Thank You!

Thank you to all or our 2016 Alysheep breeding stock customers!  We were so happy to have such excellent ewe lambs and ram lambs available, and enjoyed being able to see them go to so many great people.  We saw quite a few first time producers this year, and it’s great to see new enthusiasm and fresh ideas coming to the lamb industry.  All the best to everyone who purchased breeding stock from us this year.  We wish you all the best with your new flocks!

We’ve been pleased to see lamb prices stay high this fall and it looks like there is lots of promise for 2017.  We’ve had a number of people contact us looking for breeding stock, and we are beginning to compile a list of those interested in buying ewe lambs in 2017.  If you are interested, please send us a message and we will add you to the list to be notified when our next ewe lambs become available.

-Miles, Alyssa & Family

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2014 Highlights

Wow! It’s been just about a year since we have posted anything on here. Not to make excuses, but 2014 was a whirlwind of a year. Here’s a photo diary of some of the hightlights.

Our barn roof and service room got re-done after our little mishap last winter.
Our barn roof and service room got re-done after our little mishap last winter.
The unfortunate end of our old "stock trailer". Thankfully our two new rams were just fine.
The unfortunate end of our old “stock trailer”. Thankfully our two new rams were just fine.
Everybody was excited for a new stock trailer with four walls and a roof!
Everybody was excited for a new stock trailer with four walls and a roof!
Not too unusual, but still a really nice set of quintuplet lambs.
Not too unusual, but still a really nice set of quintuplet lambs.
This is one of the proto-types for our self-weaning creep gate. The final version is working fairly well for us now.
This is one of the proto-types for our self-weaning creep gate. The final version is working fairly well for us now.
80 of our lambs participated in a special research project at Olds College.
80 of our lambs participated in a special research project at Olds College.
It was a very, very wet summer. Found this sink-hole by accident one day.
It was a very, very wet summer. Found this sink-hole by accident one day.
Spent a lot of time this summer cutting up concrete cattle feed bunks to haul home and convert over to sheep. It probably ended up being more work than it was worth but they'll make some really nice sheep feed bunks.
Spent a lot of time this summer cutting up concrete cattle feed bunks to haul home and convert over to sheep. It probably ended up being more work than it was worth but they’ll make some really nice sheep feed bunks.

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It was an excellent summer for pasture this year. We were able to keep the ewes out at pasture much longer than most years before we brought them back to our farm.
It was an excellent summer for pasture this year. We were able to keep the ewes out at pasture much longer than most years before we brought them back to our farm.
We are now the proud owners of a cute little miniature horse. We decided to sell our full size horse, Kenya,  this year because she just wasn't getting the attention she needed and then we were thrilled to find out that our neighbor was selling a miniature horse. For this stage in our lives, with so many young children, we figured this would be a much better fit for our family.
We are now the proud owners of a cute little miniature horse. We decided to sell our full size horse, Kenya, this year because she just wasn’t getting the attention she needed and then we were thrilled to find out that our neighbor was selling a miniature horse. For this stage in our lives, with so many young children, we figured this would be a much better fit for our family.
Our youngest, Henry, and Miles enjoying the new horse.
Our youngest, Henry, and Miles enjoying the new horse.
Bringing the ewes back from pasture before the snow came.
Bringing the ewes back from pasture before the snow came.
We found a good used feed wagon so now we can mix TMR feed for the sheep. This allowed us to make the switch to silage feeding this year.
We found a good used feed wagon so now we can mix TMR feed for the sheep. This allowed us to make the switch to silage feeding this year.
We're excited to announce that we will be launching our very own line of ALYSHEEP wool products. The last couple of months last year were filled with planning out this new aspect of our farm.
We’re excited to announce that we will be launching our very own line of ALYSHEEP wool products. The last couple of months last year were filled with planning out this new aspect of our farm.
All four of our kids grew so much this year and we are so thankful and blessed for the many hours we had to enjoy playing with, working alongside and teaching these four little munchkins. Our oldest, Timothy, started kindergarten this year so we've enjoyed our time teaching him to read, write and do some basic math at home. Home schooling has some challenges but it also has many many benefits! We look forward to another great year this year!
All four of our kids grew so much this year and we are so thankful and blessed for the many hours we had to enjoy playing with, working alongside and teaching these four little munchkins. Our oldest, Timothy, started kindergarten this year so we’ve enjoyed our time teaching him to read, write and do some basic math at home. Home schooling has some challenges but it also has many many benefits! We look forward to another great year this year!

Eighty-Five Down… Three Hundred to Go

Yikes, where did January go?  I had intended on making a few more posts before lambing. I wanted to write a little bit about some of the unique things we’re trying out this year. Instead, what we’ll have to do is make a few posts as lambing goes along.

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January started off with a bang… literally. Our barn was one of the many in this area that had it’s roof collapse. Thankfully the main part of the barn was unaffected. Only the service room on the south end was damaged. Still, it set us back quite a bit in our preparations for lambing. We were extremely blessed to have lots of help getting things cleaned up and keeping the farm running at the same time. A huge thank you to all of our family, as well as the Pearson boys, who came to help out. All the wreckage is cleaned up and utilities are connected so that the barn functions as normally as possible.  photo

In the end, we were able to get everything set up in the barn, and lambing started pretty much right on schedule.


As of right now, we have about 85 ewes done lambing and things are going quite well. This is one of the first times that I have managed this many ewes lambing at once. We have nearly 400 ewes in this group. We have done groups this size in the past, but we always had at least one person hired to help out. So far, this year we are keeping up, and I have to attribute it to how much Alyssa has been able to help out. She has been coming out about twice a day with the kids and helping with getting jugs watered and grain fed. Timmy is really keen on learning the ropes and really enjoys using the garden hose to water jugs. All the kids enjoy coming to the barn, even Henry who likes to sleep in his car seat.


We have a few new things that we’re trying out this lambing season and we’re going to try to share those with you as things progress.

Take care
-Miles

Away in a Feed Bunk

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feed bunkI was blessed to spend a little time in the barn this morning doing the feedings.  Come Christmas time, I am always reminded of the manner in which our Savior entered the world.   So often, we forget to even consider the birth of Jesus this time of year.  In our best moments, we think about the baby wrapped up in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, but as I look at the nativity sets all around, I think that we have missed something of the reality of what Christ came into.

As I hurried my way through the barn this morning, hundreds of noisy ewes bellowed at me in their greedy quest to fill their stomachs.  They jostled and pushed their way through the straw and manure to find a place at the feed bunk.  I’ve always been quite happy with our feed bunks as far as feeding sheep goes, but Christmas morning the feed bunks take on a new appearance.  They look dirtier and dustier, the bottoms are caked with old bits of feed and manure and dozens of drooly sheep mouths plunge into the barley that I’m busy pouring.

I stopped to think about the feed bunk.  You see, when I ask my kids about the Christmas story I always ask them where the baby Jesus was laid.  They usually answer, “The manger.”  To which I quickly respond, “But, what is a manger?”  Now, even a lot of farm kids might have a hard time answering this.  Manger is a bit of an out of date word.  My kids have learned the right answer though, “A manger is a feed bunk!”

This is a stark truth when you are nose to nose with a two hundred pound panting drooling old ewe looking into her feed trough.  THIS is it! This is where the newborn baby Jesus was laid those many years ago.  This was his bassinet.

A fresh understanding of what it means that the Creator of the Universe stepped down into the form of a helpless baby to be born like any one of us.  The perfect God surrounded by the filth of a creation so utterly ruined by the sin of each one of us.  One has to ask the question why?  Why would he do that? It’s simple really.  It’s because he loves you!  It was all part of his masterful plan to redeem a world lost and without hope.  His plan to take our sin upon himself that each of us might have the opportunity to trust him and be saved from the consequences of our own sin!  What amazing love, what amazing grace!  And it started here, in a feed bunk.

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Breeding Rams and Helium Balloons

Wow, summer flew by quickly!  Here we are scrambling to get summer jobs done before harvest gets underway (I’ll be helping Alyssa’s family with field work).  Hopefully we have a mild fall, because our list of jobs is pretty long around here.  For our family, this August is a little more crazy than usual as we wait for the any moment arrival of our fourth child! We can’t wait to meet the newest little shepherd/ess and we will be sure to give you all a blog post to announce the arrival.

The kids loved playing with the balloons off the gift we received!
The kids loved playing with the balloons off the gift we received!

One thing that we enjoy about this time of year is getting geared up for another breeding season.  As everyone gets looking for the perfect rams, we get to enjoy meeting so many new people coming to take a look at the breeding stock that we have available.  It’s always a great surprise to meet a new sheep farmer as well as to re-connect with familiar faces.  We always enjoy the many and varied conversations about everything from the weather to politics, and of course lots and lots of sheep talk.  It’s always enjoyable to send some of our best genetics home to a new flock as well.

We just wanted to take a bit of an opportunity here on our blog to thank all of those who have purchased breeding rams so far this season.  We understand what an investment each of us has in our flock and the careful decisions that are made regarding selection and new genetics, so we consider it the highest compliment to have someone select one of our rams to add to their breeding flock.

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I wanted to quickly share a story from today that really illustrates how enjoyable it is to get to know new lamb producers.  Kevin Volkman had been in touch with me for a while about coming to look at our breeding rams, and it was just the day before he was scheduled to arrive that I had to call him and cancel, not a regular practice for us, but considering we were in the labour and delivery room at the Olds Hospital we figured we would be tied up the next day.  Well, as it turns out, Alyssa seems to be having some pretty realistic false labour this pregnancy and after a night of waiting, we went home to continue the long wait.  We re-scheduled with Kevin, and today was the day we managed to meet here at our farm.  Right from the get-go I really enjoyed visiting with Kevin and his helper Marie.  We looked around our barn and compared sheep notes.  It never fails that I learn something new from these conversations.  We looked over the rams and when Kevin and Marie were satisfied with their choice, we loaded him up and finalized the sale.  It was as we were saying goodbye that Kevin grabbed something from his truck and handed me a beautifully wrapped gift complete with helium balloons!  Well it turns out that Kevin’s good wife had heard about our expected baby, and gone out of her way to give us a very nice little outfit for the new baby!  It was hard to believe that these people, without even knowing us, had been so thoughtful to send along such a nice gift.  Thank you so much!

The great thing is that genuinely great people like this are not uncommon at all in the lamb business.  That’s why we’re always happy to have people come over, even if it’s just to see the place and have a visit.  If we haven’t met you yet, just drop us a line, we’d love to get the chance.

-Miles

Timmy’s First Flock

Last summer we had our hands full. Our oldest child turned three in September 2012 and so for a few months we had three kids under the age of three. For this reason, as well as the fact that we live pretty close to a main highway, we decided to build a little fenced in area in our yard for the kids to play in.

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Since the kids were all a little older this summer and our oldest seemed to have a better sense of danger and boundaries, we were thinking of just taking down the fence. That way we wouldn’t have to mow around and in it and quite honestly, it didn’t look very nice having a page-wire fenced in area on our front lawn. It looked a lot more like a sheep pen than it did a nice play area.

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And that is exactly why we turned it into just that, a little lamb pen! Just days before Miles was planning on tearing down the fence, I came to him with the idea of putting a couple of lambs in there for our kids to play with.

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The more we thought about the idea, the more it grew on us. We began to realize the opportunity it would provide for our oldest son Timmy to learn some responsibility as well as give him a chance to learn more about taking care of animals first hand.

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Now, everyday Timmy looks forward to watering his lambs. Miles had the great idea to use an old milk jug to haul the water in because it is easy for Timmy to carry and it has worked great.

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Timmy has not only enjoyed the task of watering his little flock, he also has fun running around and playing with the lambs. So far the lambs are still quite timid around Timmy but I’m thinking if he spends enough time playing in their pen, they’ll eventually warm up to him.

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We started out with two female orphan lambs and then after a few weeks we realized they weren’t quite big enough to keep up with the grass. So Miles brought over a male orphan lamb that needed to get weaned. We figure we may try to sell him as a grass fed lamb just as a bit of an experiment to see how much demand is out there for grass fed lambs.

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We’ll try to keep you updated on what happens to Timmy’s first flock as the summer goes on.

~Alyssa