdated.

This is Daisy's ewe lamb, Aleena, she and her twin, Broderick, are the youngest of the lambs right now. I will be keeping Aleena. I will be interested to see what her color does, she had a few lighter hairs around her ears when she was born, so I was expecting her to be musket. But, so far, no "sugar lips" or any signs of fading. She is still very dark all the way to her skin. Her dam is modified so perhaps Aleena will do something interesting with her color. I posted the second picture just to show how crazy crimpy this girl's fleece is.

This is Aleena's twin, Broderick.....well, his name is Broderick, however, my children have taken to calling him Spartacus.......I must admit he does rather look like he has a roman gladiator helmet.....or at least half a helmet. He, Broderick/Spartacus, will be staying here too.
He knows that he is completely adorable, but he does want to be taken seriously as a potential breeding ram, so this is his "I AM SPARTACUS" pose.

The picture below is Oliver...not a celtic name, I know, but Oliver won't be registered. I will be selling Oliver as a wether (castrated ram) for a ram companion or fiber pet. When he was born, I fully expected him to be ag grey (fading from black to grey) like his dam. But.. no sugar lips, not as much as a grey hair on his scrotum (no, my non-sheepy friends, I am not trying to be funny, that is one of the first parts to fade if he is going to fade....that's pretty much just with sheep far as I know). Oliver has wonderful, soft fleece that will have a longer staple length like his dams.

Crosswinds Fallon (Sheepy Hollow Lovey x Sommarang Effrem)

Fallon is a pretty black/krunet ewe with good conformation, nice fleece, and a wide, stocky build. Fallon is VERY friendly and sweet. Fallon will be for sale at weaning since I am keeping her twin.

Crosswinds Duncan (Sheepy Hollow Red Trillium x Sommarang Effrem)

Handsome rammy lamby with great conformation, crimpy, soft fleece and a tiny little tail....ooops, and mud in his nose in this picture. Duncan will be for sale at weaning, without the mud.
I am hoping to try to wrangle the rest of the lambs for some more pictures tomorrow.

After much agonising, I have also decided to sell Duncan's dam, Sheepy Hollow Red Trillium. I have to reduce my flock since I will be keeping some of the ewe lambs, I will add photos of her as well.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Alpaca and internet friends

I finally got to meet my friend Sheri (whom I had never actually met in person), at her Sunset Hill Alpaca Farm. We "met" last fall through a mutual spinner friend, who thought that Sheri and I might be able to share information with each other, since we both raise fiber animals. We kept in touch with email and a phone call or two through the winter. Yesterday, I finally got to go out and see her farm and meet all of her gorgeous babies. Upon meeting Sheri, it was interesting to find out that she had imagined me as being overweight with dark hair, hmmmm, I must have a chubby voice. I guess maybe I should add a photo to my profile.
Sheri and one of her boys.These are some more of the boys, or "Thorns" as Sheri refers to them. She has a female alpaca named Rose and for the last 3 years she has hoped for a female cria (baby alpaca) out of Rose. Instead of a pretty rose bud, all she has gotten are thorns! Although I must say, these boys are pretty darn handsome.

Finally this year she had her little Rose Bud.
Four day old Rose Bud and Mama Rose.
"Hey, I'm pretty cute too.....I think....I can't see very well through all of this hair".

If you like spinning Alpaca fiber, you have to get some of her fiber. Clean, clean, clean and soft. And extremely reasonably priced. She also has some mill spun yarn.

This is some roving that I picked up for my niece who just got her first spinning wheel, perhaps this will inspire her to update her blog (hint).

Isn't the Internet wonderful? I think about how lucky I have been to have met so many interesting, enjoyable people through my sheep and this silly computer.

I do, however, sometimes question my judgement at traveling halfway across the country to pick up sheep, sometimes in the middle of nowhere, from someone that I have never actually met, without giving it a second thought ( hmmm....sounds like stuff that I warned my children not to do...although, I don't think that they are inclined to pick up sheep...more so the not meeting strangers on the Internet thing). Most of the time my sister, Marie, accompanies me on these excursions....well, now there's a lot of protection. My husband doesn't really worry about me when I go on these sheep procurement expeditions though, he is fairly confident that if some ill intentioned person was to snatch up Marie and I, the perpetrator would be the one calling him, in tears, begging, "PLEEAASSE, come and get them, I can't take it anymore".

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Spring loaded lambs

One of my favorite things about having a pasture full of lambs is watching the lamb races every evening. I think the object of the game is to try to see who can jump the highest while contorting themselves into various positions.

I have been trying to get current photos (I say current because these little guys change by the moment) of the lambs to post. It is so difficult to get a good photo of them standing still since they are either doing their aerobatic routine or sleeping soundly cuddled with their twin.

I do actually have names for them now. We went with names of Celtic origin this year. Here are some of the lambs that I was able to capture a photo of.
Crosswinds Dillon (Thistle Keep Teleus Longtail X Sommarang Effrem)
Dillon is an absolutely gorgeous black ram lamb. He has awesome square conformation, a tiny, fluke tail, and has wonderful soft, soft, soft, crimpy fleece from neck to breech. I might have to take him to the Jefferson show if I don't have him sold by then ;).

Crosswinds Duncan ( Sheepy Hollow Red Trillium x Sommarang Effrem)
Another really great ram lamb. Dark moorit, krunet with great conformation, soft, crimpy fleece and a tiny fluke tail.

Crosswinds Fiona (Sommarang Edrea x Sommarang Effrem) Princess Fiona will be staying here. Spoiled, spoiled, spoiled.
Crosswinds Briannah (Sheepy Hollow Red Trillium x Sommarang Effrem)

Pretty ewe lamb with wonderful conformation, fleece and tail. Briannah will be for sale. It has been really tough to decide which of the lambs to keep this year, especially the ewes. I have 3 ewe lambs that are very similar to each other as far as color, conformation and fleece type. So I have been spending a lot of time considering what genetics I want to keep and continue here, and which I am willing to part mind changes as quickly as the lambs do. The longer I look at each one, I see some new quality that I hadn't noticed before and then I have to reconsider my decisions. I will try to add more photos tomorrow of the lambs that I couldn't photograph today (if they will stand still).

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Back by popular demand

It has come to my attention that I have not been keeping my dear readers up to date on the latest goings on in the town of Eldridge. So here are some of the latest additions to the Eldridge police reports published in every one's favorite small town paper, The North Scott Press.
Now, this one is completely understandable. I very often find myself in the same situation, thinking...hey, I've been involved in some illicit activities this week, I think I will call and see if I am a wanted subject.
If you are going to come to Iowa you better make darn sure that you have an Iowa vehicle. We don't allow any out-of-staters hanging around causing trouble.

I heard that they may have been one of those out-of-state cleaning crews!
I am guessing that if someone would have approached this subject before calling the police, they might have figured out that he/she worked there.....oh, but wait, they did have a skateboard after all.

Here on the mean streets of Eldridge, population 4600, kids grow up hard. Wearing their gang colors, John Deere green and uhhh.... John Deere green. Always better to have the officials handle these dangerous, volatile situations.

In defense of the Muskrat, was he just innocently wandering by, or was he doing the creepy stalker thing and peering in the window at her? If it was the creepy stalker thing, she was totally justified in calling the authorities.

In farmy news, Ande had a visit on Monday morning from the veterinarian. She came and gave him some "sleepy shots" which caused him to take a nice little nap, after which he awakened to a couple less body parts in his nether regions. Here he is trying to wake up enough get his lips to move in the appropriate direction.

Sadly, he is still not speaking to me.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Daisy delivers....sort of.

Knowing that Daisy was due to lamb on Thursday, I put her in a lambing jug that afternoon where she proceeded to dig up a storm, spewing straw to the far corners of the earth, but was not showing any signs of active labor. I checked her before I went to bed Thursday night...nothing... got up at 12:30 am to make sure she was okay, still no change. I went back to bed sure that she was just toying with me, making me get up to check on her, and then laughing-her little sheepy laugh-as I stumbled around in a sleepy stupor. By the time I got up.. again.. at 5am she had already delivered twins that were cleaned up and nursing with full bellies.

AND... I sort of got my spots.

This is Daisy's ram lamb. A very nice black Smirslet, sokket. 2 rear socks, and a white tip on his tail. Not exactly wildly spotted, or one of Nancy's fancy HST's, but pretty darn cute and will carry enough spots to hang around here. He also looks like he will have nice fleece.

Daisy also had a ewe lamb. Yup, you guessed it, a dark moorit (brown) with a small krunet marking and ridiculously crimpy fleece. Hmmmm, I think there is a theme here. This is dark moorit/krunet lamb #4...well... I wanted brown! Sage is due at the end of the month, she is musket and rent-a-ram was dark moorit, so more brown babies to come!

I already had plans in place to take my raw fleece from this year's shearing for processing to Abi's fiber studio on Friday, so after I was sure that Daisy's new family was settled in, my friend/fellow chicken hoarder, Cathy, and I set out for Abi's. After an accidental, and then an intentional detour (not my fault, there was a road missing...never mind) we arrived at Abi's, and unloaded my truckload of fleece.

It is always fun to visit with Abi, she is one of those people that has an endless flow of creative ideas and exudes artistic energy. So when Cathy and I left her place, we felt like we should go home and create something. We didn't, we just felt like we should.

Some of Abi's "pretties".
The trees at Abi's farm were beautiful. Boy, I thought that I had a lot of blooms on my trees. These were just loaded. I just missed a photo of a hummingbird tasting the blossoms.
Abi and her husband, Michael, also have a parrot rescue . Many of the birds that they take in have very sad stories and have been abused or neglected, some are turned over by people who can no longer care for them for various reasons, but once they are at the rescue, life is pretty darn good. Some of these birds get adopted out, but many have special needs and end up staying at the rescue so that they can be cared for properly. I admire the dedication and patience that Mike and Abi have in caring for their birds and all of the issues that come with them.
I am so thankful for all of the amazing people that I have met through my sheep and our little farm. I just can't imagine doing anything else.

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