Thursday, December 27, 2018

 Chip, our 22 month old Horned Dorset ram,
with Jillian, Dorset/Romney ewe in front, 
also 22 months. He is a single, she is (was) 
a twin. Different parents.

 Tess. Our guard llama. 
She has to check out every pile of hay
and every group of sheep, before she will eat.

 December 26th and we still have mud...
And, if you can see in the pig pasture in
the lower picture at the top of the picture
it is flooded from all the rain we had
before Christmas.
The sheep are still cleaning up from
the wet packed bale put out for them
early in the week. They go through it
quickly, but they waste none of it.

 Poor Lola still looks scruffy.
She was born on the farm, but lived on 
another farm for a while. She came back 
to live with us last year. For some reason
the rest of the ewes are pushing her out of 
the grain. So, she has been getting fed by 
herself. Unfortunately her fleece has been
affected by the  stress of the other sheep. And,
hopefully she is pregnant by Chip.
This year's fleece will go straight to compost.

Chip loves his female human.
For some reason, not so much the male human.
I think mainly because Jerry did not handle him
the whole time I could not get in the barn after
my broken ankle. I rub under his chin and keep 
his head held up. But, I also smack his across
the nose and tell him 'No!' when he acts up.

This is the 2nd year of no coats.
So, the fleeces will have VM in them
as well as mud. There are no lamb fleeces
available from our farm this year as we sold
every lamb last spring. THANK YOU to 
all of our lamb customers!!!
There are 30 ewes that have been exposed to
3 rams (2 fertile, 1 old) since August 1st.
We should start lambing anytime. Provided
Chip did his job. Jeremy's (Dorset/Romney) lambs
should start dropping the first week in February.
As far as I know, all of the lambs have already
been spoken for. If something falls through
with someone, I will post it here and on Face Book.

I have posted some of the 2017/2018 fleeces available
on the farm's fleece blog.

I will continue to inventory what we have available and
I will try to update the fleece blog at least once a week.

With all the ice in the farm yard, and being down to one
vehicle, I will not be leaving the house much. So, I have
plenty of time to work on fleeces, and updating the blogs.

I did get 2 Icelandic fleeces washed yesterday. They 
are downstairs drying near the wood/coal furnace.
Next I need to wash some alpaca fleeces, and then 3 
white Dorset/Romney lamb fleeces. I have red-brown
alpaca that will be blended with the different shades
of brown Icelandic fleeces. And, I have a white crimpy
alpaca fleece that will be blended with the white lamb's
fleeces. I also have silver alpaca and silver Romney, both
already washed, ready to go. And, black alpaca and black
llama that may just become roving on their own. I have
3 different black Shetland fleeces, all washed, that will
also go to become roving. 

When I sell enough fleece to fill the grain bin, I will 
start putting money towards having these fleeces
processed by Sallie's Fen Fiber Mill in Barrington,
NH. She has alpacas and she KNOWS fine fleece.
Hopefully, I will have enough saved by the time we 
shear in her area this spring to drop them at her mill!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

It has been a long couple of years!!!

I'd also like to thank ALL of our customers who have helped keep our farm running with your purchases.

I am seriously hoping to take some time to take pictures of wooly items I have available for sale and get them posted. I've just be busy playing catch-up on the house with all the things I could not do after either shoulder surgery, and then the broken ankle....

I have past the one year mark (12/11) on my 2nd shoulder surgery and I am doing well. I have a lot more range of motion than I have had since I first injured it in March of 2016, and a LOT more since the failed surgery of February of 2017. There is still some pain, and there are still a few things I have difficulty doing, but it has been a long time since the original injury and a lot of extra damage done to it. So, all in all, I am quite pleased with Dr. Boselli's work and look forward to continued healing.

My ankle on the other hand... The 13th of this month marked the 6 month anniversary of surgery. The pain is still incredible, but I am managing. At this point it does not matter pain-wise whether I use it or not. So, I am using it. I go back March 5th to see Dr. Duffy and if all is still healing we can schedule the hardware removal the first week of April. That will give me 5 weeks to heal before the NH Sheep & Wool festival.

I will have to go completely under again for the hardware to be removed. I have one pin that is a  lot longer than the rest and that one HAS to come out. I told him the way my body is reacting to the metal that I need him to take it ALL out. If I have to be knocked out for the one piece, he might as well take it all. I know I will be in a cast for at least 2 weeks after and possibly in the wheelchair for a month after. I am hoping to be healed enough by festival to walk. If not, it won't be the first festival I've done in the wheelchair. 😉

If all went well with Chip, our Horned Dorset ram, we should start having lambs January 2nd. Although if they twin, it could be as early as December 28. We put him in with all 30 girls for 30 days. I am hoping that he bred only the Horned Dorset ewes, as they will breed out of season. We put Jeremy, our Dorset/Romney ram, in with the girls for the next 30 days.

During the day, all 3 rams and the llama are in with the girls in the big pasture. We've been feeding wet packed hay bales to the girls since breeding started August 1st. Since the girls are no longer in heat, and I don't want to try to lug hay out for the boys and the llama, it was just as easy to open gates in the barn and let them across to the girls side. At night, the 3 boys go back to their stall and Tess, the llama, goes back to her stall. This way everyone is getting the higher protein hay during the day.

It is going to be interesting to see what the lambs and the fleeces look like after them eating this higher protein hay for their entire pregnancies!! The best part is not having to feed the morning grain.  Buying this hay from the farmer down the road, as much as I hate to have to buy hay!!, is saving us 1/2 our grain bill. When I do this year's taxes I am looking forward to seeing if we've saved any money.

If this has made a big difference in the ewes, their lambs and our bottom dollar, we may start looking for a wrapping machine. We've discussed it off and on, and with the awful hay year we had this year, we may just do it. When we come up with the finances. We have a round baler that needs a repair, again when we have the finances. It will do both dry bales and wet bales. The advantages of the wet bales are that you cut the hay and bale it the next day. They are wrapped, so they can be stored outside. And, they are much higher in protein. The bad thing about wet packed bales is that in the warmer weather, if you don't have enough animals eating it, they will mold.

I am hoping and praying that next year the weather will be better for haying. I would like to do 1/2 in dry bales to go up in the loft of the barn. Those can be for night feeding after they've been on pasture all day, and for ewes in the lambing jugs. The other 1/2 can be for feeding when they are off pasture, and for the boys who are not in with the ewes at that time.

It is all in God's hands as to what will be happening to us and to the farm. I just pray that it is His will for us to have a good year in 2019. At the same time I thank Him with my whole heart for getting us through 2018 mentally, physically and financially. And I thank our friends, family and customers for all 3 as well.

I know there is another 11 days left of this year, but I am seriously looking forward to the new year. I've got some new plans for the wool business, and I am thinking forward to the garden and I am praying for that to be fruitful enough to have extras to sell at farmer's market(s). I know the lambs are all sold for next year and we are very blessed by our repeat customers!! I am just praying for a better year next year, not  just for us but for our entire country.

Enjoy the last few days of 2018 all. Stay safe and warm (or cool, depending on where you are). Tell those around you that you love them, reach out to your neighbors and family far away. Think positive thoughts and live positive lives. Look up and thank God for all that you have, and even for those things that He decided you did not need to have.

Have a Merry CHRISTmas all and remember we are celebrating the birth of Jesus on the 25th and NOT Santa and the gifts. It is all about He who was born as a baby, preached as a child, died for our sins as a man, and was resurrected 3 days later as our Savior.

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