More from the State Fair

The State Fair seem so long ago now, but it was only last weekend. I wrote a post about our sheep exhibit and our wins. But I also wanted to share some of my other favorites before I move on to my next adventure (coming up this week!!).

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I didn’t venture far from the barn this year because it was so busy. However I always like to see The Farm. Here was one unique flower display.

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This sign explains what many people who live in other parts of the country don’t realize about most of California.

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Here is a further illustration of why much of California would be considered a desert if it were not for irrigation water.

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Back in the barn, the longhorns are always a favorite.

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As my friends know I’m not a big fan of llamas or other camelids (at least not up close), but they do make good subjects for photography.

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Our neighbors to the back were some lustrous, fluffy Karakuls.

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Julie, (our favorite bunny lady from our spring Open House and sheep and goat breeder) had a display down the aisle from us. This is one aspect of her display that shows fleece from a variety of breeds. Julie won several well-deserved awards this year for her display.

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We had new neighbors across the aisle. Being Angora goat (mohair) exhibitors they were new to the Marketing Award competition, but they did a superb marketing display and won first in that category this year. We enjoyed getting to know them and teaching one of their members to spin (see the last post about the fair).

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I watched from my sheep pens while they took their goats to the show ring on Saturday morning. The method was to open the gates and hope they all followed the leaders, which mostly worked.

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Bringing a stubborn kid to the ring.

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I wish that we could show rams beyond yearlings. This aged buck was impressive.

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These photos almost make me think…

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…about having an Angora goat again…

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…but then I’d have to deal with a GOAT.

Sheep in the Sun

During the winter the sheep are mostly in the barn and corral area. The pasture doesn’t drain well and I don’t want it to be a trampled mess. I’m also waiting for there to be more growth there. It’s been dry enough the last few weeks that I opened the gate to the small paddocks near the barn. The sheep were thrilled to get out to that grass.

DSC_7922 This is Summer (the sheep, not the season). DSC_7925 This is Spring (also, not the season).DSC_7927 Here is Eliza. They are all looking a little heavy, but that is because they are due to lamb in about a month. DSC_7929 Stephanie, the old goat, is so stiff in the cold weather we’ve been having. I walked her out here to enjoy the grass.  Most of the sheep kept their heads down eating. But Kyra just wanted to play. DSC_7932 DSC_7937 DSC_7939  Happy sheep! DSC_7938I still have the new lens on the camera. It is a 40 mm lens and I wasn’t that close to the action. I’m surprised that I was able to crop the photos to this degree and still have them relatively sharp.DSC_7948

Farm Club Shenanigans

We had an unscheduled Farm Day yesterday.First order of business was chores.

Stephanie greets the Farm Club. She seems to enjoy pestering Kathy. I think she must smell Kathy’s goats. Everyone had a chance to milk a little.

We’re only milking one side because the kid is nursing from the other. This is Tina milking.

Here is Shelby. I haven’t been putting Stephanie on the stand because she is easy to milk and I’m only milking one side once per day.

We were going to start trimming feet, but got side-tracked when Rusty decided to roll in the leftovers from yesterday’s butchering. The guys that butcher clean up well, but there is always something smelly left. I think he found the rumen contents.  I had just made Rusty an appointment at the vet to remove a foxtail that he’d picked up that morning. I didn’t think that my husband or the vet would be too crazy about holding a really stinky dog. So dog-washing was in order.

We don’t get too fancy with this. A hose and some soap.

Usually I wear my rubber boots or flip-flops. We were trying to keep our feet dry but get all the soap off of Rusty.

Tina and Kathy are trying to get the dogs to pose. Rusty is back from the vet already (foxtail in right ear) and Mobi (Jackie’s dog) wants to play.

We moved on to trimming feet, putting my squeeze chute/flip table into service again.

To get more work done we also tied some of the sheep to trim feet. This is a lamb that needs to be halter broke anyway because she is one I’ve chosen to keep.

The dogs keep watch. Note the trimmed feet. I have trimmed his feet three times this year to avoid foxtails in the toes.

“Well, if you’re not going to let me work, I’ll just lie here.”

We quit trimming about noon. I forgot to take photos of the chute being used for sheep with varying horn types. I think I need some modifications to use it more effectively. Shelby offered to be a sheep. I’m not sure these are the photos I need to work on the modifications, but laughter is always a good thing.

Somehow the Farm Club is starting to remind me of the YaYa Sisterhood. We’re accepting more members!

New experience for Stephanie

When dairy cows or goats have their babies, the calves and kids are raised away from the mothers.

Stephanie gets a chance to raise her baby. Stephanie is one of Chris’ original goats and I bred her to kid at the State Fair Nursery. I’m not in the goat business and  don’t want to bottle-raise a kid,  so I’m letting Stephanie take care of her baby. Stephanie potentially will produce far more milk than her single kid can handle, so for her health and the health of the kid, I am monitoring her production. I didn’t feed grain prior to the birth and she is not getting grain now because I don’t want to encourage more milk production. So far it seems that the kid is nursing from just one side so I am milking the other side once/day.

This is Paulette who lambed at the fair with these nice twins.

How I have spent 22 Mother’s Days

The Dixon May Fair is the longest-running fair in California. It is always Mother’s Day weekend. My oldest son started showing dairy cattle in 1988 and I’ve had kids at the fair ever since.  The kids can show as FFA members for one year after they finish  high school so this was my youngest son’s last show. He was at the fair from Tuesday through Sunday and left Sunday night for his job on a hotshot crew north of Redding.

Chris has shown dairy goats each year since he started in 4-H.  He sold some of his goats last summer when he left for the fire-fighting job, but had two two-year old milkers at the fair this year. Chris is showing Devan and a friend showed Denise.

This was a very small show, but Devan won Champion…

…and Best Doe in Show. Chris showed her dam at the CA State Fair two years ago and won Champion Toggenburg.

On Sunday Chris competed in Supreme Showmanship, in which the showmanship winners of each species compete.

Each participant shows sheep,

beef cattle, dairy cattle, meat goats, dairy goats, and swine. Chris won second place in this event. And then it was over. Chris rushed home to leave for the job. I went back to the fair to get the goats when they were released. That’s it! Not as big an adjustment as last year when Chris left home for the job for the first time, but now my years of 4-H & FFA Mom is over.

But I’m still a mom. Here is the Mother’s Day present that Chris gave me!!!!

Spring yet?

It was sunny this weekend and it felt like spring. The sheep have been cooped up in the barn and corral area for two months now. I let them into this small field today. There is a lot of grass to eat, but it is still wet and if I keep them there too long they’ll turn it into mud.

The sheep went right to eating, but the goats continued to race back and forth.

The oldest goat, Stephanie, didn’t participate in the silliness of the younger goats.

Too bad for the rams. They have to stay in their own area. This is Kenleigh’s Savor in front and Meridian Tioga in back, both born last winter.

This is Lola, a lilac ewe.  That reminds me (because I sold her fleece) that we had Farm Day on Saturday. Three people were here to help with sheep chores. It was great to have the help. We vaccinated all the sheep, wormed the young ewes, and put in scrapie tags.

We even trimmed a few hooves. Shelby is trimming while Jackie keeps the sheep from moving around too much. I don’t flip my sheep anymore to trim feet. I’d rather tie them to trim feet. It has the added advantage of sort of halter-breaking.

Everyone had a hand at trimming feet, but this is Shelby again while Tina holds the sheep.