Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011

Hi all, it's been a looooong time since I posted. Fall brings lots of trail rides and getting ready for winter on the farm. Since we had such fantastic weather this fall, Greg and I trail rode a lot so I didn't find much time to update the blog.

The fall riding started with 4-J Big Piney in September. We had a fantastic time with our friends Tomina and Dennis; and this was Rudy's first camping trip. Then it was off to Ponderosa at the beginning of October. Once again we had fabulous weather and we also checked out Hobbs State Park -  This park has nice groomed trails and also a very nice visitor center.

Big Piney

We also did numerous day trips near our home. We rode at La Cygne Lake and Rock Creek Park at the end of October and several times in November. Rock Creek Park trails are varied with lots of old stacked rock walls. I find those old rock walls fascinating and wonder how long it took the person to build them. Rock Creek Park also has a nice semi-primitive campground. Most of the trails can be ridden in a long weekend on gaited horses. We rode the entire east trail section and about 2/3rds of the west trails. We like the middle and top sections of the trails the best as the terrain is more hilly with nice overlooks of the lake.

In late October we put the sheep breeding groups together. I had planned on breeding Apollo to Heather, but she was adamant that he was not going to breed her. So, she was put back in with Heathcliffe and Apollo was a bachelor for 8 weeks. I did not breed my first winter ewes as I think the have a harder time fighting parasites in the early spring and summer not to mention the increased feed that is required to keep them in good flesh.

I also added a new ewe to the flock. She is a bred 7 year-old Leadersheep ewe named Daisy. She is black spotted and is very sweet natured. I can really see the Leadersheep qualities in her. She is very attentive in the pasture and is very good at determining if she should flee from a perceived danger. Another interesting thing about her is she has dense crimpy fleece. It is tightly curled and I will be interested to see how it spins.... might be very good for felting too. She is smart also- because she was not on pasture when I brought her home, I would limit the amount of time she was out on the grass increasing each day by a half hour or so. Most sheep would run if they were going to be placed in a paddock alone, but not her. She followed me every day from the sheep fold into the barn from one stall into the adjacent one. She did this every day for 12 days very calmly. Gotta love a smart and well behaved ewe.


My other sheep fleeces are looking fabulous! I really like being able to let them winter graze on the pasture we had fenced in this summer. This has really helped on the hay bill and they are in excellent body condition. I am so looking forward to spring lambs. I would really like a spotted ewe lamb and have two chances with Faith or Daisy. Another Badgerface would be nice too. Oh heck, I like all the patterns and colors!!



So all in all, 2011 was a pretty good year. I wish all of you a prosperous and blessed New Year.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bartering on the Farm

Since we all know the economy is in poor shape and costs of running a farm not to mention feeding a family has risen faster than our incomes, bartering is making a comeback at least in my little corner of the world.

I recently had 5 acres fenced in and had a some woven wire left over and no extra cash! It was enough wire to finish fencing in another two sides where I keep a couple of my Foxtrotters.... about 3 acres. Two sides were already done from the bordering sheep pasture; so I asked my fence builder if he would trade his labor for an older stock trailer that I had. He said YES! So it was a win-win for both of us. I got another pasture that I could rotate sheep on and he got a trailer that I hadn't used in several years.

Now my attention has turned to winter shelters for the rams and the ewes that I will be breeding this fall. So once again I decided to barter. My husband bought new tires and wheels for our flat bed trailer that we haul hay on, but the wheel rims were not the right size and the cost to return was too high. So, we have 4 new tires and wheels that don't fit anything. And they did not get much action on Craigslist. Guess what.... they fit the stock trailer that my fence builder got.

Thus, tonight I bartered the tires and wheels to have a steel frame welded together. My fence builder is a great welder so naturally I asked him to make an A frame that is 8 foot wide by 10 foot long and 6 foot tall. It will have cross-members so it will be rigid and should hold a tarp fairly well even with a load of snow. This will make a nice winter shelter in addition to a shade shelter that I can attach to a boat trailer in the summer(another great idea from my friend Marie).

I'll post pics of the A-frame shelter when he gets it done in about two weeks. Now I'm looking to see what else I can barter to get another one made!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Peaches and Little Feet

I'm sure we all are experiencing summer's never ending heat wave. I feel like I am in the movie ground hog day since I've been doing the same chores for three weeks straight... bring the sheep in the barn, clean stalls, take sheep out, clean stalls, water chickens, refill tanks with cool water and repeat.

I was surprised my peach tree produced a fairly nice crop of fruit. First time ever I have gotten more than three off the tree. The birds are helping themselves to the bounty though. I don't mind since it is so hot and I figure they need the sugar and moisture from the fruit.

I have also had some very busy hens. Two hens hatched out some chicks. My white silkie hatched out what I believe to be an auraucana bantam cross and the black bantam hen hatched out 6 bantam babies. They sure are cute to watch scratching for bugs by taking cues from their mother.

I haven't blogged to much about my new rat terror puppy Rudy. He is doing great and weighs a whopping 10 pounds at 16 weeks old. He is sooo lively. I've taught him to sit, stay (for 10 seconds!), down, shake paws and roll over. Today he learned how to catch a ball in the air. He is a blast and Greg and I are really enjoying his antics. Just wish the weather would cool down so we can resume our nightly walks at La Cygne Lake. I will be glad when the chewing on human flesh goes away... he thinks I'm a walking rawhide!

My flowers look pretty pittiful this year, so no new pics from the flower beds. I water them just enough to keep them from croaking.

Only one more month of so before Fall. I can't wait.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Growing, Growing Lambs

Oh how my lambs are growing! April and Athena are filling out very nicely and they look like they are full sisters, but they are only half. Athena has such crimpy wool.... lots of springing curls, so pretty! April is still the social ewe lamb as she follows me everywhere and loves attention.



And of course there is the ram lamb Apollo. He is still momma's boy, but so pretty. His fleece is very soft. Amanda is finally starting to turn a dark morrit. For the longest time she looked black. I like her dark Hershey Brown fleece. It will look great weaved with some light colored wool for a striking contrast.


Annabelle looks just like her mother. Sweet expressive eyes and reserved personality.

Unfortunately I lost Fauna to heat stress last Saturday. A very sad day indeed as she was fine at 10am and passed away in my husbands arms at 6:00pm. Athena was quite upset for a few days, but is doing better now.

We are having 5.5 acres of of 17 acre horse pasture fenced in this week. That should give me plenty of pasture to rotate on for awhile. Just wish I had trees! Shade is such a problem on my place. Only the front and back yard has trees, so right now I have the sheep in the front yard. I move them every 3-5 days to a new spot. I call them my organic lawn mowers! Hee hee.

Next year we will have the rest of the pasture fenced in and then I can rotate between horses and sheep to break the parasite lifecycles. I get great satisfaction knowing that the horses are stopping the barberpole worm lifecycle. I hate those worms!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

I'm seeing SPOTS!

I'm so happy! Faith had her babies today - Apollo, a beautiful moorit-grey spotted ram lamb and Amanda, a solid moorit ewe.  I haven't weighed them yet, but I would guess 6.5 to 7 pounds as they are quiet a bit smaller than April and Athena were at birth.

Apollo and Amanda
I really love the dispositions Heathcliffe is passing on to his lambs and I now know that he carries the spotting gene. Apollo and Amanda came running up to me this morning and they were just a few hours old. Amazing to me! I have turned April into a little snuggler and Athena likes to sit on my lap. April was very jealous tonight when I was scratching Athena and so she turned to Greg for some attention.




Heather is the last ewe to lamb and I think she has about 3-4 weeks to go. I'm kinda worried about her since she is a yearling ewe. She is about the same size as Gretchen, but not nearly as muscular. I probably won't breed yearling ewes again.

I am getting a bid from a fence builder on fencing in my back pasture with goat/sheep woven wire. That will make pasture rotation a lot easier since we plan on creating a lane from the pasture to the old barn for summertime shelter where the sheep can get in front of fans. I don't have any trees in the pasture and I'm concerned about the summer heat. Fans in the old barn will provide them some relief and the old barn stays pretty cool in the heat of the summer.

I love old barns that were built with large lofts and some where for the heat to esacpe too. Our barn is not fancy, but it makes a nice sheep barn. I believe the barn is about 100 years old since it has pegs in oak timbers instead of nails in some spots. I was told it use to be a dairy barn a long time ago and then it housed coon dog kennels. Oh, the history and stories that barn could tell.

Time to start planting my raised bed gardens, just need the weather to warm up and dry out. Have any of you started your garden yet? If so, what are you planning on planting this year? I'll do a garden blog update after I get my plants in.

Monday, April 4, 2011

First Lamb of the Year on April 3, 2011

I had my first lamb of the year last night; she was born to Gretchen. I named her April. April had quite the start in life as she was born during a severe thunderstorm with small hail and some pretty gusty winds.

She is a strong little gal as she was up and nursing quickly. I love the way lamb and goats nurse while wagging their little tails. It is so endearing. April weighs 9 pounds! I am hoping she stays a solid moorit, but she may grey turn since Heathcliffe the ram is a moorit-grey. Time will tell in about a week as I may start to see sugar lips (white hairs) and white around the eyes.

This is Gretchen's first lamb and she is doing great as a first time momma. Very strong maternal instincts which I am very grateful for. Just waiting for the next three to go, hopefully in better weather.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Shearing Day

Today my Icelandics gave up their warm fleeces. Poor things look like little aliens now instead of sheep! I took a few pics before they were sheared. The shearer is Danny Smith and zipped right through those thick fleeces in no time flat. A lot faster than I could ever dream of doing... plus no one was nicked in the process. All sheep were very well behaved too, so that of course made the job go much easier.

The good thing with getting all the wool off is that I can see the ewes udders more clearly now. I suspect Gretchen will lamb first. Her bag is getting very full and she looks like she is starting to drop a bit. I'm so excited to see what colors I will get. I'm hopping for a spotted ewe out of Faith. And of course it would be nice to have another Moorit Badgerface ewe out of Gretchen.

I'd like to get a Black Badgerface, so that is on my ewe list for this year as I'm fairly sure I will not get one out of Heather.

Now to skirt those Spring fleeces... I'll be spending quite a bit of time picking hay and straw out of them.

Oh and one more thing I am excited about - I put a deposit down on a rat terrier puppy. I have first pick from 5 males!! I couldn't have asked for prettier pups and with so many to chose from. It will be hard! Here are pics from the breeder site for Karma/Indy pups:;jsessionid=oa52ev0291.penguin_s

I'm interested in the Chocolate/Tan/White male and the Black and White Male, but personality will be my deciding factor before color.

I'll keep you posted as the lambs arrive; hopefully within the next two weeks.

Faith and Heather


Fauna, Heathcliffe, Gretchen and Faith


Heathcliffe Shorn

Faith Shorn

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Website Finished!

We'll I finally finished my website! Just a few more tweaks here and there and it'll be good to go. The sheep are getting fatter, so I hope that means I'll have lambs at the end of April. Check it out at

Cheyenne is doing much better. She actually trotted up from the pasture today. That made me grin from ear to ear. I started her on Cetyl M for horses last week. I hope it works to alliviate some of her arthrititis and stiff joints. It's $88 for a 60 day supply, so I hope it helps her as well as some of the claims say.

My husband and I decided to get another rat terrier. It's been real hard on us these past few months without our beloved Danny, but life must go on. I still think about him everyday, and probably will forever as he was so special to me.

It will be awhile before I get the new pup though as the breeder will be having a litter at the end of March. So we a have a long wait, but that is ok since the weather is still cold and by the time the pup is weaned, it will be end of May. Spring is always a good time to get a puppy as I will be able to take it for walks, teach him to play frisbee, and meet lots of people for good socialization.

We have a tentative name picked out... Rudy. I can call him Rudy Tootie or Rudy Roo. I'm hoping for a Tri Piebald either in black or chocolate. There is the potential for a blue bi-color, but I prefer to have a non-dilute. I'm excited that I will have first pick of the males. I hoping for lots of  little boys to pick from. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Winter Musings

Well, it's been awhile since I've had a chance to post a new blog. Been busy cleaning stalls, shoveling snow, cleaning stall, shoveling snow.... did I mention cleaning stalls! The snow the past month seems to be never ending. I'm ready for a thaw and snow melt. Looking forward to brown pastures again. Not so much the mud though, but I'll take that over the minus something temps.

Of course I've been feeding the wild birds. Been going through a 50 pound bag of sunflower seeds a week since the snow has covered any attainable food source.

My sheep seem to be handling the cold just fine as I expected they would. Funny thing about them is that they have not ventured past their paddock in three weeks. The snow is very deep as we got 16 inches last week and 6 inches yesterday with not much melting before this last dump of snow. This is Heathcliffe my ram. His horns are looking pretty good. I'm very pleased with him as he is very calm and gentle with the ewes.

I'm anxiously awaiting to see how many lambs I will have. I hoping at least 4. Maybe 6. And I really want a spotted one too. :)
I got a loom back in December. I found a used Cherry Norwood four harness loom. It came with a warping board, shuttles, spools and bobbin winder and a 10 and12 dent reed. But for the life of me can't figure out the warping thing. I have two weaving books, but I can't get it. I have a small scarf project I want to do. So I decided to take the basic weaving class again from the Yarn Barn in Lawrence. The refresher will be good for me anyway.

Had a scary thing happen yesterday. My old Quarter Horse mare (22), Cheyenne, got cast in a snow bank. When I went out to do chores I thought she was dead! I panicked!!! Odd thing was her best buddy and my main ride, Betsy Sue was nudging her to please get up. These two gals are always together. My old gelding was standing over her, protecting her I guess. Took about 10 minutes of halter tugging to get her to roll and then stand up. She is doing better today, but still appears slightly lame on her right back leg. Hope she pulls out it as I use her to ride with non-gaited horse friends and when ever I feel like poking along instead of the fly by the seat of my pants foxtrotter mare. Ha! This pic is of Cheyenne from 2008 winter. And I thought 2008 winter was hard, but it doesn't compare to 2009-2010 and this winter 2010-2011.

How are the rest of you all fairing with this crazy winter weather. What projects have you been doing?