Saturday, May 4, 2013

Well, I was wrong when I said spring was just around the corner in February.  Here in Minnesota we are still having "spring".  It has snowed all through April and into May, which makes it tough for the pastures to grow!  But, the ground has finally cleared, and the grass is greening for this year's wonderful lamb crop.

We had an outstanding year of lamb production at 180%.  Moreover, the lambs are fat, the ewes are fat, and all run and play out in the pasture.  It is truly rejuvenating to watch.

Sadly, we lost two lambs.  One from a set of triplets and one due to injury.  But, that is the way it often is with farming; good days are greeted with sad and sad days greeted with good.  It would seem that the balance of each is needed to truly understand the miracle of life.

The flock has grown much more colorful with the introduction of our new moorit (brown) ewes.  We now have all different shades of brown ranging to jet black.  Also, we got two white lambs.  One from a white ewe and one from a black ewe.  Therefore, my previous postulation that Bucky was homozygous black has been disproven.  Still, our cross of Bucky on Rush produced two beautiful, coal black, and horned, ram lambs.  We also got our first true katmoget (light on top, dark on belly) ewe and lamb.  Both will be registered animals from the White Pine flock.  The ewe's name is Basotho and she produced a beautiful little ewe lamb.  They each make excellent additions to our rapidly expanding flock.

Bucky, separated from the ewes for now to allow the ewes some peace, is cantankerous as ever.  His bad mood is received by anything he can ram, except humans (thankfully).  So far, he has managed to destroy several barn doors that I will be replacing this summer.  It is too bad that he likes to bash things so much because for the rest of the time he really is a docile ram.  He is in great shape and looks a bit devilish in his all black coat with his tightly curled horns.

All the sheep are shorn, except Basotho.  I was very glad of my classes at SDSU and showed off my new skills to my dad.  He was amazed at how docile the animals were under the holds that I was taught.  I also got to use my new clipper, a Shearmaster from Oster.  It worked excellently and made the job much easier.  As an aside, we have all of our fleeces rolled and bagged if anyone out there is interested.

We are still very dry and as previously stated, very cold here.  We will be praying for warmer wetter weather and continued health of our fun little flock.
(Pictures to come)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

  It is an exciting time here at Rocky Top!  This week is set to bring warmer temperatures and Rachel and I spotted several robins on a walk today.  I will take these signs to indicate that Spring is just around the corner.
  In a bit older news, we have expanded!  Our purebred flock grew by four ewes earlier this winter, bringing our total number of purebred animals to seven! Visit the the "Sheep" page for more info about these lovely little ladies.  They were a rare find being young and from fairly close.  Even more amazing, they are tame.  Not just 'barely-tame' as in, "I can feed them without them trying to kill each other to get away," but actually tame.  They will come up and eat out of our hands.  Their bravery has inspired the rest of the un-tame flock to calm down just a bit, and has resulted in Bucky eating out of our hands as well.  I think with each new ewe his head gets a little bigger, but that may be just the horns.
  We will be expecting lambs sometime in the next month.  It is always an exciting anticipation, waiting to see what we will get for the year.  Hopefully the girls lamb a few ewes.  It is easier to expand a flock through breeding than through buying.
  I have not heard how the wool spinning has been going.  I will need to check on how well it spun up and hope to find more consumers for the coming years!
  I do know how the lamb tastes, because I have had it several times now!  For our Christmas meal in Northern Minnesota, Rachel and her mother made roast lamb shoulder with mint dumplings.  It was absolutely delicious.  If you've never tried lamb, I encourage you to indulge yourself with one of Earth's most tender and flavorful meats.
  I don't think I have stated it before, but if you are interested in wool, lamb, or purebred breeding stock, please don't hesitate to let me know.  I may not have anything "in-stock" as my production is limited, but we may be able to work something out for the future.
  That's all for now.  Remember, as all good shepherds know, "Keep those you love close, for their health, and yours."