Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Holidays are a coming.... Fall is past...

The Trump is pictured above and to the left and to the right with Phantom.  These are the two Icelandic Rams we are going to have semen collected from next weekend.  Phantom is larger and longer then The Trump, but the Trump is more handsome.  Both have thick, soft fleece.  Phantom has a small horn growing out of the middle of his forehead.  It gets bumped and tore when ever he head butts.  This makes him a bit rough looking.  Phantom is a Macbeth Son, with both his parents being AI from Iceland.  The Trump combines Macbeth on his mom's side with the AI lines of Laeker and Bambi.  I personally think the Bambi line is the most parasite resistant and just a nice hardy line.

I feel these two rams are as good as any in Iceland and want to collect them and put into my semen tank for the future and to offer For Sale to other breeders.  If the sheep can survive and thrive in the south, with the heat, humidity and parasite heaven, they will thrive anywhere.  We offer genetics homegrown with the parasite immunity our breed needs.  The Icelandic genetics are great, do not get me wrong, but the immunity to our American Parasites is something the Icelandic born sheep do not have to deal with.  Therefore, the natural genetic immunity has not been developed.  Conformationally our sheep are as good, some even better then what is in Iceland.  I feel our time has come to improve our American stock with American born rams and semen. 

With December just starting and knowing it will be gone in a flash, we have been reflecting over the past year.  I went back over the pictures from last winter and fall.  We had a beautiful fall and winter last year.  It was not until the middle of March that the weather changed and we have been wet ever since.  We have gone from summer to winter, missing fall.  Now we are wet and cold with more rain in the forecast.  We are very tired of the rain and pray for some decent weather.  We have missed the window for fall shearing for half the Icelandics.  We will have to wait until March. 

There is so much mud and mildew in my feed room, we are going to have to abandon it as a feed room.  We are pricing the Mennonite Built Small Wooden Storage barns.  We are going to put in up on blocks and will have a dry area for our feed storage.  It is getting to the point of concern.  The roof of the metal shed drips like rain after a frost and makes for even wetter conditions.  We have been having frosts since the middle of October.  Now, the metal sweats and all, but with the satuation of the ground and no floor, we have to move the feed elsewhere or risk loosing it.  We can use the shed for kidding and lambing jugs in the spring, if we can get everything out and let it dry enough to raise the floor with gravel or sand and put in another, larger window for air flow.

We put up the carports and storage room April 08 at the end of the 2 year drought.  It did great until this March, which was the first of the flooding with over 5 inches of rain.  Then it dryed up and all was well for some time.  Since September, with the rain increasing each month, it is now unbearable and any metal in the storage unit is rusted.  Hoof clippers, any blades or shears, forget it, all rusted in a weeks time.

I have been recording our rainfall since July 09 and to date we have had 30.48 inchs.  July had 6.20 inches, October 6.10 and last month 6.5 inches, which has been the wettest, so far.  The average for Selma is 23.5 inches for Jul through Dec.  We are already 6.98 inches over with a month to go.  The web site: is a free site to record rainfall and it has been quite handy since July.

My friend Mr Paul is very happy.  He had his Bull Delivered yesterday, before the latest 2 inches of rain.  We put him in the Ewe pasture, which we had rotated the ewes out of.  There is a nice shelter with hay in it.  The big boy had just come in from the range and is a bit bewildered.  He went through the indignities of semen testing (you do not want to know the details), shots, worming, etc..  We are giving him a few days to chill out by himself, the next field over from some Boer Goats.  He could use some weight, is long and wide, with a polled (hornless head).  I think he is a Beef Master.  I call him Brutus until Mr Paul decides what to name him.

We have also been busy with Christmas preparation and hopefully will get around to putting up a tree.  I have to work at the hospital Christmas day and that weekend.  But I am off Christmas Eve and hope to not have to cook.  I am still wore out from Thanksgiving.  This holiday season is going by so fast, I have seemed to miss it somehow.  But we have enjoyed it all, in spite of the cold and the mud.
We wish everyone a Great Holiday Season and and even better New Year...!