Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween everyone!!  As usual we have been tied up with all the fall activities on the farm and a bit behind in our posting.  The weather has been rainy, then cold, then hot, then back to cold.  We even had a couple of nights of light frost.  I do not know if we will be able to get the last cutting of hay harvested.  We will cut it down and plant winter grazing if the weather does not dry up.

We have been busy shearing sheep with a couple examples of our ewes.  Fluffy, the white yearling before and after and below is Posie, gray ewe before and after.  We get our best fleece in the fall and have several very nice fleece for sale.  We still have about 10 more to shear, but the weather has not been in our favor.  The sheep have to be dry and that has been a problem most of this year.  We hope to finish everyone by the middle of November.

Mr Paul was a great help, cleaning clippers during the shearing process.  We shear on a stand which is easier for us and the sheep, but much slower.  Maybe someday we will be able to get the pros to show up and shear for us.

Below is Mr Paul keeping the clippers working.  The Trump (Icelandic Ram) is ready to be sheared as one can see.  He has a spectacular fleece this year and will be shearing him the minute the weather clears with several days of moderate temps.

The pictures below are of two young does we took to a show the beginning of October.  The gold doe is Rosensharn's GX UDiamond out of ARMCH Rosensharn's Uni (Record holder for Nigerian milk production at 1605 pounds over 305 days, that is 5.2 pound a day average with 8 pounds per gallon).  The darker doe is Oldesouth Alabama Summer.  She is sired by Mr General out of Sequoia.  Summer is turning out spectacular and we are very excited to see how well she grows up.

Oldesouth Loud Politician is shown below.  He did very well at the show in spite of not being messed with for almost two years.  We have been working with him and have one more show in November.  He is really long and wide and even though not the best picture, very powerful.  His sister Cocoa and his mom Brat have great udders and are wonderful milkers with larger teats.  He is sired by Bubba and will show him more in 2010.

We are deep into our Fall Kidding and have several nice kids sired by Mr General.  We also set Bubba loose with the Boer girls and have 4 Boers with Bubba babies.  They will be medium sized meat and milk goats with great udders for the family milker at a reasonable price.  Check out the sales page.
The results from the blood testing came back and our entire herd, including the Boers is CAE and Johne's NEGATIVE!!!  We mail our samples directly to Washington State University Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab.  If we mail it to Auburn University here in Alabama, they send it to Washington State.  We dump the middle man and send it directly.  The cost is $12 per goat for both the CAE and Johne's, plus $10.00 set up fee.  CL testing is $9.00 per goat and since we have not had any abcesses, decided to forgo the CL.  I did pick one goat, Bubba and had him tested for CL as well with a negative result.  We will probably pick a couple of goats each year to spot check.  We will test for Brucellosis, TB and CL if a client so desires at their expense.  We feel the CAE and Johne's is the most important of the diseases to check for and keep your herd free of.

We also spot check our sheep and pick out a few each year to test for OPPs.  We had 3 tested this spring and they were negative as well.

The pictures below are of a couple of our 100% Boer Does with their half Nigerian kids.  Three of the 4 does had triplets.  The cross has a lot of hybred vigor and the kids grow like crazy.  The orange on Hestia is to mark her by the Vet when we drew blood for testing.  It takes some time for it to wear off.

The final picture of this posting is of Mr Paul messing around.  He does not like me to take his picture, so I am sure I will be in trouble for this one, but could not help myself...  Everyone who knows Mr Paul will enjoy this one...

Take care everyone....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Traveling around the country...

We have just returned from a few adventures we would like to share with you. Just before we left for Michigan to pick up some Icelandic Sheep, Beauty kidded a lovely white with cream spotted doeling by Mr. General.

As we were preparing to leave, I caught a picture of The Trump saying, "Hey...". The photo is below and to the left. The Trump is waiting for some cool weather to get to Alabama and for the rain to end, as we all are...

We left September 29th and arrived in Michigan that evening. We took a Nigerian Dwarf Buck up with us to drop off. We visited with relatives and friends. My family is from Michigan, Armada and Romeo. All my family are Vegetable Farms or as we called ourselves, Truck Farmers. So we bought home fresh sweet corn, apples, cider, onions, butternut squash, acorn squash, zucinni and headed to Midland Michigan to Lavender Fleece.

We then spent a day with Laura and Daryl talking Icelandic Sheep and transferring semen into my Vapor Shipper. We took a semen tank home to fill when we returned back to Alabama. The Vapor Shipper is a safer way to ship semen and it rode strapped into the seat belt of the back seat. We also loaded 9 Icelandic ewes to build my herd. We have 4 adult ewes, 2 yearlings and 3 lambs.

The sheep upon returning home went to another farm for isolation before being moved to the main farm. This is done to make sure everyone is healthy before being entered into the main herd. We will be keeping out 3 polled ewes for me to try and AI. We brought back both polled and horned semen and I would like to try the three and see if any will take.

The Trump will be turned with most of the new ewes and Saxon will be used on a couple and Ultram on a couple as well. We hope to have The Trump, Phantom, Saxon and Ultram as our rams with the imported Icelandic Semen on the polled ewes. Phantom will probably be the clean up ram on the polled ewes.

Below are pictures of the new ewes in full lovely fleece. I had planned on shearing after returning to Alabama, but with the rain almost daily, was not able to shear. We hope to shear some on my days off if the weather cooperates. The ewes are beautiful and of very high quality. We are very happy with these lovely sheep from Lavender Fleece in Michigan.

After returning home and unloading sheep, our first order of business was canning the corn we had brought home. The corn was raised by my Uncle Andy. It tasted wonderful and below are pictures of the corn on the Cob and what it looked like after it was canned up into pint jars. We still have apple sauce to make out of a large bag of apples I brought back. I hope to do that Monday, if it rains all day as predicted. I am off from the Hospital until Tuesday and trying to get everything done. We will go back to work to rest...

Oh, not to forget this past Friday, our goat show at Lewisburg, TN. We spent Wednesday and Thursday trying to prepare the Nigerian Goat Entries for the show. I have two sets of Oster A-5 clippers which are less then a year old. I had an Oster A-5 for 20 years when I was a kid and used it on my horse. Then it died one day and I have gone through 2 new ones and they are junk!!! The worst junk I have ever seen. I am sooo disappointed in them and will never buy another pair of Oster's again.
I have a large sheep shearing Oster and even that is not as good as a friends old 40 year old pair. They heat up to fast and have to switch out clippers in order to clip smoothly and be comfortable for the sheep. Anyway, ended up taking my Sheep Shearing Clippers from Premier, the 4000 and put a guard on it. These shears are lighter and easier to handle and do not heat up like the Osters. I was able to shave the bucks main bodies with these and then use a smaller pair to clip the legs, bellies, and private parts. I picked up a dog clipper set at Walmart and that did the job. The set even had a comb and I clipped my baby Summer to prepare her for her under 3 month class. I took 4 goats and we came home with several first places, two seconds, 1 third and little Summer got her first two blue ribbons. The show was sponsored by the NDGA and two judges judged at the same time. This enabled us to get two shows in on the Friday. I took the Politician and Mr General. The Politician did great for not being touched for almost 2 years. He was a bit slim due to the rut and breeding and I look forward to showing him again soon. Mr. General did well in spite of me nicking his hoof again!!! So showed a lame goat, bless his heart. I will trim his hooves a week before the show next time and leave him alone the day before the show.
I showed my Uni daughter, UDiamond and she did very well for her first show. She is a lovely doe, a junior, but needs more work in setting up and not looking like a pretzel. She won a first and a second placing. She did great for a first time baby show girl.
I will try and post some pictures of the goats when I get a chance. Wow, I am ready to go back to work to rest...