Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Guess what Santa brought me for my barn? A brand new big bullet space heater! YAY!!!!!!! Warm barn warm barn warm barn!!!!
Friday, December 26, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Did you vote yet? I already have voted! You can vote now you know...you don't have to wait till the big day when you might be too busy or the roads too bad from the latest storm. You can even fax in your vote if you like! Just vote!
I think I'll remember to take it out to the barn with me so that I can take the air compressor to it! HA! Cheaper than buying canned air, 'ya suppose?
So, the evil snow stayed. That lovely photo a few blogs below is what it's stayed at. Snow. Ok, so it's not bad. It's in the teens and twenties. A bit early this year but when it's frozen - tad-da! - then there's no mud - yay!
Captain has told me some of his girls are bred.......he whispered that bit of information to me the other day. What a wonderful ram that boy is, with the softest of fleeces...I can't wait for more of his lambs. Princess, his daughter from last year, is just stunning. Simply stunning. Who wouldn't love sheep with lots of white and then big black spots on them too? And Yuglet markings - for those not into Shetlands, that's the big black circles over each eye.
Topple, well, he's the quiet man. He's not telling nuthin' ! But his girls are happy to be with him. Peyton is next to him with his girls too. I don't know that Peyton has been up to any business yet but I'm sure he'll do fine. He has little round scurs so the polled gene is very evident in this boy, they're not getting any bigger.
On to other news, I'll be flying over to the UK to visit dog and sheep people. I have all my dog and sheep shirts picked out already to take along with - haha! I'll be there sometime next week and will have computer access so I'll be in touch. I should be doing some herding things with cattledog folks there. A scheduled Herding Instinct Testing that will benefit a rescue group, and a small clinic for another group. I'll be in England, Scotland, and Ireland. Life's short, go while you can, and do some service and good for others along the way....not a bad way to live life. Yes, of course I will post photos as soon as I can!
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Here's what happened later......
Thursday, October 2, 2008
I had Flower and Sunshine, my Nubians, tested for CAE, CL, and Johne's - all negatives!
Then I had a number of my older adult Shetland Sheep tested too. Some of my registered stock as well as the girls that many of which originate from my 4 originals from waaaaaay back in 1997. I had them tested for Johne's and OPP (similar to CAE in goats). ALL negatives too!
So that means our cattle, sheep, and goats are all negative for Johne's since they've all been tested now, the sheep for OPP and the goats for CL and CAE! The whole farm is negative!!!YAY!!!!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
Varieties available until sold out:
Alaska Red Eye - a creamy white potato with pink eyes....$1 a pound
Red Russian Fingerlings
Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings
All $2 a pound, and in limited supply.
Email us to place your order! Minimum order is 10 pounds.
Monday, September 22, 2008
Yesterday we had plenty of help for the potato harvest. 2500 pounds of 6 different varieties are now dug up and in burlap bags and will wait till later this week for washing and sorting. So if you're needing to buy organic potatoes this fall, we've got your spuds!
Rose Finn Apple Fingerlings
Russian Red Fingerlings
Alaska Red Eye
Sunday, September 21, 2008
How about those phone calls when you have your hands full, lovely automated calls that have to tell you what you already see too much of on TV, that their candidate is the perfect choice? If they don't have the courtesy to have a real human on the other end that you can ask questions to, then don't bother to call.
Let's see, what else.......
Oh yes! The person that emails to say they will be at your farm on said day at said time, to pick up said animal(s), and then they don't show up, didn't call, and didn't think to email that they had something come up and wouldn't make it. Well, we all have days like that, but for some reason there are many people out there that think farmers in particular sit on their chairs on the front porch all day with nothing better to do than to be waiting at the house for that person to show up. Hello? It's harvest time? Do they even realize how you carefully arranged your schedule for that day so that you'd be somewhere near the house and could have time to spend with this person? Nope, they email you the next day to say they got busy and that they'll just drop by sometime today - NOT! We're in the middle of harvest which can put me a quarter mile away and out of sight of the house, I have too many projects already planned for today, and I'm ticked that this person thinks my time isn't worth as much as theirs is.
What's your gripe today? Come on, I'm sure you'd like to get it off your chest....
Saturday, September 20, 2008
How was your day? Ours turned very wet, and it's colder now too, down into the 30's tonight...fall is here and winter not far away. But it was a good day.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Peyton, our young scurred Gulmoget:
Princess; Flutter; Caribbean; and our HST lamb
Topple, our gorgeous HST ram with the HUGE horns:
Fairy Slipper; Cheesecake; Blanche; Feather; and one spotted black lamb.
Captain - our softest fleeced boy:
Windsprite (Topple's mom); Sleeping Beauty; and our 6 Alaska-born ewes from Honey Hill Farm.
I still may switch Blanche and put her with Peyton for polled lambs, since they both carry the polled genes. To be decided this weekend...
How are your breeding plans coming along? Pulling out your hair too???
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Except for the rain....
it won't stop......
every day, clouds, showers, rain, clouds.
This has been going on since July. I haven't mowed the lawn in 2 weeks and frankly it doesn't need it. It's not growing. The hayfield isn't growing either - there's not been enough sun to get it going again.
So, with all this rain I think the sheep were starting to get crabby.
Yep, crabby sheep!
So today I put a full bale of fresh hay into their big shed, and today they spent their time in there, relaxing, eating, relaxing, eating some more. Every once in a while sticking their heads out to call out to me as I went by or worked near their big shed. I think they enjoyed staying out of the rain today.
Yesterday and today have been spent cleaning and picking up anything I don't want lost under snow or what I don't want to work on or repair when it's 10 degrees outdoors. I doubt we'll have early snows this year, but then again we don't ever bet on that so might as well start the cleanup for the winter. Replaced screws that were getting worn out, little doors that were worn or torn up, insulation missing or needing replacing....all that little stuff that is NOT interesting to do when it's too cold out! I stripped down goat stalls and carried water buckets outdoors to scrub them out good with the brush. Got all 3 birthing stalls cleaned to the concrete and rebedded for whenever things start to arrive again this winter. Pallets left behind were loaded up and hauled off to the main stack at the barn. Flakes of hay put on the side outdoors that were yucky, not VERY yucky from sitting there in the rain for weeks, loaded up and hauled to the dumpster. YOU KNOW - all that STUFF that needs to be done.
I started a long list of things to do, and am always grateful when I can start crossing them off! YAY!
I have one more winter sheep pen to strip down and get ready, then 3 of the boys will be going into their separate pens and their intended girlfriends will go in too. It's about that time, time to select who will go with whom for the breeding season. Topple the Magnificent will get a fair share of the girls; Captain will be used on girls that need better fleece quality on their lambs, as Captain's fleece is soft as a baby's behind. It's to die for! And Peyton, my new little Gulmoget guy from Garrett, will get an assortment of girls to keep him company too. Oh, and if you'd like a Gulmoget of your own next spring, just give me a holler and I'll be glad to put you on the list for one! I plan on keeping a girl or two but that's all next year! Remember, 2 lambs can fly in the same crate and it's usually cheaper flying than driving 6 hours to get one nowadays!
So, one more big project to do with the help of the tractor and it will be time for everyone to settle into their groups for the winter. YAY again!!
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Anna, Silveraurora's Silver Platinum STDs, PT took 4th place overall for the trial under Judge Janna Duncan, finishing her HSAs title! Anna's year and a half old son Silveraurora's Expected Outcome, HT, aka Russell, came up with a stunning run, beating his mom's score yesterday with a 91 (out of 100 points possible) and took today's High in Trial! WOW! I concentrated on keeping Russell calm through the course and oh he did a very nice job, with a split on the lift and a moment at the repen that cost him a few points. I was VERY proud of him. I have to thank Terri Jones for taking Russell to Nevada when he was a year old and putting some basics on him with exposure to types of stock that we don't have up here - you did a great job Terri! My first kid I've ever sent out for a few months too. :-) He loves his Terri no doubt. Russell is my 4th generation breeding.
I also handled Lola again this weekend, a lovely Sheltie who took time off to have a litter this summer. Lola finished her HSAs title today with a Reserve High in Trial, completing her title with 2 RHIT's and 1 HIT. She is a wonderful dog to work and I'm privileged to do so. There were a number of finished titles this weekend too so now we have lots of move-ups to the Intermediate level for next year to work on through the winter blizzards and -20F temperatures. EEEK!
It was a wonderful weekend and we managed to do it in fairly dry fall weather for once with yellow leaves floating down onto the arena. A colorful way to end the herding season here!
Doing the happy dance........
Saturday, September 6, 2008
So tomorrow we try again to qualify, and then Monday we have a herding clinic all day. So I'll be back.....
Monday, August 25, 2008
The State Fair started last Wednesday night with check in, vet check, and lots of fussing......loading the trailer, loading the gear, loading the goats and sheep and everything else but the kitchen sink because you might need it! Doing this all by one's self can get a bit exacerbating to say the least! Finally, 10 goats and 2 sheep were loaded...
I had intended to take 9 sheep.
I ran out of room!
So, Thursday and Friday were goat shows from 10am until 7 pm both days......2 ADGA shows, 1 AGS show, an NPGA show, a Wether show, and a dual buck show. Lots of shows. The Synopsis was that a junior doe I bred and sold a few weeks ago won Grand Champion Junior Doe then went on to go over the big breeds for Best Junior Doe in Show under a well-known ADGA judge! That was a huge win! The Reserve Champion to that doe is a doe I bred and still own and show. The next show my girl took the Grand Champion win and the other doe took the Reserve. So we were both thrilled with those huge wins! There were a number of other goats entered that I was the breeder of and I was VERY proud to see them lined up at or near the front of each class. Sort of an acknowledgement of a good breeding program, which to me is extremely important. I like to put my best out there in other herds, not just keep them all for myself. I want to see other people happy and winning too.
The sheep - well I took Fairy Slipper and Cheesecake. They like the crowds. Cheesy was there last year so she gave Slipper the low-down on what all was going on. The judge liked them. He gave Cheesey first place and Slipper 2nd for the Shetlands, so we are happy! That was on Saturday. After that, the Open Livestock show continued with another goat show and my girls took a 1st and a 3rd in that.
I was supposed to be there Sunday, but instead stayed home and had my goat friends put in the special hay I'd left there for all the girls, and keep an eye on them. Today I will go and watch over everyone for the day while the other gals head off to work for a while. Tonight, they all get to come home! YAY!!
How are you all doing?? What's new??? Did I miss anything??
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Peyton, the Gray Gulmoget, and Sheltering Pines Wind Sprite have arrived in Alaska from Garret at Ramsay Farms. They flew very well and arrived on time last night, and got tucked into their new quarters when I got home. Wind Sprite is my Topple's mom - I couldn't resist, although she's already 6, she has produced outstanding lambs so lets hope she's happy here and does the same for us next spring! Peyton, the very first Gulmoget in Alaska, will also have a full dance card this fall and winter. I just love the Gul pattern, and we'll see if this scurred wonder can pass a little of that on too.
The Alaska State Fair starts tomorrow. Tonight was check in, paperwork filing, and vet check on the animals. I' hoped to take my gorgeous rams but the pen setup wasn't safe enough to protect them as well as the public - all I could think of is if some little kid grabbed the front of the pen and one of the rams got fed up with inquiring hands, well, those horns would flatten little fingers. My boys stay back from humans but after days at the fair, who knows what they'd do so it's best to leave them home this year until there is a better, safer, pen set up for both humans and rams! The girls are there tho. I ran out of room in the big stock trailer after loading 10 goats and 2 ewes, so the lambs have to stay home this year too. I simply ran out of energy washing and loading all of them by myself today, I suppose I could have stuffed 2 more crates in the back of the truck and brought lambs....at least we have a presence at the fair again this year!
Tomorrow and Friday are the goat shows - 3 of them, starting at 10am and ending around 8-9pm depending on how fast or slow we all are. 2 ADGA shows and 1 AGS show, there are lots of entries so it should be fun! Saturday is Open Livestock Show day, so the goats and the sheep get another showing all afternoon on Saturday. Sunday I'll be searching the ground in the livestock barn for my brains that will be scattered everywhere by then I'm sure! HAHA!
So if you're wanting to come out to the State Fair, please do so. We can always use an extra person or two to hold a goat or sheep or just visit with! Look for my signs, you'll find me there somewhere, but more than likely in a chair sound asleep! Wake me when you find me, ok??
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
now, that is wet!!
Being a farmer isn't easy. Low hay yields mean worry. Especially here. It's not like we can drive 8 or 12 hours with trailer in tow to find a place that has good hay for sale...ha! Some years you can drive 6 hours north, into a totally different weather area and buy good hay. This year, our friends 6 hours north are experiencing record flooding! The whole town of Nenana is under water.
Hello? This is the first week of August??
I called a local farmer yesterday about his big rounds. I talked to a young person there who took my message. A few hours later while in the barn I heard someone drive up. The farmer had a bale of hay in the back of his truck - he found our address through the phone number and thought he'd stop by. That was interesting! I know him casually, he was taking a round bale home to feed out because it was higher in moisture than it should have been and would go off in a week or so. He offered to sell me the bale so we rolled it off his pickup into the yard. Today the sheep are feasting on a fesh bale of hay. It's ok, not great, a little stemmy, but not bad, and they can eat free choice till their eyes pop out.
So, right now it's early morning and only 50 degrees out. Damp, showered last night, and cloudy. July was one of the coldest on record, with 25 days of measurable precipitation. Outrageous!
Predators must be popping up all over. Scared dogs in Illinois and in Missouri. Too many people no longer hunt predators, thinking they need to increase in numbers and return back to 'normal numbers'. Ahh, save the wildlife! Hello?! Who's going to feed the American public if all of their lambs or ewes or rams get eaten by predators. How about the calves and cows and pigs and piglets too? Yes, predators have a place but they also need to have learned a fear of going to close to humans. They need to be reminded that wildlife is there for them to eat, not domesticated animals. When we protect predators too much, we have humans getting attacked and eaten too. A bear just attacked a young man on his way home last night. Another bear attacked a young woman up here for the summer to work at a Princess Tours lodge - and she was attacked right next to the lodge! Yet another was attacked while running on the paved city trails in the middle of the city of Anchorage. What is going wrong with our preservation of wildlife? Have we gone too far the other way now?? There must be balance...we created this situation, we need to manage it responsibly.
Last night we had an intruder at 3am. The dogs kennel next to the sheep pen did a great job - they went nuts, warning us of an intruder. Rifle in hand and jumping on the 4 wheeler, Rick chased it down and scared to bejeezus out of it. We think it was a big black dog as it sped away full speed since it's life depended on speed at that point. I have to do a lamb count later today when my herding students arrive and we can do sorting with the dogs, part lesson and part farm work. I'm not sure all of our lambs are still here, at least not in the unregistered sheep paddock. The registered ones are kept close to the house and they have remained safe.
And to close my thought pattern here this morning......
why bother to pasture sheep with predator numbers on the rise. I mean, really, that isn't free feed they are eating. What if you put them in smaller paddocks instead, mowing the grass into hay bales, kept them close to the barns or sheds, and save yourself from predator losses? Which costs more? Making hay or loosing sheep to predators? Only you can decide that, but I think us shepherds need to get as creative as possible in this recession/depression. I've been mowing the lawn and grounds and feeding it out to the sheep. Instead of mowing once a week and feeding them too much so that they waste it, I mow several times a week, as the weather allows, and feed them longer. You might even consider asking your neighbors for their grass clippings if they don't use nasty stuff on their lawns or yards...free feed. How about the yard grooming service companies in your area? Bet they would LOVE to have a free place to dump a days worth of lawn clippings. And that would save a bale of hay here, a bale of hay there...and still give your sheep fresh grass. Could be a win-win situation!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
This has been the coldest summer on record.
We knew that. The garden knows that. Even the animals know it. My goodness have they been consuming the groceries around here!
So now that July is over with, the skies have parted and the sun is shining and temps are hitting in the upper 60's and low 70's for a few days anyways....
it's about time!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Murphy's Law prevails when you run a farm and try to derive some, not much, income from raising livestock for others as well as yourself. Hobby breeding of livestock is something else entirely. What I consider 'hobby' is when, if all your sheep died one week from some horrible poisoning, you would just take part of your off-farm paycheck and go out and buy some more. A serious breeder of livestock can't afford to do that unless of course you are very well insured as a commercial producer. Proving tho the actual value of the stock, above and beyond market meat prices, is impossible. You can't replace years of hard work in a breeding program...there is no replication of 5 year old ewes that produce triplets of show quality year after year after year and that represent 5, 10, or 15 years or more of a careful breeding program for certain traits. Nope, that ewe can never be replaced.
A few years back I had a couple of dogs come through during a few hours trip to town. They slaughtered all of our rabbits used for meat production, but worse, they killed all but one of my ducks. Ok, so we caught the dogs, animal control came out, and we settled with the owner of the dogs for the value of the livestock - but that was actual meat value, not what they represented ...........those were my HERDING ducks. From which I earn a little income. For which there were NO replacements available.....afterall, ducks used to dogs working them are not found at the local feed store or hatchery. Especially not a meat breed of ducks. No, I lost money, and training time and ability.
Now let's look at your sheep.........or mine so it makes it easier. I have 2 very special rams - the cornerstone to my breeding program. If something got into the ram paddock and killed them, where would I be come breeding season? Oh, you say go out and buy two more. Where? Where can *I* go to get them? Fly them up? Nope, I'm sorry, the airlines won't ship animals with nice big horns unless they are in a specially fabricated wooden crate with all the whistles and bells, and you can bet your bottom dollar it would cost $400-$500 or more to ship up one. Do you have $400 plus the cost of a ram in it's prime in your back pocket you'd like to just give me? I don't think you do, but if so I'll give you my mailing address! HA!
So, I've kept a son of the ram that I needed to sell...I didn't really need him but actually I do for his genetics. I would have kept Captain Hook's ram lamb too had he survived. Did I need to keep them -no, but DO I need to keep them - YES! They are the survival of my breeding program. Same for my ewes....I will not sell all of my ewe lambs. I must keep some - again, if anything happens to one of their mothers, I have my genetics still intact in my own yard.
Of course, if you have little space, then you may want to sell all of your lambs. But what if your favorite ewe dies? Do you have a lovely daughter to hug or gaze upon to remember her fondly by?? I have a few ewes in my unregistered flock that are 9 generations removed from the original ewe from which they descend. Yes, I remember my first 4 ewes fondly. I also know that I eliminated one of the lines of descendants after it was pretty clear that they were subject to bloat - the only sheep I have ever had bloat here. Any major stress and I'd be running with the bloat med to save them. It can be inherited, and when you use sheep for herding you need hardy sheep. In all fairness, it was a line descended from a ewe that was half Shetland and half Alaskan Mutt of unknown variety. Whatever was in there was not hardy, and one of the best things about Shetlands is that they are indeed very hardy. So they were sold off slowly but surely.
I know which of my registered foundation ewes I like better than others. I know that my criteria is pretty straightforward and defined. Do you know what your criteria is? What you will, and better yet, will not accept in your breeding stock? I hope that you do. Do you like the lambs from a particular ewe? If you don't but others do, then maybe that ewe is best in someone else's flock. You must be happy with the individuals you have, if not, why are you wasting your time? I had a great working wether here, but he liked to jump fences. I hate fence jumping. I put up with him for a while, but enough was enough. Do you have a mean ewe that bullies others in your flock but has beautiful lambs? Why are you keeping her? Why not keep one of her lambs and say good riddance! She may do much better elsewhere, she may behave better elsewhere and they will be happy to have her for her beautiful lambs.
I keep some lambs for their genetics, for their beautiful, and for their personalities. Afterall, I must care for them several times a day and it's just easier to care for the individuals you like and enjoy. And isn't it nice to have a son or daughter from your favorite ewe too? Hopefully your favorites are also some of your best. It makes for a good foundation for your breeding program!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Aggie, my beloved shadow - ASCA High In Trial , one of at last count 13 HIT's she's earned. An amazing girl and the foundation to my kennel.
Dusty, Anna at Emberglo's Belgian Tervuren boy, finishing his AKC title.....
Shadow, owned by Julie, taking Reserve High in Trial and her HSAs title.....
Tango, owned by Sharon, and her AKC High in Trial winnings...this dog was amazing and fun!! Yeah, ok Sharon, she was brilliant and also full of herself too....a great dog.
Another Dusty photo, he is an awesome dog to work with a real stockdog brain that I love...and here he's taking High in Trial in AKC HSAs work....
One of my favorite dogs to work, my Betty who has incredible natural talent, taking Reserve High in Trial for her HSAs....
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
the rose is Strike It Rich, from Jackson and Perkins, and is a Grandiflora...be sure to click on the photo for a close up!
Awt is interesting....genetically it can enhance other colors. Now, Blanche is out of an Awt ewe by a Musket ram. As Blanche gets older, she's expressing more of her "Musket" side....
the first photo below is a group of lambs and one ewe. At the bottom right is Princess...flecket, yuglet...but look how white and bright her fleece is compared to Blanche's creamy colored fleece... click on the photo and you'll see it in a larger version....
Monday, July 14, 2008
Silly me, the only time I like the beach is when there's something worth watching in the water. Like whales. Maui in February, as the mother whales teach their babies to spy-hop. Popping up out of the water with their heads for a good look-see. Or, myself with a snorkle mask on looking down at the fish swimming around you...preferably in shallow water.
I liked walking the Michigan shoreline and looking for Petosky stones. That was always fun. But I was always lured inland to look at old farms and old houses and lovely fruit trees and perrenials that grew around the old farms.
I'm afraid I'm not much of a water lover, unless it's in a small boat and with a good fishing pole and good bait. I can sit out there all day fishing.
For whatever reason I prefer forests and alpine country and rivers and big creeks for fishing. I love to fly fish for Grayling. I think that is one of my most favorite pastimes that I miss doing. There is nothing like a big Grayling hitting your fly either dry and floating down a river or sinking deep into a hole, just right. And the taste of fresh Grayling skinned, rolled in flour, and fried in butter. Absolutely divine!
Salmon fishing is fun. I have a 58# female 1st run King I had professionally mounted years ago on my livingroom wall. 48 inches long. That was a great day...caught on 20 pound test too. And I've fished and caught many red salmon through the years, a great fighting fish when fresh to the rivers.
Camping out with a good mattress and sleeping bag and plenty of dry firewood in the middle of nowhere is a good thing. Even if it's in the back of the truck in nasty weather. Because I usually camped out next to a creek or river with good fishing to be had if the stars were all lined up right.
I think I need a vacation too! LOL!!