Monday, October 22, 2012

Feeling like a “Real” Farmer!

Jason answered an ad last week from someone liquidating an estate that included lots of farming equipment.  Some of that equipment is small enough that the tractor we have access to can pull the tools!  And, we got it all for incredible prices!

A two bottom plow (not that it will have a ton of uses) a set of discs, a feed trailer and lots of small bits and pieces essential to every farm.

Not only have we now made purchases of some “large” farm equipment, but we now have some items that are truly ours and not borrowed.

Both of us felt like we’d grown another notch.  Even more so after reassembling the discs and playing with them a bit.



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Real Bacon

We might not have been able to have our very own personal pig in the freezer from this batch but we are making it a point to try most of the different cuts and ask for every bit of feedback from everyone, good and bad.
Sunday morning, we’re trying the bacon!
I’m writing this as I cook just because its so amazing, I had to share.
On the Breakfast menu?
Scrambled eggs (eggs, sour cream and a tablespoon or so of bacon grease)
Homegrown Bacon

It only took a couple minutes of warm water running over the package to thaw the bacon enough to peel apart for the pan.  Then When I had cut the end off the bag and cracked the package to take a sniff, I about keeled over because the smell was so amazing!  I keep  walking by and taking another smell.  It’s irresistible!
The slices that UI makes aren’t terribly thick but it really doesn’t matter here.  They cook through within minutes.  Which is good because I can’t wait any longer than that!
The first bit of a little end piece was incredible!

The bacon strips are a pretty good width from one pig, and thinner than I’d like from the other but that’s all breeding and our two retail pigs had very different genetic mixes.  From either pig however, there was definitely a good amount of fat but not nearly as much seemed to cook out and remain in the pan as other bacons.  The eggs cooked with just enough fat to keep the eggs from sticking to the pan are even more amazing than usual. (The sour cream makes them amazing to start with…)
In a .78 lb package, There was approximately 10 strips of bacon.  When I can get really quality flavor bacon, I typically save the grease after cooking for use later on.  I had maybe a tablespoon after cooking about 5 strips (after the initial bit for the eggs) to save for later.  It also had almost no particulates whereas most store-bought bacons will have a great deal of particulate remaining.  Didn’t even really need to run it through cheesecloth; I would have lost all my grease!
If I never had to eat store-bought bacon again, I will die a happy woman!

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

“Real” jobs

What is a “Real” job?  do you have to be employed by someone else?  Have health benefits? Make a large salary?

I have heard the question posed to farmers (others and ourselves!) “so what is your real job?” as if farming is just a hobby for us small folks.

I have to admit, I bristle when I hear this question posed to farmers or anyone who is truly enjoying what they are doing.  it makes me want to grab a big pitcher of water and pour it right down the nose of this hoity-toity person who seems to think that enjoying ones job means it’s not “real” or that farming or being a full-time parent isn’t “real”.

I have a full time job off-farm to guarantee our bills paid each month.  I’d rather be farming full time.

Jason has two full-time jobs: Farming and being the main parent raising our children.  Most days, those two jobs blend reasonably well together.

Most people would look as us and say that I have the “real” job and that Jason’s not participating in supporting our family because he doesn’t bring home much if any income.  that is so not true.

So in short, there aren’t endeavors that cannot be classified as a “Real” job.  It’s just that not all jobs pay in cash all the time.

I was listening to Chicken Thistle Farm’s podcast and they were talking about their jobs vs. their farming.  For them, they like their jobs and they don’t want to farm full time.  For them, farming is fun, pays for it’s own costs at a minimum and not something they want to do as more than part-time.

For Jason and I, we want to both farm full-time.  We think we can make our farm pay us a reasonable salary every year.  While there are jobs out there that we can and do enjoy, they aren’t our true calling for our lives.  The challenge for us is how to we get from point A (Margaret working off-farm, farm paying minimally if at all) to Point B where we don’t have to work off-farm and we are earning a comfortable salary.

We’ve had many naysayers on our goal.  We’ve also had many people give us their full support saying “we know you can find a way to do it.” 

Food is important.  Someone has to grow it somewhere.  Why not us?  Here? Now?  And since when does that mean we can’t live comfortable lives?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chicken & Veggies

3 chicken breasts
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp rosemary
6 small carrots, sliced
1 med-lg onion, halved and sliced
1/4-1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced or halved as appropriate
4 tbsp Oil
2 c cooked rice
Heat about 2 Tbsp of oil in a pan.  When the oil is hot, place chicken breasts in pan and sautee until outside is browned.  Place top on pot, lower temperature and allow to simmer for 15-20min.
While chicken is simmering, sautee onions, mushrooms and sliced carrots in a second pan with oil. stir and cover with a lid.
When all veggies are cooking, add spices to chicken, turn to coat, cover and continue to simmer.
When veggies are just getting soft, add more oil if necessary and then add the rice.  Heat through.
Cut chicken into pieces, mix chicken and juices, veggies and rice.  Serve hot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

An Intern's Introduction

Austin meets a cowHello, everyone! My name is Austin and, as Jason and Margaret told you last week, I will be the intern at Omache Farm during the 2012 growing season. I'm excited to be a part of the Omache crew, and hope that my hard work will be noticeable in the CSA boxes and on the market table. I look forward to meeting you and your family at the market!

During this first week of being an intern, I have already learned a few very important lessons on running a farm. For example, duct tape is the most important tool on the farm, even if it has a leopard print pattern. Also, always make bunches of vegetables bigger than they need to be, because happy customers is the surest way to a stable revenue stream. In addition, the market itself is like a temporary town; if you treat your neighbors with respect, you'll have willing help when you need it. Finally, the most important lesson I have learned is that sweat and elbow grease are renewable resources; why burn gasoline when you can burn calories?

As I continue my practical education on the farm, I'll be sure to share the best tidbits here in the newsletter. I hope I can enlighten all of you as to how Omache farm is helping to make the foodshed of the Palouse more sustainable, equitable, and fun! Thank you for coming along for the ride.

Your friend in the field,


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Welcome Austin!

We would like to take a moment to Welcome Austin to Omache Farm.  Austin is our Intern for the remainder of the farming season and will become a familiar face at the markets and other events we attend during the season.  Not only will Austin have the pleasure of learning about weeding, transplanting, harvesting, fencing, feeding and the other basic menial work of vegetable farming, but also, he will have the chance to learn about record-keeping and keeping books, going to market, and all the little whys and hows of our farm from dreaming up an enterprise to planning it to implementing it to taking it to market.

Austin is majoring in the Organic Agriculture degree at WSU.  He hails from the Seattle Area and currently, the plan is to go back and start a small urban farm.  Austin has started with us at a great time for him because our starting a CSA is very fresh in our mind and he is really getting to see a CSA from the very beginning.

We are very excited to have Austin joining us and look forward to giving him the experiences necessary to help him feel confident in starting out on his own in the future.

If you have a chance, please stop and say hello, chat, and get to know Austin at the Markets this season!  As much as he can learn from us, our customers have a lot to offer to the Internship experience.

We look forward to a great season Austin!

Radish Cakes

1 bunch radishes, washed and topped, shredded.
1 small onion, finely diced or shredded
1 egg
½ c. Garbanzo flour (Or wheat or other flour as suits
1 c. oil for frying

Pour oil in a wide, shallow pan and heat on med-high heat until shimmering.


Mix radishes and onion together in a bowl.
Add flour and mix until well coated.

Add egg and mix until you have a paste that when formed by hand into patties sticks together. (Some adjustment in flour or the addition of an egg may be necessary.)

Form about ¼ cup of batter into patties about ½ in. thick and place in fry oil. Fry for about 2 minutes, until brown, turn and fry a minute or two until the second side is brown. Drain cakes on a rack or paper towels, serve hot (if you can even get any to the table!).


Diced celery, shredded cabbage, diced mushrooms, or other similar vegetables may be added as desired. You will need to adjust the amount of flour and egg to achieve the desired consistency of the batter.

If you would prefer to avoid frying, you might experiment with cooking these on a well-oiled griddle.

Monday, May 14, 2012

First week of the Market and CSA!

Believe it or not, Farmer’s Market and CSA season is upon us!

On the 15th, the Tuesday Grower’s Market will begin.  4:30-6:30pm in the Moscow Food Co-op’s Parking lot.

On the 16th, the Pullman Farmer’s Market will be from 3:30-6pm.  Hopefully the earlier time will catch some more visitors!  The market will be in the same location as last year: The Spot Shop parking lot on Kamiaken just up the hill from Swilly’s Restaurant.

We WILL be attending both markets and we WILL have CSA pickups for folks at each of those markets. 

The CSA share for the first week as well as the net couple will be fairly light and very green.  The first few crops coming ready for the first week include salad mix, radishes, baby kale and chard.  There will be a couple other crops as well but just about everything will fall under the category of “baby” for the first few weeks.  I have to say, we are rather impressed with ourselves between building two hoophouses and such a cold, wet spring along with moving house for ourselves, that we have managed to grow just enough crops to bring shares to market these first few weeks.  Don’t forget however that as we get further into nice weather and more veggies come ripe that the shares will be nearly bursting at the seams! In the meantime, my mouth still waters when I think about the first meals of fresh veggies from our gardens!

For those of you on our newsletter list, your newsletter should be arriving in your email inbox as a pdf attachment on Mondays.  Those folks in the CSA that provided their email address are on our list for those emails already.  If you do not receive a copy of our email and newsletter, please let us know!  for CSA folks, I may have incorrectly typed your email.  For anyone else interested in our weekly newsletter email, Please send us an email and ask to be added to our newsletter list.  We don’t sell any information ever and if you find that you no longer wish to be a part of our list, just let us know that too.

Our weekly newsletter is emailed in a pdf format, will usually be about two pages this year and will include a recipe along with farm news, stories and a couple photos.  If you have someone with which you’d like to share a copy of the newsletter, please feel free to pass it on!  Please share and encourage others to check us out!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Changing again!

Life is all about change.  This time we’ve got a huge change.  We are finally moving from Pullman out to live on our farm!  We’ve been talking about it for years and devising various plans to make it happen faster, none of which stuck, obviously.  But now, here we are, living on our farm!  What a dream come true!

We’ll be 100% out of our old house by the end of the month and living mostly in the basement of our new house until sometime in June or July when the estate sale will take place.  After that, we will be able to start moving into the rest of the house.  By Thanksgiving, we should be putting the final touches on our new HOME.

Already, in just one week of living here, we love it!  Our first morning was pretty warm and Jason merely stumbled out to the hoophouse to open it up and then came back in for breakfast.  No packing children up in a rush, no grabbing food on the run or missing it altogether, no missing necessities like diapers forgotten or running back into town and out again multiple times in one day.

We can come in for lunch and naps (for children, mostly!) and merely pause for making dinner rather than having to call it a night completely.  HannaMae and Alli can hang out inside and watch movies or play with toys if they don’t feel like playing outside.  They can come in when they get cold while we finish covering crops when frosts are imminent.

Such an amazing blessing we have been gifted!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Twitter & Facebook


We are now fully in the 21st century!  You can follow us on twitter now: @OmacheFarm

We’re still figuring out how twitter works and the best way to integrate twitter into our business so comments and feedback is always welcome.

Don’t forget that we also have a facebook page: OmacheFarm

While our Blog is the “Hub” if you will of our online presence, Facebook and Twitter provide us with places for more immediate updates and little snippets of our day-to-day life on the farm including photos of everything, links to recipes, news stories, other farms and things we are learning about.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Organic Agriculture @ WSU

WSU's Organic Farm, video by WSU

Thursday, April 12, 2012

V. 1.5 & 2.0

Finally! the hoophouses are up, covered and the first has it's endwalls on and the first plant starts adjusting.

It was quite the feat.  step one: get volunteers committed.  Step two, get volunteers re-committed to a new weekend that had less wind and luckily beautiful weather! Step three: get everyone present and on the same page.

Once everyone was here and in place, we tried waiting for a dead spot in the wind but if you're familiar with the palouse, dead spots in winds never come until the hottest day in August.  So we decided there would be enough of us and started hauling on the ropes to pull the plastic over the hoophouse.  Lots of adjusting and wiggle wire later, we had two brand new hoophouses.

Then it was time for lunch.  Pulled pork, baked beans, mashed potatoes and Challah bread with some of HM and A's dyed Easter eggs in the braid.  All home-made!

There's more pictures in our Facebook Album.  This album should be view-able even if you do not have a Facebook account.

 We'd like to thank profusely those folks kind enough to give up their Sunday morning to lend us a hand: Mom & Dad, Josey & Lindsey, Debi & Dave,  Eric & Betty, Devon, Alden, Brendan, Nate & friends, Lauren, Derek & Keri, Erin.  We could not have done it without all of you!

Monday, March 19, 2012


We now have ten little piggies in residence next door to our sheep.  We are so excited!  right now they're cute. They have been enjoying all the space they have to bounce around and digging little holes in the ground they've been allowed outside.  learning the fine art of dumping their water bucket until I can get another system with less room for spillage ready to go.

It's odd, with our style of farming, to think that these guys had never seen the light of day, literally.  Never seen water in a bucket as opposed to out of a sip spout.  Never seen hay or non-pelleted foodstuffs or dirt.  Never known what their noses are designed to do.  Well, that only took them about five minutes.
For now they're cute.  And a bit mischievous with their digging holes next to the fence and sticking their heads through the fence but I imagine they'll grow out of those antics in favor of bigger pig antics.  Come August, our customers will be enjoying them on their dinner tables.
Want more pictures? Follow this link to our facebook album:  Pigs

Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Pat on the Back...

...To Us!

We realized something the other day.

We took a WSU extension class in the spring of 2008 and a part of it was to write up a business plan.  With no real clue as to where we would eventually end up or what exactly we would be growing, we were relatively accurate even with pretty ambitious goals!

As of this year, we've more or less reached all of our major 5-year goals. In five years!

One of our main goals included starting a 10-member CSA.  This year, we can check that one off.

Another goal was to have a 20 ewe breeding flock of sheep.  This year, we have 31 ewes we expect to drop lambs for us!

A third goal was to be selling at two farmer's markets.  Now that we know what it really takes to be selling at just one local farmer's market, we may or may not reach that one this year, but probably next year.  We are however looking at selling some specific produce to a couple restaurants and the Moscow Co-op.

Another goal was to purchase or lease a farm property.  We leased our farm property at year three in 2010!

The last goal we wrote down was to begin utilizing draft power in year five.  That won't be happening this year but I don't think we've yet ruled it out.  As we gain a handle on what needs to happen day to day in the next couple years, we'll probably be more able to figure out how to do some or all of that work with draft power.  I'm seeing things like cutting hay and pulling mobile livestock shelters from one paddock to the next for sure but who knows? maybe in the next ten or fifteen years we'll have several teams of Suffolk Punch horses doing everything from tilling and weeding veggies to baling hay to planting and harvesting grain and hauling wagons for hay rides for harvest festivals!

When we were writing all these ideas down to create a business plan so long ago, we had absolutely no idea that we would end up here on the palouse, potentially forever.  We had no idea that our delusions of grandeur might not have been quite as delusional as originally thought.  Although frankly, a flock of 150 or more Jacob ewes grazing across our hillsides might still be delusional.  We'll have to pare it down to between 60 and 100 I think.

Now that we've arrived at our fictitious five year mark in relative truthfulness, we'll have to sit down and dream up the next five years... Any suggestions?

Saturday, February 18, 2012

HoopHouse v. 1.5

Well, our brand new hoophouse almost survived the winter.  We had some snow storms move through the palouse in January that even closed WSU!  (Incredible!)  With all the snow (somewhere between 2 and 3 feet total over just a few days) we went out and checked on our hoophouse in addition to checking on sheep.  Jason brushed the light powdery snow from the hoophouse thinking it would be fine.  Later that evening, the snow switched to wet, thick and heavy.  In just a few hours, enough snow collected on top of the hoophouse between hoops to crush the entire thing.  The end walls were strong enough to support the end hoops but every other hoop went from a half circle to M-shaped.

If it weren't for the ladder in the middle, the plastic would have remained entirely intact.

Unfortunately our walk-behind rototiller was also inside, under a hoop.  The handle assembly was snapped clean off.  Guess we'll have to get a replacement part for that as well.

This is the first time Jason can remember being thankful that he didn't finish a project (hoophouse 2.0) before the deadline (winter).  If he had, we'd be replacing 80%-95% of 2 hoophouses instead of just one.

We have a plan of action to repair and replace the necessary parts of hoophouse #1 and we'll be using a portion of our tax return to finish out #2.  Both hoophouses will be completed before we need to grow in them this season.

We are thankful for not having finished a project as well as for the many friends who upon hearing of the disaster, have immediately offered their help with anything in regards to rebuilding. (Of course we will be taking folks up on those offers soon!)

We are blessed indeed.

Internship Opportunity!

Omache Farm has an opening for an Intern for the 2012 season!

Do you want to REALLY see what happens on a small, diversified vegetable and livestock farm on the Palouse?  Do you want to have the opportunity to learn about EVERYTHING from planning to planting to caring to harvesting?  And from birth to shearing to rotating to finishing?  From planning to doing to recording and back? See what it's really like from the OTHER SIDE of the Farmer's Market table?

Check out our Information here:  Internship Opportunity

Have we scared you away yet?  No?  Then shoot us an email or call us.  Let's Talk.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Split Eyelids

Well, we got our first three lambs but apparently their Mamas were early birds.

There are more ewes that are almost there and they are definitely looking ready to drop.  We're learning to be able to tell which ewes are going to drop lambs next but it's certainly not an exact science.  Not only do their udders start to "bag up," they start to slow down and look like they are tired of lugging around that huge thing so many call "cute", just like humans do.

If you've ever been pregnant or the partner to someone pregnant, I'm sure you remember the feeling and the look.

The third cutie born was a little ewe lamb.  Her only issue is that she has a split eyelid.
It is a bit difficult to discern from this photo but if you look carefully, at the uppermost point of her eyelid, you'll notice a small triangular jog where it should be a smooth curve.  This particular example is a moderate split.  Sometimes all you'll be able to see is an unusual tuft of fur in that same location.

The gene for this deformation is connected to the polycerate gene a.k.a. the multiple horn gene.  Essentially when the hornbuds split in utero, the split extends through the eyelid and is not totally knit together.  The reason for this gene being bad is that the split can lead to less than ideal protection of the eye itself which in turn could result in partial or total blindness in the affected eye.  This defect is also highly heritable.

On the good side highly heritable genes are relatively easy to find.  I can discern pretty quickly which individual has the gene and thus which animal must be designated as a "terminal" sire or dam.  That means that all the offspring from that animal will be meat animals and not considered when determining which lambs to keep for the breeding flock.  While each individual case may or may not be a big deal to the individual animal, having the gene in one's flock knowingly poses, I feel, an animal welfare issue.  In keeping an animal with the split eye gene or with a split eyelid, you are knowingly exposing that animal's offspring to the risk of bodily harm and pain.  If possible, the good shepherd will work to eliminate this gene from their flock for the good of the flock.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lambs are HERE!

We'd like to welcome our first two little lambs!

Born just about noon, the two little guys are our of Eira and weighed about 6 and 7 lbs.

Everyone was up and about and nursing well and Mama was doing her job well. (Kashme, our dog, could tell you that!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Gyoza, or Potstickers, are one of our favorite foods to eat because they cook quickly and are in a way, a meal in themselves.  Flavorful and a finger-food for those of us who have yet to master the art of chopsticks (and of course 2 year olds!)  Almost all of us adore them.  Recently, I ventured into making them myself rather than buying them out of the freezer section at the grocery store.  Except for the skins.  For now.


1/2 lb Ground meat (pork, beef or chicken)
1/2 medium Cabbage, shredded
4 med. Carrots, shredded
6 crimini mushrooms, diced or shredded
1 small onion diced (or leek or green onion
fresh ginger, shredded, 1 med branch
minced garlic, 2 tbsp
salt, pepper to taste
soy sauce, 2 tbsp
gyoza skins, about 1 1/2 pkgs

mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
fill a small bowl with a couple of table spoons of water
line two cookie sheets with wax paper for freezing finished gyoza

Place a gyoza skin in the palm of one hand, use the other to place approximately 1 tbsp of filling on the middle.  Wet the edge of one side of the skin with water.

Fold the skin nearly in half around the filling.  Pinch one side to the other utilizing approximately 6 small folds on one side.  The resulting gyoza will end up in a slight half-moon shape with a flat bottom side.

(Fresh or frozen)
In a heavy frying pan (I like cast iron, but use your favorite), heat about 2 tbsp of oil over med-high heat (just shy of smoking).

Set gyoza in pan with space in between.  My size 8 pan holds about 10.
allow to fry until edges brown and gyoza release from bottom of pan.

Quickly pour in about 2 tbsp of water and cover until water evaporates.

When gyoza release from pan and are browned on the bottom, they are done!

Dip in soy sauce, gyoza sauce or your favorite sauce and Enjoy!

My home-made Gyoza came out beautifully!  There is a bit more ginger in these than many people are used to but it tastes great!  I also thought about making a veggie-only, adding more mushrooms, less meat in general, and about all the different versions I could make as the fresh veggies changed during the summer.

Every family has their own taste preferences.  Think of this recipe as a guide.  Mix, Match and change it around as you like until you find it perfect for your family!

Have Fun!

Site Updates

Check it out!

I've finally figured out how to post links to PDF documents on our Website!  I've got all the newsletters from last season up on our "NEWSLETTERS" Page.  Hooray!

Next up for pdf documents will be copies of all the forms and flyers that we will be using this season.

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 CSA

We are so excited to be starting our very own CSA this season!  I was looking through one of the many seed catalogs that we've been receiving and very nearly drooling!  Fresh veggies are sounding so good this time of year when we are all relying on veggies from our storage larders or even from the grocery store that is bringing veggies in from California or Mexico.  I know I didn't can enough for this winter but then again I'm still learning what we actually eat all winter long. and just how much work it takes to preserve all that food.

If you haven't yet decided on where you'll be getting your fresh veggies from May to October, take a look at our CSA Here.  For $300, your family could be eating veggies picked the day of or the day before they are delivered at the most.  To get any fresher you'd have to be growing it yourself!  Some folks say they can't taste the difference but I can't even get our kids to eat carrots that aren't still dirty they're so fresh.

Shoot us an email at and we'd be happy to answer any questions you may have as well as send you a pdf copy of our brochure.  Our brochure has the form we need signed and returned if you decide to participate.

As for preserving food for next winter, we hope to be doing some planned sales for preserving in addition to folks requests for enough of whatever vegetable they'll need for a batch of canning.  And even if you're not canning Omache Farm produce, we'd be happy to offer any advice we can to assist you in your home preserving adventures.  That is, after all, what a community is isn't it?  A group of people who work, live, play and best of all, Eat together!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Smart Farmers

 Every now and again, I find some method or piece of equipment or even sometimes simply a mindset that completely changes how things are done around here.  When we took our last batch of lambs from 2011 into slaughter a few weeks ago, Jason took the time to clean out the old loading chute and ramp.

Perhaps now would be the moment for a tiny bit of farm history...

The property we are renting last had cattle on it about a decade ago and the last time the owners of the property had animals was about two decades ago.  Suffice to say, the original animal handling facilities were built a LONG time ago.  Since then the facilities haven't exactly been kept up.  Jason spent most of a day ripping old fencing material out of frozen layers of mud in the chute and loading ramp.  He also spent a good chunk of time sawing the mostly-dead elderberry tree out of the middle of the ramp so that animals can walk all the way up.  Needless to say, he was a wee bit sore the day after.

Our first experiences with catching and loading sheep involved a lot of worked up sheep, three adults and some spectacular catches along with a nearly broken knee.

Our second experiences with catching and loading sheep involved a lot of making do with lots of random bits of fence and lots and lots and LOTS of baling wire.  And a busted rib from a confused ewe.

On our own farm, our two favorite pieces of equipment for working with our sheep is cattle panels and spiral  Panel Hinges from Premier 1 Supplies.  It's flexible, light-weight, mobile and effective.  We can set it up anywhere and have a pretty good facility for handling and sorting our sheep.

Third time's the charm, right?

Back to the original chute and loading ramp.

With our panels cut into 4 and 8 foot sections and hinged together, we can sort out individuals with one person when everyone cooperates.  Once that's done, we can use the old gates to get the appropriate lambs into the old chute, ready to go.  We even managed to do all this with a minimum of "Baa-ing."  That means they're relatively un-stressed.

Once we set up the rack on our little truck and backed it up to the old ramp we realized the ramp had obviously been built for BIG trucks.  Luckily, our sheep have no problem with hopping down the couple feet into the bed of our truck.

We opened up the gates to allow the lambs up the ramp to the back of the truck. They took a minute to navigate where the elderberry had grown through the heavy boards and then hopped down into the truck without needing to be pushed from behind at all.  We closed up the truck and stood around wondering what we had missed doing.  In the past we always needed to collect more animals or re-collect escapees or otherwise do more work after loading our charges that we felt like we were missing something!

I can now say I have three favorite pieces of handling equipment: panels, hinges and a well-built loading ramp.