Thursday, July 7, 2011

Catching up

A lot has happened since the last update!

I drove to central Wisconsin to pick up pigs. Three gilts that are Hampshire x Yorkshire girls and a boar that is Duroc x Hampshire. I looked a long time for Berkshire or Tamworth hogs and couldn't find any. I checked local sites, breed associations and no replies or returned phone calls. The hamp/york/duroc cross is one that my Grandpa and his dad and grandpa did while on our farm. My grandpa sold the last of his pigs 2 years ago and I have sorely missed the farm raised bacon and pork that we get, so I went out and after a two year search, was able to finally get some. I will post photos soon. Their pasture is so tall its hard to get good photos of them. They are a friendly and inquisitive lot and I look forward to being able to produce pork for local people and friends alike.

Chicken Math happened while I was picking up the three girls and I brought a lavender Ameracauna rooster home with me named Click (or Clack). This rooster from day one has had it out for me. I went to feed the girls one morning and he came right up to me and jumped at me with his spurs. luckily I was wearing pants and I proceeded to chase him around the building a few times for good measure. Since then he begins crowing about 30 minutes before sunrise, so its 430 or so and its EVERY day...and ALL day long. He likes to crow jsut outside my open bedroom window. When I yell out the window at him he marches CLOSER to the window and crows again. That Cheeky B*st*rd!!! I'm not sure he'll make it past this breeding season :)

I have one ewe left to lamb. Never will I again keep a clean up ram in with the ewes until shearing day. Never. I love the lambs but NEVER!

Rotational grazing is amazing. I JUST put my girls into my first warm season grasses paddock of the year. At this rate I won't get through all the paddocks more than twice. that should help any remaining worm cycles get broken.

Lambs are growing by leaps and bounds. I have a few new customers coming up this weekend to pick up their lambs/ewes, and am delivering a few more to Jefferson, WI at the WS&WF.

I was out at BSG this year again and this year, now knowing how judges are supposed to judge, they are supposed to judge on wool 60% and conformation 40%. This judge this year was from NDSU and lives in ND. if you closed your eyes and listened to his reasons, you would have thought he was judging meat sheep classes. His reasons such as "massive size, substance, amount of bone, length, extreme width, carcass, depth of body, etc" were all things I would think would be fantastic for breeds like BFL, or the more meat type sheep like his homegrown Hampshires and such. Unfortunately this judge yet again disappointed me, and after seeing his placements, even the wool, regardless of 'type' of wool, was inexcusable as the sheep were unshorn, rooing, large peices were missing, and yet they placed reserved grand champion ewe. Makes my heart sad just to think about it. In the supreme champion ring, every animal was the largest, biggest, longest, widest specimen of the breed classes. The largest animal in the ring one, a Merino and I was not at all surprised.

Tuesday I was thrown from our 4 wheeler. The grass in the home cattle pasture is 4 feet tall in places. Too tall for any of my dogs to see the sheep to herd, and too tall for the sheep to not run in circles when evading the four wheeler. Much to my error, I hit an abrupt mound of earth (covered in tall grass) and was flung from the machine. I watched it land inches from my body. Scary stuff. I drove myself via motorcycle to the ER and had an MRI, xrays and a CATscan done to see just how bad it was. A torn liver, bruised ribs and kidneys, abrasions all over my left shoulder blade and deep cuts on my right knee... they sent me home and told me to take it easy for a few weeks....a farmer who landscapes....yep. this will happen. My parents left today for Montana on their annual motorcycle trip with the Fargo Harley Chapter.

At BSG I fell in love again with Joanie Livermore's Leicester Longwools. Given my battle with the BFLs, I thought I may be brave enough to try a few heritage sheep. I got two white yearlings, a ram and a ewe, out of AI lines and from a Scrapie Certified flock that also is negative for OPP. I'm really tickled by them and they already are friendly, calm and personable just like the BFLs are.

My garden has fallen to the wayside since my tiller died. its only 4 years old so i'm having it repaired but watching that stupid brome grass aka quack grass, spread through the garden is irritating.

My Ancona ducks turned out to be all hens! I had 3 chocolates, 2 blacks, and a blue, but lost the blue suddenly and for no apparent reason. She was laying next to where they sleep with no abrasions or liasons, and no sign of struggle. They will be my egg laying machines once they start to lay and I love the breed almost as much as I love the Swedish or Saxonys. I guess I just have a love of ducks :)

I have a few Cardigan puppies still available that are 9 weeks of age if anyone is so inclined. 2 pink males to be exact. :) I take payment plans.

I hope this finds everyone well


Sharrie said...

Sorry to read about your sudden departure from your ATV. Take care of yourself!!! Beaver sends his love. He is a wonderful young man!

Ruth @ Hope, Joy and Faith Farm said...

I went to BSG for the first time this year and just wandered around following my shearer, who I rode with. I agree, I wasn't really impressed with some of the sheep I saw, but I don't know a lot about fiber sheep yet.

Kelly Bartels said...

So sorry to hear of your mishap Garrett, but it would certainly seem that you have time to call one of your favorite sheepy friends right now!!!! hmmmmmm? lol
I'd love a Corgi pup, but have to wait. Maybe a future litter.

Angela Rountree said...

So sorry to hear of your liver lac and assorted abrasions and contusions. I STRONGLY recommend aggressive icing of all sore spots and drinking at least 4 quarts of water daily until all soreness is gone.

Gail V said...

So sorry to hear about your ER call, Garrett, and hope that you heal up quickly. You are in love with Anconas! I am so surprised. Did your Iowa friend find you more? Mine do lay a lot of eggs. I think I'm down to 5 hens and a drake. Someday if you have too many drakes I should get new blood in there. I have chickens hatch their eggs occasionally.

Cynthia said...

So good to hear you are alive my friend, although mending does seem to be what you are going to be doing for a bit.

Don't let Click get away with that nonsense! You know the trick of flipping them and tying a short (soft) rope around their feet? Tie the rope to your belt and let them flop upside down for a bit while you do chores. A few of those "so NOW who's boss" events and even the sassiest adolescent rooster will quit. If not, I wouldn't blame you for making him dog food!

The LLs are the sheep of Colonial Williamsburg and a favorite memory of my years there. Let me know how the lambing goes. Perhaps Joanie's will be easier than the average flock. They really are spectacular to look at and my favorite of the longwools.

Hugs kiddo.

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 ...