We still have good green grass, but not for much longer with this string of no rain we’ve had. It’s unusual for it to get hot and sunny consistently before 4th of July here; but the entire month of June has felt like August! There is a possible thundershower in the forecast for next week, so crossing my fingers the pasture gets some watering. It sounds like our hay will be delivered next week, which will be a welcome backup: I can feed out of that store if I have to rest the pastures for a while. The pasture pictured above is mostly reed canarygrass. Though it is often an unmanageable pain in the butt, it is a great grower during dry times, since it has such deep roots. It will likely tap the water table no matter how long we go without rain, so it can continue to grow back after being grazed. It produces a huge volume of very nutritious grass, as well.

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This is no Nancy Drew story. But where else other than a farm can you start a blog post with a title like that? Prepare for an explicit story of biology gone awry, though, this time, no gross pictures!

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In the olden days, people navigated the earth using a combination of maps, agreed-upon street numbering and naming conventions, and indicator signage. When folks wanted to go somewhere, first, they would consult a map. Then, as they drove, they would follow the map readings to identify turns along the way, helped by signs which indicated the location of the turns.

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Here is this year’s Miniver Cheevy (born too  late). (And thanks to my junior high English teacher, TMJ, for forever sticking that poetic reference in my head…) I had one yearling ewe that had bred/marked during the normal time, but she must have lost that conception and re-bred late December. I could tell she was pregnant, as she was developing an udder; but I could also tell she was behind schedule, as her udder was pretty small during lambing in April.

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Our subsidized-lifestyle sheep, Jimmy Niblets, Esq.; aka Larry the Proposal Lamb, was a cover boy this month on the spring issue of New American Homesteader magazine. Back in December, a local writer-photographer team, Maureen Finn and Kimberly Taylor, were looking for sites to photograph to support an article they were writing on sheep rearing basics. 

It’s tough to find non-muddy locations that time of year. We had some decent sections of the sacrifice area that were at least dead grass, though still far from summer pastoral. Fortunately, photographers can do amazing things with limited opportunity. Also on the magazine cover is a small cameo of me showing how to hold a sheep by the head; demonstrating on JN, who was somewhat taking offense to being treated like a sheep.

In the article, there is another photo of my hands holding a butcher lamb, and a placid photo of some of my ewes just hanging out in the boring wintertime. I think the other sheep in the article photos are Maureen’s cute Shetlands.

I emailed Jimmy’s benefactors to let them know, and they rushed out to find the magazine, which it turned out, is on Fred Meyer shelves. I picked up a couple copies as well, one to frame and hang in the barn. Some of my Katahdin Facebook friends noted it, as you can see the ear tag well enough to spot our farm name. It’s funny to think, of all the quality breeding Katahdins in the world, that this dork made the cover; but he’s not a bad lookin’ wether, he stays tidy year-round. He’s always getting in the business of any farm visitor, and photobombs most portraits, so this is no surprise. Gentlemen of a certain standing in society just can’t escape the paparazzi, so might as well strike a pose.

I have a crew of complications housed in the barn, where it’s easier for me to keep an eye on them. These resting ewes may look like they have whole litters of lambs, and in a way, they do.

 

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Nursing her twins, with a cheat coming in the backHere’s the sad part of raising livestock, the losses. I lost a ewe last week, a good yearling that I had purchased. She came in a group of four half-sisters (same sire). The other three have thrived here, maintaining good weight, and generally doing well. Two have had good lambs, the third is due any day. This one was concerningly thin all through winter. I gave her an extra round of de-worming and a course of antibiotics, hoping to address whatever was dragging her down. She was in the barn for boost-feeding prior to breeding, and then again heading into late pregnancy.

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