Summer Shearing

I’ve written two blog posts about acquiring 12 Jacob sheep in what became something of a rescue operation. The sheep were healthy and well-fed, but had not been shorn for three years we think.

This was shearing day for these sheep. The photos in this blog post were all taken by Farm Club members, Dona and Gynna. Thanks!!

IMG_8196                 John is the Rock Star.

DSC_8295                                                 We checked teeth to try and figure out the ages of the sheep.DSC_8346                   This sheep had a 13 pound fleece. The average for Jacob sheep is 3-6 pounds.DSC_8178                   It was a multi-person operation to stuff some of these fleeces into plastic bags.DSC_8267              The usual suspects were there to watch and cheer John on.DSC_8400                            Not a bad looking group of ewes after shearing.DSC_8451                            The two rams.DSC_8505                       After shearing we looked at all the fleeces. The longer fleeces have a break about 4″ in from the outside, but the rest of the fleece seems sound.DSC_8513                                                                  It will take some time to work through it all.

DSC_8536                                                                As we pulled out staples from some of the fleeces I thought it would be a good idea to get a photo. Susan and Gynna worked on this while we opened up and re-rolled the fleeces.IMG_8221                       Note the measurements marked on the sides and down the middles. Weights are below. IMG_8205                                                  This was a fun day for all of us and a good day for these sheep.

 

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Sheep Adventure Follow-up

Monday’s  Sheep Adventure started because someone had asked for help in selling Jacob sheep that his parents couldn’t take care of. I didn’t consider it a rescue operation although I didn’t know this person and I don’t need anymore sheep, at least sheep of unknown background, and I didn’t really have a plan for what to do with them other than try to sell them. When he called again last week things were a bit more desperate because his mom was in the hospital and the family had no clue of what to do with the sheep…other than to get someone else to deal with them. That’s when I said I’d get them.

Dona and Rick were up for the adventure but we didn’t know what to expect. What we found: Sheep that really are Jacob sheep–there are a lot out there that people think are Jacob because of horns or spots, but they are not; Sheep in relatively good health EXCEPT for in desperate need of shearing. So the Sheep Adventure turned into a Sheep Rescue of sorts.

Yesterday I took time to look at each sheep more closely. Now that I’m spending time with them, the group is kind of growing on me. “I don’t need more sheep. I don’t need more sheep. I don’t need more sheep….”Ewe 2-2                  This is a ewe they called Athena.Ewe 2-1Ewe 2-4                                                      I think that this is at least a 3-year fleece.Ewe 4-1                   I love the markings on this ewe’s body. I don’t have any information about her.Ewe 5-2                 This is a ewe they called Caliope. She is pretty wild.

A ewe called Dimitria. The wool is very pretty, but its as long as my elbow to my thumb.

Ewe 9-1                Markela, one of the original ewes purchased by this family.Ewe 10-1                    No idea about this ewe…Ewe-4-4                 …or this one. Don’t you love her horns?Ewe 11-1              Paniota…

Ewe 11-2            …and her fleece.Ewe-8-lamb                 The lamb named Easter because that is when she was born.IMG_8440                New temporary quarters.IMG_8445            Stay tuned for a Shearing Day post.Rams              Let’s not forget the rams. Tikes on the left and Costa on the right. I think they are yearlings.

Another Sheep Adventure

This Sheep Adventure started the night before with hooking up the trailer, gathering halters and panels,  and checking to see which roads would be closed due to the fire burning in the general vicinity of where we were headed.

Someone named Michael in Idaho had called me a couple of months ago asking if I could help him sell Jacob sheep that were at his parents’ place in Napa County. It seems his sister and father got some sheep a few years ago but Michael thought that they had lost interest or there were health issues or for whatever reason the sheep weren’t getting the attention that they needed. I didn’t hear from him again until a few days ago when he said that his mother was in the hospital and the sheep needed to go.

Dona and Rick got here about 7 and we took off. I drove my truck with the trailer and Rick drove his truck with a sheep crate in the back.

IMG_8328                                                      I brought Ginny because Michael had thought that we might need a dog to catch the sheep. I had my doubts that we could do much with sheep that had never been worked by a dog and were possibly wild but it was a good excuse to bring Ginny along. She is not a big fan of car rides.

The map on the phone showed it would take about 1 hour 50 minutes to get to where we were going near Pope Valley.  What with unclear directions and road signs (and maybe a bit of distraction as Dona and I talked the whole time) I had to turn around and back up the trailer in the middle of the road three times before we got to where we were going.

We were met by Michael’s brother who evidently is the person who has been feeding the sheep. He told us that their mother had just died a few hours ago but he’d help us get the sheep rounded up.

DSC_2289               He said that he would be able to get them in the fenced in area with some grain, so we stayed out of sight while he enticed the sheep into the pen.DSC_2293               This is nine ewes and one ewe lamb. Two rams were up the hill in another area.DSC_2296                    If you know anything about sheep you’ll see that this ewe is way overdue for shearing.DSC_2297                All but one were in this condition. I wonder if the ewe in full, but not horribly excessive fleece (in the back in this photo) might have had a fleece break a year or more ago, lost that fleece and now has only a year’s growth.DSC_2298

IMG_8331             We didn’t get photos of the process but we set up our panels to help catch the sheep. We put halters on the ewes two at a time and brought them to the trailer. Next we got the rams. IMG_8333 It was a tight fit for those nine adult ewes with as much fleece as probably should have been on 25 sheep.IMG_8338           The rams weren’t much better.

The drive home went better as far as not missing turns and having to turn around.IMG_8341 (2)                           However we did have another mishap.IMG_8342 (2)                                      The first clue I had was the thump/thwack that I heard. Fortunately I was able to pull over in a wide driveway on this windy road (Hwy. 121) and the weather was relatively mild with a breeze because those sheep were really packed in. Fortunately Rick was there because he had the right tools in his truck — I never did find the lug wrench in mine (although now that I think about it, maybe it was under the hood). Fortunately Rick was there to get the lug nuts off because with as much trouble as he had with the last one I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I had made sure before we left that yes, I had paid the AAA membership that was due…but there was no cell service here. Rick replaced the tire with the spare and we lowered the jack. That tire was too low to drive on so Rick jacked up the trailer again, took the tire off, and left in his truck to find somewhere to fill it up. I think he was gone almost an hour before he came back with a fully inflated tire–he had found a group of fire trucks and been able to get the tire filled by the crew.

The original plan was to take these sheep to Dona and Rick’s place in Wilton where there were empty pastures waiting. But with no spare for the trailer (and the other tire looking in not very good shape) I didn’t want to drive an extra 2 hours on the freeway in rush hour traffic and 100 degree heat. So we unloaded at my place.IMG_8344After getting our hands on these sheep I think that they are in surprisingly good health. They seem to be in decent condition under all that wool and from their teeth I think that they are all four years or under.IMG_8345  There are two with ear tags that indicate a friend’s flock. Those two are docked. None of the others are docked and I think that all of those descended from those two and maybe another that I was told had died. I don’t think that any of those born at this place have ever been shorn. So that’s our first order of business–to find a shearer. Then Dona and I will figure out the next steps.

 

 

 

 

 

Grandkids Across the Road

While the grandkids were still here we made an excursion Across the Road. I hadn’t wanted to take three dogs and the two kids on my own because of the part where we have to walk on Meridian Road. There isn’t a lot of traffic but the cars are fast and there isn’t much of a shoulder to walk on. I didn’t want to pull the wagon where Kason was riding and hang onto three leashes, all the while trying to get the dogs off the pavement when cars came. (The dogs want to stay on the pavement because they have learned that when they walk off the pavement they are apt to pick up puncture vine burrs in their feet.) By the way, Rusty shared some photos of this in his blog.

DSC_1553             The wagon worked well for Kasen and had the added benefit of taking all the necessary things like water bottles and the doll.IMG_7838

IMG_7836            Meryl and I traded off with the wagon, but part of the point of this walk was for Kirby, wearing her black and pink Nikes, to run with Aunt Meryl.DSC_1561

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IMG_7864 Eventually Aunt Meryl tired and needed a ride.DSC_1588                 Time to go home. Kirby started to pout because she wanted Sawyer’s leash.IMG_7867                  I let her take Rusty and all was OK.

 

 

 

 

Lambs growing up

I just submitted registration applications for another eight lambs. I can’t keep them all but hope that I’ll be able to sell some at the JSBA AGM that we will be hosting in a month.             MeridianSharon-h         Meridian Sharon (Meridian Catalyst x Shadow Mountain Shelby).

MeridianRuthie-h          Meridian Ruthie (Meridian Cayenne x Meridian RuthMeridianSoprano-r       Meridian Soprano (bide a wee Buster x Meridian Sonata). MeridianFauna-h        Meridian Fauna (Meridian Catalyst x Mud Ranch’s Foxglove)

DSC_2224           Here is Meridian Sharon on the left and Meridian Shirley on the right. (Meridian Catalyst x Shadow Mountain Shelby)

Sheep Portraits

I’ve been updating the Sheep for Sale part of the website. Here are some sheep photos.17029 Serrano-2                 This is the yearling ram, Cayenne. He is not for sale.17063-Gotham-2              Yearling ram, Gotham, is for sale.18006-head                Ewe lamb (Meridian Catalyst x Shadow Mountain Shelby).18026-head                   Ewe lamb (Meridian Catalyst x Meridian Delight).18046-head-2            Ewe lamb (bide a wee Buster x bide a wee Hallie).18031-head                 Ram lamb (Meridian Catalyst x Meridian Ava).18056-head-3                  Six-horn ewe lamb not for sale (bide a wee Buster x Meridian Jade). 18078 head             Four-horn ewe lamb, Janna, not for sale (bide a wee Buster x Meridian Janis)18025-head                   Oops! For sale, but not for breeding. Ugly-horned ram lamb. If you’re interested in lambs for meat see this link.

Grandkids and the Gravel Pile

DSC_1233          What better place to entertain an 18-month old than a gravel pile with tractors?      DSC_1227               These trucks and tractors have been in the garage for 25+ yearsDSC_1213             Hose off the spiders and they’re as good as new.DSC_1209

DSC_1232                Watching kids can be exhausting. Notice what Ginny is looking at–that’s her ball right next to Dan.DSC_1240           Kasen found the ball-thrower.DSC_1291              That kept Ginny entertained even though Kasen wasn’t able to throw the ball very well. DSC_1252                  See Rusty’s blog for more photos.DSC_1238

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