Friday, October 30, 2009

NOT Sheep-related. . . well, a little

Today my stepdaughter became a lawyer.  As her attorney-family member-sponsor, I made probably the only appearance and motion to the Minnesota Supreme Court that I ever will.  Here we are before the microphone, in front of the stage at Roy Wilkens Auditorium, St. Paul, where the Justices are seated.  I am the small, gray haired lady with long skirt and sensible shoes, saying, "May it please the court, my name is Gail ______ and I am a member of the Minnesota Bar.  I wish to present Shana_____, my stepdaughter.  I move that she be admitted to practice law in the state of Minnesota."

Or some such words as that.  To which Chief Justice Magnuson smiled down and said, "Counsel, your motion is granted."  It was a big day for Shana and admittedly, for me! 
I remember it was Justice Alan Page who said those words for me, in his deeply resonant voice, 9 years ago.   Slightly less than 800 new lawyers were sworn in today in Minnesota.
After a celebratory lunch with our little family, her grandparents and another lawyer-sister-in-law, we all went  back to our regular lives.

I came home, peeled off the suit jacket, skirt and nylons, put on farmer jeans, and said, "ahhhh".

Okay, I guess I will close on a sheepie note:  I believe that the unnamed ewe lamb in my last post, and a few more  ewes have found a new home;  we'll meet the prospective new shepherds tomorrow.  And-- Emily liked Mindy for the little ewe's name.  All's well that ends well.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mallow's ewe lamb needs a name

I was a little anxious about settling the sheep back in that we had sold last year to my neighbors-- but it's going well.  While Abby and Mallow were away, Mallow had this little ewe lamb-- pretty girl, but she doesn't trust us yet.  We did not help matters when we descended on the quarantined girls with hypodermics (annual CDT shots) and icky white Valbazen for worming.  PLUS we sat them on their behinds to check for hoof trimming-- and found dozens of burrs matted into their long wool.  We cut out quite a few.  They hated this, of course, so we limited the trimming to biggish felted mats and burrs on the belly that the ewes would lay on if they weren't cut away. 
We hoped they appreciated that.  We also saw that Abby's udder looks/feels fine!  So the question of her having mastitis in May remains a mystery. 
As I said, the ram went to the freezer--his hide is drying in the pole shed.  I trimmed and salted it;  I plan to send it to Stern's in Milwaukee to make another sheepskin rug if his fleece  is useable.  I think Stern's can make his wool a "shearling" pelt,  trimming his burrs out.

This little girl. . . has no name.  A wildflower, like her mother, Mallow?  We'll have to think about this.
She is available to go to a new home. 

Mallow's going to live with Lori & Norm in New Prague, with her full sister, Little Red Oak Catnip.  Catnip is my brown and white spotted ewe who's seen on these blog pages a LOT.  Lori has Polypays who are NOT friendly and she decided she needed some sheep who love their shepherds.   We love Catnip, too, but trust that she will do well with Lori.  And we have so many ewes from Catnip's line, now.

It's raining again in Minnesota.  I'm getting quite sick of this-- maybe I DON'T want to retire in Washington, where it rains so much!
I had a load of gravel and sand hauled in yesterday and spread in the old lean-to so the sheep have a dry floor.  Good thing-- today it's rained all day long.  You know my rusty, trusty shed (see Feb. 16, 2009 blog entry for a photo).  The bobcat / excavation guy who did the spreading said that he's usually asked "how much?" to knock down a shed like that.   I was not insulted.  I hung Christmas lights in and around it after he left, spread straw inside and invited the sheep back in.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Someone Else's chickens, free to a good home! Cheap Sheep, EDITS incl.

Buff Orpington Roosters, two.  Beautiful, shiny feathered big boys, hatched last spring under the neighbor's granary.  Seems their rooster dad does not know or care that they are kin and won't let them into the henhouse at night.  Free to a good home, says my neighbor-- but I, personally,  don't want to offend my resident rooster.  I told them I would post here looking for a home.
We are near Norwood Young America, look that up.  And Google Buff Orpington for a chicken picture, I didn't take one.  (Though my golden hen, the mama of Baby Duck girl, in past posts, is a Buff Orp). 

On another note, I called a different neighbor, the one who bought a little flock from me last year, to tell him I had homes for his little flock if he didn't want them anymore.  I knew he'd lost his full time job and thought he probably didn't have much time for them, working two part-time jobs to make up for the job loss.
He said yes, and I am thrilled to have my sheepies back again. Though not the ram, who has big nice horns-- LRO Anders is out of  LRO Amy and FirthofFifth don Telmo Bourbon.  He threw spots all over his harem last year, though he is moorit.  You know my position on  horns, and I have my breeding groups made up already 
EDIT HERE:  Anders went to Taylor Meats this morning.  I learned on Saturday that he was a basher, and I didn't think there was a lot of hope for him since he was so inclined.

 EDIT here:  I DO have a good home for at least one of the sweet, moorit girls.
There is another 2009 moorit girl, pretty, crimpier than her mom, wavy long fleece-- Anders and LittleRedOak Mallow's.  Her twin was spotted.

This spotty is LRO Abby, b. 2007.  I'm afraid her interim shepherd left a case of mastitis untreated, so I worry about her udder.  I'll check it when I can-- she has only thrown singles in two seasons, now, so at least that bodes well, if she's bred again.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Oh yeah, Clean Sheep

On one nice day last week in our otherwise wet and cold Midwestern fall weather, I strolled about looking for model sheep.  In the week or two of rain-- hardy sheep steadfastly waiting it out outdoors-- the sheep's fleeces got so nice and clean!  It was a pleasure to see.  A visit to the big boys-- only 3 remain for this fall's breeding:
In front, Kimberwood Leonardo, a polled Shetland ram.
Behind him, LittleRedOak Shawn, a scurred mioget Shetland with crimpy fleece that I've only seen on BFLs (Bluefaced Leicesters) and my own Finnsheep,
and behind him, Osmo the finn ram, from Tim Reese's flock at Gale Woods Farm.  Osmo is 1-1/2 times the size of my Shetlands, and hornless-- a pacifist, a sweetheart.

The other rams who will winter here are White Pines Parker, a scurred musket Shetland I got from Sabrina at Boston Lake a few rainy cold weeks ago.  Behind Parker is LittleRedOak March, a son of Kimberwood Leonardo and Minwawe November.  He has button scurs, and we are trying for polled rams all around.  Hmm, I just realized, all the rams are brown in one form or another. . .  Oh well, we have different colored girls.

This is little LittleRedOak Elise, whose mom (Bramble Elsie) moved away this summer.  Her fleece sample was the finest of all the lambs I tested.

And my old friend Twin Brooks Palisade, whose fleece is still jet black after 5 years or so.  If ONLY she'd give me a ewe lamb-- Always rams!  With big horns! I would let her retire or move to another farm and I'd keep her lamb.  I don't really want the super nice horns she throws on rams, but I want that black, glossy fleece.

Maple certainly cleaned up nicely.  Note the sheen on the wool-- reflecting sunlight-- on the wool on top of her back:
And her baby, Linden:

And finally, what you get when you tell your young ones to go out and take sheep pictures for you:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Ducky and Mama break free; Clean sheep & Barn

After the rain, but before the snow-- we let the chickens and ducks free range again. All summer they must stay in a biiiiiiggg electronet-fenced circle around their chicken house, so the fox doesn't get them (again) and then they also leave my garden alone.
Well, the garden is history.  Mama Hen and her adopted daughter, duck hen, went out scratching the garden frostbit leftovers with all the other fowl.  Ms. Duck still follows her mom, but is on friendly terms with the strange ducks she's getting to know.  She's behind Mama Hen, here:

Poppy the bottle dog sheep lamb wondered about these funny creatures, chickens:

My neighbor, Jeremy, did a few hours' labor for us in exchange for many big round bales of grass hay we've let him take for years, now.  He's a mighty bobcat operator, and the old sheep leanto hadn't been cleaned out for these 4-5 years.  He made quite a  compost mountain for us. 
Farm-wife wanna-bes, I do think he's still single. ;-)  (He'd kill me for this, I think.)

Okay, I think I reached my photo limit, again.  Coming up next, you guessed it, more sheep pictures!

Monday, October 12, 2009


It snowed today, and stayed on the ground all day.  'S'okay with me, I have a LOT of apples, squash, peppers, you get the idea. . . that all need attention, Indoors.
We knew it was going to freeze last Thursday, so we cut all the squash from the vines and brought them in:

So does anyone know the name of this type?  I think that green polka dots turning tan was its final stage;
I can't find its type online anywhere.  We had bought a lonely potted seedling at a nursery labeled "Winter Squash". 

If you recall the giant pumpkins in the lambing barn-yard, here's "the morning after".  Three are in my laundry room now, waiting out this week of freezing weather. 

All the rest went to the sheep.  This guy got a haircut in advance of going "on the truck" to the restaurants.  His fresh black pelt is SO black. 

One of the 5 boys kept here kept his fleece; he's going to have a new job adding color to some Polypay girls in a flock-- they've produced 2 black ewes already.

In the freezing weather, fiber-friend Angie and I set up a sale booth at a Harvest and Fiber Fair event at Gale Woods Farm Park, a beautiful teaching farm near here.  We got to set up free if we were teaching, so we spun all day and talked to children, mostly, about it. 

It's a good thing we did that, as sales were about nonexistant.  The food and company were great, however. 
I'm afraid I went to look at their Finnsheep and ended up ordering two more ewes.  I had to!  Beautiful ewe lambs going to the butcher!  Pictures in a week or more--

I'd better cut this short, I think I'm limited on how many photos I can put on one post.  To be continued!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Fall busy-ness

Every season has its busy-ness, except winter.  Settling sheep in new homes takes first priority now, as the number of sheep remaining for winter tells me how many bales of hay I'll need -- about 20 per sheep.
So far, I'm a hundred bales short--maybe--two more sheep may go to a pet home soon.  Oh why didn't  DH get the phone number of the nice lady who said she'd be back for those 2 ewes after their barn was finished . . .  I'd better have an extra 40 bales.
See how that goes?  40 bales takes up a lot of barn space, some cash-- we don't make our own hay anymore, and have to buy some. 

Simultaneously, I'm canning, freezing and giving away all the garden produce;  apples now, too.  I'm drying a lot of apples in the little dehydrator.  Better snacks than pretzels, I think!
We've also been cutting and cleaning up limbs from a big tree.  Two weeks ago a young man came out to cut curly willow for his wedding decorations. We have these curly willow trees, I advertised it on Craigslist. . . he happened to be a tree trimmer by trade.

I have had a  Huge, dying ash tree--

We both got a very good deal, there.  Love those country trades.

Today I had a visit from some fiber-friends met through this blog.  They drove 2-1/2 hours in the rain to show and tell wool crafts-- Candy and Connie were here most of the day.  And a cousin and her husband whom I've never met stopped by on their long trip from CA to CT.

We petted sheep in the cold, slow rain.  Well, I bet they won't forget that experience.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Boston Lake Newcomer WITH PHOTO!

Did I tell you I traded sheepies with Sabrina on Sunday? In the rain, in a Dollar Store Parking lot in Long Prairie, MN--?
And that we were very lucky that a helpful citizen decided to watch us and our antics, pickup-to-pickup-tailgate, managing animals in crates-- until he burst out of his idling car and offered his help (and then, his wife's!)
Aw shucks, I'd have liked to have turned him down-- NOT!
We do-si-do'd the 2 ewe lambs and 2 rams, thanked the couple profusely, talked sheep over the tailgate awhile, and then drove off to Northern and Southern MN.

Little Boston Lake Niav came home to the lambing barnyard, where we placed a few nice local girls as roommates. She is a very pretty gray katmoget, and dear--a follow-you-around lamb.

Notice also the mioget color of roommate LRO Belle. The third ewe roommate (hidden)  has a little of the modified gene, but Belle is really golden!

White Pine Parker, the ram Sabrina traded me, was also given a few roommates here at home, young rams with young horns. Parker is a yearling, but has tiny scurs-- I didn't want him duking it out with any bigger-horned rams (though there's only one left!). So much scuffling ensued, regardless, that I didn't get a single good photo of him, so later with that.
I'm delighted to have some new bloodlines in this flock, and delighted to share some of our polled genetics from this flock with Sabrina.
Breeding for specific outcomes keeps the whole shepherding-thing interesting.
(Hooray-- I finally figured out how to get the add photos option back on my blog.  It's changed, a little, and I could only find the photo button if I used the Compose tab. )