Quick updates

  1. The King is dead.  Bucky went off to freezer camp in late April.  He’d gotten crankier in late middle age and was hassling everyone.  Clovis followed two weeks later.  I will get around to the pictures later this week hopefully.
  2. Life finds a way.  Zuko IV was castrated last fall, but somehow, against all odds, he regrew a testicle.  It’s small, has a bit of scarring, and is totally functional.  Oopsie.  Now he’s a possible candidate for the surprise lambs we thought we might have narrowly averted.
  3. Speaking of which, his dam, Brunhilde, dropped surprise twins Sunday evening while we were enjoying the nice weather.  The likely possibles include her own son and her half-brother.  It’s just a little Wagnerian.  They are a large black ram who is a little slow on the uptake and a vigorous but tiny little brown ewe who is simply adorable.  Pictures also to follow later this week just as hopefully.
  4. Faux Cow fell victim to predation.  Coyotes and black bears have been partying it up in our way way back.  We had gotten her back into good health and she was getting hearty and lanky like her dam, Dottie was in youth.  Oh well.
  5. We have a lot of yard work to do, the grass is going hog wild.  And we discovered the barn is too damp to store feed or pellets in sacks, so we’ll have to switch over to the garage for those.
  6. Icelandic rams are delicious at 4 years of age.  Tough, but flavorful without greasiness or bitterness.  Slow cooking them gives a really delightful repast. Honestly comparable to standard sheep breeds’ 18 month hoggetts. We had butchering help from a friendly local down the road and we sent him off with some mutton, which was turned into burger and was excellent, delicious, great in omelettes.  This made us relax about future slaughters of the older animals as they age.
  7. The kids are really taking to chores and starting to develop the general habit of tidying up before bedtime and after dinner.

That’s all for now.

 

Humans 1, Possum 1, Chickens 0

A lazy possum got tired of fighting the cats for their cat food and went after our two free ranging chickens who sleep in a coop with a busted latch.  One chicken ran away to live to chicken it up another day.  The other did not.  The possum received a bite of chicken and two bullets from my husband, probably not quite the meal before a long rest it was hoping for.

So one chicken is alive somewhere in the trees and the other is dead, along with the predator that came after it.  We have the darnedest ill luck with poultry in winter.

No pictures, and I think that’s for the best.  The sheep are doing all right though.  They like the mild winter.

Photos of Scottie’s butchering (graphic)

How to butcher a delicious ram of slightly more than one year in age, aka a hoggett ram.

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From this…

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…to this.

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then this…

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And now two sides of almost lamb.

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Scottie did have a good heart.

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Do not do this when removing the offal you want to throw away. Unless you enjoy scooping it up with a shovel later.

It took about three hours, mostly because it was being done without the benefits of a block and tackle.  Hoggett is just lamb a few months past a year, so still perfectly tender and delicious and a long way from mutton town.

Ram Tamer says “Scottie is now yummy yummy.”

 

We have chickens

A friendly acquaintance needed to find their chickens a more rustic home, so we offered to take them since we were wanting to try chickens over ducks this year.  Pictures hopefully this weekend, my husband is working out the final roaming/run area for them.  Right now they are parked in our front yard and getting stirred up by a very silly little big girl.

Speaking of, I might call her Ram Tamer, since that is what she’s done.  Our rams now will stand still for petting due to her valiant and persistent efforts at feeding them by hand.  They are “right” kind of tame, not the kind of tame where you can get head butted (which usually is from roughhousing with lambs too often).

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Secret raspberry garden

I am not a fan of the landscaping that came with this place, but some of it has unexpected summer joys attached.  Like this ever-bearing raspberry sport that survived and thrived in the shadow of the Himalayan menace that stalks our acreage.

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Ever-bearing means it was domesticated.  It survived unlike the secret rhubarb from a couple years ago, which sadly got shaded out.  We failed it for the last time.  😦  But hey, RASPBERRIES THE BIRDS CAN’T FIND WOOOOOOOO.