Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spring Chores

It's a beautiful rainy day here. I should be working in the garden and flowerbeds but I'm declaring it a rain day and postponing until the weekend :-)

Chris got his market lambs the Monday before last. In our usual fashion we brought them home the day before weigh-in. There's nothing like the last minute for getting things done! He purchased the lambs from Ken and Claudia Brush. Claudia is our sheep leader and it's very convenient that she happens to raise some gorgeous lambs. I'm pretty impressed with the three we purchased.

The largest lamb weighed in at 92 pounds. I think he's going to be the one we keep to fill our freezer. The lamb that will probably sell at the Canyon County Fair weighed 82 pounds. Chris's smallest lamb is destined to sell at the Western Idaho Fair in Boise. He weighed 69 pounds.

It always surprises me when my kids do something that I'm pretty certain they don't have the skills and ability to accomplish yet. Then I feel bad for underestimating them. Chris's lambs are totally wild. Well, they've been worked in a bunch before we bought them, but no halter training or real effort to tame them (since they're from a fair sized sheep operation). When we went to weigh-in on Tuesday Chris led the largest lamb. That lamb weighs more than Chris does... and he doesn't lead. Chris not only managed not to lose his lamb, he actually got him through the line and over the scale. I am so impressed :-)

The little boys and I led the other lamb. That was an experience, let me tell you! I spent more time trying to keep the lamb from jumping over the top of Jake than I did moving it forward. Jake has a real knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Sam has this amazing gift for working with animals. He finally took the smaller of the two lambs we took to Caldwell and worked with it while I dealt with Jake. He helped me load the lambs in the trailer at home, unload them at the fairgrounds, took the smaller lamb across the scale, carefully watched while Trey wormed the lambs, and then raced to beat us all to the trailer in order to open the door so we could load the lambs. He waited for me to get the lambs loaded and then carefully closed the trailer door and on his way to the Suburban I noticed he checked our electrical connection and the safety chains. :-) I love that boy! He's so funny for a five year old.

After much deliberation Chris and I decided he should use a texturized, pelleted ration for his lambs this year. We don't have much pasture (because I haven't dug out the ditch through the four properties between us and the weir in order to irrigate) so I need to invest in some hay for roughage. Chris is going to be operating at a loss this year unless he makes some crazy money come sale time.

So far his expenses are:

$79.99 water tank
$85.00 x 3 for the lambs
$10.79 x 2 for feed
$16.00 halter and lead (luckily we found 2 more in the barn at mom's house)
$1.50 air to fill trailer tires

We'll need to buy quite a bit more of the pellets and hay before we reach the end of the project so I'm anticipating he'll be in the red by the end of the project. However, we'll have a lot of the equipment already purchased when he begins next year's project so he should make a profit every year after this one (barring unforeseen events).

It's exciting to watch the kids learn and grow. I am so proud of all three boys as they begin learning about something totally new to them!

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Jake camping in the living room

Jake camping in the living room