After The Cows Come Home

These are our cows.? One recent evening, they left the fence area they are supposed to be in.? We were, quite upset at their disappearance.? The only clue we had was a broken fence section.? Now, you need to understand something.? I don’t think they planned to escape.? While we were frantically looking everywhere for the girls, I couldn’t help but laugh at all the cliche’s and sayings that came to mind.? After all, just what time do the cows come home:??

We had been noticing that the grass was greener on the other side of the fence.? The girls noticed this too, and not being aware of their own strength and weight, they kept pushing on the fence boards,? trying to reach the greener grass.? Eventually the fence boards gave way and the girls could begin to roam as they pleased.? Not far from the fence line the tracks ended.? Did they cross the road.? Why would the Cow cross the road?? To eat the grass on the neighbors yard of course.? But the down side of this possibility was that the neighborhood across the street is made up of very upscale properties with large manicured lawns.? Would the cows differentiate between green pastures and manicured green lawns?? I thought not.? I could picture one of these residents arising the next morning and looking outside and seeing our cows munching away, clearly in cow heaven.?

Our farm is surrounded by many acres of woods so we treked and searched until it became dark.? We saw some footprints in the garden,? I cannot imagine how the cows avoided stepping on the plants but they did.? They clearly were not bulls in a china shop.? No, not our girls.?

About to give up for the night, my son suddenly came upon the girls attempting to exit the woods and head back to the barn area.? Unfortunately, our dog also saw them and thought the best plan was to run up to the cows and bark.? The cows did not appreciate this welcome at all and took off back into the woods.? Since it was now fully dark, we proceeded to block off the driveways with vehicles, hoping to deflect them from leaving the property, if they came out of the woods.? My husband checked a couple of times during the evening but – no cows.

We didn’t sleep well, wondering what would happen.? Early the next morning, one of our sons left early for church and stopped by the barn.? The cows were just beginning to head home.? Apparently the taste of freedom was becoming bitter, and it was time for breakfast.? My husband, who is their caretaker usually, went down and they followed him right back into the field.

Apparenly the girls were not worried about their reputation being tarnished by staying out all night.? But just to be a little bit more certain? of their whereabouts, the electric fencing was completed and turned on.? Now the cows stand there testing the shock value.? Really, they do,? And that’s no bull.




A Lincoln Story

This is my new friend that I met at the Sheep and Wool Festival last week.? I don’t know his name, but he is a Lincoln Ram so I will just call him Lincoln.? It seems that every year I meet one animal at the festival that takes my heart.? One animal that I wish I could buy and keep for my own.? But I can’t so I take their picture and spend some time visiting and learning about them from the owner.? I was able to buy some of Lincoln’s curly locks though.? I will enjoy deciding what to do with this treasure.? He was a very curly guy.? And I was smitten.

LINCOLN



Maryland – Home of the best Sheep and Wool Festival!

?Every spring on the first full weekend in May, you can find me here.?? Everything from Sheep to the finished wool product is there, and I try my best to absorb it all.

look at those colors! Great Dye job there.

?My senses are on overload with all the beautiful colors and textures.? I have learned to take a limited amount of cash,(whatever I can beg borrow and well beg and borrow will do) so that I don’t over do it!? I do have a little bitty problem with self control where wool products are involved.? Okay, so I? boarder on hoarding.? I’m okay with that.

Fleece judging area
This vendor had some great roving.
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Border Leicester judging.
I was lucky to happen by the show ring when they were judging the breeder of sheep that I own. ?

I don’t know for sure what these guys are but they were so cute

ready for the judging area

Some lincoln sheep relaxing and enjoying the visiting

?Crowds are everywhere.? The festival has no admission charge so many people come and bring the whole family.? Some years it has been incredible.? I have to give lots of credit to the MSWF committee this year.? Parking was so much easier and while it was still packed with people, it seemed more manageable.?

I think the couple told me it was a brown and white merino, a rarity in the breed.

?One of my favorites at the festival.? This artist uses sheep in her art in a very unusual way.?

?Cute little Angora goat.? Looks similar to my pygora goats because this is one of the breeds that were used to make the pygora breed, along with the pygmy goat.? Small manageable sized goats with a great fleece coat and the hardiness of the pygmy are the result.

Loving this hair do!

Good Bye till next year!



SHEEP AND GOATS AND WOOL.

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Ranger steps up on the grooming stand for his first shearing. ? ? ?
10 goats to shear and now this year an additional two sheep, loomed before me. I had not sheared a sheep since college so I was a bit unsure of myself.? Removing the goat fleece has become almost a routine task, although a back breaking one, but I didn’t want to tackle the beautiful sheep fleece without a refresher course.? Our friends agreed to help me.? Shearing day started out cloudy with showers but we were optimistic!? While waiting for our friends Martin and Mitzi to arrive, I did manage to get one of the goats sheared. So we were on the way.?? Martin suggested that we start at the shoulder area to get into the dense fleece.? Then we worked along the back and sides? and let the fleece fall down on either side.? When I do the goats, I start at the top line and remove fleece along the back bone first.? This helps me remove a lot of guard hair first, which you do not have to be concerned with when shearing sheep.

after most of the fleece is removed it is easier to place the sheep on the ground to remove any wool from the neck, inside of legs and belly area.? The sheep like to pretend they are dead at this point!? They can be such drama queens!

What a beautiful boy!? Thanks for growing all the wool, Ranger!

Now it was Millie’s turn. She was on to us and did not appreciate the chance to have the pounds of heavy wool removed from her body.? But once she was in the stand, Millie acted like a good girl and ate little bits of sweet feed while the shearing progressed.

oops.? I promised her I wouldn’t post this picture

blurry picture but Millie sure looks good.

Don’t even think about shearing me!

Endless possibilities!? Beautiful soft creamy white wool.? This will make some amazing yarn

After all the goats and sheep have been sheared.? I have a lot of raw wool to process! It is all so gorgeous.?

?The girls just wanted to be part of the post.

This is Big Feather Foot.? She is a cuddle bug!



The Chicken and the Egg

Well it certainly has been a while since I wrote anything. Spring was kind of busy at the farm and while the urge to write was present the time did not present itself!
I was thinking though about how we say we will never do something. For example, I always said that I would NEVER raise chickens. This stemmed from when I was in college and had to visit many farm operations for my agriculture classe. Nothing, and I mean nothing, smells as bad as a chicken house. While I do love the way the chickens look and have found them to be a worthy decorating accent, I never wanted to have to clean up that mess. Well, Never say Never. This spring, probably as a result of working next to a feed and garden center, we could not resist the urge to take home about a dozen baby chicks and two baby ducklings. Following the adoption, we experienced a cold spell. While this is not unusual for our area, it is not healthy to put poultry babies in a cool environment. No problem, we will keep them in the office in the house. There, the dogs won’t be able to get to them and we can keep the room extra warm. Not a problem until the cold spell became a cold month. My office became a barn. Chicken poop and duck splatters everywhere. Given an ounce of water, ducks can take quite a splash bath. Not to mention that while the weather was refusing to take the hint about spring, the babies were growing and out growing the office.

The conditions finally warrented the move to the farm, and into the chicken palace they all went. Not many days passed before a friend came by with about eighteen abandoned chickens, that were in need of homes. Of course, I leaped to the rescue and took in four full grown hens to add to the mix. This is when it got interesting. The day after we brought home the new hens, I went to the farm in the morning to feed and discovered two beautiful fresh eggs. My goal in life had been realized! Yes I had known where eggs come from before this day, but these eggs came from my chickens! This was pure joy for me. Even now months later I still love to see how many eggs the girls have given us. The baby chicks are full grown now and I am looking forward to the morning I go to the chicken palace and find that they have started to lay eggs too.

Life is funny that way. Sometimes the things we most resist end up bringing us lots of joy! Never say never.

Have you thanked a chicken lately?