Friday, August 30, 2013
After two months of cleaning out, I'm still cleaning out. How can one farm hold so much? From farm equipment to antiques, I've sold lots of stuff, vowing to never again build collections. It's clean living in the new house! The Shetland flock has been sold as a unit to a wonderful farm family an hour away. I'll have visitation rights and fleeces in the future. It makes a shepherd happy to know that ovine friends will remain together to adjust to new fields. I have one BFL ram lamb, a BFL/Teasewater wether and two BFL/shetland ewe lambs still looking for new homes. All have wonderful fleeces and are super healthy. email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you NEED one (or two) of these lambs for your collection. On October 14th Potosi Sheep Farm will no longer exist but it's been a wonderful 25+ years of shepherding.
Monday, July 15, 2013
Potosi Sheep Farm has been sold. I had taken it off the market hoping I could hang in there with the small Shetland flock but constant problems with equipment AND an offer I couldn't refuse changed my mind. The last two weeks have been crazy but I have found a new home ( handicapped accessible for Bill) in town and sold many pieces of farm equipment that I had no idea we owned. I didn't realize there was a tractor blue book but it's there giving me prices and confidence that I can sell farm equipment. Fifteen registered Shetland ewes remain here for sale. Some are HST and all are easy lambers and good mothers with wonderful fleeces. Please contact me if you are interested. Prices are very good to good homes. Not having my flock will make a big hole in my heart but I have saved enough yarn roving and fleeces to keep me spinning and knitting my own wool for many years to come. Shepherding for the last 25 years has given me joy, friends,travel and a reason to get out in the cold every morning. I've loved every moment and every sheep and lamb that has lived here.
Friday, June 7, 2013
For 10 years the Bluefaced Leicester flock lived in pastures connected to the barn. Life was easy. Now that the Shetlands inhabit those pastures I have had daily escapes into the cornfield which does not belong to me. They discovered a place deep in the woods where there is no fence. Tim and I piled fence posts there thinking the Shetlands would see a pseudo-fence and turn around. Nope. Where there's a will there's a path. Since this place is unreachable with the tractor, I decided to use lightwieght snow fence as fencing. Through the swamp, under the thick vines, over the stream I carried the snow fencing, hammer and staples. Crawling through a hole in the foliage marked by wool,I felt like Alice as I entered a world full of Bluebirds,Cardinals, Honeysuckle and POISON IVY. Delightful sights, smells and sounds but the thought of poison ivy made me work fast. Snow fence stapled to trees blocking egress to the field.... done. Now for my date with my bar of poison ivy soap. No time to dawdle by the bubbling stream. Question..... will all my scratches and ticks be worth it. Only the Shetlands will tell.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
When I sold my BFL flock last fall, I also had a buyer for my Shetlands.Thankfully that sale never happened and I had the joy of Shetland lambs this spring. Best thing that ever happened because now I realize that I cannot sell this farm. I'd miss the smell of sheep, wearing the dirty outfits full of holes that are my favorite attire and just being in the barn, the garden or mowing the pastures all day. My Bobcat and I are bonded. How could I sell it? There will come a day when I'll have to sell but for right now even though it's a lot of work at times it's home. Can't imagine me without a flock.
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
When I got this yarn back from Dreamweaver Creations Fiber Mill my friend Christine decided that I needed to have a sweater made from it. She said the silky tweed yarn spun from my last BFL fleeces was so fabulous to knit that the sweater was finished in record time. I can't wait to wear it. Thank you, Christine. Wearing it will always remind me of my BFL flock and you. Raising sheep has given me the best friends and memories.
Sunday, April 7, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Monday, March 18, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Finally... BFL/Shetland babies. Wiley the BFL ram is a dad! Mom is Adrianna a Shetland ewe. Later in the day, Natasha had BFL/Shetland twins. Baby boom. Looks like there will be a lot of "'mules" (BFL/Shetland crossbred lambs) for sale this spring.
Monday, March 4, 2013
I've been told this for years but now my lambs know it too. Since Kathleen had one udder and triplets I decided to offer them a bottle to supplement. The ewe wants nothing to do with me but the rams hear the door open and run to the gate for their bottle. They have me well trained. The white ram always seems full but he drinks anyway. The tiny black ram acts like he's starving and sucks vigorously. Suspicious that Kathleen might be able to feed them without me, I watched over the stone wall yesterday. Sure enough all three lambs line up for the one teat and take turns quite nicely. No pushing or rude behavior. The double dippers were getting quite full on mom, but at the sound of my voice both ran to the gate and acted famished. I think I'll be cutting down on those supplementary bottles. I can just hear them discussing what a sucker I am.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Sunday, February 24, 2013
You get triplets! When I sold my Bluefaced ewes in the Fall no one wanted Kathleen Mavorneen because one udder was bad. Since she is a beautiful ewe, I put her with Cedar Fen Nathaniel and bred her figuring that two lambs might be able to nurse on one udder if she twinned. Besides, I have two bags of unused milk replacer in my freezer from last year. On friday night, I went out to find Kathleen with a big ewe lamb, a very small black ram lamb and another water bag hanging out. GREAT...triplets. The last lamb arrived healthy and lively. He was medium sized. Small, medium and large! Pretty cool. Kathleen looked overwhelmed when I put her in the lambing pen with her threesome. She liked the big girl but the two smaller rams seemed to confuse her. I made sure all had a drink from momma before going in to doze for an hour. Awakened by the little guy wailing on the monitor, I went out with a bottle which the two ram lambs sucked down. It was apparent that the big girl was not sharing the one teat with her brothers. Back to sleep for 2 hours. This time I was determined to let them get hungry so they'd find mom was their food source. But after unendurable crying, I went out. Kathleen was talking to all three so she had accepted them but the big ewe was not allowing the two boys to nurse. I held her at bay while the rams got their bellies full. By morning, they had sorted it all out. No one was crying on the monitor and when offered a bottle there were no takers. Today everyone is content and Kathleen loves them all equally.
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Jamie never fails to produce the perfect set of triplets. Always 2 ewes and 1 ram. Sired by my Mossvale ram, these lambs are bigger than usual but Jamie had no need for help. When I visited her at 11:30 last night she was standing and grinding her teeth. Babies were on the way for sure. I moved the monitor near her and told Jamie to call me when ready. At 5:30 Jamie called but when I got out there she had three babies all full of milk and walking around. She was calling for breakfast as Jamie does every day. But she has a reason to be really hungry now!
Monday, February 11, 2013
After lambs are born, I put the new family in a pen, dip navels, give mom alfalfa and water, check to make sure she has milk and leave for coffee. Usually when I return in a few hours the lambs are nursing, full and content. Not today! When I returned the ram lamb was crying and empty. Poking his nose every place but near the teat, you could see what the problem was. The sister was sucking away. I could just imagine her saying,"THIS is how you do it" with a smug voice. It was time for intervention. After getting his mouth on the teat a few times he finally got the idea. But everytime I left him alone his sister pushed him off and took over. Finally, keeping the greedy little sister at bay, he reattached while stretched out flat and exhausted on his stomach. Milk finally. Soo good. "
When my Bluefaced Leicester flock moved in October I couldn't part with all of them. Going cold turkey on BFL lambs wasn't a happy though so I kept Kathleen and Icy. Older ewes but good producers here Also staying was Jamie a Shetland/BFL mule and Greta, a high percentage BFL with a wee bit of Shetland in her.. They were bred by the rams that went to Colorado, Masterton (Mossvale) and Nathaniel (Heddon Valley).On Saturday Greta had twins sired Nathaniel. A black ram and a white ewe. Big, lively and beautiful.
Monday, January 14, 2013
Another DUH moment. In all my years with Shetlands, I never thought of having them sheared in December until 2012. The fleeces were vegetation free and beautiful being taken off before bouncing lambs climb on mom's coat. Normally we shear the flock after lambs are on the ground in February or March. Another benefit of early shearing is I can see growing bellies and milkbags. I think we will have babies early this year thanks to BFL ram Wyatt and his penchant with the "wee ewes".
Thursday, January 10, 2013
In the morning the junior teams competed in a fleece to shawl competition. The Bountiful Bobbins from Adams County won the Champion Award for their shawl. So beautiful and soft it draped just like you want a shawl to sit on your shoulders. Congratulations girls. Well done. The Sheep to Shawl Competition in the afternoon And it wouldn't be Farm Show without the yearly butter sculpture. 1000 pounds of Pa Dairy produced butter sculpted into the products of PA.
When the flock was sheared in December,to her dismay Molina was excluded. She had no idea that bigger things were in her future. Not that she enjoyed those bigger things but duty called and the Butler County Peddlers needed her charcoal fleece for their shawl. On Sunday she was picked of vegetation and ready for competition. That made her mad so when I grabbed her yesterday she rolled in the hay and undid all my picking. After a ride in a dog crate to Harrisburg,she sulked in her pen until she realized she could steal hay from the pen of the ram next to her. Sitting nicely for Don while the team looked on, Molina was unsure of this shearing thing. At first she cooperated but as her fleece pealed off she got feisty and began wiggling and fighting. All that wool came from one tiny Shetland lamb. Molina fought as Don pushed her bak to her pen. Feet firmly planted she skidded along the smooth cement floors. Good thing too. The nicely halter broke sheep behind her were getting impatient. Two and 1/2 hours later Molina was wearing her wool again. The spinners said her wool spun like warm butter and the weaver, Susan Lightner won the weaving award. But Molina was not done being Molina. Christine had to carry her back to the car to be put back in her crate for the trip home. Wish I had a picture of that but it was dark. Molina is fine and happy this morning but she is staying out of my reach.