Monday, March 31, 2008

Proud Fathers

The proud fathers Shamus and Tyrone seem to be oblivious of their accomplishments and are more interested in treats.

First Lambs

When we put the rams in last fall for breeding we exposed the ewe lambs (or Tegs, yearlings) about a week before the main flock , so of course our first lambs were born to these ewes. The first one had a nice set of twin ram lambs weighing 8 and 10 lbs each which is a good size for a first time lamber. The next one had a single ewe lamb weighing in at 13 lbs. All are doing fine and I will turn them out into their own paddock later to day. The rest of the flock are not due to start till 4th April but a few could come early over the next day or two.

Tenacious Tulips

Last year we landscaped our yard and in the process lost a lot of the old plants, even though we tried to save some. Many were buried and then covered over with sod. Yet as you can see by the photos the tulips are coming up whatever even if it is through our new lawn !! We also have crocuses in bloom where they had been completely removed, go figure.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Toy

In my youth I was a keen photographer, using Russian Zenith cameras and later Japanese Chinnon cameras. A 35mm film fan with two SLR cameras, one for black and white, one for colour slide film, also a full set of interchangeable telephoto and wide angle lenses and a collection of filters and a large professional flash gun. All of this was kept in a solid camera case which could be stood on to see over crowds at a photo shoot, David Bailey here I come!! This equipment has lasted thirty years and served me will, and would doubtless serve me thirty more, but some smart ass invented cheap digital cameras so my complete camera kit which cost some $3000 in 1978 $s is now worth $50 as a collectors item as the running cost of film developing etc is too much compared to the digital equivalent. To top it all non of my lenses work on the new cameras and all of the filters are different sizes.
So four years ago I took baby steps and bought a range finder style digital camera, and found it was great. With 5 mega pixels and a good zoom lens plus all the filters built in and the ability to change from colour to black and white at the flick of a switch I was sold. Over time though I discovered its limitations and knew I needed an SLR digital, but the price was my limitation ! Well I have been saving my pennies for the last two years and last week I spied a great camera complete with two zoom lenses for a great price, and so I reeled it in.
After a week of learning I am getting there. The camera is OK but the soft ware is a challenge, but here are a few pictures with the new camera, judge for yourself. The sheep seem to like it, they are such a bunch of posers

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Lame Ewe

Walking around the pen today after I came home from Mass I had to treat a ewe for foot rot. She had been lame for several days and I had let it go as her foot was not swollen. Today she was no better so I decided to catch her and take a look. My wife came with me and did the honours with the camera. As you can see by the sequence of pictures she was not too lame to put up a fight, but once caught I sat her up and took a look at her back left foot. Sure enough it was overgrown and I gave it a trim, there was some bleeding and puss so it was time for koppertox spray( a topical copper based fungicide) and a shot of penicillin. I thought the lameness was caused by the rough ground, frozen mud , ice etc, but it seems she had picked up an infection in her overgrown toe nail to put it in laymans terms. At least that's the best way I can describe it to the non stockmen out there. Hopefully this is an isolated case as non of the other ewes are limping and so the infection may have come from a puncture in the foot due to the rough frozen ground.

Crutching and Wiging!

Well yes thats what its called. Crutching is the shearing of the wool around the behind and udder so the shepherd can see whats going on in the nether regions as lambing aproaches. It also ensures a clean udder for the nursing lambs. If you look at the photo showing the rear end its kind of like a bikini wax for ewes! A side benefit is the remainder of the fleece stays clean for shearing which we plan on doing in May. Wiging is the removal of the wool around the eyes, this ensures the ewe a clear view as sometimes the wool can grow over the eyes causing wool blindness. As you can see by the photos the ewes have had an eyebrow plucking and are looking lean and mean. Phil our local shearer came on Saturday and did the honours, and the girls not only got a visit to the Spa but I also gave them a shot of Selinium/vitaminE and a drench of wormer for good measure. To top of their new hair styles I gave them each a new numbered green ear tag so we know who is who when they lamb.
The picture second from the top shows me drenching a ewe with a wormer. Its a fluid squirted down their throats in measured amounts buy the pistol in my hand, it is attached by pipe to the pack on my back with more fluid. It kills any stomach worms and ensures better use of the feed ( as they are not feeding any worms ) and keeps the ewe in good shape for lambing.

Quiz answer

Well it took some one from my home county to get it ( see comment on quiz post) but yes it was Return of the Jedi the one with those cute furry Ewoks that every one loved. The shot only lasted a few seconds so well done for guessing it.