Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Inspection day

The ewe group had to stay in the fold for awhile this morning so the USDA inspector could take a look at everyone's tags and review my records for participation in the voluntary scrapie program. I think the inspector views visiting Boulderneigh as a mini-vacation - a nice little drive in the country (she comes from Salem, the state capital, less than 20 miles away) to look over a tiny flock of small, friendly sheep and have all the necessary paperwork handed to her on one well-organized sheet! She did say that their office recently got a "scrapie audit" from the national powers-that-be, and were told all the things they aren't doing right. For instance, all sheep deaths and adult ewe acquisitions have to be reported within a set time, not once a year at inspection, because the feds want "more sampling." I asked some questions and learned that sheep on the mandatory program that die fly completely under the radar. In other words, I could have an entire flock of mandatory program sheep next door drop dead of scrapie, and if the owner didn't happen to call his vet for advice and took care of the carcasses himself, no one would be the wiser! So all the scrutiny of the voluntary program flocks doesn't really protect the U.S. sheep population at all that I can figure. Isn't that a government program for you?

After the inspector left, I spent some time with the boys. Bodhran is all healed up and happy, and will be leaving for his forever home soon. It will be hard to say good-bye to him; he has my favorite personality and face of the 2010 lambs. For that reason alone I am glad he is a wether; now he can be spoiled rotten for the rest of his life. If I had room for more fiber pets at Boulderneigh, he'd stay here to grow jet-black fiber and be my buddy!

"Hey, what about ME?"

Oh yes, Blake; you know I love you, too. You're my great "full-poll hope," the sole legacy of two beautiful sheep who are both gone now! But I have to be careful not to spoil you, since you have testosterone poisoning.

"Poisoning, schmoisoning. Just keep petting us."

Of course, when I had them that close, I had to look closer. Blake's noggin:You can see the merest nubbin of horn material on his right; there's nothing but a rough spot when you palpate the left side.

Ooooh; look at his neck fleece!

Okay, that did it; I had to go in and look at it mid-side:Mmmmm! I really need to get a magnifying glass out there to see if this color is a mix of light and darker fibers, or a whole color. That would answer the burning question of whether he is Ag or modified.

Of course, I took pictures of Bodhran and Barry mid-side as well. I have yet to capture a good shot of Bodhran's fleece; black is just so difficult! I tweaked the photo above, but it's still not an accurate depiction.

All three of these boys are Braveheart sons. While he was not as soft and fine as I want to breed for, Braveheart stamped a beautiful crimp and character on all his offspring's fleeces. I wish I had a poll-carrier daughter of his!

That's it for now from . . .

11 comments:

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

And that is why I didn't get involved in the Scrapi program. Another bureaucratic wheel spinning and spinning and getting no where...
Beautiful fleece :)

Ok Acres said...

Oh boy, love that fleece!!!

Christine said...

Black is difficult to photograph. I've yet to get a decent shot of Shirley. I think you did a great job.

Franna said...

Lovely, lovely fleeces. It's tempting to poke under Blackberry's coat, too... maybe sample a little... heh, heh. Isn't it just frustrating that the testosterone poisoned ones are the friendliest ones?

Mim said...

Beautiful fleeces!

Cynthia said...

Very nicely done Michelle. You have come so far so fast!

Sharon said...

They look mighty fine to me!

Michelle said...

Yeah, Becky; I may bail out of the voluntary program yet.

Thanks for all the affirmation, everyone. Cynthia, that is high praise coming from you!

Leigh said...

Good news about Bodhran .

I hate to be a pessimist but I have to admit that I have little confidence in anything the government gets involved with these days. The intentions always sound good, but in the end, it's always the conscientious that seem to pay the price.

Kara said...

Great fleece shots!

A :-) said...

Testosterone poisoning? (City girl, here, remember? :-) )