Monday, September 6, 2010

Late Summer Rams

"I like my clover patch!"
I snapped a few photos Saturday evening as the sun was going down.  We had just moved the adult rams into a new paddock.  With all the rain we have received this summer, the pasture growth is amazing.  Usually I have to supplement with a bit of hay in late August.  But the sheep are up to their bellies in grass and clover this season.  It would be wonderful to count on these conditions every year.  If so, we could easily sustain a cow-calf pair in the yard as well.  But nature is rarely that reliable.  So I stock my pastures according to worst case scenario.

Clancy did get the old 10 acre hay field plowed up this summer.  He will be disking it a few times this fall and we may put some rye out there to prevent erosion.  Next spring we will seed alfalfa.  Hopefully that will put us back on the road to producing our own hay again.  I bought hay last year, and I still have to buy hay for this winter.  Those costs prohibit increasing the flock size.  Putting up our own hay should allow more ability to add livestock.  Maybe we will do that cow-calf pair then...or add a milk goat!  Regardless, I will feel much more secure once we are harvesting our own hay.

In other farm news, the gardens have been supplying us with lovely veggies.  We have red potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes whenever we wish.  Clancy's watermelons and cantaloupe are coming on strong, but he will probably have to protect them from frost to get them to maturity.  It got down to high 30's the other night.  Brrrrrrr.

Speaking of shivers...Clancy does not yet have the wood stove going.  He is in the process of moving the outdoor boiler to a new location...50 feet from the house AND the new garage.  He has poured the cement pad already, but now we need to trench the new pipe line in.  Meanwhile, the house is getting awfully chilly at night.  Since I had the time today, I gave Betty Cockatiel a bath under some trickling water.  (Actually, she decided to take a bath while I was washing my hands.)  Then I got out the hair dryer and aimed it at both of us while she sat on my shoulder.  She loved it...and I didn't mind being warmed up either. 

Time to get back to work...


Michelle said...

Handsome boys! I still haven't moved the sheep I need to move, and am STILL planning on picking up that white ewe and her half-poll ram lamb. I need my head examined, but am pretty sure I'll kick myself to death if I don't jump on the opportunity while I have it. On the plus side, I have an exciting new marketing opportunity for my roving and fleeces, so maybe I can justify too many sheep that way?

Spinners End said...

Hey those sheep coats (and of course the sheep) look great! We just changed a few over the weekend and that went well and no one has lost one yet!

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Michelle~That's wonderful that you have a new market. I wish you all the best. :)

Sherry~The coats are working much better now that the sheep have some wool. For the most part, they fit great. There are just one or two sheep that seem to be 'between sizes' when we change them. But I'm about 99% happy with them. Can hardly wait till spring to see the difference they make at shearing time.

Karen B. said...

Lovely sheep and pastures, Sabrina. The sheep coats are something I haven't tried yet. Do they stay on? Do they get caught on anything? I've been feeding hay for a couple of months now, it's probably too late for me to try coats, but maybe next year!

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Hi Karen,

The only time the coats slipped off was right after shearing when I had a too big coat on AnnaBelle. Now that I've worked with them a little more, I can guage better the way they are supposed to fit and when to change them. But I really, really am happy with them so far.

No one has caught a coat on anything yet. My sheep only have the electronet and trees to worry about. But I have seen the ewes scratch against the trees and such. They do seem like very sturdy coats.

I put these coats on the day we sheared this spring. In Rocky sizing, the sheared yearlings took C's and the adult girls took D's. Now the girls are in D's and E's. My large ram is wearing an F. 8 week old lambs fit the A's. They are wearing C's now. But not everyone coats their lambs.

Some only coat the sheep once they start feeding hay in the fall. I think you might be able to get by with fewer coats that way. I don't know for sure, though.

Now I'm just waiting on spring shearing to see what the real final product looks like. How much vm migrates under the coat, or if there is matting. I hope it works out. I went with the heavier material, and finewools should have the lightweight. But I didn't think my flock was overall super fine, so I opted for heavy-duty wear. I hope I made the right decision. :)