Montague and the Girls

Every year the shepherdesses work on the breeding ewe worksheet separately without discussing our breeding philosophy for the year, then compare our results.  This year, as usual, we were very close in our decisions, only differing in one choice.

Along with the new girls, Sadie and Sarah (pictured above), there are several families included in Montague’s group – Serenity and her daughters Harmony and Thalia (one of the three Graces); Maibh (may+v) and her daughters Maire (my+ra) and Matilda; Dolly and her daughters Dahlia, Daisy and Darah (house of the shepherd).  Although some are crosses, all were chosen for their strong Border Leicester bloodlines and to build upon their physical strengths and fleece quality.   We are very excited about breeding season and, of course, we’re already dreaming about next year’s lambs.

Dahlia ~ daughter of Dolly, grand-daughter of Rosey

Frey and His Ladies

Despite his busy schedule (twenty-three ladies in his breeding group), Frey found some time to enjoy the sunshine – as we all were on Sunday after a hectic Saturday finishing breeding preparations and moving sheep.

Frey is in with a beautiful, diverse group of longwool ladies with lovely wool locks – Romney crosses, Coopworth crosses, Border Leicester crosses.  With their bloodlines and his Finn – Teeswater lines, we’re hoping that next year’s lambs will be healthy and strong and produce another beautiful crop of wool.

It is such a joy researching each ewe’s line while making breeding group decisions… traveling back through the history of the flock… remembering special sheep with such fondness.  We’re sometimes surprised by little things that have slipped our minds in the busyness of day to day farm chores.  There are exclamations of “Oh my, Dahlia and Daisy are Dolly’s daughters and Rosey’s grand-daughters!”  Soft, curly fleeces are examined and admired.  Truly, truly each season on the farm has so many little rewards.

Jill ~ Romney cross, now the matriarch of the flock at 10 years old

Frey or Freyr ~ the ruler of peace and fertility, rain and sunshine 

Good Fences

Breeding groups are finally all set up, and we are depending on our good fences to keep the rams on their best behavior.  We still have some hoof trimming to accomplish with Aragorn’s ladies but we’ve got the breeding harness on him in the meantime.
We were blessed with a gofer full of unsaleable pumpkins by our friends at Vested Heirs Farm.  They provide some bright spots in the somewhat dreary pasture, and the flock is definitely enjoying the late autumn treat.
Joining The Run*A*Round Ranch Report for Good Fences

Ram Tough

As we mentioned earlier this week, all the breeding groups are broken up and the bred ewes are back in the barn pasture along with Liam and Fury, two of the rams.
Poseidon and Aragorn, the other two rams are now in the back pasture, where after a bit of a ‘discussion’ they have pretty much settled in.  Their job is done, and they will spend the next months putting weight back on that they lost during breeding season.  They are content, except for the time they spend walking the fence line looking for ‘lost love’.

We’re Here

Saturday afternoon was spent breaking up the breeding groups and moving all the ewes back to the barn paddock.  Despite the snow and the bitterly cold wind, it went much better than we expected.  Usually we put up a moving lane to facilitate the moving process, but we didn’t this time because of the weather.  Instead we opened the paddocks one at a time and led each ram back to the barn.  All the ladies followed their guy… success!  We kept our old guy, Liam, and young Fury at the barn with the ewes.  Hopefully that will work out as well as it did last year with Strider.
And so, with a hearty round of the song “We’re all together again… We’re here… We’re here” everyone is settling in nicely.

Checking In

The boys are checking in and are happy to report that the first breeding cycle ends today.  All the ewes are marked,  and the wax marking crayons get changed to a new color today.  The hope is that everyone is caught the first go round, and no one gets marked a second time.  If everything goes smoothly, we’ll be able to get all the ewes moved to the barn pasture for the winter, hopefully before any more big snowstorms move through our area.