Our Crazy Life - Mid November 2019

November 18, 2019

The website, online store, and ordering system worked pretty well for last week's delivery.  There are plenty of details to improve on the website & store but it has proven itself functional.  As a side benefit the indications are that it will save me a lot of time in data entry.

We are now on the hunt for someone to help us design a new logo.  If you have the requisite skills let us know.

We got the ewes mouthed and bagged today to assess their fitness to be bred.  We recruited our friend Nancy to take notes for us and got Becca to help.  We checked the ewe's teeth because if they don't have good teeth they won't be able to graze well enough to feed themselves and any lambs they have.  We check their bags (udders) to make sure they have two functional teats with which to feed the lambs they have. Lambs that don't get mothers milk just don't amount to much so it's critical that each ewe be able to feed two lambs.  The ewe's got a booster of their vaccine to prevent abortions and a dose of medicine to deworm them.  Our ewe numbers have grown  so it took us longer than expected to get thru all the ewes.  We ran out of daylight and will have to work the flock again this week to pick our replacement ewe lambs.  These young ladies will be the future mothers in our flock so we carefully select them based on their mother's longevity, their confirmation, wool characteristics.  I tend to select lambs that were born twins or triplets so that we end up with ewes that are inclined to ovulate multiple eggs.

We are looking forward to a full house at Thanksgiving with my Mom, John's sister and her family coming and Tom coming home from college.  We are going to have to move a bunch of junk so John's old room can be used as a second guest room.  Poor Tom and little Grant will be relegated to the couches but it will be lovely to have a houseful.  John has several days of work planned for when Tom is home.  We'll be putting in the nose flaps that help wean our calves from nursing before they are actually separated from their mothers.  I suspect we'll also start the process of moving the stock into town for the winter. John is planning a trip to Tooele to take our crop of wool to the wool warehouse.  Live many agricultural commodities the price of wool is not great and we expect to get about $1.40 a lb for our best white wool.  The black or wool from ewes that are suffock cross (very coarse wool that has black fibers mixed in) is only worth about $60 a lb.  That means each white fleeced ewe's raw fleece is worth about $12.60.  We pay the shearers $7 a head to sheer.  So each white sheep's wool nets out to about $5.60 toward her feed costs.  If she doesn't produce lambs that are harvestable  she won't be carrying her financial weight.  I suppose that is why some producers are moving over to hair breeds of sheep.  They feel that the hassle and cost of getting their girls shorn is just  not worth what the wool will be worth.  It is also why i'm thankful to have access to a great wool mill that can turn some of our fleeces (colored and white) into beautiful yarns.  We've decided to experiment by having some felt for boot liners made.  I've got to do the prep work but hopefully before long we'll have those on our website along with the various yarns we just picked up from Spinderellas Creations.  Getting photos of all of these will be my "ask" of Tom when he is home.  Hopefully John won't work him so hard he doesn't have time to help me.  Lynn, our spinner, has suggested we make up some wool dryer balls too. 

I'm developing a plan for a run to Mackay to take trim up to be made into sausages.  We are out of several flavors and it would be great to have a pretty good supply before the winter really kicks in.  I've got a good audio book checked out from the library that I've been wanting to finish...this will be my chance.

Becca continues to keep a crazy busy schedule with 4 college level classes, cheer, student council, Job's Daughters and many friends.  She's made some headway in applying to various colleges and we did manage to get the FAFSA done.  We'll need to start looking at scholarship applications very soon so we don't miss those deadlines.  Tom seems to be doing well at USU at year and is enjoying his living situation much, much more that his year in the dorms.I'm due to travel to Northern Idaho in early December for the annual Farm Bureau Convention.  I can't say I'm excited about traveling the 11 hours each way.  Mom is planning to travel to Tasmania to see my older brother and his family in mid December.  I'm the secondary backup to my step-sister if Carl's, my step-father, health fails severely while mom is away.  Carl's Alzheimer is quite progressed now and he has trouble communicating  his desires and gets understandable frustrated and occasionally aggressive to the nursing home staff.  It is such an awful disease!  John's dad was horribly worried about getting it after seeing his own father die of it, and seeing Carl's deterioration that concern seems more and more appropriate.  I hope we are able to find treatments and a cure before it tears too many more lives apart.

Thanks so much for supporting our family farm, and letting us be your family's ranchers!

Lori Anne Lau
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