Tough Decisions

I’m torn right now. With loosing Josie’s calf and her not coming into milk, we need to either buy another cow or buy a milk goat. I really don’t want another cow. I’ve wanted a goat for a long time, but Honey isn’t too keen on goats. I think it’s because he thinks they are nothing but trouble. So, I’ve been doing my homework. And on Fias Co Farm, the site that’s all about goats and pretty much anything you want to know….they have a really great comparison chart.

Basically goats milk is by far more nutrient dense than cows milk, except for Vit.D. Here is the comparison of Vit D….goat 29.28 IU, Cow 98.652 IU. Vit A…goat 483 IU, Cow 249 IU. OmiGosh, Vit C…goat 3.2 mg, cow 0. Calcium…327 mg, Cow 276 mg. It’s amazing how goat is almost superior to cow’s milk all around.

Don’t get me wrong. I love, love love cows milk and I love, love, love my cows!  I also love goats milk….notice the amount of loves!

The kind of goat I’m leaning toward is a LaMancha…..they are really ugly in my opinion….they dont’ have floppy ears. In fact they look like they don’t have ears at all! But they have a high percentage of butterfat and that’s my main objective. They have 4.2% butterfat. Plus I know a farm nearby where I can buy one.  The cost will be 1/3 or more less than a cow.  The caring of it will be less.  The amount of milk will be less.  I can even put it in the back of my mini van!  Plus their young are easier to sell and we have quite a market for goat meat in our area.  So, it looks like I have a job cut out for me….to convince Honey that a goat is a good choice.  Dontcha think???

It’s a face only a momma could love!

Thanks to Mavra Changs photo on Flickr.com

Thanks to Mavra Chang's photo on Flickr.com

Don’t ask me what this box is….I can’t get rid or it!

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Fabulous Friday

Opps. I sat down to write this….oh about 8 hrs ago. Talk about memory leakage!

I’ve been busy with the animals, cleaning house and baking more cherry cobbler since my neighbor picked me another gallon of sour cherries. Don’t you wish you had a neighbor like that! He really is super and since his wife died of cancer several years ago, I like to treat him to tasty treats every now and then.

Image from Three Irish Girls

Image from Three Irish Girls

I found this really fabulous site if you are in love with color and yarn. I am having so much fun just looking. It makes me want to break out my dye and my roving and start dyeing….but that’s for another day.

Image from Three Irish Girls

Image from Three Irish Girls

I hope you’ll stop over to visit my shop today. All your clicks help move me up in the search engines.

I hope you have a wonderful joy filled weekend.

Mendocino Vest

I just love this picture of tweedy yarn from Knit Picks.  If I could, and maybe I might….make a Mendocino Vest in each colorway.  But at the rate of $24.00 for each vest….well, maybe I’ll do one and see how much I love it.  For now, I think I’m going to go with the Cajun or Cottonball tweedy color…or maybe the Tabby.  I think I’ll order one of each and knit up some swatches to see which will work the best for the pattern and for me.

I also love the pattern Sheepwalk & Fences at Autumn House Farm.  I almost bought it at the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, but I think something that buttons up is better for me in case the internal fire begins to burn again!

I’ve finished my Cable & Ladders Sweater (I’ll show you after I get it blocked) from Shear Spirit and since I love knitting cables, my next project will probably be the Mendocino Vest on page 151 from Old Mill Farm also published in Shear Spirit.

I’m a Rambouillet

I took a cute quiz here from the book, The Knitter’s Book of Wool.

And I’m a Rambouillet!  I’ve never knitted with Rambouillet wool, so I guess I’ll have to give it a try!  I’m a soft and cozy kinda girl.

Cables & Ladders

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I’m almost finished with my Cassandra Cardigan from Shear Spirit. One more sleeve to go and I’m done. Then I have to block it and hope it fits!

I really love the way the yarn took the dye. As I’m knitting, I admire all the hues that pop out at me; pinks, yellow, orange and of course red. I’m far from knowledgeable in color theory. Sweet Girl is the pro in that area. We often have debates about whether something is red or pink! She always wins!!! (I know you don’t see red…me either 😉 but if I think like Sweet Girl, then red has to exist….because red and yellow make orange!)

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Here is a link to Two Shear Spirits.

How Many Sheep Did I Buy????

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Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival 2009

The weather this weekend in Howard County, Maryland has been enough to make a girl cry, but it wasn’t enough to keep the thousands upon thousands from gathering at the Howard County Fairgrounds for the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival.  In fact there were soooooo many people that I finally called it a day and left by 1PM on Saturday.

I was thankful that I arrived around 8:30AM and beat the crowds!  I hit my favorite spots and beat the lines.  I ate an early lunch and as you can see beat the lines.

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I know, maybe I play too cautiously but I really HATE crowds!  I am a true country girl who loves wide open spaces.  By the time I left, it was impossible to even get into most booths and see what they had.   So, I packed it up early and headed home to give my feet a rest.

I regret that I didn’t get a picture of Bonnie.  I almost bought her and walked her home, but I thought it best to wait for Honey to agree.  Anyway, Bonnie is a black sheep from Daisyhill Farm in Glenelg, MD.  She was a  lovely yearling cross with a very nice fleece.  Her mama won champion ribbon …..I can’t remember where….maybe it was at the County Fair…just don’t remember.  Memory overload!

One reason I held back on Bonnie was I really love Border Leicester Sheep.  After looking at a million sheep this weekend, I’m finally able to identify them.  They have a mule shaped head.

Border Leicester

Border Leicester

So for now, I will hold off on the sheep and get good at cows!

For me one of the most amusing parts of the festival is seeing everyone wearing the most prized knitted pieces.  No matter how hot it is….women have on sweaters and shawls.

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Notice the knitted socks too!

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This lady even had on her knitted dress!  Pulling her cart on wheels because she didn’t bring her pack mule….her husband!!!  There were a few pack mules though!

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This lady did a really lovely job on her purse…I love the pansies!

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There were even people in funny hats playing music and dancing.

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Kiparoo Farm

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Wool Art

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David Young from The Lion Potter

I first met David years ago when he had a produce stand near our home.  He is a master potter and he and his wife Junko sell pottery at the festival.

The Lion Potter

The Lion Potter

David’s wife Junko uses slab pieces and makes hand formed teapots.  That’s the kind of work I’m learning to do in my pottery class.  I’ll have to show you when something turns out….trial and error and I’m still in the learning process.

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I ate my Lamb sandwich under the tent and listened to some hillbillie music and watched the cloggers.

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Lots of dwarf goats.  I hate to say it but most sheep people don’t like goats!!!

I like them both…I’d like a goat but they jump fences and I don’t need a Houdini!

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This was before the crowds showed up…you could actually see everything.

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This guy was serious…he had his mug, and just about every gadget known to man tied to his back….just in case he needed it.

Other than watching people, my favorite part of the day was watching sheep.

Ewes not fat….ewes just fluffy!!!! With legs!

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This black ram was huge (second from the end).  They kept repositioning him to show off his hind quarters.

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Jacob Lamb

Jacob Lamb

What a rack!

Market Lambs

Market Lambs

The market lambs were all lined up for inspection.  Then the auction began.

Market Lamb

Market Lamb

This was a fine looking lamb.  The guy in front of me won her in the auction.  She went for $115 as a 4H lamb for his children.  Very nice.

So, do you want to know how many sheep I came home with……..

6!!!  One a border leicester!!!  My favorite!

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See my little lambs!  6

I didn’t buy a bunch of expensive yarn.  I’m way too practical for that.  I can’t wear most of it anyway cause it makes me itch like crazy….I know what I like and I like what I know.  I can wear Merino and Border Leicester.

I hit Little Barn early and bought 6 bags of Blue Faced Border Leicester Superwash Fleece to spin and dye.

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I got it for $6.29 CASH.  A pound for around $12!!!  Good deal indeed.

I have 1 pound of Romney Fleece that I’ve almost finished spinning and realized that I need at least 1.5 lbs for a mens sweater.  Soooo, I was in pursuit of finding more that would be a match….BINGO!  I found some that matches perfectly!

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I have to blend it a little bit but it will work great.

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I got a new pair of slippers.

And a much needed sign!!!!

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And since I love love love honey, I bought some local raw honey from Feederbrook Farm!!!  6 lbs!

Cranberry and blueberry!  It is so yummy!

Counting Sheep

I went to my Basic Shepherding class this AM at the MD Sheep & Wool Festival. It was taught by Dr Richard Barczewski who is a professor at Delaware State University. He was born and raise around sheep and his wife is a livestock veterinarian. Rich’s (that’s easier than his last name) assistant was Peter Austin from Quailhill which is just down the road a spell from me.

All and all I learned the basics of shepherding sheep. Funny, that’s just what the class description was called. I probably could have learned all of this from a book, but there was a lot of interaction and time for questions. And then of course I was able to browse around and look at the lambies.

I’ll have to let Honey know that I was at a Basic Shepherding class this morning, because it just makes sense to use at least one more type of animal on a farm. Cows like grass about 6 inches high and rip it off, but sheep are grazers. So they will mow the grass short.

See. No top teeth. So they just rip it. They rap that long tongue around it and yank.

Plus the cows will clean up any parasites that sit on the grass blades waiting to infect the sheep. Then I will follow with chickens to spread the manure and eat the fly larvae.

I’ve thought about it. But putting it all into practice will take time. I may not get sheep right now…..at least not this weekend….but there is always the county fair in August.

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I can’t remember what Peter called this, but basically he got this lamb in headlock and threw her. Then propped her up on her rear. Then he showed us how to trim her hoofs.

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The other sheep in the pen that we were all standing in went bonkers. When one decided that he wanted on the other side then all of them ran to the other side. That would have been ok if about 20 humans hadn’t been standing in the pen also.

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There were some early arrivals who were getting their sheep shorn an looking beautiful, ready for competition.

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This ram was huge! And so beautiful.

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Cute little sheepie, almost looks like a puppy.

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These guys were pretty friendly and liked having their heads rubbed. Their coats were so pretty.

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BaBa Blacksheep, have you any wool?

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Jacob Sheep

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Lookin pretty.

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This is a Jamaican Sheep…just kidding…he says “hey maaan”.

This guy had a really deeeeep voice.

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This was my favorite sheepie. This is a Leicester and she loved for me to rub her face….she just didn’t want me to stop. I wanted to stick her in my back pocket and walk out with her….but, well, I’m not sure, but I think someone would have notice that she was missing.

I can’t wait to go back tomorrow and browse around the merchants and visit my favorite local shop….Dancing Leaf Farm and get some of her Blue Faced Leicester fleece to finish spinning enough for a sweater for Honey. And heaven only knows what else I might find. If it doesn’t pour rain I’d like to watch the sheepdog demonstrations and see some exhibitions. And of course get a yummy lamb sandwich of some sort. Or a kabob…and I just might have to stay the whole day, just so I can eat lunch and dinner.

I plan to have a lovely weekend, rain or shine, enjoying life to the fullest.