Monday, April 26, 2010

Blackberry's horrible headache

Sunday was a very productive day, but it started out with some unexpected drama. Rick and Brian came down to help me do morning chores (it's usually a solo event), so I asked Rick to look at Blackberry's loose scur. To keep Blackberry's head steady, Rick held on to the other scur. Blackberry struggled - and off it snapped! There was blood, which alarmed Brian. At that point Rick figured he might as well yank off the damaged scur - and it bled even more. Blood streaming (well, dripping fast), Brian squawking, me fighting a little panic; what a way to start the day! Rick got some blood-stop powder and screw-worm spray from his truck and calmly applied them, then we turned Blackberry into his lot for the day.

Waiting for Rick and meds; I picked a photo that downplayed the gore.

When I checked on him after finishing chores, Blackberry was looking pretty tough, hunched up and miserable. But by the end of the day he was grazing and acting okay, so I guess Rick was correct when he said he'd be fine.

After breakfast I set up my "skirting table" (a piece of horse panel on our trash and recycling bins; no bending over and nice shade for Jackson) and went to work. Another sunny day, another pleasant period of playing with the products of my flock. First up was beautiful Bronwen:Wow; what a stunning fleece! It would be an excellent entry in the wool show at Black Sheep Gathering, but to me the entry fee and commission aren't worth bragging rights.

Next, I skirted Bramble's pretty fleece.Even though she's softer than Bronwen, she was in the rise so she didn't shear as nicely as her half-sister. I may process and spin this fleece myself in case I didn't get all the second cuts pulled out.

Braveheart was also in the rise at shearing, so I'm in the same boat with him. His fleece is much bigger, though, so I think I will go ahead and have it commercially processed.

I skirted Katie's fleece last. Yeah, I was putting off my only uncoated fleece (Katie came to Boulderneigh in January), and it really was a LOT more work (and still wasn't as debris-free when I was finished) than the others. If her roving comes back with too much VM in it, I will spin it myself instead of offering it for sale. Getting better acquainted with her fleece would be a good thing, regardless!

If you are interested in purchasing any of my fleeces, please let me know soon. I plan to pack them up and send them off to Aunt Janet's Fiber Mill this week. She did a great job with my fleeces last year (hand-picking, not mechanical picking), and was highly complimentary of them.

After I finished skirting, I joined Rick in the garden. Earlier in the day he had to respond to an emergency, and came home with all this:He proceeded to work up the ground with our old rototiller, then switched to our even older tractor when the rototiller died. By the end of the day we had planted salad greens, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, radishes, bell peppers, eggplant, onions, crookneck and pattypan squash, cucumbers, and three tomato plants. We still have melons, green beans, zucchini, winter squash, peas and more tomatoes to put in, but I was pleased with our day's work.
That's it for now from . . .


Heather said...

Those were pretty big scurs! He was probably all hunched over, pouting like only a Shetland Ram can :o).
You sure did have a productive day!

Mama Mess said...

I hate horns and scurs and wish I could have polled goats! Garden looks good!

Michelle said...

That's why I'm so excited by two ram lambs who like like they may be full polls! Braveheart just has bone knobs, which has been as easy to manage as a full poll, but he has that one horn gene he can pass on.

Jenny Holden said...

Looks like you've been busy!
Could you send Rick over here to do the same to Tolly?!

Tammy said...

I'm always relieved when scurs get pulled off naturally (one ewe I used to have and wethers here). Does Braveheart's fleece smell rammy? I can't sell Jeff's because it is just too stinky,(he fully believes in being in rut, I guess) but is gorgeous never the less. I'm thinking about do the soak outside with it this year, to see if that removes the worst of the ram smell. It will be a fun experiment to try.

Michelle said...

Jenny, SURE - we'd BOTH (well, all three) come over and do that little job for free - as long as you provide the airplane tickets! I would LOVE to visit Scotland!

Tammy, the ram fleeces smell rammy, but not horribly so; I would certainly sell them raw if someone wanted one. But last year I sent Braveheart's to the processor's and got back beautiful white roving - unscented!

Christine said...

Bo just broke off one of his tiny little scurs and Dorothy broke one of hers the other day. Tis the season? Neither one here bled that much, of course their scurs were much smaller.

A :-) said...

OMG - that must have HURT to lose those horns (scurs?). Yikes! And that's a HUGE garden, Michelle :-) You'll be busy all summer long!

Oh - and in case anyone wants to know - Braveheart's fleece spun up beautifully, and it was not whiffy at all :-) Photo here at the end of the post:

Leigh said...

Stunning fleece and stunning garden. Poor Blackberry though. I didn't know about scurs, so this was interesting to me. Glad he seemed to recover quickly.

Deb W said...

What a FULL, but very productive day! I admire all the different things you will be growing in your garden this year. I'm sure your family will appreciate it too, when harvest time comes. Do you can and/or freeze? Does Brian help you in the garden?

(what is whiffy? That is a term I haven't heard before)

Michelle said...

Yes, Deb, I can AND freeze. Brian helps, under duress like most kids. :-)

Adrienne was referring to scent, as in she didn't catch a "whiff" of rammy smell in the Braveheart roving I sent her.