Monday, November 12, 2007

Farm Labor

It's time to give the true workers of Alta-Pete Farm their due. The sheep work harder than anyone on this place. They train all the customer dogs plus all our kennel dogs and I rarely hear them complain.

Some of the sheep are keepers who will never be sold. We don't usually name our sheep but our two favorites are Blue Tag (aka Grandma) and the Cocker Spaniel. Blue Tag is 16 yrs old and well retired from work. Her new job is to stay with the lambs when they are weaned and keep them calm. She's a purebred Karakul and is the last of a set of 6 that helped train a USBCHA champion, a couple of reserve Champions and some Western Canadian Champions. We are hoping her granddaughter, the Cocker Spaniel, (she looked like one as a baby), will lamb this year. Karakuls are a very old rare breed and we've seen Blue Tag whispering the secrets of their breed to the Cocker Spaniel. We believe the secrets have something to do with run like hell every time you see a dog, and keep your head down in the shed so they can't cut you out.

Our sheep are a motley crew that have some Karakul, Katahdin, Suffok and Dorset crossed in. Our two main rams are young but they have convinced me that they are up to the task. One is a Dorset cross and the other is an old style Suffolk. I'm hoping that all their wining and dining of the women will pay off as we have a small flock this year and could use a boost by a good lamb crop.

The newest upstart is our Dorset/Katahdin ram lamb. He was born last year and promised me that he'd get to work right away and improve the quality of our meat lambs. I guess we'll see how things go when the lambs start being born in February.