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.

 

Breeding logistics begin

We moved the ram lambs in with the adults.  They formed their own little mini-flock far away from the big older rams.  Bucky sniffed Sokka, our recovery story and declared him in decent enough health.  Shaft is thrilled to have moved up three places in the pecking order.  Selecting for temperament really pays off when you do have to keep rams of different ages together.

Registration is what we’ve decided to pursue for the flock as a whole going forward, but it’s complicated to set up initially, so we’ll be breeding around Thanksgiving again or whenever day after I can get the registration people on the phone, whichever comes first.

It’s weird weather, wet and green, but cold nights, though not cold enough for frost where we are.  The sheep are ok with the new grass but like us they are not fans of the mud.  Straw-spreading season has definitely begun.  I hope the winter stays mild.

Quick updates

  • Updated the pictures of our flock.
  • Updated fleece sales page for the current year.
  • Ewes are looking on track for late April through mid-May delivery.  Grey, our biggest, fattest ewe is favoring a back leg, but is not off her feed or showing any other signs of weight or health trouble.  She’s always a little overconditioned, and the whole flock is about a month off from when we wanted to get hoof trims done, so we will take a look at her this weekend and try to tackle that maintenance with the others as well.
  • I’m back to working with the fleeces again, but I need a (cheap) camera to do closeups, the old cameraphone isn’t able to do that.  So I’ll pick up a little point and shoot so there can be more and better pictures of all those different processes.  A record as I go would be really useful these days.
  • The kids are coming out of sick season and our latest arrival is struggling to learn walking as soon as possible.  Hopefully this tires him out enough to start sleeping more than an hour at a time.  We are still awaiting the arrival of his first tooth, he has three buds right now, so it could be any day.

 

Sheep are good, weather is not

It’s all soggy and and swampy.  The sheep are looking ok, but we’ll have to watch out for worm load.  With all the rain we are definitely learning what all needs to be fixed/patched during summer when it’s drier.  Still not sure how to deal with some of the soggy areas near the barn.

Everyone’s settled into the sniffles, and the baby has settled into not sleeping at night because that’s what little babies do best.

That’s all for now, I should try to get more pictures even with the rain because I need to set conditioning baselines for future lambs and pictures will help more than my soggy memory.

Homesteading Diary, Thursday, January 8

Husband and I: Coming off a very sick holiday season, but doing better and may be up and about this weekend.

Sheep:  Pregnant ewes are pregnant, looking ok, we just have to find a Saturday to move them back in with the ewe lambs, hopefully it can be this one.  Scottie is bold as brass, which will make sending him to freezer camp easier, but that’s probably still a couple weeks away.  All the sheep are miserable about the rain.  We have to order a ton or so more hay and a bunch more straw this week.

Kids: It’s a rainy enough winter that even they don’t want to be outside constantly.  But they do want to run around and finding places for them to do that has been a bit of a challenge.

That’s all for now, next week should be more normal and busy.

Homesteading Diary, Monday, December 9

Husband and I: doing better on the health front, gearing up for holidays and the new year.

Sheep:  ordered lambing supplies and vaccines, everything should arrive well before Christmas.  Gotta put some more straw down, now that it’s winter they hang out in the barn more.

Bucky and Shaft fought, Shaft lost and his scur is a bloody mess.  I can’t get close enough to check it out at length, but when my husband’s home tonight we can probably catch him long enough to dump some antiseptic and maybe cornstarch on it.  Shaft seems ok and is behaving/eating normally, it’s just messy where it was either torn or broken off.  It was a loose scur in the first place.  I’m checking him and putting out treats to get a little closer every hour until my husband gets in from work.

Now that the goats are gone, we’re down to maybe 10-15% hay lossage.  They just don’t spill nearly as much even still having to use the manger.  The bunk feeder made it all the way to Oregon and should be here this week.  So we’re still at about a bale a week even though they are coming in for hay all the live long day with the increasingly cold, dry weather.

The ewes are fine, they look to be growing bigger, so I guess they are getting enough nutrition to grow their lambs.  I sure hope so.

Ducks: We’re gonna eat the two leftover ducks.  Even leaving the barn open during the day, they can’t seem to lay with the current amount of light, so we’ll just eat them and try again in March or whenever we can round up a few laying Khakis or runners.

Kids: Love going out in the weather, it is quite the challenge bundling them up sufficiently.

Well, it’s off to check on Shaft and hope he isn’t still battling Bucky with that stump/fragment.

Homesteading Diary, Monday December 2

Husband and I: Husband is doing better, I am still pretty tired from the poor weather though.

Goats: still on track to go to freezer camp in a couple more days.  The two wethers are getting almost as big as the doe, so at least 100lbs of offal/cuts/heads is probable.

Sheep:  The ewes are looking ok to my untrained eye.  They don’t look scrawny, like it’s all going to the lamb(s), but they also don’t look like they’re getting overfat (no signs of back fat or other overconditioning according to my lambing books’ drawings).  Despite the wastage, we’re going through about a bale a week and that seems to be adequate and likely to remain the eating rate after the goats are gone. And the ram lambs look ok as they pass out of lambhood.  Icelandics are relentless grazers, it’s really stunning to watch.  One can barely tell our pasture was overgrown this summer.

The little golden ewe looks a lot more pregnant, but still like it’s a just a single lamb.  Oh well, that’s typical for a first lambing.

Still no bunk feeder, putting a screen on won’t work with the manger, but they are wasting less hay as the grass gets less available and just eating quicker instead of being a bit leisurely as they were in early November.

Ducks: It was sleeting like crazy today and the ducks didn’t even care, they were as happy as anything in this crazy weather.  So we will continue to watch and wait on moving them into the barn since they seem quite happy in their run.  Did get them onto fresh new grass finally, so that’s off our backs for a week.

Kids: Busting out the light box (a form of therapy for SAD, which is rampant up here) has helped both of them with moodiness.  My oldest wanted to party in the sleet and didn’t understand why I was agin’ it until she heard the sound through an open window.

Thanksgiving was delicious and we used the long weekend to catch up on holiday shopping.

It’s been an ok few days.