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 ... :-).

New Cow Paddock!

When I got my first cows a little over a year ago, I put their paddock into a convenient space for ME. Unfortunately, it was a very low area ... and one of the few areas that is not on bedrock or gravel!
The mud became VERY deep, and as the number of cattle increased, it was really a bad seen for both cows and cowboy.
A few days ago, I moved them to their new paddock, which is about 6 times larger than where they were. It is a gravel knoll and right beside the back yard, so I get to scratch noses more often.
Life is good!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My Daily Message ... :-)

No matter how hard you work, prepare, or calculate, Bill, the final ingredient necessary to leap hurdles and manifest dreams will always come down to a little spark of magic that no amount of physical maneuvering can ensure. While simply remembering that you're not alone, can.

Flick my bic,
The Universe

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New Ram For 2011

I have all of my extension dominant Shetland ewes in with a Cormo ram for breeding. I was looking for another ram to add to the fleece mix in my line of 'Corlands' when I came across this beautiful Coloured Merino at Ugly Dog's Farm, in Michigan. I have reserved him and hope to bring him home next March. He seems a natural choice as Merino is one of the two breeds used to develop Cormo sheep.

I Like him a lot ... :-)

Life is good!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Today's Message From The Universe

It's the "things" you love most, Bill, the "things" that are dearest to you, that you often allow to define who you are.

Which explains the sometimes insufferable pain caused by their loss.

A wholly avoidable pain.

Ahhh... so hey, now you know.

The Universe

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Start of an Acorn Forest

In the early fall, I spent a short while at a cottage with my grandson Will and his family. We had the greatest time doing lots of things ... but especially enjoyed gathering up acorns. We weren't too sure what to do with them, until Will suggested that we plant them and grow an Acorn Forest at Grandpa's farm. He likes this idea, because he sometimes thinks that he'd like to be a farmer on Grandpa's farm when he grows up.
So far, Will, there is just one Acorn Tree growing, but there are many others that are looking 'ready'. I'll look after them inside and then you and I can plant the forest next Spring! I love you, Will Stearman!

And once again ... I point out to you all ... that ... Life Is Good!

Look What Is Under the Toddler Bed ...

... a Grandpa's House toy ... that should make a few grandkids VERY happy!
Life Is Good!

Cormo Roving

When I brought in my two Cormo rams last summer, they got quite stressed and had a heavy load of worms that seemed resistant to most de-wormers that I had. They became quite sick and I thought that I was going to loose them.

Well, they bounced back nicely, but 'blew' their fleeces and I roo-ed out what I could to save it.
I just got the rovings back from a local mill, 'Dying For Colour', and they are 'to die for'! I gasp every time I stick my hand into the bag ... :-)

They are not just lambs' fleeces, but fleeces taken from four month old lambs.

I have two pounds of the stuff and no idea what to sell it for. Help me out folks ... How much is this stuff worth?

Monday, November 08, 2010


This is one of the stain glass pieces that I bartered as payment for sheep. This is taken with late afternoon sun shining through it as it hangs in my kitchen window. Part of the fixture over the sink is in front of it ... but it still makes me smile every time that I look at it.

Thank you Steve, Sylvie, and Meagan!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Rest of the 'Flock'

A while ago, I posted pictures of my six extension dominant ewes that I am breeding to a white Cormo ram this fall. I've also posted pictures of the three ewes that I bred to HarmonyMarsh DaVinci.

Below is the last of my 18 adult ewes, WillowGarden Grenadine ... out of WillowGarden Kazinga AI and V Creek Hummer. She was bred by V Creek Leo before he left for his new home.
I also have retained 8 wonderful ewe lambs for evaluation ...

Ameliasburgh ... emsket ... out of V Creek Leo and HarmonyMarsh Autumn

Aurora ... moorit gulmoget katmoget ... of Wintertime Red Velvet and WillowGarden Opal

Baltimore ... mioget ... out of WillowGarden Juice and WillowGarden Shallot

Bloomfield ... black gulmoget katmoget ... out of V Creek Leo and WillowGarden Snickertini
Collingwood ... black gulmoget katmoget ... out of Wintertime Red Velvet and HarmonyMarsh Lily

Kanata ... moorit gulmoget katmoget ... out of Wintertime Red Velvet and Spring Water Eve

Milford ... emsket ... out of V Creek Leo and HarmonyMarsh Willow

Ottawa ... black ... out of North Wind Holiday and WillowGarden Macaroon
These ... are two of my three guardian dogs ... Bonnie and Clyde ... doing their job?
And I could NOT resist posting a couple new pictures of Willow Garden Xavier. I am REALLY happy with this boy as he grows ... :-)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Friday's Breeding Group

Spring Water Friday is a striking as I had hoped. He is out of WillowGarden Cherry Blossom and WillowGarden Garnish. He has 12 ewes with him right now, but four of them should be bred (three by DaVinci and one by Leo).

Here are the girls that I need him to breed ...
Spring Water Eve ... out of WillowGarden Nelson AI and Valley Road Sydney
Fibre Works ISP ... out of Fibre Works Fandango and Fibre Works Gefion.
Fibre Works Kallisto ... out of Fibre Works Hason and Nier Lakes Celeste.
HarmonyMarsh Autumn ... out of HarmonyMarsh Aslan and WillowGarden Gala.
WillowGarden Nicole Kidman ... out of WillowGarden Garnish and HarmanyMarsh Anastasia.
WillowGarden Jean Harlowe ... out of North Wind Holiday and Harmony Marsh Lily.
a Harmony Marsh emsket ewe that is not yet registered.
Nier Lakes 315405977 AI ... out of Todhill Glayva and Nier Lakes Vaila.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Nora's Hat

My good friend, Rita, called and then came for a visit this morning. We save our dog grooming hairs for Rita as she spins dog hair a lot.

Rita came by to give me a hat that she made from the hair of my dog Nora, spun with a bit of wool to give it elasticity. It is BEAUTIFUL ... and it was such an unexpected surprise ... :-).

Thanks Rita!

Night, Night ... :-)

This is Mark, the young man who lives upstairs, reading a bedtime storry to Anna. I think that they both enjoyed it ... :-).