Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

We have not had the best year. It could have been worse, I know, but it has been one of the more difficult ones.

We planted a hay field this year. Something we have talked about doing for years. Well I have posted about the drought that we had mid summer. We have been blessed that it did not continue on through the summer and that we have had plenty of rain and the pastures came back and have sustained the animals.

But, hay prices are still almost double there normal price. Our hay field looks horrible. There is a stand of alfalfa but you can not see it through the grass and weeds.

We have been waiting for someone to come and bale it so the alfalfa has a chance. Four weeks later we are still waiting. It is hard to have to rely on others, but it is what you have to do when you do not have the equipment to make hay.

Well we learn something new every year. This year we learned if we want to make hay we better invest in some equipment.

I am still hopeful the field will be rescued. We have made contact with someone else to see what they can do. I just hope they follow through.
Time will Tell!

Until then,I am crossing my fingers that we will have some roughage for the livestock this winter.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Impulse Buying

Impulse buying and farm animals?
Hmmmm, never thought the two had anything in common.

That is until I look out in the pasture and see the Paint Gelding that runs wild out there.

Well I don't know if I want to admit such a weakness, but there it is reminding me every day that farmers can buy on impulse too! It is not just for the shopaholics at Macy's.

Actually our intentions were good. What 10 year old girl  doesn't dream about Horses.
What dad doesn't give in? Well maybe some do, just not theirs, that often anyway.
In all fairness to my husband I did not put up much resistance.

Now what to do?

We have had this guy listed for quite some time, little did we know that horses are worth about a dime a dozen, funny how that doesn't get bought up when you are looking for a horse.
Everything we seen when we were buying that was ridable was well over 1000.
Just one of those things in life if I could do over again....

I am not knocking horses, we just discovered that we are not horse people.
Sheep people, yes...Goat people, yes...Dog people, yes...
Horse People...no!

We have a couple of people that are inquiring after him right now. Hopefully he will be sold and go to a nice Horse Farm where someone can let this guy know who's boss and he can start acting like a gentleman instead of the wild mustang wannabe that he is with us.

Funny how he figured out that we were not horse people before we did.

He is a beauty:  I can appreciate that!





Thursday, August 23, 2012

Moving Goats to Move Sheep

We had the joy of seperating lambs and kids today.

Whenever we have a day that we have to sort livestock we wish we had broken down and purchased a handling system.
Thankfully we have made some progress over the years. We have a small holding pen that the sheep are use to going into after being enticed with grain. It has worked pretty well.
But I still dream of a nice corral, chutes, and sorting gates.

Right now we have to put  the goats in the barnyard area.  They are easy to handle. They follow the girls right in just like the pied piper.  We have to move them first because they just love to get in the way when we are working with  the sheep.

Getting the sheep confined has gotten a lot easier since they are so use to going in the holding pen and  today we got lucky because the lambs came in too, which doesn't always happen. 
All in all it was as easy as it could be with the system we have.

A handful of lambs to sell.
One ewe lamb to keep.

Hoping next year brings us more ewe lambs.
Who knows, maybe even an improved handling system.



Twin Ram Lambs

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Poor Puppy

Scout was having his morning romp outside.
I heard him barking and thought the neighbor was out doing her morning jog with her dogs.
I went out and didn't see anyone.
I asked the kids what was going on. They said he had wandered  too close to the electric fence and had gotten hit.
Poor puppy, he wouldn't stop barking. There had to be some boogey man somewhere in the yard.
He was bound and determined to find it and get revenge for the assault.

We bought him in hoping to calm him down, but even with breakfast he is still barking and acting all flustered.

The dogs always find the fence sooner or later.  They all react differently. We had one hide for hours.
Most just run and look around like "Hey, did you see that" ?


I am sure he will be fine, but I am wondering how he will behave the next time he goes outside.

A few hours later... looks like he survived the ordeal...lesson learned.


Live and Learn


Monday, August 20, 2012

Fiber Festival Fun

We had a great time at the Michigan Fiber Festival.

We took a few pictures.....

Angora

Sheep Show

Flax
Mike is determined to grow some
Angora Goats
Thankfully we didn't have our trailor or we may have ended up with some Angora Goats.

Absolutely Adorable "upcycled" Wool coats and hats

Funny....


Old Fashioned way to tie a fleece
(before)

After

Couldn't leave the show without letting Mike check out the tractors


I would have to say that 2012 Fiber Festival was a success! I am glad we were there to enjoy it.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Michigan Fiber Festival 2012

If you live in Michigan or close by and are looking for something to do tomorrow stop by the Michigan Fiber Festival in Allegan.
I know that is where we will be headed!
They have fiber animals, demonstrations, vendors, and more.



http://michiganfiberfestival.info/index.html

Thursday, August 16, 2012

If At First You Don't Succeed....

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
Does anyone else remember that saying?

Well when it comes to knitting I just about gave up.
I took a class about a year ago. I learned how to knit and purl. I had made several attempts at making a scarf. Well after three failed attempts I gave up and thought maybe knitting was not for me.

I was shopping at a second hand store (something I love to do) and I found a Felted Knit Purse Kit (unopened)
Well I couldn't resist it was a 20.00 kit for 4.00!

So this week I decided to try my hand at knitting, AGAIN.

Thank goodness for online tutorials!!! They have been so helpful.
I'd like to  give a shout out to the site that has been a lifesaver,  because I can honestly say if it wasn't for the tutorial I would have given up.
I am over halfway done with the project.
It is not perfect, but I am happy to say that I still have the same number of stitches, I have dropped a few but because of the tutorial, I actually was able to fix the mistakes and move on instead of giving up.
I have learned a lot over the last week.
www.knittinghelp.com is the site to check out if you are having knitting problems.
They have videos, patterns, and they cover several different types of knitting.

Because this project is being felted it should help hide some of the imperfections.

I decided I am going to use it as a bag to store my knitting supplies, not that I am determined to become a proficient!

I would like to be able to do something with all of this wool.
Spinning Wool into Yarn seems pointless if you cannot knit it into something wonderful.
Someday I envision Wool Socks....
I have a while before I will get there but glad that I did not give up and gave this knitting thing another try.

Yarn is supposed to be slender, and relatively uniform. Theoretically, one pound of wool can be spun into ten miles of yarn, but not if I’m spinning. Within a space of ten seconds, my yarn goes from the size of my thumb all the way down to dental floss then back up to thumb-sized. Kim smiles encouragingly and explains this uneven type of yarn, with its slubs and irregularities, is called designer yarn and is highly valued
( Sheepish: Two Women, Fifty Sheep, and Enough Wool to Save the Planet by Catherine Friend)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Border Collies it is!

I have to say that I LOVE Border Collies!

We were looking for a dog for one our daugthers to show at fair, but also would do well living on a farm with sheep, goats and chickens.
We researched and decided to look into the Border Collie Breed.
We also decided to not get a puppy and to go through a rescue.

Well after several months of waiting we got Abbey a six month old female, rough coat, black and white Border Collie.
We absolutely loved her... she is the dog that we have since measured  all other dogs!
Maybe that is not fair but that is just how it is.
She did have some quirks, but they were outweighed by her loyalty, charisma, and her desire to do what needeed to be done! We didn't realize a dog could have such high energy but have an off button the minute she stepped into the house. My husband always thought that was so remarkable.

Since Abbey we have had several Border Collies.
All of our girls have had a Border Collie as a  companion growing up.
Each have had their own unique personality and  positive qualities, referring to the dogs...even though are girls had those too :)

I can honestly say that I can't imagine getting another breed of dog.
I am sure there are many that are just as wonderful,  but BC's just seem to be a good fit for us!



Tag
(4 years old)





Monday, August 13, 2012

Giant Ragweed

Is there any good use for Ragweed?
If there is I think we could make a profit.

We struggle with keeping this weed under control around here.

We have sprayed..yes chemicals... we thought maybe after a year or two of spraying we could get it under control and go more organic.
No luck. It always seems to find its way back here.

We go on vacation for 10 days and come home to ragweed that reaches the knees.
If it is let go it will get as tall as we are.
Now I am no green thumb, but I have to say that growing up I do not remember this weed in our garden. I do not remember any weeds that could get so tall and take over so fast.

I would love to do raised beds, not sure if that will help rid us of this challenge.
Living in an area surrounded by fields doesn't help, it just keeps getting blown in.

Trying to decide if I should do Fall Crops in the garden. To do that I would have to rid the summer garden of all of the weeds, the biggest culprit being the Ragweed.

It makes you wonder at times if it is worth the fight.
This year the Ragweed definately won the battle!
Not sure if I have the energy to rechallenge....

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Barn Kitties that are never in the Barn!

Here is a picture that my daugther took of our kittens. We  got them this summer to help with the birds and mice in the barns.
They are growing up so fast.
They have not yet figured out that they are Barn Cats. They are always on the deck waiting for the girls to come out and play with them.

They are spoiled babies!
TOBY and EZRA

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dog Projects...CHECK...Sheep Projects...CHECK...Goat Projects...CHECK

We have made it to Thursday!

Monday: Sheep Show:

We bought a Border Leicester Ewe and Ewe Lamb to the show. It was Delaneys first year showing sheep. She did not do Showmanship just breeding classes. The ewes we brought were not going to cooperate in the least! But it was a good experience for her. She may or may not do the Sheep Project again. It is primarily a Club Lamb show. They have a few sheep there for breeding classes but not many. We have considered showing in another Fair, but part of me feels we should support the local fair, and who knows maybe more Sheep Breeders will come and bring other things in beside the meat breeds. I would love to see more Wool Sheep there.

Tuesday: Dog Agility and Rally:
 You never know how it is going to go at the dog show, I guess that can be said about any of the shows at Fair.
It was Tags first year in the Agility advanced class. Teetor Totter was new and weave poles can be a challenge at times. He nailed those...but had trouble at the dog walk something he does every year...
So he did not qualify.
First Place in Rally with a qualifying score.

Wedensday: Dog Obedience Show- Goat Show
Obedience- Tag was the only one in the advanced class so a first place was a given.
Grooming-Second Place in her age group: Honorable Mention overall.

The Dog Show did not end until 3:00. It was a LONG Show.
Goat Show started at 4:00...Needless to say it was a hectic day.

Goat Show:  The girls had a great time!
They got 2cnd and 3rd place Showmanship.
They had a good year with the breeding goats.
We took 4 goats.
Toggenburg Doe with her  Doe Kid (Toggenburg/Oberhasli cross)

Toggenburg Doe received 1st place in Milkers 2-3

Doeling received 1st place in Jr. Doe Kid Class and Reserve Junior Champion

Toggenburg Doe/Doeling received First Place in Pair of Does



Oberhasli (Soapapilla) was shown in 4 year old Doe Class and received 1st place

Oberhasli (Recital) was shown in 3-5 milker class and received 1st place. She also received Reserve Champion in Senior Doe Class and Reserve Grand Champion overall Dairy Goat.

It was quite a night for the girls!


With the hot, dry weather the animals are not in the best condition so I was not sure how they would do. We were very happy they ended up doing so well.

Even  with all of the blunders. One of the big ones being we forgot to seperate doe kid from mom until after 9:30 a.m., 6 1/2 hours before show started. Thankfully Breeding Classses were last and that gave her a little more time to fill out but not
the suggested  12-14 hours.

Thursday: NO more shows! We can relax and enjoy the rest of the Fair.
We may actually get to visit the livestock barns and other displays they have at the Fair.







Sunday, August 5, 2012

We Survived Check In Day.

I know that probably sounds a little dramatic but if you have ever participated in fair with several livestock projects for three different children then you know how crazy it can get.
But I am happy to say animals are all checked in, projects turned in, and our obligation to the 4 H Boosters Eat Stand done!

Goats...
I thought we would never get all of the goats clipped. I forgot how much work that was. They all were great for the majority of the clipping but once you start messing with their legs and udders it can get interesting. The girls were troopers and hung in there through all of it even though by the last goat they were looking pretty frazzled.
Next year we will get an earlier start.
Oh wait....it is next year and it was the same as last year! Well this time we mean it!

Sheep
We ended up only bringing two.
A ewe and her lamb. Thankfully they didn't need much done yesterday except to get them in the trailer.
There were suppose to be more, but with the heat this year it has taken its toll on them and us. We had one daughter decide to tough it out and take two sheep that haven't been worked with too much. She scratched showmanship but decided to still get some experience in the sheep barn and will show them in their breeding classes.

We had storm to top off the night. But I am happy to say we were all in bed before midnight!




We survived Check in Day!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Clip Clip

We have been clipping goats this week for Fair. Yes, I know kind of last minute but with the heat and then vacation it has been put off.
Well it is suppose to be a hot one today, so much for the 80 degree weather they predicted.
We started early. You never know how the goats will behave.
Soapapilla was first this morning and I have to say she was WONDERFUL! Not one kick...She sat there like a lady at the salon....I was so  impressed.


After the clippers cool down, Delihlah is next, I am hoping she takes on the same attitude as Soapapilla did,  but I am having my doubts.

Clipping, Baking, Livestock Posters....It is going to be a busy day.
Let Fair Frenzy begin!

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