Sunday, October 6, 2013

Add a Little Sunshine....

.......after a nice rain, of course, and we have green and food!  Our weather has been a bit wacko lately, torrential rains for the past week and it wasn't even October (we set a record for amount of rain this September).  Don't think I have ever seen it rain so hard except when I was in the rainforest of the Yucatan.  But now with the sunshine and warmth we have some grass growth.  The sheep are happy about that.  I guess it would be like us having to eat freeze dried food for a week then being introduced to a big buffet table of freshly prepared dishes.  We would go crazy too.  I took some pictures with our new camera (what a joy to have the picture click at the exact moment I take the picture!) and of course the sheep were so engrossed in eating it took shaking the earth to get them to look up.  But here's what I got.
This is Miss Cleo, one of the young ones.  She gets the "Miss Autumn" award for her color coordination.

Clancy the "playboy" escaping the camera.  He hates to have his picture taken;  I was lucky to catch him here.

Katrina who never has a bad hair day!

Our boomerang sheep Mali, a return to our flock after being sold as a lamb.  We are very lucky to have her back;  fleece is stunning!

The little Gottie babies just had their first haircut.  They are really happy to have sun.

Shebaa and her lovely fleece.  Interesting she was very light in color, almost white.  Now at age 4 her fleece is coming in much darker.  I like it!

Close up of Shebaa's fleece.

A sheep gang!

Leitzel, one of our choices for breeding this year. 
For those in need of spinning material I still have plenty of Shetland top for sale.  Check out the sale page.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grape Love

Digging into the pile of spent grapes
 Today was grape juice day.  It was meant to be grape juice morning but then soon turned into a grape juice day.  Now I am even looking at making more juice tomorrow!  Lots of grapes and not enough sterile jars.  Oh well, we will be stocked and I do love grape juice.

Appears that my sheep love grapes as well.  I was putting my grape refuse from the juice in the compost but then got the brilliant idea that maybe the sheep might like all those skins, stems and seeds.  And sure enough.....They LOVE grapes!
Here is a real grape hog! That would be Sushi sheep of course
At least she kept it off her pretty white fleece.
Reese says "yummy!"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Timber

If you remember my post about a year and a half ago I told you of a massive black oak tree that had fallen in our pasture.  After sitting for a year, on our fence, on our lower sheep paddock, well we finally found someone to mill it for us.  It was too big for our chainsaw, and frankly, I really hated to see this big wood go for just firewood.   We were lucky to have found a very nice gentleman with a very portable mill to come cut it up for us.  So yesterday we toured down there to see what he was up to.  Here are some shots.




This is the mill.  After using his crane to place the log he uses this contraption to guide the saw across it.  The saw can be tipped at various angles so he can make cuts in both directions.  He then lowers the saw at those 4 posts to make another swipe at the log.  Pretty swift device.  It all fits on the back of a pickup.






Here is Tom and Clancy checking out the new boards.  This wood has some pretty figuring in it.  I'm thinking it should make some very nice spinning wheels.  Of course it will be a bit of time before it is fully dry.  Take note those of you lower down on the wheel list : )

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The List

In my attempt to get all the things done for upcoming Black Sheep Gathering I started tackling my list this weekend.  One thing on the list was to get pictures of the sheep we will be taking to the show.  We use the pictures to put on their pen cards so people can tell who is who when they are looking at our sheep.  Taking pictures of sheep in the pasture is tricky business.  It is easy to get pictures of sheep grazing, head down as if their lips are glued to the ground.  But I like to get a nice shot of their faces.  For this they do not always cooperate.  Take Miss Nori for example.  Below is a series of shots whereby I was trying to get at least a nice picture of her face.  I had already given up on the idea that she would hold a stand a few feet from me and look up at the camera; that was tried but she just couldn't be that far away from me. She had to be in my lap!  Because of that I resorted to holding the camera out to the side and attempting to hold her head toward the lens.  Her face would go everywhere but the direction I wanted.  Check these out.





This was the best I could do!
Hope to see many of you at the Gathering.  Come look for us in the Shetland barn.  If you need any nice Shetland rams  (or potential wethers) we could certainly help you out.  We have 3 nice boys that would make wonderful fiber pets, great personalities and super soft fleeces.  Come check them out.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Ideas

With the price of sheep feed continuing to rise, the daily monotony of chores, and the boredom experienced by our poor sheep, we might benefit from a bit of a change around here.  Last weekend, on our way to the community of Corvallis by bike for Mother's Day, Tom and I stopped in at Lone Pine Farms and came across this great solution:
Lone Pine farm visitors feeding the goats.
It is a series of ramps and high walkways (complete with secure railings) whereby the goats can get high above the farm visitors. The visitors pay for alfalfa pellets (dispensed out of a machine), put them into a cup that is run up by a pulley system and dumped into a trough right above them.  The goats, motivated by the food, run up the ramp and gobble up the food.  What a great idea! We could build this, people would come, pay for pellets, feed the sheep and the sheep and visitors would be highly entertained.  We could watch from the comfort of the couch our chores being done and our sheep food financed.  A win win for all don't ya think!

Monday, April 22, 2013

More Lamb Pictures....before they grow up.

They are growing fast.  I can hardly believe it has been 4 weeks since the first of them hit the ground.  Spring is such a busy, busy time here.  My jogging program has been replaced with sheep shearing (the touch up type to clean off the messy stuff from their spring shedding), yard work and lifting bee boxes.  Plenty around here to build up the muscles.  Hey, who needs a gym when you have a farm?  Back to the point about the lambs growing;  yes they are.  So I thought I'd better get a few more pictures posted while they are still cute and small. 

 Here is me doing a little socializing.  That is Ninkasi who still feels like a lamb in spite of nursing two young athletes.  Those are her kids in front of her doing balance beam on the tank.



This is Hattie, she is one of the little athletes out of Ninkasi.  Small but she packs a punch.















This is Pilot.  Doesn't he have a " to die for " fleece?  Too bad you can't touch it through the picture.







This is our wild animal boy, directly from Africa.  His name is Reese, as in Reese's peanut butter cup.










Reese's sister, Clio,  has a yummy looking fleece as well, but she won't let me get my hands on her, yet.




And finally, Miss Bloom with mom Nell in background.  You can see why I do the touch up shearing.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lambing 2013 is Finished!

And now for some well deserved rest.....well not quite.
Ninkasi and lambs, they took it all out of her, poor girl



 this is Reese, like in Reese's peanut butter cup
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is Hattie, she is a bouncer!






 
My yin and yang boys out of Strudel and Jasper

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As you can see there will be no rest, but at least lots of entertainment.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Bookend Boys

Tsunami gets her boys out in the pasture for the first time. 

Jack and Moby with mom, Tsunami.  Don't ask me which one is which.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Sushi and babes enjoy today's sun

Brother and Sis relax in the warmth.

Meet "Nori"

Sushi and her little ones.

The boy's face markings.

How about that tail!  It was pinned on after he was born.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First for Spring

Sushi is the champ of the day.  2 babes, a boy and a girl, late afternoon between lunch and dinner.  Classic birthing right out of the book.  Now if she would just hold still and let them nurse.  It must be overwhelming to suddenly have two munchkins coming at you making little sucking sounds. 

Hope the rest of the sheep can follow in suit.

These are Gotland lambs, the first of 2 to deliver.

Monday, March 11, 2013

OH MY...

Has it really been that long since I posted?  You are probably wondering what the hell those people on McTavish Farm are up to.   Well I wish I knew.  Time just seems to fly.

To very quickly get you up to speed we are expecting lambs this coming week.  It is that time again.  We actually bred a few more this year than last so we expect to lose a bit of sleep, hopefully not too much, but will be rewarded with stellar lambs.  At least that is the plan.  We have 7 expecting mothers.  Here are a few pictures of them just taken today.
 This is Shebaa, due date the 19th, I'm guessing she will twin.


Here are Rhapsodie on the left, Strudel on the right.  Strudel has a habit of surprising us with triplets so she may do that again (this time I refuse to be surprised!).  Rhapsodie I would guess is holding twins.  These two also due in the 19th.

Miss Nell is the biggest of the bunch.  She is has the same due date as those above but I can't imagine she won't come early.  And I think triplets are in order.

This is our first timer Tsunami, the Gotland girl.  Her due date is this coming weekend but I imagine she will hold until next weekend.  Twins?

One of these years I think we should try to make some extra money by developing some betting game.  People could bet on things like actual due dates, how many lambs, ram or ewe,  things like that.  Might be able to rake in a fortune, don't you think?  I promise to keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Christmas Letters

Isn't this the time for updates from friends and family?  Well it is not often you get a letter from an animal you sold down the road.  Well it happened.  An e-mail message from our beloved ram Apollo whom we sold to some very nice folks just after Black Sheep Gathering this past year.  I'm not sure how he got his hooves on a computer but seems he is doing just fine.  Here is a copy of the letter:

Hey Mom and Dad,
I just wanted to drop you this picture and a quick note to say that I still love it here. I took a visit over to see the girls awhile ago but now I'm back in my mancave. My babies should start arriving in February or March. Travis and Jessie give me lots of loves and yummy food. You would be proud of me because I have been such a good boy! I hope things are well back home...tell my friends hi for me.
Luv,
Apollo :)



One thing about having lambs is you eventually have to sell some sheep (well the other alternative is not so good either).  But being a control freak I find it hard to imagine that anyone could take as good a care of my sheep as I can.   I have found I have to rein in on that feeling and have a little trust.  In this case I have been rewarded, don't you think?   We find it monumentally reassuring to know the animals we sell are in good hands.  I also find it monumentally reassuring that the ram I sold is not breaking down someones barn.  That too is good.

Happy New Year!
Tracy