Friday, July 24, 2009


These past few weeks have been crazy-busy--moving sheep, getting ready for the fair, mowing, weeding, cleaning, weaning lambs, getting paperwork in order, the list just goes on and on...

I enjoy watching the sheep mow the front lawn, and always try to take a lot of photos. Maybe I can finally start working on our regular website and list some sheep for sale.

This has been the coolest summer yet. Very wet, too. I hope I can find enough hay to get us through the winter.Everything is green and lush. Tomorrow is the first day of August, and I haven't had to pull the hose out to water the garden yet. Getting ready for the fair is hectic. Lambs have to be weaned, and the fair sheep moved to their own paddock. They have to get used to a different diet of hay and sheep feed, since they can't graze at the fair. There's a ton of paperwork to do. Three year old Drea (above) was shown as an aged ewe. She's a beautiful, meaty ewe with wide horns. My daughter tries to get everyone used to a halter, so they'll be easier to handle during judging. She took 9 sheep to the fair this year. The judge really liked Gardenia, one of Pippi's twin daughters born this spring. The judge also like Grady, Elodie's black ram. His fleece is an amazing dark blue/black color without any silvering or fading. The sun often bleaches out the tips of the delicate lamb fleeces. Not so with this boy!
Grex, Emily's ram lamb also went to the fair. He's very muscular, great wide horns and silky fleece. Though Grex is the larger of the two, the judge liked the length on Grady. This was my son's "best of show" oriental lily from 2008. It really was a freak of nature, with more than 20 blooms on one stalk! He got another best of show this year with a pink lily. Oops, forgot to get a photo of that one!This year's judge had seen Icelandics before, which was a real bonus. He gave us some great compliments, and said our sheep would be compete well against other Icelandics. He really took the time to look them over. So much of the time, the long fleece scares them away and they don't know what to say! Just look at this ewe class! Some of those Suffolks and Montadales are giants! They look more like a pony than a sheep. My kids typically have around 50 projects between the two of them. This year was a little more low key, which was nice, and will probably be their last fair.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Daylily season is in full swing now.

So many colors colors and styles...

How can you choose just one? They're addictive.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Rain & more rain

I really can't complain about the rain... I have yet to pull out a garden hose to water the gardens... however, because of the wet weather, our waterway won't be cut for hay. It's just too wet. Now, I'm in the market for second cutting hay or an alfalfa/grass mix. Buying good quality hay may prove to be a challenge! The good news, is that my sheep will be able to graze the waterway the rest of summer. It's deep, rich and lush! I went out to take pictures, but everyone was too interested in eating. Such gluttons! A red winged blackbird was having a fit, I'm sure she had a nest somewhere in there and was worried about her eggs.Elodie & Echo, with son Grady bringing up the year. Grady is going to be a wonderful sire someday. He is maturing beautifully. Such a momma's boy, though. I can't get a decent photo of him. My daughter will be taking him to the fair, so he will be weaned in the next week.Grex, Emily's ram is another going to the fair. He is just outstanding! Almost as big as momma. Grex & Grady are both for sale. If they don't sell, we'll probably put them to work here in our own breeding program.This is my orphan Godiva, she is such a beauty, and calls to me whenever I'm outside. Of course she'll have to stay here!This is Frosty, our yearling wether. He is friendly & sweet. Because he was wethered, his horns look like a ewe's, since he's lacking in those male hormones. He's a bit of a clown, and is for sale as a fiber pet. Garland is also going to the fair, along with her sister Gardenia. They are both such lovely ewes, I'll have to keep them both. We finally had a chance to work the flock today. Gave the lambs their second cdt shots and dewormed anyone with pale membranes. It's such a relief to get it all done! My cute duo, Glimmer & Glade, always hiding from me.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Hay time...

This is the time of year to fill the barn with hay. I scan the want ads, looking for hay. I call up my local suppliers, to see what is available. We have a big barn, and I am happiest when it is full of hay, all types of hay. Grass hay, alfalfa hay, waterway hay, straw, etc. With our Icelandic sheep, we don't generally need (or want) high quality/high protein hay. These sheep were brought to Iceland by the Vikings, bred for thousands of years in a harsh environment...therefore, have become quite efficient herbivores. As a response to this environment, Icelandic sheep have developed a large and proficient rumen. They do well on what most consider poor hay. Even during gestation. Rich hay = difficult lambing, pizzle rot, and numerous other problems. Of course there are times when the sheep/lambs could use that extra nutrition. Times of heavy lactation, especially when there are twins and triplets involved. Lambs during weaning time, or sheep going to the fair. Often times, it feels like I'm walking a tight rope, trying to balance the feed requirements of my flock. Experience is the best teacher. Every year is different, but each year also gives many valuable lessons. Some good, some happy, some painful. It's always a learning experience. I am constantly tweaking my mineral rations. Sometimes adding protein blocks... always looking for that perfect balance! Small bales are easiest on my back, so I like those... Big round bales are easier on my husband's back, so he likes those...It's all a balancing act...Teenagers just think it's an excuse to goof off!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Summer is here...I think!

Wickedly hot temperatures for the last month of June. Our average June high is 79 degrees, but it was over 90 for several days in a row, with a high of 98 on June 23rd. The humidity was also up there. We spent a lot of time hauling cold water out to the pastures for the sheep. They seem to drink a lot more if we place random buckets in the field for them. Now, it's almost chilly, with highs in the upper 60's! Nice... Salem the llama got a much needed trim,
just a rough looking barrel cut.
We continue to enjoy a nice amount of rain, so the pastures look good.
Delphine and her triplets, hanging out in the shade.....
just Isn't this just the cutest little smiling Icelandic badgerface ram?
The girls will sometime get into a bit of a tussle, but it's too hot to get serious about it this time of year.
The yearlings are getting big, and starting to challenge some of the older ewes. Without lambs to nurse, they are maturing beautifully and have been very carefree these past few months.
Even though we've lived on our farm for nearly 15 years, we still find new creatures. I noticed this bird, the Eastern Townhee while I was up in the secret garden. It had a different call, and was large, like a blue jay. Both the male and female were upset, causing quite a stir. Then I saw why, their nest of newly hatched babies was hidden on the ground, in danger of being trampled by grazing sheep. Just yesterday near my milk house door, this HUGE cecropia moth had just hatched. I was amazed at the size of it's six inch wingspan-wow!

Garden work continues as well. We have several of the "Endless Summer" hydrangeas. They really are lovely hydrangeas for northern gardeners, since they bloom on both old and new wood. They can be in all shades of pink to lavender to blue, depending on your soil. This one is under one of my blue spruce, and was a nice lavender shade. I gave it a bit of mir-acid and the blue shade on the blooms just popped! Delphine and her lovely daughter Geranium
Fudgy boy!

I think it's time to start thinking about
weaning some of these lambs!