Monday, March 2, 2015

Sheep Shearing-Scheduling and Facts about Sheep Shearing




March is here! I can't help but be excited.

March means Spring, and with spring comes sheep shearing, lambs, and warmer weather (we hope).

With sheep shearing on the schedule for the end of this month, I thought I would do some "repost" of shearing and wool post.




Facts about Sheep Shearing

Sometimes I am surprised by some of the "rumors' that fly around about farming.

One example of that is about sheep shearing. I have read articles that talk about the horrors of shearing sheep.  Last I checked, all of my sheep survive the shearing experience. Actually they handle it better than my toddlers did during their first hair cut!

I have heard that sheep are abused while being shorn,  even experiencing bodily injury. An experienced shearer knows how to handle a sheep,  and most of the time the sheep handle it pretty well. The lambs and yearling ewes are a little more high strung about it, but the shearer does not harm them.  Occasionally a ewe will get a nick from the clippers, but an experienced shearer usually doesn't leave a scratch! 
A good reason to hire an experienced sheep shearer. They do make the experience easier on everyone! 
( I think I  have received more injuries during shearing days, than the sheep :) )




I have heard about the unnecessary stress that sheep are put through by shearing because  a sheep will only grow the amount of wool it needs. False!  I keep sheep, we have missed shearing times, the wool gets VERY long, matted, dirty, and collects manure tags.

I have heard claims that sheep would shed their wool, naturally before summer. If only! I have never had a sheep shed its wool. If they did we wouldn't have to hire a shearer every year.

Our sheep will grow fleeces that weigh between 7-11 pounds annually.  After shearing, our sheep bounce around like lambs. I personally think they appreciate that hair wool cut! 

If you visit a farm on shearing day, you will see the sheep are handled with care, and the shearing experience takes but a few minutes.( We have our home school group coming out on shearing day, I assure you, there will be no children watching on in horror as the sheep get their annual clipping.)

Any smart farmer will not want harm to come to his/her animals. Why would they? They are an investment! It only makes sense to take care of that investment. If I had a shearer that abused my animals, or left them injured, I would be looking for a new shearer.

We pay for these sheep, they are not cheap. Most of our  ewes live their lives out here, we take good care of them. In return, they give us beautiful wool fleeces and lambs. Win, Win!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #109




The end of February and it is still dropping below zero at night.  Yes, I am still hanging  out in my makeshift studio dyeing wool, yellow, oranges, and greens. You can't tell I am longing for Spring.

I look forward to your Homeschooling, Homemaking and Homesteading post this week!


HomeAcre Host



  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post and My Featured Post





Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vegetable Soup in Electric Pressure Cooker



When we have a steer processed, we try to use all of the cuts of meat. One of the options they offer is soup bones, which we gladly take.

They are considered a "lesser" cut of meat, but in the Pressure Cooker with some added vegetables they make a great budget friendly, family meal.


I use two soup bones (two packages)



I place them in the Pressure Cooker with some onions, celery, and 2 cups water. ( I used dehydrated onions and celery)
Pressure Cook on high for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes then release the remaining pressure. (vent)
You could probably cook the meat for less time, but I like to cook it a little longer.

I remove the bones from pressure cooker, and remove the meat from the bone. (after 25 minutes, it pretty much falls off of the bone)  Add the cut up meat back to the pressure cooker.

Add vegetables. (you can add whatever vegetables you like or have on hand)
These are the veggies, I typically add.

Potatoes (washed, peeled, cubed) OR  Dehydrated Potato Slices
Green Beans-fresh, canned or frozen
Corn- frozen, canned
Carrots-fresh, dehydrated or frozen
1 quart of stewed tomatoes-home canned

I then fill the pressure canner up to the fill line with beef broth. (do not overfill)

Pressure Cook on low for 10 minutes.

Let the pressure go down for about 10 minutes and then vent to release the remaining pressure.


Not much of a "formal" recipe, I know. I change it up a little bit, each time I make it.

The pressure cooker does a great job taking a cheaper cut of meat and making it more palatable.

Served with French Bread, this meal is one of the girls favorites.

(Remember to follow the directions that come with your Pressure Cooker)





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Thursday, February 19, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #108




Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop!


Wow, winter is not letting up. Below zero temps continue to be in the forecast though next week...

One of  the things that have kept me sane, is working in my new make shift studio, dyeing wool. 

What have you been working on?


HomeAcre Host



  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post
(that shared a link back to the hop)



My Featured Post

Compost in 30 days | areturntosimplicity.com

Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A February Photo Shoot

February has turned out to be a cold one! Many days of below zero temps!

Delaney is the only one who has been brave enough to venture out with a camera.

The last few days have been cold enough even the woolly ewes have been hiding behind the barn, out of the wind to keep warm. I have left the gate open so they can come and go as they please.


 Here is Ethel, leading the way back out to pasture. She is our oldest ewe, and is considered the Matron of the flock.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Needle Felting with Wool





Needle Felting is yet another craft to use up that wool stash!

What is Needle Felting?
It is a fiber art craft that creates felt without the use of water.
Using a barbed needle, wool fibers are tangled together by a continuous jabbing of the needle into the wool fiber.



It is easy to get started-all you need is wool roving/batt, felting needle, and foam work surface.

I purchased my first needle felting kit at a fiber art show for the girls. You have to be careful with the needle (it is sharp) but it was a great project for children.

You can start out using a cookie cutter for a pattern.

You can work your way up to sculpting three dimensional projects.

I will be honest, I do not have the flair for making anything but "simple".  I have a friend, on the other hand, who from day one, creates amazing pieces of art. They raise sheep and have wool coming out their ears, but she doesn't spin or knit. This turned out to a great creative outlet for her.

This was her second project which started with a cookie cutter





This is one of her latest projects... I love it!!






It is nice having a dear friend who is so talented, she made me this amazing bird that came with her own nest and eggs. Most of it was made with wool from our farm.





Yes, Lucky Me !!

Embellishments, ornaments, and felted figurines are just a few things you can create with needle felting.




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Thursday, February 12, 2015

The HomeAcre Hop #107


Welcome to the HomeAcre Hop!


Anyone making plans for Spring yet?

I have not made any plans, but I am looking forward to warmer temps, green grass, and no more snow.

Share what you have been up to...


Kathi@Oak Hill Homestead
Nancy@Prudent Living on the Home Front
Tracy@Our Simple Life
Lisa Lynn@Self Sufficient Home Acre
Mary@Homegrown on the Hill
Heidi@PintSizeFarm
and Me @Clearwater Farm Journal

  Each Host will have their own Featured post, Make sure to visit their blogs to see if you were featured this week! (Don't forget to link back to one of our blogs if you'd like to be featured!)

Most Visited Post
(that shared a link back to the hop)



What could be more effective to getting your budget on track than a Spending Freeze or No Spend Month? A "Category Spending Freeze" can help change habits.


                                                                          

My Featured Post






Congratulations!
We love to read encouraging post about Homesteading. Please stop to congratulate the Featured Bloggers this week. If you were Featured, feel free to grab our button to display on your blog. 


Be sure to check out the HomeAcre Hop Pinterest Board where we share our Hop Favorites each week




Clearwater Farm Journal
Clearwater Farm Journal

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