31 October 2008

Shop Heater

Just in time for Halloween and a storm coming in next week....

The heater for the shop got installed and the trench filled in where the propane line runs. In a quick test it heated up the shop after being on for only a few minutes. We'll see how well it works once we get really cold weather. After all, the loom is in the shop and I hope to weave this winter.

21 October 2008

Sorting Sheep

We've been sorting sheep for fall. We evaluate all the ewes, rams and lambs every year to decide who is dinner, who is keep and who is for sale. These are the ram lambs. We're trying something new. After the evaluations are done those that I have identified as for sure butcher got red ear tags. That way if we have people come to buy live dinner sheep I can tell them that only the red tag ones are for sale and it should make it easier to pick out a batch when each slaughter date comes.

Next slaughter date is for a batch of ewes, the ones out in the front field. But the date after that is for ram lambs and so this will mean I don't have to sort them out again looking at each tag number but can just pick out all the red tags and find enough that are ready to go when we load them up.

Ewe lambs also got sorted but I haven't decided who is butcher yet, still analyzing the data. Adult rams are also done and I picked out 9 as possible butcher. I really need to get rid of a few more but not sure who yet. I still have to plan my matings first.

Next major sheep task is get all the adult sheep feet trimmed. We will wait until we get some rain or snow to soften the hooves. They are so hard and tough now that I can't even clip them off properly. It takes me a long time to do sheep feet because my hands and wrists give out and I usually end up with blisters. Black Welsh feet are tough, which is both good and bad. Good in that they are very sound on their feet, but bad in that it can be very hard to trim them properly.

13 October 2008

Sheep on Pasture

We sorted out the next batch of butcher sheep and for the first time ever they have the entire front pear orchard pasture to graze in. There are cockleburrs so we didn't want to let the main flock out there but these sheep are going to slaughter in a couple of weeks so the wool doesn't really matter. We still lock them up at night as the area is big and with only Kimball to patrol it we wanted to be sure they were ok. It is nice to see sheep in the whole field though.

11 October 2008

Farm Blather

Today (why always on a weekend?) Becky came in with a huge gash in her side. No idea what she did but after a trip to the emergency vet in Delta 30 miles away she is stitched up. We were given some stuff to keep her from chewing the drain and stitches but it didn't work so Ken made a cardboard e-collar. We'll go back to our regular vet on Monday for a real one.

The good news is that second cutting hay was very good. Especially nice after the disappointing first cutting. The barn is full of hay and we are set for winter. It's such a nice feeling to have hay in the barn to feed all the critters! It's really good hay too. Nice and green and very high quality. The sheep love it and we'll have to watch they don't get too fat.

Ken got the trench dug for the gas line to run the propane heater for the shop building. The heater has arrived and should be installed sometime in the next couple of weeks.

10 October 2008

Fall Rainbow

Lovely morning rainbow over the sheep pens and hay barn.

04 October 2008

Garvin Mesa Day

Saturday 4 October was our big Garvin Mesa Day Open House. All 3 wineries and ourselves were open with special events. We had BBQ with leg of mutton for tasting and some locally produced cow milk cheese. The 3 wineries, Terror Creek Winery, Stone Cottage Cellars and Azura all had food and wine and cheeses. We were set up to do farm tours as well. Last year this was a very big event for us and we had lots of people. Small Potatoes Farm also came and brought garlic braids and potatoes so you could buy dinner on the mesa all locally produced.

Here Ken is all ready for tasters.

Unfortunately the weather was bad and by mid afternoon we had rain and it got very cold. Only about 12 people showed up. But we did sell quite a bit of meat in spite of it all.

However, we had a lot of leftover meat and cheese so have been eating it almost exclusively. Oh Darn! :-)