November 3, 2010

Rams, rams, rams!

Well, we have just returned from a whirlwind few days travelling out to Fort McLeod Alberta to meet ram buyers from Saskatchewan and drop off a ram lamb (Ranfurly Todd who will become known as "Basil Ranfurly" in his new working life.  All he needs is the addition of a "Sir" to make it even more impressive.)

After getting Todd aka Basil settled, we took some time to have coffee with new owners Mary and Val so that we could have a chance to get acquainted.  We had a great time getting to know each other and hope that all goes well as Todd/Basil makes the transition to herd sire successfully.  He looked great and both Mary and Val were anxious to get him home and put him to work so that they can see what kind of mule crosses he produces for them next spring. 

After Fort McLeod, it was on to Montana to Judy Colvin of Bitterroot Ranch where we picked up two new rams to bring back with us to BC.  One is a Carryhouse son of Judy's and the other is a son of Gigrin Red Kite that I bought from Kelly Ward at the Black Sheep Gathering in June and Judy very kindly boarded for me.  We had a wonderful visit with Judy and David and have our fingers crossed that they may be able to make a trip to BC in 2011 so that we can repay their hospitality!

Crossing the border at Osoyoos was much less stressful than crossing the border last year at Abbotsford. It was a relief to get the boys home last night and give them a bit of rest before we sorted out our breeding groups today.

As we speak they are all on the job so keep your fingers crossed for a productive lambing season in 2011! 

I will get pictures posted in the next couple of days so stay tuned!

October 26, 2010

Where did September go?

and October for that matter ....

We have been up to our armpits here on Ranfurly Farm putting gardens to bed, finishing up with the harvest and preserving/storing of various veggies and the list just goes on and on.  We had a crowd for Thanksgiving and spent at least part of a day on the Adam's river checking out the salmon run.  The projected numbers were 8 million fish in the Shuswap Lake and its feeder streams of which 5 million of those fish were destined for the Adam's River.  Totally amazing.  It was like watching a moving ribbon of fish that started in the Pacific and made its way all the way up the Fraser to the Thompson to the Little River and finally into Shuswap Lake and the Adam's River itself.

Mike and I are off on Sunday to pick up rams in Montana so that we can get our breeding season underway just a wee bit earlier than last year.  The sheep are in excellent shape and I am very impressed with my lambs.  I sent 4 lambs to slaughter this week - three are BFLxNCC mules and the fourth was a ram lamb that I did not want to keep.  I had them shorn before putting them in the trailer so have some lamb fleeces for sale. There is quite a bit of variation in the three fleeces - two show more NCC character and one is totally BFL in character. 

I still have some ram lambs available for sale.  They are absolutely ready to work and looking really good.  Mike was reading an article highlighting the value of BFL mules in the UK commercial industry.  Hopefully more Canadian breeders will see what these cross bred lambs look like and want to get involved in  improving their own bottom lines!

September 22, 2010

Photos of Ram Lambs Posted Today

We had our first hard frost last night and so today will scrambling to bring things in from the garden. 

Fortunately, I found some time yesterday to take photos of the ram lambs for sale this fall.  It is really difficult to get them to pose properly (right!) so please take this into consideration when you look at the photos.  Most are out of my Bitterroot Carlin ram who is an AI son of Carryhouse).  I have only one ram lamb out of my Autumn Hills Finnegan ram as he threw mostly daughters. 

Contact me for more information if you are interested.

August 6, 2010

Peidgrees and Prices

Dear Friends,

I am scrambling to catch up to all of my sheep related chores.  I will be posting more photos of the animals that I have for sale as soon as I can get better pictures.  Weaned ram lambs earlier this week and am astonished by how large they look now that they are on their own.  I have an updated price list (just email me if you would like to look at it) and also an information package if you are not familiar with BFL's and how they can contribute to commercial flocks as meat animals as well as producing fantastic fibre. 

And speaking of fibre, I took three BFL fleeces to the Oregan Black Sheep Gathering - Judge Judith McKenzie and placed 1st, 2nd and 6th in a class of 12 BFL fleeces from 7 or 8 breeders.  I was pretty proud of my little flock!

Will try and post a photo of the shawl that I entered in the Spinner's Lead competition - all handspun BFL.  It is one of the few projects that I have actually completed (thank goodness that you can always spin some more when you are spinning your own wool!).

Now back to catching up in the garden!

RAN218X Ewe Bitterroot Silvie X Autumn Hills Finnegan

Bitterroot Silvie is an AI quad daughter of Barlaes Titan out of Bitterroot Maureen.  Silve produced quads herself this year when bred to Autumn Hills Finnegan. There were two ewes and two ram lambs.  The two ewes will both be registered as Black Patterned - as you can see from this photo.  Not quite as large as some of the other lambs born this spring but catching up fast.  Good bone, good length, good fleece characteristics!

RAN213X Ewe Dana X Carlin

Dana is a Beeston Blackmoor grandaughter bred to an AI son of Carryhouse 281 R1 an Elite plus sire in the UK.  Carlin is solid with excellent bone and good fleece.  Dana is a mid range ewe who fed twins this spring without losing a huge amount of condition.  Easy keeping is perhaps how you would express it.

RAN210X and 211X Koenig Viola X Autumn Hills Finnegan

Not the greatest photo of two of the triplets, but the best I have - if you look on the Female Photo page, you will see a better photo taken in late June I think so there has been quite a bit of growth since then!  Viola is another Beeston Blackmoor daughter bred to Autumn Hills Finnegan ( a Heinz Talisker son- great grandson of Beeston Titan).  Finney is slightly finer boned that Carlin and has an excellent fleece.  Viola nursed all three triplets.  I supplemented them for a period of about 3 weeks before the flock got out on grass and that was all. 

RAN206X Ewe Bokiddick x Carlin

Koenig Bokiddick is a Beeston Blackmoor daughter - that is her hind end in the photo - look at that udder and the shape that it is in on a 2006 model.  This lamb is what - look at the bone and sturdy legs that she has under her.  Another lamb with great fleece and great prospects.

RAN202 Ewe Koenig Mae x Carlin

Lamb is very growthy with excellent fleece prospects.  I am also looking for animals with strong feet and legs.  Koenig Mae is a Beeston Blackmoor daughter which means that she carries colour.  Although this lamb is white, it is possible that she too could produce coloured lambs.  I do have semen coming on a coloured ram from the UK.

June 7, 2010

May Showers and June Flowers

Mike and I managed to get away for a couple of weeks in the middle of May and visited London (4 days) and toured Ireland for the rest of the time available to us (about 8 days plus 1 day of travel at each end). It is an absolutely beautiful country and I saw more sheep, cattle and horses than I could count. In the south and west the sheep seem to be primarily Scottish Blackface so I was disappointed not to see more evidence of BFL Mule flocks ... but then from a travelling car, it is hard to see the details! Regardless, it was wonderful to be away and equally wonderful to return home!

We have had lots and lots of rain over the last two weeks sl all worries about moisture and forest fire dangers have subsided for the moment. The germination on our newly seeded pastures has been excellent, but I am officially ready for some sunshine now to make it all grow!

As a result of plowing up and reseeding so much ground, grass is short around here and I am still supplementing the feed supply with hay. In spite of this, the lambs are growing well and the Moms are finally starting to put on some weight. I have added some photos taken last week between showers of some of this year's lamb crop. I will be adding more photos when I can. I will be posting copies of pedigrees for those who are interested.

I have reserved four of my finest BFL fleeces to take with me to the Black Sheep Gathering and then on to Olds Fibre Week. The National Bluefaced Leicester Show is going to be held in conjunction with the Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene, so the competition will be stiff. In addition, I am madly working to complete a shawl made from my own BFL fibre for Spinner's Lead competion. It has been a busy few weeks already with the coming month looking even busier!

If you would like a copy of my Tentative Sales List please email me and I will send it along!

Now, off to get more stuff planted in the garden!

May 1, 2010

Lambing results for 2010

Thank goodness - we made it through lambing season! I had great plans of taking photos of each new set of arrivals, but things quickly got out of hand and I never really did catch up. The last lambs were born on April 27 - twin mule ram lambs from a North Country Cheviot mom!

The BFL's were amazing! 10 of 10 ewes lambed. Only the yearling had a single which was great and she is doing a fine job. There was 1 single, 7 sets of twins, 1 set of triplets and finally after much waiting and watching and worrying we were presented with a set of quads! In total there are 13 ewe lambs and 8 ram lambs.

In addition there are twin BFL x Shetland ewe lambs, 1 BFL x NCC ewe lamb and 3 BFL x NCC ram lambs. It was pretty intense with the majority of babies arriving between April 5th and April 17th. Only one lamb was dead at birth (cord ruptured inside we think). I was able to foster one of the quads on to that ewe and am bottle feeding the smallest quad.

So, not only will I have a good selection of replacement ewe lambs to choose from, but there will also be some available for sale!

Watch for photos, but don't hold your breathe!

April 4, 2010

First lambs of the season!

Finally we have some lambs on the ground. Mae was our first ewe to lamb presenting us with twins on April 1st. Friends were visiting for Easter and thought that perhaps we had staged the event just for their benefit. Everyone loves to see animal babies and sometimes I forget how lucky I am to get to watch the process close up!

Maeve (12 lbs) and sister Morag (11 lbs) are doing beautifully. Seeing their first explorations of the great outdoors today was huge fun. Apparently there are only two gears at this point - full throttle and absolute collapse. Nothing makes me laugh faster than watching them "crow hop" around trying to bring four legs into some kind of control!

Possible Quads

Silvie is an older BP ewe who looks like she is carrying quads. We have been pumping her full of extra feed, but you can see from the photo that she is dropping weight. If she doesn't have these babies soon, I think that she might explode!

We had guinea pigs when the kids were little. Momma guinea pigs would look like they had swallowed a dinner plate just before they gave birth. Silvie reminds me of them every time I look at her!