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Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sold!






Emma (the one with the Chocolate hair color) has been sold!  The Commander really likes her but I can't keep everyone.



I have begun the weaning process so she will be staying until the middle of July.



Addison's buck Elijah will be going with Emma so she won't get too lonely.



The same farm will be adding the first two Cascade sheep that I have sold!  Bronson with be the first half of a breeding pair.  Bronson looks like he carries more of the Icelandic traits.



He will be joining Bristol.  Bristol seems to be stronger in the Soay gene pool so they should make a really good match.  I hadn't planned on selling Bristol but the buyer wanted a lamb breeding pair and she was my only Cascade ewe lamb this year.



The rest of the lambs are in the weaning process too, things have been loud around here lately.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

More Leader Sheep Stories


Lara continues to amaze me, she keeps sniffing out trouble and letting us know what rookie shepherds we are.  She has earned a place here on my homestead, I'm not sure the sheep would have survived this year without her.

This morning before the Commander left for work he let the rams out into the middle pasture and released the girls with the lambs into the back woods.  An hour or so later Lara started calling me from the barn, I have learned that when she is calling I need to see what she wants.

I went out and found her inside the girls barn with her two lambs.  As I approached she walked to the back door and looked out at the back pasture, she was almost pointing.  I looked out and discovered that the kids had left the gate between the middle and back pastures open and the rams had wander through.  There is only a snow fence dividing the back pasture from the woods and the rams wanted to join the girls, bad!  The snow fence was almost down and I needed to do something immediately.  Fortunately a grain pan works miracles with sheep so I was able to lure the rams back to the middle pasture.  On my way there I found that the kids had also left the gate to the yard open, thank goodness they didn't wander out that way!

Last week between the massive rain storms here in Northern Minnesota the Commander decided to walk the fence line to see if any trees or branches had fallen to breach the fence line.  He told me that as soon as he headed out to the woods Lara joined him and began baa'ing and baa'ing.  She continued to follow him and baa until he came across a tree that had fallen and taken down the fence.  Once the Commander had cleared the fence and set it back into place Lara called to her lambs and wandered off to eat in silence.  The Commander finished walking the fence line and didn't find anything else amiss - did she know what he was doing?

Finally, again last week I went outside to find Lara in the barn with a few of the lambs and she was calling me.  Once I got out there she turned her back to me and began to call to the rest of the sheep in the woods.  I wondered if something was wrong so I called the sheep back to the barn (the sheep are trained to come back to the barn if anyone calls out "Girl Sheep"!).  After a few minutes everyone emerged from the forest and joined Lara in the barn.  All the ewes and lambs were accounted for, I wondered what Lara was thinking.

While all this was going on the weather had turned from overcast to a dark overcast and it soon began to pour rain.  Seems another band of thunderstorms was beginning to roll through and Lara wanted all the sheep safe in the barn with her.  Amazing.  I didn't make it back to the house without getting drenched and it was certainly not a storm to have lambs wandering around the forest.

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Odds and Ends:  I ate the first strawberry of the year harvested from the garden on Sunday - it was delicious!




I sold the guineas I hatched in the incubator - success!




One of the eagle looking chicks that I hatched out this Spring came up missing Saturday night, either he became someones snack or he wandered off and got lost - weird.



Tonight the goat herd was out grazing in the side unfenced forest when the guineas sounded the alarm.  I have no idea what they were screaming at but I was intrigued to note that the goats perked up and sprinted back to their barn.  Are they taking cues from the guineas?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Old Friends, New Life


A friend of mine from my old place of work called me the other day to let me know she would be visiting her brother in Minneapolis and wanted to meet me for lunch.  We met halfway in Hinkley and spent several hours reminiscing.  She was amazed that the city girl she knew had adapted so well to country living, she told me she didn't even need to ask me if I was happy - she could tell I was.

She has been following the blog and knew all about my adventures with the shot gun, the shepherds crook, and all the animals.



They had an antique store where we ate that was full of wonderful items.  I saw several butter churns, dressers, dressing tables, jewelry boxes, and this cupboard.  I may have to go back and pick this up and refinish it.



In case you missed it we have been getting a ton of rain up here in Northern Minnesota.  Hundreds of people have lost their homes, the Zoo was totally flooded out (the polar bear and seals even escaped), and entire towns are still cut off from the rest of the state. Click HERE to see a slideshow of the power of mother nature.

I emailed the Zoo and offered them some lambs and kids to replace some of the farm animals that drown, I haven't heard back from them as of yet.

The buckets above were only outside a few hours before they were overflowing.  The ground here is saturated.


The old me is still here, I have just added a few more accessories to my life.  It isn't the end, just the next stage of the journey.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Poetry Slam Challenge: OFG Style

It's not every day that OFG decides to show her sensitive side, so I am linking to her Poetry Slam Challenge. Maybe she will create a page link along the lines of Wordless Wednesday or Farm Friends Friday???? Nah!

I'll throw in a Guinea Haiku and a normal Guinea rhyme, what do you have?



Beautiful to See?
Creations Left Over Parts
Tick Eating Machine


 

A lonely vagabond wanders on to the farm
An exhausting journey of survival all on his own
The new flock sounds the alarm
Will he be accepted at his new home?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Day with the Goats


Sunday was a beautiful day so when its nice I like to let the goats out of their pen and into the forest to browse. Becca Boo's boy Dominic is getting very big.


It is like a jungle in the woods right now, the Nigerian's must feel right at home.


Becca Boo enjoying a few leaves from a tree.


Addison enjoying some tall grass.


I wish I could just let them out by themselves but I'm afraid they will wander over to the neighbors yard and eat their garden and flowers.  The Commander has promised me he will put up a fence in the goats side of the forest so I can let them out on their own....we will see.


Mia and Emma are getting bigger but they are still just the size of cats.  Can you see Emma's wonderful chocolate coloring? (bottom)


Chip loves stealing drinks of coffee and pop, the stinker.  This morning he knocked my coffee over in the barn and licked it up off the floor.  He he just spilled some Mountain Dew the Commander was drinking.  He is licking up the drops.


Can you see the black in Addison's coloring?  When her hair grows out she goes completely brown, I'm surprised every Spring when I shave her to see the black again.


I just love how colorful the goats are, such variety.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Wooly wooly!


On the day the sheep shearer came over my rose bush was in full bloom!



I found him on Craig's list, he was charging $5 per sheep plus mileage.



I had 6 sheep that needed shearing, 3 Icelandic and 3 Cascade. The Cascade's normally shed their wool naturally and I just gently peal it off in a roo'ing process but I think this years crazy weather may have had a negative impact on their shedding.



Ava didn't look too happy but she was much cooler once her wool was removed.



Hoss was gentile as always, he is such a good boy. The shearer went to school for two years learning his craft so I'm sure he will charge more once he gets more experience. Now I need to figure out what to do with all the wool I have in bags.



Lara looks much smaller and is a beautiful grey!



Ava looks healthy.



Azalea looks shrunken, Berkley is almost her size.



Zoe looks sleek with a trimmed black look.



Azalea has a deer/Soay look to her.

Ironwood looks much less mean, he is happy to be out in the yard grazing on grass behind the electric fence.



Hoss' head is much larger than his body, he has a lot of growing to do!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Our Leader Sheep


Lara is an Icelandic sheep who has Leader Sheep lines. The Commander convinced me to give a few Icelandic sheep a try when we lost two of our Cascade sheep this Winter. The two additional Icelandic sheep would allow us to have a few lambs to help keep the place going until we replaced the lost Cascades.

My initial impression of the experiment was that it was a failure, the Icelandics proved to be just a tad bit too big to handle. Trimming hooves and giving shots became more of a struggle than we were used to. The Icelandic's were just big enough to increase the hay burn to an unacceptable level.

Lara is doing her best to change my mind. One day last month we had heavy rain. So heavy that the Commander went out and walked the fence line before letting the sheep and their lambs out to graze. Everything looked good so he let them out and took off to work. A few hours later I heard Lara back in the sheep barn area calling and calling. I went out to see what all the racket was about and as I got closer I noticed that Lara had collected ALL the lambs and the rest of the mothers were missing. I called for the rest of the girls and I heard them answer from down the path that lead to the road! I went and checked the fence line by the path and sure enough a tree had fallen across the line and all the ewes except for Lara had departed the pasture. Lara had somehow collected all the lambs, brought them back to the barn, and alerted me to the other ewes danger.



A few days later I had let the sheep into the goat pen to get control of the grass that was growing wild (why won't the goats eat the grass - spoiled rotten they are) and I noticed a few of the ram lambs starting to chase after Gidgets two tiny doe kids. As I ran to the gate to get the girls out of trouble I saw Lara step between the ram lambs and the kids and shake her head to break off the pursuit - she was protecting the goat kids!

I've continued to watch Lara and noticed that she always keeps an eye on the other ewes lambs, several times I have watched (and listened) as she reunited Zoe's twin black lambs with their mother after they had somehow gotten separated from her in the forest. So today I wasn't surprised to go outside and hear Lara calling me from the sheep barn area, so I headed over to see what was going on. As I got closer to the barn I began to hear a weak crying sound coming from inside the barn. When I went inside I found what I thought was one of Lara's twin ram lambs, Brighton, locked in a stall. He must have been there for some time as he was horse from crying out. I let him out and headed off, thinking that both he and Lara would be happy now that they were reunited. I was surprised to hear Lara keep calling out. When I turned to see what was going on I noticed that Lara was turned and calling to the forest are, she wasn't facing me at all. Finally, off in the distance, the other sheep began to answer and started to head our way. I took a closer look at the lamb and discovered that he wasn't Lara's black ram, he was Azalea's boy Bronson! It seems Lara had noticed Bronson missing from the flock, came back to the barn looking for him, and called me to rescue him. She had left her own two boys to find a lost lamb.

At this point Azalea was now crying in panic as she had finally discovered Bronson was missing. The flock came back to the barn from the wrong direction and needed me to open two fences for the reunion to commence. Everyone was baa'ing as loud as they could, lambs were screaming, the goats joined in as did the guineas, it was a full barnyard orchestra. In OFG's words, I was now the bad noisy neighbor. I opened the fences as quickly as possible to restore order, but I'm really impressed with Lara. There really must be something to these Leader Sheep - I may have to keep her around.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Grooming


It was 82 degrees today so the time to groom the goats was upon us. Addison was first to get a hair cut and to have her hooves trimmed.



I forget how dark she is underneath her winter hair.



Chip loves being held, he doesn't struggle at all. I'm happy I got around to doing this today as everyone's hooves are better off after a good trimming.



As always happens Chip fell asleep during the grooming process, he is one spoiled goat.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Bad Ideas



Have you ever seen a disaster in the making yet you couldn't convince your significant other of the error in their ways? The Commander can't mow the side of the septic mount because of the slope so he figured he would fence it off for the rams to eat. He couldn't drive fence posts into the mound itself so he figured he would build a snow fence barrier.



The support for his fence line designed to keep four full grown rams in was made up of twine, a soccer rebounder, a few tree limbs, a lawn chair, and three tin sheets.


Even Hoss thought; "You can't be serious, don't you notice that I'm a 120 pounds plus Icelandic ram?" Hoss broke through the "fence" in less than 5 minutes. Having not learned his lesson the Commander "re-secured" the fence with a bit more twine. I tried to tell him....




The next thing I knew I heard the Commander crying for help outside. When I got out there I found him on one side of the fence pushing and Hoss on the other side doing the same. Hoss had four legs and a leverage (and intelligence?) advantage, but fortunately for the Commander I was able to lure Hoss back behind the real fence using a grain bin.

video

Really Sara?  You couldn't find a better stick to play with?

Over at Krazo Acres Carolyn has a wonderful link to the Tale of Vent Kitty, it is a wonderful read!

Finally a quick video of two of my nephews playing a piano duet, they amaze me.

My Nephews Playing Piano

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lazy Day

We set up the electric netting in the backyard today and let the sheep in to graze. The rest of the lawn was handled by the Commander with the other lawn mower.  A few of the lambs got shocked but the fence is doing its job.  Molly got jolted a few times and even she now stays well clear of the fence.



This section of the yard is full of clover and dandelions, perfect for grazing.



It is a nice break for the girls from browsing and clearing all the overgrowth back in the forest.



Plus, it gives Zoe's two little lambs a few days to gain their strength before heading back into the woods.



Gardenia is partly roo'ed, we get a little wool off from her every evening.



The baby goats were out enjoying the sunshine.



Gidgets two girls are just as attractive out of their dresses as they are in them!



The boys were moved to the front grazing area to give the other newish pasture a break. Hoss loves the deep grass.



Killarney is totally roo'ed!



Alder still has a bit of wool but he is a bit too crazy to handle on a regular basis.