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!

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.