Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting Ready

In order for us to feel comfortable about bringing new stock onto the farm, we want to make sure we are prepared (or as prepared as we can be...) so this Fall we put new fencing and storage on the top of the project list. As well as a medical preparation. (Supplies, health check, etc.) Luckily for us, the large animal practice we use was offering free fecal checks (we love free!) and so even though the sponsor of the clinic was one of those large animal pharmaceutical operations (hoping to push their wormers, of course).

So all I had to do was get samples from everyone, label them, and get to the vet's office on the appointed Friday. I started a week in advance; good thing since most of what I got when I went to visit was this:

What's in the baggies? Snacks? Yummies? Food? Baggies mean goodies, I know it. Therefore I'm not taking my eyes off you...I want to be first when the cookies appear...

This is Angel - just multiply the photo by four more - they all solidly refused to follow their normal routine or show their butts so I could positively identify which chocolate drops came from which sheep. (Sigh)

It took the entire week to gather what I needed, but finally got the five sheep and one goat to produce what I was looking for. Luckily for me, I arrived late enough in the day that the company rep was backed up (no pun intended) and so full of poop samples that he could not do the fecal test right then and there. (That saved me having to explain to the eager salesman about raising animals organically and my lack of faith in their miracle concoctions...)

We worm with Spring and Fall applications of garlic ( three or four cloves each over three days) and in the Fall they get all the pumpkins they can eat.
As you can see, nobody (especially Hattie) has a problem with this regimen.

We also rotate pasture every few days with our Electronet and they don't double back on the same area for around two weeks, if possible. The only drawback to Electronet is that a few of them have figured out how to use their fleece to absorb the shock just enough to tolerate slipping under the fence if the flower garden looks especially tasty. So faces/polls/ears are kept well clipped.

So - this years results? (Drum roll, please...)


No, not a typo. The sheep showed zero. Zip. Nada. And Cicero, the lone goat, showed 1.

Realistically, they usually carry a small, bearable few as that is normal for ruminants. So I'm sure they are in there somewhere. But we felt a lot better about our Fall arrival, knowing he was coming into a healthy flock and pasture.

Our only planned changes for 2010 are the addition of a few more poultry to free-range the pasture (We had a flock of turkeys this year) and the usual enhancement of pasture areas with a liberal sprinkling of orchard grass seed in the Spring. And if I get REALLY motivated, perhaps a little clearing of scrub to create a wee bit more grass area. Maybe...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

It's that time...

One of my favorite winter milestones: time to order the seeds! Even though the process is one we've been perfecting for a few years, there's always fresh research and thought that goes into each year's selection.

A very good site to check out: Say No...

If that doesn't give you plenty to think about, then try a different train of thought: How much?

Actually, since we are playing ketchup, the order has already gone out. We kept the total well under the usual $200 with lots of seed saving and keeping an eye out for free seeds (lots of friends at Cooperative Extension and Master Gardeners).

Now all we need is Spring....

Monday, January 18, 2010

A resolution, of sorts...

I don't know about you, but I start thinking about New Year's resolutions weeks before I actually have to. Not that I settle on one, mind, but at least the thoughts start to percolate...
I finally settled on one when I was in the midst of a semi-frantic search for my size 9 circular needles. As I rifled through tote after tote, project after project, corner after corner...I was hit smack in the face with the reality of my startitis...I have too many projects.

So 2010 is going to be the year of the Finished Objects. I dedicate myself to finishing more projects than I start. Especially those of the knitting variety. ESPECIALLY those...

I won't bother you with the gory details; the knitters amongst you can run right over to Ravelry and get all the latest scoop. (I'm rugbplayr).

Here's to 2010: it's gotta be better than 2009. Please.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Of Which There Are 57 Varieties...

Let's play ketchup, shall we?
No, I am not sick, dead, or tired of y'all.
I have been wildly distracted by knitting, dyeing, holidays, world events, winter, and Facebook.
(And let's just mention the frustration of not being able to get a photo from the camera to the Mac without fourteen intervening steps and contraptions.)
Exactly how disappointed are you going to be with me when you learn I haven't even finished my Christmas, er, holiday cards?
And don't even think about making any kind of snarky remark about the yet unmailed Christmas packages under the office futon...

I was going to wait to introduce you to our latest little addition to the farm, because technically the "ink isn't dry", as his previous shepherd hasn't gotten us the paperwork, but I can at least let you take a peak...
Handsome, no?