Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall's Arrival

As you can see from the yellow grass and the changing colors of the leaves, fall has arrived at North Valley Farm.  The first rains are giving a little life to the pastures after almost 3 months without any water falling from the sky.  We've been feeding grass hay since the beginning of September because of the unusually dry weather.  And today we got a load of oat/alfalfa hay to get us through the first part of winter.  You don't want me to blog about feed prices this year because it would just be a string of unprintables.....the good news is that I found a wonderful grower/hauler - Ken Threet - with whom I've been working for 5 years now.  He and his wife work over 1,000 acres; in fact, his wife raises sheep, so they have a really good handle on what kind of hay we need, year in and year out.  Buying directly from the grower means I get a better price than if I bought from a broker.  And Ken knows he can rely on my business, so the situation works well for both of us.

I am very pleased with the quality of sheep our flock is producing.  Here is my favorite white ram lamb from this year's crop, out on the pasture.  His father is a Larson ram from Michigan, and his mother is a ewe of my own breeding.  I've kept his twin sister as well - this is a top producing line that has done well for me over time.

In fact, this ram lamb was the champion white longwool ram just a few weeks ago at the Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival in Canby, OR and went on to be the grand champion white ram of the show.  Here is a photo of the same ram lamb at the show:

It's always nice to do well at a show, but ultimately the test of our flock is whether it is thrifty and productive, in terms of producing good carcass lambs and quality fiber - the other stuff is just icing on the cake.  Our sunrise this morning:

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