Thursday, December 23, 2010

Winter Wonderland

Snow covered trees are so beautiful.
Close up of a tree to show how much snow there is on the trees.

Driving down Lax Chapel Rd.

Shoe Lake, a lake down the road from us, covered in snow.
Sheep in snow. (These are Hidden Valley Farm's Coopworth ewe lambs and a couple "old ladies.")

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Huge Snow Storm

On Sunday we got a huge dump of snow. I had three sheep who were buried-only their heads and part of their backs were sticking out. One of those sheep was even standing up when she got buried! I had to run in and check my records to see how many I was supposed to have in that group and then count them all.

All the sheep and goat pens have huge drifts almost to the top of the fence. Yesterday I to had to dig the fences out as the night before a couple ram lambs and a buck kid jumped over their fence. All the feed and water tubs were buried and I had to walk around in the deep snow and find them with my feet hoping to step on them. I found about half, but will just have to make do. (The ewe lambs can get their oats and barley on top of their hay and the goats and market lambs get their tubs.) It's in the single digits now and last night it got down to 3* F.

Maybe on Saturday I'll have time the make Christmas cookies and spin!

This is a fence and a gate (hog panel) before I dug it out.

Here I'm standing on top of a snow drift looking down at the "cow pen" and steer- just a little strip is left for him to walk around on.

I'm looking down at a ram lamb from my mountain (snow drift) that I have to climb to feed everyone.
I'm viewing the goats from on top of the other side of the mountain. There also had been a big drift in front of their shed, but I had already shoveled it away.

At least some snow drifts are pretty!

Monday, November 29, 2010


This fall after scrambling to get the "pre-winter" chores done I get to spin and crochet! (It gets dark early.) I still have to fix the ram pen aka the "jail" fixed. Between an aggressive Angora buck (now gone for slaughter) and an aggressive Shetland ram who is wearing a ram shield and will go to market soon, those two boys really smashed up the fence which is made of cattle panels- so time to rebuild. (Both those boys behaved last year, but then this year they turned naughty. Both were 4 years old.) I also need to fix the "cow" shed (cattle by the way a quite destructive-just for fun or maybe their just clumsy) and they knocked the boards down on the front side of their shed. (This is the last winter with a cow {actually a steer} in the "cow" shed, next year my Angora goats get it.) The last two "pre-winter" projects are to help my Mom put all the garden stuff away and fix the lambing pen fence. I just finished cleaning out two years worth of cow manure from the "cow"shed... last winter came early and that job did not get done.
This is a skein of intermediate Shetland lamb and mohair locks.
On the wheel is some short single coated moorit Shetland lamb and more mohair locks. Wow, the short wool spins so much better for this type of yarn (I tried it with some Coopworth, but that did not work at all and the intermediate Shetland was a lot more work to draft than the short single coated Shetland. Corriedale also works well for this yarn. I like longer wool for spinning plain yarn though.)

I just learned a new crochet stitch-broomstick lace. It is really easy and fun to do. The teal knitting needle is the broomstick. I'm using some of Craigrothie's (one of my Shetland rams) handspun lambswool. The scarf is very soft and airy. I also crocheted a scarf using some of the white millspun 67% Shetland/BFL lamb/33% mohair yarn that I sell. This yarn was space dyed/hand painted.

Monday, November 1, 2010

2010 Breeding Groups

I've been really busy around here. Last week we had a really strong wind storm and the goats' shed blew away and got smashed with the goats in it. The goats are fine, but were cold when I found them. They are temporarily living in the cow shed. The steer is a lot tougher than shorn Angoras! Got to work on fixing that now.

Did AI on 5 ewes this past Sat. at Hidden Valley Woolen Mill. There were a total of about 35- 40 sheep done. Breeds done included Shetlands, Coopworths, % Teeswaters, % Gotlands, one ewe was bred to Racka, and one Dorset to East Frisian. It's always nice to see other sheep producers.

PS23 Campbell- fawn katmoget (F1 Jericho) fine, very soft fleece is getting 7 ewes

PS23 Dingdong- fawn, very silky soft fleece, may carry spots (100% Dailley)
Windswept Lime-white, bold crimped, shiny fleece (F2 Jings)
PS23 Finch- black, cimpy fleece (F2 Greyling, F3 Holly/ Jericho)
PS23 Ferndale-black, crimpy fleece (F1 Gordon, F3 Jericho)
PS23 Flourance-white, bold crimped, very soft and silky fleece (F2 Skeld, F3 Brent, F4 Skeld, Jericho) smaller ewe
PS23 Evening Primrose-sheala gulmoget, long silky fleece (some UK way back)
PS23 Eastwind-emsket HST (spotted), long fleece (some UK way back)

PS23 Campbell's fleece

PS23 Fife- moorit (F1 Orion, F4 Minder/ Timothy) very fine and soft fleece is getting 5 girls

PS23 Daysong- grey katmoget, soft crimpy single coat, may carry spots and modified (F2 Jericho)
PS23 Edelweiss-musket katmoget, very silky soft single coat (F2 Brent, F3 Skeld/ Jericho)
PS23 Ely Cathedral-fawn katmoget, bold crimped fleece (F3 Jericho as well as some other UK way back)
PS23 Essex
-moorit, soft loosely crimped fleece (F2 Jericho)
PS23 Finch-white, long silky fleece (F2 Dillon, F3 Jericho/ Skeld) PS23 Fife's fleece

PS23 Fairlight- white (F1 Jings, F3 Greyling/ Holly) very fine, crimpy and soft fleece. Polled/scurred. He is getting 2 Shetland girls and the Merino.

PS23 Emrald-grey katmoget (F2 Jericho) very silky soft fleece
SheepyHollow Sienna-moorit (F3 Timothy/ Minder, F4 Jamie) very fine single coat. Horned ewe
Alice-white purebred Merino PS23 Fairlight's fleece

AI Group (not sure who I'll use as a clean up ram/s yet.) I picked this group based on size, fleece, production (and potential production for the 2 maiden ewes) and all around conformation.

PS23 Funzie-grey katmoget (F1 Jings, F3 Greyling/Holly) very fine, crimpy and soft fleece. Horned ewe (Fairlight's twin.)
Sabbath Farm Sawn-musket (100% Dailley) Very silky, soft fleece (she had twins and one of her lambs, PS23 Goldenrod, is the biggest pure lamb I have)

Both these girls were AI'ed to Island Skeld a very nice white ram.

PS23 Forsythia-light grey (F2 Gretling/Holly, F3 Skeld) very fine, crimpy single coat

She was bred to Drum Jings a nice white ram.

Sabbath Farm Silvia-light grey (100% Dailley) Very silky, soft fleece (her twins are both good sizes and have better fleeces than her.)
Sabbth Farm Fonteyn-fawn katmoget (F2 Greyling/Holly) crimpy single coat (she had triplets that grew fairly well without being supplemented) Horned ewe.

Both these girls were bred to Drum Ram a nice black ram.

Cross groups for commercial ewes and market lambs:
(All PS23 sheep are purebred registered Shetlands.)

Cooper-white purebred Coopworth ram is getting 10 girls
5 unregistered Shetlands (3 light grey and 2 musket)
Febee-white Shetland x Merino
Fuzz-white Shetland X Corriedale/1/8 Dorset
PS23 Elm-light grey, fine double coat (100% Dailley)
PS23 Early Spring-mioget, fine double coat (Some UK way back)
PS23 Ewe Won-mioget HST (spotted), fine double coat (100% Dailley) Cooper's fleece

Windham-white (color carrier) purebred (Australian style-smaller than the show type) Corriedale is getting 7 ewes.

Fudge- charcoal Shetland X Bluefaced Leicester
Eco-grey katmoget Shetland X Bluefaced Leicester
PS23 Easterlilly-white, single coat (F2 Skeld)
PS23 Dove-white, bold crimped, silky single coat (F2 Skeld/Jericho)
PS23 Felicity-white, single coat (F2 Skeld, F3 Jericho)
PS23 Fairlie-fawn (F1 Orion), fine double coat
PS23 Ewe Two-moorit, single coat (F2 Orion)
Windham's fleece

#267 (need to think of a name)-charcoal purebred Coopworth ram lamb is getting 7 girls. (I got him as Cooper does not carry color and I have a demand for colored fleeces.)

Fronzie-white Shetland X Merino
PS23 Bluebell-sheala iset, double coat (F3 Jamie)
Bramble Jocelyn-moorit, fine double coat/intermediate (100% Dailley)
UnderTheSon Sorrelle-moorit, double coat (100% Dailley)
UnderTheSon Claremori-fawn, fine double coat/intermediate
PS23 Cinderella-black iset, double coat (Some UK way back)
Longshadow Amber-dark musket, silky soft fleece (100% Dailley) Both photos are #267's fleece

For goats:

Caspian-faded red CAGBA buck is getting 1 doe (was going to breed him to Pearl, but found out she is his dam's full sister. Also too related to the other CAGBA does as two are his daughters and one is a cousin.)

Belle-white color carrier CAGBA doe (threw silver once)

Albee-white AAGBA buck from OR (kids out of CAGBA x AAGBA can be CAGBA registered)

Eden-AAGBA white TX doe
Pearl-faded red/taupe CAGBA doe
England-grey CAGBA doe

Danburry-white AAGBA TX buck

Terra-AAGBA white doe
Jade-AAGBA white doe
Treasure-AAGBA white doe
China-black CAGBA doe
France-white color carrier CAGBA doe

Next year I am planning on buying or leasing a black or faded red buck to get color back into the herd as all the kids will be white or very pale faded reds.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Three of my Angora does were not registered (CAGBA) and since one or both their parents were not registered they had to be registered by inspection. One can choose physical inspection or photo inspection. I chose photo inspection ( as I tried to do the physical inspection a couple years ago, but could to take the goats to the show in MI, due to WI state rules.) For the photo inspection one needs 12 pictures of the goats (shorn and full fleece) as well as the entire unskirted fleece. The fleeces/photos are mailed to a show where the the inspection is held. A goat has to pass three judges (they have a list of traits they check) to be registered.

I am quite pleased to say that all three passed! Now all of my goats are registered.
China's side shot in full fleece and then shorn.
England in full fleece and shorn.

Belle in full fleece and then shorn.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Bit Of Fall Color

We went on a walk in the kettle moriane on Sunday, here are some of the beautiful fall leaves. Most had fallen down already though.

I been very busy around here, I got my sheep jacketed and sorted the ewe lambs and AI ewes out of the rest of the ewes who will be bred. (I finished making the coats that I needed for the sheep, but need to finish the goats' coats!) On Monday I plan to break the sheep and goats into breeding groups, but before I can do that I need to set up electric netting to subdivide the pasture.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ewes grazing and market lambs

Ewes, replacement ewe lambs and a couple small (unshorn) market lambs enjoying some of the last grass. I am afraid that the grass will run out about a month earlier than last year. At leat I have some of my winter hay. Now just to keep working and the sheep coats I'm making...

I had decided to save money by making my own sheep coats this year. I can buy a coat for $15 each or make them for $3.70 each (not counting my time) so since I need about 50-60 coats that's quite a savings. Eleven done... (The rest are all cut out.)
The blacks are Corriedale X Shetlands and the whites are Shetland X Coopworth. The Shetland X Coopworth are defiantly bigger, but the two sets of Corriedale X Shetlands are out of first time lambers and they are black while all the Coopworth X Shetlands are white. In Paul and Carol's Coopworth flock the whites are always bigger so I don't know if that would hold true for the Corriedales or not. I will do the Corriedale cross again this fall (that will give me more to judge on) and he will get more than two ewes!
Shetland X Corriedale
Shetland X CoopworthThe Coopworth X Shetland fleeces are very nice. They are not kempy like the North Country Cheviot X Shetlands and they are heavier (by about 1#), shinier, longer and silkier than the Bluefaced Leicester X Shetlands.
Another Coopworth X Shetland. I am keeping seven Coopworth X Shetlands. They will not be bred this year. Next year I may get a terminal sire or use the Corriedale on them. (The Corriedale sired lamb out of the Shetland X Bluefaced Leicester is great-she is about 100# and has a wonderful soft, dense, bold crimped, silky soft charcoal fleece-I'm keeping her as well.)
The Corriedale X Shetland fleeces are great colors, but of the four two are kind of double coated (this is one of those.) I can pull of guard hairs out and they area different color, but it is not a typical double coat. The hand on these two is kind of like a down wool. One of the other two is crimpy and very soft and the other is very long, soft and is like an intermediate Shetland.

One other thing. The Coopworth X Shetlands are great to shear-the fleeces cut through like butter, while of the Corriedal crosses one was great to shear and the other three were like cutting through a brick. I could not get to the skin level on those three and I started to wonder if my blade shears were dull, but they weren't as I did some more Coopworth X Shetlands after them.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Good to be home

I had to get a SVT (super ventricular tachycardia) ablation yesterday to remove extra electrical path ways in my heart which were causing tachycardia (fast heart rate). (I had an episode of some palpitations in the spring and after jumping through all the hoops and getting all sorts of tests done that's what they found out.) The scary thing is I was put on a monitor for a month and I had to send the reading through the phone for the NP to read and I only noticed the palpitations once or twice and there were five automatic readings a day that I had to send. Basically if I didn't find out or get it done I would have gotten heart failure.

So yesterday morning I went to the hospital (my Mom took me) and I got the procedure (technically not surgery) done. The cardiologist uses a wire and goes up through the artery in ones' groin to the heart and finds the extra pathways and ablates (kills) them. I was kept there over night for observation and now I'm home. It's so nice to be home. Now I can't lift more than 10 # for 4 days. The reason is they don't want the artery popping open and oozing or bleeding.

The couple days before the procedure I got my goats shorn and my 19 market lambs shorn-they look very nice by the way. I'll have to do a post on them. (I have 10 small market lambs that I decided not to shear as well as the 19. 8 are pure Shetlands and 2 are crosses who didn't grow well. They will be shorn in the spring and sent to the Easter market.) I didn't shear my little TX kid-Grace as she is very thin and has bottle jaw. I have been deworming (she got dewormed 3 or 4 more times than any one else) her all summer and she just seems not to be able to handle worms. I dewormed her with Valbazen and then I'm going to use Ivermectin. (I heard that in severe cases one should use one and then the other after ten days.) I just hope she'll be ok! The poor little thing eats, but is weak.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Cow for sale

Picture taken last fall after she freshened.

I have a Jersey cow bred to Honour-polled (one of Genex'es bulls) for an end of Oct. calf (she is vet checked). The cow is 3 years old and this will be her second freshening (she's dry now.) She is halter trained and also trained for hand milking (I also used a belly milker a couple times with her.) She would be a great family cow. I'm selling her as I need the shed/pasture space for my flock of sheep and goats. She is $1200.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

WI Sheep and Wool

I had a great weekend at the WI Sheep and Wool Festival. I had a vendor booth to keep me busy on Fri. and Sat. (I don't sell on Sun. so a friend sold some of her product in the booth space on Sun.) I sold roving, yarn, handspun mohair lock yarn, mohair locks, raw fleeces, sheepskins and combed top.
I bought a skirting table. This will be nice as I have used a ping pong table for the past couple years.
I showed several fleeces in the fleece show and Everest my teaser ram's fleece got a second.
The judge did not like my Corriedale fleece (she said it was not consistent and was OK for commercial), but liked the Coopworth fleece. Here is Everest's fleece.

Also had a great time visiting all my sheep and Angora goat breeder and fiber friends. Thanks Tori Gygi for explaining some sheep conformation (shoulders and backs) to me!

It rained when I was gone here at home quite a bit (I left on Thur. and got back Sun.) and when I got back the grass had grown about 1/2 in.! Aug. was dry so the rain is greatly appreciated.

I got a couple new pages up -Shetland Ewes , Shetland Ewe Lambs and Commercial Ewes .