Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for February, 2015

Baby Doll

Have you ever heard of a baby doll sheep?  I hadn’t, not until a couple of days ago when I came across an ad for a Baby Doll Cross ewe for sale.  Sounded interesting, since she was crossed with a Cheviot which are the sheep I have.

Well…a few emails, a drive into the country and a drive home and the baby doll cross is now part of Morris Brook Farm.

IMG_0001_2

She comes with a name…Mayberry…but I’m not sure if that suits her.  I might be looking for a new name.

IMG_0001_1

 

She spent an hour of two in a pen by herself, where Cotton, Julie and Abby could see her but couldn’t touch her.  That went well so I let her out into the pen with them.  They were curious and there was a little pushing but nothing to worry about.

Sharing a meal is always a good way to get acquainted.

IMG_0001

 

So welcome to Morris Brook Farm little sheep, and she is a little sheep, she is only two months younger than Julie and Abby.

Let’s hope the transition goes smoothly…you never know when adding a new animal to the farm.

Read Full Post »

Over the past three years, ever since the sheep arrived on the farm, I have been working with the wool.  I had dreams of actually creating something out of the fleece.

Well it is a long process.  I have posted in the past about cleaning, washing, drying and carding the wool. I taught myself to knit a couple of months ago and posted about that.  I have been teaching myself to spin (that is a challenge) and I have been reading up on dying wool.

All these things take a lot of time, and I am a long way from being proficient at any of the steps along the way.

I reached a point where I just had to know if it was worth it all.  Was it worth the time to learn how to do all these things well?  I decided to attempt to actually create something (without worrying about the quality of the end product), just to see what the potential might be.  What might I be able to do with all this wool if I stick to it and don’t give up.

I already had wool washed, dried and carded.  The next step was to spin.  So I spun…

IMG_0001_3

not well but good enough to get some yarn on the bobbin.

IMG_0001_4

I removed the yarn and  soaked it in water and vinegar.  The vinegar softens the yarn and helps to hold the colour.

IMG_0001

Then I put the yarn in a pot of hot, almost but not quite boiling, water with the dye (just plain old food colouring).

IMG_0001_1

I left it to do its business and when it was done I removed the yarn and washed and rinsed it.

IMG_0001_2

Ta da!!! A skein of green wool!

IMG_0001_3

which I rolled into a ball…

IMG_0001

 

and quickly knit into a square.

IMG_0001_2

As I mentioned earlier, I was not worried about the quality.  It didn’t matter that the yarn was spun very unevenly, the colouring was inconsistent and the knitting was that of a beginner.

It was all about the potential.

From this

IMG_0001_1

 

to this.

IMG_0001_1

I am inspired!  Just imagine the different colour possibilities, just imagine scarves, hats, socks, sweaters. Okay I am getting a little ahead of myself here, I have a long way to go before that, but the potential is there.

 

Read Full Post »

Lily and Brie, the two calves are 8 and 9 months old.  The other day I noticed they were both still drinking milk from their mothers.  Olivia is due to have another calf in two months…surely she deserves a little break from sucking babies.

I had a plan.  I would fence off an area in the sheep pen, lure, entice, trick or chase the calves into the pen, and separate them from their mothers.  I wanted to fence an area off because there is a big (in more ways than one) difference between sheep manure and calf manure.  The last thing I wanted was my sheep sleeping in calf patties for the next two months.  Imagine what their wool would look like!  The wool I have to wash before I can use it.

You know what they say about plans…we make them and God laughs!  This afternoon I looked out the window and there were Lily and Brie napping just outside the gate to the sheep pen.  Where were their mothers?

IMG_0001_3

Ah…there they were.  Way down at the hay feeder, stuffing their faces.  No concern for their babies, not keeping an eye on them at all.  So much for my plan of fencing, this was my opportunity.  Strike while the iron is hot!!!

I went into the sheep pen, filled the feeder with hay and casually dropped another pile of hay just instead the gate.  Lily and Brie watched me silently.  Then I opened the gate and said “Come on girls…come get some hay.”  It was so easy.  They were so trusting I almost felt guilty.  They both jumped up and walked through the gate, over to the pile of hay and began to eat.  They weren’t even bothered when Julie joined them.

IMG_0001

I closed the gate and it was done.  The calves were separated, and their mama’s didn’t know.

Brie began to explore.  “Hey what are you guys doing over here?”

IMG_0001_1

“Wow!!! More Hay!”

IMG_0001_2

“This must be where the grain goes…sure tastes good!”

IMG_0001_4

Oh, oh…here come the mama’s!

IMG_0001_5

“What are you doing in there?  You’re not supposed to be in there!.  How did you get in there?”

IMG_0001_6

“Here’s the gate but it’s closed.  How did they get in there?  How can we get in there?”

There was quite a bit of fussing and bawling (by Birdie anyway).  The two cows paced up and down the fence while their babies ignored them.  Finally Brie walked over to the fence and had a little conversation with her Mom.

That seemed to settle things down.

“Well, you seem okay for now.  We will just rest here for a while, and figure out how to fix this mess later.”

IMG_0001_7

I just looked out the window and Lily and Brie are eating hay again with the sheep.  Birdie and Olivia are standing, looking longingly at their babies…or maybe at the hay.  Birdie is pretty vocal, she seems to think if she bawls long and loud enough the situation might change.  Olivia doesn’t seem concerned, maybe she is breathing a sigh of relief.

So…now all I have to do is get that temporary fence put in, and find some ear plugs to block out Birdie’s bawling!

Read Full Post »