Monday, March 29, 2010

Spring Shearing

We started the spring shearing on Friday. Danny arrived a day early, so we did the sheep that were further out and the goats in the far out pasture. Marc helped bag and prepare shots for the animals.

Since so many people asked - no animals were given tranquilizers. Animals resting on their tailbones are immobilized, so they do not struggle. Most of the ones sheared had been sheared before, so they knew the drill. The blue stuff that was poured on the animals' backs is a wormer that kills lice and internal parasites. The shots are CD&T which prevent overeating, diphtheria, and tetanus. It was like a spa day for them, because in addition to being sheared, they also had their hooves trimmed.
These sheep were sheared during the festival. There was a lot of racket until the moms and lambs found each other.
Miss Oregon had twin ewes mid afternoon after the shearing moved to the goat pens. She is moorit and it looks like her lambs have shades of it. Only time will tell, since Shetland lambs are born one color and can be another by the time they are two months old. I named the lighter colored one Spring and the other Shearing. I will remember them easily that way.

Thanksgiving looks like something from a science fiction movie. I was not planning on having her sheared, but an alpaca breeder friend suggested that her second fleece will be nicer, if I did.

At the end of the day, The Witch's kids escaped their pen (ran away from home), so I let them all out. They are returning there for their naps and bedtime.

Lynnae from Chamomile Connection came out to see the animals at the end of the day and mentioned that there was a lot of hair. Turns out that a goat managed to hide somewhere all day long and not get sheared. Marc and Danny caught her and she is now as naked as the rest!

Another ewe delivered an ewe lamb yesterday morning. Agave, an angora goat, delivered a buck last night (he took a while to get on mom) and Pear, one of the Texas Doe's daughters delivered twins this morning. At least 1 more goat will deliver today. I am still waiting on an ewe in the arena. She must be carrying twins.
Someone has sent photos of the booths, but I have not been able to load them. I was too busy to take any - par for the course!
Thanks to all who came. We had a record turnout. The nuno scarf raffle brought in $113 for the Casa Maria Kitchen and was won by Anne Tebo.
Other winners:
Cheryl Wendt - Simple Felted Flowers Kit donated by the Gypsy Studios
Amy Oliver won the Sari Silk donated by Chamomile Connection
Cheryl Michael won a bag of yarn donated by Unique Designs By Kathy
Jessie Virgin won stitch markers donated by Handmade by Sheri
Bernadine Richey won stitch markers donated y Handmade by Sheri
Amy Holzgrafe won a nuno felting kit donated by Unique Designs By Kathy
They will be notified by email, if they provided one. Otherwise, I sure hope they are reading my blog!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Almost ready

I got my shop put back together on Monday and then spent two days spinning. Above is a picture of all but three skeins that I am adding to the shop. With the 4th Avenue over and the spring shearing almost here, I felt a little pressure to have something new in the shop. My favorite of these is the one at the far right in the front. Shirley, if you are reading this, what was left of your nuno felted shawl are the center front skeins. They turned out really pretty. I am currently spinning a single in every shade of blue that was at hand - almost all kid mohair.

Forest was the sire for all of the black does. If you remember, The Witch had her twins on Monday. Well, her son is Forest (Gump) Jr. He is not getting the idea for drinking. I have had to lock The Witch's head in the panel in order to milk her, then feed the buck and then put the buck on her. Will try one more time tonight. Hope he does not become a bottle baby. He was nudging my leg this afternoon in hopes of extracting milk.

The ranch is almost all spruced up. Marc took a trip to the dump and I raked three hours today with some help. All of the pens got a once over. I have two school groups coming in the morning to see shearing, get an animal tour, and a fiber demonstration.

Saturday is going to be a big day. I have had lots of calls about the spring shearing, so I expect a good turnout. There were mentions in three places in today's paper, which is awesome. I was afraid that my submissions would get lost in the listings, but they caught my eye. Sure wish the paper would print the website - makes it easier for people to find directions and know a little about what they are coming to see. We are going to have great weather.

Danny is supposed to be here any time. After shearing for the school group in the morning, we are going to shear the adult angora goats and most of the llamas an alpacas. I am keeping some in fiber till the tours are done tomorrow. Hate for anyone not to see how cool they look in full fleece!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spotted Lambs

In response to a question about whether the spotted lambs will keep their colors and are they part Jacob: The lambs are 100% Shetland. My Shetland named Spots has spots. Her wool turned all white. I won't know for two months whether they will keep the spots, but my assumption is that the black will fade to gray or white, since it has happened to all of the rest. Too bad, because I think they are cute!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lots of babies

This is Onyx with her ram lamb born yesterday morning right before I went dow to the 4th Ave Fair.
The two lambs in the foreground were born yesterday. Marc said he saw them at 11 a.m., but he did not think that they were new since they were large and dried off. I knew they were as soon as I saw them. It is amazing how many variations there are in coloring and how easy it is to pick out the different ones. I have a lot of spotted lambs this year.

Dell and her mother were evicted from their pen this afternoon after she got her shots. I figured that I would be needing the pens soon. She was not ready to move out, so she found a spot in the large shed. Her mother is hoarse from calling her.

The Witch had twins this afternoon, so I moved her into Dell's old spot. We have named the goats Broom (doe) and Handle (buck.)

Jalapeno had a huge buck right after The Witch delivered. Based on her size, I was expecting twins. Her afterbirth is out, so he was Lonely and was given that name.
My shop is set back up. It always takes longer to do after a shop. My morning customers were very understanding. I hauled them out to see babies. I am a proud mama, after all!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Onyx had a ram lamb this morning. He looks like a Border Leicester and is huge!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Street Fair

The above is what you see as you approach my booth. This was taken late in the day, so they are still there.
This is a booth photo taken about the same time.

Kyle's girlfriend, Tonia, took pity on me and helped out at the fair yesterday and today. I taught her how to drop spindle.
As you can see, she is a natural - very left brained and already spinning lace weight!

Tonia is a crocheter - and now a knitter. She learned how to knit yesterday, purl today, and then I had her knit 2 purl 2, and now she is creating her own sampler scarf. She says it will be for Kyle.
The street fair traffic was really light yesterday and today compared to its usual. Most people were out for a walk and socializing and not really even glancing into the booths. Some of my regulars stopped by and said they would be out for the festival this coming Saturday.
Marc is getting a real break. I was afraid we were going to have a baby explosion this weekend, since I am not here, but they are all holding off. 5 months ago we were having a heat wave, which probably explains it.
All babies are drinking off their mothers - so no bottle babies. I did lose Garnet's daughter this morning. I expected it, since she was really out of focus last night. I have decided to have a vet come out, if any of the rest get it, so I can try to tube feed. This ewe was sucking down the glucose, so there might have been something else going on. I plan to sell Frodo right after shearing. I don't plan to raise any more Jacobs, since their wool is not all that great. After three years, I have nothing to show for it and watching a sheep fade away is an awfully sad thing.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Baby Updates

No photos today. I spent the day packing the shop and then setting it up at the 4th Avenue. The fair runs from 9-6 according to the paper and I am in booth 331. I will have the shade of a Tattoo Parlor! Come visit, if you have time.

Dell had an iffy day yesterday, but she is definitely on her mother now. The little black doe born last Saturday had to be bottled fed yesterday and earlier today, but she seemed full when I went out tonight, so her mother is probably drinking enough water to be able to support all three. I will check again later tonight and before I leave in the morning.

I lost Granite, my Jacob ewe, to toxemia last year.It looks like I am going to lose her daughter this year. I am force feeding her glucose and a vitamin and mineral supplement, but she needs to have those babies soon! I did all of the research and talked to vets and breeders last year and none of them say that a C-section is worth the money. You lose babies and probably the mom and you would never breed the mom again. I have decided that I will sell her and her babies, if they make it, as well as Frodo. Their fiber does not justify the amount of work and money that I am putting into them.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A white angora goat

Dell was born this afternoon and she knows where the milk is. I put her on again this evening, so I know she has a very full belly. I think her mother is in shock - she is a first time mom and is not quite sure what to do. I call it the teenage pregnancy syndrome. This kid is out of a buck from Oregon, not the Black Sheep Cup, so I am getting some really new blood. The buck had gorgeous hair, so I am hoping that he passed that along. Dell's mother is more a traditional angora, so her 4th fleece will be only OK - not next to the skin like the Texas line.

I am checking animals every 45 minutes during the day. The ones that least expect are the ones that are delivering, so I have some Prima Donnas out there.

The Jacob's ewe (that is her name, since she is the only one) has udders and seems pretty close. I hope she delivers tomorrow, since she did not eat today. I fed her the power punch and the glucose solution. She inhaled that, so I am not having to tube her yet. Her mother died of toxemia last year. This one looks like she is carrying triplets or more.

Monday, March 15, 2010

4th Avenue

I managed to forget to include the information about the 4th Avenue in my last post.

I will be there - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in booth 331. It is in the same area that I have been in for the past few years - southwest side between 7th and 9th.

I will be bringing all of my finished goods, yarns and a sampling of rovings, batts and mohair locks. If you are going and want me to bring something specific, please let me know. The shop will have roving and batts and the millspun yarn. Marc will be here and I am hoping to have a friend hang out during my shop hours, since I have been getting a lot of drop ins.

No babies this morning. A few sheep and one goat could deliver any time. I am hoping that they will all pop early this week, so Marc won't have to deal with it alone. He does know what to do now, which is a total relief, but he does have to work, even if here at home, so he can't be out there as much as I am.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

More Babies, Yarns and 4th Ave

I accumulated quite a few skeins that I priced for the shop all at once. They looked really nice together, so I took a photo. Three of the skeins have already sold.
We have had an awful lot of rain recently. The two sky photos were taken on the same day.
My friend, Alan, wanted me to post a few photos of the chicks that I added to the flock. In the week since these photos were taken, the chicks have almost all of their real feathers.
Below are a bunch of animal pictures. I am getting some interesting color combinations, but from past experience know that the colors that I see today will change to white or tan by the first shearing.
Every and Ready.

Flowers and Content.

Columbian with Light and Dark.
Spots with her daughter, Polka Dot.

Night Club (99) with her daughter, All Dressed Up.

Night Club's son, Man About Town.

Pearl's Daughter with her daughter, Midget.

Eighty One with one of her daughters. Born this morning and still unnamed.

A Shetland Ram born on Thursday. He is spoken for, so I will let his owner name him.

Dark Chocolate (62) gave me a scare last night. She had stuff dripping at 5 p.m. when I went out to feed. She was not dilated, so I fed the rest of the animals and went back to check on her. She did not appear to be in labor and was still standing around, but not willing to eat - even grain. I raked the common area and finally decided to go in and check back in half hour. She was trying to push at this point, but she still had not dilated, so I could not help her. In hindsight, I have to laugh at how she rolled like a dog a few times. I guess she was trying to move her babies. She would not let me get close and I certainly did not want to chase her, so I went back inside. Since it was after 9 p.m. I figured that she was possibly miscarrying her babies. Everyone says that the babies are goners, if the mom's water breaks and the babies are not born within half hour or so. Since she was not even trying to push, I figured it was bad news.
Imagine my delight when I went out at 10 and discovered her cleaning a second baby that was already up on its feet. The first baby was dried off, but too cold. Since Dark Chocolate was pawing at the ground frantically, I knew there was one more baby to come, so I rubbed the first born and waited. After the third baby popped out, I grabbed Dark Chocolate and with Marc's help got her into the shed. Triplets - two bucks and a doe! I was excited, but not happy about the first baby, so I milked Dark Chocolate for some colostrum and sent the doe into the house with Marc to be dried, warmed, and fed. Half hour later, she was warm enough to get on her feet, go back, and drink from her mother. I went back out at 1 a.m. and then at 5:15 a.m. and each time one of them was drinking. The photo above was taken early this morning. All three are happy - which means I am also!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Different colors and a set of twins

On Tuesday night at Barnes and Nobles, I discovered an inexpensive book on Georgia O'Keefe. I loved this color combination and thought that the curves would work well in a pin weaving. Yarns are selling fast enough now, that I have to focus on spinning, o above is the batt I carded on Wednesday.
This one of the skeins of yarn that I spun yesterday while demonstrating for a freeform spinning class. I used very little yellow in it and had to re-card some of the colors on the smaller carder in order to get the color variations that I wanted. I spun another today that is still in the wash.

This is a close up. A very different color combination for me.

Columbian had twins last night. They were out of a ram that was one of Pearl's quadruplets. How do I know? He was the only one with white in his background, and these two babies have tails that are way too long to be pure Shetlands. So, their background includes: Border Leicester, Jacob, and Shetland. They are both ewes and I have named them Light and Dark.

I managed to get Poppy's babies and Early ear tagged and with their first set of shots today. I then let Poppy and her twins out because I wanted to free up a pen. I had to put them back in the pen this evening, because the twins were out of control and Poppy was running ragged trying to keep up. The other ewes were butting heads with her, so it seemed the better thing to do. Marc had told me to let them out days ago. I wanted to wait till they were old enough to ear tag. I figured we would never catch them. I was right. We had to lure Poppy back into the pen with grain. I think she was relieved.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A couple of wild days

Saturday night there were no clouds - except for where the moon hung.
Sunday we got 1.25 inches of rain. The animals looked like drowned rats. Winter and the other alpacas and llamas did not even look for shelter. I did notice that Thanksgiving's fleece is slowly turning the same shade as her mother's. It was quite obvious when she was wet.

I knew we were getting a lot of rain when our wash started to run. It did not overflow the banks, but the rain sure made a mess of the animal pens.

I just added these skeins to the home shop. The coiled yarn is my favorite.

Above and below are the two sides of material that I made during Saturday's felting session. I started out with the idea of making two dowry style bags, but have decided to actually use a pattern for one of them and line it with fabric as another sample of what can be done with felt. One of the felters has agreed to demonstrate flat wet felting at the Spring Shearing festival.

Today started out very quietly. I took pictures of a few angora goats resting early in the morning. I was out in the area for a while, since I knew I had a school group coming and I needed to rake. It is a good time to watch animals and check for signs of imminent delivery, hair stuck in the mouths, etc.
This is Ready. He is very curious and not overly afraid. He always checks out my legs and boots.
He had a huge day today, because he was the star attraction for the school group. I carried him out, so the children could hold him - and he got held a lot! About 90 children showed up to tour the ranch and get a spinning demonstration. A few more than I had planned on, but they were very well behaved, so they got to hold Ready and feed the alpacas, llamas, and angora goats. The children had some good questions and I need to answer one that a boy asked and I never got a chance to answer.
He wanted to know, if the tags in the animals' ears were price tags and why did all of them have one. Animals are required by law to be marked in some way, so the farm they come from can be identified. I have a ranch ID on each tag, as well as a number indicating the order in which the animal was born here on the ranch. The lower the number, the older the animal. I will be tagging my lambs and kids this year starting with 320. With 4 lambs already (1 born this evening), I am already up to 323 as of tonight. And no, they are not all for sale!

The children came on 3 buses. This was the smallest one and the only one that dared to park in my driveway. I have had the larger ones in the driveway, but they parked on the road this time.
Flowers had a baby girl this evening. Another Jacob cross out of a Shetland. I am going to have a lot of black fleeces this year!
I am going to name her "Content." She was kind of cleaned up and had a full belly within two hours. She was fast asleep the last time I checked.