Tuesday, March 24, 2009


We have now finished our farm sign complete with sheep underneath telling times and days. The sheep did get out the other night after an unusually heavy wind and after gathering them up and doing a better job of attaching them they now seem to be staying put. The sign is a total of 8ft by 8ft and is 12 ft high so if they can't see that I question whether they should be driving!

The other lower sign is for recognition of the farm environmental plan we completed last Fall and is proof we are doing it right. Though for us it was not tough as with a grazing operation and organic farming practices we are easy on the environment. At the same time we also completed a Biodiversity plan which catalogues our management practices and the natural fauna and flora that are on the farm and how we assist in there care and enhancement. Sadly we do not get a sign for that, but we have a nice printed portfolio with maps, text and photos as a keepsake. We are doing well in the biodiversity side of things as we only forage farm and do not disturb the soil and natural pathways of the wildlife going to and from the river.Non of this is profitable dollar wise but it gives a great feeling of satisfaction and a sense of being native to this place.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Heavy with expectation

Most of our flock are due to start lambing in the next 10 to 12 days and are content to sit around like beached seals resting in the sun. A few black sheep which we bought in were bred earlier and so are already lambing.

Caprine Yoga

Can any one out there scratch behind their ear with their big toe all done while standing?
Of course it takes plenty of minerals as shown by the top photo,even 4 legged kids eat dirt.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Kids !!

Goats and fences are a tough mix , the only fence that is truly goat proof is also water tight! The kids offer entertainment for us through our kitchen window and I am wondering just how far they will wander, time will tell.

Who is guarding who?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last week we were busy shearing, well Rod our shearer was, my wife and I were busy skirting (cleaning) the fleece, rolling it up, keeping the "stand" clean and making sure there were always sheep ready to go in the race. The race is the blue system in the top picture. The uploading of the pictures are not quite in order but you get the idea! Its hard work and even the good guys resort to a cradle to help the back, its in the third picture and it goes around the chest giving support while attached to the roof.

Once the fleece is off the sheep leave, the fleece is cast onto the skirting table and any dirty wool and low quality or hay contaminated pieces are thrown out. the fleece is then rolled inside out and put on the pile in the back. We will put it into sacks for shiping later. As you can see it was cold while we sheared but got much colder for the next two days, the ewes did ok, though they ate more food than normal! The assistant shepherd did a great job of helping and feeding us and the three of us made short work of the flock, about eight hours over two days.

Rod is a good shearer and learned his trade in New Zealand so as he had the right accent I gave him the job!
I used to shear but after major back surgery my days with a hand piece are over. I do miss it, but not the stiff back.
With the fleece off the sheep are now nice and clean for lambing and we can see what is going on.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Kids on the Block

On yet another very cold day our first doe decided to kid down and we now have a set of twins, a doe and buck all though not from papered parents are non the less full blood Toggenbergs. Molly the mother already has more than enough milk so I am stealing a bottle a day from her and putting it in the freezer for any orphan lambs that we may have during lambing time.As it was cold we put the heat lamp on for the first few hours until the kids had dried off and had their first couple of feeds. The picture of all three with molly chewing red licorice is not what it seams. Most animals will eat their after birth as it is full of iron, vitamins and minerals, it is very beneficial but often folks get squeamish or grossed out and take it away from them. This is wrong as it is a completely natural thing to do. Along with all the goodness, in the wild it helps get rid of the smell and evidence of new born's and so helps protect the young from predators.
Take a look at my new milking stand that Molly is standing on, space age! Its is made of aluminium and folds up weighing 35 lbs, you only live once so I splurged and ordered it in from Sydell in South Dakota. My old ones at our other ranch were fixed to the wall made of wood and you needed a tractor to move them.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sign of the Times

As you can see by the photos above our new business sign went up by our field entrance along side the road. The new venture called Harmonious Homestead and Ewe will open Easter Saturday and the following 6 Saturdays till May long weekend.This will become the entrance to our parking lot and from there folks will walk to our farm yard and see all our new lambs during the up coming lambing season. My wife designed the sign using our barn as the main feature and our local sign shop did a great job of putting it all together. The first 10 inches of soil was frozen and took as long to auger as the other 6 feet!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Busy Busy Busy!!

I hope to do some posting in the next few days, we have been busy at a conference, shearing and some new arrivals.Keep a look out. The Shepherd.