Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Has it really been over a week since the "great roundup"?

Dixie and I (well, more "Flip" the shearer, and Dixie than me) got the shearing job done.

Along the way, we had the surprise of our life... Chiquita is really a "Bruce"! Yep... she's a he... well, not quite but almost... She can't give me any lambs... and she can't make any little lambs. Oy vey... such city-girl farmers we are...

Things turned out all right though. Flip traded his services for "Bruce" who will become someone's mutton stew. Even if he gets more than the $65 it would have cost to have our little flock sheared, he'll have to feed it for a week or so. We're all happy to do the trade.

Life in the sheep pen is certainly more docile without "Bruce". No more getting butted (and we thought it was "sheep love")... the lambs are getting more to eat, and in general, the other ewe's are getting along much better.

Al has his own pen and seems happier. What he doesn't know yet is true "ram bliss" is only months away when he joins the girls for winter.

Once the ewe's were sheared, Flip determined that maybe one of the yearling's is pregnant. She's starting to bag up a little. We're kind of expecting lambs now in late July. He didn't think any of the triplets were pregnant, although we'll be keeping a close eye on them until nearly October, having just removed Al.

Our chickens got their new "run" and are loving it... to the point of not really wanting to come in at night. They all stand by their coop door in the morning just waiting for it to drop... and then come stumbling/tumbling out as fast as they can.

After a few hours in the morning, they head for the coop for a nap only to repeat the process in the early evening.

We're adjusting the treat and feeding times to get them to accept coming into the coop at dusk. Our run is to keep them in, not keep predators out, so they must bed down in the coop.

Right now, we're discussing planting something to climb up the poultry fencing. That would give them more shade, as well as something green and fresh to eat.

Late last week, we had two nights below freezing and even though everything was covered, we lost our tomatoes. The wind storm from the previous days didn't help either. At any rate, I planted Sugar Snap Peas in their place, and we bought more tomatoes.

Cindy also carted home some "leftover" tomato plants from the farm... as if they'll miss a couple dozen out of 2400. Really, she had permission to take them home. It appears they're all heirloom varieties. These are going to live in our greenhouse along with the one's we purchased. Fortunately, Cindy's worms are producing a nice crop of vermincompost just in time for the tomatoes.

I think we pretty much have stuff planted now, with the squash and melons going in this last weekend. Our corn is up an inch or so, and so are the beans. The cucumbers are getting their "true leaves" and the rhubarb has survived a transplant to a more suitable area... in the same area as the asparagus.

Starting Friday, I'm cooking at the Senior Center for a week, so probably won't get this blog updated until after that... Having not been in a kitchen for over 15 years, this should be an adventure.

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Posted by Shari Thomas @ 11:00 AM :: (0) comments

Monday, June 4, 2007

Another roundup... only Dixie and me on this one

Now that we have all our sheep, it's time to "really" make them ours... You see, to be fully "official" we voluntarily registered our farm (really our flock) with the USDA Scrapies program. They send the ear tags and punch at no cost.

Each adult animal gets their own tag number which also has our "farm number" on it. We are UT1078. If ever one of our animals goes to another farm, or to a processor and has a problem, they can trace back to us.

I do have mixed emotions about mandatory animal ID, but as a part of professionally managing our animals, it makes sense to me that animals have some kind of permanent ID. If they wander or get stolen and then recovered... you can get them back.

Ok, about that round up.

Our big ram, Aljinon took one look at the lead line I offered him and said "No way, homie!" Since he's nearly 250 pounds, Dixie and I decided we'd save him for when there were more of us to handle him.

First up was "Merino", who's curiosity got the better of her.

Next was "Chiquita", who'd follow you anywhere for food.

After that, we were able to tag one of Merino's sisters... "Annie".

Her other sister, Amy had seen this process enough to know that she could dodge us all day. Like Aljinon, she'll wait for another day.

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Posted by Shari Thomas @ 8:14 PM :: (0) comments