A trip to Donald’s…

March 4, 2009

This morning, I went to Donald’s to see his lambs, so far. 2/3 of his ewes have lambed.  He is having his land logged, so the loggers have taken down his fencing to get their trucks through, which means his sheep are temporarily confined to his barn.  Pandemonium reigns…but the little lambs are very cute.  He’s got some dark ones, and one white one, and a bunch of nicely marked ones…and one little triplet running around the kitchen, rejected by her mother.

Here are

two photos:

dsc00844-medium-web-view

dsc00845-medium-web-view

It sure makes me eager for lambing around here, but I will just have to wait!

New England Lambs a-Poppin’

March 3, 2009

Well, today I spoke with Suzie Wallis and she has 20 lambs, none of which were supposed to come until April, but unfortunately, she didn’t get the ram out fast enough last fall, and they came a bit early!  She has one in her kitchen, rejected by one of the moms, something I find very rare in jacob sheep!

AND, Donald Dreifuss has a bunch of lambs as well. Tomorrow a.m. I am going to his house to see his lambs, will try to get photos.  He also has one in the kitchen, a triplet, born a few days ago among three ewes and seven lambs. This one couldn’t seem to settle on any mom, nor would any mom settle on the lamb, so indoors it came.   I’m happy to be going for a “lamb-fix” tomorrow, having another month or so to wait for lambs around here.

What about the rest of you out there?  Let’s get some lamb photos posted on this blog, huh?

Lambing time, again!

February 27, 2009

I’ve been reading about lambing happening on many of the farms both in our region and in other parts of the country. Please remember that you can post photos of your lambs for sale on this blog! If you’ve forgotten how to do that, email me privately and I’ll return the password, etc. to you, so long as you are a member of JSBA in our Northeast Region!

Mark dates: Think about attending the AGM, the last weekend in June, in Michigan, near Dan Carpenter’s farm…More info to follow.

Tentative Regional meeting in Massachusetts in mid-July, more to follow.

I don’t start lambing for another month; shearing is 3/18.  Then, I’ll be posting some lambing photos.  I look forward to seeing yours.  This is a good way to get the word out about your lambs and your farm, if you don’t have a website. If you do have a website, then add a link to this blog so that when people check out the NE region happenings, they can click on the link and get to your website.

A Few More Photos

October 19, 2008

Tom sent a few more photos, so let me see if I can successfully post them:

Well, here’s Lizzie, Donald, Laura, Cindy, Megan, Cheryl, and Tom…must be Royal took the picture!  Out in my pasture with my sheep in the background.

Here’s Royal directing traffic, maybe?

And here are some of the Sheeple People who live at my farm…

More later…

Northeast Region Meeting–Columbus Day weekend

October 17, 2008

Well, we did it! We had our second successful regional meeting here at my farm in Weathersfield, Vermont, last weekend. Royal Unzicker and fellow traveller, Tom Hmm…(not sure, will look it up) from N.J. arrived Friday, but before arriving, called to say they were in bumper to bumper traffic and would be late. No big surprise: this is Foliage Weekend in New England, and they came up 91 through Hartford and Springfield. They finally got close, called again, and I met them at the Chinese restaurant in Springfield for a late dinner. Meanwhile, Ruth and Bill Ross called, also late, and facing traffic. They finally said they’d get a motel room somewhere. (Hmm, I thought, not bloody likely!) And then called back around 10:30, just after John got back from Grandparents’ Day in N.J., to say they stopped at three motels in Bennington, and were told, “There isn’t a free room between here and the Canadian border,” so they called back and at my urging, just drove through, and arrived around midnight, with Annie, their Scottish collie in tow.

Next morning, Laura and her parents arrived from Pa., Cheryl from Massachusetts, and Cindy and Megan from Vermont, later joined by Donald from New Hampshire, and Suzie from Vermont. And Sunday morning, Joan and Melissa, from Vermont, and Mila, Peter, and Chris, from Vermont, new to jacob sheep, as of this meeting, where they bought my last two ewe lambs of the year. So, we ended up with 19 people from five states, not a bad turnout at all. I was thrilled.

Saturday we looked at my sheep, unloaded my ram which I bought in Pa. at the last gathering, which Royal graciously kept in Pa., used for breeding, and brought up in his trailer. Here are my sheep and in the foreground, goats. I was too busy to take these while people were here, so I just took them. I am hoping to have some more photos sent to me from those who attended, which I’ll post later.

We also looked at the geese, the turkeys, the chickens, and the biggest hit, the pigs, two tamworths, who live in the woods behind the house, in a big paddock surrounded by electro-netting.

We began the “formal” program around ll a.m., when most everyone had arrived. Cindy gave a demonstration of needle felting. She’s a whiz at this, had some of her work with her, which caught Cheryl’s imagination. She went home with some of Cindy’s work, getting a head start on Christmas shopping, I guess!

Here’s Cindy, with Megan to her left, Tom to her right, Suzie across, Donald behind Tom, and Laura’s parents in the background, everyone watching as she punches the barbed needle in the fleece, over and over again to felt it. (When I tried it once at her house a couple of years ago, I managed to succeed in puncturing my thumb and finger a couple of times each, and decided needle felting was definitely not my gift!)

After that, at Cheryl’s request, we took one of her unskirted fleeces, Suzie threw it onto my skirting table (lower than usual, because the garbage cans I usually balance it on were down at the sheep shed, and we were up at the house, so water buckets had to do. Since we were only skirting one fleece, it wasn’t a big deal.

Here, Betty, Cheryl, and Suzie stand at the skirting table (which Betty made with chicken wire and some 1 x 4’s,not very fancy!) while Suzie explains how to skirt, what to take out, and then, rolls up the fleece in the proper way for displaying it. (Suzie and I, along with friends, Lise and Sally, attend each other’s shearings each spring, along with others, and skirt all the fleeces as they come off the sheep.) After rolling up Cheryl’s fleece, we went onto the porch, where I had a washed and dried fleece, and picked it, lock by lock, and then carded it. Meanwhile, the fleece we were washing was soaking. After Suzie demonstrated the carder, and I demonstrated combing, we went back, rinsed the soaking fleece, spun it in the drier, and put it out on the hammock to dry. Here’s the picking:

That’s Lizzie, my puppy, who is not the well behaved girl I’d like her to be, but is improving on a daily basis, standing next to me, waiting for attention.

After this process, we were all ready for lunch. Everyone brought stuff to add to the mix. Hmm…wait a minute: that’s not how it went: we ate lunch first! Oh, well…Lunch was still a feast. And then, we all got a lesson in how to sex geese, as Donald did so with my four American buff geese, while everyone watched, undoubtedly, as happy as I was, not to be doing it myself. I carefully marked each goose and the one gander with a permanent magic marker, which I’m sorry to say was not discernible after three days! Oh, well. Next time, I guess I can do it myself and use nail polish or something.

Mid-afternoon, Royal was eager for us all to visit Donald’s farm. Donald is a remarkable man: artist (gorgeous oversized paintings…some may remember his three 4 x 8 panels of jacob sheep hanging in the barn when the AGM was here a few years ago.), farmer, shepherd, plantsman, birdman…in his spare time, he designs gardens for large estates, and since he has a big ol’ rambling farmhouse, with only his son living there most of the time, and then, not home much, he overwinters large container plants for his clients in his living room, parlor and greenhouse, where they are joined by his many birds, some in cages, some flying free, and his whippets. The walls are adorned by his paintings, some on canvases, some right on the walls, as he was inspired to decorate them. In the kitchen on the big ol’ wood cookstove, Ruth saw a tea pot which impressed her. Other artworks hang on other walls. Outside, he showed Mila, who is hoping to milk her goats, his milking parlor (now defunct, but still can be learned from) and then we walked past the emus, into the barn and out to the meadow, to see some of his sheep, and then across the road to see most of the flock.

What a wonderful field trip!

When we got back to Betty’s farm, it was without Laura and parents, who left from Donald’s, but Mila called her husband and son, and they joined us for dinner. With the leftovers from lunch and a ham and macaroni and cheese, and beef stew, plus the pies and cheesecake, we ate well. Then Tom had to leave, because he is allergic to dogs, and had enough challenges in the two hours inside, with Lizzie and Annie (who’d found a friendly skunk outside, or some such animal which left her smelling interesting, at best.) Annie got a cleaning with a magic formula of Ruth’s, which included peroxide, baking soda, vinegar and warm, sudsy water, and she smelled much better. We took Peter and Chris, Mila’s family, for a flashlight tour of the farm, especially the pigs, still a high point. (In fact, it seems like several people here are now going to get pigs next spring. Between seeing them in the woods, where they don’t smell at all, and eating the ham, I guess we convinced them!)

Stayed up much too late again. In the morning, Joan and Melissa arrived, while I was doing chores, and everyone else was showering and packing up. (Royal and Tom left at 6:30 a.m.: both their wives were flying in and they had “meet them at the airport” duty.) Cheryl left around 10 a.m., when Ruth and Bill, Joan and Melissa, took off for the Wool Arts Tour in N.H., about an hour from our farm, and home from there. I stayed home and cleaned and did wash, and took a nap, up too late for two nights. The next day, I was on duty at the Wool Tour, helping out my friend, Sue, at her sales booth, which turned out to be a challenge, because they had two alpacas in the same area, and I’m violently allergic to alpacas! The allergy pills worked for the most part, and though I didn’t get a headache, I did end up sleeping a lot the next day! (another allergic reaction I have from time to time. Thank God the benedryl doesn’t make me sleepy, as it does Tom! I can take it in advance and keep away most problems. He dare not, or he falls asleep, not good while driving!)

It was a great time. I got to meet lots of new people and renew old acquaintances, and visit with friends. It appeared everyone else had a good time, as well. Bill decided our shower head needed replacing, so took it apart, cleaned it, and today, we received in the mail a brand new one, along with two black walnuts, which we will plant, and hopefully, see some nuts before we die, and photos of Ruth and Bill’s flock.

For those unable to be here…I hope that next meeting, probably not until sometime next spring (we have to fit these things in between lambing, shows, and breeding, not to mention the AGM), will tempt you, and you’ll have time to go. As for the AGM, the board would like the AGM to be in our region this year. I’m hoping we can put something together in N.J. or Pa. Any takers? Email me if you have any interest. I’m happy to make up food and bring it so that wouldn’t be an issue and you won’t have to deal with caterers…assuming you can deal with plain old homecooked food. We had enough talent and then some, here this past weekend, to put on an incredible AGM. HOw about it, folks?

Columbus Day Weekend Regional Meeting

September 10, 2008

Good morning, All!

Plans are underway for our Columbus Day weekend regional meeting.  So far, here is the agenda:

Saturday a.m.  Breakfast, for those arriving Friday night…hike, walk, tour around, relax

11 a.m. Gathering; intros, conversations about Jacob Sheep, ideas, thoughts, questions, tour our farm.

12 noon: lunch

1 p.m.  From sheep to yarn…demos of taking a fleece, skirting it, (simple skirting table made from chicken wire and 1 x 4’s; washing it, picking it, carding it, spinning it.  Opportunity for anyone to try any of above.

4 p.m.  To be decided: any ideas?

6 p.m. dinner (I’ll provide this)

Evening:  For those staying overnight, we can find some event in the area to do, or just sit around by the woodstove (which I assume we’ll need by then.)  Bring beverage of your choice to share and snacks to share.

Sunday:  breakfast, head out to Monadnock Wool Tour in southern N.H., about one hour from here. This is something devised many years ago by five women who opened their farms, invited friends to be vendors, do demos, etc.  I will provide maps.  People who are staying overnight on Sunday can carpool. Others can do as much of the wool tour as they wish and then, head out for home.

Those of you who wish to make a weekend of it, may stay here, until beds are filled!  We have (aside from our bedroom) one room with bunk beds, two rooms with futons, and one room with queen sized bed.  Currently, two rooms are booked.  Anyone who wishes to tent in the meadow is welcome.  There are two bathrooms in the house. In addition we have a shovel, a roll of toilet paper, and about 35 acres of very private woods, for those who like to rough it.  And, there is a campground two miles down the road, called Crown Point Campground.  In the next couple of days, I’ll post motels and inns in the area and phone numbers.  If staying here you may arrive Friday after 3 or Saturday, and you may stay through Monday noonish, if you like.  You may certainly choose to do other activities on Sunday, and still come back here to sleep.  The official “meat” of the meeting, for commuters is Saturday, 11-4.  I will need to know when you will arrive, and if you’ll stay for dinner on Saturday, and when you are leaving, so I have enough food in the house.

Hope to see many of you here.

A First “Gathering” and a first blog!

June 23, 2008

Good morning, fellow JSBA/northeast members, other jacob breeders, and world!

This is our new blog, a way for those of us in the northeast region of JSBA to communicate with each other, share news of our sheep and our farms, and our views on various topics pertaining to jacob sheep.

So, my first entry here is to tell you of the wonderful “gathering”, my word for what I hope will be periodic meetings of northeast jacob breeders in various locations around the region. This gathering was at Ralene Mitschler and Randy Morrison’s farm, Chicory Lane Farm, in Hanover, Pa. on Saturday, June 21st. There were fourteen people there representing seven farms and many flocks! This was a great beginning. I got to meet some new breeder/members which was great. Royal Unzicker delivered a gorgeous two horned ram lamb to Carl Griffiths and Stacey McArthur of Taneytown, Md. I bought a promising four horned yearling ram from Ralene. New members Cheryl Siemienkiewicz and Carl Sjogren of Brimfield, Mass., brought photos of their lambs, and I’m pretty sure I’m buying one of their ram lambs, Frodo, a real looker: just waiting for fleece sample. I reconnected with folks I’ve met before, and especially enjoyed seeing Eli Lefever, three year old son of Katrina and Dave. He played with my puppy, Lizzie, and was enthralled by anything resembling a tractor. We had a great lunch. Royal Unzicker did a helpful presentation about the inspection process. All in all, it was a great meeting. We decided that the next gathering will be Columbus Day Weekend here at Maple Hill Farm in Vermont, and will include a tour through the farms on the Monadnock, N.H. Wool Tour on Sunday. Several people have already claimed some of the beds here, but there are a few more available! Or you can stay in various motels in the area or camp in our yard or at the campground two miles down the road. BUT, it IS Columbus Day weekend, in Vermont, high foliage season, so if you want a room, you need to book it NOW! If you want more information on area accommodations, contact me through the comment option below or via email, (lambfarm@sover.net).

Here’s a photo of Ralene with her flock and a few folks from the meeting.

And here’s one of some of the folks standing around chatting while others were arriving. Eli and Lizzie won the prize for cutest attendees. They are standing on either side of Royal Unzicker.

That’s Katrina, Eli’s mom, to the right, and behind those folks are Sue Unzicker, Carl Griffiths, Ruth Ross, and Randy Morrison, plus legs and assorted bits of other attendees!

If others of you have photos, please post them. Or comments. And since I can’t get around to all of your farms to take photos and learn about them, please feel free to post info about your farms for us all to read, and photos. Happy Blogging, JSBA/NE’ers. Happy reading, world!

Hello world!

June 23, 2008

Welcome to WordPress.com. This is your first post. Edit or delete it and start blogging!