Goat Frolic

Farm Club members came yesterday to help with lamb vaccination. We weighed and vaccinated and evaluated all 75 lambs but I didn’t take any photos while we were working.

The next chore was to work with the goat kids and Amaryllis. Amaryllis is off the pasture and in a smaller pen to keep her away from the green grass to prevent another bout of laminitis. She also needs to lose weight and she should get some exercise every day. The goats need to practice manners and leading when asked.

FarmDay-04-28-1

FarmDay-04-28-2

FarmDay-04-28-3

FarmDay-04-28-4                  Goat paparazzi.FarmDay-04-28-6

FarmDay-04-28-8

FarmDay-04-28-12

FarmDay-04-28-10

FarmDay-04-28-11                I’m not sure that I’d call this mannerly but everyone had fun.

FarmDay-04-28-13

Thanks Farm Club!

Advertisements

Shearing at the Timm Ranch

Last weekend I spent a day skirting fleeces with some of the Farm club members. We were at the Timm Ranch not far from here.IMG_6463             After a rainy and overcast week the sunny day was a welcome change and the ranch was a beautiful place to spend the day.

IMG_6466

DSC_9723              The sheep were in pens when we got there.DSC_9730               We helped to move them toward the lane into the barn.IMG_6382              Most of the lambs were born much earlier but there were a few late lambs too.

The sheep are a ranch blend that were originally bred from Targhee, Polypay, and Rambouillet sheepIMG_6403             The shearer works in the old barn where there are signs of what shearing would have been like in the “old days” when there would have been hundreds of sheep to shear in the day.

DSC_9773                                                              We brought each fleece to the skirting tables…DSC_9736            …and inspected them for strength, length, and VM (vegetable matter)

DSC_9744

My goal was to get at least 200 pounds, the minimum weight to send it to the mill I am using for this wool.

IMG_6418                  I ended up with 270 pounds of beautiful fleece.IMG_6441

image1

DSC_9780               We dragged it on a tarp over to the baler…DSC_9785                    …where the shearer baled it.                  IMG_6462                       This is our 270 pound bale in the truck. I am grateful to Farm Club members for helping out on this day. It not only made the work easier, but it was fun to spend time together.

IMG_6427

A link to last year’s Timm Ranch yarn is here.

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!

Shearing Prep

In my last post I talked about the project of fixing up my office and all the prep involved. The prep isn’t usually the most fun part of a project, but is necessary. My prep for shearing has been spent mostly doing major clean-up in the barn, but a few weeks ago Farm Club came for part of the prep.

DSC_7105              It’s hard to imagine now with unseasonably low-70’s daytime highs for the last few days and predicted for the next week, but during most of January we had fog and drizzle. On he morning of our Farm Day this was what the brush pile looked like–a wool flower forest.

DSC_7133                  I don’t really like to see this because it means the sheep are rubbing on these branches.16062 Cindy-2                 We are shearing tomorrow. This is Cindy in full fleece. 15078 Catalyst               The lilac ram, Catalyst.15567 Shelby                  I love Shelby’s blue eyes.IMG_4293                   We caught each sheep and inspected their fleeces. Farm Club members get first dibs on fleeces on Shearing Day and they can pre-select them on our Farm Day.IMG_4304

IMG_4308                  We also clean the ear tags so that they will be easy to read on Shearing Day. That’s Carole with the towel working on the tag.

IMG_4309                                               Mary makes sure that fleece reservations are recorded on cards and that the ear tags match the ID on the card.IMG_4314                    Another great day with Farm Club.IMG_4321                      I noticed that white line in the fleece of Terri, a 2017 lamb. I don’t have an explanation for that.

IMG_E4317                  I love the ability to write on the photos on my phone.

IMG_E4313

IMG_E4318

IMG_E4324

IMG_E4326

Are you as excited about Shearing Day as we are?

Breeding Season Starts

October 1 – breeding season starts. Count 148 days more or less and there will be lambs. I know where I’ll be February 26. Farm Club came to help sort sheep.

IMG_2465

There were four breeding groups to sort–ewes that would go to three Jacob rams and Peyton, the BFL. There is also a non-breeding group. I juggled which ewe lambs to not breed–I want to have some to show next spring (maybe take to MSWF to sell?) and to show at State Fair. I debated which ewes to put with Peyton. Obviously those won’t produce purebred Jacob lambs, but the crossbred lambs grow fast and are valuable for market lambs. IMG_2484

We got the rams out and trimmed their feet.

IMG_2482

We got the marking harnesses ready. I use the same color in all of the harnesses. The breeding groups are all in separate places so I’m not trying to sort which ram bred which ewes. If they were all together I’d have fighting rams and still wouldn’t know the sires because there would be multiple breedings. I will change the color in about two weeks. Then I’ll know that all the blue marks are from the first two weeks of breeding and if the ewes are marked with the next color they were bred in the next two weeks.17008 head

This is ewe lamb, Hollyhock. The dirty face and dirty wool is a result of the tall dallisgrass that is now sticky. As a result the sheep are covered with dirt and with dallisgrass seeds.

17059 left horn

I this opportunity to take close-up photos of the ewe lambs that I need to register.

Peyton-2

Here is the main event. Rams working working overtime with their mouths open and tongues out. Uh, Peyton, that’s a wether.

Catalyst

The ewes that are in heat will hang around the ram. Sheena and Shelby were the two who were interested in Catalyst. If Catalyst showed interest in one the other started beating him up.

IMG_2542

This gives new meaning to Fall Colors.

Black Sheep Gathering 2017

Black Sheep Gathering is my favorite West Coast Fiber Event. I just wish that it wasn’t so far away. It’s about an 8 hour drive if you just stop for gas and nothing more.

IMG_0359

This year it was important to leave early enough to avoid the heat in the Sacramento Valley. That meant I loaded sheep at 4 a.m. and was on the road by 4:45. I was passing the Sutter Buttes before the sun was up.

DSC_2198

First good view of Mt. Shasta, this year with plenty of snow.

Most of this post is just random shots in the barns and vendor hall.

image7

Our across-the-aisle neighbor, Teeswater. I can’t imagine dealing with that fleece.

DSC_2228

Other neighbors, Navajo-churro yearling rams, ready to be shown.

DSC_2224

Angora goat show.

DSC_2209

Wool Show judging. That is my ewe, Cindy’s, fleece. This is the first time in years I have entered a wool show. I had planned to keep this one, but I’m still spinning the other that I saved this year. This fleece sold within an hour of the sale opening.

IMG_0376

Meet and Greet with Peyton, the BFL ram who was coming home with me. (See Rusty’s Blog later for a post by Peyton.)

IMG_0375

This is Moo Shoe Pork, a crowd favorite in last year’s Fiber Arts show, created by Nancy (Peyton’s owner) and in the Liongate Farm booth, near Peyton.

IMG_0381

There were several spinning circles in the middle of the air conditioned vendor hall. These were very popular as the weekend wore on. People in Oregon get start to complain when the weather gets into the high 80s. And it did get hot, pushing the high 90s, but thankfully cooled off at night for us campers.

IMG_0380

Dyed mohair locks.

IMG_0382

M&M dispenser. I know, not fiber related, but maybe for keeping up strength while in a spinning competition?

IMG_0387

Our Farm Club friend, Gynna, demonstrating at the Clemes & Clemes booth. I carry this fabulous drum carder and other C&C products at the shop.

IMG_0385

Here is what she was doing. I haven’t tried dizzing off the drum carder before but certainly will now.

IMG_0442

I liked this display of fiber. The purpose was to show how the picker being sold in the booth prepared the fiber.

IMG_0464

I met up with Tina, Farm Club Emeritus, who now lives in Portland.

IMG_0439

She found a rug-hooking mini-workshop in the vendor hall.

image6-3

Two of us entered the Fiber Arts Show. This is Doris’ beautiful knitted shawl. She used Lori’s fleece and blended colors to create this gradient. Her masterful work was recognized with the award for Best Use of Natural Colored Wool!

IMG_0397

We had chosen Friday as the day that several of us could go out to dinner. Nine of us met in the sheep barn and it took awhile to figure out where to eat.

IMG_0399

Decision made, but then we needed to figure out who was going where after (motel, back to the fairgrounds, etc), which cars had room for extra people, and synchronize map apps.

IMG_0400

Seen on a car window and magnified about a million times from an iphone photo taken from a lane away.)

IMG_0410

After a good dinner we got a passerby to take a photo of all of us in front of the Eugene public art.

IMG_0408

Love the concept and the You Are Here part.

 

 

Meet the Sheep

Meet the Sheep is our annual spring open house event. That was last weekend. Rusty already shared his story but here is mine.

I rely heavily on Farm Club to make this event a success.

IMG_8625

First was getting pet-able sheep into pens. This is Jazz who is a big pet and has twins, one of whom I’m going to keep and is now named Jasmine.

IMG_8645

Amy, Mary, and Sumi ready for visitors.

DSC_9055

We had vendors. Colleen, with Fiber Confections.

DSC_9057

I offered space to Farm Club members this year. Gynna brought knit caps and other goods. Here is her website.

DSC_9033

Brenda has sheep-shaped soap and other items. Here is her Etsy store.

DSC_9082

Jackie with Sheep to Shop brought a new item–plant boxes made of felt!

DSC_9050

This is another felted piece using Jacob wool.

DSC_9031

Carol of 2NFrom  brought hats and these fabulous new pouches. After Farm Club members saw this there were only two of the sheep pouches left.

DSC_9047

Many visitors come just to look at sheep. But there are other things happening as well.

DSC_9080

Rigid heddle demo by Lisa.

DSC_9077

Blending Board demo by Roy (of Clemes & Clemes who makes the blending boards as well as carders, etc)

DSC_9072

Great Wheel demo by Deborah. By the way, this Great Wheel lives at my house and I have no room for it. It is for sale but I don’t have it listed on the website yet. Contact me if you’re interested.

DSC_9087

Laura demonstrated inkle weaving.

IMG_8668

Alison sketched sheep off and on — in between spinning — and left her finished product with me at the end of the day.

DSC_9035

Julie is the person who many people look forward to seeing year after year. She brought her dyeing demonstration, but also…

DSC_9046

…bunnies. Oh boy, were those bunnies a hit!

DSC_9090

DSC_9095

DSC_9092

IMG_8658

Julie also brought a couple of Karakul lambs and an Angora kid. They all had plenty of attention.

IMG_8661

I can’t believe I got through the day with hardly any sheep photos (although I did spend most of the time in the shop and when I got out I tried to get photos of all the other things going on). That’s Jade who is our best pet sheep ever.

IMG_8666

And this is my bottle baby who found a new mom to take him home.

IMG_8640

This is most of the Farm Club crew who made this possible. Thanks, everyone!