National Dog Day

It is a strange thing to find myself without a family dog on National Dog Day. It certainly wasn’t planned to unexpectedly lose Elsa five days ago.

She made us laugh, graced our lives for five years, was loving and loved.

Good bye my friend.

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Bugs and Buds

I wasn’t in the market for a new pocket camera .. until my old point and shoot Sony HX80 pocket camera was abducted by aliens. Or maybe slipped into another dimension. There are no others explanations for how my pocket camera disappeared. Someday it will show back up along with my seam ripper and Dave’s missing sharpening stone. I have a DLSR that I love, but it won’t fit in my pocket. And I’m not enough of phone person to spend the money for phone that takes decent pictures.

Requirements were – super zoom (30X), view finder, small enough to fit in my pocket. There is (for me, anyway), more of a learning curve on a point and shoot camera than a traditional SLR/DSLR. It was fun to wander around today and play with the HX99. Photos are mostly bugs, buds, and blooms.

I don’t know what this guy is, but it is photogenic.

Thistles are a nuisance in the pastures, but the bees and butterflies love them.

And they do have a certain beauty that is more appreciated along the driveway than in the pastures.

Not all the bugs are as welcome as the bees and butterflies. This bald faced hornet nest is on the ground. I’m glad I saw it before I stepped on it.

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Watching horns grow

One ram lamb’s journey

Two days old – March 30

April 12

April 22

May 8

May 22

June 5

June 15

July 1

July 18

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The Colors

Spring flowers are mostly yellow. Fall flowers are mostly purple. Summer flowers are mostly white. And since summer is mostly hot, today’s lazy hike was the ultimate lazy – up the driveway in the car to get the mail.

The Queen Anne’s Lace are thick along the drive. They look white from afar, but a close up shows hints of pink. They often have a red flower in the very center.

The elderberries are like weeds along the driveway.

In the fall, the asters are a bright purple.
In the summer, they are lazy and just put forth a hint of color

The bees’ favorite – clover

The nettle has a pretty flower, but there is a reason they call it stinging nettle!
It will make you itch!!

Bingo’s favorite white flower is a radish flower.

The garden flowers have more colors, but I still love the wild white flowers that line my driveway.

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Ram Lambs

It was definitely a ram year here at Patchwork Farm. We’re not complaining – we got some good ones. And some lovely fiber pets that have found homes.

The following are what I consider breeding quality rams with quality horns, fleece, bloodlines, and build. They are available. Limited delivery to the JSBA AGM in Marshall, NC August 5-7 or pickup in Tiger, Georgia. Will consider trade for a lilac ram unrelated to my lilacs. Four horned prefered.

Listed in alphabetical order – which also happens to be age order as that’s the way I named them this year. All photos taken June 15. All parents are JSBA registered.

Patchwork Bingo (DOB 3/10) is one of the two two horned lambs we had born this year. He has a good horn sweep, nice fleece, and is a stockier boy and a lilac carrier. RavenRidge Huron x Patchwork AnnieRose.
Patchwork Elton is in the back.

Patchwork Elton (DOB 3/10) is a lilac ram lamb with a very promising hornset. He has a fleece with tinier crimps. Very soft. RavenRidge Huron x Patchwork Paloma. His twin sister in the back will remain in our flock.

Patchwork Mister (DOB 3/28) is a leggy, tall, boy with upright top horns and wideswept laterals. Meridian Gold Rush (a California import) x Patchwork Jazz

Patchwork Nother (DOB 3/28 – twin to Mister) carries the same great hornset and is just a bit taller and leggier. Meridian Gold Rush x Patchwork Jazz

Patchwork Owen (DOB 3/30) is a smaller boy from a small first time lamber. He is a lilac carrier. This guy had my favorite birth fleece and it’s still looking good. Meridian Gold Rush x Patchwork Weasel.

Patchwork Quasar (DOB 4/2), a lilac, definitely has my favorite laterals. His twin sister is staying at Patchwork. Meridian Gold Rush x Gleann Ull Lyla.

Patchwork Seeker (DOB 4/7) was the last lamb born. He doesn’t have the super flat profile that I prefer, but is promising and sports a lovely fleece and ideal Jacob markings. Meridian Gold Rush x Springrock Mission

And a random fleece shot. Our fleeces are fairly uniform this year. Individual photos and fleece samples available upon request.

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Bits and Pieces – a little bit about not much at all

I was working on a post with updated lamb photos. My lambs seem to have no interest in posing this year. I jump up and down (well as much as an old lady with a crap knee can jump up and down), wave my arms, make weird noises and the lambs just give me a glance and go back to what they were doing. No respect! Diva (RavenRidge Huron x Patchwork Paloma) sends a raspberry – cheeky girl!

So just a few random photos. I do have a decent DSLR camera, but I love my pocket camera. Because – it fits in my pocket. My trusty Panasonic Lumix died after three years and I picked up a Sony HX80 (used on eBay). I have to say I liked the Lumix better, but the price on that one jumped up and I’m happy enough with the Sony. Photography is often more about an exercise in seeing than in making photographs.

This definitely isn’t a birder’s camera (although the 30x zoom is nice), but I like to watch the birds and it’s fun to grab a shoot when I can.

Not a calendar shot, but a memory of the evening when a Barred Owl watched me while I was on our deck.

I love the sounds of the Mourning Doves.

There is lots to see coming down our driveway. Including the broken mirror casing on my Jeep. 5,000 times backing down to the barn and all went well – except that one time.

I don’t know what this is on the wild grape vines I was pulling off the fence today, but it sure is pretty

Dave is doing well and was busy building a tooth bar for his tractor. One day at a time.

Patchwork Mister (Meridian Gold Rush x Patchwork Jazz) wasn’t into posing, but he did pose long enough to show off a pretty blue eye, excellent horns, a very dirty face

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The Not Sheep..

All of the Patchwork Farms working animals are not sheep…

Oscar works to protect the flock. He loves his sheep and sleeps with them at night when he’s not chasing off threats to his flock. Oscar is a mix of different LGD breeds. He’s mellow like a Pyr but he can jump like a Komondor and he can fight like a demon when his sheep are being attacked.

Charles is the barn cat. He’s also the sweetest cat ever. He’s been living with livestock since he was a kitten. He’s in his teens now. He keeps the barn free of varmits.

Charles also patrols the fence line with Oscar.

Ginger protects the sheep here at the house. She’s a tall mini donkey. When we first got her, she ran some coyotes off and they have never been back. She’s a sweet girl that loves people and sheep (but not dogs). Doesn’t she have cute bangs?

I call all our black rat snakes Malcolm so this may not the same Big Malcolm that we’ve been seeing for years, but I think it might be. Malcolm works to control rodents and copperheads. I love Malcolm! He/she doesn’t seem to care much for me, though, and I respect his/her privacy.

Elsa’s special talent is finding really gross things and eating them.

And being my buddy and making me smile 🙂

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Springtime

It’s been a busy and hectic month. One day it was the end of March and the next day it was the end of April. Lambing is over. It was a good lambing season with a promising crop of eighteen lambs.
You can see the lambs at http://www.patchworkfibers.com/newlambs.html

It was a nice day to just wander the woods around the house and look at flowers. So many colors!

The lady slippers were rescued from a logging operation a few years ago. This is the first year there have been three blooms – all in a row.

The dwarf iris is from a week ago. They are all gone by now, but I love them while they last.

Our back yard abounds with sweet shrub.

And wild azaleas

Most of our trilliums are fairly pale, but I found a small patch of these darker ones.

I’m not sure what this fungus is – some sort of jelly fungus, I think. It sure is pretty!

And just the perfect color…. the lovely Patchwork Ripley. Notice the perfect heart shape on her knee?

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A sign of relief..

I’ve been holding off posting until I could post a story with a happy outcome. On February 26 I went to the barn first thing in the morning and found Jazz comatose. Literally comatose. Alive, but completely unresponsive. Dave and I were able to half drag/half carry her into the barn. Luckily she was just outside, but it was no easy chore.

She was quickly treated with oral cmpk and propylene glycol (she was able to swallow – always check that before administering oral fluids to a downed sheep). I seldom call the vet, but I sent an immediate text to my vet and received the standard “we aren’t open on Saturday” reply. My vet is great and I did get get a reply later that day, but the crisis was averted by then.

I turned to my friend, Marie, from Spot Hollow Farm, for thoughts. Marie worked at the Cornell University sheep farm. Those commercial sheep have problems we don’t see often in Jacobs and Marie has probably seen about everything. Her first question was “are her ears cold?” They were, but I had also taken her temp so I knew her body temp was a little low – one of the symptoms of milk fever (which isn’t a fever at all).

As things happen, I had recently gone through my sheep meds and tossed a very, very old bottle of injectable calcium. Because I’d never needed it. And now I needed it!!! I called the local feed store who said they only had the gel. I knew I’d seen it on the shelf, so drove to town and picked it up – right on the shelf where I’d remembered seeing it.

Jazz was alert within a few hours and up eating by that afternoon.

Then we began the nail biting one month wait until lambs were due. Jazz was supplemented with Tums during the time. She would readily eat a Tums tucked in a handful of grain and it was a lot less stressful than grabbing her to drench her. That CMPK drench tastes awful!!! Don’t ask me how I know.

Welcome boys! Big twin four horned rams for Patchwork Jazz and Meridian Gold Rush. Most of my lambs run around 5 or 6 pounds. These boys were 8.5 and 8.7 lbs.

I don’t name sheep after people, but this first one will be called Mister for M.R. who was there for his mother and his mother’s shepherd.

The second big boy is named Nother.

Good job, Jazz!!

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Round One

We had expected a two stage lambing season as one ram got his ewes a month before the second ram got his.  In the years that we have put the ewes in with the rams in September, they most often breed in October. It seems to be the sweet spot for our seasonal breeding flock. Except for Darby… who lambed two weeks before the rest of Huron’s girls. 

March 10 was a good day

Patchwork AnnieRose delivered twin rams by RavenRidge Huron
Two horned Bingo – I love leg markings!
bingo

And four horned Checkers
checkers

Patchwork Paloma delivered the first ewe of the year (yay) sired by Huron.
Diva – a four horned lilac ewe. She and her twin were big lambs and her ear got squished. It is back to normal carriage now, but the little droopy ear was kind of cute.

diva

Her twin brother, Elton, is a two horned lilac ram

elton

Patchwork Lisha waited until the unusual high winds and temperatures in the teens had passed to deliver her four horned Huron daughter, Freya, in the sunshine. 
18 degrees to 60 degrees in one day. She was wise to wait!
freya

Painted Rock Winsley is a first time mother as a three year old. We didn’t breed all the ewes in 2020 and she was in the group that wasn’t bred. She did herself proud by delivering, cleaning, and nursing her twins while I slept through the night! 

Harvest (on the left) is a four horned ewe. Gather (on the right) is a four horned ram.
Continue reading

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