Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Birthday Post

Inspired by the heavy influence of recent dog incidents,
I decided to feature my first dog in my
Traditional Birthday Old Photo Post...
This photo was taken in 1973 in Deer River, MN.
I don't remember much about the dog, though I do remember his black and whiteness.
Funny how even tiny kids can remember blurry images like that.
I've been told that I enjoyed crawling in his dog house and eating his dog food with him.
I'm struck by how similar his shape, size, ears, and face are to my Megan Pie. 
He must have had some border collie in him.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Good As New

In fact, Greta Grub seems to thrive on porcupine encounters.  We usually give her a chunk of meat, gristle, or fat after we pull her quills, and days later, she still waits expectantly for more treats.  Her boxer genes really shine at this time: she spends quite a bit of energy on a vertical bounce to her jaunty gait. 
We just watched the animated film Monsters vs. Aliens over the weekend.  In case you are unfamiliar with Greta's general personality, you can refer to Bob in that movie.  Bob the Monster and Greta Grub are about the same...good natured and brainless.  :)

Poor Shachah didn't fare as well.  He had fewer quills, but a few were embedded very deeply.  He actually let Clancy pull out most of them.  He didn't even need to be held.  He would sit still until it hurt too much and then he would walk away.  When he was ready he would come back up to Clancy so more could be pulled.  Amazing!  But he had several quills deep in his front paws and he would not let Clancy touch them.

Shachah loaded quite easily in the car with Clancy's help  The vet sedated him and removed the final quills.  When I came to pick him up, Shachah headed straight for the car and didn't hesitate to get in.  Poor boy wanted to go home.  He is limping badly on both front paws.  But in the end, the whole experience might have created just a little bit more trust between dog and family.  

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Testing the Outer Limits...

of Patience and Devotion...

I'm happy to report that all quills have been removed. 
Greta didn't appreciate our ministrations.
It took a hefty effort. 
We had the motivation of avoiding a monstrous vet bill on our side, though.

Shachah has some quills too. 
Darkness fell before we could deal with him, though.
We'll check him out in the morning.
He will probably need a vet visit, as Clancy and I are both sure we couldn't hold him down like we do Grubby.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The gorgeous weather is still with us.  I am not complaining...it's wonderful.  The temps will be low overnight this coming week, though.  So Clancy and I picked the last of the peppers.  They are so pretty together in the bowl.
I also purchased all of my winter hay this week.  The gentleman that leases my dad's hay fields put up his second cutting without rain and he agreed to sell me twenty bales.  That should definitely cover me if I can keep it tarped well and reduce spoilage.  The best part is that the field is right next to Clancy's mill...exactly one mile away.  He can just bring a bale home with the bobcat when I need one.  I am so thrilled...God really answered my prayers in this matter.

Today is a day to get lots of yard work finished.  Hopefully I can get the last of the pastures mowed and the winter pens and barn cleaned out.  Clancy and I are also going to sketch out some hay feeders.  I'd like to build the style I saw at Becky's farm.  We already have the materials salvaged from other projects. 
Hopefully, we will accomplish much today.  Have a good one yourself! 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back & Forth Boys

What to do with the ram lambs?  I go back and forth.
Sell? Keep? Market as butcher lambs? Wether for fiber pets?
I changed coats on all three boys yesterday.  My own sons were helping me with the changes and then moving them across the yard to a new paddock...so I didn't bother with getting photos during the process.  But I did get a chance to evaluate fleeces again.
Beck...not quite as soft as a newborn.  But yesterday I couldn't feel any difference between his fleece and his brother's fleece.  I had made up my mind to wether him.  Now I'm doubting that decision.  I'm assuming that decisions like this start getting harder as one approaches flock goals.  So I will count it as a sign of flock improvement that my least favorite lamb seems as soft as my favorite.
Clennam and Tecwyn knee deep in clover.  Having good forage this late in the year is so uncommon.
Clennam with his broken scur.  Since it isn't hurting him in anyway, I keep forgetting to get it clipped off.  Clennam has gorgeous black tips to his fleece under that coat.
This photo shows how good Beck's hindquarters are.  All three boys are nice and wide like this.
And here is my favorite...Tecwyn.  He has fine bones and yet a very alert, masculine presence.  And the softest fleece in my flock.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Lovely Weather

The temps have been in the upper 70's all this week.  It is the best 'summer' weather I think we've had in the last 5 months. 
Strange...but I am not complaining.  There is still so much we have left to do before the weather turns nasty.  I'm grateful for the extension.
As you can see, the leaves have fallen off the trees.
Ash has his head down in a brush pile to rub off the mosquitoes and gnats that were swarming today.  I guess warm weather has a bit of a downside.
Just off the boat landing, a Canada goose.
I was fooled the first time I saw it.  After it failed to fly or float away, I realized it was a decoy some hapless hunter had lost track of.   
Shachah absolutely loves to roll in the leaves.  I think he likes the sound...or maybe he just loves the cooler temps.  I caught him napping, obviously after taking a stroll through the mucky swamp.
  I just love this big mellow guy.
Last, but not least, a true sign of the season: our wood stove is burning again.  Not that we needed heat today.  But this is a good thing because Clancy has had our heating system torn apart for three weeks.  To satisfy the insurance people, he had to move the outdoor boiler 50 feet away from the garage we are building.  So the yard has been torn up with a trench, and insulated pipe, and new electrical stuff.  What a mess!  And of course, it always takes longer than one hopes, to finish the job.  But the test run was successful!  And I am very grateful Clancy is so skilled at building and fixing.  Even though I would love to have weeks and weeks more of this fine weather...technically, we have heat again...so it can get cold when it has to. 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Sheep for Sale

I have reached that point where some of my foundation girls have to go if I am going to keep their ewe lambs. 
With a heavy heart, I am offering the following three ewes for sale.  I will try to update my sale page soon.  But for now, photos and fleece information can be found on the "Our Flock" and "Fleece for Sale" pages.


Boston Lake Sian   $200 
4 years old
Solid Black with Moorit Recessive
minimal iset, excellent mother, excellent conformation/tail, wool on poll, large size, horn genetics

Little Red Oak January    $200
Moorit Katmoget with Solid Recessive
excellent conformation/tail, terrific mother, medium size, polled genetics

Bramble AnnaBelle   Reserved
8 years old
White with Solid Black Recessive
big deep build, tiny tail, excellent mother, 32 micron but very lustrous & silky hand, possible full poll
I have 4 daughters & 1 son from Anna.  She is a very special ewe.

These ewes are completely unrelated stock.

2010 Lambs are also for sale on the "Stock for Sale" page.
Thank you for looking.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Chores

The list of chores is pretty much the same every year.
But it does help to write it all down so I can feel like I accomplished something as I strike through each one.  So here goes:
1.  Change coats on the sheep.
Vianne is a yearling that needs to move up to a size E coat.

Leil is overdue for her size E.  She is also a yearling.

River Oaks Hannah needs to be introduced to a sheep coat.  I believe she will take a size E as well.  Lana, my other new ewe, needs a coat too.  I wanted to trim her up a bit more first, but she is still skittish with me.  For lack of patience, I will probably just coat her. 
Nhu also needs an E coat.  So that makes 4 more that I need to order in that size.  D's and E's seem to be the basic adult sizes for my Shetlands.  Size F will probably come into play a little later in the winter.

2.  Ear tag the two ewe lambs, Esyllt and Carys. 

3.  Give all the lambs a round of CD & T.  I usually would not do this...but I discovered earlier this summer that I had accidentally bought just the "CD" part of the vaccine, minus the tetanus.  So I want to get one tetanus shot into them.

4.  Trim all hooves.

5.  Check eyelids and condition on all sheep.  I only have one girl out there that seems a bit slim to me.  But she is normally built like a fawn and her twin ram lambs were only taken away a short time ago.  She might just need time to bounce back.

6.  Clean out the barn.  I've been avoiding this job all summer.

7.  Buy some good square alfalfa bales for lambing and stack them in the barn.

8.  Buy some round bales for winter and tarp them.

9.  Finally build hay feeders!

10.  Repair and clean the ram pens.

11.  Make some decisions about breeding groups.

12.  Market my 'for sale' sheep.  Speaking of which...here is a sweet little girl that is looking for a new home.  Her name is Carys and all of her info is on my sale page.

13.  And let's not forget the most important task of all...
just hanging out with the girls  ;-P

Saturday, October 2, 2010

October Swans

One of the most amazing things about Boston Lake is that a pair of swans choose to nest on the north end every summer.  They are bold birds, apparently finding the shore of our farm tranquil enough to frequently skim alongside.  For as often as I see them up close, I rarely pursue them with a camera.  They seem to know when I am just out doing my chores and when I'm trying to spy on them.  I prefer to help them feel as welcome as possible.

In the early spring and late fall, several swans congregate here.  They spend quite a bit of time socializing before they migrate.  The sound of their wings beating on the water is loud enough to hear from inside the house.  Which reminds me of one of the greatest gifts of living next to Boston Lake: hearing the swans talk to each other in the middle of the night.  They have the clearest voices which can be heard in the wee hours as they gently speak to one another.  It is hard to describe.  Suffice to say that their midnight calls are in complete keeping with the awe-inspiring beauty of the Milky Way and depth of heaven.
These photos were taken from my truck, on the road that borders the south end of Boston Lake.   My camera's zoom seems to be broken...or the batteries are low.  But if you click on them, the photos might give you an idea of just how lovely these majestic birds are.  My heart-felt thanks to the folks that worked so hard to bring Trumpeter Swans back to Minnesota.