More Farm Views

I have dozens of blog posts in my head and I’m determined to catch up with them.

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Look back at the post before this one to see the dallisgrass in the paddock where I put the sheep a couple of days ago. There comes a point after they have grazed it for five days or so when I want to move them. The plants I prefer (clover, trefoil) have been eaten to the round and I know that they will never finish off this grass. Besides, while they are in one paddock the dallisgrass in the next is just growing more. After I move them, then we mow. This is what the paddock looks like after mowing. I’d really like to rake up all that leftover grass and get it off the field, but the only way that happens is if I go out and do it by hand.

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This is Trista, also known as the Velcro Sheep.

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Do you see why? When she was a lamb she actually got herself stuck in the blackberries. Is this a the sheep way to always have a snack with you?

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Cattle egrets in the eucalyptus tree.

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Take off.

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Donkey

Amaryllis looking slim(mer).

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As I go through this batch of photos, here is another dallisgrass one. This is in the horse pasture (so called because when we had horses that is where they grazed–no horses now).

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Yes, there are sheep there.

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This is at the end of Dixon Avenue on our way to town. I am amused that someone added a tail. I’ll be at this festival in Dixon next weekend. I’m teaching three weaving classes, will have a vendor booth, and will have sheep there for the show.

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Last random photo for this post. That’s Chris with his unexpectedly large pumpkin!

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Keeping Busy on the Farm

I’m keeping busy.

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Most of the photos are from yesterday but this was a few days ago. I like this view.

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Morning chores. Do you see the grass on this ewe’s back? The dallisgrass is tall right now and it’s sticky. (From the web: Once dallisgrass seed heads ripen they can be infected with an ergot fungus. Infected seed heads are black and sticky.”) It is so strong that it trips me up when I walk and get my feet stuck under it. The sheep are coming in with it draped around their necks. They are dirty because all the dust sticks to the dirt. We’ll need rain to get them clean again.

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The sheep were going into this paddock on the right. I pulled the net fence out of the dallisgrass and put it back in so that it tipped the other way so hopefully they don’t get their horns in the fence.

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There is a 3-wire electric fence here that you can barely see. I stomped down the dallisgrass on the side of the paddock they’ll be in so that the fenceline is more visible. The only way this fence works when the grass is so tall is that the flock is used to the configuration of the paddocks.

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The ewes don’t even want to venture in when it’s that tall. They walked in and then came back to this part in the lane where they could graze normally.

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The rams spend most of their time right now at this fence looking for the ewes. At night there are always a few ewes hanging around here. Tomorrow is the day, boys.

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A good contrast of lilac and black and white coloring. Also typical 2-horn and 4-horn contrast. That’s Catalyst on the left and Buster on the right.

1019-dyed yarn

This photo is from a few days ago. These are yarns I used as the warp for two shawls that I just finished weaving. There will be photos of them after they are washed. These are dyed with weeping willow and hollyhock. IMG_2324

More recent dyed yarn.  Weeping willow on the left and coreopsis on the right. The three shades are successive runs through the same dyebath. All that color from 8 ounces of flowers!

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I set up this pot outside. Eucalyptus getting ready to add yarn.

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I am moving onto plans for a sunflower series of chenille scarves for my upcoming show. I finally got to the warp dyeing part.

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There will be more photos as I progress with these.

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Warp chains–two scarves each.

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While I was dyeing yesterday we got a hay delivery. Eighty more bales to go in the barn.

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Color inspiration next to my dye table. Redbud leaf. It is incredible what you can see when you look closely.

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Ginny in her usual behavior. He’s not going to throw it, Ginny.

Chickens Grow Quickly

I brought these chicks home February 21.

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By last week they had outgrown their dog crate and needed to get out into the chicken house. I left them in the crate in the chicken house for a few days, hoping that would help the big chickens accept them. I checked on them the first night out of the crate and saw them roosting on top of it. IMG_8770

I took the dog crate out today because they are now roosting on the perches. Here are their two-month-old portraits.IMG_8862

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I need to find some names. So far this is White Chicken.

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Black Chicken.

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Brown Chicken.

They are actually fairly tame since I’ve been handling them since the first day. Brown Chicken was very interested in my phone and kept pecking at it.

Farm Shots

Most of these photos were taken with my phone during chore time in the last couple of days.

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My chicks have outgrown their dog crate and needed to get out in the chicken house. I checked on them the first night and found them roosting on top of the crate. (This photo was taken by the light of my headlamp.)

Rain gauge

We woke up Friday to another inch and  a half of rain (with another 3/4″ the next day).

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This one was taken after feeding the bottle babies.

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This morning I noticed the wild eyebrow of one of them.

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Speaking of bottle babies…this one followed me right through the 3-strand electric fence…

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…while I was setting up fences so that I could move the ewes.

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Seen in the pasture.

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Also in the pasture.

Jade

We have had several field trips during the last couple of weeks. This was a group of home-schoolers. Can you tell that there is a sheep in there? Jade loves to be petted. What an amazing sheep.

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And how about this amazing sheep? I think Mary is going to take her home.

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Tonight a friend took this photo while I was feeding these two.

 

The Morning After

We sheared yesterday (more about that in future blog posts). Here are some photos from this morning and some before-and-after shots.

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You can fit more sheep at the feeder after shearing and it’s sure easier to keep an eye on udder development and predict lambing.

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The aftermath where the skirting table was yesterday. We were so lucky with the weather yesterday–no rain after continual storms. This water is from last night’s rain (almost an inch).

Meridian Zoey. Zoey has freckled skin but not freckled fleece–that’s two different things.

Meridian Fandongo. Notice how the sheep look like they have brown spots in most of the “before” photos. The wool has sunbleached tips. Underneath it is black, or gray if the sheep are fading, or gray-brown if they are “lilac”.

Puddleduck Petra. A good example of a black fleece that looks brown when on the sheep.

Meridian Alice, a two year old ewe.

Meridian Bertha, another two year old. It will be only another day before the sheep look dirty again and you don’t see that bright white against the black.

Shadow Mountain Shelby. Shelby is lilac. Her facial markings are gray, not black. Her spots are a light gray. I used my iPhone for this morning’s photos so some of the sheep look like they have abnormally big heads. Maybe that’s only partly camera perspective but partly that they no longer have huge fleeces around those heads.

Bide a wee Hallie.

Meridian Cindy, one of last year’s lambs. Oops! It turns out that she is freckled. Those smaller spots are in the wool. You can’t tell about freckling when the lambs are born. After a couple of months it will appear. I think it shows up in the secondary follicles instead of the primary ones and that’s why you don’t see it at birth. (I’d like to hear someone who knows explain if that theory is correct.) I also noticed it in her twin brother, although you can’t really see it in the photo below.

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Meridian Joker, Meridian Catalyst, and bide a wee Buster.

And here is what I saw when I first checked on the rams this morning:

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That wall behind Joker is supposed to be attached to the 2 x 4. I found the drill and some screws and put it all back up and it was only then that I looked at the other corner:

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Oh, that’s a bigger problem.  This wasn’t originally a ram barn. It started out two calf hutches that I made. Eventually they were put on this slab facing each other with a space in between and another roof overhead and the kids show pigs lived there for a few months a year. Then it was Faulkner’s pen and he was pretty easy on it. Now that the Jacob rams live there it needs reinforcement. Dan got the jack out to jack it up back on the cement and then reinforced everything inside with heavier 2 x 10’s at about head-bashing level. It could still use interior solid plywood walls but hopefully this will get us by for a few more months.

Stupid rams. You should be grateful that you have a shelter to get into after shearing and you’re not expected to stay out in the wind and rain.

 

 

Cows, Not Sheep

In a previous life I raised cows. When I married Dan he was a partner in a family-owned dairy. My daughter recently asked for photos of Grandma and Grandpa, preferably with cows, so that my 2-1/2 year old granddaughter would have an association with something memorable she looks at pictures of her extended family.

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The dairy we worked on was sold several years ago and the cows were moved to Orland. That dairy was sold recently and the milk cows are all gone. There is some young stock left at the home place. These are Milking Shorthorns.

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I have always loved this tankhouse. This one has been recently rennovated.

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A young bull.

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Stuart kept a couple of steers to be trained as oxen. This photo doesn’t show their size because they are standing lower than Stuart. They are huge as were the steers that I had when we first moved here.

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Hug a Sheep Day

Hug a Sheep Day originated a few years ago at Punkin’s Patch and we think its a great idea! We were a little concerned with the forecast (rain from midnight through noon, then clearing). We went ahead with plans and didn’t see rain all day.  In fact the sun came out and the welcome rain from the previous week had cleared the sky, washed away the dust, and started the grass growing. Beautiful!

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Farm Club friends came early and helped set up pens and find the huggable sheep. Jade will follow you anywhere for a chin scratch.

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Jazz likes those scratches too.

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This is Jade and Jazz both lined up for attention.

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Jazz is probably the most huggable sheep here.

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Spinners enjoyed the wonderful weather and the camaraderie.

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Alison is wearing her handspun 4-ply Jacob vest. Notice the very cool felt Christmas stocking in the background. Jackie was here with her Sheep-to-Shop booth but I didn’t get good photos of that.

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Claire is a friend I’ve known since we were in college in Davis in the 70’s.

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I kind of like this photo because it shows a lot about the marketing of a small sheep farm. Alison and Stephany are both Farm Club members, Alison is wearing yarn from the fleece she bought several years ago, Stephany is knitting more yarn, and she bought a skull, and of course there is the sheep ready to be shorn again in a few months.

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At the end of the day we decided there should be a group hug, although I realize now that this was more of a group picture than a group hug.

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Next year we’ll make sure we all get in on the hug part.