Monday, January 23, 2017

Added to the Bookshelf; shepherds of coyote rocks




I have always loved reading and collecting books. I will admit, that I had not done much reading this past year. One of my goals for this year, is to read more.

In January, we attended the MSPA (Michigan Sheep Producers Assn.), and one of the guest speakers was, Cat Urbigkit, a sheep rancher, author, photographer, and LDG breeder. She had a wonderful presentation where she shared her experiences raising sheep out West and using livestock guardian dogs. Afterwards, she had a book signing, where I picked up one of her books. "shepherds of coyote rocks'.

It was the perfect book to start out my 2017 reading challenge. I loved it!  It was very interesting to read about raising sheep out West on public lands, the trials they experience, and the successes they have. Very different than my experiences, raising sheep in Michigan.

 The book was also shares her travels visiting other shepherds in different parts of the world, with some added history about shepherding and using LGD's.

If you have a interest in shepherding, ranching, LGD's, or nature, it may be a good read for you as well.

Anything new on your bookshelf?


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Simple Homestead Blog Hop #87




Welcome to the hop!


Still enjoying 40's in Michigan, what a crazy winter.
We are expecting a few winter lambs this month, any day now...
What has you busy?

 Co-hosts





Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram Tracy at Our Simple Homestead - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Nancy at On the Homefront - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Dash at Bloom Where You're Planted - Facebook - Instagram Delci at Heritage Homestead - Facebook - Google+ - Pinterest - YouTube;Sandra at Clearwater Farm - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram
Most Visited Post from last weeks hop...
Getting Rid of Stuff
My Featured Post
Keeping Your Dollars From Taylor Made Ranch
Congratulations!

 If you were featured be sure to pick up your, " Simple Homestead” button. We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. If you were featured, grab a button to display proudly on your blog.


Oak Hill Homestead


The Rules


You are invited to share your original homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts. We have a few little rules: 
  • Family friendly posts only!
  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.
  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here.
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.
  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.
  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted.

Let's start hopping!







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Monday, January 16, 2017

The Search For a New Sheep Shearer




One of the biggest challenges with raising wool sheep is finding a sheep shearer. There just isn't that many people who shear flocks, especially smaller ones.

The last several years sheep shearing has been pretty stress free. We call up the shearer, schedule a date and time, the sheep get sheared at the scheduled time, and I am knee deep in wool fleeces for months.




This year, we texted our shearer to schedule our 2017 sheep shearing, the reply is not something that we were expecting, our shearer is no longer shearing sheep! I am so disappointed!  It is not easy to find a good sheep shearer. I was comfortable with the guy we had. I even teased, that he promised he would be shearing for a very long time....sigh. I guess wrestling sheep is not something he wants to deal with, after working his regular job. 



I know some learn how to shear their own sheep, and though I feel comfortable shearing a few here and there, our annual sheep shearing is not something that I am remotely interested in taking on. I have never regretted handing over that check to the shearer for a job well done, and making shearing day something that I look forward to.






So the search begins for another sheep shearer...a task we have had to take on before...one that I am not looking forward to.


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Thursday, January 12, 2017

Simple Homestead Hop #86



Welcome to the hop!


We have had strange weather for January, which included a short thunderstorm a couple of hours ago. Snow storms are what is expected this time of year in Michigan.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

 Co-hosts





Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram Tracy at Our Simple Homestead - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Nancy at On the Homefront - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Dash at Bloom Where You're Planted - Facebook - Instagram Delci at Heritage Homestead - Facebook - Google+ - Pinterest - YouTube;Sandra at Clearwater Farm - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram
Most Visited Post from last weeks hop...
A List of Chores - Amish Short Story
Congratulations!

 If you were featured be sure to pick up your, " Simple Homestead” button. We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. If you were featured, grab a button to display proudly on your blog.


Oak Hill Homestead


The Rules


You are invited to share your original homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts. We have a few little rules: 
  • Family friendly posts only!
  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.
  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here.
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.
  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.
  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted.

Let's start hopping!

This week's hop code:





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Monday, January 9, 2017

Pasture Happenings-The New Year

New year on the farm....welcome 2017! 


Things have been pretty quiet around here. Most of the sheep are out on pasture, with the replacement ewe lambs in the barnyard.  We have a few ewes that are due to lamb in January,
 they are being moved to the barn as the temperatures have been in the single digits this past week. 
We could see lambs as early as this week :) 


Delaney took Scout out on a pasture walk, 
the sheep didn't know what to think, as her and her camera are usually alone.
He behaved and once the sheep figured out that he wasn't out there to work,
they went about their business.


As you can see our Romney ewes look like they need their bangs trimmed!
They tend to be our  messy sheep. We really need to buy a round bale hay feeder,
that limits the hay that makes it way into the fleeces. sigh...



We haven't had much snowfall so far- and no, I am not complaining about that. I am perfectly happy with just  few inches here and there.

How are things at your place this winter?


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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Simple Homestead Blog Hop #85



Welcome to the hop!


What has you busy in January?

 Co-hosts





Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram Tracy at Our Simple Homestead - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Nancy at On the Homefront - Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest Dash at Bloom Where You're Planted - Facebook - Instagram Delci at Heritage Homestead - Facebook - Google+ - Pinterest - YouTube;Sandra at Clearwater Farm - Facebook - Pinterest - Instagram
Most Visited Post from last weeks hop...
Refinishing kitchen cabinets
Congratulations!





 If you were featured be sure to pick up your, " Simple Homestead” button. We look forward to seeing what you have to share this week!  If you would like to be featured in the future, be sure to link back to the hop. We love to read encouraging posts about homesteading. Please stop by to congratulate the featured bloggers this week. If you were featured, grab a button to display proudly on your blog.


Oak Hill Homestead


The Rules


You are invited to share your original homesteading, homemaking, and homeschooling posts. We have a few little rules: 
  • Family friendly posts only!
  • No links to blog hops or posts dedicated to advertising products.
  • Please share posts that you haven’t linked up previously to keep the hop fresh.
  • Please visit other bloggers and let them know you found them here.
  • Please follow us by email! You’ll receive notice when the hop is open for business.
  • Only share content and photos that you have created or have permission to share.
  • By linking to this hop you are giving us permission to link back to your post and share one photo if you are featured.
  • Please note: Posts that don’t follow these few little guidelines will be deleted.

Let's start hopping!









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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raising or Buying Beef



Over the years, we have purchased several feeder steers from our neighbor who raises beef cows. We buy them at about 500 pounds and raise them on our pastures until they are finished.

With our sheep numbers growing and work that needs to be done on our pastures, the last two years we have opted to purchase finished steers from the same neighbor, instead of raising our own. We choose to use a local, reputable meat processor for the butchering of the steer.

There are many benefits to buying a steer.

1) Money Savings 

We save money when we  buy a steer (half/whole) over buying it by the package at the local food markets, especially the more expensive cuts of meat.

2) Better Quality 

When we buy or raise our own meat, it has always been superior to what we have found at our local markets.

3) Supporting local farms

I like to know where my food comes from and how it has been raised. When we raise our own, I know exactly how the livestock is treated and what it has been eating. If I can't raise it, I like to support the local farmer who can. Our neighboring farmer, raises steers that are fed primarily on pastures/grass, which is what we prefer.  I also know he can use my hard earned dollars, more than the local grocery.

I always find it interesting when I read post in homesteading groups that declare, if you don't raise it or butcher it yourselves, you shouldn't eat it. I have a different mindset. I think raising and processing your own meat are important, useful skills to have. We have done it!  But, I have no problem supporting local farmers and butchers. We have purchased chickens, hogs, steers, turkeys etc. from other homesteaders/farmers. Grateful, that when I can't (or simply don't want to) do it, I can support someone else who can/does.

Maybe I am just not a hard core homesteader.  Just a city girl who moved to the country, happy that her kids have a connection with where their food comes from. I see many people trying to be more self sufficient, and getting discouraged because they can't do it all. I say, do what you can and shed the guilt when you can't do it all.



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