Meet the Sheep

Meet the Sheep is our spring event when we invite the public to see sheep and watch fiber activities. I haven’t kept track of how long we have been doing this but I have pictures from 2009 and I think we’ve been at it longer than that. Meet the Sheep comes off smoothly now with Farm Club members handling all of the outside activities. I spend most of the time in the shop but I get out occasionally to take some photos.

IMG_6237             Farm Cub members are invited to be vendors. This is Jackie with Sheep to Shop.DSC_9492                       These are some of her handspun, handknit pillows.IMG_6241                   Colleen has Fiber Confections.DSC_9488                      She usually sells at the Davis Farmers’ Market.IMG_6242                   Gynna makes socks.DSC_9479                       Here are some of her socks knit from my Anderson Ranch yarn and Timm/Jacob yarn.DSC_9471                 Joy sells dye plants…DSC_9454          …ready to use for dyeing and ready to grow. Her butterfly is made from a Zoom Loom square.

Farm Club members also demonstrated fiber activities. Alison and Doris were processing fiber, Laura was weaving on the inkle loom, and Lisa wove a tapestry on the Lilli loom.

DSC_9397                Of course, it’s all about the animals, especially the lambs.IMG_6230          Betsy, Mary, Sue, and Marina helped children pet lambs.DSC_9520              My little goats were an added attraction this year since Julie, who usually brings goats and bunnies, couldn’t be here.  DSC_9405                 This fence helped keep the kids in one place. Moms could relax temporarily.DSC_9417                  I saved the small field behind the shop so that the sheep would be enticed to come to fresh pasture for the weekend.

An new activity was Running Through Puddles. This activity is not offered every year, but the children enjoyed it this time.


One Special Sheep

I’ve had tame sheep before, but not like Jade. I always bring her out when we have field trips and let her loose with the kids.

She stands still when kids are all around as long as she is being petted. She lets people touch her horns when I tell them to feel how the horns are warm at the base and cool at the top.

Jade and Lisa-13               Now I find out that she likes watching videos with friends.Jade and Lisa-16             “Don’t you like watching videos with friends?”Jade and Lisa-15

Jade and Lisa-20              “Yes Jade, you have nice white teeth.”

Jade and Lisa-22              “You too, Lisa”

Jade and Lisa-24

Farm Days

Farm Club members have spent time here during lambing and helped with cleaning, lamb ID, etc. And of course there is always lamb cuddling.IMG_5547                  Farm Club is a great way to learn about raising sheep before you invest in sheep or if you won’t ever have the lifestyle that lets you own a sheep.

IMG_5548             Zorra had plenty of cuddling while she was still in the lambing area with her mom. Lisa is a lamb cuddling Pro.IMG_5550                 This is pet sheep Jade’s lamb (and me).

IMG_5670                                                   This is her again being held by Peggy. We’d really like her to be friendly too.

IMG_5672               This is Zorra again with Sumi.

Betsy and lamb-3                                                   As the lambs get a little older we have other Farm Days. This was Betsy’s first day on the farm and she jumpred right in holding lambs as we ear tagged and castrated. 18042                         I don’t castrate many because it’s hard to know how they will grow out and which might be a great flock sire for someone. Some are easy though–too much or too little color to fit within the 15-85% breed standard. This one’s horns are already touching at the base under that hair. As the horns grow they will fuse and not grow well separately.Marina and lamb-3                                          Marina and Maggie (no photo) helped catch lambs too and Mary handled the clipboard. The lambs were all tagged with their white ID tags right after they were born but we put added a colored tag on Farm Day. I like to use a second tag for back-up ID if the first one falls out and also to color code the sire. It’s interesting to keep track of that and it also helps to find a lamb when you’re looking for one among 75. You can narrow it down some if you have a color to look for.DSC_9172                This year Cayenne’s lambs got orange tags. Pink tags go in all the lambs that have been castrated.

DSC_9183                         Green means these are Buster’s lambs.DSC_9189                          Blue was for Catalyst.

18013            Peyton’s lambs are obvious so don’t need an extra tag.

Orchardgrass-3-2             After we tagged all the lambs Marina and Betsy stayed to help me set up the pasture for the sheep. I had put the sheep out for a few days but hadn’t cleaned and moved the water trough.

Orchardgrass-2-2               We walked around the pasture and took stock of things. I always point out the issue that I have with the dallisgrass that is out of control. That’s what all that dry grass is. I’d much rather see green grass growing. The whole pasture was looking somewhat dismal from a growth standpoint. At this point we had just had March rain after two very dry and cold months. I wasn’t seeing much growth–at least not enough to feed 55 ewes and 75 lambs. unknown grass-2               We spotted this grass that I don’t recognize.unknown grass-11                     I took photos to send to a friend of Marina’s who she think might recognize it.

Thanks Farm Club!

Red Barn Reflections

I was in the right place at the right time for these shots. I can’t decide which I like best. Well, I think I have it narrowed to three or four…or six. I haven’t edited much other than straightening and a little cropping. I could do a lot with the color, but I hesitate to change things to what doesn’t look as natural to me. I’d love to hear what you think. Do you have a favorite?


I could have also titled this “One of these things is not like the other.” Did you see it?

I’ll be working with these photos more and will do some editing to see how that goes.

People at the Farm and Tiny Lambs

Every year  I offer a Sheep Handling and Management class that occurs sometime during lambing season. This year the timing was lucky! We had twins born in the morning before the class started and a ewe started lambing during class.IMG_5679               During the discussion about other aspects of raising sheep we kept an eye on Zinnia, the ewe who was lambing. When she got more serious we watched.Zinnia lambing-14                 One thing of note was the presence of two bags, each a different color. A lot of time I just see membranes that have broken so I wouldn’t know if it were one or two, but it seemed unusual to see two distinct bags. I saw a bit of a small foot emerging but the whole thing seemed to be taking awhile so I thought I’d check.  There was one foot and a head. Not very far back was another head. Both lambs were coming at the same time, and it was obvious from the two sacs that one had meconium staining, a sign of fetal distress. I pushed the second lamb back and was able to pull the first lamb with just the head and one foot. I could tell that it was very small.  Usually it takes a little while for the second to come, but it was right there too. Weighing these later, they were 4.8 and 4.2 pounds.

Zinnia lambing-16

Both lambs were alive. The second lamb acted unusual. Most lambs start trying to get up within minutes of birth but there is a normal sequence that I have a hard time describing. It’s just something that I’ve seen many times. (If you go to my YouTube channel and look at lambing videos you’ll see this.) The second lamb was noisy, baaing constantly and sort of scrabbling with it’s feet. It seemed frantic as opposed to a more methodical attempt to stand.

IMG_5688                    You can’t rush a lamb to be ready to nurse. I didn’t know if something was wrong with this one, but I knew that, even if it was normal, it needed a little more time. We went outside and looked at the fences and the pasture. When we came back in the first lamb was doing fine. The second still wasn’t able to stand but I could hold it up and get it to nurse.

Zinnia lambing-19              We kept checking back and eventually the second lamb was on it’s feet. This photo was taken later in the day.IMG_5694                 Later that afternoon a friend of mine came with another friend to take photos of the lambs. That’s Raquel with triplet ram lambs.


The three of us spent time in the pasture photographing lambs before we came in to go out to dinner.

IMG_5708           Here is the tiny lamb from the morning.


IMG_5706              This was getting close to the end of lambing.18075-18074             Here are those two tiny lambs 12 days later and here is their listing on the website.



Amaryllis is our donkey and has chronic laminitis (see this story). Because of that she can’t go out on the pasture or even in the back corral while the grass is green back there. She is in her own pen with a wether as a buddy. That is a poor substitute for another equine  and the sheep isn’t too thrilled with the plan either. I thought long and hard about getting Amaryllis a friend. It doesn’t make sense for us to have another donkey or a mini-horse or any other equine–from the standpoint of space and cost of upkeep. When Stephany was still alive she was Amaryllis’ best friend. Stephany was a goat.DSCN3466-1             The last time there were goats here they were Chris’ Toggenburgs that he raised for his FFA project. Stephany was the last goat from that era.

1997-11 K & Chenille                                                         Before that I had owned one goat. This is an Angora goat named Chenille in a photo from 1997. Katie was 9 then.

I contacted someone I knew who might have goats for sale and went to her place when she had some ready to go.IMG_5778                 These are two of a set of quads. One was the smallest of the batch and the other was having some trouble drinking from the LambBar bucket with all the others.IMG_5781                  I am not planning to show goats and I am bottle-feeding so those points didn’t matter…IMG_5782                    …and I brought these babies home.IMG_5798                      Oops. A third goat came along–mainly because my friend didn’t plan to raise him and I figured that I could find a home for him eventually.IMG_5803                   Te goats are popular with Farm Club friends.IMG_5807

IMG_5907                                                That’s Ellie on the left and Amelia on the right.IMG_E5940-2                 Their temporary buddy, Kevin, is in the middle. He’s going to a new home tomorrow. Thank goodness. IMG_E5948                      It’s sure easier to feed two than three.

IMG_6028                       I have been keeping the kids in the barn  but the weather has turned nice and I wanted to introduce them to Amaryllis. She was definitely interested.IMG_6029                   I hope that they will become her new BFFs. Here is Rusty’s version of getting goats.

Lambs #56 and #57

Lambing seems like it was a long time ago now, but this was only 2-1/2 weeks ago.

Jade and lambs                    Jade is the biggest pet sheep here. 18056-18057                      She had a ewe and a ram lamb.

Jade and lambs-2                   At that point I had overflow pens set up in the alley of the barn.

Lambing gets exhausting and you have to get your sleep when you can.IMG_5517                      I think I slept some here and then was woken up.IMG_5518

IMG_5520                  It looks as though Sunny is getting sleepy here. But I’m awake.

While we’re thinking about getting cozy on the couch…IMG_5530              My son works as an EMT and he is often gone at night. The “puppies”, who live next door, get invited in our house if they are barking too much. They have no qualms about cuddling on the couch, something our dogs don’t get to do.Jade-18056            Back to Jade. Here she is with one of her lambs at 2-1/2 weeks old.