Getting ready for summer.

Here at Ewe Got It Farm, we are enjoying the best parts of spring.  Pear blossoms are long over with, but were much more spectacular than expected and despite the late freezes and residual damage from last year a fair amount of fruit was set. Sheep are shorn, some of the wool is shorn, and one very excited new customer brought some yarn to show me that she spun from Ruth’s fleece. She brought it by the day after she bought it — a very impressive feet from a very industrious customer. She even bought more fleece. Most of the baby’s are born, and every morning I watch for the lambs to organize their race around the brush pile thats been waiting three year to be burned. If we are lucky, El Nino will bring us significant winter moisture so that pile can be burned. This summer looks like a different  picture. Till today, we’ve had less than two and one half inches with some farms around me having less rain and a few others having slightly more. This means my summer grasses probably won’t wake up enough for good grazing. So, I’m working on the dreaded task of determining which ewes are most necessary to maintain a breading program. Unless someone has lot’s of hay they want to donate to the farm, or does a really good rain dance I will need to reduce my flock by 70%. So all you rain dancers, come to the farm and we’ll though a big party. We have had some good rain today, but the ground is still brick hard and the grass needs a couple days of this to begin waking up. We have four main pastures that we subdivide with temporary fencing. My middle east pasture I’ve started subdividing with an alleyway down the middle, five one acre pastures to the north, a seed island to help preserve some diversity of grasses and a long strip to the south. My far east pasture is still reserved just for horses, but needs some immediate improvements so I can graze sheep there too. The north pasture looks good compared to everything else even though improvements were scheduled for this year. It’s currently used for mothers and baby’s and could use dividing in a manner similar to the east pasture. The south pasture is small and used for either my stud horse, or weaning lambs and normally looks lush, but currently is too poor to provide sufficient nutrition for weaning, though a might be able to irrigate it. We have lots of challenged for the coming year, but looking forward to better years to come, and enjoying the blessings that make farming worth the trouble.

Shearing Day is Sat. 5-April — Please Come.

Two days till shearing and all chaos is breaking loose. Still, we are having the event — no matter what may happen! It will be scaled back. I wanted to do a easter egg hunt and some games associated with the hunt. I’ve saved fifty or so older eggs for boiling and decorating, so maybe the children could decorate eggs.  I also wanted to offer some nice food and drink. That will be scaled way back to just some simple snacks. I do want to meet all of you and hopefully get some new customers as well. I hope it will still be a fun social event and the first of many.

I will have several hundred pounds of merino wool for sale!

Sale will be silent auction style, be generous

Wool is raw unprocessed fleece straight from the sheep’s back

You may skirt and possibly wash during the event at the farm

The event lasts from 9 am till 2 pm

Shearing is in the morning hours and goes fast

we are at:

4224 C.R. 801

Joshua, Tx 76058

look for the blue pipe fence to the right of our driveway.

Ewe Got It Farm is a new diversified, family farm located at 4224 County Road 801 in Joshua, Texas, Johnson County. We raise a flock of fine wool sheep that primarily feed on Native Texas grasses, however we do provide supplemental feeding with hay harvested in Cresson, Texas and whole oats that contain no supplements or antibiotics. In addition we have new orchards with Warren and Orient pears, a variety of pomegranates, and figs. We also have a variety of chicken breeds who we harvest free range eggs from for sale.
Our hope is to create a family friendly environment for people who want to get to know us as producers. We will be having an open shearing day this Saturday April 5th starting at around 9:00 am. Folks can come watch a fine wool flock of sheep being sheared, but get there early because the shearer only takes a minute or two per sheep. Fleeces will be for sale and some of the area spinners and weavers may be there and begin processing some of the wool. This can be a fun event to watch.
In addition to selling wool direct to home spinners, we currently have limited numbers of lambs available for sale. We can deliver to a USDA inspected packing facility and can assist buyers with selecting and understanding the various types of cuts they may wish to order. Daniel can also help with excellent lamb recipes.
Because our business is very new, we are not yet ready for extensive advertising but we hope to begin to meet folks who may be interested in our farm. Meeting potential buyers can help us determine what other local farm products people may be interested in having raised. We are experimenting with some heritage plants and other seedlings this year for annuals, so your taste preferences may drive what we raise in future. If you would like to know more about us, please feel free to give Daniel a call (817) 271-7722 or email us at the farm email.

Spring is coming! I’ll be a busy Ovi OBY soon.

Yesterday, the sandhill cranes were flying overhead and the Pears are in full bloom. The sheep are showing signs of coming lambs. Their sides are bulging, their teets are swelling. The first known lamb due date is the end of this month, but others were not observed mating with my ram. Soon the most exciting part of the year begins, lambing. This year lambing will overlap with shearing, so double the excitement. Next month, the ram goes in with my fall ewes, and hopefully, fall lambing will coincide with fall rain. So far, this year we’ve been short on rain, so I’ll need extra supplemental feed during lambing. I hope we get some good rain this weekend. So far, this year I’ve had a little over a half inch, so not much growing.

Agriculture is our Culture.

Last week’s primary elections have left me out when it comes to who to support for Agriculture Commissioner. The only viable candidate on either Republican or Democratic side, got the least votes, so what should I do? I’m not sure either candidate will address issues important to me, but I think I might work on their campaign just so I might have the chance to plant some seeds with them.

Of course the one issue all candidates must address is the future of water in Texas. No matter what crop we raise, we need to have a supply of water, wether through capture, wells, or community water supplies.  We need programs to teach water conservation and put conserving devices and technologies into the farmsteads and homesteads of all Texans.  With the growing population we cannot produce enough quality water for any of us to waste – no matter how many new lakes we build. This is the number one issue for all of us.

For the future of agriculture we must look at expanding our role as farmers in the communities where we live. As production costs continue to rise and wholesale market values decline we must find new and innovative ways to earn an income – especially for farmers who are not farming thousands of acres. Sustainable America ranks Texas ranks dead last when it comes to community access to small farms. We have plenty of untapped potential. Every hindrance one can think of has a state with greater natural difficulties in supporting local agricultural access.  Policy is the only logical reason I can think of that limits Texas. If we make policies that improve opportunities for small farmers to engage customers, we will create new opportunities in rural communities as well. If customers visit a farm, they will stop and visit small towns and spend money of dining or in our shops.  They are likely to spend more time with their children eating a healthy meal and having a real conversation. And hopefully after seeing how their food if produced, they will better understand how their very existence, and choices affect the environment and the people who provide goods and services to them. When you buy from a local farmer you are not only helping save a family farm, your helping pay utilities, cloth and educate children.  When you buy from local farmers, your creating new jobs buy helping us hire additional labor.

Small farmers are small businesses. We support many other small businesses. We buy equipment and have it serviced. We buy services such as specialized animal support, to welders, all the way down the chain to temporary day labor. We know the difficulty of finding good labor and what prevents us from having a premier workforce. Most of what we require is workers that are willing and physically able.

Ag commissioner is about enforcing standards of trade and influencing policy regarding trade.  It is also about desiminating information, managing agrilife extension, providing incentives for farmers to implement changes for their and our own good, and fostering new innovations in production and distribution.  Please help me as I weed through the remaining candidates for Texas Agriculture Commissioner.

 

16 degree freeze! Really!

16 degree freeze! Really!

Pear trees think the hard freezes should be over. I can remember plenty of ice storms in early march, even an April first snow, but a freeze that gets in the teens and promises not to thaw for 48 hours – not likely. All my blooms froze last year too. At least this year I’m not expecting a harvest due to severe pruning to ward off fire blight.

Remember USDA Zone 8b: Average last freeze mid March, last frost mid April.

Remember Y2K?

After a long absence from computer network technology, I’m learning to use internet tools to publicize Ewe Got It Farm. So, I’ve been thinking about the days when I worked in the trade and it took me back to Y2K.  Remember that! It was when the computer networks were going to shut down everything we take for granted because of our failure to anticipate dependency on legacy networks at the end of the 20th century. Many believed in an apocalyptic scenario where society would revert back to a more primative state. People were hoarding supplies and making provisions to defend their homesteads against the less prepared. I did not buy into this, but was confident that should the worst happen, I would adapt. I was not taking agriculture seriously at the time, but I was living on a 26 acre “farm” that the previous owner overgrazed, by believing that one cow per acre was possible when 3 cows for the whole plot was the maximum under good conditions. I was beginning to learn how to remediate this, but mostly working to move onward to a career as a homebuilder.

Fast forward a few years, my construction business was seeing smaller and smaller profit margins as my bids had to go lower and prices of materials and diesel went higher and higher. I had one lucky break. The NRCS (the conservation side of the USDA) gave me a matching grant, to control mesquite tree infestation and restore native grassland. Finally I have grazable land again. I also saw and rapid increase in the number and diversity of birds and other wildlife and better retention of soil moisture. Now I had to learn how to mimic the migration of buffalo across the land. Without this grazing the diversity of grasses could not be maintained and the grassland would evolve into something else.  I could buy a few stocker cows, fatten them up, and sell them once the grass was grazed, but remember, this number would be 3. This plan was the easiest, but not very interesting, so I took a chance on sheep.

Sheep meant I could support enough ewes to have a breeding program. I would need to learn about what traits in both breeding a management would provide both superior meat and luxurious wool. It meant I could have 2 or 3 lambing seasons and that in a good season 70% of my ewes would have twins. If another y2k scenario were to occur, I could have a steady supply of meat for myself, my family, and any help I might need. I would also have raw materials for clothing, blankets, and other textiles. The downside was I would need to pay close attention to predator control, internal parasites, and yearly shearing. I have good fencing, trained dogs, and plenty of natural prey for the predator control. For the rest, well, I had wanted a hands on experience. Going into my third year, I have confidence in my ability to manage whatever situation may arise.  My greatest concern is what impact the continuing drought will have, and how to continue developing and satisfying my markets. The local handspinning community has been very supportive, and I believe I’m filling a void in the market for high quality, extra lean lamb meat.

It is a joy to see the products of my labor going to bring happiness to so many people.  Remember, without a farmer, we would be naked and hungry.