Greener Pastures Farm - Current News

Jon kneels down to let the pregnant Cascade Farmstead ewes check him out. Visit our website to learn more about these great little low-maintenance, no-shear, meat sheep!


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Emergence... Back Into The Light

I'm back!

Yeah, I've been out of the loop for a while. A stroke in my eye really sent me into a spin. I'm okay. Lots of expensive tests and doctor bills later, I'm now on high blood pressure medication, and learning to live with a blind spot in my right eye.

Really, all things considered, if I had to choose a spot to be blind in, I could not have chosen better. It's the upper left quadrant of my right eye that is blind, so I didn't lose any peripheral vision. So I'm really lucky!

I have a lot of catching up to do! Emails and phone calls have really piled up, and I'll be working my way through those in the next few days.

Now that the holidays are over, and the house is tidy from holiday preparations, I'm really pumped to get going on my hobbies and my farm work. I'm so glad to be back!

~ Ronda

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Horns and Gaps in Fencing

Photo taken August 2011

These are a few of our 2011 Cascade Farmstead ram lambs. Legend, at the far left, and Laredo, at the far right, both have very very wide horns. Louie Louie, center, has horns that are just right. Lionheart, who is 2nd from right, has horns that are iffy and will remain to be seen how they turn out.

Luke, 2nd from left, has narrow horns and will be culled. Narrow horns will eventually grow into the face or eye, causing suffering to the animal. Culling the animal is the best thing for the breed and for your own flock.

Behind these young boys is a neat fencing trick that we discovered by accident and necessity. Directly behind Luke, from the cedar post and to the left, you can kinda see where the old driveway used to meet the road. From there the driveway travels from left to right behind this group of weaned ram lambs. The thistles are growing robustly due to all the compost dumped there.

Twelve years ago we dumped dirt from all the post holes we had dug, and barn compost to fill the two- to three-foot gap between the tightly stretched fencing and the surface of the old driveway. We tramped down each load we added, and when the dirt and compost finally accumulated enough to meet the fence, I pounded into the dirt/compost a number of 1x2 wooden stakes every 2 to 4 inches and catching the bottom 2 strands of the fence. This stabilized the dirt and compost that we dumped there. Each year we added more until we had filled in the entire area that used to be a driveway.

Over the years the new soil firmed up, and the wooden stakes decomposed, giving a level surface under our fencing. It's a technique we now use to fill in any hole that occurs under our fencing. The wooden stakes will slow down a predator, or an escape artist.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Castle and Beckett Growing Up



Sweet! Castle and Beckett snoozing when I got up. It turns out that Beckett is a boy, but we are keeping the name anyway. He's ferocious and determined to be the Number One cat; he's clever and is biding his time with the older cats.




I guess somebody (Beckett?) is doing some shrew hunting. I just wish they would not bring their work home with them.



Monday, September 19, 2011

Greener Pastures Redwood

Photo taken April 2011

We had two blonde rams that looked so much alike, I had to get up close and check their ear tags to be certain who was who.

So these photos might be Greener Pastures Redwood, or they might be Greener Pastures King's Ransom. Both are from our Alpha line of Cascade Farmstead Sheep. The photo above is Redwood, to the far right of Jester and Jumping Jack Flash. They are all the same age in this photo; two years.

We butchered Redwood recently... he was a fine ram, but we'd already utilized him for breeding and no longer needed him. At age 2 1/2 years, his carcass weighed 52 lbs.

Below are, clockwise from front, Jester (white), Jumping Jack Flash (gonna use him for breeding this autumn!), either Redwood or King's Ransom, Jackpot (butterscotch color) and the fabulous Jeopardy.

Photo taken May 2011

It's only September, but I'm already dreaming of the possibilities of next year's lambs!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Job Openings Filled at Greener Pastures Farm

Yes, we had a couple job openings to fill, and after weeks and weeks of searching, we found the right candidates!



Introducing Castle and Beckett. They were born to a barn cat, lived full time in a barn, and came home with us when they were 7 weeks old, already conditioned for barn life and hunting. These photos were taken at about 8 weeks. They are still kittens, and chase their own tails and chew on their own hind feet!



But they also stalk each other and wrestle when they are not sleeping or purring for us. Our last kittens were ten years ago, and they were not nearly this advanced or aggressive.

However, Calvin, Hobbes and Susie were/are wonderful cats! (Can you tell that we are avid fans of Bill Watterson?) Calvin was the hunter/mouser, as well as the most endearing cat we'd ever seen. Everyone who met him adored him and wanted to take him home. The last photo of him was taken just before The Kid's graduation:



We knew he was good, but didn't realize how good until after he'd been gone for about 6 months. Small predators began moving in about that time, and we even saw squirrels on our property for the first time since the late 90's.

When we found rodents in the chicken feed, we knew it was time to do something.



Uncle Hobbes has warmed up to the kittens fairly quickly, and is benevolently tolerant of them. Aunt Susie, who declined to participate in the photo shoot, is taking a bit more time to thaw.



The new crew are headquartered out on the front porch after spending the first 5 days living in the house and getting to know us. Beckett is utterly fearless and is the first to try everything. Castle is content to watch his sister first and see how she fares before giving most things a try. I think they will make a wonderful team!



I like this photo. Snoozing husband and snoozing kitties. Too cute for words.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Picture is Worth Three Stories


I love this picture. It may not appear so, but there are at least three stories going on in this photo.

It was taken on May 15th, the day Laughter In The Rain was born. So I was out taking photos in the rain, of course! If it's not an absolute downpour, our ewes and lambs prefer to graze in the rain and/or gather under a tree. Here we have Lorelei and another lamb that I can't identify from here, both playing Who Can Climb The Highest Before Gravity Interferes? At right is Belladonna, with a bit of play still in her, despite being a new mother to those ten-day-old twins next to her, as well as a grandmother and great-grandmother.

And last, but not least, are Valerian and Katzenjammer grazing side-by-side. Valerian gave us our first lambs of the season, and Katz produced her pretty lamb eight days after this photo was taken. But that's not the story! What I find so cool is that these two girls are grandmother and granddaughter. (CORRECTION BELOW!) Katz's dam, Jeepers, went to live in Minnesota last year, and because mother/daughter pairs often are grazing buddies, Katz apparently began spending more time with grandma. I like that.

I've heard stories about ewes who were grazing buddies being separated by years and reunited later on and instantly becoming grazing buddies again. And I've seen it happen on our own farm when we used to have Soay sheep; I bought a ewe who was the dam of a ewe I had purchased previously, and they became grazing buddies again as if they had not been separated at all. I'm not looking to reunite any of my sheep; but I do find it fascinating how the relationships are established and sustained.

It may not seem like it in our photos, but we currently have 53 sheep in our ewe/lamb pasture; 23 ewes and 30 lambs. Not counting our adult rams. I would have expected a lot more lambs from that number of ewes, but we kept a higher percentage of ewe lambs last year, so that meant a lot more single lambs this year.

Back to labeling photos!

~ Ronda

CORRECTION: I should have checked before typing that! Valerian is not Jeepers' dam. Valerian is the half-sister of Jeepers' grandmother, and therefore a great-aunt to Katz. Katz' grandmother and great-grandmother are center front in our header photo; the polled white and dark brown ewes. But still, it's all in the family.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last Call



I have a number of photos to gather and present for our buyers back east. It's kind of a big job, and this past week I've gotten behind! Thankfully, my son took these photos today for me.

Sunday, May 29th brought the last lamb of the 2011 season to Greener Pastures Farm. Not only did every ewe produce at least one lamb, but the season ended with quite a flourish! This is Greener Pastures Last Call; a single ram lamb born to black triplet Camellia. Her two brothers were born badgerfaced; Alder went to Minnesota and Balsam stayed here with us. Balsam will be utilized for breeding this coming autumn.



Back to Last Call. These colors and markings are a first for us, and I think we will enjoy them while we see them, because they will fade within a few months. His sire is a blonde ram in the Alpha bloodline, and while Camellia was born black (and still is, despite the brown fleece that is sun bleached), she comes from a long line of blonde or badgerfaced ewes and rams.



He is a pretty big boy; she seems to have "baked" him long and well. And here he is, showing just how he feels about this busy day. Can you just take that camera away and let me catch a snooze?



Ronda, tickled pink at Greener Pastures Farm

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Blessed are they...

Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves...

... for they shall never cease to be amused.

I don't know who said that, but I've carried it around in my head and posted it on the fridge and even began a cross stitch sampler with it once. And I just now shared it with a farming friend. (Hi friend!)

~ Ronda

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Funny Face



He does look a bit of a clown, doesn't he?

Greener Pastures Firethorn and his twin sister, Forget-Me-Not have some fascinating markings on their faces that were inherited from their Icelandic dam. Her face was just like this!

With his nice conformation and good horn width, we utilized Firethorn for breeding in the fall of 2009. Two of his daughters inherited his facial markings to some extent; Greener Pastures Katzenjammer and Greener Pastures Kia. And Kia's 2011 daughter did as well. But Firethorn's other daughter looked the typical mouflon pattern. So it was a nice surprise to see Keester produce a ewe lamb that looks a bit like its grandpa, though cuter.



Greener Pastures La Vie En Rose is shown the day she was born, while still wet behind the ears and pretty much everywhere else, too! Gotta love those white bobbie socks.



Here she is the following day, with her cute pink nose. She took her grandpa's funny face and made it glamorous.

Our 28th lamb of this year was born yesterday, and we have two pregnant ewes to finish up this year's lambing season. Due to the higher number of ewe lambs born this year, we unexpectedly will have a Starter Flock available for sale; a group of very nice experienced adult ewes and rams that I had planned to keep for myself. See our website for further information.

~ Ronda

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Testing. Testing.

I've had this camera for.... maybe 8 years? And today was the first time I used the video option. My first videos were of leaping lambs, but I didn't get close enough and it was too fuzzy. Thus begins the Learning Curve!

Here's my babies. Yes, I really do talk to them all the time. This chatter wasn't for you, but for the babies and me. I want them to be accustomed to the sound of my voice, and I always talk to the sheep when I enter the pasture, so that they know it's me and there's no need to worry or protect the babies, etc.

video

Next time I'll try to get closer to the leaping lambs! : D

~ Ronda

Monday, May 9, 2011

No More Bottles!


I've been let off the hook. And in so doing, the ewe with a strike against her is likely getting a reprieve.


She's nursing. And she's not only nursing her own lamb, but my other bottle lamb, too! I'd seen her kick both of them away in this past week, but last night she seemed to turn a corner. Both lambs had full bellies last night when I brought their night time bottles. And again today when I brought their morning bottles. And their lunch bottles. And then I got the above photo this afternoon.


The lambs still clamor for attention. Lollipop comes a running!


They both sniff and nibble my clothing.


Lexie was nibbling at my phone.


And my pocket.

Lollipop was pawing at my leg for some petting. Actually, they both do that.

I think I'll continue to bring bottles out once a day, with just a small amount of milk, so that we keep these babies tame.

Though having a full grown ewe pawing at my leg might not be such a fun enterprise! : D


But how can I resist Lexie's eyes half closed with contentment as I scratch her chin?

~ Ronda

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day



I made a mistake on Wednesday's post. I speculated that Belladonna would have her lambs by Thursday morning.

She didn't.

She had them Thursday afternoon. And aren't these two little girls cute? Lisette and Lavinia have brown skin and will likely look just like their mother.



Happy Mother's Day. Kick up your heels a little bit.

~ Ronda

Saturday, May 7, 2011

More Cascade Farmstead Lambs!


The countdown continues. We are currently at 15 ewe lambs and 10 ram lambs on the ground and 5 ewes that have not lambed yet. We have not had to assist with any lambings, which is the norm, and actually did not see any of them born! They've been very secretive this year.

Above are Greener Pastures Lucille and Laverne with their dam. They are 8 days old in this photo taken yesterday.


And here is part of our flock of Cascade Farmstead ewes and lambs as of yesterday. Not everybody is in this photo... they like to spread out, and as I recall, there was a new mother inside the barn behind me with her handsome and still wet ram lamb. His name is Greener Pastures Lionheart. It's the "L" year, you know.

~ Ronda

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lambing Update


We had 5 lambs born today. Twins from my fabulous Honeysuckle, and singles from 3 yearling ewes. This brings us to 21 lambs thus far, with 8 ewes left to go. For those of you keeping track, we've had 8 ram lambs and 13 ewe lambs this year!

This photo shows a few of this years' lambs. You should be able to click on this photo to see a larger version. Our most recent lambs are show on the left; Honeysuckle's Legend and Lucia. The oldest lambs are shown in the background; Living Daylights and Lacey. Center shows my babies; Lollipop and Lexis. Lorelei is on the compost heap, and I have some pretty cool pics of her testing the bonds of gravity and the bounce in her legs. I'll get those up tomorrow.

I suspect Belladonna will have lambs by morning, but I've been saying that about Honeysuckle for days, so we will see. : )

Friday, April 29, 2011

Lollipop Lollipop


I have a bottle lamb as of yesterday. Lollipop got trapped in some mud, and when I found her, her dam was having a fit and bleating her head off, and the lamb looked dead.

I went to pick up the dead lamb, and she moved!

Rescue mode kicked in.

I fed her, then dunked her into a nearby water bucket to get most of the caked mud off of her, and when no paper towels or anything was in sight, I took off my coat and then my shirt, put back on my coat and rubbed her as dry as I could with the shirt. She was so cold and barely alive and I made an instant executive decision that she was coming to the house and would likely be a bottle lamb. She had a warm soak in a plastic dishpan while I held her head above the water, until her legs were no longer cold as ice, and I got out the bottles and nipples and fed her some whole cow's milk. We learned years ago that it has more fat than goat's milk and thus is better for a bottle lamb.

I held Lollipop to my chest for hours, she snuggled against me and slept, but kept trembling. After about 3 hours she was alert and ready for another feeding. Who would have thought that just a few hours ago she was so near death. They do bounce back so quickly, and she does have such a will to survive. I hate to think how long she was stuck in that mud with rain coming down on her face and body.

Now she's sleeping next to me in a big box with a towel. She had a busy morning; I took her out with me to check on the ewes and see what new lambs had arrived. We discovered 2 more sets of twins! They are huge compared to Lollipop.

I don't know if Lollipop will become a breeding ewe or become leg of lamb this coming autumn. I don't know if her dam will remain a breeding ewe or become tasty burger. We do cull heavily on our farm. But I can't allow babies to suffer, and this one is getting very good care.

~ Ronda

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Phrase I Never Thought I'd Hear

"Well, since we used up all of our antacid breaking out of jail..."

Jamie Hyneman

(The Kid is addicted to this show, and rightfully so!)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today Included a Double Take


We've seen this before. Several times. But each time I'm startled and do a double take, even when I hoped that a particular breeding pair would produce something like this.


This is Greener Pastures Lorelei with her dam, Greener Pastures Hollyhock. Lorelei's sire is as dark as her dam, but both parents have white with spots in their ancestry.


Bright white. Pristine white. Pink nose and white hooves. And those markings on her face and neck!


And our most recent lamb is another little girl, this one from Greener Pastures Evening Primrose. I saw her being born from inside the house, and got out here just as she was getting up.


Her first meal. I forgot to check her skin color; it could be brown like her sire's, and thus affect her adult coloring. Her dam is quite a looker, and poses nicely for the camera. But she didn't want me near her lamb.


I couldn't get close enough to her dam to read the eartag, so I took a number of closeup photos in hopes of being able to magnify the photo and get a reading. I did, successfully, but just had to include this photo expressly for...

Chai Chai!

It's a good thing the back of the eartag was clean and readable. And what's that? Some brambles in the wool?

~ Ronda

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Lambs and Pregnant Ewes



We had a couple lambs born on Easter morning! Both boys, and both from ewes born last year! This is Kittiwake with her cute little boy. He has brown skin, a white cap and 2 white socks on his back legs. His coloring will change dramatically within a short time. His daddy is Jackpot, who can be seen in yesterday's post.

The other boy was in the barn with his dam, where photos always come out badly, so I'm waiting for a better photo opportunity.




This was apparently the Play Group on Easter; Kittiwake was hanging out in this area and Valerian stopped by to see the new baby. Her son is very curious. Very soon we will see the Lamb Races and these boys will have loads of fun together.



Turning my camera to the left, here are a couple of my favorite ewes, Lavender and Honeysuckle. Lavender is a new "auntie"... she has 4 half sisters on three other farms. One of her nieces was born on Easter and can be seen here. Lavender is also a Grandma. Her granddaughter Lollipop was shown in yesterday's post. I can hardly wait to see what she gives us this year, and Honeysuckle never fails to amaze with her lambs.



And here are pregnant Cascade Farmstead ewes ranging in age from 1 year to my beloved 4-year-old Belladonna.

Obviously, more lambs are coming!

Have I mentioned that I love lambing season???

~ Ronda

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sheep. Sort Of.



Here's our Day Before Easter lamb: Greener Pastures Lollipop! And if you scroll back to the post on April 21st, you can see that the "next ewe to lamb" was the big whitish one right ahead of the ewe and her babies. Greener Pastures Jazz is the fabulous lamb shown on our A Life in the Day web page.

And here are a few photos taken Saturday of a few of our adult rams.




Greener Pastures Jackpot has wide horns and is in the early process of rooing his fleece. He was utilized as a breeding ram last fall, and is Lollipop's daddy. Lollipop has brown skin and will likely be blonde like her Pa.



Greener Pastures Jester, Jumping Jack Flash and Redwood are lined up for a photo shoot. You can see how much Jester's and JJ's horns have grown since January if you look at the previous post. Redwood was utilized as a breeding ram last fall. I am surprised that his horns are not quite as wide as I would like... his sire had really wide horns, and his dam carried the genetics for wide horns. Because he has genetics on his sire's side that I really needed, I utilized him carefully with selected ewes whose sires had really wide horns.

I have photos and thoughts on body structure to share in my next post. Oh yeah... and hopefully more lamb photos!

Happy Easter!

~ Ronda

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Catching Up On Ram Photos

While we wait for more new lambs, I'm catching up on all the photos I took last summer and winter.


These handsome boys are just a few of the Cascade Farmstead rams in our flock. Greener Pastures Indigo on the left was nearly 3 years old at the time this photo was taken; Jan 2, 2011. Quite a rack of horns, huh? His twin brother lives in Missouri, and I'm hoping to see photos of Juniper sometime. You can see a larger photo at the bottom of this page.

Greener Pastures Jumping Jack Flash (black with super wide horns) and Greener Pastures Jester are shown at right. At the time of this photo they were nearly 2 years old. JJ's horns are wider than we normally see, and are quite useful when breeding to a ewe that we know carries narrower horns.

Indigo was utilized for two breeding seasons; once as a flock ram for his group of allotted ewes, and I was so pleased with his progeny that the following year he had another breeding group as well as performing duties as a "clean up ram." Last fall I kept him just as pasture decoration and as my Grandpa Ram in the Bachelor Boy pasture. If the economy hadn't sucked so much, I would have kept him longer, but since I no longer needed him for breeding, we ate him. And that's what this breed is for! Several rams were butchered at that time and we processed them into the best tasting burger we've ever had.

More photos to go through, so you'll see more activity on my blog than you've seen in a long time! Woo hoo!

~ Ronda

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2011 Lambing Season Has Begun!


Sigh...

I love lambing season!

We discovered our first lambs of the year today. The twins were nearly dry by the time we learned we had lambs, and we scrambled for our lambing equipment: the camera.


The Kid took photos of the Mister and Me. The lighter colored lamb is a girl and she will become blonde or a butterscotch color as she matures... this brown color is her lamb coat.

The black lamb is a boy, and the white bits on his head and neck might fade to nearly nothing, or they may indicate a color change coming. We shall see. He's only a few hours old, and has some sturdy one inch horns that are mostly covered with hair. In a week or so they will be more visible.

Good girl Valerian!


Which of these beautiful, fleecy girls will lamb next? Some of them are already beginning to shed their fleece.

I love lambing season!

~ Ronda

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Spring?

I saw this on a couple other blogs and just had to share it:


INSTALLING SPRING...
 44% DONE.

Installation delayed... please wait.

Installation failed. Please try again.

404 error: Season not found.

Season "Spring" cannot be located. The season you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

Please try again.


And on that note, I'll continue to wait for lambs, which are due very very soon. : D

~ Ronda

Friday, March 11, 2011

I'm Back, and Just in Time, Too!




Wow, I'm feeling good! Now that I am feeling so good, I can see that the past year or more I was wading each day through a metaphorical toxic sludge. An infected tooth can do that and more. Anyway, I'm all fixed up and ready for the coming lambing season!

We are shipping two flocks to Massachusetts this year. I think we've got nearly all the "M" states covered by now! I'd sure like to get a flock located closer to me, so that I can more easily swap rams.

I updated the Cascade Farmstead Sheep Association website to include the blog of Flock #4. I haven't read their blog lately and need to catch up!

I've been working on my online store, and have some new patterns coming that will be lots of fun. This morning I added one of my newer designs to the blog and am writing up the pattern this weekend to be available on the store as a freebie. There was no way I could sell that pattern after the 3/11 disaster, and I hope that quilters around the world will find this design helpful in some way, to remember those who were lost in this tragedy.

~ Ronda