Wednesday, July 1, 2009


In April we had a heavy snowstorm that broke down some of our more vulnerable trees. I left this plum trees limbs for the sheep to eat and they've really enjoyed the leaves and blossoms. Rags(Cormo X on the left)has decided she is a "Shetland" and is now in the lead on many of the sprints across the field on cooler mornings. She'll be headed downstate this summer to be bred to either another spotted Cormo X ram or a white registered Cormo. My other two Cormo X ewes are currently in with a black Cormo X ram. We are hoping for mid-winter lambs to play with.
Meghan sat down for a moment and soon had Wintertime Ruby, Stinkbug(name still pending)and Bailleys in her lap looking for love and attention. Ruby will be bred back to Wintertime Black Forrest this fall for a repeat of the breeding that produced Red & Fudge. Meghan is hoping for that elusive moorit gulmoget ewe lamb she has always wanted.


Two years ago I purchased a black pair of Silky Bantam ducks--an extremely rare breed I was going to raise and promote. Unfortunately I found this breed had some major drawbacks. The eggs failed to hatch repeatedly even though I knew they were viable and could hear peeping. The ducks when I did manage to get a few to hatch weren't the best mothers, and the ducklings tended to be very aggressive towards each other to the point of bloodying wings. So I packed them all up and sent them elsewhere at a major loss. I did retain two pure black female Silky/Australian Spotted Bantam crosses, because we found them to be very lovely to look at and not as aggressive. These two crossbred ducks have proven to be very good layers and setters. One of them crossed with my Silverheaded Australian Spotted male prior to his disappearing one afternoon and we had one female duck born that is a gorgeous shade of blue-grey with darker edges to her feathers. We will be repeating this pairing with a Silverheaded son of the drake we lost and our two black females, as I just love the coloration.
Our blue-grey laced bantam duck(75% Australian Spotted/25% Silky).
The growing ducklings including a female Khaki Campbell(Soup)I got at the pet swap for winter duck eggs(Meghan's favorite breakfast). You can see the wide range of colors available in Australian Spotted Bantams. The lightest ones are Silverheads. The medium colored ones are Blue-head ducks and the darkest are Blue-head drakes. Below is our best layer in the flock. A blue-head who laid an egg a day from August through November last fall after also laying all spring and into July. Many of our ducklings are related to her.
And this is the last of our mature drakes in his nuptial plumage. The more spotting the better by breed standards, so we think he's pretty special. He is a blue-head.


On June 1st we moved Sofie to the barn where Meghan rode when she was leasing Tigger. It is a lovely smaller barn that is kept in immaculate condition. There are turnout paddocks and pastures and the horses get nothing but the best of care. Sofie shares the front paddocks with two other mares, and they all get along famously. There is also a nice indoor arena(if you don't mind pigeons occasionally swooping past)and a very large, grassy outdoor arena as well. In the future there will be trails through the woods in the back twenty, but for now Meghan and Sofie like to cool down out in the front yard. Meghan has been working on training Sofie to come down and seek contact on the bit. Sofie had an inverted neck when we first brought her home in April(loads of muscles underneath and not much on top). With the addition of a magnesium supplement to help lessen her tensions(since we don't know her history we aren't sure just what it is that makes her tense), she is starting to relax more under saddle and the result is a much nicer profile.
Here Sofie shows that she can actually bend at the poll and soften her jaw if asked nicely.
This is my favorite photo of late. Who couldn't have fun riding on a lovely coolish summer day with that backdrop?


Wintertime Red Velvet(Wintertime Black Forrest X Wintertime Ruby)is going to Canada to help improve fleeces in the polled lines there. He will undoubtedly be doing a little breeding on this side of the border prior to leaving, and Meghan does plan to repeat the breeding that produced him and his sibling Wintertime Fudge. It was a tough decision, but Meghan knows he'll be treated royally and given lots of loving and ewes to breed. Wintertime Maple Sugar(Wintertime Red Velvet X Wintertime Chiffon)is being retained. She was a late lamb, so she will be held over until next season for breeding.

And Lil'Country Nightcap is returning to Juliann Budde in August to produce some awesome polled rams and ewe lambs in her flock. Meghan is retaining his moorit polled son Wintertime Bailleys out of Wintertime Ruby.