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More spring photos of the Churros

28 Mar

2012 lambs on the ground

28 Mar

Yazzie and her 2012 twin ewes

A healthy new lamb

21 Mar

Another ewe lamb! This one is white/natural color with an auburn spot on the back of her neck and tips of her ears. She is the first lamb out of the first lamb born on our farm last year.

our first white lamb!

purebred Churro ewe lamb

Lots of ewe lambs, and one baby boy

7 Mar

We’ve had four sets of twins and one single so far, and just one ram in the bunch! Four are black, four solid white and one badger face/black & brown. So so terribly cute! They were loving the warm weekend weather, lots of sunbathing snoozing.

Interestingly, our black Navajo Churro ram, Payton, has thrown four of six black lambs, with one white and one badger (black & brown). We recently purchased a white ram, Wo-Chi, so maybe we’ll end up with a flock of furry Holstein-looking sheep!

E. Friesian/Churro crosses - twin ewes four & five

Purebred Churros - ewe lambs six & seven!

Purebred Churros - ewe #8 and ram #1!

First lambs of 2011

28 Feb

What a fuzzy little teddy bear face!

One of our foundation Navajo Churro ewes, Paz, and our East Friesian/Border Leicester cross, April lambed this week — April with twins and Paz with a singlette, and all three white ewes! These were sired by our Cotswold ram, Winston, who we sold three weeks ago along with our two purebred Cotswold ewes. The singlette carries his stamp in particular, while the other two are bit more mutt looking. The rest of our ewes should be having purebred Navajo Churro lambs, sired by our black fused horn ram, Payton.

E. Friesian/Border Leicester/Cotswold mutts

Wo-Chi and crew

16 Jan

taking a ride in the truck

Exciting day….driving home from Brownsville, WI with four of 11 new Churros. A new fused 4-horn ram, his son, and two wethers. Ewes will be following in a month, more than doubling our Churro flock!

A year ago

14 Nov

A year ago this month we purchased our house and 6 acres. We now have 17 sheep, a dairy cow, a pony, a coop full of chickens and turkeys and a couple cats! Along with a brand new barn and miles of fencing. And now we have our lamb and wool for sale!

These photos are from last winter, but they’re so darn cute, and they show what beautiful fleeces our little Churros have. Along with my daughter’s adorable smile! We’re not far from having this much snow again…

Feeding time

Our foundation Churros - Paz, Hernanda & Damita

Christopher Columbus’ Day

19 Oct

Baa baa black sheep….We have a new addition, Christopher Columbus! Born on Columbus Day out of our favorite, friendliest Churro, Hernanda. She didn’t get bred last fall like her flock-mates, but fortunately cycled in April and was bred by our Cotswold ram. The biggest surprise was the lamb being black! The sire, Winston, has natural cream-colored wool, and probably doesn’t have a single color gene in him, which means Hernanda here, herself brown, will

Christopher Columbus

throw lambs of many different colors.

Ebb and flow of flock size: 3 new Churros & 3 lambs to slaughter

8 Oct

This past week we acquired three new Churros  — great for our flock’s genetic diversity, as well as color, now that we have a gorgeous black horned ram. His prior owner says he consistently throws black and multi-colored lambs, so we’re looking forward to having a variety of colors in our lambs come spring.

Our first ram lamb is heading to the butcher next week, with two more going soon after. He’s a Friesian/Border Leicester cross out of our dairy ewe (who won’t let us milk her!), Honey. She cycled into heat this past weekend and has since been mounted by both our Cotswold ram, and the Churro ram, so it will be surprise to see which one took in the spring.

 

Emmy

 

 

Zooey

 

 

Payton

 

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

14 Jun

A wonderful article from NPR about the Navajo Churro – we love this scrappy little breed and love that we can share in protecting a little slice of American culture. Click here to listen to the story.

Our Churros, freshly shorn: Hernanda, Paz and Paz's lamb

Sacred Sheep Revive Navajo Tradition, For Now

by Hal Cannon
June 13, 2010

For as long as anyone can remember, Churro sheep have been central to Navajo life and spirituality, yet the animal was nearly exterminated in modern times by outside forces who deemed it an inferior breed. Now, on a Navajo reservation of northern Arizona and New Mexico, the Churro is being shepherded back to health.

The Navajo Nation is the size of West Virginia, and at last count, 175,000 people live here. Most people are spread out in small clusters that you see off in the distance from the highway. Amongst modern prefab houses and hogans, the multisided traditional homes of the Navajo, are often corrals with small bands of sheep grazing nearby.

“Sometimes you find me, and I just want to sit in the corral with them,” Navajo weaver Roy Kady says. “Just find a corner and I sit there. They motivate me, even just to see them; it’s that strong to me.”

Churro sheep are smaller than most breeds and have a long, wavy lustrous fleece that is valued by Navajo weavers like Kady. He lives near Teec Nos Pos, where he’s chapter president — sort of like being the town’s mayor. For him, this flock is part of something larger, something he calls “din’e bi iina,” the Navajo lifeway. “Din’e” is the preferred name for the Navajo, and “bi iina” means “lifeway.”

“Sheep is your backbone,” Kady says. “It’s your survival. It’s your lifeline.”

For centuries, the Churro was all these things, providing the Navajo with what they needed to survive in the stark desert: meat for sustenance, wool for weaving clothing and blankets, sinew for thread. It’s no wonder the Navajo are grateful, even reverential when it comes to the Churro.

“Sheep is a very important part of this whole cosmology to us,” Kady explains. “You know, there are songs to where it refers to ‘the first thing I see is the white sheep to the East when I wake up to make my offering. It stands at my doorway.’ And that’s how we know that the sheep is something that’s very sacred to us.”

Where The Churro Went

The Churro were the first domesticated sheep in the New World, and, by most historical accounts, were brought to the Southwest by Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. Over the next three centuries, Churro sheep and the Navajo wove a life together in a balance of nature. However, by the 1860s, America’s westward expansion collided with Navajo resistance. In a tragic move, Kit Carson and his troops were ordered to relocate the tribe and destroy their livestock.

Sheep is your backbone. It’s your survival. It’s your lifeline.

– Navajo weaver Roy Kady

“The eradication of this particular sheep breed — because we are connected to it with songs and prayers and ceremonies — when it was taken from us, that part of our life was also destroyed,” Kady says.

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