Thursday, December 30, 2010

People From Today ... :-)

 Somehow, I missed pictures of Anna and I ... but I got some nice pictures of the others.  

Kerri, Sloane, and Will above ... 
 Kerri and Sloane, 're-fuelling' ... 
and Chris and Jamie.

There were a surprising number of deer and rabbit tracks ... so many that we were able to follow the deer trail right to the creek.  This is a good thing as the past two years, when I have been plagued by coyote kills with my sheep, there were NO rabbit tracks and very few deer tracks.  It is a good sign for the animals at Willow Garden.

Willow Garden Creek

Today, Chris and Kerri brought Will and Sloane out to the farm to spend some time with Anna and Jamie at the farm.  We had a blast!
One of the things that we did was walk to the creek and small forest at the back of the farm.  I love this spot and haven't been back in  a while.  It was great to be there with three generations who all decided that we need to build a cabin back there where we can go for sleep overs or even just picnics.

Life is good!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Day!

My son asked if I'd post some pictures of the kids from Christmas Day for friends and family that follow this blog just for the pictures of my grandkids.  I meant to do it right away, but had Pete's step-daughter here for Chritmas on the 26th and 27th ... and the annual gathering with my sister's crew yesterday and today.  I also have Anna and Jamie staying with me until January 5th.  A three year old, a one year old, and a farm ... in winter ... are keeping me VERY busy ... :-)

Above is Chris and Will ...  
 Will ...
 Will ... 
 Kate and Jamie ...
 Tim and Anna
 Jamie ... 
 Anna ... 
Jamie ...
 all four ... Sloane, Anna, Jamie, and Will ...
 Sloane ... 
and Sloane ... :-)

Life is good!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Fridge

I LOVE it when my Fridge looks like this as Christmas approaches! And, the older I get, the MORE I love it!

I am so sorry that we didn't have annual Photo Cards done to send to family and friends when my kids were growing up ... BUT ... I am thankful to the folks doing it now!

Just look at that fridge!

Life is good!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Tree 2010

Yesterday we made our annual trek to cut down a Christmas tree. We stopped at No-Frills to pick up a few groceries on the way ... and there we found the saddest looking last Christmas tree that I have ever seen. Somehow, it ended up following us home ... :-)

It is shorter than usual, not very full, and has a LOT of holes in it ... but it never ceases to amaze me what a couple hundred lights and an equal number of ornaments can do for a sad looking tree. It is beautiful ... and like me, it looks better in the dark ... ;-)
It needs tinsel still, but that is Pete's job ... :-)

And after I vacuum up the needles that fell off, I'll add the skirt ... and a few presents ... Life is good!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life Is Good For Xavier ... :-)

Willow Garden Xavier, a dun bull calf out of Dreamland Samson and Aldebaran Hollis got GREAT news today. His dam is a PHA carrier ... and had she passed it on to him, then he'd have been in-eligible for registration. In that case, he'd have become 'pink veal' at 16 weeks of age, or been neutered and then butchered as a two year old. I'n not sure which fate would have been the worst!

But ... his test results came back 'PHF/PFD' ... which means free of regular PHA as well as free of the Dexter version. So now, he will be retained for evaluation, with the hope being that we can work him into our breeding program to add more dun to our polled lines.

Life is good ... but it is ESPECIALLY good for Xavier today ... :-)

Life Is Good!

Today is 'National Chocolate Covered Anything Day'! How cool is that!

Chocolate fondue for supper tonight ... woo hoo ... and GUILT FREE ... :-)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Midhill Ziek ... coming to Canada in 2011

It is a 'done deal' ... and I am soooo excited! Deposit has been paid and transport arranged. Midhill Ziek will come to Canada in the New Year ... :-).

His dam Chauauqua Dulcie ...

and his sire is SGF Sant Yukon.

We are very excited to have purchased this boy and to use him as our primary herd sire next year as we begin to breed for a herd that is A2/A2, and polled.

Life is good!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Petit Sabot Whiskers

This is the other yearling that I KNOW I am keeping. Whiskers is also A2/A2. She is dog tame as well!

Petit Sabot Tako's Winka

I thought that I'd introduce you to the two yearlings that I plan to retain as part of my foundation herd.

This is Petit Sabot Winka. When I bought her, she was smaller and thinner than I like to see my cattle, but she is growing nicely.

She tested A2/A2 for milk production, so when bred to my new bull, ALL of her calves will be A2/A2 ... and half will be polled.

Life is good ... :-)

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Look who Showed Up Yesterday!

I am NOT a 'Cat Person' ... but I became really attached to Bob and Doug when Pete brought them here to deal with the over population of rodents around the place. They were both very cool cats that hung out with the sheep ... sort of like LGC (livestock guardian cats). Unfortunately, Doug disappeared a couple of months ago ... shortly after Suds, the white kitten, came to live in the barn.

I feared the worst, but, as always was positive that he'd show up. And yesterday, he did. He was just sitting beside the food dish in the feedroom ... purring LOUDLY ... :-). He has obviously been taken in as he is as fat as a seal! He and Doug played a bit and rubbed against each other, which was nice to see. I'm hoping that he is back for good ... or at least that he'll pop by regularly to tell me that he is OK.

Life is good!

P.S. ... this is an old picture of Doug. We didn't get the snow that so many others got.

P.P.S. Doug was here again tonight at feeding time ... Life is VERY good ... :-))

Monday, December 06, 2010

Shopping For Herd Sire

In my quest to begin working toward a polled herd of smaller, but NOT short legged, Dexters, I have been searching for the right young bull to bring in to the farm as the herd sire for next year. My herd is small, with just 4 cows and two yearlings to be bred next year, so I am sharing ownership of any bull that I purchase with a friend who has the same breeding goals. It is nice to have someone to share this dream with ... :-) ... and it will give us that many more chances to develop a couple of lines of Polled Dexter family milking cows.

Above was before the snow ... :-)

The rest of the pictures were taken today with him being just over six months old. He is heterozygous polled, carries dun, and is tested A2/A2 (hmmm ... we'll discuss that one in another post, as I have tested all of my stock for this ... :-)

Still lots to think about with this guy ... and lots for me to learn ... but ... I like this guy A LOT ... and I'm excited that he is mine if I want him. And he is a size that I could likely transport on my own.

Life is good!

PS ... Looks like we may have a third breeder to join us in this quest for a couple of lines of A2/A2 homozygous polled bulls ... :-)

Life is REALLY good!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Never too Young!

Kate sent me this picture of Jamie helping to spread my message about positive thinking. Even with a runny nose ... he still sees his sippy cup as half full!

Life is GOOD!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Random Act of Culture

I LOVE all of the wonderful posts about Random Acts of Culture. This one is my favourite. And the 'Hallelujah Chorus' is my favourite piece of music. I want it sung at my memorial service ... or better still ... on my death bed ... in 35 years.

But ... with all due respect ... this version makes me smile even bigger.

Life is good!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shetland Sales ... Why Can't I just say ... 'SOLD OUT'!

I continue to get requests from previous customers to add another ewe to their flock. In the past two weeks I have sold three girls that were NOT on my sale list, but all are either bred, or will be bred to one of my rams ... and I always ask for 'first right of refusal' on lambs from stock that I sell ... sooo ... here is what I sold ...

The little mioget girl in the middle ... WillowGarden Baltimore ... went to a non-registered flock just down the road.
... as did Fibre Works Kallisto, bred to Spring Water Lamb Friday.
WillowGarden Grenadine, one of my finest fleeced ewes, but homozygous for katmoget (I think), went to a new flock nearby that will be registering their sheep. She is bred to V Creek Leo.
This leaves me with 16 adult Shetland ewes ... and six of these are extension dominant and bred to a Cormo ram!

So ... I decided to breed the seven ewe lambs that I have.

The four that are Ab/At will be bred to an Extension dominant ram that is either Ab ... At ... Ag ... or a combination of these ... :-) I'm hoping for a few more ewes for my Corland project from this group.
The remaining three will be bred to Friday.

Breeding Plan For Willow Garden Dexters

Dexters are primarily a horned breed of cattle. Most folks de-horn their cattle. Seven Oaks Honeybun here is a good example of a de-horned Dexter. She is also a good example of the 'type' that I will be selecting for.

Honeybun will be a foundation cow as I breed for a polled herd of Dexters. I bought some homozygous polled semen from a beautiful red bull and will use it on ALL of my foundation cows for 2011 calves.
This is Amberdawn Ramona, another of my foundation cows. She is also an example of the'type' I want. Unfortunately, she will have to be de-horned in December as she uses them as weapons against de-horned cows.
Earlona Petula, another foundation cow is also fine example of 'type' for my herd. Again, though ... her horns will be removed in December as she uses them as weapons
My beloved Aldebaran Hollis is de-horned and perfect in 'type' and colour ... I'd LOVE an entire herd of dun Dexters. Unfortunately, when I tested her recently, she came back as a PHA carrier. If she were bred to a PHA carrier bull, the calf would die, and likely the cow as well. She has MUCH to offer to my program though and will be retained as a foundation cow as well. Bulls will be selected carefully, with all of her off spring being tested, and all carriers culled to the freezer.
Marjori is a lovely example of a young Dexter cow, but unfortunately, she is a Chondro carrier, and thus her size is due to this 'dwarf gene' and not just to her being a small cow. That is one more thing for me to test for and cull for as I breed toward a herd of homozygous polled Dexters and I have chosen to keep my herd Chondro free.

There are lots of people breeding with these 'short leg Dexters'. As long as they are bred to a 'long leg', or better yet, a tested non-carrier, there will be no issues. Marjori will be for sale next summer, after she has calved (May/June), and once she has been trained as a family milking cow. She will be a nice size for someone looking for a small, easy to handle, family milk cow. She was a bottle baby and is dog tame. Let me know if you are interested and we can chat more.
So ... these are my 4 foundation cows ... and one that will be for sale.

I also have 4 yearling heifers and I am in the process of evaluating them. My goal is for a foundation herd of 6 cows, but I COULD go as high as 8 ... :-).