Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Photos at dusk

I've been burning the night oil at both ends....My dad is gone during the weeks again out of state for work so that leaves me in charge of the farm and all the duties. Fortunately for me (note sarcasm) the oats are ready to harvest, aka combine, and then bale straw and stack bales, plus unload oats in to grain bins and bring extra oats to the feed mill in Perham to sell to them. Add on to that my normal chores, my 'real' job mowing and landscaping and trying to get certification for Organic status here, its, well a bit overwhelming.

The photos are very blurry if you 'biggify' the photos. So basically DON"T biggify the photos and you can enjoy smaller photos

Below is WhitePine Starbuck. He is out of OK Acres Cadillac and WhitePine Salome. Salome is behind him. Not that Salome is huge (70 pounds) but you can see how growthy he is. Oh and he's FULLY HORNED!. He was born with a dog coat but the crimp is quite fine at the base, so he'll be put to the other horned ewes in the flock (his mother is also horned and i'm trying to get MORE horned ewes). After spring microns he'll be re-evaluated to see if I should keep him for further breeding. His spots are flashy and all nice, but I don't NEED spots, but a few are ok. So he's staying for now.
The BFL ewe is ShelteringPines Catalonia. She weighed in at a hefty 160 pounds on Monday and she's nursing twins yet. She is a triplet, who's brother is Burma (I sold, but used for breeding for three years) and Ol' Blue, who is making Mules at Theresa Gygi's house and the sire of many of my Mules here. She's a friendly ewe and just a great mom.
WhitePine Faith with her daughter, WhitePine Foley. Faith is 74 pounds and you can see how growhty her daughter is as well. I'm keeping Foley so Faith is available. She is a Jazz daughter and is a krunet sokket gray katmoget. Her last micron was AFD 26.1, CV 21.9, CEM 10.3. She would carry horned genetics.

The BFL above is again Catalonia with one of my favorite ewes, Whitepine Sedalia. The BFL ram in the back is her son, who is sold to a local gal here with Icelandics and Wensleydales and wants to do some crossbreeding. Just look at the BFL bag STILL. She is quite a milker.

Above is Sedalia with her twins. her daughter Solway is in front and her son is hiding behind her. They are out of CrossWind Apollo and the ram is probably modified. the girl, Solway is staying here.

Below is WhitePine Lexington. She is also out of Apollo and WinterSky Layla AI. Apparently Layla does NOT carry spots, but this ewe is so well put together I don't mind. She is mioget when you part the fleece. Apollo and Cabotine (unrelated) are both mioget with dark face and legs so not sure what to call that 'kind' of mioget (versus rose or gold). I'm hoping she'll grow horns too.
Here is WhitePine Slayton. He is Sedalia's boy. He is a fawn katmoget but is probably Mioget. He's scurred and also krunet, sokket flecket. He's the only ram lamb that is still available for sale. I'd of kept him had he been fully horned. Oh well...

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Second round of evaluations and ramblings

This year, thanks to my digital scale I purchased last fall, I am able to keep track of the growth of lambs, and the weights of the ewes. Not surprisingly, most of the ewes were down a few pounds that were feeding twins. I sent 22 ram lambs to the auction today, and 12 adult shetland ewes. The ewes had various reasons (bite was off in one, shockingly!), no milk, half udder (due to past mastitis), fleece that was not to my liking, and not being able to raise growthy lambs (they were smaller every year). The ram lambs were either mules or other crosses, and then the shetland ram lambs that were not sold yet, or didn't make the grade. There were several smashing scurred ram lambs with very fine, crimpy fleeces, but I think a lot of people are afraid to use scurred rams. I'm not, I'm have 3 and have used 2 of them heavily (so far!). One was an Ag/katmoget (moget face) scurred F2 ram lamb. Pity others did not see his merit like I did.

I usually wait until September to send a trailer of sheep to market, and although have plenty of grass (MN and ND seem to be wet, wet, wet this year!) I thought the pastures would appreciate the lighter traffic load.

My largest cross lambs were 70 pounds at 3.5 months of age! Absolutely incredible. The Finn crosses were also between 58 and 69 pounds, and the rest of the mules were 45-66 (again all at just 3.5 months of age!) These lambs are coming from ewes that are between 65 and 95 pounds so for the most part, I was very pleased with the crosses.

I'm retaining all of my Shetland Mule ewe lambs this year (six of them), 2 Finn/Shetland ewes (please someone take them as fiber or crossing ewes!), and my BFL purebred ewe lamb. In addition to the 10 Mules I purchased from Theresa, I'll have THIRTY Mules/Crossbreds to breed to the new Texel ram I'm getting in August.

Since I am comfortable keeping 30 mules/cross ewes for market lambs, I will not be breeding many Shetlands to the BFL this fall. Or so I say now. I was so impressed with the Mule ewe lambs I raised myself this year I am tempted to do more, but I have some hard work laid out ahead of me this fall with the Shetlands.

For remaining Shetland ram lambs, I have have only four left. A scurred Fawn Katmoget flecket, krunet, sokket who is available for sale (due to the polled gene or he wouldn't be leaving this place!), and three fully horned ram lambs. A solid black (Christian x ShelteringPines Amarige), a black yuglet sokket (OK Acres Cadillac x WhitePine Salome, horned ewe!), and a modified moorit yuglet sokket (WhitePine Barnabas x ShelteringPines Cabotine). These three rams are all finally coming in crimpy at the base, dense, soft and fine fleeces. I plan on using two of the ram lambs (spotted) this fall in addition to other horned rams to secure the fine fleeced + horned genetics.

I have about 5 or 6 ewe lambs left for sale. I'm keeping back 12 ewe lambs to evaluate and if they do not sell, I will keep them and re-evaluate them in the spring. One is available only because she is polled (both parents polled) and the others because they are katmoget and I have 28 other katmogets to breed from :)

I HATE sending older ewes to market, or tame lambs, but it is a part of farming that I have come to grips with (at least I'm not sobbing anymore when I leave the auction house), but the pit in my stomach still is there.

In the end, my flock is better quality, more available pasture and one step closer to that perfect sheep :)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bringing out the big guns (horns)

After visiting farms, and visiting with shepherds there seems to be an alarming decline in fine fleeced HORNED ram lambs this year. While that may not sound alarming to many of you, you must remember that the Polled gene is a dominant gene! While I still maintain polled stock, many of the fine fleeced breeders in the Midwest have decided to go polled. And while that is a welcome addition to the gene base, those of us who don't want JUST polled stock are going to be up a creek pretty soon without a paddle.

So i'm bringing out the big horns (Guns) this fall to use for breeding:

Wintertime Jazz AI will be used again. He really is a great ram. Spotted. katmoget (carries solid) and his only downfall is he doesn't carry moorit. but nonetheless he has produced many fine fleeced lamb so he will get used again this fall.

WhitePine Flo Rida AI will be used for the first time this fall. He's an F1 Holly (hard to find!) and fully horned "D" style. He's also gray katmoget but could carry moorit. His dam is ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis and so he carries spots too.

WhitePine City High AI will also be used for the first time this fall. He's F1 Lightning F2 Jericho, with some Minder and Jamie and Timothy back there as well. He's again gray katmoget but he has full horns and a very fine fleece to boot.

WhitePine Negro Modelo is a yearling black ram out of FirthofFifth Nekomis and ShelteringPines Nirvana (horned ewe) who I'm hoping to use on few girls as well (in hopes of fully horned rams AND horned ewe lambs!)

ShelteringPines TelSay Camden is a yearling moorit spotted gulmoget that I'll be using on a a few select ewes this fall as well. I really want fine gulmogets and he's quite fine :)

I'm also bringing many of the older ewes back in to the purebred breeding groups this fall.

RYL Rachildas, one of my three foundation ewes will be going back to a horned ram. She produces giant horned lambs and goes back twice to Bramble Connor who had amazing spread of horns.

Underhill Crystal Gayle - mioget -, who I recently aquried will also be going to purebred breeding as she is known to produce giant horned rams.

Shelterpines Corinna - black light badgerface is also recently acquired and will be bred for both the light badgerface pattern AND full horns.

ShelteringPines Nessebar - gray katmoget will go back to purebred breeding as well. She's not super fine, but her ram lambs last year were, and as much as I enjoyed her badgerfaced mule ram lambs this year, she needs to go back to a horned Shetland ram. She's a ShelteringPines Starry Night daughter (and he had great horns too)

Just a few of my thoughts tonight while out watching the flock graze. They can hardly keep up to the grass its growing so fast, so moved their electro-net tonight while they were out. Always a great time for thinking. :)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

If you need Katmogets....

These two lambs were the only ones that the camera somewhat cooperated with me tonight. Two hours of evaluations and the photo part sucked. Dark corner, flash too bright and can't figure out how to turn it off (new camera).

I found a few surprises (some dog coats turned crimpy and fine, other dog coats still dog coats...sigh) but overall pleased with the lambs.

Naturally I have a few katmoget lambs for sale, and although I would retain them in my flock, they can go as I have 25 gray katmoget ewes, 5 fawn katmoget ewes and 5 katmoget rams, these can go :)

I'll post a few here and if you have questions I can retake better ones for you. Time is of the essence here and we haven't had much of it to evaluate before now.

The first two are of the same ewe lamb. WhitePine Bricelyn. Barnabas x Blu Cantrell. Both are F1 parents. She'll stay here if she doesn't sell, but I wanted to sell something that was really lovely. 

 WhitePine Keister. This gray kat ewe is out of a horned ram WhitePine Christian and FirthofFifth Koosi (F1 Jericho). She was born with a dog coat and a lot of that is shedding out now and the fine fleece is coming in at the skin. Lovely deep bodied ewe. I need her fleece photo taken again.

more to photos to come.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

9,644 miles later.....

Yes you read that correct! It's probably over 10,000 miles if you add the back and forth trips within the city destinations but SERIOUSLY! All in the past 9 weeks and most of it was in concentrated times!

I'm truly exhausted. But boy was it fun!

I transported sheep. showed dogs. evaluated pups. evaluated flocks of sheep. brought sheep from the east coast to the west, and vice versa. Brought pups out to the west and east coasts and even brought one back from the west coast. placed dogs (some temporary), sold sheep, bought sheep. I'm beat.

I've updated the sale pages on to TABS now on the blog. I'll be evaluating lambs again this weekend since its my first weekend home since April 15 or thereabouts.

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

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 ...