This spring sheep joined our farm. Avril has been wanting sheep for awhile and I have wanted a fiber animal as well. Years ago we went to the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival and the Lincoln Longwool sheep caught my eye. So when we were ready to add sheep to our farm we searched high and low for our preferred sheep and 4 little (not so little) ewe lambs joined our farm. They are all January or early February lambs and when the weather started turning really warm they already had quite a coat on them.
We knew it was time to shear them, though finding someone to come out for 4 sheep proved a little difficult. We also enjoy doing things ourselves and so ordered a shearer and planned to do the job ourselves.
We were warned that the hardest part was not learning the proper strokes to produce a high quality fleece in one piece but the hardest part was controlling the sheep. We were not warned about how sharp even the electronic clippers were. I have wounds to match the sheep but I am actually glad to have such a ready reminder to be careful. I also have a great gauge as to how they should be healing up.
After fumbling through 2 sheep we asked a friend from 4H to come out and help. Jane does her own sheep though she does them standing up which is decidedly safer and more comfortable for everyone but doesn’t give the preferred one piece fleece. Oh well, we will learn. And the sheep are much more comfortable.
Bringing the sheep home. We thought they would be much smaller and since we were going a long distance we did not bring the trailer. So it was pretty crowded in our suburban. 4 sheep, 6 children and 2 adults. The sheep were the quietest.
Jane shearing. Notice how beautiful the under fleece is.
All done. Some of the shearing jobs were rougher then others. The sheep are not used to the process either.
I have sent the fleeces off the the mill. I wasn’t sure how usable they would be but they think we can at least get a sport weight yarn out of it. At the very least we should get some roving. I am very excited to see the finished product.
I love history. It was my love of history that brought me to my first job at www.historicfortsnelling.org. It was here that I learned to love natural fibers, wooden toys, and creating things. I am not survivalist by any stretch of the imagination, but I love challenging myself and I love creating things from home cooked meals to hand knit sweaters and hopefully soon furniture and other wooden items.
Camping and being outdoors is a bit of a new experience for me. I am still not completely sold on the whole experience but I do love the peace and quiet.
Recently an experience popped up. Rush City has been put on the map. Larry Roberts, a local man is currently on the History Channel’s reality TV show “Alone.” We watched the show and it is so cool to see the name of our city on the screen.
He is home now and wanted to share his love of the outdoors with his community and taught a basic survival skills class at the local High School. Originally Proeun and Two were going to go, but it was hay making time this weekend and Proeun needed to get the baling done, so I went with Two. It was such a cool experience!
We learned about the 5 C’s of Survival
2. Cutting Tool
5. Combustion Tool
He shared his favorites in each of these categories and showed how to combine cordage and cover to make a simple shelter.
One tip was to carve little toggles out of wood to more evenly spread out the pressure on the grommets from your cover.
Here Roberts shows a safer way to chop kindling–by keeping your hands away from the ax.
He demonstrated how to make char cloth to use with a flint and steel.
It was so fun to spend the afternoon learning with my boy. We are all excited to try some of this at home and continue learning. Many of the things that Larry taught in the class he demonstrates on youtube.
This weekend we had another first here at Crazy Boy Farm. I have said before while I much prefer eating vegetables I get much more enjoyment and personal fulfillment from caring for the animals and so we have seen the number and variety of our animals grow over the years. We started with chickens while living in our little city lot. After moving to our farm we added fainting goats, then nigerian dwarf goats. We have had a few ponies. Then two years ago we added berkshire hogs and last year we add galloway cattle.
We purchased a 3 year old cow that had been bred and was pregnant and a spring heifer. This last Friday our cow, Zelen gave us a beautiful little baby.
Zelen is a great mother. She not so subtly puts herself between us and her baby every time we try to get a close look at it. So it took us awhile to figure out exactly what we had. That was until we saw this little girl pee. Then we knew for sure that we had our own spring heifer.
Every year the galloway association assigns a letter to the year and all animals born in that year have the letter in the identification number. This year the letter is D. So you can figure out when Zelen and Claire were born. It works out well since our boy really wanted to have a Daisy on the farm. So meet Daisy.