Spring has sprung

My how time flies when you are working all the time.

The milking part of the barn is up and we are milking in it now.  We are still not ready to go grade A, and with all the rules and regulations it probably will not happen till summer 2013.  Working to get this done according to regulations has been very pleasant working with ISDA and the state agencies.

This is Dale putting up the FRP on the walls.  Today Dale is working on the Cheese Room. It is SOOO close to being done and I am looking forward for all the tested  milk we have frozen to be made into delicious cheese!

Lambing is still going on, it basically started the week before Christmas and hasnt stopped. We have about 200 lambs on the ground with another 25 or so ewes left to lamb.

We have sold several non Reg ram lambs that are VERY nice as ram prospects this year. We also are saving back lambs for a late butcher and will be selling USDA lamb by the cut at the Kootenia County Fair.  We will be in building #1 this year.  New spot and we hope we can do lots of business there.

We also will have Big Daddy at the fair and will be showing him in a open class.  We are thinking about taking a few others to the fair also.  That will be seen.

We have added a few more protection dogs.  Coyotes were coming into the barnyard and stole a lamb right in front of me this winter.   We are still improving the facilities for winter feeding.  I sure hope to have all the kinks worked out to make our lives here in the winter just a tad easier.

The weather is just starting to break here, so I hope to get lots and lots of pictures!

 

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  And with this new year we have so many plans, dreams, oh and the work.

Lambing season so far is CRAZY! and I am sure it is going to just get crazier!  Christmas week is a blur, We had all the holiday going on’s and preparations with the family, and on Christmas eve and Christmas Day the barn exploded!  25 lambs, 5 girls.

I had chatted on facebook slots with a very nice lady in Florida, who was coming to visit her family up here. Well she called today and I had 4 generations standing in my barn playing with the lambs.  I enjoyed the visit very much, very nice people.

We have product getting out. For the Jan-May season you can find our Beauty products at the Palm Desert Ca Street fair every weekend.  We have expanded our products and will be adding them to the store very soon. (need time to design)

We have a very nice moisturizing liquid face wash. It is very gentle and leaves your skin nice and soft. We also have made a refreshing facial scrub that is moisturizing with jojoba meal. A shampoo and a conditioner for people are in the final stages of development.   We got so carried away that we created a conditioning dog shampoo that helps with dry skin, nice soft shiny coat, with added essential oils to help control flea’s and dandruff. A dog soap in bar form, and my daughter got creative and developed a rice and lamb milk bone cookie.  We have worked diligently to make sure we use natural and organic materials when developing these products. Taking many steps to make sure that our products are as natural as we can make them.  All of our products are developed using some product from the sheep that we harvest ourselves.

We also developed some products using Sweet Grass essential oil, and Sage essential oil for the Native American community.  We will be putting this product in the local stores soon.

 

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Lambing is to begin!

We have the first of the girls out and under cam to begin lambing.  This group of girls are due Dec 10-16th.  We will be moving the camera’s around for better pictures the closer we get to lambing time.

Every now and again you can see Pepe the goat, choe one of the guardian dogs, Henry another GP and Bolt who is black all sleeping in the barn to stay out of the weather outside.

We have had some good weather, some snow.. and now we are having high winds and rain.  YUK  makes for sheep keeping to be miserable.

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Fall swinging quickly into winter is here. The first snow is just starting to fall. guess it is time to drag out the winter gear and get it all ready to use.

We are looking to buy more pumpkins also.  We have really enjoyed feeding the sheep the pumpkins and the sheep have enjoyed eating them. It is pretty funny to look out and see 150 plus ewes with orange faces.  The woolies are always the first sheep to arrive when we start throwing out the pumpkins in the morning.  The Katahdins will stomp on the pumpkins to break them open, for the woolies to dash over and push them out of the way to get to the insides.
Last week we had the county building inspector come and sign the building off from a residence to a barn. We will finish the walls and the work inside the building, and we will go ahead and get the management plan from USDA done when we can move ground in the spring.  We might try again at that time to get the building zoned and signed off as our dairy and cheese processing area.  But that will all depend on finances.

We are getting ready to start going for Organic certification. We are going to bite the bullet and do it the right way with the certifications. The paperwork is a nightmare from what I can see.  So if I can make it through all the mumbo jumbo reading about rules, regulations and what we need to make sure we comply in has been a chore.  I did pass that off to john to get done, since I let him do most of the govt type paperwork. but this is something I think we both need to learn and know.  I will just let him deal with the forms. *Smile*

Since we had such a short summer and fall we have been in a scramble to find decent feed at reasonable prices and get it in and stored. And now with us trying to dodge winter storms we will be on a bigger push to get plenty in and stored. News weathermen have all been predicting heavy snows again this year.

The barns are almost ready, Since we have 80 ewes all due in a 10 day window we want to make sure we have plenty of jugs ready and lambing space.  We have 20 due before this rush in Dec, We are currently set up to handle 20 at a time, but the big push of 80 will probably tax all of us. We are looking for temp barn work for the month of Jan as we know we we will running hard and wont be able to do it all ourselves.  We just put the Jan ewe lambs in with the ram, so we will have 40 lambing around april/may.  Weather should be decent at that time so we will have a little easier of a time.

I ordered some parts and some new cams and another multiplexer and will be setting back up the cam systems with several added cams.  Be prepared to watch the explosion in the barn.  We will also be calling in WSU to come test our sheep for the milking certificate.

 

 

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It is the middle of harvest season and that is what we have been doing, harvesting pumpkins. I have been cooking seeds and canning pumpkin pie mix.  The sheep have sure enjoyed the pumpkins.  I looked up the benefits of feeding pumpkins and found they are very good for the sheep. the seeds are high in selinium and magnesium. And a organic wormer.

We purchased 10 huge boxes full and I feed out about 80-100 pumpkins a day.  The ewes are all looking fat and happy. We can tell many of them are packed full of babies.  We will be moving the milking area into the barn that isnt approved to be a milking barn and we will continue with our 7 sheep facility.

We are ready for the holiday rush with the soaps and lotions. We have some cheese, but I think we will hold on to that for our personal use.

The cams are currently down.  I have a small issue someplace and I still have to research why they are not working.  I did get the chickens sold, I decided to keep back 7 so I atleast have a few eggs a day.

Fall is here and it is so pretty looking at the tree’s start to turn colors. Hunting season so far has been pretty successful.

I have a group of family coming in mid week this week. Prepping to be able to feed them all while they are here.  So out came a leg of lamb, I will slice it up and marinade it is fresh organic garlic, some mint leaves, italian seasonings and oilive oil.  Dale is making some home made pita’s tomorrow.  Yum, my mouth is already watering.

So fall will keep going on, we will continue to work on the building and get it ready for some time in the future to go ahead and get it permitted and into a working grade A dairy facility.

The ewes will go under cam the first part of December with lambs sceduled to start arriving on Dec 12 with the majority of them lambing jan 1-16th.  We will have the cams on (I hope) so you can monitor.

We are  in process of scheduling WSU to come in and get our testing done for the year once again.  We hope we will be able to have the cams up and running then also.  Look for mid november to be when we have WSU come in.

Sunny today with a little bit of fall nip to the air, so I  had better get out and get some barn yard work done while the weather holds.

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County Stopped plans

I am frustrated, upset, angry with the county.   The county has made our trying to get the milking barn set up impossible!  They have run us out of money!

We tried very hard to do everything the right way. The legal way.  We were converting a building, We decommissioned it from a residence, to a shop, then the county wanted us to hire all contractors to turn it into a milking barn. We were  not allowed to do the work ourselves. We had to hire everything out. Making the cost of this project quadruple.  Then they started saying we needed to go F2 Commercial, and have handicapt bathrooms, and parking facilities for 20 cars.  We tried to explain that we had no employee’s and we were not selling from the farm which is allowed under the state and county code.  They didn’t care.  They took the codes for the county and read into them things that were not listed. They couldn’t show us the code. said they didnt have to show us code, that we had to hire a specialist.  We did hire a specialist, and after paying out tons of money and them getting the run around also they put a stop to us.

We had to hire an atty to fight every road block.  $$  contractors $$, materials, $$  Finally the last straw was a architect to draw the plans on the building that has been in existence for the last 20 plus years.  Along with a drafter and structural engineer.

The state was in our corner the whole way, trying to help us with the county.

This is not the end for us we hope. We will still function under our current small dairy license, we will still make product, but for now, it will be small, and we will not be able to support ourselves.  So, while we are trying to figure this all out, we will have to also find outside employment so we can start saving again to make this whole dairy thing a go down the road.

They were worried about our neighbors, 1 mile away, the noise from the dairy, the poop which we had under the state permit with state engineers help.  County didn’t want to follow state, they are in a power struggle to be boss, but yet no one knows their job..  Typical government I know.

So this is where we stand at this time.

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Harvest Time!

Fall is here, or I think it is fall.  The weather is hot hot!  We are still in discussions with the county and our milking barn we are trying to get finished before winter so we have a nice warm place to milk.

So now we have contacted an architect to do drawings of a building already built. The county is not getting it that we wont have employee’s and also that we will not have a store front.  So the disagreement continues.

We have been trying to get everything set up for winter.  We had a fellow come in here to build a few more feeders for winter.  Need to still get our hay in under cover, breeding season is in full swing and Jan will be a very busy month for us lambing.  need to get the milking building finished so we can move the milking to the new building and use the current milking area for more lambing jugs!

I was able to escape the other day to go get some huckleberries picked. Only got about 1/2 a gal so I still need to go get more.  My mouth can almost taste Dales smudge with a huckleberry filling.  YUM!  I took the neighbor and 2 of his children with me up to the area I like to pick hucks at, neighbor picked, and he also collected wood.

 

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Kootenai County Fair

Our booth is set up at the Kootenai County Fair.  We got a real good location this year, We are on main street as you enter the main gates of the fair grounds.

 

Bob at Green dually was our neighbor. What a great group of neighbors we had at the fair. Friendly and very helpful.  so much nicer than the street fair.

The cowboys and horses that traveled the fair were great sports!  They would come by several times a day and play to poopie game!

the fair was a success. We sure did learn a lot about our booth, sales, products people are looking for and when to have us staffed.  we also learned that we needed to educate the public about the benefits of Sheep and Sheep milk products.

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Coeur D Alene Street Fair

This weekend is the big weekend of the Coeur D Alene street Fair.  This event is actually 3 events in one, they have the Beer and wine tasting festival going on, also art on the green, and then the CDA street fair where they close down 7 blocks and have vendors lining the streets.

This is our first public show of products and it is a success!  We have Smudge, Soap and these wonderful lotions for sale there. Sales have been brisk and lots of people interested in not only the products we have there, but also our lambs we have for sale both for meat and breeding stock and of course when they can expect cheese.

So prepping for this event has taken up much of my blogging time for updates.

We have also decided to book our booth at the Kootenia County Fair.  We already have several lambs that are in the 4-H meat program that will be competing there, so why not go and show what we produce from those sheep?

Well since I am at home handling the sheep, Time for me to skeedaddle and get night milking done.  Till next time!

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Milking room progress!

been a busy week this week, we have been trying to get the brochures ready for the street fair, we have been working on the milking room also, And we had a customer and new found friend came here from MT to pick up some sheep she ordered months ago.  Had to wait for them to get old enough.

karen showed up around 10am this morning and we sorted her out some sheep and we got them loaded. while she was here we had some great sheep discussions.

I took some progress photo’s of the milking room

This is the room we will be making soap and lotions in. divider wall is up and green rocked on one side and the frame to the wash up area for the milking room is framed in.

This is the cheese making room, the green wall is up on one side, the insulation has been removed on the sides we need to put in electrical.

This is soon to be the milking room.  This will be the last room we get done.

This is the drop down stairs for storage.

Soap on racks curing.

Thank you once again Karen for the purchase of the ewes and the Registered Ram lamb

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