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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Blanchette

Oh noooooooo! It's the mouth examination!!! EEEEEEEEEEEK!

Miss Speckled Lips....

I like the trees in her eye....the wild roses behind....

It's Boulderneigh Blanche!

Blanche is here......and other thoughts

Blanche has arrived from Michelle's! She flew lots of miles for lots of hours to make it to Alaska but she acted as if she'd just been put into the crate when we had our first meeting in the back of the truck! She announced her arrival all the way through the baggage claim area since this particular airline doesn't have an airport cargo facility........
so lots of 'tourists' getting off the plane made silly comments about a sheep in the crate and what a strange dog she was. Alaskans of course are much more polite, with kind words of 'how exciting' and 'will you be at the (State) Fair this fall?'.....most Alaskans are considerate and kind people......
so once outside I loaded Blanche into the back of the truck and gave her water and fresh grass to help soothe her tummy and talked to her and pet her. She quieted right down and muttered sweet nothings to me while I talked to her and told her she had another hour's ride home and then she'd have her freedom back. She was very happy to be with the others and eat hay and drink fresh water!

WE know how expensive it is to fly up our precious animals, anywhere from $200 to $400 a crate!! JUST for the airfare. A few dedicated breeders up here, and I will include myself in that bunch, fly up new genetics and continually keep improving our breeding quality, selling at the SAME prices people in the lower-48 sell their animals for even tho it often costs us twice the amount to feed them too. We do it for our love of the breed. We WANT people to buy our lambs and become part of our extended family. We here know best how to care for them in the long dark days and the cold, with what feeds and supplements WE have available to us. Afterall, I wouldn't tell Peeps what she should feed her sheep in Missouri and she certainly can't tell me what to feed mine because we live in two totally different places with totally different needs and resources.....resources being the key word. Our dark winter days, especially further north from here, requires certain supplements if you're going to have a healthy immune system in your sheep. People in the 'lower-48' just don't know that. And that's another reason we started an Alaskan Only sheep discussion list - to provide help and support to other sheep owners and create a healthy network of caring individuals. Alaskans REALLY hate to be taken advantage of...and that seems to happen often enough up here too which is pretty disgusting actually. People in the lower-48 used to ship up their '2nd best' thinking we were uneducated and wouldn't know the difference.....and yet in the dog world we have some of the best in the breeds in the whole US. Same for the goat world, and certainly is the same in the sheep world too I'm sure. Alaska is a small place in it's own way, thankfully, and we eventually find out some interesting things about some folks in the lower-48 that saddens us. That is why we have good email networks now, and good email lists for conversations and education.

I think Blanche is stunning, a beautiful example of the breed, and will be a wonderful contributor to using Awt in my breeding program. She is what Alaska needs. And I'm sure my lambs that will fly up next year if all goes well will be just as spectacular as Blanche and also my beautiful Minwawe sheep that are already here from last year.

Here's to honest people and good shepherds!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Bye Bye Minwawe Barbados; Hello new owners!

And just look at this lovely young shepherd! She and her friend are quite happy with one of their 2 new bottle lambs! Susie came out to pick up her wether and ewe lambs. This boy's mom didn't want to feed him, so I took over the job. The ewe lamb I just bottle fed along with another so that they'd be family-friendly. Nothing better than kids and lambs...they have a few other livestock at their hobby farm and years of experience raising animals so I had no problems letting these 2 go earlier than usual. Enjoy them Susie!

Barbados was bred to our 6 Alaska-origin ewes this year. All were Moorit Krunets except one who has a bit of a smirslet and is black and white. I am keeping his one outstanding ram lamb as well as one of the ewe lambs, tbd. So his genetics will go forward in our flock. Barbados was king of the ram pen here. He's never had to deal with older rams, and my thoughts were that he needs to. Beautiful wool on the poll, structure was awesome, and Penne would like some flash in her nice flock too. So, he's left for his new, lovely home where he will be well cared for and appreciated - and useful!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No lambs afterall!!!!

Can I cry now???????????

Nope, my precious cargo from Mary Ellen made it all the way to the airport, but my lambs are too healthy and too fat...with crate, a pair weighed more than 70 pounds. Too big to go 2 to a crate. And Mary Ellen and I are NOT insane......she didn't ship 6 lambs in 6 crates at a cost of $330 PER CRATE! Thankfully. So, Mary Ellen has some GORGEOUS ewe lambs that are now for sale, no thanks to many things that caused a week or more's delay on my part getting them sent up here...........crappolla..........I am soooooooooooo dissapointed.

Someone or someones are going to be VERY lucky indeed. It just wasn't my turn this year to be lucky!


Where has the time gone!

Lucy Locket and Kitty Fisher...flying here tonight!

Bad me......I haven't posted for a while. Too much spring work going on, little projects that desperately needed to be done and some big projects too. The garden isn't growing. Along with the Pacific Northwest, we are having a terribly chilly spring, er, summer. Each day we sit in the 50's and clouds coming and going. Some days we've hit the 60's, but there have not been many of them. The hay ground is growing, but slowly. Normally by the end of June our first cutting is ready to go.....who knows if we'll make it by then this year! Cold crops are growing ok, but the beans are no where to be found. I'm afraid we'll have to start beans in pots in the greenhouse for a while, hoping for warmth to move in here in a few weeks. We're not supposed to be this chilly here!! AUGH!!! The sheep tho seem to be doing well. Not too hot, not too cold for them...they are pleased with not having to lay in the shade to cool off. The lambs at least are growing like gangbusters. I've sold a wether and ewe lamb to a lovely lady in Anchorage who, along with her children, will be soon enjoying them along with her other farm animals. She will be a wonderful home for them. Maybe next year she'll want a few spotted lambs to add to her little flock!

I am leaving for the airport shortly to meet 6 new Minwawe lambs! One is a very interesting grey ewe lamb tht we named Augustine, after the active volcano here that puts on quite a display now and then. Augustine looked like she was dotted with ash fall as a young girl, and had an interestingly dark face and neck. I'll try to take photos tomorrow to share!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Sunrise, Sunset

How fun!

Sunrise, Sunset....

this is a great time of year to be in the north country....also very tiring! We tend to stay up too late and wake up to what feels like too early. No wonder, just check out today's sunrise and sunset times!

Sunrise: 4:32am

Sunset: 11:27pm

And people have asked just how do I get so much done in a day? Well heck, it's only quasi-dark for 5 hours which actually consists of a dawn/dusk effect...never really dark anymore at all!

Another good reason to lock the chickens into their coop...who wants to hear a rooster out your window crowing his heart out at 4am! Darned buggers........

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tapped on the shoulder

Tapped on the shoulder. It's an interesting occurrence. I have served and continue to serve on a number of boards and committees over the years, almost always they have been related to my personal passion - animals, in some way, shape, or form. Somehow I've tried to find time in my busy life to do something for others other than that which benefits me directly. Even if it DOES benefit me, it also benefits others. Community. Doing something positive for your community, whichever community you support, is good. Offering your opinion can be good, or not so good, depending if others agree with your opinion or not, but it's important to have an opinion. I don't have much room in my life for Apathy. We often see apathy around us, people who may complain about something but are unwilling to help change it. Imagine a Shepherd who was apathetic towards their charges...I can only imagine what chaos would ensue. It's the same with the rules that govern a state or a nation. Don't like it? Then see where you can help to change it. Being tapped on the shoulder is interesting, thought provoking, sometimes challenging. Hopefully someone will tap you on the shoulder some day and you will find the time to participate, if you haven't already!