Saturday, January 29, 2011

Farewell to Herbie

The smartest sheep I've ever known; Herbie was born in the spring of 1994. He passed away during the night of Jan 28, 2011. Herbie was a bottle baby, since his mother had twins she decided to give him to me to raise. So Herbie grew up with the goat kids that year, thus his superior intelligence. Who says environment doesn't make a difference.

As a lamb Herbie would follow the kids around, only problem was he wasn't as agile as the goats. One time I heard this pitiful "BAAAAAA" from the top of the haystack! The kids and Herbie had climbed to the top, only problem was the kids bounced down, leaving Herbie stuck at the top.

So guess who had to climb the haystack to rescue the lamb .......

As Herbie grew and grew and grew, he eventually became the largest animal in the herd (except the bucks). Uncle Herbie became the protector of all. He probably topped out around 250# in his prime. The wool that he produced was wonderful! The first few years, he gave a fleece weighing around 24#. Herbie was once even mistaken for a buffalo wandering our pasture, when a British visitor to the alpaca farm next door saw him.

Although very large Herbie was always very tame and easy to handle. He would stand patiently in the corner while I hand sheared him (this could take several hours).

Missy, the white angora/pygmy in the picture below, has been his companion since birth. Herbie survived Missy having several kids (he was fun to climb on). In their senior years the two could often be seen laying near each other warming in the sun, slowly chewing their cud.
I know she will miss Herbie, but she was there with him when he passed.

Herbie's spirit was strong, even though the last few weeks he had trouble standing and I often had to lift his back end to get him going. His body gave out on Wednesday, but his spirit hung in there. I convinced his spirit it was ok to leave this life. He did me a final favor in the end, I had planned to call the vet on Friday morning, I didn't have to.

His immediate family (Missy's kids and grandkids) had time with him to know that he was gone. Animals seem to adjust well to the passing of their companions if they know what has happened.

Goodbye my Rastafarian friend......

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Check out my new Website

I have totally revised my soap website - have a look!

Valentine soaps are now available.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Free Range eggs

The United States Department of Agriculture offers this definition:
FREE RANGE or FREE ROAMING: Producers must demonstrate to the Agency that the poultry has been allowed access to the outside.
But “allowing access” doesn’t mean much. A small door in a barn with thousands of chickens technically gives chickens an opportunity to go outside, but that doesn’t mean that they’ll have access to grass (it may only be a concrete slab). For chickens to produce the most healthful and flavorful eggs and meat, they need to be able to eat a variety of green plants, seeds and bugs. Unfortunately, you can’t tell how the chickens live by reading the package in a store. I’d encourage you to find a local farmer who raises poultry on pasture.
— Troy Griepentrog, associate editor

Eggciting News!!!
10/15/2008 3:37:53 PM
By Tabitha Alterman
Tags: free-range eggs, egg tests, pastured poultry, grazing livestock, egg nutrition, vitamin D
The results from Mother Earth News’ latest round of pastured egg nutrient tests are beginning to come in. So far, pastured egg producers are kicking the commercial industry’s butt — woo hoo, go free range! We’ve invested a lot of time and energy over the last few years in researching the differences between the meat and eggs coming out of the commercial industry and those produced by conscientious farmers who let their animals graze on fresh pastures. In the past, we’ve found that eggs from hens raised on pasture, as compared to those commercially raised factory farm eggs, contain:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol • 1⁄4 less saturated fat• 2⁄3 more vitamin A• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids• 3 times more vitamin E• 7 times more beta carotene

Now we’re looking at vitamin D, which many of us do not get enough of because we don’t spend any time outdoors, and even when we do we use sunscreen that blocks vitamin D production. (More about that here.) Eggs are one of the few food sources of naturally occurring vitamin D, and we wondered if true free-range eggs might be higher in this important vitamin, too. Our latest tests show that pastured eggs have anywhere between 4 to 6 times as much vitamin D as typical supermarket eggs.So … (1) Get out there and eat some fresh farm eggs! and (2) Check out our ongoing pastured egg research here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Chicken Yard

The chickens seem to think that they are being under represented in this blog, so I'm trying to remedy this issue.

Even though the temperature has been below zero several nights lately, the red heat lamp keeps the chicken coop above freezing.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Frizz

The Frizz didn't make it. I think he must have been sick, as he only slept and didn't crow even after he was warmed up.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year from Westfarm!

The Frizz

Well, you won't believe this, but the Frizz is back in the house. (See posting of Jan 2010 for background on this). It turned fridged on Thursday and the Frizz had been losing feathers for the past month, so he was huddled under the heat lamp not doing well yesterday morning. Guess he figured the sunroom was a nice place to spend the winter.....
I do believe that the frizzle type feathers don't insulate as well as regular feathers.