Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Latest Batch of Good News

It's been a busy week. This time of year, July and August, are the hardest for the sheep because of the heat and the parasites, so it's always a time of worry for me. Plus our finances are getting very tight again, which is another source of worry.

But I've had several bits of good news lately, which I'm quite happy about:

1. On Sunday, the mare (Callista) that I sent to my trainer was sold. Hurray! So that's one fewer horse I have to worry about and a few thousand dollars coming in to help pay bills. Now I only have 2 more horses left on my sales list, and I have 3 different buyers interested in one of those.

2. Both of the clients I'm designing web sites for have needed work done right away, and both of them had added complications come up suddenly that created more work for me. But I have had more time available lately to actually WORK on the two sites, so I've been making rapid progress, which feels good.

3. My stallion has now made enough progress in his training that he is being ridden by a 14 year old girl. This speaks volumes about what a wonderful temperament he has!

He also just had his wolf teeth pulled, which will make him more comfortable wearing the bridle. And all of his mares have recently tested "in foal" except one, whom he will be rebreeding this week. Between a busy training schedule and a busy breeding schedule, he has had a lot going on in his life this summer, which is great for him. He loves both his jobs!

4. Although this time of year always brings challenges with the sheep's parasite loads and heat stress, in looking back over my worming records I discovered that one of the ram lambs I'm keeping (Umber) has shown extremely good parasite resistance, with near-perfect FAMACHA scores and ZERO worming.

Since he is also our largest lamb of the year and is a cross between my best fleece ewe and my best meat ram, the fact that he is so parasite resistant as well makes him incredibly valuable to my future breeding program. Especially since he is unrelated to Nicholai, who is my other extremely parasite-resistant ram.

Between these two, the new ram I'm getting this summer (who I know to be highly parasite resistant), and the possibility of another new-ram purchase next year that I have already lined up, I should be able to start making some excellent progress on my goal of breeding for parasite resistance without sacrificing meat conformation.

In another few generations, perhaps July and August won't be a time to worry about the sheep at all anymore!

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