Monday, September 21, 2009

Lots of Good and a Little Sad

It's all flying by. I keep waiting for good photos to write up a blog, yet the camera sits neglected and days go by. Well, today there are no photos, just a bit of verbiage.

Goodness! In August, between sheep shows, I made a trip into Oregon to deliver sheep, pick up sheep and pick up two Livestock Guardian Dogs! I got the dogs in anticipation of moving to ERN - where the eagles and coyotes play! They're from Carol Ronan of Ronan's Country Fibers in Selma, Oregon. Waaaaaay down south, and toward the Coast from Grant's Pass. Carol swears by LGD's as flock protectors. An epididymous-ectomized ram lamb accompanied me back. He's our teaser ram for the Gotland AI girls this year. "Lad" is well grown and is a son of our 75% Gotland ram, Bill.

Abby (Anatolian Shepherd) and Maggie (Maremma with some Great Pyrenees and Anatolian mixed in) have settled in fairly well, though they still need to get comfortable with our electric fence. (See why I wanted to wait for photos???)

On my way down, I dropped off Shetland Minx at Marybeth Bullington-Bury's place. Marybeth was showing goats at the county fair, so we didn't get to talk. Minx was happy to get off that trailer! Two of Tammy's ewes accompanied Minx on their way back to Shady Oaks and to Stonehaven, so she didn't get too lonely.

On the way back home, I stopped off at Michelle's Boulderneigh farm to visit and see Blackberry (who I think is an improvement on his sire, and worth using). Michelle fed me really well with homemade tomato soup, fresh zuccini salad, and my Pay it Forward goodies!! OMG!! Michelle made the most delicious mocha bars and delicious, if crunchy, walnut fudge. Michelle, both made it home, but the fudge never made it out of the truck. :-) She also made three oh, so cute, safety pin and seed bead sheep in different colors. Did I say they are cute! Oh, yes. Thank you, Michelle. (I could have inserted more photos....)

Both these ladies put me up at their homes - very nice for someone who doesn't drive well at night, and after getting lost in downtown Salem during rush hour while pulling a horse trailer. (no photo needed for that!)

Back home again, I packed up the show string for Kitsap County Fair. This is another quality local fair. It was well attended and packed with friendly, down home folks. The sheep people were really nice, and anytime I needed help, someone was there to do it. We were the only Gotland sheep showing. Daisy repeated her Champion Gotland ewe award, accompanied by Beauregard as Champion ram. In Shetlands, Town Crier gained the Champion ram, and Mindy - now that she didn't have to compete with sister, Minx, won Champion ewe. (sorry Kendara, we really didn't mean to take over the Shetland show!) Kendara's lambs were rather nice, but quite a bit younger, and the judge was a "bigger is better" kinda guy. The fleece judging went similarly. Bigger was better. Some days are like that. There's no way a Shetland fleece can compete with a Romney in size/weight. Neither do they need as much space, or eat nearly as much feed. So there. ...however, the winning fleece, from a Romney, was well deserving of the win. It was a huge, silvery charcoal grey fleece, very clean, delicious handle. :-)

Unfortunately, at the show, Sherman the Shetland started feeling peaked, so went home early. He perked up at home, but never fully recovered. So sad, he died just a week ago. I guess I'll never know why. He had a dry cough, so was on antibiotics, got vitamins, another dose of wormer, etc, etc. He'd improve and eat for a few days, then regress again. I always feel like I failed them when they die.

Back to better - I applied for a job! It's the CSA coordinator for Greenbank farms on Whidbey Island, a one year long position. So as not to jinx the application, that's all I'm going to say about it for now :-)

It was a tough decision for me, but the sheep won't be going to the Puyallup Fair. Besides Sherman, several other lambs were feeling punky with a bit of cough and snotty noses. After a round of LA200, most are feeling better, but a few are still coughing. These are both fair lambs (still in quarantine) and "home" lambs. Ebby, TC's brother and alternate fair lamb, broke a horn on Saturday, so he wasn't going anywhere, and I sheared the yearling rams so late they still look bad. Not what I think would make a good exhibit. So, the sheep will stay home this year. I'm disappointed and will miss the premium money, but the sheep will be less stressed, and I have plenty of other things to keep me busy!

Coming up! LAI using the New Zealand Gotland semen, OFFF, end of the season at Take Root Farm, shearing, agility, and much more. I'll get some photos to share, too.

- Franna