Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sheep in winter

Supper time!
My innocent BFL ewe lambs :)
A view of some of the flock
Ma boy Jazz (F1 Jericho)

There really isn't anything like sheep in fleece, in snow, AFTER all the breeding groups LOL. A sight to be seen indeed!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

As Fall Out Boys would say..........


Well its that time again. Time to move out some of the girls due to lack of any of the following reasons: space, feed, money, new genetics, or some of each or all of the above.

I never make a point of selling girls that are in their prime years (for cows that 5-8 years old) They always produce their nicest replacements during these years, area most efficient with the feed they consume and have the daily routine as well as know how to work themselves into the head gate, livestock trailer, field roads to get back to the 'home' pasture in the fall, etc.

Its always hard for me to part with girls knowing that they have so much yet to offer me. I feel like I've cheated them. I feel like I let them down. They trust me and I move them out. I normally only sell cows that are not being productive, are terrible mothers (or too agressive towards me) , don't settle, abort, bad udder, too old, etc. These girls are some of my best. I've tried for about a year trying to sell some of the girls to another breeding farm that raises registered Simmental. I've had inquires from all over the nation, but no one wants to drive that far for only a handful of cows. they want 25+. I don't have that many to sell!

It appears I'm rambling. Just bear with me. Indulge in my sorrow of letting perfectly beautiful, prime girls go, as unregistered stock to the "SALE BARN". I know the owner as he married my best friend of 9 years. He gets a fair 'market' price. Its about 1/2 to 1/3 the value of my registered stock. I'd rather eat them all if that was the case, but there comes a time when I have to say "UNCLE" and give in. Its still money. And until I can break into the tight group of registered simmental folk, I'm doomed to sell my high quality registered girls as commercial stock. If only those guys knew what they were getting.

Thanks for listening.

A group shot of the girls headed to new homes.
I decided to sell two cow/calf pairs this winter. The two little red heifers on the left are the lucky girls. I had planned on keeping them but due to lack of hay and lack of space, they got to go with their moms. Dacia (the large red in front is mother to one of them) Ina behind her is a gorgeous cow and I kept her first calf, a daughter, Inez to carry on her line. Maddy (the other blaze face) is the last girl from my Millie line. I kept Maddy's son this year so she had to go, but she always raised the largest calf, even being the smallest cow of the herd. Trixie (the mother of the other calf) is hiding back there too.
Rudie, Nysa and Brandy hiding in the back. Rudie has been my foundation cow and I kept EVERY single heifer calf from her. I have about 50% 'R' names out there thanks to her. She is a mild mannered, medium framed, great mother. At the age of 8 she still has a great udder and calves easily. Nysa goes back to my Jersey cow from about 15 years ago. She's 1/2 red angus and 1/2 simmental now, that jersey blood has been bred out, but if you look closely enough, you can still see bits of that breed in her. I kept her daughter this year, New York :)
Another group shot
Maddy, Ina, Trixie, Nysa, Dacia and calf

Loose hay

Our hay mow is up above the main level of our old dairy barn. Upstairs we normally store all of the hay that the main floor pens, the horses and the lean (usually the weaned calves) eat in a given winter/spring. well since we have had a drought the past two years and are short of hay (that's in the next blog) i've been trying to utilize every bit of hay. In the photo above you'll see some of the well fed pygmy goat does trying out their new feeder LOL. Its really the wall of the pen. I used hog panels and 2" x 6"s to make a sturdy wall, yet allow all sunlight to come through.

The loose hay is the hay that accumulates after you throw the bales down from above, open them up and move them to their respective pens. I hadn't swept the aisles in a while (I know shame on me) and this 'pile' of loose hay was getting in the way! Every day when the girls get let outside they stop to munch a mouthful or two, well knowing they have hay outside as well. So today I thought i'd try pushing all the loose hay against the fence/wall and try to pile it up so they could eat it. I could never do this with the sheep as their fleece would be a disaster waiting to happen, but with the goats, who cares!

These girls are showing you how it works. While they can't get their heads through, they can get enough of the hay through the wires to eat for the evening and I"ll repile it in the morning and every morning until its all gone. saves a few bales and I don't have hardly any waste! See I can be creative when I need to be!

Bachelor Party

Well the boys (except for Jazz) all got put back together. The bucks and the rams. For the most part they seemed to get along but Hansel and Reese and Barish thought they had to constantly bash each other. even standing out there and picking them up and throwing them on their backs and yelling in their faces didn't seem to phase them. Well I showed them! After adding lots of cheap vanilla extract to their butts and noses and foreheads I crowded them all into a 3x 6' area where they could all lay down if needed, but not really bash or move much for that matter. I didn't want to press my luck so I'm leaving them in there for another night and we'll see how they do tomorrow morning when I open them up a bit.

This is Caspian. In the photo he was trying to climb up over the other boys to get to me to PLEAD with me to let him out. I went to do the rest of my chores and when I came back Caspian had climbed these tiny 1"x2"'s that I use for a brace in that pen and got OVER the wall and was raoming the barn freely like he didn't have a care in the world! He saw me and came running over to me to greet me. Greeting him wasn't really on my mind but I have to give the guy credit for be creative.

Permanent Christmas Tree

Well its not a Charlie Brown tree. Its native to California I believe. My mom has had one for a long time and its only reached 3 feet tall. its beautiful. I decided to buy the largest one I could (14" pot) and its 7 feet tall! It has surpassed all my expectations and is beautiful. Better yet Rayna got me some Cardigan Christmas tree balls with different colored cardigans on them doing various activities. Better yet my dogs DON'T pay attention to it and it takes up that bare spot in my living room. I think it looks pretty. But then again I'm a guy and I'm single LOL. Any tree at this point is good right?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas photo

Clockwise: Mac, Oliver, Sadie and Zoe
Thanks to Krisma Images for taking such a great photo of the Babies!

Its official!!! I'm crazy!!

Just enough to tease, and for you to keep wanting more ;)

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pygmy Goat breeding groups seperated

Well the Pygmies are seperated. It wasn't a dramatic event. I showed the boys the door and they ran out of their pens probably thinking they were getting a 'fresh' group of girls. OR they thought GET ME OUT OF HERE these girls are MEAN!

I am so amazed at how this years breeding groups went. Of the two remaining bucks I have, both have been disbudded as babies. They have better manners, don't bash the walls, and don't smell nearly as bad (the scent glands were also rolled over while being disbudded so they weren't so pungent). I must say I am going to disbud all of my Pygmies from this point on. Not only is it necessary for showing, but they are all around nicer to be around. Granted they are harder to catch with no horns (they make such great handles) but I have adapted by putting dog collars on the lot of them. The girls with the horns are just too vicious towards the disbudded girls and so I am going to have the vet out here to dehorn the adults that still have the horns. Fortunately she knows HOW to do this and I just have to help hold!

the sheep are in their breeding groups until around Christmas time. I put them in on Halloween so that should give them three times to cycle. I haven't seen a single one being bred yet, but have seen a lot of squatting and peeing in front of the rams, followed by the lip curl of the rams. I've seen several of the goats bred, but maybe they aren't as 'shy' as the Shetlands :)

I also need to get our bovine vet out to preg check our herd. Any open girls get a one way ticket out of here, and then the rest must get sorted as to who is staying and who is available for sale. With the drought we have had the last few years our supply of extra hay is gone and we don't want to buy TOO much hay if we don't have to. If anyone would like some beef processed if we have open girls, be sure to let me know. Its all natural, no hormones or things like that, all grass fed.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Welcome to my Blog!

Well hi there :)

Glad you stopped by. Yes I'm still alive. No I am not sick anymore. I am ready for winter to be over (where did all this snow come from?!!)

I was deathly sick for a good solid 9 days before getting better. since then i've been on the rampage. I've been eating super healthy, running three miles a day, drinking only water and 100% juice (no caffeine!) and have been tanning. I know this last thing is a bit of a negative but FWIW, I need this extra time of direct sunlight. There aren't many days in the winter that are not overcast and it becomes dreadfully boring here and lonely in the winter months. Short amount of daylight and way less time spent outside, doing the things i do. Chores make it, well a chore, to get out of the warm house and tend to the animals. Once I"m out there though, the animals envelope me and i can't resist sitting and talking with all the different groups of critters I have. Its quite relaxing and refreshing.

The past few days we have been hit with about a foot of snow. It snowed in a way where I had to go one entire evening, the following entire day and then this morning. Next storm is supposed to hit tomorrow morning through wednesday am and I'm so exhausted from moving so much snow so fast in such little time that I'm quite honestly overwhelmed! I even had to bring in the dad and brother-in-law and MAKE them volunteer to help me. I'd still be out there if they hadn't helped me out!

There are 100 things I could think of to blog about. But none seem so exciting to post about them. I'd call all of my readers and talk but quite frankly at the end of the day I'm so beat I'd rather just sit and stare at the wall (or watch my corgis as they are so dang entertaining). So bear with me a few more days and after I get back from pushing more snow , and then off to a pigeon show in Des Moines and then a dog show in St Cloud, I'll hopefully have a few days where I can catch up and blog my little heart out.

So starting next week it'll be helpful if you check back often during the first part of the week to see all the new posts I"ll be writing. They may not have photos (which sure make for a more enjoyable reading IMHO, but they'll bring you up to speed on what i've been doing.

Thanks Sabrina for calling me to check on me, and to Michelle for the email to see where I ran off to. Its appreciated!

Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...