Category Archives: Frazer Family Mini-Farm

Still Winter!

Winter is hanging on this year! Usually there isn’t much snow left at the beginning of April, but here is what it looked like on April 20th:

We decided to take advantage of the beautiful new snow to photograph one of our new lambs.

It looks like we’ll probably have snow into May! But I like snow, so I don’t mind! 🙂

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

Hair Cut Time!

It was hair cutting time in the barn this week! Well, not technically hair actually – wool.

Chipit and Maple had theirs cut a while back, but the three younger sheep still needed to be done. Yoghurt was by far the most agreeable. He loved the back rub! Strawberry and Raspberry were more ticklish and wiggly, but even so it was nice to work with sheep that aren’t afraid of us.

I forgot to photograph Strawberry before and after, but here are Yoghurt and Raspberry.

Before

During

After

Before

During

After

Quite the change! We measured Yoghurt’s fleece at 9 inches long. It is really beautiful wool. The ewe lambs have a lot of hair in their wool, so the quality is less good.

And of course while I was in the barn… How could I resist photographing those cute little lambs?

And now we are watching Maple and wondering if she’s pregnant…

What do you think?

Lambs!

Chipit just lambed this morning.

Congratulations, Jérémie R. Your guess was correct: Chipit had two ram lambs!

A few weeks ago we decided to award a prize for the one/ones who guess correctly: a wool hat made from Chipit’s fleece!

Yoplait and Iögo are large lambs with voracious appetites. Chipit doesn’t seem to have much milk yet, but thankfully, we had some of Hershey’s colostrum from last fall in the freezer. We’re using that as a supplement until Chipit starts producing more. With both parents having large ears, the lambs were destined to have big ones too. Yoplait is having trouble holding one of his up!

A tired little lamb:

Lamb guess!

April is on its way and lambing season is just around the corner. Our first ewe due to lamb is Chipit and she looks like it!

Sadly, she also isn’t doing the best. The weight of her lamb(s) is making her tire easily and we were startled to discover yesterday that she sometimes struggles to walk about and lie down. A vet visit relieved us of the possibility of hypocalcemia or pregnancy toxemia. His suggestion was that she has suffered some kind of trauma to her spinal column. Our best option is to keep her quiet, fed, and watered and hope that the arrival of the lambs will relieve her of added pressure.

So, we are doubly eager for the lambs to appear! If anyone wants to take a guess at how many ewe lambs and/or ram lambs she will have, just reply to this post and let us know what you think!

Continued update!

February was rolling toward March when we struck out for the “sunny south” to attend a FEW conference in North Carolina! As we travelled, we felt that we were experiencing time-lapse! The winter melted into spring in just two days – going from a couple feet of ice and snow to leafing shrubs, blooming pear trees, and flowering daffodils!

The conference was terrific: it was a real encouragement to fellowship with believers we had not before met, to hear challenging sessions on remaining focused on Christ and holding tightly to His Word, and to jump in and serve with the FEW team.

Amy was delighted to meet Dr. Jobe Martin. She loves watching the “Creatures of Creation” and the “Incredible Creatures” DVD’s that Dr. Martin and his family have produced.

Then we returned home – seeing time-lapse in reverse – in time to welcome another snowstorm. I went out to get a few snowy pictures…

and got distracted by the cats!

I thought we had friendly animals around here…

“Who, me? I’m too nice attack anyone…”

A few random photos of things that we do…

Jonathan and Stephen doing a big computer reorganisation.

Crocheting project for the evenings.

For a beekeeper’s birthday

Just because I was in the mood…

I’m not sure what the goldfinch is doing there. I guess it just flew in.

Part of what has kept us busy is the wool processing. We have finally finished spinning Chipit’s and Maple’s fleeces into yarn.

And just in time… shearing season (and lambing season!) is just around the corner. Which reminds me, I need to make another post…

“And whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”

Bringing it up to date

It seems I’m always doing this: going a long time without posting much and then covering several months of activity! But, as they say, “Better late than never.” So here is a run-down of the Frazer family activities for the past little while, though I may split it over several posts.

The Christmas season was a little less busy than some years. We did manage to get out to visit our grandparents – a really special time.

Four generations!

Other winter activities included a fellowship/skating event at New Years’…

other skating fun…

an attempt at making our own rink (sadly a January thaw put an end to that)…

and some winter hiking in the Whites for Daddy and Mommy.

Somehow we’ve managed to find ourselves butchering in January the past couple of years. Putting an 8-month-old ram lamb in the freezer was a first for us.

Another winter activity was quilting. I made a quilt for a very good friend of mine – an incredibly fun project!

And then Mommy and I actually got to attend her wedding.

On the way there we saw the beginning of the lunar eclipse. The nieces and nephews continue to grow up. They bring such joy!

And there is more to follow…

Bunny time!

Our spring batch of baby rabbits is, Lord willing, on its way! We just bred 8 of our 9 females. Before they pull out their fur for their babies, we took pictures of them.

Here are our bucks:

Big Foot

Champ

Memphrey

Other than our original rabbit, Smokey, our does all have small candy names:

Smokey

Licorice

Lifesavers

Jelly Bean

Candy Cane

Jujube

Smarties

Rockets

Cinnamon Hearts

Cinnamon Hearts is the only one we didn’t breed simply because we don’t have space. She and Champ are actually for sale. Anyone looking for a couple of friendly bunnies? The babies should be ready to go in May and can be reserved ahead of time, too.

And of course, the cat somehow knew that it was time for portraits…

Streusel couldn’t sit around posing, though.

We are eager to see where the Lord will take our rabbit venture. It seems He has been opening doors to sell many more than previously.

Wool processing

Sheep are rapidly becoming one of my favourite animals.

They are such loveable balls of fluff and have so much to give back: meat (we just butchered our 8 month old ram lamb), milk (not yet, but we’re hoping that someday we’ll get to milk one of the ewes) and wool.

The wool is where we have been putting quite a bit of time lately. Here’s how it goes…

First the sheep need to be shorn.

Not wanting to invest immediately in expensive shearing equipment, we opted for a cheaper method: kitchen scissors!Then the wool needs washing. (Sorry, we don’t have any pictures of this step.) We give the fleeces three washes in hot soapy water to remove the lanolin (sheep grease). It is important to do this without agitation. Agitating wool when it is hot causes it to felt, rendering it useless. And then we rinse it, also in hot water.

After washing it goes on racks to dry, or in our case, on frost fencing elevated off the ground by 2×4’s.

Once dry, the wool is skirted, which simply means that we remove any worthless bits of fiber, i.e. parts that have manure on them or sections that contain too much vegetable matter (hay).

At this point, the wool is ready for combing or carding. We didn’t have any carding equipment, so we did our first fleece with hair combs – a very time-consuming project as it meant combing one end of a lock, flipping it around and combing the other end!

Now we have a drum carder which speeds the process up enormously! The wool is put through the carder a bit a time for the first pass.

To line the fibers up better and to remove more vegetable matter, we send the wool through the carder about three times on average.

When the bat is removed for the final time, it is torn into long strips and moved on to the spinning wheel.

Alternately, it can be removed from the drum in one long strip using a disk with a tiny hole in it. Our sheep’s short staple length makes this impracticable this year, but perhaps it will work with the longer wool we hope to get next year.

At the spinning wheel, the rovings (long strips of wool) are drafted (drawn out into even thinner strands) and twisted before getting wound onto the bobbin.

Once two bobbins are filled, the strands are plied together by being sent through the spinning wheel again, with the wheel spinning backwards this time.

The wool is now ready to be used and turned into warm articles of clothing!

Product photography

Looking through my photos from the past year, I observed that quite of bit of it was actually product photography… but not your typical products!

First there was the cow…

Then there were rabbits…

And now there is a sheep!

Yes, we’re selling Raspberry. She’s too small, in our opinion, to breed right away, and we don’t want a sheep lambing in August. So we’ve decided to sell her.

We thought that taking her away from her sister to be photographed would stress her out completely and that all the photos would reveal her bleating, but that was not the case. Apparently, Evelyn and I are as much a part of her “flock” as Strawberry, so she is just fine without her sister so long as we were there. We almost didn’t need the rope – she followed us like a dog, better than some dogs!

And of course the cat had to come along to inspect… Maybe she just likes showing up on the blog!Any one looking for a cute, friendly little sheep? And, no, the cat doesn’t go with her.