The Issue of Horns (or a horny issue)

Because I haven’t blogged in forever and because someone asked me about ewe lamb laterals, I decided to answer via my blog. If you don’t care about laterals, you can stop at the sunflower.

Everyone that raises 4 horned Jacob Sheep knows how hard those ewe lambs can be on their laterals. And we all know the nail biting time while we wait to see if those laterals are going to really be horns. Or will they be scurs?

While my favorite ewe lambs show up with strong horns from the beginning like Sashay

some ewe lambs take a little longer to develop strong laterals. You can generally feel the horn core beneath the surface, but you can’t always see it. Lisha’s horns at 3 months certainly don’t look very promising.


I was glad when she broke them. The blood is actually a good sign. It shows that she has a true horn core.


Just over a week later, she shows a strong horn beginning to grow. Although it’s abit hard to see in the picture, the “nub” is very firm and just under an inch in diameter.


Don’t despair too quickly on those slow developing ewe lambs. If you can feel a core, patience will likely pay off!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

April Showers….

Bring …


and mud…


and mud creatures..



(I have to confess that I did move the salamander a few feet to pose him under the four leafed clover. The old fashioned way of setting up pictures, before Photoshop)

and mothers..


In preparation for next week’s shearing, I discovered that Momma Wren had chosen to build a nest in a basket of fleece sitting on my work table.


A cardboard box on top of the basket gave her a narrow entrance into her cave. I moved the box to get a picture of the eggs. It has been replaced. Wrens are pretty tolerant of humans if you don’t get too close. I’ll be using a different table in the fleece room for a while!  It’s good luck to have a wren nest in your house.

A four leafed clover and nest of wren eggs! What a great year!
And … maybe, with some luck … there will be May flowers.

Posted in Jacob Sheep, Various animals | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Thing About Blogging…

is that when I find I have time to blog it’s because nothing is going on. When I do have something going on, I don’t have time to blog.

Lambing started here on March 2 with twin rams from Sweetgrass Gavotte and Kenleigh’s Casanova


Ten days later, the lamb count is up to ten lambs from six ewes with six more ewes left to lamb.

Lambs are posted on our website LAMB PAGE as they are born.

Soon there will be time and news all at once and I’ll be back with a chatty blog post.

But for now…


I’m outside watching the lambs play.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Snow Day

A snow day in Georgia is about as rare as….a blog post from Patchwork Farm!


Tempo has plenty of fresh water, but she prefers snow


Loretta, a Wisconsin native, wonders about all the fuss over a little bit of snow


The rams just want to eat


And Dorothy prefers a day by the fire


As novel as a snow day is, I’m ready for spring..
and new lambs!


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Sharing, because…

I’ve always enjoyed Robin Lynde’s posts from Meridian Jacobs. Her current series of Close To Home blog posts is such a fascinating look at the journeys from farms to gallery.
Sharing, because.. I love the stories of the farms, the farmers, the sheep, the artists and I think you will too.

Posted in Fiber Happenings | 1 Comment

Sightseeing From the Front Deck

One of the things that is included in the “Welcome to Medicare” visit to the doctor is depression screening.  This consists of answering an assortment of questions, one of which is — “Do you take time for vacations?” I had to answer honestly and say that I seldom travel, but that our life is full of “vacation  time”.
My front deck is my favorite vacation spot.
Cold drinks, good food, good company, and lots of sights to see..

This lady praying mantis stopped for a bit on her way to lay eggs.


This handsome southern toad lives under our bbq


This racer actually caught the mouse on the top of the bank and come tumbling down the bank with the mouse. He/She moved slowly back up the bank carrying his dinner.


I don’t know what kind of moth this is, but I love the delicate colors.


A pretty milk snake. These are my favorite snakes.


A crowned slug caterpillar.


A rainbow

My favorite vacation spot is home 🙂

Posted in Dogs and Cats, Family Stuff | 2 Comments


Even though I loaded my camera along with my sheep, this is the only picture I ended up taking during the AGM weekend.


Loaded up and heading out. My old minivan morphs well into a sheep hauler. I think the sheep like the AC.

The JSBA AGM was held in the Athens GA area, with days spent at UGA and evenings at Hedgerow Farm, the home of our hosts Bill and Lisa Douglas.  Everyone enjoyed their hospitality and their lovely farm.  And we are still talking about the food! I’m seriously thinking of making the 90 mile trip back to the area to get some more of those cheese biscuits.

While I didn’t bring home pictures, I came home with memories and much to ponder. As always, when a group of Jacob Sheep people get together we talk sheep and exchange ideas.

Ingrid Painter spoke Saturday night after supper. I’ve always been in awe of Ingrid since I first heard of Jacob Sheep.  She has said much over the years that has helped to educate new breeders. Nothing she has said over the years touched me as much as her story about her first Jacobs.  After a long search she finally had some. They might not have been the best in the world, but they were Jacobs and they were hers and she was excited to have them. We all know where Ingrid went from there – building one of the foundation flocks (Puddleduck) in JSBA and producing exceptional animals that contributed to flocks all across the country.

I still remember how excited I was to get my first Jacob. He wasn’t as great as I thought he was, but he was a Jacob and he was mine! I loved him!! Well, until he hit me in the middle of the back when I wasn’t looking. And until I learned enough to realize his horns weren’t really all that good. But he started me on a path that led to some better sheep.

Somewhere there is someone that just bought their first Jacob and is just as excited. It’s their first Jacob!!  Thank you to Ingrid for sharing her story and thank you to all the new breeders that continually remind me that of the excitement of that first Jacob Sheep. Moose Mtn Natalie, brings the excitement of that first Jacob Sheep to Alena and Jack.


You’ll seldom see a picture of me on my blog. I’m behind the camera, not in front of it. Royal Unzicker sent me this picture from AGM.
Jacob Sheep, good food and drink, a lovely venue, and good friends.
What could be better?
(left to right – Shannon Phifer, Elizabeth Strub, Tony Phifer, Theron Phifer’s cap, me, Lisa Douglas, unknown sheep, Never Winter Brena (I think))





Posted in Jacob Sheep | Leave a comment

Girls Just Want To Have Fun

“When the working day is done
Girls – they want to have fun”

Even though a working LGD’s (livestock guardian dog) working day is never done, girls still want to have fun.

Sadie loves playing with sticks. I was going to say fetch, but she doesn’t bring them back to me. She just tosses them around and waits for me to throw another.  Fetching sticks is not her job. Guarding sheep is. Sticks are fun.





Posted in Dogs and Cats | 1 Comment

2 + 2 = 4

2 horns on the left +  2 horns on the right = 4 horns


As Captain, Hektor, and Pilsner are happy to demonstrate.

Except when 2 + 2 =2


Belton is an evenly fused four horned ram. He looked like a two horned ram when he was born. As his horns grew, the seam became visible and is apparent in this photo.  His horns are taking a very wide sweep as often happens with evenly fused four horned sheep.


Patrick is also a fused four horned, but his horns were separate at birth and are just now becoming fully fused. It seems that when horns fuse later, the direction is not always as wideswept as when they are fused at birth. One horn (usually the top) tends to pull the lateral in whatever direction it’s heading, rather than the two horns pulling evenly as when they are fused at birth. When the horns begin to fuse seems to play a part.  This is just a bit of speculation/observation/WAG  (not SWAG, as there is no science in my guess).


And then we have an easy one – 1 + 1 = 2. Hickory is a solid two horned.


Sometimes 2 + 3 = 3.  Cindra is fused on one side. She appears 3 horned, but is actually 5  horned.


Sometimes experience contrives to turn 2 + 2 into 1? 1 1/2?  1 1/8? Elsa managed to tear off both laterals when she was gone by getting caught in a hay rack. I take responsibility for breaking the right top 😦  At nine years old, she still shows some horn regrowth.


But she won’t ever have the horns she had as yearling –
when 2 plus 2 equaled 4.



Posted in Jacob Sheep | 4 Comments

Pasture Walk..

Okay – not really an actual pasture. It’s a small fenced piece next to the barn lot. It’s hilly and a pain to mow. I’d rather put up fence than drag a lawn mower.


I love this little salad bar patch. It’s an eclectic mix of native plants and seeds I’ve tossed out. Today was mowing day for the sheep. They love salad, too.


Porter picked out all the radish tops. He even ate the radishes.


Captain likes the sericea.


Stacia prefers to browse


Holly eats everything – including the curly dock.


And for Fancy – the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. There is one in every bunch!

Posted in Jacob Sheep | 1 Comment