The Boys and Their Lambs…

It’s always a busy time of the year when the kids pick out their fair lambs in April.  The next 4 1/2 months are busy spent training, walking, washing, shearing, their lambs.  This year they went to a 3 day camp in Bozeman to learn more about showmanship, lamb care, shearing with a jackpot on the last day.    IMG_9114 IMG_8894 IMG_8846 IMG_8834 IMG_8828 IMG_8824 IMG_8816-2 IMG_8743 IMG_3727

Kids walking their lambs…IMG_3676

Garrett shearing his own lamb…IMG_3655

Garrett helping some kids with showmanship…IMG_3732

Getting ready for fair…IMG_3731 IMG_3728

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Thank goodness for grandmas who will stop and feed the starving kids on her way home from work.  The first couple days of fair are extremely busy and we generally eat really late but grammy had pity on us and fed us.IMG_3736

Practicing with his lamb…IMG_3735

Then show day!

Waiting for his turn to show…IMG_3808

This year at fair they worked very hard and Garrett and Hayden ended up being in the final round for showmanshipIMG_3805 IMG_3790

Even, Teigen did very well in showmanship for his first year.IMG_3785 IMG_3782 IMG_3780 IMG_3777 IMG_3771

Waiting for the “market” portion of fair.IMG_3767 IMG_3764 IMG_3746 IMG_3742 IMG_3739

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Hayden even won a purple ribbon in market placing in the top 8 out of 60 lambs for market.  🙂IMG_3820 IMG_3771 IMG_3764 IMG_3750 IMG_3741

Then comes the last day of fair, the last day of the project.  They have sold their lambs to local businesses and they have to load their lambs up on the trailer that is headed to the processor.  There are generally lots of tears and sadness but the kids understand where their food comes from and have a deeper appreciation because of it.  Something that is lacking in todays culture..

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Settling for the Evening…

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Thor

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Gunnar

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Kletta

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Frank

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Frank, again. 🙂

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Bellah Blue and Hayden

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Elgur, Sully, and Draumur

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The ewes…

Linking up with:

Camera Critters

camera critters

Homestead Barn Hop

The Chicken Chick

Fleeces…

I start to love this time of year when lambs fleeces are growing long and wavy.  They’ve been nourished all season long on mother’s milk and tender sweet grasses, and are headed into fall looking beautiful.

 

A trio of color...

A variety of color...

 

A black grey ram and black badgerface ram in the background...

A black grey ram and black badgerface ram in the background...

 

A moorit gray mouflon ram...

A moorit gray mouflon ram...

 

Grazing...

 

A black spotted ewe...

A black spotted ewe...

 

A black grey ewe...

A black grey ewe...

 

A fluffy moorit ewe...

A fluffy moorit ewe...

 

Shades of black...

Shades of black...

Storing Up…

It’s hard to believe that summer is leaving us fast behind.  With fall just around the corner the guys here have been busy hauling hay for all the various creatures here to sustain them through the winter.

Finally home well after the sun had gone down...

Finally home well after the sun had gone down...

 

Mark

 

Reaching

 

 

Sawyer bucking bales...

Sawyer bucking bales...

 

The barn with hay again...

The barn with hay again...

 

 

Stack of hay...

Stack of hay...

 

What every farm needs or maybe what every 16 year old boy needs to do?

Hard Work...

This is what every farm needs or maybe it’s what every 16 year old boy needs to do? ;0)
What would haying be without a little hay ride?

What would haying be without a little hay ride?

Their only about half way done and we need about another 6 tons, but their getting closer.  The hay is absolutely beautiful, a nice alfalfa grass mix that’s very leafy and I’m sure the sheep will do very well on it this winter.  Tori also was able to help by driving the pickup while the guys threw hay into the back, she did a good job.  She was even able to throw her dad off the trailer while going down one of the hills on the bumpy field when she got going a bit too fast and helped redistribute the hay a bit on the trailer…  But hey that’s what learning all about right?  ;0)
Thanks to CJ for all your help the other night-you definitely saved Mark’s shoulder by volunteering to help us and to the Krantz’s for their wonderful help too.  Thanks to the Vo-Ag Center for the beautiful hay.

Getting Ready…

Today we spent the day getting ready.  It’s the day where you hurry up and wait.  This was Zayne before lunch today…

Tired and cranky little boys...

Tired and cranky little boys...

Other than tired kids though the day went pretty well.  They started with lamb weigh-ins  at 8 am, moved to hogs and finished with steers at sometime past 5 pm.   Maddie’s pig weighed in at 240 and had a loin of 7.72 square inches!  Tori’s lamb weighed in at 129lbs. and Sawyer’s steer was 1149lbs. In between the kids cleaned pens, fed animals and had some fun.  They also groomed their animals and Tori and Sawyer each had to learn how to get their animals ready for the show tomorrow.
Maddie's pig being weighed in...

Maddie's pig being weighed in...

Scrubbing her pig...

Scrubbing her pig...

Tori washing her lamb...

Tori washing her lamb...

Hanging out with her lamb...

Hanging out with her lamb...

Slick shearing....

Slick shearing....

Sawyer waiting his turn at the scale...

Sawyer waiting his turn at the scale...

Sawyer's friend showing him how to fit his steer...

Sawyer's friend showing him how to fit his steer...

Pretty serious business above! ;0)
A little shave...

A little shave...

Tori and Romeo

Tori and Romeo

All ready to go tomorrow…
Royal all ready!

Royal all ready!

Well everyone is very tired tonight and a little nervous/anxious for tomorrow!
We’ll be there bright and early!

Processing Day…

Yesterday we processed 20 of the 42 Cornish x chickens.  We ended up moving them over to my dad’s house about a month ago as he had more room to finish them in.  After 8 weeks of growing, our smallest bird yesterday was about 4 lbs and the largest was 8 1/2 lbs!   My dad kept asking Sawyer if he accidentally grabbed one of the laying hens!  Most of the birds where between 6 1/2 to 7  lbs…not too bad!

One big chicken!

One big chicken!

 

My dad and Sawyer started early yesterday morning getting all prepped up and getting the fire started to boil the water which was used for scalding the chickens.

The scalder- a metal garbage can set up on two block with a fire going underneath...

The scalder- a metal garbage can set up on two block with a fire going underneath...

 

We (the little boys, girls and myself) did not show up until later in the afternoon to do the wrapping but we didn’t miss all the fun!  Sawyer had the fun job of knocking heads off and helped in gutting them and dad scalded and plucked…

Here's dad after the beheading, gutting and scalding-getting ready to be plucked...

Here's dad after the beheading, gutting and scalding-getting ready to be plucked...

 

The plucker doing a fine job removing the feathers...

The plucker doing a fine job removing the feathers...

Dad said his rubber pants were a bit hot to wear all day yesterday!

Sawyer with the gizzards and hearts a real delicacy...

Sawyer with the gizzards and hearts a real delicacy...

 I’d say yum, but I really don’t think it’s all that yummy… at all.   However Sawyer  disagrees with me and enjoys the little tidbits!   8{  

Tori pulling another one out of the cooler...

Tori pulling another one out of the cooler...

A *new* rubber garbage can  was used as a cooler.  We ended up using milk jugs that had been filled with water and frozen to put in the *cooler*  to keep everything cold.

Tori did the finish work and picked out any remaining feathers...

Tori did the finish work and picked out any remaining feathers...

 

Boomer, my dads dog guarded the final product!

Boomer, my dads' dog, guarded the final product!

 

Chicken 2009, nice white packages...

Chicken 2009, nice white packages...

The little boys helped run the final packages down the stairs to the freezer.  Today the process begins again on the remaining chickens.  It’s so nice to have a freezer full of home grown chickens to feed us through the coming year!

Last night I also participated in a home canning class at the community college.  Last Thursday was the first class in which we learned how to water bath canning and we processed some nectarines.  Last night we learned how to use a pressure canner and processed some tomatoes.  The classes were so much fun and I feel more confident in using my pressure canner and can hardly wait to get started on processing more fruits and veggies!

Put up and ready to use later...

Put up and ready to use later...

 

And… we got our first duck egg this morning…

Our first duck egg out of our Indian Runner's...

Our first duck egg out of our Indian Runner's...

 

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  We are headed out to pick up a new ram lamb for our flock!

 

Erin

Durkeys…

Turkey...

 

The turkeys have become big enough that they were set free from their captivity.  They roam through the pastures, and  garden and surprisingly enough not too often in the yard.  It has been a tad on the warm side here lately so I thought it was sort of funny to see turkeys turn duck the other evening…

Durkeys...

Durkeys...

 

 

Sitting on the sheep waterer...

Sitting on the sheep waterer...

 

reflecting...

 

We all thought it is was too funny to see the turkeys wading around in the stock tank like the ducks do in their pool.  After they left I peeked in the tank and they ended up leaving lots of little durkey droppings in the water…not so funny.  So after cleaning the tank and refilling it I was sort of worried about them returning and making another big mess but so far there hasn’t been any more durkey mess in the stock tank.  Yeah! 

Right now we have an abundance of grass hoppers and both the turkeys and ducks seem to be keen on eating them.

The Toulouse's out on pasture...

The Toulouse's out on pasture...

 

The geese have also proved to be good watch dogs, tending to the little ducks they grew up with.  So far we have not lost a single duck to predators.

Toulouse goose guarding the Indian Runner ducks...

Toulouse goose guarding the Indian Runner ducks...

 

Last year it was a bad year for ducks around here.  We ended up loosing 3/4the of our flock  in two nights to the fox.  The lone duck buddied up with the hens and eventually she turned up missing one day too.

Toulouse goose

 

The little kids do not like the geese anymore…at all!   The geese are nearly big enough to look them straight in the eye with a glaring little look that scares them to death.  Which makes the kids run and then the geese let loose and chase after them.  They don’t seem to bother any of us bigger people yet.  They even sorta bug me out when they start the stare down but it seems if you hold your ground and just keep going about your business they just leave you alone.   Hehe!  We’ll see…

I shot the fox!

We have a fox that has been quite troublesome.  He seems to like to help him or herself to our chickens.  We use to let our hens free range and scratch around where ever they liked too, but this spring a greedy little fox started taking more than his fair share of our hens.  So we have ended up needing to coop them up where they have been rather sad.  We did get our electro-netting so they are able to get out a little more… but it’s still not quite the same. 

Yesterday evening while Mark was at the men’s bible study I was busy planting some flowers that my parents had dropped off when I heard a chicken squabble.  Earlier that day Garrett, Hayden and their cousins had caught the geese and ducks that once resided in the chicken pen and put them and their little pond out in the sheep pasture.  The geese and ducks had been grabbing chickens and pinning them down while pecking at them, so they are now free ranging it out with the sheep.  But in the process of 5 little boys trying to capture ducks and geese 4 hens escaped out of the house and roamed free for the day.  So right before (of course) I heard the terrible chicken squack the thought ran through my mind that I needed to get the chickens put away, but I only had a couple more flowers to plant so I decided to finish that up first.  I guess I should of listen to that little nudging inside of me because when I went to go investigate the squawk all I found were three hens and a pile of feathers!  Darn fox!

A couple days before as we were headed to town Mark and I spotted the fox traipsing through the field.  I told Mark to stop and he asked if he should shoot it and told him that no I would *shoot* the fox…

Sly as a fox...

Sly as a fox...

 

Looking at us...

Looking at us...

 

 

The final shot...

The final shot...

Mark just shook his head and smiled at me…Plus it wasn’t even in our field, and it waaaay over on the other side and the neighbors on both side of the property would have probably frowned at us had we actually shot it, plus I’m not that way, he hasn’t ruffled my feathers that much…yet!  But he might want to watch out!

Work and Play…

Yesterday the kids put in a very long day cleaning their pens for today’s4H Project Tour.  We will get together with all the other members in our group and go to each others houses and weigh their animals to see how well they are gaining for fair.  So all day yesterday the big kids where literally knee deep-well it wasn’t quite that deep but by the time they were done their arms felt like it was!  I never heard one peep out of them all day except for lunch and the occasional break for more water.  They all stayed up there together until the whole barn was finished.  Tori was even shown how to drive the tractor by Sawyer. I think they doubled the size of our already large pile of …”compost” near the barn.

Adding to the compost pile...

Adding to the compost pile...

Most of the older waste (which is mainly sheep manure, straw and hay) in the pile has broken down pretty nicely and should make some nice compost to use in the garden next year.  The new stuff ought to be pretty good too, sheep, pig and steer manure all combined.
Tori up at the barn...

Tori up at the barn...

Garrett was even busy down around the house,  I caught him putting up a hog panel to block off part of the garden where the watermelon plants keep getting stepped on…
Garrett working...

Garrett working...

and he straightened up the yard too.  Zayne and Teigen on the other hand had fun with the hose and worked hard at staying wet…
Fun with the hose...

Fun with the hose...

Teigen having fun too...

Teigen having fun too...

Zayne...

 

At around 5 the rest of the kids had finally finished with the barn and had time to refresh with a water fight.

Hayden...

~*~

Garrett...

~*~

Maddie...

After supper and the toe smashing Sawyer worked some more mowing  a pasture that we are leasing until nearly 11 and got up early this morning to go finish it up before we have to leave this afternoon for the project tour.

The evening ended beautifully too…

To the southwest...

To the southwest...

~*~

To the northwest...

To the northwest...