LineupI attended the KHSI Expo last weekend, in Indiana, Pennsylvania. Since it took me all day to fly there (I lose three hours traveling in that direction) I second-guessed myself whether it’s worth the time and expense to go all that way. But, it was, I had a great  time. Part of it is visiting with friends and making new ones, who are all sheep and Katahdin fanatics. I shared a room with two other women, so that was cheap; we were fed as part of the registration fee, so my biggest expense was just the flight. There were several really good speakers that I enjoyed- people I would likely never hear on this coast. I hardly got any sleep. And, I do enjoy the chance to evangelize NSIP when I can, and that venue is a prime opportunity. I’ll probably write a couple of posts about seminars I attended. But today I want to comment on the sale.


It’s been a busy summer, and I’ve allowed blogging to fall down, and off, the priority list for a few weeks. As most know, we’ve had unusually dry weather here, so the grass growth has been curtailed. Our lot usually does well even during dry times, as we have so  much reed canarygrass, and it has very deep roots that can access the water table several feet deep. Annoyingly, the Canada thistle is thriving, so from a distance the ewe field looks green, but only from thistle!

With the dryness comes extra trouble with portable grounding rods on portable fences; and I’ve been having trouble with a few sheep escaping the Electronet due to low voltage. The solar powered chargers don’t have very high voltage to begin with; and now I need to run fairly long runs because I have a lot of sheep. Often one sheep will pop under the fence, pull out a few stakes, which leaves enough leaning that the rest of the group figures out they can jump over. We had enough loose sheep incidents in the garden and orchard that the portable fence grazing is on hold, for now. On my to-do list is to install AC-powered hotwire, and try again to see if higher voltage solves this problem. Now, if I can only fit that project in…


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 246 other followers