Saturday, July 23, 2011

Tree Placemark

This post is for my benefit: like a bookmark in time so I can look back and see how things were...

My favorite tree died this spring.  An elm that succumbed to Dutch Elm Disease.  It was right in front of the house, so beautiful and shady.  Years ago Clancy and I decided where to build the house based on the placement of that elm tree.  We knew it would likely die from DED before it got too old, but I was hopeful.  I thanked God every year that tree leafed out in the spring... and I mourn its loss.  But we have plans to remove the dead tree and plant another tree in about the same spot next spring.
Below is the other elm tree that was located right outside our back door.  It also gave us lovely shade.  Again, we expected to loose it eventually to disease, but storms took it first.  It lost a huge portion of its top last year in a severe storm, and just the other day it lost another significant portion.  It will be removed this winter.  We'll plant something else there, but put it a little farther away than this one was.
Here is my favorite walnut tree that a friend gave us as a seedling.  We must have put it in the perfect spot because it has grown by leaps and bounds.
Here is the other walnut sapling we planted at the same time.  It was a bit smaller to begin with, but it is in a very shady spot and I think it might need more sun to really take off.
Last, but not least, our great old white pines along the shore.  Most of these trees are doing very well.  The oldest and biggest one (far left) is dying off quite dramatically at the top.  It is a common problem in white pine.  So I also thank God for every year I have with this grand old giant.
My other tree photos wouldn't load today so I will post a sequel soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Having Fun

I haven't bought yarn for ages...but I couldn't resist this beautiful Plymouth Yarn KUDO cotton/synthetic/silk blend when I saw it on display with a demo scarf at Yarn Dance (our adorable local yarn shop)
The "waves" scarf pattern came free with the yarn.  It is my first attempt at reading a pattern, doing yarn-overs, and dropping stitches on purpose.  But thanks to Patty at the shop for giving me a mini-lesson on those new skills...and to my dear mother-in-law Nancy for a much needed second lesson...I am off and running.  I just wish the photo did the yarn justice.  The colors are much more vibrant in real life, with flecks of many other colors in each strand. 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ramling Update

As promised in the comments section of this recent post, I managed to catch all of my ram lambs this morning to inspect their "masculine equipment."  And I have very good news to report: 
I was mistaken about Tucker having two testicles with the one being only partially descended!  He definitely has two, fully-descended testicles, of equal size.  I checked twice and I am absolutely certain about this.

I also inspected Sextant again and I am very certain that he only has one descended testicle.

The wonderful point here is that there is NO indication that the cryptorchid comes from any particular line because there is only this SINGLE instance here on my farm.  It does mean that LRO January and S'more Courante produced a cryptorchid/monorchid.  But that is the only incriminating fact in the matter.  Those two sheep will not be paired again, and I will also carefully monitor all future ram lambs for the same problem and publish any faults I come across in my breeding.  It would be easier to not talk about it...simply send cryptorchids to butcher...but no one will learn anything from that.  And I would like to think of my efforts as being helpful to the breed as a whole.

The other bit of good news is that my other three ram lambs, Trans Am, Gwilym, and Ian, all have proper equipment.  I am so glad of that.


Still haven't been able to tempt little Penelope (LRO Ash x RiverOaks Lana) to come near.  But I did get an eartag and coat on her friendly look-alike, Justina (S'more Courante x RiverOaks Hannah).  So now I can tell them apart from distance.  When I was petting Justina a few days ago I was amazed to find her hairy birthcoat had become a super soft fleece  What a transformation!  I am hoping Penelope's similar birthcoat has changed for the better as well.
MORNING UPDATE:  I caught Penelope this morning and she is lovely soft...but still not tame.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


LittleRedOak January with her great big ram lamb, Sextant.

While I was handling Sextant to deal with his broken scur, I gave him a "once-over" and realized that only one of his testicles had descended.  I grabbed Tucker and gave him the same inspection to find that one of his was completely descended and the other was only partially so.  These two rams are completely unrelated... out of unrelated ewes and two, separate, unrelated rams.  Sextant was scheduled to leave in a week to become flock sire at another farm. 

So... is the 11 week old mark the normal time for testicles to start descending in ram lambs, or do I have a couple of cryptorchids?  (I haven't had a chance to inspect the three other ramlings in the flock yet)  I DON'T want to sell a flawed ram lamb to anyone.  But is it worth it to give the lamb more time to descend or is that hopeless? 
Any thoughts or info on the matter would be appreciated.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Horn Report

Trans Am. 
His scurs or aberrant horns continue to grow.  I do believe he is a half-poll, since full-horned rams usually have much bigger horns by this age.  He is still a beauty and developing well in every other respect.

He has just the tiniest fragile little spikes.  I expected them to break off by now, but I never see the ram lambs butt each other.  I know it happens, but nothing like the way it used to with the full-horned ramlings.  Ian is turning into a nice lamb.  His facial spots are less noticeable now, though.  His tail used to have long hair on it, but it seems to be falling out or being grown into, so it is nice and proper now.  He is very soft.

Kind of an odd-angled photo, but Gwilym is turning out very nicely too.  Too bad his scurs have to be so significant.  He is also wonderfully soft!

Sextant broke off a scur the other day and it bled quite a bit since it seemed to rip right at the base.  We had to clean it out once and put fly repellent on it for a few days.  It is healing up just fine.  This lamb is so chunky and burly, I just love it.  I don't know if it is because he was a single or what, but I wish all my lambs were built like this one.  :)

Tucker (gray lamb, center) is built just like Sextant (he's also a single).  And he seems to have given up being such a pest and spends most of his attention on eating now.  Occasionally he comes up... but I wonder if flipping him once might cure him for good?  This is a cropped, long distance photo, but I can report that Tucker has the least horn material of all the ram lambs: one tiny point smaller than Ian's, and one little flat button.  He is also my only LittleRedOak Ash ramling.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Mid-Summer Group Photos

With one thing and another, I have been too busy to take photos of the sheep.  And when there is a spare moment, the mosquitoes and deer flies and horse flies are so horrible I don't want to stand out there in the long grass!  The poor sheep!  They have to deal with it 24/7.

Tonight I was determined to take a few shots.  Not many pictures turned out since both the shepherd and the sheep were trying to keep from being devoured by bugs.  And that meant a lot of movement.  Oh, well...
The entire ewe/lamb flock.

Full sisters, Vianne and Lyneth.  My AnnaBelle daughters.
Vianne lost her first lamb to pneumonia a few days after it was born.  But it was a beautiful ewe I have high hopes of another just as nice next spring.  Lyneth is 3 years old and has not produced a lamb yet.  I don't really have breeding hopes for her anymore.  Thankfully, she is friendly and has lovely fleece.  I also just think she is a pretty girl.  For the time being, I have room for her.

Some lamb tails...left to right:
Jane, Trans Am (white), Justina.  Sextant's head up front.

The only good photo I could get of Francesca, who is so friendly she is usually crawling on me.
Gulmoget, RiverOaks Lana on the left, and Fran's dam, Sian, on the right.