Gulf Coast Native Sheep

The Next Morning

Despite the little sleep I got last night, it seems everyone else on this little farm did well. We still live in our little bubble that seems that most weather goes north or south of us. Thankfully, the worse of this did the same. During the night it was mostly north and this morning mostly south. That doesn’t mean that we didn’t get anything. We did get some icy rain, high winds, and cold. But when compared to the prediction, not bad at all.


The horses chowing down

We have three horses right now. Candy is actually ours in the far right stall, and who you can’t hardly see. In the middle is Poppy’s Red. We are fostering her and she is quite the old lady. Well into her 20s. After fostering a couple of horses that moved on quickly, Candy was not a happy girl, so we are fostering Poppy as a long term friend for Candy as few people want to adopt 20+ year old horses that can’t be ridden. Then Mark received Brooklyn, on the left, as a foster as she is just a sweet girl and can be ridden. We did get all their coats on before this began. Candy is not a coat liking girl but was actually easy last night. Must have known she would need it. They did get extra this morning as I don’t know how much grazing they will get out of this day. This part of the barn is well protected from about all weather we get so they will probably hang out here the whole day.


Sheep and their ice shield

The sheep started the night out, laying out in the pasture near the gate where they like to sleep. I was hoping, as I heard the storm, that they had all moved in to the sheep shed quickly. This morning they were all there and dry. The tarp on the corral panel is a sheet of ice. It is permanently in that position till it thaws out. After being out there, I learned that it did its job well. It was dry and much warmer inside behind it than on the outside. I think the babies must have appreciated it. Ruth, our spunky girl who had a bout of being sick and blew off her whole fleece as a result, is even doing well. We wonder if she didn’t get her growth stunted as a result of being sick or if it is because she just doesn’t have the wool that the others have, she looks so much smaller. She has gotten used to her dog coat and mom constantly pushing it back up where it belongs. Her fleece is growing back in but mom still worries over her being warm in this weather so she keeps on her coat.


A cold dreary morning

I think the above picture best shows what the morning looked like out there. These four did not head out with the others to graze. James often hollers at me. I really think he’d prefer being a house sheep, if I would give him the option. So anyway, I often end up going out and leading him out to where the other sheep are grazing and leaving him with them. This time I lead the four out and everyone thought they needed to follow me back out. Couldn’t sneak away when every step you take crunches under you feet. So they all ended back up at the shed but are out grazing once again at this time.


So what about the chickens?

If ever there was an animal that points to a Creator, it is the chicken. A most marvelous creature that beggars belief that anyone would believe they came about just by chance. These girls were all ready for the chilly outdoors this morning. When I opened the coop, I put in their food and thought only a wise bird would stay in where it was warm rather than head out. But these girls are tough. God gave them down and feathers that when they puff them up they can keep cozy when out and about. And for them foraging is so much more fun than eating out of a dish. So off they went hunting for bugs. I’m sure they are spending time back under their favorite bushes as well. They have their spots out there to get out of the weather.


Pullets didn’t take long to learn where to hang out

And the young pullets? Nope. Not staying in the coop. But they didn’t take long at all, when they were allowed to roam free, to figure out the best place to hang out whether it is cold or hot. Yep, the patio. So back in the protected corner with food mom brought for them, they hung out at first. Though they have also learned that if you really like to eat living bugs, the other side of the patio is the wood pile and if you just stand and peck all day you will get a belly full.

So I’m thanking the Lord we are all well and this weather hasn’t taken anyone down yet. The wind has picked up again and looking out the window I can see the sheep have come back to their shed. Glad that it is a shelter for them. Reminds one of the hymn A Shelter in a Time of Storm by Vernon Charlesworth.

The Lord’s our Rock, in Him we hide,

A shelter in the time of storm;

Secure whatever ill betide,

A shelter in the time of storm.

The raging storms may round us beat,

A shelter in the time of storm;

We’ll never leave our safe retreat,

A shelter in the time of storm.


O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A weary land, a weary land;

O, Jesus is a Rock in a weary land,

A shelter in the time of storm.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Day Before the Storm

I know when I read this years hence, I will wonder that nothing has happened in so much time. Stuff has happened but nothing that I’ve recorded here. But this morning I decided to take some pictures.

I married a Texan. I learned later that Texas is a Siren that calls all her boys that wander away, to come home at some point and then they will never wander again. So yes, I live in Texas and after 14 and half years here, we are actually having close to a real winter. We’ve had snow, high winds, and cold weather. Of course, this is the winter that I have animals to worry about as well.


Working on the coop

We have a big, wet storm coming in late tonight. It is headed our way from the Hill Country of Texas. It is to get down in the 20s (which has happened already this winter), but it is also to have sleet and rain with it. Not fun for those of us safe in houses, let alone the animals. So I have been busy making their homes a bit warmer. Here is the first load of hay coming to the chicken coop. Needless to say, the girls were quite interested in what mom was up too, and what they could find in that hay. They were all over it and checking out the work being done.


Thesis II checking out what mom’s done with the new decorating

Yesterday afternoon,while it was somewhat warm (relative to other temperatures of late), I redid the sheep shed. I worried about the sheep and the sleet. During an earlier storm that came in with such high cold winds right out of the north, I had fixed a barrier in the shed for them. We had set up some corral panels which enable us to close off an area if needed to keep some in or some out. I had covered the outside of the panel for them but being sheep they really didn’t like going in there through a small opening. They like a bit more open area and easier escape if the need were to arise. So this time, I cleaned and sorted and worked my tail off for my babies.


New look to the sheep shed

Well, we shifted lots of hay, cleaned out poop, and moved the panels to the other end, and tied on the tarp again. Would they be happier with a more open feel and mom happier that they could still get inside and relatively out of the sleety rain that is coming? Actually, it seems that it did win last night. This morning, they were all inside and seem to have slept inside the shed all night. Something they don’t do often. I think it was a win for a cold night as I did have quite a bit of manure to get out this morning so it doesn’t pile up too quickly. I’m hoping to have it fairly in good shape so if it is downright nasty out, I can do a quick check on them, give them some feed, and head back into my warm house. Lots of hay in there. I think it will work. Of course, being sheep and a landrace breed, they probably won’t care or need half of what I did but they won’t be left out under the trees, finding which side of the land to lay down. On the high wind day, they spent a good bit of their time on the low side of the tank where it was sheltered some. Hopefully they will like their home better for not getting all wet and cold. This storm is coming in from the right side of the shed so it shouldn’t come in the front like the high wind did.


Early morning the day before

So this morning was a foggy wintery morning. If it wasn’t that the sun rose and her light could penetrate it easily, it would have been quite dreary. But what will we wake up to tomorrow? What will a picture from in front of the sheep shed look like then? We will know soon enough. Oh, and I know it barely shows but the bridge was a project this vacation that was completed. The rails were treated and painted black and new boards put down to walk across. Interestingly, the sheep will step up on it but won’t walk out farther than there is land underneath it. I’m happy as I worried they would walk out on it and fall in the tank. But it seems they’re smart enough to not do that.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | 3 Comments

Oh, What a Beautiful Morning

So it was 54F when I went out this morning. Oh such a wonderful feeling as this summer it has often already been in the 80s when I go out. The sun was just coming up and it was crystal clear. I do want to remember this one.

I posted before about a morning in October of last year. A few things have changed since then. The sun wasn’t quite as high yet for pictures and not as far south so it didn’t show as soon. Candy has had a few companions as we have fostered horses. She alas doesn’t care for the constant change so now has a companion that the odds of getting adopted are slim and none. Four of the heifers went to auction and one to freezer camp. Yep, we eat beef almost exclusively for meat here at home now. Mark is loving having a steak anytime he wants one. Lastly, there are now additions to the farm that weren’t here last year. So lets head out.

The temperatures this week have made the tank a sight to enjoy each morning.


Early morning at the tank

Once I get what I need from the house the first order is to give the chickens their bit of feed. They will come running when their door opens. Despite the fact they free range all day and eat lots of bugs and plants, they do like their feed as well. So a little bit gets spread about ten birds.


I have gone to just throwing their feed on the ground

Then it is head to the barn and give Candy and Poppy their feed. They get a special one each morning and afternoon that helps with growing old (for Poppy). They will be nearby and Candy will holler as soon as she knows I’m close. She does love her feed and will guard and steal what she can. Mark met, a couple weeks ago, the first gal to ever foster Candy back several years. She said she came in with a major food protection attitude. Tells a bit about where she came from and her old situation. We feed them in their new stalls out back of the barn. The gates stay open unless Candy is being testy and then the gates close till they are done. Candy did well today except that when I went to muck out Poppy’s side (why do they poop in there? They have a few acres to spread the wealth.) Both horses were in there together. Not the best situation for me to enter.


Enjoying Breakfast. Candy on the left. Poppy the right.

Now the sheep were already grazing halfway up the rise to the upper paddock. That didn’t keep them from knowing I was about and down they came running. They love their alfalfa. We had an health issue with them. Not serious to most, but as you can see, Ruth was the one that had to make a vet visit. She even ended up overnight at the vet’s who thought she would probably be dead in the morning. Alas, they didn’t know what good blood she did have in her. She surprised them by morning and has been getting back on top of life ever since. Alas, if you have a sheep with ulcers over both eyes (part of her trouble), do you think it is easy to catch her now that she is feeling back on top of life and put cream in her eyes? Think again. Easy at first when she was slow and not able to see well. But I dare you to try and catch her now. She can even keep quite the vigilance while eating and can see the wires of the fence so doesn’t run into it any more. But, back to the flock, they do get alfalfa each day to help build them up more, and at this point they would probably kill for their alfalfa. So here they are waiting for mom to finish with the horses and get on to more important beings to feed.


Tabby also waiting with her charges. Yes, Ruth is there looking worse for wear but doing quite well. The camelid look is compliments of loosing wool but still having a bunch on her rear.

Tabby took on a new roll this morning that mom likes. She didn’t allow chickens to come near the sheep or her feeding areas. No chickens allowed to share the wealth. I have shooed chickens away (they really like alfalfa and have been giving Tabby’s food a try as well. Omnivores they are.) But I doubt too many of them will challenge her as they do me. A flurry of feathers as they skedaddle through the fence to make a try for horse droppings instead. Hopefully soon, Mark is going to make a feed trough to make this chore a bit better for all concerned.


Yummy! Scoop is on ground as I tried to catch Ruth, but no one’s sticking their finger in her eyes today if she can help it. I didn’t press the issue. Try again later.

Next Tabby has been waiting ever so patiently. She gets a bit of meat to go with her dog food each morning. Food is a great friend. She does go under the gate and visit the tank, so hence the dirty feet.


Am I next?

I will have to admit to taking several sheep pictures at this point. Who wouldn’t but then I headed to the upper paddock and loved the view. The moon has been lovely the last few early mornings when getting Mark out the door. By this time it was sitting above the trees with the sun shining brightly on all. But then it was time to head over to the chicken coop and see about it. Fun! One of the Barred Rocks just laid an egg. Still warm. So took it in for breakfast. If you haven’t had an egg fried very over easy that is less than hours old. You haven’t lived. The yolk is ever so creamy. As in creamy goodness. As in never had anything like it before with an egg goodness. Nothing like the old things you get in the grocery store.


Gift in the nesting box. Thank you!

So after going inside and feeding the dogs there, they always have to wait ever so patiently on everyone else to get fed first; it is my turn (I might add that I often have first breakfast and second breakfast in the mornings. This was actually second breakfast for me today.) That new fresh egg went in the skillet and oh was it good.


Cook it on the bottom well and then flip to just harden up the whites on top a few seconds, and you will have creamy yolk heaven.

Now one must move on to other things. But what a way to start the day.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Lena’s Dress is on the Loom

For some time. Probably since I started weaving and saw the first picture. Found the first description. I have had a desire to create a dress that would be a copy of Lena Dancy Ledbetter’s that she spun, wove, sewed while 14 years of age during the American Civil War. I won’t have an exact copy to say the least but I am hoping for something that will be close. I have the skirt and bodice figured out but not the sleeves yet. But then that is getting ahead as we still have 12 yards of cloth to weave first.

It has been a bit of a trial to get it on the loom. Getting the yarn ordered and here. Then while dressing the loom realizing that I am very short on heddles. Yep. Confirmation this is my biggest project yet. So ordered more and loaded the shafts and continued on.

Today I finally finished threading the reed and started weaving.


All dressed. Yes one problem found and fastest fix was to pull a thread and add a thread.

So we are ready to weave. How will it go? I’m hopeful with this warp and was so careful dressing the loom. Thankful that it seems that there was only the one problem. This is a Basket Weave as Lena called it, but today we call it Log Cabin pattern. So every other thread was a different color. But then I had to make that harder as I wanted the dark thread to bookend each square so the squares are 13 picks each. Same as Lena’s. So, somewhere I ended up with three dark blue together. Oh dear, such mustn’t be at all. So, checking and yes, there should have been a natural in the middle so just pulled the middle blue and added a natural. As this was found when threading the reed, I didn’t want to spend the extra time moving threads all the way to end to make it work out right without adding the thread. So here it is. Hope it doesn’t drive me bonkers but then I usually have something hanging off the back before completion so won’t be much different.


Header woven

Excited to start and see if it was looking right. I had thread from my last project still in the shuttle so used that for the header. It spaced out quite easily and looked pretty good. So went and wound four bobbins with my natural and navy blue yarn. Just a side note. Lena’s dress was black and white. I just didn’t want to be exactly the same in color. Not that I don’t like black and white, as I do. But then I wanted it to not be quite so jarring so was going to do a grey and natural, but in the end, it ended up navy blue and natural. I think it will look rather nice.


A start at 12 yards.

So yes there are a few things to see here. I do think this is my widest piece and at first had a bit of a time getting the wefts to be smooth. A few bits wrinkled up and poking out there. But the last three sets are looking good. It seems like I do need to go back and look at one line again. I noticed it before, but it looked like it was just illusion and it was right. But looking at the picture the same warp line is looking too distinct. Need to check that out again. After that, 12 yards of counting to 13 over and over and over and over and over again. I think this will take just some of my music to listen to and not stories.

But this isn’t the only fibery thing around here. Finally, was able to pick up my last Gulf Coast Native lamb. It is a ram that has the color gene and boy is he lovely.



I had already decided to name him Jacob as I had Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah. So he needed to be a Patriarch. I thought. Alas, the only one that thought sounded good as a name for a lamb was Jacob, so Jacob it was going to be. After I picked him, and they asked if I had a name for him, it dawned on me he was well named. What better for a colored sheep. Now his color shows strong in his face and legs but maybe it will move to the wool in bits with his offspring.

And I can’t end without a Sarah picture. She is growing so fast. No longer getting a bottle. Alas, she would like to argue that point. We sit and sing in the evenings together. My sweet baby that is already looking older than this picture but still such a sweet, white, child-like face compared to the rest of the flock.


The sweetest of babies. Little Sarah.

Categories: Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep, Weaving | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Bent Oak Flock

I have not reported to myself in awhile. Not that anything has not been happening around here. But the biggest news, I want to record here and remember. I am collecting Gulf Coast Native sheep. We are up to eleven now.

I wrote about James and John joining us here on the farm.They weren’t named yet and that took some time to find the right names, but a friend suggested the Apostles as a naming scheme and as the bottle babies were twins, I decided that James and John would work great. The day they arrived how tiny and helpless they were.


James & John on the ride home. So tiny.

Then came the call of another orphan baby girl. Of course, we would jump in the truck and head to Bryan (an hour away) at 9pm on a Sunday night to pick her up. She was without a mother probably most of the day and didn’t have anything to eat. So warm bottle in the truck, we headed out and went and picked up my little precious one. My sweetheart. My heartbeat. My warm hug, My warm kiss. My …. In case, you can’t guess I love my Sarah. I named her Sarah in hopes that she will one day be the mother of a little nation of lambs.


Sarah’s first night. She got to stay in the house as it as cold out.

Then I found two more boys to add the farm. Mark went to pick them up one day and brought them back getting home just after dark. They were not sure they were happy at all with a new home and new people. Especially, not being around people too much. But they soon made friends with James and John and since they came together they became Peter and Andrew.


Peter, Andrew, James, and John

So we were up to five lambs and Mark was out checking on lambs ready to go to new homes. He was bitten by the bug. Now I was already in line to get more from where the orphans all came, but Mark decided we needed twelve. Who was I to argue? So not long after we were headed to another farm to pick out four girls to bring back. That was an adventure of running my hand through lots of wooly backs and picking the softest ones. Yes, my husband may be thinking leg of lamb sounds good but his wife though loving lamb as well was mainly thinking in terms of wool. So four more girls came home with us. They were named continuing on from Sarah to Isaac and Jacob’s wives. Then added Hannah in for good measure.

I might add that at this point, he also made a cage to fit in the back of the truck for hauling lambs and about anything else that will fit.


Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, and Hannah in back

Exciting we were up to nine lambs now. Then, it was finally a good day to go and pick up two more girls from the farm where I got the bottle babies from. So east we headed again and what lovely girls we picked up. They are the oldest of all we have as they were born in December so larger, more self assured, and just downright lovely to look upon. Alas though, this must be becoming too common as I do not have a first day picture of them. Why didn’t I?


Naomi and Ruth. Really thought I had great pictures of them but must go try again.

So now there are eleven and one more to come. We have a ram reserved until he is weaned. Then one more trip to pick up a baby and we will be set … for now. They are so much fun. “They” say chickens are the gateway animal to a farm, and though I do love my chickens would affirm that statement, lambs are the heartbeat of my farm. I still love my eggs but oh, to sit out with lambs is a far greater joy.

I did just check and do not have a picture of all eleven together. Guess it is time to head out again with the camera. Aren’t we thankful for digital cameras today. I’d hate to know how much film I would be using up right now or how many awesome shots I would have missed by not just snapping all the time.

I am working on good pictures of each one for the sole purpose of learning their individual characteristics so that when someone asks who is who, I don’t have to check ear tags to remember. Not all have them have tags, but boy I am glad the ones that do have them. Thankfully, they are the ones that look the most alike.

Categories: Bent Oak Farm, Fiber, Gulf Coast Native Sheep | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

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