Sunday, July 29, 2012

The plant just doesn't give up...

My meyer lemon that has been plagued with pests actually seemed to enjoy the move to Colorado. It started sprouting green growth all over and even blossomed (second time this year?), seemingly quite happy with its sunny mudroom location. I thought it's problems were over.

Then at the beginning of July, I noticed some leaf drop. I thought I'd let the plant dry out a bit. I watered it well and thought that was all it needed. Imagine my surprise when I get back from ten days a way and almost half the plant is dead! Now what?

Many of the leaves had brown edges so I googled that and couldn't come up with anything conclusive. I touched one and it was sticky. I googled that...and all sorts of articles came up on "citrus scale". I went out to inspect the plant and much to my angst it is covered with scale. How could I have missed it?

The latest nasty on the lemon "scale"

A close-up, isn't it ugly?

Scale seems quite beatable but unfortunately this plague has brought the plant back to or worse shape than it was at the beginning of the scale. Will I ever have a thriving lemon tree?

I wiped down the branches with alcohol, picking off all visible scale and will now mist it with a mixture of fish emulsion and water (1 capful to 16 ounces of water).  Apparently indoor citrus is prone to scale and it is wise to spray the plant with the emulsion mixture when it is brought inside for the winter.  Another lesson learned at this poor plants expense.  Hopefully we'll have made history of this latest pest in short order. I hope the poor tree has the resolve to spring back once more.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Trying something new...a ram of a different kind!

Today we bought home a new ram. Brennan our first Ram ever was sold to a new home in May. He sired one of our current lambs and hopefully covered all of the ewes. I don't want a lot of inbreeding and also moving him to CO would have required Brucellosis testing which isn't a huge deal but would have meant more of investment. I had already pretty much decided it was time to change rams.

Potter looking lonely in stall "Where am I ?"

What I didn't know was that I was going to change breeds too! While I love my Painted Desert girls and Brennan was a gentle as could be, I just don't want horned rams. They can do too much harm to a dog in a split second, working them is out of the question. So I've been rethinking my stock plans...

I do like the variety of color in the Painted Deserts as well as their thriftiness. They do tend to be a little flighter than their hair sheep counterparts- Katahdins and Dorpers, showing their Barbados heritage. I would like bigger lambs so my daughter can at least show in the breeding lamb class without looking like she's leading a runt (they lump all the sheep together at our County Fair- they are not broken out by breed so she'll be up against the Suffolks and Hampshires.)

With a bit of trepidation, I opted to try a Katahdin ram to cross over my Painted Deserts. Any color Katahdins are allowed so I can still have color. Their lambs are a lot bigger than the Painted Deserts and they are more placid and they don't have horns. The one thing I don't like with the Katahdin's is how many of the rams are very course looking with big roman noses. I want a pretty head!

A registered Katahdin crossed over my Painted Deserts can give me recordable offspring. When I get to 87.5% Registered Katahdin blood -I can have individuals inspected and as long as they meet hair coat requirements, they will be admitted to the Katahdin registry. This is my new long term goal.

I've found there are not many Katahdin breeders in Colorado. Today I was within a couple of hours of one of the larger breeders and took the opportunity to go see if I could find something there. I immediately found one I liked, but of course he was one of two in the flock that weren't registerable! Figures! I hummed and hawed and then found another I quite liked and darn-it-all-to-tarnation, he was one that had lost his eartag and couldn't be registered either! I finally settled for a ram lamb that though not one of the largest, seemed to be nicely balanced, with a nice head. He's a late January lamb and a triplet.

He's still carrying some lamb fuzz but is shedding out nicely.

I'm hoping he'll add the traits I'm desiring to next Spring's lamb crop (and I'm hoping it will be Spring not Winter-he's going with the girls as I'm not set-up to separate him yet).