Tag Archives: rare-breeds

Lamb Available

Now taking deposits for February butcher.

One crossbred lamb, cut to order

This year’s lambs are all full blooded Cotswolds, so those of you who got Tunis crosses from us before can expect a bit more meat in your boxes. Last year’s lambs ranged from 32-46 hanging weight pounds. There is still considerable variation in hanging weights expected, but we’re aiming for a higher average.

Cotswolds are a rare breed, listed as threatened by the Livestock Conservancy.  Purchase of lambs not useful in our breeding program supports the maintenance of the breeding group that will bring Cotswold genetics forward to the next generation.

We’ve lowered the price this year to $250 per head. This price covers the cost of a live lamb, transportation to Smith’s Packing in Marion, NY, and your payment to the butcher. The butcher works for you, according to the directions on your cut sheet. I can help you fill out the cut sheet if you wish. (I may have a copy of your prior cut sheet if you have ordered from us before.)

We accept requests on a first deposit come, first reserved basis. Deposits may be mailed to:

Denise Skidmore
4513 Eddy Ridge Rd
Marion, NY, 14505

Include a $100 check, and contact information so we can discuss your cut sheet.

Important Dates:

  • $100 Deposits due 1/22. (Assuming nobody else beats you to the punch.)
  • Cut Sheets due February 2nd. (I’ll help you with this after I get your deposit.)
  • Butcher day February 3rd, no refunds or exchanges after this date.  You can still talk directly to the Butcher about changes to your cut sheet.
  • February 10-17th The butcher finishes hanging and cutting and calls when the meat is ready.  Please pay your remaining balance of $150 before or at pickup.

The butcher is open during normal business hours MTRF and on Saturday mornings.

If the weather is below 20F, (and that’s iffy given our weather so far) I can bring your meat from the butcher to Perinton on a weekday for pickup, but please be prepared to come out to Marion if the weather does not permit me leaving food in my car.

Please e-mail me with any questions you may have.  Looking forward to hearing from you.

Long Wool Project

As mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve been contemplating that the path the textile industry took during the industrial revolution may be responsible for the downfall of the Cotswold. I think we can change that with new technologies that help all the long wool breeds.

I’m no genius, I’m not smarter than the 250 years of engineers who have worked on the problem of wool processing before me, but I have a different focus, a different goal, and therefore may come to very different results.

I’ve since been doing my reading. It seems that there are not enough Cotswolds in the world to keep a single industrial sized carding machine busy, so even if we revolutionized the technology there would likely be no large commercial buyer of our machine. I have since turned to look at small hobby scale machines, something that would work for the same market that buys motorized drum carders, but is better suited to processing long wool.

I attended the Rochester Makerspace open community night (every Thursday night) and brought my wool processing tools. The interested parties were quite taken with the manual processes, and we had an impromptu combing/flicking/spinning class. No engineering was performed.

I got a chance to spend an afternoon with an interested engineer, and we played with some sketches, but I’d not brought the manual tools which might have been helpful in demonstrating the combing concept.

Simple tools I’m considering making:

  • An extra long blending board
  • 2 and 4 rank comb sets
  • Blending hackle

More complex tools I’m considering inventing:

  • Motorized flicker
  • Automated combs

I still have a lot of reading to do, I have to study up on the wool, cotton, and flax industries, and the machines that run them.  I’m hoping the long fiber problem has already been solved for flax and we don’t need to re-invent the wheel.

If you like to tinker or design, we could use your help. Give me a buz and I’ll keep you updated on which nights we will be at the Makerspace.  If you like to tinker or design but don’t want to help, I might recommend the Makerspace anyway.

Did the Industrial Revolution Bring Down the Cotswold?

The Industrial Revolution was in the early 1800s, right around the time that the Cotswold began to loose favor in the sheep market. What was one of the chief industries of the early industrial revolution? Textiles. What is the maximum staple length that modern mill machines can spin? 11″. What is the ideal length for a year of Cotswold wool growth? 10-12″. Old pictures of Cotswolds even show a couple years of growth on an animal, although this could be exaggeration for show rather than standard practice.
Sheep Success Cover with Old Cotswold Drawing
Could it be that the wool while highly valued during the hand spinning era saw a sudden drop-off in demand when fiber began to be processed through machines? What was the maximum staple length those older machines could handle? Could a better wool mill save the breed through increased demand?

Join The Livestock Conservancy

We are now a member of the Livestock Conservancy.  You don’t have to be a farmer to be a member, they also offer a products directory for the consumer that wants to support rare breeds.

Rare breeds are important both as links to our history, and as a gene bank going forward for the production industry to draw genes from when market demands change.  If a rare breed is lost, we can never get it back.

We personally are providing direct support to the Cotswold breed, but we stand with farmers that support any rare breeds.

The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last individual of a race of living beings breathes no more, another heaven and another earth must pass before such a one can be again. – William Beebe, The Bird (1906)

Join us Livestock Conservancy Member