Monday, November 11, 2013

Everything New

First I must apologise for being so long between blogs, but hay isn't it wonderful to catch up with what we have been doing.
August (yes it was July when I last blogged and you saw our 5 new arrivals for Dakota and the lose of my Sam (beagle dog). Well August was a busy month getting ready for the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival  in September and I think I spent most of that month getting fleece ready for the show and working at my carder getting roving ready.pic of Custer the Ram lamb we bought hanging out with some of our boys enjoying the summer grass. Picture of Custer hang out with friends
 The Festival was great and thank you to every one that came to our stall, we appreciate your business and we value your comments on all of our products as it gives us a better understanding of what you our customers are looking for, always remember that custom colors are available with the dyed wool, roving or yarn.
 Just before the Festival a friend ask if we would be able to take her cashmere goats as she needed to re home them and it was one of the areas we where looking to go as we wanted goats milk so I could make goats cheese ( unfortunately with the licencing laws it is for our use only). But the fiber is not and we will have cashmere fiber available in the Spring of 2014.

 Jolie on the milking stand that Dave built.
 Some of the other goats the little one is Ben the new Billy/Buck we bought him from an unrelated flock just after we got the 14, the one in the top left is Gruff he is the main Billy /Buck that came with the flock.
 This is Polar a white neutered male and you can see his Cashmere coming up in his coat as he has curls.( goat hair is normally straight and stiff ish
 October the 14th we got our 50 day old chicks this photo is of them at about 6 weeks old they are getting their feathers, they are going thought the ugly ducking stage,
 New yarn I now have enough white Romney Rambouillet crosss sheep to make a batch of yarn and I got it back from Blackberry Ridge Mill late October , its a lovely Sports weight yarn soft and great for anything from scarves to sweaters. Is a small batch and I think it will go fast,


Its taken a while to get over Sam but last Friday 8th November, this little guy came to find his new home at Yorkshire Rose Farm
He is a beagle, his name is Copper and he is about 18 mth old, he is not too sure of the sheep and goats but I am sure he will make good friends with most of the residents of the farm and have lots of adventures with the not so welcome residents

As you can see Giz snd  Copper are all ready friends.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Its a long way form South Dakota

We would like to introduce you to our newest arrivals to Yorkshire Rose Farm
Gwen, Heather, Laura, Dakota and lastly Custer (Ram Lamb).

Last week we set off to South Dakota, we left after our Sunday Farmers Market, the farm we went to to buy our SAMM's (South African Meat Merinos) is just above Rapid City. We got to the farm just after lunch on Monday and was met by a very friendly family. 
Gwen and her son and Daughter in law, showed us round there farm and then it was down to business picking out our ram lamb, this was very tough as they had quite a few as they have 400 breeding ewe so that provided us with quite a few choices.
This done we headed for our motel and 2 days sight seeing before heading back to the farm Thursday to head home.
The journey home was long we left the farm around 10 am Thursday and drove stopping for fuel, and checking the water buckets for the sheep, they settled down in the trailer and munched away on a bail of hay. I think they found it easier than we did. We pulled in our drive at 2am Friday, exhausted, with one last check of the sheep we headed for bed.

Later we separated out 6 of our ram lambs to put with Custer and put the four ewes a a small paddock, we need to quarantine the for 3 to 4 week just in case they have an illness that could endanger our flock. They are all settling in quite nicely and getting a little more friendly towards us.

(above) The for girls

 (above) Gwen and Dakota

\Custer with some of our Ram Lambs, he is the white one in the middle of the two colored, with a Tunis cross bring up the rear. Custer is not keen on his photo being taken and always walks away.

 We are hoping these girls are pregnant and will give us lambs in late fall, so hopefully you will be seeing them again quite soon

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


Sam is the beagle sat down in the picture above.

Last night Dave and I decided it would be nice to have a night out and go to the movies. We got back around 9.30pm to to happy dogs wagging their tails in greetings. Dave went straight out to lock up the chicken coops and I made sure that both dog went out with him for their nightly duties.
Dave came back with only Giz, Sam was nowhere to be seen or heard, we called and called, we started to hunt for him and my worst fear began to come true. Sam has seizures and my biggest fear was he would go out and have a seizure and I could not find him in time, or I would be out shopping or something. Well it happened we found Sam and he was dead in the middle of some pine trees between the house and the barn.

So now my little fellow is chasing chipmunks in heaven I hope! and has left me with a whole in my heart as big as a barn door, my faithful, loving Sam was put to rest next to his old friend Blu.
 Dave, Giz, Sput and I will miss you.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Its all about the cheese

Yes I have been doing what Wisconsin is good at, making cheese.

One of our girls decided that she really didn't want her baby, one of the other girls had just lost her baby and was happy to help out, but that left the first one with milk and no drinkers so we decided that we would make cheese.

We both like feta and feta is often made from ewe milk so that is where I would start, well the start is milking and gathering a gallon of milk. Which didn't go down so well with the ewe ( her name is Git).

 Having gathered a gallon of milk and reserched the internet for rennet etc, I set about making feta

The next day I had my ball of feta cheese ready for cuting and salting.

After salting, it is put in to a whey bath and is left in the fridge, as it matures it gets crumbler and a little stronger. We have already eaten some of it and it is delicious and a second batch was made.

I have also had a go at making a hard cheese, this took 2gallons of milk and will be about 4mth before we know if I was successful.

This is my home made press as hard cheese needs the whey squeezing out of it, so from this batch of hard cheese I was able to may a small amount of recotta cheese yum.

Now having produced 4 gallons of milk/cheese my ewe is coming at milking time and is alot happier to stand and be milked ( treats help) and the milk is now being used on my weaker quad lamb as she needs building up alittle.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What a clever girl

Saturday mornings are always busy as Dave has to help feed the sheep and then get off to the Farmers Market, while I stay and be midwife.
As Dave was putting hay in the hay rakes I was making the rounds checking that everyone was ok, but when I came across Twinie I say two little hooves that where most definately the wrong way round for a normal birth.
I shouted for Dave and got to work straight away and the lamb came out (breach) before Dave got to us, alive and coughing. As Twinie was so big and has had to have a helping hand to get up in a morning I knew that one lamb was out of the question, carefully I felt for another lamb, oh no front leg is down, I slowly moved the lamb so both legs where correct and that was twin boys. But I had felt more than 4 feet in there so another feel round and the third arrived, breach again.
That is it I said to Dave lets help her dry these little guys and get to the market, all the time watching Cappo making a nest in the corner of the barn, I will be back to check on you I said to her as I finished up the chores.
Two hours later Cappo had triplets and needed no help from me apart from a little drying, I then went to do a second check on Twinie to make sure she had all three under control and they where all feeding and to my suprise she had given birth to a fourth lamb, a girl, tiny, wet but alive. It has been touch and go with the girl and she needs help at feeding time as the two big boys clam the milk but the other two are now doing well.

Twinie having a rest
Cappo looking after the four triplets and one of her own, unfortunately one of Cappo's died in the night, the first 24hrs of life are always critical and some lambs just forget to breathe just like some babys.
Lambs at play


Friday, March 1, 2013

One Member of the team down

It all started Wednesday morning with one of the yearling ewes starting to make signs of going into labour. So for the rest of the day I was backwards and forward to the barn and she didn't progress very far, which is quite normal for a first timer. At 4pm she looked closer and by the time Dave got home I was getting more worried about her, so I gave her a quick examine and decided she was better left alone.
I had said that I would fasten up the chicken house but the hens had not gone to bed so I left and went up to the house to get supper ready, the evening progressed with around of visits to the barn with still now signs of lambs.
At 8pm I remembered the chickens and set off with Sam and Giz( the dogs)  to close up the coupe, on entering the chicken run I found chickens in the snow looking startled and upset, I gathered up two and followed a frantic Sam to the coupe, where I found him with a critter. Pushing the two chucks in to the coupe I ran back to the house for Dave and his gun.
On getting back to the coupe we found Sam still had the critter and we gathered up the rest of the girls, Dave shot the opossum.
 As we went back to the house we saw the Sam was limping on his front leg, A close inspection shows a swollen knee, I think he most of slipped on the ice while catching the opossum.
 So he is having ice packs and rest my brave little guy and all my chucks are safe.
But the night didn't finish there our little yearling decided that she was going to lamb ( not very well) at 3am and at 5am I called the vet, the lambs where both backwards and both dead. The vet could not say why they died, but twins that get taffled together sometimes damage the placenta and die.
The good news is that she is doing well,as you can see and we are milking her and freezing the milk so I have good colostrum milk on hand.

Even better news one of the older ewes had triplets this morning,(that colostrum milk may get used ), this is the last one born a girl bearly 20 minutes old.

The other girl and her brother heading for milk.
Lastly Millies little one a couple of days old but already getting in to mischief.

Monday, February 25, 2013

New Arrivals

 As I opened the barn door on Sunday morning around 3am the sound of little lambs crying made me smile.
Yes the first of the girls (BT) had given birth to twins, a ram and a ewe.
This is proud BT eating hay and watching her twins.

 This is Millie and she gave birth this morning around 4am again twins and again a ram and a ewe.

 Millies ram lamb.
BT's twins

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Learning something new

 Three weeks ago I went on a weaving class with a friend and while it is not exactly something new for me, I certainly need the refresher class.
I already have a floor loom that was not getting used as I was not sure how to warp ( thread) up the loom and when my friend said she would be interested in going on a begining weaving class I decided that it was a great idea to get me going.

While at the class I decided that a small 16" table top loom would be a great idea as I could use it anywhere at home at the farmer market, outside
nice days etc and to experiment with smaller pieces on mew techniques. The class was great we went to the Woolgatherers in Fond du Lac and had a great day with them.

The top pic shows my table top loop, it is now warped with my Romney wool and I am weaving with a mixture of Romney and hand spun Romney and Rambouillet.

Next is my floor loom, yes I have progress to getting this one warped and I am weaving
cotton kitchen towels. Strange you may think

weaving cotton when I have all this wool, but I  sure that I would make some mistakes when I warped the loom for the first time and I can live with mistakes in kitchen towels but not in fabric that I may wear.

This pic is of my first piece of my table top loom, this scarf is warped in hand spun shetland with a weave of mohair ( which is some comercial spun that I had in my knitting stash).

The hardest part in weaving is the time it takes to warp the looms, the weaving go's fast.

This last pic is of another scarf woven from Romney wool that I dyed, bright and cheerful to take away the winter blues.

I am sure I will be taking a few more classes at The Woolgathers as I would like to learn different techniques and what could be better to do on a snowy day, while waiting for the girls start lambing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Getting Ready for lambing

The time for lambing is getting closer, we should start around the second week in February so we are starting to get the girls ready. They are getting their hooves trimmed and a hair cut, as you can see BT is showing her new do.
This is called crotching out and usually the whole of the rear is sheared ,  even over the tail, but for these girls I do as little as we can get away with as it is a little cold at the moment and I wouldn't want to walk around without a coat.
 We crotch out for two reasons the first is so we can easily see what is going on and if any complications occur we are not fighting around  the wool,
The second is once the lambs are born they can find mama's teats easily and we can see that they are nursing properly.
Tinkerbell is a little shy about showing her do.


Dave has also been constructing a temporary chicken run inside our big chicken run so that the young hens can go out.  I have been opening the little door in the back of the coop since Monday but not one of them is brave enough to go out yet.

You can see how big they are now and it is so nice to see the different breeds and how their feather markings are changing
The pure whites are white rocks
The brown's are red stars
The dark with grey necks are wyandots
and the all black are Austrolops.