Saturday, October 25, 2008

Its About the "S" word.........

Its not the "S" word to describe my STUDLY polled ram Jedediah.......

Nor is it about the SIGN I SORT STOLE sometime long ago when I was ......
( I refuse to disclose any more information on how I obtained that sign:)
Nope, its not about the S@*# on the chicken feed barrel......
(center is my Silver Laced Wyandotte rooster who is flanked by 2 Deleware chicks)
And its not about the "STUFF" on my boots that the chickens like to investigate.

I wish it was about my SNUGGLING ewe lambs on this very cool & windy Saturday.

And it would even be nice if it was about the STATELY STALL view from the barn loft......

or even if it was about a SHEEPY SIGN that hangs on the big barn.

BUT NO, its about that darn "SNOW" word that is in the forecast this week!!!!!

And those cute little SNOWMEN that come along with that other bad "S" word!!! I SWORE I would not buy anything this year that was SNOWMAN related because I have a TON of it........but no, when I was at my favorite story this week this cute little SNOWMAN bench was just screaming my name at $5.99 and it jumped in my cart!! I did not want to start a scene so I simple just kept going like it never happened.

I believe I cursed myself by buying it because now the "S" word is in the forecast.
I guess I should sit on my new bench and think about what I have done to myself:)
I really need to learn how to control my shopping issues:)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Plans for the Nigerian Dwarfs!!

Long ago, about 7 ish years ago I bought my first farm animal, a Nigerian Dwarf wether. His name is Cubby and I still have him today. I definitely liked the Nigerians over the Pgymies as I had seen one to many birthing issues at the vet. with the Pgymies. I have 3 Nigerian does, 3 wethers, and one buck. This past April after much waiting & trying to get the weather to cooperate, I was able to fly in my foundation buck. He was purchased from Flat Rocks in Texas. "Little Texas" did not come cheap but I did my research & he is out of good quality stock & is really turning out to be a nice boy with alot of personality. I am breeding all 3 of my does this year as Sosa has not been bred in 3 years & Summer & Sassy have never been bred and they are both 4 years old. I pray all goes smoothly with the girls. Sosa has kidded twice already ( I used my friend Lisa's buck) and is a great mom!
These are pictures of FlatRocks Little Texas, the picture above was taken last month & the one below I just took today. He is a sweet boy who enjoys playing with his girls!

Below is Sassy, doesn't she have the flashiest colors?! She was bred by my friend Lisa at Hoof Print Hill here in Ohio.

This is Sosa, (the black doe) also bred by Lisa. Sosa's favorite past-time is pulling wool out of the sheep. She just walks up & takes a pluck of wool:)

Sassy is on the left and SummerRain is one the right. Summer is one of Sosa's babies that was born at my house. Now Summer's favorite past-time is head budding my Cotswold wether, actually she will chase them around the pasture. She is also a gate dasher & often slips past me to locate the grain in the other barn!

One of the reasons I wanted to limit breeding the Shetlands is because I want to get my goats bred also. I am hoping to breed 2 of my LaManchas also. So anyway, just more planning and thinking out loud. Thanks to all of you who read about me and the animals over here at Harvest Thyme........temperatures are getting colder this week but I refuse to turn on the propane till at least November 1st!!!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Day 2 of Sheep Thinking!!!

This is day 2 of my thinking about my sheep......its not like I have a thousand things to do but since I am multi-tasking (I am grading papers while loading pics into blogger, & watching Danicing w/Stars at the same time....gosh how wonderful it is too be a multi-tasker:) I thought I would share my ideas with anyone who cares to read, and maybe even comment.

This is Lil' Country Acres Jedediah Smith, my full-polled black gulmoget.
He will be bred to.........
Windswept Savannah Grace. Savannah is a mioget & produced a solid moorit ewe & the little black gulmoget pictured with her when she was bred to Jed. this past breeding season.

Jed. will also be bred with Windswept Betsy Ross (pic. above). A musket ewe, I think she is Ag, not sure. Betsy produced a black smirslet scurred ram lamb & a yuglet ewe which I very sadly lost last month. I pray that this breeding repeats itself:)

The other ewe Jed. will be bred with is Harvest Thyme Miss Mum. She produced a moorit sokket ewe w/a white blaze on her face (see yesterday's pic) & the flashy ram in the pic above.
Keep fingers crossed for a serious repeat on this breeding:)

Last year I did not use my horned Shetland ram, Windswept Yankee Doodle, a mioget yuglet (pictured on the right, thats TJ, my black Cotswold ram on the left).

Yankee will be bred with Sheltering Pines Spirit. Spirit produced that too cute ewe lamb next to her when she was bred with Jed. last year, but I really want to see what will be thrown when breeding the 2 yuglets..........any takes on the offspring?

This is Lil' Country ElizaJane, a fawn katmoget. She was actually bred to Yankee 3 years ago & produced 2 fawn kat ewe lambs, one that was also spotted. I have both of the girls still here as thye were my first ewe lambs born on my little farm. All 3 of the ewes have BEAUTIFUL fleeces. This pic does not do her a lot of justice but she is a nice, compact ewe, little flakey but a great mom.
So, I think that's it. I might add one more in the mix but I am still undecided. I think I have made the right decisions. Its a small group but it should produce nice quality lambs. I know repeat breedings are no guarantee but I can still pray and hope:) I know that I am breeding my horned ram even though I want to go in the direction of polled lines. Yankee is a nice quality ram, though a tad overweight. I only used him once and I just want to see what else he will produce. Actually, the one kat ewe that he produced was bred to Jed. this year & produced a fully polled black ram lamb which is very nice, of which I refused to wether or send to auction/market.
So, in closing out this train of thought on sheep, I would like to show you 2 updated pics of my lambs born this summer.
I just love Autumn Blessings markings, they are so unique! Her mom, Abigail, is one of the twin kat ewes that Yankee produced 3 years ago.

And then there is my little Jammer........
still a sweetie and hopefully a producer of flashy babies next breeding season!!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am thinking about my Sheep........

I am thinking about my sheep. I have been reading many of the blogs about upcoming breedings.....breed groups, how many to breed, the genetics, the quality, the cost, & other issues I am not have covered. I have read everyone's comments, some I agree with, some I don't, some I understand their perspective & respect, some I just don't. But my reasons for going into sheep are not the same as others, nor should they be.
For me it was an exciting summer with the lambs that were born; it was heart wrenching when I lost 2, & when I was not able to sell any, it made me question, "Why am I even doing this at all? Is it because I am new to Shetlands that nobody wants to buy from me? Are my lambs not quality lambs?" It just made me question all sorts of things. I know the economy sucks but it still made me question myself & my sheep. I have invested very good money in my 2 foundation rams & the ewes that I have did not come cheap either. I researched the breeders that I bought from, of which there were only 3 and I was very satisfied with what I got, even more satisfied when I got my lambs this summer.

I believe I am doing the right thing & moving in the right direction. I had 2 of my ram lambs wethered last week. Both are nice boys but I do not need all these boys & made a decision to go with what I think are going to be better producers in the future. I cannot rationalize taking them to auction as I know auctions are a huge dumping ground right now & I will not do that to animals that I brought into this world due to my choice to breed & who count on me to keep them safe. If I can afford to feed them, I will keep them, it will be more expensive but I will take care of the issues that I created...I will not pass my issues off on someone else. And of course all the ewe lambs will stay, no questions asked. For a time I thought of just letting them go cheap if there was a buyer out there. But no, I will not undersell them. They are not some run of the mill sheep. I put a lot of thought, time, & effort into my Shetlands and I do believe in them also ( thank you Juliann for saying that:). Not too mention that I bond with all of my animals. They are my life, my heart goes out to them each & everyday, in the snow, in the heat or the rain, they are my friends and I do not let my friends down. Friends are there for you & love unconditionally, and those wooly ones may knock me down when I have a grain bucket, but its all out of love because they count on me as their friend and I count on them as my friends.
Harvest Thyme is a dream in the making. Its a hobby farm, its home, its a place where my niece & nephew come to learn & play with the animals, where Mom & Dad come to relax (sometimes work:), its a place my animals can call home also.
Heck, I know this is not some big money making endeavor, sure I would like to sell a few lambs to cover hay costs but if I don't, well, I guess that's more Kraft Mac' n' Cheese for me at dinner & no more fun pink coveralls. I will just tell the chickens the pressure is on them to produce more farm eggs.....
So anyways, back to my breeding group decisions for if I knew that don't you think I would have told you right away instead of "thinking" about my sheep and doing all this talking? I was just in the mood to speak out loud today.
Oh, what I do know is that first 3 weeks of May are not going to work for lambs because the 2nd week of May I am going to Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, & Monticello (T.Jefferson's Home) for 3 days with my 8th graders. Last year (my 8th graders were my 7th graders) we went to Washington D.C. so this year is Williamsburg......and boy do I love Williamsburg.....esp. the haunted ghost tour!!!
When I do decide on breeding groups, I'll let you know:) And if I decide to do more thinking, I'll give you a always feel free to comment if your thinking too:)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Frosty Morning at Harvest Thyme!

The morning sun rise at Harvest Thyme......the first frost of the year!!!

The sun is just starting to peep over the house to warm up the garden barn!

The sheep of course are very hungry this morning ............

and everyone just digs in.......Dixie waits patiently in the background as she wants to get her morning walk started!!

Frosty mornings make for wet little dogs!!!!

It is a good morning to take a look around from a higher advantage point.....this is Alvin's favorite tree to climb!

Its also a good morning to play in the leaves.....

maybe even hide to see if a rabbit can be caught!!

This is Jangles.....Jingles brother:)

It was also a good morning to make a new recipe....pumpkin muffins!!

Pumpkin Muffins with White or Brown Rice Flour

3/4 cup honey

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

1 cup pumpkin

2 1/2 TBS water

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 cup rice flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

Mix liquid ingredients & dry ingredients separately, then mix together. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, makes 18 muffins. Do not overbake.

Its a new recipe I got down at the "Ashery" where I buy all when cooking stuff in Amish country. This is the first time I have used brown rice. It was almost $6.00 for 2 #'s of it. I love to put lots of butter on my muffins......of course a big glass of milk with muffins is good too!!

I hope everyone is enjoying a beautiful autumn day!!