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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Hasta la vista, wool! or Shearing the early lambers

Jamie shearing

Jamie shearing

When I told folks that we were shearing sheep, the usual reaction was, “Whoa! Isn’t it a little early?”

It’s  true that most of the sheep are shorn in late April (if all goes well), right before they lamb. Since we raise our own rams, we have two farm flocks of ewes–one Rambouillet and one Hampshire. These ewes lamb mostly in March. It helps a lot if they can be shorn before lambing. If a ewe feels a chill, she will take her lambs to seek shelter. If her belly is bare, it is easier for the lambs to find her nipples and get a first good meal of colostrum.

Shearing is always risky if the weather can turn cold. In 1984, a quarter of a million sheep in Wyoming, Montana and the Dakotas died after a long and severe April storm. A few days wool growth offers some protection. Our shearer, Cliff Hoopes of Hoopes Sheep Shearing, came with his shearer Jamie and nephew Kyle, wool handler. Cliff and Jamie used course blades, which leave some extra wool on the sheep.

We were blessed with several days of warmish weather, and got through with a good shearing. Thank you, Cliff and crew!

Meghan and Oscar bringing up the unshorn ewes

Meghan and Oscar bringing up the unshorn ewes

whiteface ewes waiting for the blade

whiteface ewes waiting for the blade

blackface ewes waiting for the blade

blackface ewes waiting for the blade

Seamus on the job

Seamus on the job

Oscar at the chute

Oscar at the chute

Time ropes the escaped wooly ewe

Time ropes the escaped wooly ewe

It's not easy!

It’s not easy!

Back to the woolies

Back to the woolies

Siobhan and Raelyn capture the ewe

Siobhan and Raelyn capture the ewe

Siobhan:  they went that-a-way

Siobhan: they went that-a-way

Siobhan, Maeve and Raelyn taking a break

Siobhan, Maeve and Raelyn taking a break

The bucks were shorn too. (The red powder is their working clothes.)

The bucks were shorn too. (The red powder is their working clothes.)

The Hoopes Shearing Crew and the Ladder Ranch Crew

The Hoopes Shearing Crew and the Ladder Ranch Crew

 

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Hasta la vista, bucks

Time flies when you’re having fun. It seems like only yesterday that we were hauling the rams out to the ewes, in order to expedite the birth of lambs in spring. After seven weeks with the ewes, it is time for the bucks to go back to a long stretch of bachelorhood. As Pepe told them as we loaded them into the trailer, “Hasta la vista…See you next year!”

Pepe and Avencio catching the buck who didn't want to leave the ladies.

Pepe and Avencio catching the buck who didn’t want to leave the ladies.

Bucks loading up.

Bucks loading up.

Pat and the crew loading the bucks

Pat and the crew loading the bucks

Which one of these is not like the others?

Which one of these is not like the others?

Tiarnan, Pat loading bucks

Tiarnan and Pat bringing up the bucks in Chain Lakes

Eagle's Nest sign

So, which way would you go?

Sadie and lamb

Sadie had to share the floor of the pickup with this early lamb.

Oscar, Siobhan, Tim ready to unload

Siobhan helping Oscar and Tim unload the rams at Powder Flat.

Siobhan feeding colts

Siobhan feeds the colts.

 
 

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Solving the problems of the world at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Horseman Torran Duncan with Dad, saddlemaker and rancher Keith Duncan.

Horseman Torran Duncan with Dad, saddlemaker and rancher Keith Duncan.

As I said, we were WORKING!  Pat, our son-in-law  and meat purveyor Chris Abel and I were on the panel that discussed “Food Production and the West.” We were joined by California “urban farmer” A.G. Kawamura, and Family Farm Alliance Executive Director Dan Keppen. Since our roundtable was scheduled at the same time as Baxter Black’s show, we were wondering if anyone would show up. We visited with Dr. Black in the Green Room before the show, and I told him I hoped we didn’t draw away from his sold-our, lottery only show. Luckily, a goodly number of dedicated issue junkies showed up (or maybe those who didn’t draw a Baxter Black ticket–but, hey, a girl can dream!).

Pat, fellow Carbon County resident and wonderful singer Trinity Seeley, and baxter Black, probably discussing food policy

Pat, fellow Carbon County resident and wonderful singer Trinity Seeley, and Baxter Black, probably discussing food policy

Chris, Dan,Pat, Sharon, and AG discussing how to feed 9+billion people in a few years

Chris, Dan,Pat, Sharon, and AG discussing how to feed 9+billion people in a few years

Keynote speaker Temple Grandin with Chris Abel.

Keynote speaker Temple Grandin with Chris Abel.

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Events, Family, Folks, Issues, Musings

 

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Meghan wows ’em at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Meghan and the young ranchers' panel

Meghan and the young ranchers’ panel

Blog fans may assume that our family attended the 30th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering so that we could have a fabulous time listening to poetry and music, and viewing Western Art and Gear… oh, and eating Basque food and imbibing the occasional Picon Punch. No siree–we were WORKING!  Here’s a photo of Meghan, along with other young ranchers, discussing intergenerational transfer and the future of ranching. Her husband Brian Lally was there to support her, and looked plenty nervous when the moderator asked the panelists what they fought about with their spouses. Joe (on the right) wisely answered that he has learned that his wife is always right. Meghan honestly answered “time management”. Brian gave a sigh of relief. I was glad that it wasn’t me on the spot!

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Events, Family, Folks, Issues

 

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