29 March 2009

Shearing Done!

I was too busy to take any pictures but we got the entire flock shorn yesterday. We had a good crew, a bunch of folks from Ravelry came and the Clocks and people from Mesa Winds Farm. We started about 8:15 am and got done about 1:15 pm. 132 naked sheep on the mesa today. Eifion shore straight through, then we had lunch then off to do other flocks in the valley. Finished with a couple of pints at Revolution Brewing. Ken and Eifion are off to do the last 2 flocks today, I'm home sick with a cough and stuffed nose.

Wool looks pretty good, I'll start skirting when I recover from this cold.

27 March 2009

Baling Twine Sheep Tie

Eifion showed us how to make a sheep imobilizer from a piece of baling twine. You make a loop around the hind legs above the hocks. Bring the ends up between the legs and tie a knot at the upper brisket. Put the head and one front leg through the resulting loop and the sheep is contained safely and cannot get up or run away but is not stressed.

Here's the loop around the hind legs.

And here is the sheep all caught.

He used this to contain one of 2 sheep he had to shear at one of the other flocks. He didn't want the one not being shorn to race around and get all upset. This kept her quiet and calm.

26 March 2009

Day Before Shearing

One day before we go to pick up Eifion. 14 deer in the front yard and snow!

21 March 2009

Getting Ready for Shearing

Before we cleaned the shearing floor.

After we cleaned out the old hay.

Spent today finishing cleaning the old hay scraps out from under the hay barn where we shear the sheep.

Up next is building the sheep sweep and getting everything ready.

Shearing is a week from today, 28 March.

15 March 2009

Weaving and Cats

This is what's on the small loom currently. I'm weaving several placemats. I have 4 cream with red stripes done and one red with cream stripe and have started my second.

I can't remember exactly how much warp I have on so I am not sure when I will be done.

As soon as this warp is finished I'm moving this loom to the shop next to the big loom.

Fortunately our inside cat Shadow does not like to play with strings.

Shadow voicing her displeasure at being photographed.

14 March 2009

More Burning Brush


Larry and I burned another 2 piles of brush today.

It was a lovely day.

Ken putting out small grass fires in the dry old pasture.

Larry using his tractor to push the brush up on to the pile.

We got almost all of the brush out of the east side of the orchard. Larry will bring his 4-wheeler and small trailer back and pick up the last bits and we'll burn one more pile on this side. The west side orchard has a lot more brush in it. It's going to take several piles to get it all burned.

Then we have to pick up the firewood. Looks like we've got a couple of cords of wood in the orchard at least. I've got a restaurant that does BBQ that wants some of it. We've got to get it all out before lambing next month.

12 March 2009

Sheep Maternity Wear

Ovine Fashion icon OogieM held her spring fashion show with her line of maternity coats for the well dressed ewe.

Last years' patchwork has given way to this years new bright red color. Contrasting black stitching is a nice detail. Coats are being made in the larger sizes for the well endowed with a new line of wide and fat options in 34W, 34F and 32W sizes. There are plans for an extra fat size for the particularly chubby.

Tail tuck tailoring needs work and it was evident that some coats were not fitted as well as in years past.

Fabrics this year are all 500 denier Cordura from Seattle Fabrics. Although it is a coated fabric the coating is minimal and so far is not causing any felted fleeces. Updated size and construction info can be found here.

11 March 2009

Lemon (or Lime) Pie

Lemon or Lime Pie Recipe

1 cup fresh lemon or lime juice
zest from the fruit 2-3 tablespoons if available
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
8 egg yolks

pie crust

Mix juice, egg yolks and zest and blend well on medium speed of a mixer
Add both cans of sweetened condensed milk and blend until mixed well.
Pour into a baked pie crust and bake at 325 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the filling is set and barely jiggles.
Cool on a wire rack then chill for several hours.

The pie crust can be graham cracker or a regular one but be sure to bake it before filling the pie.

Recipe can be halved for a smaller pie and can even be put into custard or individual pie portions.

08 March 2009

Burning Brush

Today we started the spring brush burning. All the prunings from the trees need to get burned. Larry had a large pile made and Ken burned it today.

There is still a lot out in the orchard and we'll have several burn piles but at least we got started.

04 March 2009

Sheep Happens

You never quite know what you will have to handle at morning chores.

This morning after feeding all the critters we were watching the adult rams. One was being chased by both Becky and the other rams. We've learned that when that happens you must get the picked on sheep out of the pen or he will get injured.

So we caught him and put him in with the ram yearlings. Of course they all started bashing him so we decided he had to come back out and go in an isolation pen. I went in to catch him and was trying to drag him out of the gate with one hand on a horn and one hand under his chin when it happened. The horn cap and part of the horn core broke off in my hand, I fell backward just as a ram yearling bashed my other hand holding his chin.

Now we have a ram running around with blood spurting out all over, I'm on the ground and can't get up because I need that hand to push up and I'm afraid to roll over and present a target for now upset and hyper ram yearlings.

Ken was manning the gate to keep everyone in. He came and helped me up and we regrouped. Got 2 crooks, managed to guide the injured ram out into the aisle way. We cornered the ram and looked. The entire horn core was infected with pus coming out so it was a problem even before it broke off. He was bleeding a lot, with blood pouring out the horn core and all down his face. I went inside to get a dose of antibiotic and the blood stop powder.

We got him cornered and decided to use a sheep tractor made of jug panels to walk him to the isolation pen. During the move he managed to get his head under the panels, ran partly out, got the jug panels hooked on the handle of the wheelbarrow and pulled that over. I had to let go because my wrist couldn't hold the panels and Ken was trying to catch him but couldn't get into a safe position. So we now have an injured ram loose in the hay barn and yard area. After a bit of a bobble with the ram opening the gates to get out of the hay barn area into the main yard we finally got him cornered and into the pen. Ken used a jug panel as a squeeze chute and I successfully got the antibiotic into him.

Here is what the horn that came off looks like:

And here is what he looks like now. We ended up not needing the blood stop powder. It looks pretty awful but it has stopped bleeding and from past experience if we wash it then it will just start bleeding again and with the infection the best thing is to keep it out and open for a while.

Looks like he will get a trip to the slaughterhouse as soon as he comes off slaughter withdrawal from the antibiotic. Actually we'll at least double that time maybe more. Slaughter withdrawal is 2 days, but I doubt if we can get him in for several weeks.

My wrist is ok, I've got ice on it and took some aspirin. It's not broken but I am swelling up a bit.

Just another day at the farm.

03 March 2009

Becky and the Rams

Becky is in with the adult rams now. She's doing very well and the sheep seem to get along well with her.