The grazing has begun

Spring is a magical time of year for anyone who likes to be outside. Things are growing, babies are exploring, and life seems to be in overdrive. This is no exception when you are grazing.

You can see what the grass looks like before grazing and after.
You can see what the grass looks like before grazing and after.

Now that we are more or less done lambing (one late ewe left to go) and all the lambs are nibbling grass, it is time for everyone to get outside and have some fun. The sheep have had a taste of outside in their paddock, but it really isn’t the same as nice, juicy, lush spring grazing.

Last Friday was their first time out on “real” pasture after they had a good base of hay in their bellies. With sheep you don’t want to go and switch feed quickly – if your have four stomachs, a belly ache would be brutal.

All the ewes thought it was wonderful! The lambs just had a great time running up and down the strip of grass at top speed and then collapsed in a fuzzy, tired, and content heap.

Since last Friday we have been pulsing the sheep through the pasture quickly to get the most nutritious top parts of the grass as it is growing. Ideally this should be done quickly to begin establishing a staggered growth pattern for grazing into the summer and beyond. When we set up for grazing we always like to have a “base-camp”. This provides water and shade in an area closer than the barn. We think the sheep appreciate this – the lambs particularly seem to like it.

Lamb gangs hanging out.
Lamb gangs hanging out.

So far so good. The sheep are enjoying being outside and we now have enough fencing to set up 2-3 days worth of grazing at a time. It is also interesting to see what types of grasses and forbes grow where on the land, and how the soil differs from area to area- a lot to learn on a new piece of land.

Section of pasture for grazing. They are in each section for a day right now.
Section of pasture for grazing. They are in each section for a day right now.

All this fresh new growth is clock full of nutrition for both mums and babies. Lots protein for mums which in turn produce lots of milk for babies. OUr lambs tend to nurse for a long time. We prefer to let the ewes choose when they are weaned. It also makes it much easier we don’t have to keep everyone seperate.

With all the netting it also means that our livestock dogs, get a bit of a break.

Bob and Delilah having a break from guarding. THey are just hanging and playing.
Bob and Delilah having a break from guarding. THey are just hanging and playing.

 

More Lamb Photos

Spring Lambing!

And that means lambing – my favourite time of the year! So far we haven’t had too many lambs, but the ones we have had are darned cute. Out of the five so far, four are ewe lambs.

Our flock is heavily based on Shetland genetics (a.k.a. small sheep) we tend to have small lambs. But, we have some other breeds in our flock too. A little Romney, a little Finn/Gotland, and a lot of Blue Faced Leicester. These additions means that we should have tiny lambs, with fast growth rats, all on mama’s milk and grass. We will be watching their progress closely this year!

Enough with the boring farmer stuff, let’s get to the cute!

We’ve Moved

It seems hard to believe, but All Sorts Acre has moved. We have gone from Acre, to Acres. We are now located in the heart of the Headwaters in Dufferin County, north of Orangeville. To find out exactly where we are go to the Contact Us page.

We feel so privileged to be the new stewards of this incredibly beautiful rolling land. Moving to a larger farm means cool new products, including:

  • Lamb Prime Cuts – All the taste with none of the hassle or waste. The best cuts of our pastured lamb ready to cook.
  • Certified Upper Canada Fibreshed wool – Our gorgeous and colourful wool in the yarn, roving, felting bats, or as a finished felted product. It is truly locally grown, processed, and coloured.
  • Locally Grown Natural Dyes – This year marks the first year of our commercial dye garden (perhaps Ontario’s first). Yes, a garden grown specifically for colour. We will have locally grown natural dyes available to do your own dyeing, or you can buy wool already dyed. Stay Tuned for updates!
  • Felt – Felt hats, rugs, mats, wall hangings, purses, and the continued development of an Upper Canada Fibreshed shroud for natural burials.
  • Sheep milk soap – Along with our dye garden, we are starting our naturally coloured and fragranced homemade sheep milk’s soap. This will be ready for mid-season.

 

Now for the the best bit – the photos!

5 Shades of Fibre

Not quite 50, but a we have at least 5!

This past week we picked up many pounds of wool from Freelton Fibre Mill. We now have 5 kinds of roving available, with more becoming available soon.

This wool is ideal for wet felting, and canals be used for needle fleeting, and spinning. I can;t comment on how it spins as I am not a spinner, but I can say, it all felts well!

From Left to Right: Rural White, Light Grey, Soft Brown, Chestnut Brown, Natural Black. All wool is process locally at the Freelton Fibre Mill using eco-friendly soaps.
From Left to Right: Rural White, Light Grey, Soft Brown, Chestnut Brown, Natural Black. All wool is process locally at the Freelton Fibre Mill using eco-friendly soaps.

Rural White – Finn: This wool if from Homer’s Mum. She was a messy finn sheep with a lovely fleece. It is soft, and felts brilliantly. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.

 

Light Grey – Shetland/Romney: This is a great wool. Strong and felts easily. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.1. More info about this wool.

 

 

Soft Brown – Shetland/ Blue Faced Leicester: This is a lovely wool that is soft and incredibly versatile. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.

 

Chestnut Brown –  Shetland/ Blue Faced Leicester: This is a lovely wool that is soft and incredibly versatile. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.3. More info about this wool.

 

Natural Black- Shetland/Romney: This is a great wool. Strong and felts easily. It’s shrinkage rate tested at around 1.17. More info about this wool.

 

 

Grass-fed lamb & local wool