Friday, October 24, 2008

Putting up hay

OK, so I am way behind on posting, better late than never I guess. We put up hay about two weeks ago and here finally is the write up.

Here are photos of the cutting, baling, and hauling.

Our old and small equipment did a good job, but as is most often with small equipment the work was slower than it would have been with big equipment.

As is also often the case with old equipment, we had to stop and fix things several times during the process.

Having said that, the hay is in the barn and there is enough to last the sheep through the winter.

Lots of help was received this year from big brother Jon, who came up for several days and worked like a dog the whole time.

The quote of the week from him: "I can't believe some people actually do this for a living!"

Misters Cooney and Nelson, the legendary "Over the hill gang" were on hand to bolt the machinery back together every time it fell apart, which was fairly often.

I'm grateful to everyone for all the help.

There is nothing like a barn full of hay to give me that "No matter what happens, we can make it" sort of feeling.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I generally think of fall as the beginning of the yearly cycle of the farm. The cycle could be said to start and end at any point during the year I guess, but in my mind it starts in the fall because that is breeding season.

Photo: One of the breeding groups, this one with our mature Katahhid ram

The ewes have spent the summer in a rotational grazing pattern after having their lambs weaned off them in the early summer. They have dried off and regained the condition they lost due to lambing and lactation. They are in good shape.

We have four rams we are using for breeding this season on about seventy ewes. Two of these rams are mature rams we have used for several years now. The other two are young rams we bought this year.

The ewes were separated into four groups. This was done in such a way as to:

  1. Prevent inbreeding; rams are not bred to ewes they are related to.
  2. Yearling ewes are bred, where possible (see 1 above) to a ram likely to through a smaller lamb.
  3. More mature ewes with a good lambing history are bred to rams likely to through big, fast growing lambs.
  4. For purebred ewes, to produce purebred lambs.

For us, two Katahdin rams are used to produce big fast growing lambs and two Florida Native rams are used to produce smaller lambs. The only purebred ewes we have are Florida Native so obliviously we use a purebred Florida Native ram on them.