What we did today (Fall Shearing Day)

shaftfleeceSix pounds of Shaft’s unskirted Icelandic wool, fresh off the sheep.  We also got the other 12 sheared and hoof trimmed.  They have held up pretty well the last few weeks.

The shearer we used this time was a very professional guy from Concrete, Pierre Monnat.  He was careful with the sheep and did nice work.

I finished my own addition to the farm, a little boy who is growing ridiculously fast.

I’m still pretty tired, so that’s all for now.  But we do now have some raw fall fleeces.  They are softer than the spring clips and it will be interesting times preparing the best ones for sale.



Local Foodshed Spotlight– Hagen Farm

This here is the farm we got pork and beef from.

The animals are very high quality, the beef is top notch, so much so that the organs are flavorful and tender.  The kidneys, for example, had none of the strong flavors commonly expected with cow kidneys.  The liver was also mild enough that even I, who truly can’t deal with liver’s texture or flavor was able to eat a little braised with a bit of cornmeal.  No soaking in milk was needed either.  It was pretty fabulous.  The pork we got has been nice as well, not least of which are tender hams and good thick-cut bacon.  This is a farm I would completely recommend as a place to get beef and pork by the quarter/half/whole for those in the Snohomish County area.

It’s a joy to support local farmers when they provide a quality product at excellent prices.  Hagen Farm is about $3.50/lb or so for beef and about $4.50/lb or so for pork, including separate-pay cut and wrap fees to the butcher.  Again, great farm, very local, highly recommend for anyone with enough storage for quarter/half/whole beef and/or half/whole hogs.  She also has lamb, but we ran out of storage with the cow and the pig, so perhaps another year!  Delicious! And I’m glad to see her getting some local notice as I noted above.  It was so funny, I said to my husband “That farm is where we got our cow! and they’re in the paper!” and we both had a moment there.

“The Kinder is easily the most awesome goat breed!”

Yeah, that’s a quote from the Kinder Goat Breeding Association, but they are pretty sweet little animals.  Kinders are essentially a unique Cascadian goat breed, begun with a Nubian Doe/Pygmy Male cross.  The resulting goats are charming, hardy, and provide wonderful milk and meat by all accounts.

And we now have three to call our very own!

http://www.kindergoatbreeders.com/breedinfo.html has more info on them as a breed.  The ones  we have are serving as blackberry-clearers and general tidy-uppers of the browse for our sheep, which are coming late in summer and heavy with unborn lambs.

The goats are named Jewel, Mac and Taco and someday when we aren’t all perished with hay fever, I’ll have pictures of them!

Mac and Taco are wethers (castrated males) and freshly weaned.  Jewel is unsuited for breeding but healthy.  Her mother was found rushing all about the pasture trying to shake her out when she was born. Not a great mothering line, but safe to breed for meat if we want to chance it, but we are likely to just treat all three as pets/brush clearers until the time comes for them to move on.

I dig goats!

PS: Mac and Taco loooove that the grass is super high and full of stupid pollen because we let it get too high.  They sometimes lie on their little goat backs and nibblemunch with pure goat joy.  They are sweet little guys.  We got all three from a local Kinder breeder in the area.  I like the Kinder quite a bit among goat breeds.  It’s mostly plusses and smallish size is perhaps the only con, but they still convert feed well, so I’m happy.


A Trip to the Feed Store is just Ducky

So today we went down to one of the local feed stores to get ducklings.  It’s family run, less than five miles down the road, and it’s kind of like a PowerPuff Girls live action movie. Very chipper, confident young ladies running the place.  A knowledgeable and very professional girl who looked about ten or twelve was manning the chick zone.  She certainly knew her poultry breeds and how to handle the babies just fine.

If you live rural, you know that the feed stores generally put out baby poultry around this time of year.  The feed store had baby chicks, ducks, turkeys and geese.  All were in nice setups with plenty of light, starter, water and room to scamper around.  There was even a very sleepy duckling who had just hatched earlier this morning.  Anyway that was the chick zone.  Other times of the year other stuff is in there, but right now it’s all chicks, all the time.

First we got all the duck supplies– heat lamp, feeder/waterer, starter ration– and then we got the ducks.  Three Khaki Campbells and two Cayugas.  WP_20130511_005

And here they are!  The Cayugas are the black ones.

Probably once I find the receipt I will do a boring post about costs, but that’s for another day.  Time to go party with baby ducks!