Monday, August 31, 2009

Belle, the Nurturer

A funny thing happened this weekend. My daughter and I were away from the farm on Saturday, leaving my husband to tend the flock. We've had a little ram lamb that has been on his death bed practically all summer, but was so bad, he couldn't even make it out to the pasture with the rest of the flock. Our great Pyr realized how poor he was feeling, and layed by him all day. Finally, she decided that she had better go check out the rest of the flock, out in the waterway about a half mile away. Eventually, she came trotting back to he farm, my husband was working in the lower gardens. She was so happy, came right up to him, and brought him 3 baby bunnies, all alive! I told him that she was looking out for him. She knew I was gone, and realized that he couldn't cook for himself! When she saw that he didn't care for the bunnies, she chowed down on them herself! Then, she went back to sitting with the ram lamb.

This ram lamb, Gentry, is hanging in there. I've had him on Naxcel, but am waiting on a dose of Draxxin from my vet. This is a wonderful single dose treatment for pneumonia, when naxcel fails. I used it this past winter on a mature ram, and it worked wonders.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ram Lambs for Sale! Grady

Grady RBR110W, born 4/12/09
Sale $350
Black solid single
AI lines include: Laekur, Bambi, Hnykill, Morro, Ari & Biskup
Saddleback also in his pedigree!

Grady is exceptional! He placed top in his class at the fair this year, with his super long muscular body frame and gorgeous non fading curly wool. Most black lambs have fleeces that sunburn, but not his! So far, no signs of silvering either. His horns are heavy and wide. You can't go wrong with this outstanding ram. If will join our fall breeding lineup if he fails to sell.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

We Love Cheese!

We are a family of cheese lovers, and one of my goals is to learn to make artisan cheese with our ewes milk. We chose the "triple purpose" Icelandic sheep because we wanted to experiment with milking. We've had such an abundance of lambs though, both twins and triples, I really hate to take that precious milk away from the growing lambs. Whenever I'm in the Chicago area, I stop at Sam's Wine. Not only to stock up our cellar with great wine deals, but because they have such an awesome selection of artisan cheeses. I love bringing home a variety of sheep milk cheese to sample and dream about. Old Chatham Sheepherding Company has some nice cheeses. Their Ewe's Milk Blue is unbelievable! Creamy, mellow, and so delicious. Now that our tomatoes are finally getting ripe, we've been eating our favorite summer treat...crusty french bread topped with colorful heirloom tomatoes, cheese and fresh basil. Heavenly!
Valbreso Feta is so much better than the typical grocery store feta. Produced in France, but available at Costco, quite reasonably priced too! Cowgirl Creamery also has a wonderful sheep's milk feta.
An Iowa cheese that is just wonderful is Maytag Blue. Not a sheep cheese, but one we enjoy, and go out of our way to stop by their facility to pick up a few pounds whenever we go through Iowa. Yes, it's the same family that started the Maytag appliance business. You can order online, but the best deal is their "broken wheels", only available in their shop.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bunnies through the years

We've had a lot of different rabbits, everything from fancy French angoras and Jersey woolies to mixed pet or meat bunnies.
Our rabbits have always been kept in cages in the barn. Like sheep, rabbits need the companionship of their own kind to be happy and content.

Currently, we have a couple of Jersey woolies and several French angoras. The French type are the easiest of the angoras to keep, and don't require quite as much grooming. Their silky wool is wonderful blended with our Icelandic sheep wool.

My daughter has shown rabbits at the fair for years. She is so good with them.

It's hard to show wooly rabbits during the heat of the summer. Invariably, they blow their coat.

My daughter's favorite bunny of all time is Lily, her white Jersey wooly. We didn't even know what breed she was when we bought her (for $5!) at a pet swap years ago, only that she was fluffy and extremely cute! Just the thing for a 10 year old girl.

Lily had a tattoo in her ear, and was so well behaved. We did a little online research, and thought perhaps she was a Jersey wooly. She began her career, going to our county fair. Our fair has a great turnout for rabbits, with over 100 rabbits competing for "Best of Show".

We have been amazed at how well Lily has done. She has placed every year. Two years ago she was runner up, and last year, finally claimed top prize--"Best of Show"! Go Lily!
Here's Lily, admiring the trophies and ribbons she's won.
Lily is now retired, and is happy to be just a pet bunny.