Sunday, March 29, 2009

A surprise

I did not realize that the ewe above was pregnant. She had no teats or anything when we sheared two weeks ago and I looked two days ago and figured that only one of the other Shetlands was pregnant - and it was not this one. A lovely ewe that I have named Sedona.

These are Almond Joy's kids. The black is a buck. I thought he was a goner. Michele helped me get him going.
A scene from the ranch today. In the foreground is Badger Doe - any day now. In the background, the doe lying down with the three different colored goats crawling over her is Jalapeno. They are trying to get her up, so they can drink. It is funny how long a mom will sit before she decides to jump up.
A closeup of the hair that a red angora goat is born with. If you think it looks coarse, you would be right. The babies are born with tight little ringlets that are silky looking and feeling, but they are very coarse, when you compare them to the true kid mohair that shows up three weeks later.
And this is a mom who plays favorites. She has only accepted the buck, who is lying in front of her. The two black does in the back on the opposite side of the fence, are hers. She ran them out. I am having to tie her head up or get Marc to lock her head up in a panel. She is too strong for me to maneuver into the panel. She won't stand still for the does to drink, so I am having to stand next to her while they are in the pen. The angora goats are not for those faint of heart!

Not just kids

I am getting a little spinning in between dealing with baby emergencies. I have to finish the blend of kid mohair/Merino/Shetland today, so I can spin five straps for the group that came to felt bags on Friday.
Casa and Grande are starting to get their true mohair in. I will catch and photograph a close up. The color, that you see now, is a lot darker than the true fleece.
Cinnamon made no fuss as she delivered her kids. Both are bucks and lovely shades of brown. They are available for sale on weaning. I am going to keep Barbara's buck, Valley, for breeding.
Kit is a white color carrier. She was bred to Palo Seco and gave me a red doe and a black buck. I named them Queen and Creek. Creek is definitely for sale and possibly Queen. They have lovely hair.
Absinthe's doe did not make it, but her two bucks are doing well. They spent a lot of time in the house and are now out with mother. The largest buck is finally on his feet. I had them in a milk crate, so Absinthe would stay bonded with them. I will keep them in the shed another 3 days to be sure that they are going to be ok.

I don't have pictures of Twinkle Toe's babies yet. She had triplets and only wants the buck. It took me a while to get all of them on her and she is abusing Ruby, the smallest doe, who was actually the first one smart enough to drink off her. The buck was the last to get on her. Anyhow, this is the stupidest mother that I have had this year and I have to tie her head up, so she will stand for the babies. It does beat bottle feeding!

I have sent in a deposit for a Patrick Green Elsa carder. It will arrive in about 2 months. Marc wants to be able to walk through the workshop and fleeces are starting to pile up. It takes too long to get roving back from a mill. I actually forget what I have sent! Customers are looking for larger quantities of roving from my color ways, so it makes sense to start producing it myself. Thanks to those of you who shop here, I am able to make my deposit. Marc is going to loan me the rest. I hope to pay him back within a year.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Difficult Day

I thought that Absinthe was going to have only one baby. Turns out she had three. The doe probably weighs less than a pound. She ate the best and seems to be doing well. The bucks can't quite get their legs together to get up. I have named the doe, Patagonia. It is a P day, so I have 6 more names to come up with.
Cinnamon had twin bucks. They are both lovely and up on their feet. One will be Phoenix and the other might be Payson. Will have to think on it.
To add to the day, Texas Doe's water broke about noon. She was not acting like she was in labor. She wandered around eating and doping her best to stay out of my sight. I finally milked her in hopes of triggering labor. Finally Michele reached in and started pulling babies. Two twin does that I figured would have been dead after all of that time, started crying immediately and were soon on their feet. There was a third baby that must have died earlier. It looked really weird. Anyhow, I figured that her babies would be dead and they are already stronger than Absinthe's. I am going to have to go out several times tonight to put babies on Absinthe unless I find them standing the next time I go out. They drink well, so they should eventually be OK.
While all of the above was going on, I was teaching a nuno class. Fortunately she came from a family that raised cattle and knows how theses things can go. She ended up with a lovely shawl.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

4th Avenue

It was already too dark to take photos of yesterday's babies. Now photos will have to wait until Monday, since I know I will be late tomorrow evening.

The little black Shetland that was hanging out at the back of the arena had her ewe lamb this evening. Talk about huge. I will name the baby "Mesa." She was born the usual black, so she will probably fade to gray.

Belgian, a red angora goat, appears to be in labor or else distressed, since she is breathing heavily and has a discharge. I will go back out shortly to see, which it is.

The 4th Avenue is going very well. The weather is hot, so I am seriously impressed with the knitters, who will buy regardless. There were lots more people walking the circuit than I have seen in years. I hope to see lots of new faces here at the ranch!

Friday, March 20, 2009

More ewe lambs

Hazelnut's daughter # 99 had twin ewe lambs. One has a very unusual coloring. If I did not know that she is a Shetland and that their colors can change by the time they are two months old, I would be itching to spin that one. Time will tell. Pearl's daughter has an ewe lamb. She lost her ram lamb. I was expecting her to have triplets. She is so short and stocky and enormous. She is a good and very protective mother. Photos will follow tomorrow. I was in too much of a hurry to make it to the 4th Avenue Street Fair to be able to take photos.

The fair is going well, but it is hot. While I was at the gym, I was watching the weather channel. Weather in other parts of the country is downright miserable. Glad I live here in Tucson!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booth set up

My booth number changed to 249, but it is really close to the one that I had mentioned. Caroline and I sweated up a storm while placing yarns on the racks. Hope we get a breeze tomorrow!

Update on births: Flowers, triplets - two rams and one ewe. Spots, twins - one ram and one ewe.
Saffron, one buck. All born yesterday. I will put names on them, but Spot's ewe is going to be Katherine (that is a town in Arizona, believe it or not!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Mega just had a kid buck - all by herself and he is already drinking on her. She was quick about it and awesome - since she is a first time mom! Jerome.

Now Kit is scratching. She is a white color carrier who was in with Palo Seco - a black/red. I shall be curious to see what she has. She looks like twins, but seems like I am mostly getting singles - which is ok, just so they are healthy!

Baby names

Thanks to KiniaCat, I have a name for Mint's baby - Inspiration, which is located in Gila County.

Today I will be looking for J names. Just went out to check potential moms and there are several just standing. Pearl looks the closest, but she is chewing her cud and still appears happy. She is huge!

The animals definitely eat a lot more when they are cold. I am going to feed them earlier this morning. I don't want a stampede for the feed bucket.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An "I" name?

Mint had her baby today - a tiny little doe. Her head seemed enormous as it was emerging from her mother - and then she was the smallest baby that I have ever had. She has No Size's Father's hair, so she is going to be adorable. In keeping with my scheme for names - Arizona cities or towns, I need an "I" name. I could not find one anywhere on the map. I did find an Imperial Natural Wildlife Conservancy, but I don't know, if that counts as a town. If I can't come up with one, I will skip I and J (the only name that comes up there is Jerome and not at all suitable and jump to K.
This is Espresso, the herdsire for the older Shetland sheep. He was sheared yesterday, so here are the before and after photos.

These are the ewes from the far out pasture (no grass, by the way) after they were sheared. They have udders, but none looks close. I have three in the arena that could deliver any minute. Pearl, the older Border Leicester/Shetland cross, was bred to a Jacob's ram and should have black lambs, if what they say on the Jacob website is true.

Here Danny is shearing one of the ewes in the far out pasture.
Trivia - 361 pounds of fiber and I have more to shear in a month. Their hair/wool was to short to shear them this past weekend.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Shearing Day

Danny makes shearing look easy. I got tired just watching. We actually got a head start on Thursday, because I was selling a batch of the wethers. Above an angora goat is getting sheared. Danny positions the goat exactly as he would a sheep. I have to use a stand, because I cannot control the goat and shear at the same time.
I managed to lure all of the goats into a pen by hauling the feed bucket in. I could not believe that I got ALL of them in with the first try. Usually there are a few that just won't go.Guess they were all starving - or they thought they were. All of the kids were able to walk through the panels, so they could come and go as they please. Three of them got playing on the tires. At one week old, they are already nibbling at hay. The kid in the wagon is hopping into it routinely to snack. He was asleep in it the other day.
Marc had placed some hay into Joshua's feed barrel.The kids are not afraid of anything yet. I caught a picture with my phone of the closest doe inside the pen and actually standing in the feed container. Joshua was not too happy about that, but he did not spit on her!
Fillip go this haircut on Friday afternoon because we knew that he would be nasty. We should have done Geoffrey also, because he was really mad when we did him this morning. Not a view fit for public consumption!

Update on babies - it has been quiet this week. Poppy, a Shetland ewe, had a ewe lamb on Tuesday night. Photos of her lamb are not really clear, so I will have to take others.
The best thing about shearing (besides a lot of gorgeous fleeces, is being able to see the udders on the dies and ewes. Some that I thought were imminent are a lot further out and some are very close. I just bet they are waiting until next weekend when I am at the 4th Avenue Street Fair.
Shearing will continue tomorrow until done. Two sheep will be reserved for shearing at 9 on Monday morning - for a school group. You are welcome to come and visit and watch the shearing.
Also, look for an article in the northwest section of the Daily Star on Thursday, March 19, 2009.We had a photographer come out and record the event for us. Now is that not cool?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


For those who came out on Friday and Saturday, I forgot to mention that I lost Faith on Sunday. My son does not get my grieving over a baby, that does not make it, when there are so many healthy ones running around. I think all of the babies are special and they will be remembered - even if it is only for how hard they struggled to survive.


The animals are now hanging out under the Palo Verde and Ironwood Trees. The Ironwood sheds its leaves in April, so it is a good thing that they will be sheared before then. Last year, the shearer I used could not make the scheduled dates, so I had fleeces with ironwood leaves in them. I also will not have a problem with rooing, since the sheep are being sheared early enough.
Jalapeno with her two daughters - Eden(white) and Elgin. It is funny how animals are as prejudiced about color are some people. They hang out together by color. The only reason a doe will accept a different colored kid is because it smells like her and they bond within moments of birth. You can't clean the kid off, or the mother will reject it. These two were born last Thursday night and are now very self-possessed. They hang together a lot more than the other sets of twins do. I think they are born sometimes with the desire to get as far as they can from the sibling that shared space with them in the womb.
This is Darling, Creme de Menthe's kid. She is hanging with Swiss' twins, until it is time to take a nap.
The duck in the front has been sitting on a nest for three weeks now and her first duckling, born on Sunday, has come out of the nest and follows her around. That baby is fast. It keeps up with the adults. It is funny to watch it run.
Colombian and Hazenut (shown above) have had their lambs. Hazelnut had twin ewes born yesterday morning. Columbian's were born early last Friday.
Shetland sheep are a lot easier to raise than the angora goats. Their lambs are up and drinking with minutes and running with their mothers very shortly thereafter. It is nice to not have to worry about them freezing or having to be helped. They are skittish and would be harder to handle than the goats.
This is Swiss with one of her twins. The twins are very independent and only come running up to her when they want to be fed. I am going to try to catch a photo of one of the babies jumping on the backs of the mother. They want the mother to get up, so they can drink. This is Grande and she was giving her mother a goat kiss - which I just missed capturing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Jalapeno's babies

This is mostly a note for myself. She had two large does this evening. A black and a white. The first is nice and strong. The second was chilled and needed to be blown dry and colostrum rubbed on the roof of her mouth. She was standing, when I left a few minutes ago. Mom needs time to bond, before I mess any more. I got the black doe on Jalapeno, while Marc held mom. I need to go back out in half hour to be sure that things are going well. I would have lost the white one, if I had not noticed at 8:30 that Jalapeno was in labor. It took her a while to deliver, but I was sure that she would at 9:15, since a bag had already emerged. We think it is really warm, but a baby can die very quickly with the smallest breeze since they are covered in amniotic fluid.

If they both make it, one will be Elgin and the other Eden, unless someone else has good "e" names and lets me know first thing in the morning!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Barbara's kids

She finally delivered her babies and without any problems. She went into labor while a Red Hat Group was here taking a tour. They wanted to watch, but animals are very funny about strangers. I started to worry about her, but went out half hour after the group left and she had Valley (above) and Avra (below) already on their feet. I moved them into the shed to give her a sense of security. I knew she was going to deliver this morning, because she kept going in and out of the shed. She normally does not go in there at all.

Avra's coloring is the paler shade of her father and Valley takes after his mother. I will use him next year for breeding, because he will be a deep chocolate color.
Swiss' kid, Casa, is going to drive her mother nuts. She has already figured out how to get out of her pen. I caught her before she left the shed. I will let them out tomorrow after the kids get tagged.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Ajo got his ear tagged and his tail docked. I called to consult with Tor and decided not to castrate until he is older. All of this was, so I could let him and his mother out, and let Creme De Menthe and her baby, Darling, could go in.

My sister, Paula, is among the helpers coming up with memorable names for the babies. Who would have thought that Arizona has so many cool names. This town is in Cococino. Never heard of it, or been there, but it exists! Just wait till you see the "e's" that she found.
This is Darling. The babies seem to be a lot stronger this year, I think it is because it is not so cold out and they are not getting chilled. They are up and on their moms a lot faster than last year.
Darling did seem to have the same problem that all babies do. Which end has the milk?
This is Swiss with Casa and Grande. She got very upset when Creme De Menthe came into the shed. She was worried about the new cries and kept checking to make sure that her kids were still there. They are growing rapidly. They will get tagged tomorrow and allowed to roam, after the tour group leaves. I figured that they might want a chance to hold the babies.
I do expect more babies tomorrow. The does were really putting a show on when I went out this evening. I need to do one more check before hitting the sack. No middle of the night babies yet, but I could always get surprised.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Casa and Grande

Went out without my camera this evening, so no photos. Casa is definitely Swiss' favorite. She is tiny and lively. Grande is always sleeping when I go out. She was born first and is always really full when I pick her up.

Ajo is now jumping on his mother to make her get up, so he can drink. He now has the hop-skip motion to his movements, so they are ready to get out.

Bisbee jumps under Sweet every time he sees me. I am going to sit and hold him tomorrow. His mother has really been easygoing about the whole process.

All of the rest of the pregnant does and ewes are becoming drama queens. I think seeing the other babies has them thinking that they are ready to get it over with.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I remember why I love them

I got a huge surprise this morning when I went out to feed. Sweet, one of my angora goats was delivering a baby. I knew by the size of the nose sticking out that it had to be a buck. That was not the surprise. I thought the No Size's Father, who had been in with them was sterile. All of the goats looked really skinny, so I placed a new buck in with them. Since the buck was Sweet's kid from last year, I put her in with last year's does. When she delivered, I realized that the other does could also be pregnant. I went in and checked for udders and all but one has them. She had a broken horn, so I put her in with the buck a lot later. She likely is pregnant, just not as far along. I am very excited because I had resigned myself to no white kid mohair this year - unless a color carrier produced white. They are all so skinny, that I find it hard to believe. I assume that most will only have one baby. That will be fine this year, since I can't afford for my feed bill to grow any larger.
This is Bisbee. I found Sweet delivering him this morning. Babies curl up and sleep in the sun when their bellies are full.
This is Bisbee shortly after birth. He had not found the teats yet. The curled up belly is a sure sign that a baby is hungry.
This is Casa. Her twin sister is darker and is named Grande. (If you have not figured it out yet, my theme this year is Arizona cities and towns.) These are Swiss' kids. She timed her delivery well. I had no sooner gotten Bisbee and Sweet into a pen, when I noticed that she was in labor. I moved them into the big shed with Mousketeer, the Rambouillet/Columbia cross (also referred to as a natural colored sheep.) The color of the kids' ears tells you about what color their first fleece will be.
Grande has a gorgeous chocolate color. They both are descendants of Barbara and Cinnamon, so they will have fine fleeces and gorgeous color.
This is Ajo. I was going to dock his tail and castrate him before letting them out, but I can't find my elastrator. It will show up when I least expect it. Anyhow, he is getting a short reprieve. If anyone is looking for an intact ram - let me know now!