Sunday, November 8, 2015

The usurper

We had a few more additions to the farm this summer.

Jellybean, the teenager's fancy pony, came home for an indefinite staycation. She's likely to stick around until her original trainer finds another small child just aching to do dressage - the trainer's and pony's specialty.

Um, yeah, not holding my breath.

In the meantime, Jelly is living the life of a wild pony, free to get dirty and play politics with the herd.

Or both.

Poor Annie is taking the brunt of this. Jelly usurped Annie's role as lady in waiting to Queen Josie and defends it a bit too aggressively if you ask me.

Jelly's ambition in action:

And so it was done.

Alpaca apocalypse

Friday, November 6, 2015

Boomerang 0, Emily 1

None of our dogs are working dogs.

More's the pity.

No, they're the laze around and be pampered kind of dogs and Boomerang is no exception.

For the most part, I keep them separated from the farm animals. It's just easier that way. Or it was before we built the new fences this summer.

Ironically, one of the unintentional consequences of all the new livestock fencing was the destruction of the dogs' invisible fence.

Two steps forward, one step back.

At first I didn't worry about it too much, because the new fencing created a very nice dog yard in its place, between the house and the original pasture.

Then Boom figured out how to crawl under the fence into the pasture and he's been doing so at every opportunity since. No matter what countermeasure I throw up.

Usually, it's just a nuisance, cause as good as he is at getting into the pasture, he's hopeless when it comes to getting back out. I have to go get him.


Every so often though, he gets into the field where the sheep are. This pleases him greatly. The sheep not so much.

He chases them around until he's penned as many as he can into a corner. Then he stands back and barks at them until I come and release them.

Good boy, Boom. Way to catch the sneaky sheep. 


Today, he got his comeuppance.

Once again, the Icelandics are a breed apart.

Go Emily.

Guard sheep extraordinaire.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Twitter Critter

Was thinking recently about all the pictures I take of the farm and the critters that never see the light of day -- despite my best of blogging intentions.

Enter Twitter. 

I think I've got it worked out so that I can post photos straight from my iPhone to Twitter, with the Twitter feed coming simultaneously to Tyche's Run. I'm generally a pretty late adopter of fancy technology, so this is exciting.

I set up Twitter under my farm name -- Blue Sheep Fiber Farm. It's a bit confusing, but I'm trying to force myself to use that name more consistently. 

Does Bingley look confused?

Not crazy about the way it looks on my blog page, but still -- here's hoping it helps me keep up! 

Not that Bingley cares. 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Little boy lambs

So, I've got a lot of animal updates to get through.



I've decided the random approach may be best.

I'm trying to avoid overthinking things these days. Too many thoughts. Too little time.

[Shaking head]

So, in no particular order, I'm going to start with the ram lambs, mostly cause Colum got his picture taken this morning.

Icelandic-Mountain lamb that he is, Colum likes to climb. That's his twin brother Dougal on the left.

Colum: Yes, can I help you?
Colum and Dougal are the sons of Emily (one of the crazy Icelandics) and Jerry Lee (one of the Black Welsh Mountain rams and owner of the best BWM fleece on the property; really nice by any standard).

Colum: Yum, honey locust pods. 
These two butterballs have the funny personalities and shapely round figures of Icelandics. Their spectacular fleeces are a hybrid of their two parents - no real tog like a purebred Icelandic would have, just long and fluffy and jet black. I had both sheared last week since I don't trust my ability to keep them clean over the winter. Very nice.

Emily, to her crazy-ass credit, was a great mom. Very devoted and protective and tolerant of her little boys. When I eventually weaned all the lambs, Emily took it hardest. On the upside, separating them from her allowed them to develop personalities that don't include the principle, "Run like hell when you see a human coming." (Smile. Emily and Devon bring out the truck driver in my own personality. ) 

Here, in front of Colum are Fortissimo and Jamie. 

Jamie, bless his little bottle baby heart, is the son of .... um wait, I'm having trouble remembering who his mom was....looking it up now. Ah yes, Jezibel, the mother of Jethro, and Jerry Lee. Jezibel wanted absolutely nothing to do with Jamie from the moment he hit the ground. Which is why I couldn't remember who he came from. She was adamant about it, so he was a bottle baby from the start. This surprised me since she was a pretty devoted mother to Jethro. I had two bottle babies (Clara was the other), both raised in the barn with everybody else. Jamie was, and still is, pretty small, even for a Black Welsh lamb. He's survived two serious bouts with barber pole, but is doing pretty well now. Knock on wood. My strategy these days is simply to feed feed feed the lambs, and in general keep them off the grass until they are much older, or the pastures are improved...or both. This strategy seems to be working. It was hard won. 

I think Fortissimo was one of the last I wrote about during lambing in the spring. He's Lucinda's and Jerry Lee's baby. Lucinda was a pretty good mom and Fortissimo has been easy to care for. His only problem is a tendency to butt people. He's done this since he was only a couple of weeks old. I discourage this (and yes I mean I yell at him and sometimes smack him hard when he does it) and it has lessened over time, but it does mean that when I get around to having some (or all) of the rams castrated, he'll be one of the first on the list. His fleece is pretty standard Black Welsh. Nothing fancy. Jamie's fleece is much nicer than Fortissimo's. Longer, softer, and fluffier.

Behind the homegrown Black Welsh ram lambs are two newcomers. Darcy and Bingley. These two little guys are Cormos. They came from a nearby breeder who didn't want to feed them over the winter. The breeder's flock routinely tests under 20 microns, so how could I refuse? These two were also sheered last week. Their lamb fleeces are like butter. Short, but swee-eeeeet. Their personalities are also sweet, and shy despite having been here for a good while now. I suspect they'll come around eventually -- and grow quite a bit too. Cormos are not known as small sheep. Bingley, the white one, has the most beautiful face. 

Handsome boys.

 You can see how much bigger they are than Jamie, whose head is poking out around the post. And there, in the far back, stretching her little head up to see around one of the other lambs Tim.

Tiny Tim, Bingley, and Darcy.

Who's still very tiny. 

And very clearly a she. 


I'll have to give her back story when I update about the ewe lambs.