Thursday, January 29, 2015

Homestead: Mineral and Timber rights

Mineral and Timber hear this term a lot when your buying land here. I thought a post about what they entail would be of some help to buying that perfect home stead.

Mineral Rights are property rights to exploit an area for the minerals it harbors. Mineral rights can be separate from property ownership.

Timber Rights are an interest in a property's timber that allows one to buy or sell the interest in the timber separately from the land.

Ralph and I are much concerned about Surface rights to any property we buy. We want to own all of the land for the time God has alloted us. We want land security in knowing we will not wake up to a drilling rig at the door or our favorite pasture being ripped up as it is strip mined. The big grove oak trees will continue to shelter our pigs not be cut and hauled away buy someone who does not own the land. 

Why do we think Mineral and Timber rights are so important? Well for one thing we want to feel secure in the fact that no one can come on to our land without our say so. We think having the option to log or mine is something land owner should choose or not choose to do according to their needs and wants. Timber is like a bank account...there to give you the pleasure of trees or to harvest if you need help financially. If you do not have the timber rights secure you may not own the trees at all. Mineral rights have a different connotation for us. We do not want to mine or destroy the land that will feed us and provide for our livestock. We do not want to have the ground stripped out from under us.

Here are some basic explanations of mineral rights and what they entail.

A Fee Simple Situation
Landowners can find themselves in a variety of mineral rights situations. Therefore, it helps to know what rights they may have in any given situation. One of the easiest, hassle-free mineral rights situations is called fee simple. The fee simple grants landowners the right to complete ownership of anything that resides on or underneath the surface of their property. Landowners can retain their rights or sell them to someone else. Landowners can also sell, trade, or transfer any mineral interest to another party. Landowners lose their mineral rights once they sell a particular piece of land. Since those minerals belong to a separate entity, whoever purchases the land next will no longer have the benefits of a fee

Selling A Portion of Mineral Rights  
In some cases, landowners may sell a portion of their mineral rights to an interested party. For instance, a landowner may choose to sell their rights over the oil found beneath their property, but retain their rights to all other minerals. The mining company receives an easement, also known as the right to enter the property with the intention of extracting the mineral interest. The mining company may choose to lease their rights if they have doubts over the quantity of minerals they wish to extract.

Leasing Mineral Rights versus Extraction
Oil and gas companies favor leasing mineral rights instead of outright extracting the mineral from the property. In some cases, the drilling company may offer the landowner a sum of money to begin the extraction process. This only occurs if the drilling company deems a piece of property suitable for subsurface mineral exploration. Extraction usually begins if the drilling company finds adequate quantities of the desired minerals. Landowners typically receive royalties from the amount of minerals extracted from their property. If the drilling company finds less than adequate quantities, then the lease expires; however, the landowner still retains the signing bonus and mineral interest.

The Backlash of Mineral Rights Transfer
Transferring mining rights can have its negative drawbacks, especially in congested areas where neighboring properties become affected. For instance, oil can easily cross property lines if the drilling company begins the extraction process at a certain angle or level. Some states have enforced regulations, such as mineral unitization, to keep this from happening to neighboring properties. Many states have no restriction, which makes mineral rights transfer risky business. The majority of landowners involved in mineral interest transactions consult land service companies and/or law firms who specialize in mineral rights law. This will help them preserve their rights in case a lawsuit ensues over the intrusion into neighboring properties.

I hope this information can be of some help. You can never have too much information when you are making the investment in your future with the purchase of a property. Below are some very good links to more detailed information.

God Bless all of you and happy Homesteading.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Land Tour Pictography

Ralph had a four day weekend so we took a little are some images just for fun.

Yes a Greenhouse would fit nicely here next to the shop...with room for a walkway between. The sun will hit it at just the right time and it would be sheltered from wind.

Imagine sitting out after lunch planning your next summer of course!

A good pond and excellent barn site...with the cows enjoying the sunshine.

Shorthorn Oxen along the way, Ralph stopped so we could get a photo of them, I do have a soft spot for Shorthorns and Roan is such a lovely color!

This was the biggest house. It has a really good floor plan, a walkout basement, a sunroom, a mudroom, 2.5 baths...yes all the trimmings. Fail! The land was steep and rough and that did not show up at all in the photos. Even the Google satellite images did not help us in this instance.

An early start to day two. We were well rested and ready for the next discovery's!

What a lovely secluded location...can you see the buildings? Barely and the trees were alive with squirrels, birds of all kinds and even some rabbits.

"Are you going to buy my Farm?"  She watched us and I wonder what was going on in her mind?  A sweet Golden Lab called Abby. She was still watching from her window when we left.

These fellows welcomed us to the next farm...a cacophony of loud and raucous honking! There was also some quite offended waddling as they crossed the driveway in front of us!

A very nice chicken house and large fenced run, this farm was well set with buildings and a custom built double-wide that was "overbuilt". 2x6 walls and an arctic climate insulation package. It takes next to nothing to heat or cool and the owner was a contractor who spec'd it out.

Farm dogs are so nice, this girl was a rescue and the people got her to protect the chickens and geese. She loved the chickens but is a bit intimidated by the geese.

Meet Queen Bea, she is a farm dog too! Well she thinks she is. This is shortly before her capture and removal to the house, wrapped in a towel and headed to the bath! She was just having far too much fun running around all over the yard and through mud and all sorts of things!

All in all we had a very good trip. We saw 8 properties, one was a revisit, and we dropped four. We did tour the crowd favorite, Union Church Lane. It is a lovely place but has a few more issues than just the chicken barn. There is an odd easement to a spring on the back of the land for a neighbor to get water, it does not state exactly how he can get it...a water line? A road to it? They did not know. There is also quite a bit of mining in the area and to the north of the farm next to the chicken barns are two coal ponds from coal mining.  We had to check it out though and I am glad we did.

Now we wait. Closing is very is starting to sink in, we may finally  really be getting our new home!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homestead: Sheepish Part 2

Now for the final breeds...There is a lot of good information out there about sheep and all they entail and require. We look forward to getting our flock started.

Lincoln Sheep

The Lincoln is usually referred to as the world's largest breed of sheep. There is little question that the breed is entitled to this distinction because the average weights of the breed are in excess of those of other breeds, although a few individuals of other breeds may sometimes equal their weights. Mature Lincoln rams should weigh from 250 to 350 pounds (113-160 kg), and mature ewes will range in weight from 200 to 250 pounds (90-113 kg). Lincolns are rather rectangular in form, are deep bodied, and show great width. They are straight and strong in the back and cover thickly as mature sheep. They sometimes lack fullness through the leg and appear somewhat upstanding when in short fleece.

 The Lincoln has a large, lean, well-muscled carcass.  The Lincoln is to be considered only average in prolificacy. Because the mature ewes are easy feeders, they sometimes become over-conditioned and do not breed as readily as breeds that have less aptitude to take on fat. Lincolns are hearty eaters and make excellent use of an abundance of high-quality roughage or pasture. Modern breeders have selected for a more active and stylish kind of Lincoln that does not become over-conditioned so easily. The color markings of the Lincoln should be clear white, and the head is larger and bolder than that of the other long-wooled breeds.

The Lincoln was first imported into the United States at the close of the eighteenth century. The Lincoln has never become a very popular breed in the United States but has had its importance in the centralized states and Idaho and Oregon producing purebred, grade, or crossbred rams for use on fine-wool range ewes. The breed has been more generally popular in Canada than in the United States. 



Mature Rambouillet rams weigh between 250 and 300 pounds (113-135 kg), ewes range from 150 to 200 pounds (68-90 kg).  Mature ewes will have a fleece weigh of 8 to 18 pounds (3.6-8.1 kg) with a yield of 35 to 55 percent.  The fleece staple length will vary from two to four inches (5-10 cm) and range in fiber diameter from 18.5 to 24.5 microns or 60 to 80 for the numerical count.

The Rambouillet breed originated with Spain's famed Merino flocks, which were known from the earliest times as producers of the world's finest wool. The Spanish government was so protective of their Merino flocks that any exportation was forbidden.
This policy changed in 1786, however, when the King of Spain granted a request from the government of France and sent 359 carefully selected rams and ewes to help improve the native French stock. The sheep were sent to the Rambouillet farm near Paris where, according to government records, they have been bred since 1801.
Other Meriono sheep were introduced into Germany during the last quarter of the 18th century, and German breeders made extensive use of Rambouillet sires as the sheep's fame spread throughout Europe. That is why many present day American Rambouillets can trace their ancestry back to either German von Homeyer flocks or the flocks of Rambouillet, France. 


Suffolk Sheep

The first Suffolks were brought into this country in 1888 by Mr. G. B. Streeter of Chazy, New York. During a visit to England the previous year, Mr. Streeter had been greatly impressed by Suffolk sheep. These prize breeding animals had belonged to Joseph Smith of Hasketon, and one 21 month old ewe weighed exactly 200 pounds when she came off the ship. A 9 month old ram weighed 195 pounds and in the spring of 1890, a 7 week old twin weighed 85 pounds. That spring Streeter had a 200% lamb crop.
The Suffolk did not make its appearance in the western states until 1919. Three ewes end two rams had been donated by the English Suffolk Sheep Society to the University of Idaho. One of the rams was to be sold at auction at the National Ram Sale in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Mature weights for Suffolk rams range from 250 to 350 pounds (113-159 kg), ewe weights vary from 180 to 250 pounds (81-113 kg).  Fleece weights from mature ewe are between five and eight pounds (2.25-3.6 kg) with a yield of 50 to 62 percent.  The fleeces are considered medium wool type with a fiber diameter of 25.5 to 33.0 microns and a spinning count of 48 to 58.  The staple length of Suffolk fleece ranges from 2 to 3.5 inches (5-8.75 cm).


Dorper Sheep

One of the most fertile of sheep breeds that is hornless with good body length and a short light covering of hair and wool. The breed has the characteristic black head (Dorper) as well as white heads (White Dorper). Furthermore the breed shows exceptional adaptability, hardiness, reproduction rates and growth (reaching 36 kg [~80 lbs] at three and a half to four months) as well as good mothering abilities.

The Dorper is primarily a mutton sheep and meets these requirements exceptionally well.  The Dorper has a long breeding season which is not seasonally limited. A good manager can organize his program so that lambs can be dropped at any time of the year. The breed is fertile and the percentage of ewes that become pregnant in one mating season is relatively high. Lambing intervals can be eight months. Consequently under good forage conditions and with good management the Dorper ewe can lamb three times in two years. A lambing percentage of 150% can be reached under good conditions while in exceptional cases even 180% can be attained. Under extensive conditions a lambing percentage of 100% can be expected.

The Dorper lamb grows rapidly and attains a high weaning weight which again is an economically important characteristic in the breeding of mutton sheep. A live weight of about 36 kg can be reached by the Dorper lamb at the age of 3- 4 months. This ensures a high quality carcass of approximately 16 kg. This is associated with the inherent growth potential of the Dorper lamb and its ability to graze at an early age.
The Dorper is hardy and can thrive under range conditions where other breeds can barely exist and the ewe can raise a lamb of reasonable quality under fairly severe conditions. As a strong and non-selective grazer the Dorper can advantageously be incorporated into a well planned range management system.
The Dorper is an easy care breed which requires a minimum of labor. Its skin covering which is a mixture of hair and wool, will drop off if not shorn to keep it tidy. The Dorper has a thick skin which is highly prized and protects the sheep under harsh climatic conditions.

Border Leicester

The Border Leicester is a dual purpose breed of sheep, producing both meat and wool.  Border Leicester wool falls in long, shining locks that are popular with hand spinners.  The Border Leicester also has a longer loin and leaner meat than many sheep of its size.  The Border Leicester is a natural when it comes to direct marketing.  Lean, tender lamb and premium fleece that tops the hand spinning market keeps customers coming back for more.

The Border Leicester has a regal, alert appearance.  Its head and legs are free of wool, and its arched Roman nose and long, erect ears give the Border Leicester a stylish, distinctive look

Border Leicesters rank third in size among the longwool breeds. A ram at maturity should weigh 175-300 pounds and stand about 32 inches at the shoulder. He should have a wide, level back. Ewes usually weigh 150-225 pounds.

They are also good foragers and get along on less feed than many other breeds.  Border Leicester lambs are active and vigorous at birth.  They grow rapidly for the first four months and continue to grow for several years.  Border Leicester lambs fed for maximum gains often reach a trim 110 pounds by 4-1/2 months of age.  Those who prefer to grow out lambs more slowly can shear 2-3 pounds of skirted handspinning wool.

Border Leicesters are generally calm and easy to handle, even though they are very aware of their surroundings.  A pleasant surprise for many is the gentlemanly disposition of Border Leicester rams.




The breed was first established on the Swedish island of Gotland by the Vikings with Karakul and Romanov sheep brought back from expeditions deep into Russia and crossed with the native landrace sheep. The Vikings were great seafarers as well as sheep farmers and took these animals on their extensive voyages to provide meat and skins along the route.

Fine-boned and of medium size. Hornless black head sometimes with white markings and free from wool. Bold eyes, alert medium sized ears. Small neat muzzle with even jaw and teeth set squarely on the pad. Slender neck and shoulders set smoothly into a level back with generous length, good depth and reasonable breadth of body. Slender black legs well spaced and upright. Short hair tipped tail. Dense, long, lustrous gray fleece, occasionally black, or white. Clearly defined even curl and staple, soft to the touch. Calm, friendly disposition.  Fleece is fine, long, lustrous and dense with clearly defined curl and staple, soft to the touch. It is typically 29 to 34 microns in diameter at 18 months of age, as measured midside at the last rib. Lambs wool is typically in the low to mid 20's micron range.

Gotlands are easy to lamb, have a high lambing rate, produce abundant milk and have strong mothering instincts.
Gotland sheep are very inquisitive, making them an entertaining sheep breed to own.

They are a hardy breed; adaptable to a variety of management systems.


This calendar project combined with Sheep research has had some interesting results. I had not heard of the Gotland before and I quite like them. The good old Suffolk are still lovely sheep and I know that although they are not a fine wool reed they are superior meat sheep. The Lincoln Longwool just looks very cool and they are big robust sheep. As to the Dorper although they are a hair sheep they balance that with fine quality hides. The final selections will be tough and Ralph and I have discussed trying more than one breed to see which we like the best and to see how they react to our management style.

One thing about all of the things we have to do is the realization of how much our ancestors knew that we no longer know. The lost knowledge of being able to feed and care for ourselves is massive and its going to be grand to recapture a lot of it.  Now go out and have a nice lamb stew or knit something, perhaps nibble on some sheep cheese....its going to be fun! 


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Homestead: Sheepish...Part 1!

Now its back to work...I had been posting articles about homestead animal selection and suitable critters for your new adventure. Then the land sale/search drama nightmare came into play.

I have decided to take my mind off that for a bit and get back to work on the Homestead series which I am very much enjoying doing.

I make calendars for us at Christmas...these calendars are like small reference books. Each month is a type of tree in the tree calendars, pigs in the pig calendar and now I have done myself a sheep calendar for 2015. [Ralph got a tree assortment 2015 calendar].

Here is my Sheep assortment. 14 breeds that I think are all well suited to small farming.

  Barbados Blackbelly  
Barbados Blackbelly sheep combine the rare attributes of adaption to widespread environments and high reproductive efficiency, which account for their average of two lambs per litter and an average lambing interval of eight to nine months.
Mature Barbados Blackbelly ewes have a high prolifically. Studies have shown the average lambing rate to range between 1.50 to 2.30 lambs per ewe lambing.
Body weights of yearling ewes are variable due partly to the tendency to breed and lamb as ewe lambs (<12 months old), and depending whether pregnant at the time of weighing. Most weigh 80 to 90 pounds, with mature ewes 100 pounds, and rams 105 to 125 pounds.
Carcass studies of 5 to 7 month old male lambs sent to slaughter show that Barbados Blackbelly lambs have much less body fat than do other comparable sheep breeds.
  • Fat over the ribeye muscle  at the twelfth rib averages 1.5 to 2 mm compared to 5 to 6 mm on similarly reared Suffolk or Dorset crosses.
  • Kidney and kidney fat as a percentage of carcass weight is 0.75 to 1% as compared to 2.5 to 3% or more for Suffolk and Dorset crosses.
  • Marbling in the rib-eye muscle and feathering between the ribs (intramuscular fat) is less evident than in regular (wooled) market lambs. Since USDA grade is strongly influenced by feathering, Barbados Blackbelly tend to grade medium to high good, rather than choice.
  • Muscling is less well developed than in "improved'' meat breeds of sheep, but rib-eye areas per 50 pounds carcass weight of the ribeye muscle at the twelfth rib are above those of the average market lamb. These measure 2.0 to 2.4 square inches in surface area. Part of this advantage is due to small carcass weight, commonly 30 to 40 pounds, and to lower percentage of fat in the carcass.
Flavor of the meat is excellent, being much milder than in our usual market lambs. This is probably due to less fatness, since the characteristic flavor of lamb meat is primarily in the fat.
Ram lamb gains as measured by weight per day of age 5 to 7 months are .40 to .45 pounds per day when fed on rations of alfalfa hay and wheat with a mineral supplement. These gains are perhaps 60 to 70% of the normal expected gain for wooled sheep on similar rations.
Barbados Blackbelly sheep are considered to be resistant to the effects of internal parasites. In many parts of the U.S., no deworming is necessary when adequate pasture rotation and good husbandry are employed. These sheep are also resistant to most of the sheep diseases that can easily decimate unvaccinated wooled flocks. Thus, it is much easier to raise Barbados Blackbelly sheep without chemical intervention, making them popular with breeders serving organic and ethnic markets. 


  Bluefaced Leicester 

The average weight for mature rams is approximately 250 lbs (115 kg) with The Bluefaced Leicester is of the English Longwool type and originated near Hexham in the county of Northumberland, England during the early 1900's. The breed was originally developed to use in the production of high quality crossbred ewes which were pastures in the neighboring hills of the region. They originated from Border Leicester individuals selected for the blue face (white hairs on black skin) and finer fleeces. They are found primarily in Northern England, Scotland and Wales. adult ewes weighing 175 lbs (80 kg). The prolificacy of the breed is good with the lambing percentage from mature ewes being reported to range from 220 to 250 percent. The wool is classed as demi-luster and fine. The average fleece weight is 2 to 4.5 pounds (1-2 kg), staple length is 8 to 15 cm and quality is 56's to 60's. These wool qualities appear to be passed on to the crossbred offspring. 



The Corriedale was developed in New Zealand and Australia during the late 1800s' from crossing Lincoln or Leicester rams with Merino females. The development of the breed occurred in New Zealand during the time from 1880 to 1910.  Similar crosses were also being done in Australia during this time.  The breed is now distributed worldwide, making up the greatest population of all sheep in South America and thrives throughout Asia, North America and South Africa. Its popularity now suggests it is the second most significant breed in the world after Merinos.
The Corriedale is a dual-purpose sheep. It is large-framed, polled with good carcass quality.  Although its role has traditionally been to produce premium lambs when mated to sires of meat breeds, the Corriedale is now achieving comparative performance rates with purebred lambs. This bonus together with a high skin value secures its future as a popular breed.
The Corriedale produces bulky, high-yielding wool ranging from 31.5 to 24.5 micron fiber diameter. The fleece from mature ewes will weigh from 10 to 17 pounds (4.5-7.7 kg) with a staple length of 3.5 to 6 inches (9-15 cm).  The yield percent of the fleece ranges from 50 to 60 percent.  Mature rams will weigh from 175 to 275 pounds (79-125 kg), ewe weights range from 130 to 180 pounds (59-81 kg).
The breed was first imported into the United States in 1914.  They are well adapted to farm flock situations where abundant feed is available but may also be used in range situations.


The exact history of the Dorset sheep is found wanting for some positive record of origin. History does tell us that centuries ago, Spain wished to conquer England, and possibly during this time, the Merino sheep were brought into Southwest England and were crossed with the Horned Sheep of Wales, which produced a desirable all-purpose sheep which met the needs of that time. Thus began a breed of sheep which spread over Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and most of Wales and were called Horned Dorsets. In the USA they are called Dorset.
Dorsets in America, in a publication called Sheep Industry in the United States, written by Ezra Carmen, H, A. Heath, and John Minton, all of whom were Oregon pioneers living in the Salem, OR area, we learn of Dorsets being in Oregon in 1860. These shipments were brought to the West Coast from England by the Hudson Bay Shipping Company and the first Dorsets were brought over for Mr. Richard Scott of Milwaukee, OR, in 1860. The first Dorsets on the East Coast were brought from England in 1885 and exhibited at the American Fat Stock Show in Chicago. Other early importers between 1887 and 1891 were: William Daley, Lockport, NY; E. F. Bowditch, Framingham, MA; T. S. Cooper, Coopersburg, PA; J, L. Henderson & Son, Washington, PA, and Tranquility Farms, Allamuchy, NJ.
Dorset ewes weigh from 150 to 200 pounds at maturity, some in show condition may very well exceed this weight, Dorset rams weigh from 225 to 275 pounds at maturity. Dorsets are one of the few breeds that carry the "out-of-season" breeding characteristic. The ewes are good mothers, good milkers and multiple births are not uncommon. Dorsets work well in commercial situations both in the ewe flock and from a terminal sire aspect.



Icelandic sheep

The Icelandic sheep are of medium size with mature ewes weighing 150-160 lbs. and rams 200-220 lbs. They are fine boned with open face and legs and udders. The breed has both polled and horned individual of both sexes but it is primarily horned. Icelandic sheep are not particularly tall but broad and have an excellent conformation as a meat breed. They are seasonal breeders, the ewes start to come into heat around early November, lasting through April. By early October the mature rams develop a distinct odor which stimulates breeding activity in the ewes. The odor remains with the rams through the breeding season. This smell will also have an adverse effect on meat quality if mature rams are slaughtered during that period
The breed is famous for its wool around the world, but in Iceland it is bred almost exclusive for meat. More than 80% of the income from them in Iceland is from meat. Though the lambs are born small, they grow fairly fast. On good pastures they should reach 80-90 lbs in 4-5 months, at which time they are weaned. The average growth rate is 250-300 g/day (10-12 oz/day). These lambs are not fed any extra grain or creep feed but are slaughtered straight off mountain pastures. Dressing percentage is around 45%. The meat are fine grained and has excellent flavor.

Even though the wool counts for little of the income from sheep in Iceland (less than 15%) it is the wool for which they are know. The fleece has an inner and outer coat typical of the more primitive breeds with the fine undercoat being called Thel) and the long, coarser outercoat called Tog. The fleeces are open and not very greasy. The average fleece weighs 4-5 lbs. in grease. Due to the length of fiber, the openness of the wool, the natural colors and the versatility, fleeces are usually sold through specialty markets to handspinners. The thel is down like, springy, lustrous and soft. The longer tog coat is similar to mohair, wavy or corkscrewed rather than crimped and is wonderful in worsted spinning.


Jacob Sheep

The Jacob sheep is indeed a unique breed in America. Slight of build, with the narrow, lean carcass typical of some of the ancient British breeds, they are immediately noticeable due to their black and white fleeces and prominent horns. Both males and females are horned, sporting two, four and occasionally six horns. Most striking to many people are four-horned rams with two vertical center horns as much as two feet long, and two side horns curling down along the side of the head. Two-horned rams develop the more familiar classic double curl. Horns on the ewe are always shorter and more delicate than the rams' horns.
The Jacob fleece, which is properly described as white with black spots, is prized by hand spinners and weavers. The white and the black wool, which may fade at the tips to dark brown, may be blended to various shades of greys. The wool is of medium grade, and interestingly, the black wool, which grows out of black skin, frequently is shorter than the white wool, which grows from white skin. Ideally, the animal should be 40% black and 60% white, with certain characteristic patterns. The legs should be predominantly white, with black hooves and black knees and hocks desirable. The desired Jacob face is frequently referred to as "badger faced', with black cheeks and muzzle, but a white blaze down the front of the face. The nose should be black as well as the horns and ears.

The Jacob is an old, unimproved breed. As a result, it is slight in build, with ewes averaging only about 100 to 120 pounds. Typical fleeces will weigh only three or four pounds, and may vary quite a bit in coloring, crimp, and fineness. Jacob breeders take great delight in the personalities of their animals; some believe that the lack of breeding improvement is responsible for preserving a more goat-like curiosity and agility.


Karakul Sheep

The Karakul may be the oldest breed of domesticated sheep. Archaeological evidence indicates the existence of the Persian lambskin as early as 1400 B.C. and carvings of a distinct Karakul type have been found on ancient Babylonian temples. Although known as the "fur" sheep, the Karakul provided more than the beautifully patterned silky pelts of the young lambs. They were also a source of milk, meat, tallow, and wool, a strong fiber that was felted into fabric or woven into carpeting.

The harsh conditions under which they evolved has given them strong and lasting teeth, a key to their longevity. They are resistant to internal parasites and foot rot. While they respond to good feed and care, they are excellent foragers and will go through a season of scant food or graze marginal land in which ordinary sheep would not survive. Karakuls withstand extremes of either hot or cold but they should have access to dry cover and be kept out of marshy pastures.

The Karakuls differ radically in conformation from many other breeds. They are of the fat broadtailed type of sheep. In their large tail is stored fat, a source of nourishment, similar in function to the camel's hump. The narrow appendage below this fat sack is often recurved, giving an S shape. Karakuls are medium-size sheep. The rams will weigh between 175-225 pounds and the ewes range from 100-150 pounds. They stand tall, with a long, narrow body. The top line is highest at the loin with the rump long and sloping, blending into a low set broadtail. 


These are the first 7 breeds I researched and to be honest I think they all would work for us....some more than others. I learned some interesting things too. Like the fact the Icelandic which is so noted for its fine wool here in North America is more prized for its fine quality meat in Iceland!

I hope you find this breed list useful and next post will see the remaining Calendar Sheep. 

Sheep are so versatile with the ability to produce Milk,Meat and Fiber for your homestead. What a marvelous animal they are! 


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Mission Results

I so appreciated the comments on the properties. There have been some developments.

First the Union Church Lane property was the most popular.

There is some disturbing news about it though. Kim noticed some shiny buildings to the NE of the place and after another comment about chicken barns I broke out the Google maps and to my  horror found a chicken CAFO. I then called the realtor and he said..Yes there was a Chicken farm in that direction, about a mile and 1/2 away. Then I looked at the map again and checked the legend for scale and it is less than 1/2 a mile away. Now the Realtor said it hardly ever smells...hummm I am not an idiot!

 The Chicken barns near Union Church Lane.

Riddle Road was the next one and I called  the Realtor to ask more questions. It has gone under contract.  She said it has been under contract before  and the deals have fallen through, where have I heard that line before? She will call me if anything goes wrong with this deal. I know what these people feel like and I hope they succeed in selling this time.

It did have such a nice walk in basement!

 The last property was the one on Shady Lane. The big Amish Home.

I have to admire the Realtor. She was really honest and I appreciated that. She had gone out to look at the home for us. You could tell she did want to give us a glowing "come and buy this place" review but instead I could almost hear her grit her teeth and get to the point. Its a big solid house. However it is not finished and has a lot of work to do inside. The upstairs bedrooms have no doors and no framing for doors. The plumbing is not roughed in well and the owner had said it would take little effort to get the bathrooms up and running but she said he is overly optimistic about that.
The hardwood floor in the lower level is not installed well and she said it had gaps in it she caught her heels in. She then asked me if Ralph was a handyman...because if you had the knowledge and wanted a project this house could be grand!

Again Thank you all for your time and I  hope this gives you some idea of the way properties turn out and what you can find out to begin with.

Now here is one we think would be perfect for Ralph and I...the address sure fits. So just to make you smile check this one out.

514 Nature Lane, Oddville, Kentucky 41031 



Saturday, January 10, 2015

Your Mission...Should you decide to accept it?

Now it sound like Mission Impossible, not the new Tom Cruise version with the insane CGI but the old Peter Graves version with quiet suspense and music to add to your intrigue!

The land search is not on full stop but is in a holding pattern until month end when the sale of our other land closes. It actually looks like it will go through.
I believe Ralph talked abut the last land trip and how we whittled down the list of potential properties we had collected then.

This list is growing again. I thought since it is the quiet and cold time of winter when we all seem to be a bit less that ecstatic about doing things outside in the cold I would give you a mission. on and decide if you want to take the risk.

I would love to hear your honest  open opinions on these three latest finds.

We are all at the same place...looking at the weblinks. We have not toured them and have only minimal input from the realtors so far. [confirmation all three are still available]

So here no particular order.

116 Shady Lane

330 Riddle Road

461 Union Church Lane

All three  links are to the Lands Of America web listing pages.
Now your Mission......should you decide to accept it!

[click on the word music to get the appropriate mood!]

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Computer cleanup.....A Ralph post

Encyclopedia's and computers are terrible – for me. Hours later, I come up for air. And food. The last time I was going to write about cleaning out old “stuff” out of my computer. I got side tracked. I had seen too many monsters hidden away in all those hard drives. To computers and cell phones, you can add these new fangled digital cameras. They are terrible. We went on a trip to Kentucky and came back with about eight hundred photos. They are a major part of our house hunting repertoire. The photos enlarge nicely on a larger monitor and you can see so many more things that you missed in person. The higher pixal count is great for doing this.

My Nikon is eight megapixal. Fiona's Nikon is newer and sixteen megapixal. All those photos take up a lot of space. She has about eight SD cards full of photos. Don't erase any of those bad shots. Three or four years later, you will be wondering where that one photo is. The camera automatically numbers them, in order. And one missing is an emergency of great proportions. That could be the one photo you have been looking for! So, what happened to it? It certainly wouldn't be a bad shot that you erased. But four years later, you don't remember.

My Nikon Coolpix 8500

Fiona's Nikon Coolpix P510

Anyway, as I said, we both have Nikons. And both cameras number their photos. In order. AND. Both cameras start their numbering system with DSCN0001. She had a Fuji before her Nikon. It put an “F” in there. For Fuji. For Fiona. Not Ralph. Ralph is not an F. Things were simple then. DSCF for Fiona. DSCN for that nim com pote. (you spell it right, I can't and the computer can't. I couldn't spell before and I am even worse since computers came along. In high school, I made better grades in Russian than I did in English.)

Over the years, I have gone through computers and hard drives and backups and reprogramming and updates and failures and... I had photos and music and documents and articles and research and... all over the place. I got the bright idea to sort through some of this “mess”. And I had copies of Fiona's photos on my computer. Just in case her hard drive or computer went south for an extended vacation. And I had backups of her backups. I had and have a mess. All over the place. I have been in computers since the early 80's Think TI-99A. That's alright. No one else has heard of it either. The hula-hoop at least had a come back. Needless to say, I had and have a large amount of work to do and I had to start somewhere. Photos was the victim of choice.

I got a sixty-four gig thumb drive and started to work. I started importing everything to do with photos and videos. I set up my folder and Fiona's folder. Then I had to add a folder for photos received from family and friends that didn't fit DSCF and DSCN formats. Then there was a need for a folder for commercial photos. And we both have a thing for Bateman paintings. A Bateman folder was needed. (RobertBateman is a western thing. He does outdoor paintings. “Eyes in the Grass” and “By the Tracks – Killdeer” come to mind. He likes to hide things and tease you. Find them if you can. They ARE there. He likes to blend things into a snow storm or the fog or the darkness under the trees. He is 84 now. He is special.) I have 61 Batemans in his folder, but I regret to report that we have none on the wall. Even his bad paintings are good.

I ended up with ten sub-folders. Then I had to start/continue sorting and adding photos. I have several photo programs. Most, if not all, sort by year and month and day of the photo, not by number, or subject, or location or... I have a couple of file managers. I went into preview mode. I started building up my new files on the thumb drive. I was stripping away the date, etc. and working on just the file number. That is when I started seeing blanks. Someone told me she just erased bad photos. I asked her if DSCN 2178 was a bad photo or a missing photo. We don't know. Don't erase. Memory is cheap. We have thousands of photos. And the number is still growing. We're still taking pictures and finding more lost photos. When I moved a file into my new file, it would take out the ones it didn't have and leave the rest (duplicates) behind. I would then just erase the old file. I am getting close, but still have some more files to go through.

Those monsters and memories are still in there. The Bateman file is one example. I had to call Fiona in to help me hunt for that Killdeer again. And those eyes. They are there, but so hard to see. We wasted over an hour admiring a masters work. And reliving when we first saw this or that painting. And how well he did his work. That is what memories are for – sharing together.

 Robert Bateman's "Eyes in the Grass"

We found bad files and corrupted files. We found “I don't know what happened” files. I think some of the problems were my fault. I got into too big of a hurry and pulled a cable before the download was complete or I shut down a program or the computer before the download was finished. But I had backups of the backups of the backups of the... I don't think I have really lost anything. But, I do have some things I haven't found yet. Yet. What I lost on one SD card or file, I found on another one. I have probably lost some things, but not much.

And the memories we haven't lost are many and precious. We spent most of the day living old memories, trips, walks, livestock and their antics, psycho Banana Squash, gardens, tomatoes, pets, walks in the woods, family, friends, neighbors, and, well, our lives. God has been good to us. He has blessed us in many ways. This is a great way to be reminded of how good He has been to us. 

Goldfinches at our Bird Restaurant last spring.

   Fiona chronicled the tomatoes from “nothing” to frost. She can show me the amazing growth in a week or ten days. She can show me the fruits of our labors, and of the vines. She can show me the treasures hidden in the vines and under them. And, she can show me that a tomato can not stand up to the attack of a psycho Banana Squash climbing over top of it.

And, she can show me why I shouldn't buy two Nikons the next time. I probably would, but shouldn't. Identical numbering systems make it hard to sort his and her photos. There was a lot of “Fiona, is this photo yours or mine?” and her “You took it with my camera”. It goes in her file because it is numbered to her camera. It can get very confusing around here. And I haven't touched the music and documents and downloads yet. The tree pruning stuff is in there. And how to care for asparagus. And the nutritional value of artichokes. And... Oh, well. That is tomorrows task. 

Artichoke Hearts Nutrition

Are you ready to sit down with God and look at his photo album of you and your life? He has pictures of you at your best and worst! Are you prepared? That is one photo album I don't want to see. I know too many things about me. And He knows even more - things I have conveniently forgotten.