Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It has been a busy week.  The snow storm of last week left us with 8 inches of snow and about 0.51" of moisture in the snow.  The grass is trying to start growing as the ground was warm from the week before.

Our cows continue to calve right along.  They did stop having calves during the worst of the snow storm, but when it was over they started calving again.  We did not loose any calves to the snow and cold.  It did get down to single numbers above zero for a couple of mornings.  Shouldn't be that cold in mid-April.

Even after the storm was over it kept wanting to snow about every day, but never accumulated any snow.  The calves were snuggled in the extra hay that was fed to keep calves dry.

Then we got a call from the shearers that they wanted to shear the sheep on Sunday.  Earlier the date they had given us was Tuesday.  So Tammy had to make a trip to town to get groceries for the shearing crew.  I had to get the barn ready for the shearing.  I make lots of curves and corners for the sheep alley to get to the shearing trailer.  With every curve and corner the alley gets narrower and narrower till it is narrowed to single file.  We put the sheep in the barn on Saturday afternoon.  It was supposed to rain or snow Sunday so we were prepared to shear Sunday.  Then Sunday the phone rang at 5:30 AM and we were told the shearing trailer was up by Buffalo, SD and the road was too icy to drive on.  The wind was supposed to come up and blow 50 MPH.  So shearing was called of till Monday.  We didn't get any moisture here.  Mobridge was reported to have gotten a foot of snow.  We let the sheep out to eat and then it started snowing about noon so we put them back in the barn.

Here the alley has narrowed down to three sheep wide.  Some of our valuable help riding the ewes down the alley.  At times our little helpers were all around so that it was hard not to step on one.  Too bad it had to be so cold and windy.

The ewes going up the ramp into the shearing trailer.  The whole side of the trailer folds out and becomes a roof for the two wool sorters.  They are two young ladies that keep the wool sorted.  They check for weakness in the wool fibers and sort out big chunks of dirt or coarse fibers.  The face wool is sorted off.  Then the good wool is put into the wool press and pressed into nylon wool bags that hold about 450 to 500 pounds of wool.

There were five shearers that each got at least 100 head that day.  A couple got over 120 head.  This would be a good easy day for these shearers. They arrived about 8 AM and got set up and started shearing around 9 AM then stopped for lunch and were done around 4 PM. And had packed up and left by 5 PM.

Here are a bunch of happy sheep that don't have to carry around their heavy coat of wool anymore.  They are clean and shiny.  They will stay pretty close to the barn for the next few days.  They are will get cold and chilled very easily so we need to keep an eye on them.

Today we took the wool to Belle Fouche to the wool warehouse.  It snowed and rained most of the way.
Here is Tammy standing next to a bale of her wool.  Most of our wool is the kind of wool that goes into military dress uniforms.

Here is some of the wool that is stored in this warehouse. A lot of the wool in this warehouse is of the quality for the military uniform.  If I remember correctly it is like the wool from this area makes up 40 % of  the wool made into military uniforms.

When we got home the snow was starting to accumulate.  We drove out through the cows to check for calves.

Here is a newborn that already sucked and was still pretty wobbly.  There was another one whose mother had chosen a better spot to have her new baby.

He was born in bottom of a draw in some tall grass.  I'm sure several more will be born tonight. At least it is warmer than last week.  With this snow - rain mix today we finally got over an inch of moisture totaled in 2013.  We are supposed to get more snow tonight.  Maybe as much as six inches.


  1. Glad to see you got some good moisture in the snow! We got about a foot of snow over the weekend, but not sure of the moisture content. Hope lambing goes great for you guys!

  2. There is a chance of snow all week. Not supposed to warm up till next Wednesday. went to town yesterday to protest our tax assessments and rained/snowed all day.