Woodland Creek Soay Rams

Woodland Creek Soay Rams
Soay Sheep Ram Assortment

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Black and White Soay lambs

Our five new "Black and White group" Soay lambs from 2008 are growing nicely. The two blacks with fairly extensive white spotting are just as attractive as I had imagined they would be when I first envisioned creating this phenotype several years ago.
They make a very attractive group of Soay lambs, as you can see below.

Our 5 "Black and White Group" Soay lambs 2008

Left to right above are Yosemite-r, Athena-e, Flindra-e, Tundra-r, and Anasazi-e.
Here is a short video of them playing together recently.

Obviously one of the 5 is NOT a self-colored black. The brown one, Flindra, had a 50% chance of being self-colored black. She is heterozygous for self-colored black (A+/Aa) so will be retained for next year's B&W group - having a 50% chance of producing a black (same genotype as her mother Bunny).

Friday, July 4, 2008

Hay Man

After putting up loose hay last year with my Farmall Cub and sickle-bar mower, and after raking fields by hand with a custom-made large wooden hay-rake, I conclude I had to get a mechanical rake of some sort. I wanted something vintage - not the more popular wheel rakes, but not so old as a dump rake. That pretty much leaves side-deliver rakes. After searching the internet for a long time, and watching many auctions back east (where it was impractical to ship such a relatively inexpensive piece of equipment) I finally found one locally (Shelton, WA) last winter.

It is a 1964 vintage International 14 side-delivery rake, and although a bit paint-worn, appeared to be in VERY sound mechanical condition. Virtually no repair welds, bent frame members, etc. Only many teeth missing or bent. Here is what it looked like when I bought it.
1964 International 14 Side Delivery Hay Rake

Since I didn't have an equipment trailer, I had to wait a few weeks to find time to rent a U-haul trailer, knowing that I would have to disassemble the rake to fit it in the trailer. Unfortunately, we had a rare snow that weekend, and it turned out to be a bigger job than we expected to get the parts into the trailer! We had to completely turn the frame upside down (yes, by hand!) in order to get the wheels to clear the sides of the trailer. What a job loading!

So all winter I tore it apart--with frequent orders to the Case-IH dealer in Burlington, WA, for parts. Thank goodness most of the parts are still available, albeit very expensive. Take for example the bearings on the ends of each of the tooth bars. There are 5 tooth bars, and a bearing on each end, and a special housing to hold the bearings. Each bearing is $75, and each housing is $75. If all were replaced, yes, that's $1,500 - 5 times what I paid for the whole rake! Then there are replacement teeth (it has 90 - fortunately the seller had a box of about 40 replacement teeth). But even the small metal holders for each tooth - about 50 of which were missing - cost about $5 each!

But the worst surprise was when I tore into the bearing jackshaft in the tooth bar drive wheel (driven from a universal shaft from the wheels). Of course the bearings and seals were all shot - packed full of "vintage" grass, but the woodruff keyway in the short 6-inch shaft had been torn out -- from the wear on the key, this had occurred many years ago and simply not discovered. Worse, the shaft was a discontinued part. A local machine shop said they could not build up and still keep round the hardened shaft, but he could build a replacement for about $100. I told him to go ahead, and begain waiting. After 3 months, the part was done, however, it cost $265. Here is the old and new (actually same size, just funny perspective in the photo).

So after many months of cleaning old grease, sandblasting paint, waiting for weather warm enough to re-paint, etc. Things began to take shape. To get some appreciation of the work involve, here are a few before and after shots of main pieces.

(So I'm having trouble lining these photos up in pairs - heck with it..)
At any rate, It finally all came together, and here is the final result earlier this spring.

And here it is after being put to work raking a field of grass hay. Works like a charm!