Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Boston Lake Bam-RESERVED

This morning was such a beautiful morning. The sky was blue, the dandelions just popped on the carpet of green, and the lake sparkled like golden diamonds.
Yesterday my kids finally wore out my rechargeable AA batteries (the ones designated for the camera) so I was able to snap some photos today. Since the only photos I have of Bam are of his butt, I stalked him this morning. I can't say he really cooperated. He likes to eat, so his head is usually down. He likes to stand in holes, so his top line doesn't look as good as it is. And between these two activities he quickly walks to the next bit of uneven grassy terrain. I think I caught him a couple of times in relatively flattering poses.
Bam is for sale as a flock sire. He is available for $200 registered or $150 unregistered. I am not offering him with a horn guarantee simply because my flock is very small and I cannot promise I would have a ram lamb to replace him if his horns turned fatal. Bam's sire has VERY wide horns, though. And his dam and grand dam have excellent horn genetics as well. I expect Bam's horns to be good horns. Our flock has never had foot rot. Bam will have his first CD & T shot when he turns 8 weeks old. He can also be dewormed with chemical wormer before he leaves the farm if the buyer chooses. (We use de and herbs to deworm our flock as needed.) Bam was born April 15, 2008 and he can leave our farm after he is weaned sometime around July 15. I may be willing to hold him until the end of summer with my other ram lamb if necessary.
This is a snapshot of Bam behind his black iset dam, Boston Lake Delyth. He is 44 days old today, so just a tad over 6 weeks. Even though there is a little distance between the two sheep, the photo accurately reflects Bam's size beside his dam. He isn't far behind her in size. And he is solid.
This photo just shows him from the side. His back lit tail is obviously quite short and correct. Clancy and I think Bam has a very masculine look about him too. He is nicely balanced front to back: he has nice shoulder and hindquarters.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eating Lichens

This enormous limb fell from the heights of our largest white pine. While the sheep had all that freedom, the limb was a favorite pit stop for them. At first, I assumed they were stripping the bark. But instead, they were nibbling away all of the delicate lichens on the branch.
Pictured are Nhu, Lyneth, and Nadin.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh, My Poor Babies!...

This is Anna Belle walking along the driveway with some of the lambs behind her. (Lyneth, Bam, Nadin, on photo for larger version.)
Notice the lack of fencing? Up until last night the sheep had full run of the farm. They've had that privilege for a few weeks now. It has been a delight to observe their habits in the absence of enclosure. The ewes constantly walk, and the lambs have to keep up.
For various reasons, it seemed appropriate to begin using the electronet to rotate pastures. Starting today. This is the first morning in a long while that I have not let the girls out first thing. Even though I enclosed them in a nice big area with good grass, they were mobbed at the gate this morning waiting for me. They don't want grass, they want freedom! I felt so sad about depriving them of their new "lifestyle" that they love so much. Yesterday, as I was installing the electronet, I wasn't sure I could stick to my guns and keep the girls in all summer.
In His marvelous way, God gave me a sign to strengthen my resolve. Last night I went to bed thinking that I would probably only use the electronet on days when I needed to go to town. The rest of the days the girls could be let out. Around 4:30am, Sally and Greta (both outside, one in the kennel) started violently barking, and I woke up just vaguely. Just enough to hear a pack of coyotes yipping between lapses in barking. I'm not afraid of coyotes, but it sent a shiver down my spine. I fell back asleep knowing I would leave the sheep in the electronet no matter how much they complained.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boston Lake Ris

Ris again. I really like this little lamb. He's already caught up in size to the other lambs. He just impresses me when I look at him.
Impressions, I have been learning, are completely subjective. Clancy thinks Ris is correct-but he thinks Bam far outshines all the other lambs.
This morning I had the opportunity to sit out in the field with the ewe flock for a while. It was so absolutely grounding. I'm not even going to try to put my experience into words. But I felt for a while, what it might have been like to be a shepherd long ago. I was thinking of King David as a little boy...As I pulled my over-large hooded sweatshirt over my knees and over my head, I found this perfect position that I could maintain for a long time...I thought about how appropriate a very large cloak must have been to a shepherd. I sat there until I felt I had become part of the land, and the sky, and the blowing wind. I didn't want to ever return to ordinary life.
But I must. All sorts of things need my attention. Today was the last day of school for my boys. Tomorrow onward they will be home most of the time. I am looking forward to their constant company. It was good to take a bit of time for myself before the plunge into summer, though.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Boston Lake Bam

The other day when I was taking pictures, I tried to get a good one of Bam. All I got were photos of his hind-end. This one isn't even the best photo of his back end, but it does show him next to Lyneth, who happens to be about the same size as all the other lambs. Can you see why I keep mentioning how big Bam is?

Initially, I had Bam earmarked for butcher next spring. However, Clancy really likes this lamb. He feels he could be the perfect flock sire for some shepherd with particular goals in mind-big correct meaty lambs. Bam's conformation is excellent, although this picture doesn't really demonstrate that. He also belongs to my son, Asa, who doesn't want to see him go to butcher.

So I have agreed to offer Bam for sale. He was born 4-15-08 and will be available after weaning. As of now he is unregistered but his parantage is Windswept Unicorn x Boston Lake Delyth.

Bam's fleece has a wonderful handle to it. He has only one Awt gene so only half of his lambs will be born white. His tail is short but it has some hair at the tip that makes it appear longer. Hind quarters are very straight. Bam is a very masculine ram lamb and has had tremendous growth. He was very vigorous at birth and he has stayed that way. His sire has excellent wide horns and a large, muscular frame. His dam is from a good mothering line. She is black iset at 2 years with a moorit recessive gene.

Please contact me at or by phone at the number listed in the footer if you would like more information about Bam.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Boston Lake Duvie

This little ewe lamb is my funny girl. She was born between the older lambs and the youngest batch of lambs, so she didn't have anyone her exact age to goof around with. Bam initially tried to bully her and she decided to beat him, and all the other lambs, to the punch. Duvie is my little independent thinker. She is happy to run with the mob, but she also can be separate from them without anxiety.
Duvie (Bramble Allister x Sheltering Pines Dolce) carries at least one modified gene, and possibly two. She is almost 4 weeks old now and she seems to be lightening in the face more than her black sister Nadin. We will just have to wait and see if she turns out to be modified herself.
Duvie has very nice conformation and the same tiny tail both of her parents carry. I expect her to turn out as wonderfully as her older sister, Delyth, (who is Bam's mom.) In this picture, Duvie is approaching me on a steep slope, hence the odd angle. She is coming up for the chin scratches she just learned to appreciate last week. Before that she was a little shy. Now she crowds in with the others and she'll climb in my lap if she has to. Lambies must be loved, you know!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Boston Lake Lyneth

Today started out so beautifully: I took a few pictures of the sheep first thing this morning. I planned to post some of them and then use the fine weather to get a bunch of work done.
Then my youngest son broke his big toe and I had to run him into town to see a doctor. (We'll know more next week after a specialist views his x-rays.) By the time we left the doctor's office, the sky had clouded up. Sparse, angry, raindrops were slapping the pavement occasionally. And the wind was quite fierce. Leif and I actually had to walk the last bit of the way home because an aspen had fallen across the driveway.
After a I unwound from my mad dash to town, Clancy and I got some yard work done in spite of the blustery weather.
This evening I scrolled through the photos from this morning. Some of them turned out nicely. Shown is Lyneth (Sheltering Pines Bombarde x Bramble Anna Belle.) Notice how her ears are not perfectly set at the 10 and 2 o'clock position? I can honestly say that is the worst thing about her. She is a delicate beauty with incredibly crimpy, soft fleece. Click on the picture to see a larger version of it.
I also thought it was sweet of her to pose so nicely in front of the lake for me.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thoughts on Farming

This photo shows the ewe flock running up to me a couple of days ago. Our yard and farm doesn't usually look like this in mid-May. We usually have a lot more green grass.

The grass has been so sparse that I have just been letting the ewes and lambs have free roam during the day. There is enough grass over the whole 4 acre lawn to feed them, but not enough in any one paddock. Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day and last night we had some light rain. This morning it seemed as if the grass had grown overnight. Hopefully, I will have time to set up electronet for the girls today or tomorrow. I think it is good for them to have full range of the farm, but I worry about predators sneaking in at this time of year. I'll feel better once they are fenced in again, and I'll be able to leave the farm during the day.

The two rams are still in their round pen with hay feedings. I want to get them out on grass as well to save the last few bales of hay for emergency feedings.

For a while now I have been offering my white ram, Unicorn, for sale. Nothing definite has come of that so far. Last night, however, I was sorting through some recent snapshots and I came across this picture of Bam and Nadin. Clancy was looking over my shoulder and remarked that he liked the photo and he also really thought Bam was a good looking ram lamb. Clancy, with his Hampshire background, is still more impressed by meat sheep conformation than wool sheep conformation. Anyway, we were talking about how large Bam is compared to all the other lambs and Clancy suggested the idea that I could keep Unicorn and use him to produce butcher lambs.

I have been contemplating purchasing a BFL or NCC or some other breed to use on a few of my Shetland ewes. The extra money to make that investment just isn't there, though, since we are trying very hard to get the house finished. Unicorn, however, sires really big lambs; much bigger than I prefer Shetlands to be. And Bam is very muscular compared to Bombarde and his male offspring. So why not use Uni to produce butcher lambs? They would all be "big and white and meaty" compared to the rest of the flock. :) And since Unicorn has such impressive horns, I wouldn't be too sad to keep sending his offspring to the freezer.

What prompted this idea is the fact that I have several people that are interested in buying butcher lamb from me; and I really don't have any to sell. I would have to butcher a good ewe, or Unicorn to fill the orders. Bam isn't ready to go to the freezer quite yet. So the demand is there and I want to fill it. Plus, we are out of lamb ourselves, and I want to fill up the freezer.

I will continue to breed for fleece fineness and polled genetics using my very best Shetlands. But the other ewes that give me not so scrumptious fleece can stay and produce butcher lambs for me. I'm looking forward to exploring this idea.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Little Napping Lambs

Boston Lake Lyneth and Nhu resting in the sun. If I bounced half the day away like they do, I would need a nap too.
I'm glad to report that this pair of lambs is no longer needing a supplemental bottle. Anna Belle is feeding them just fine on her own now. They are growing nicely. A few days ago they started nibbling the grain treat with their dam. Their fleece is so tight and crimpy, though, they still look little compared to all the other fuzzy puffy lambs like Bam and Nadin.
Nhu and Lyneth are little love bugs. The temporary bottle feeding seemed to bond them to me almost as much as they bonded to their mom. I love how they gallop toward me whenever I enter the pasture.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

This is my beautiful mother, Deborah, and her mother's sister, Alice.
One of the greatest blessings in my life is the deeply positive example of "Mother" that has surrounded me from my first days. Words cannot describe the love I have seen flow from the women in my family.
My great-grandma, and both of my parent's mothers are gone now. I miss them. I wish they were still here because they were such amazing women. I long for their physical presence in my life. I am grateful for my rich memories of them.

And I am thankful for the wonderful mothers that are still with me: My own mom, Clancy's beautiful mother, Nancy. My aunts and great-aunts-I am fortunate to have many on both sides of my family and Clancy's. My cousins, these wonderful girls I grew up with. I admired the older ones, babysat the younger ones, and cherished the ones that were about my age. My sisters-in-law-these wonderful unexpected people that came into my life because of my brother and husband. My friends-sharing motherhood as peers with them. And finally, my own sister. I love her little boy like he was my own, and I am so proud of my sister for how she handles her awesome responsibility.

Today, I wish all of the incredible mother's that have touched my life a beautiful day. I hope you have a nice chat with your kids. I hope you know that you have been an inspiration to me. You are loved. And you are very Important. Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Boston Lake Nadin

Little Nadin napping in the sun. Nadin is a few hours older than Bam, but she is more petite. Her dam, Rachel, is my tallest ewe and Nadin looks like she is taking after Mom and older sister Sian in height and structure.
Rachel's line is very milky and rather bony in appearance. Even when Rachel and Sian are in excellent shape, they are very slim and look like "Holsteins" next to "Black Angus" cows. Dolce's line is short, compact, and more muscular-the Black Angus type.
Nadin is a keeper. She has the same dense, soft, lustrous, crimpy fleece that her older sister Sian has. If I had to, I would feel very comfortable offering either of these girls as high quality breeding ewes. I'm not wild about black fleece, but these two girls have the best black fleeces in my flock by far.
Clancy and I have decided we will retire Rachel after Nadin is weaned. I have gotten used to the fact that she is just a bony ewe. Her lambs are always well fed and thrive-so I know she is doing well. But I recently skirted her '08 fleece and found the staple to be much shorter than it was last year when she was given a break from breeding. Even then it was only about 4 inches. This year it was more like 2.5 inches. Because of it's short staple, I really only kept half of the fleece compared to last year.
Nadin is a bit special because I intend her to be Rachel's last lamb. I feel very fortunate that Rachel has given me two gorgeous ewe lambs to keep. I intend to keep breeding registered Shetlands from her line. Bombarde should be an excellent ram for both daughters. It's hard to believe I'm already looking forward that far into the future. As if time doesn't pass fast enough as it is...
Last night, Asa helped me do chores. He was pretty bummed that his lamb, Bam, will probably be a butcher lamb. While he slouched on the barn bench, little Nadin came up to give him kisses and stayed while he rubbed her brisket bone. In fact, she was pretty blissed out with his attentions. Every time Asa paused, Nadin moved in closer until she was in his lap. :) I could here him talking to her softly while I did the chores. Nadin was doing her best to cheer him up, and I think it worked. When it was time to leave, Nadin followed Asa all the way to the gate. He had to stop and pet her a few more times and giggle at how persistent she was. What a little sweetheart she is.

Friday, May 9, 2008


Just a cute picture of Bam from a few days ago. His horns are already bigger. He's actually the biggest lamb out there and I think he knows it. He already has that "the ladies love me" strut.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Birds, Birds, Birds

I had to change the little sidebar photo this morning because Mr. Rooster no longer exists. Our beautiful barred rock fellow started getting a little aggressive this spring. He had just turned two and that seems to be the age when a rooster tries to take on more of the farm management than just the running of his own flock of hens.
He had attacked me three times already. The first two times were completely unprovoked and I didn't even see him coming. I'm a little freaked out by chickens anyway, and his surprise attacks did little to secure his place here on the farm. Yesterday, I had the sheep out on the lawn and I had to move the chicken feeder so they wouldn't eat out of it. Mr. Rooster didn't like my interference with his food dish, even though he has the run of the whole blessed farm. He got me pretty good twice until I managed a defensive kick to his chest. Then he backed me all the way up onto the porch, where he finally let me go. I can honestly say I hated him during that little ordeal.

Once again I demanded from Clancy that he get rid of the beast. This terror could really hurt my young nephew or the boys if he decided to attack them. Yet again I heard how the job would get done just as soon as my darling had some spare time.

Well, this morning, while doing chicken chores, Mr. Rooster attacked my poor husband inside the chicken coop. The chicken coop is about 3.5 x 6 feet, and only 5 feet tall at the peak. I can only imagine the rodeo of that event, and how many times Clancy banged his head on the rafters while trying to dodge the rooster. I'm not laughing. Really. I'm NOT laughing! ;)

Out of breath and indignant, Clancy marched in the house to tell me the rooster had been disposed of. I thought he had finally decided I really meant those last three ultimatums. No, the rooster had attacked HIM and so the menace met a swift and justified end. Apparently Clancy knocked him down with a chunk of wood, and chopped off his head before he came to.

I told Clancy I would be making light of this situation. It is, after all, perhaps a universal experience for wives? Nothing is wrong with the car until HE drives it...There is no snake under the porch until HE sees it... Shame on me. I am really ribbing him way too much. He knows I'm teasing though. :)

Since the rooster had to be removed, I thought I would replace him with a photo of the beautiful swans that visit us here at Boston Lake. Almost any day, we can see them near our shore, or far out on the lake like brilliant sailboats. Each time I see them, I am filled with reverence for this beautiful place God has allowed me to live in.

And finally, I can introduce our two new cockatiels properly: Meet Bette and Greybird. They love to be with us while we eat and sit. Leif is doing his homework here, with the birds on his shoulders. My son would prefer it known that he is wearing my old sweater because the birds like the texture for climbing...and it's already dirty. In "real life" he would not be caught dead wearing my sweater. He is too cool for that.
Pre-teen, parent-induced mortification aside, cockatiels really are exquisite little birds. :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Warning-Graphic Lamb Photos

Here are some close up photos of Boston Lake Ris-the lamb that should be Ag but doesn't look like it yet.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Boston Lake Ris

It was warm and sunny today so I released Rai Min and her lamb from the jug. Boston Lake Ris was more than happy to meet the other lambs and learn how to run and play. But he is so tiny compared to the fat lambies that are a couple of weeks older.

Rai Min is a rather nervous mother. A month ago she was kicking up her heels like a goofy yearling. Now the only thing she can focus on is her precious lamb. Her fretting made it difficult to snap a decent photo of the little guy.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Completely Baffled

Last night around 5:30pm, Rai Min gave me my last lamb of the season. It's nice to be finished with lambing. Since it was cloudy, the barn was dark, and the lamb was all wet, all I could tell was that it was a dark colored lamb. (Rai Min was being an excellent mom by the way.) After a quick basic exam in the jug to make sure everything was ok, I also knew I had a big ram lamb with already emerging horn buds. I was quite surprised Rai Min delivered this big boy so easily.
Even in the dim light last night I couldn't see any Katmoget markings, so I knew I had a grey or a musket lamb: Rai Min is solid black with moorit recessive. Bombarde can only sire Katmogets or Ag lambs and he is moorit based. So this morning I marched out to the barn to look for sugar lips on a brown lamb or a black lamb.
Get this: No sugar lips. No pale scrotum. No lighter inner ears.
And even more puzzling, I can not tell whether this lamb is brown or black. The color is somewhere between dull black, raw umber, and mud. Next to his pure black dam, the lamb is definitely not black. But I've seen moorit newborns before and he's just not like that either. I'm not aware of Bombarde or Rai Min being modified. I'll have to look into the pedigrees for that info. Perhaps they are carriers. That's easy enough to accept if it turns out to be the case.
But how do I explain a solid lamb from a ram that is an Ag Katmoget? I can't figure that out. And I am 100% sure Bombarde was the only ram Rai Min was exposed to. She was locked in a barn stall the first half of breeding season. Then I put Allister down-so he didn't exist anymore-and Rai Min was exposed to Bombarde. In fact, I SAW Rai bred by Bombarde. I predicted May 1st as her due date, and she delivered 6.5 hours prior to that.
Is it possible that the Ag traits will develop as he matures? Is there a blip in the system? I really don't know.