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Slowing down


  11:08:07 pm, by Karen   , 487 words  
Categories: Journal

Slowing down

It's now approaching Thanksgiving and things are slowing down a bit here on the farm.  The two breeding groups were set up on October 30, about three weeks earlier than we managed last year.  We'll see if it makes a difference.  Sometimes ewes just seem to have their lambs at the same time each Spring no matter what.

On November 11th we took four lambs and two ewes to the Windham Butcher Shop in ME.  We were able to sell all the lambs we had available and there was more interest that we had to turn away, which is hopeful for the future.  The potential is there for raising about 12 lambs next year, as we have 6 ewes being bred, and since this area seems to be saturated as far as selling breeding stock goes, we're trying to focus on meat lambs and take any future breeding stock sales as icing on the cake.  It's hard though when hay and feed in general is so expensive to see how we could even hope to break even just selling meat lambs.  But getting our new pastures up and growing will help as the less hay we need to purchase, the better.

The customers were very happy with their lambs and we were even able to sell to one local small cafe that does dinners focusing on local foods, so that may help us gain some future customers.  The two cull ewes, who were 3 and 4 years old, ended up in our own freezer, and we have taste-tested some ground meat already and it's great! Along with our own duck and chicken, the meat from the ewes, and locally purchased grassfed beef, we are well stocked for the winter.

Our main project now, as long as the weather permits, is expanding our fencing.  We have several hundred feet of fenceline cleared, and much of that has the posts installed. Ken cleared another 100 or so feet by himself on the west side one day while I was off playing at a NH Spinners & Dyers Guild meeting, and that was no small feat, considering it was an area with some large fallen logs, as well as a lot of smaller trees that had been pushed over in all directions by the skidder.  So, now we can finished putting the posts in on the west side and then start working our way across the north end.  At some point we are going to have to borrow or rent an augur to bore large post holes for the gate posts.  Each gate will be comprised of two eight foot tube gates that meet in the middle so that the logging road will still be easily accessible to any large equipment that needs to get through.  Also, since the logging road is a right-of-way for a neighbor, they need to be sturdy and stand up to repeated opening and closing when he needs to get through.

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Sharing ideas from our small farm in NH, where we raise Icelandic sheep and assorted poultry. We are members of ISBONA (Icelandic Sheep Breeders of North America) and the CLRC (Canadian Livestock Records Corporation). We also participate in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program (NH54). Contact us at karen [at] birchtreefarm [dot] com. Please also visit the farm website at Birchtree Farm.
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