Wednesday, October 01, 2014

UK Trip Part 8.......more Northern England

Philip and his family had a full house and so it was arranged for us to stay at a little Inn in a nearby village with a nice pub attached to it.  Breakfast at Philip's featured an English dish called "Toad in a Hole", which stopped my fork in mid air when I heard it.  We don't generally eat toads in America!...haha.  It only took a moment or two to realize that the "toads" were just breakfast sausage in an egg casserole dish and it was delicious.  We spent a fair amount of time going through Philip's flock and were treated to a delicious meal prepared by his mother followed by 2, that's right TWO amazing desserts.  Since it would have been the height of rudeness to NOT eat the things offered I forced myself to eat both desserts.  (grin)  Like I needed more food............
I can't say we had a bad meal the entire time we were on our trip, everyone was exceedingly generous with their hospitality and kept us feed and moving about the countryside. 

Here is a shot of Stanley, a little dog so full of personality that we fell in love with him. 
It rained, rained, rained prior to our arrival, during our stay and after we left, so Stanley has slightly mucky paws. 

The first time I saw this sign was in Edinburgh and it amused me endlessly, due in part to the fact that I'm easily amused.  By the time we got done with our trip I was quite accustomed to pulling a string to get hot water.

Spectacular view on our way to meet Jenny Holden-Wilde near the Lake District area

A quaint little village where we met up with Jenny at a local pub

Mike, Garrett and Philip in the pub awaiting Jenny's arrival and the next leg of our journey.  This is where I started getting very, very sick.  Excuse the lack of names on villages, I was lucky to recall we'd been there at all I was becoming so miserable with an upper respiratory illness. 
Next stop..........Jenny's house and her lovely flock of spotties!!

Friday, September 26, 2014

UK Trip Part 7 Scotland and Northern England

Our trip back on the ferry from Shetland to Aberdeen was as lovely as the trip over was not!  We left just after dark and watched the blinking lights of the Islands disappear as we headed back to Scotland.  Little did I know that I had the start of some serious respiratory illness lurking in my body. After a lovely dinner on board, a nice sleep during our uneventful crossing, we arrived back in Aberdeen and heading for Kate Sharp's holding where we did a thorough inspection of Kate and Alan's sheep.  There are some truly lovely sheep at Kate's and I would love to get my hands on them, especially those grays!!!
Kate and some of her ewes.

Love this rich, dark color

Another shot of a different color grey ewe
After tea and biscuits at Kate's, we loaded our luggage into Amy's tiny car and set off to Philip Cowen's, Wadley Farm, Durham County.
Philip has a nice selection of sheep of different breeds that he crosses with Shetlands as well as a number of fine examples of Shetland sheep that represent the Flockbook type and what some of us refer to in America as the UK type.

Can you spot Amy's little Foula ewe (spotty) in this group of ewes?

Lovely length and crimp

And another fleece style that's represented in the Wadley flock

I think this is either an Island ewe or a decendent

I really like this moorit ewe

Here's a group shot of the different breeds of rams that Philp and his father use in their flocks.  Icelandic, Charollais, Suffolk, etc. 

Such a majestic ram, nicely proportioned, great head and structure

Great looking grey kat ram, again with nice proportions and overall nice structure

Lovely moorit ram with a slightly different horn style, and really great fleece and overall breed type.
I added these of the rams horns to show examples of good breed typical horns

Nice width at the top and good clearance on the sides......not growing out of the side of their skull but rather on the top and rising up a bit before turning outward. 

And this is the fleece!!!!!  Just because it's so lovely.

Grey kats' fleece..............nice eh? 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Kudos to totally Rock!

Can I just say.........some folks are always and I mean always making things a bit better.  At work, I talk to a lot of vendors, customers and sales people.  There are always a few in each category that stand out for me and one of them is Jerry at Redneck Trailer Supplies. (yes, there is such a place)  He's smart, efficient, and an all around go-to guy when there's problems, and he has a great sense of humor too.   Jerry is always willing to go that extra mile to get you what you need and I hope Redneck Trailer Supplies knows what a valuable asset he is to their company. 

Today's post is only to thank him for doing such a great job helping me and to let him know how much I appreciate him..........THANK YOU JERRY!!! 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Michigan Fiber Festival trip in August

I neglected to post the photos from my trip with Kim Nikolai to Michigan Fiber Festival in August.......
So here goes nothing.

The fleece show had a large Shetland class, I think about 35-40 fleeces were in that show, but that's a guesstimate.  I was pleased with how well I did and felt that, my fleeces got beat fairly because the fleece that won Best of show in the Shetland class was beautiful and the win was well deserved.

Here is a photo of my line up.

I was happy with how the weekend went.  

Once again, we had a grand time with our friend, Stephen, during our 4 days stay in Michigan.  The festival was lovely and seeing old friends was the highlight of the time we there.  

We got to head to Four Roses Cafe and have one of their top shelf meals........

Pear pecan salad w/ lime vinaigrette dressing
Scallops-seared in whiskey on a bed of alvocado
And the best part: Scarlett O'Hare cheesecake.  w/ pecans and a toffee glaze.
They have a pastry chef that makes about 40 different desserts at 5 am every morning.  God bless that woman!!!!  The Dessert Menu at this place is longer than the main coarse menu!!! 

They say you should eat to live and not live to eat, but the person that said that has never tasted the food at this place.  If they said it loud enough for the customers to hear, my guess is that they simply not be heard from again. 

2014 Midwest Shetland Sheep Breeders show results

I bet a large share of you were wondering, "Where is Kelly and why is she ignoring us?"  Don't worry, I have not forgotten about all of you, but the show chair job seemed to consume a considerable amount of time this year along with some other obligations that made my summer fly by too quickly.

We had another great year at the Wi Sheep and Wool Festival and everyone involved in the show made the show successful and fun.  Thanks to all the people that volunteered and brought sheep, fleeces, handmade items or skeins of yarn to exhibit.

Silent Auction table....everyone's generosity is overwhelming

Please follow us to the MSSBA fleece show..........(Thanks to Garrett for taking over the fleece show this year)

We proudly welcomed Mary Gibbings, Somerset England, as our fleece judge this year. Mary did a spectacular job of judging approx. 40 Shetland fleeces for us.

Karen Valley got Champion Fleece with a white ewe lamb fleece
I got Champion Rooed Fleece w/ a white fleece from Sheltering Pines Catherine (9 yr old ewe) 

I won this lovely "Best Rooed Fleece" award donated by Maurice and Gilly Wakeling, they were our Sheep and Fleece judges in 2013 and generously donated funds to sposnor this award.  I'm so thrilled to be the first recipient of this trophy. 
Theresa Gygi got Res. Champion fleece w/ a colored fleece
Mary giving a fleece some serious consideration and Kim Nikolai lending a hand for this year!  (Thanks Kim)

Philip is going to kick my butt for this photo being circulated, but it was too cute to not share it.....EVERYWHERE!!!
Allow me to introduce our 2014 SSS Judge/Inspector.....(drum roll please) Philip Cowen, Durham County England. 
Amy on the left and Philip on the right.  (big, big grin)  
And here Philip is looking a bit more sophisticated judging the youth showmanship class.  
Here is my amazing, super hero husband showing Elvis in the Senior ram class.  
Clayton (in foreground) showing Danby in the Best Spotted, Colored or Modified class.  The winner (our OK Acres Danby) received a lovely multi-year award sponsored by FFSSA in the memory of Sue Russo and all her years of dedication and contributions to the Shetland sheep breed.  
Philip in center holding the Sue Russo Memorial Trophy, Mike (Super hero to Kelly) on the left, OK Acres Danby in the center and me on the right.  (Yes, I was pretty frazzled at this point- and looking it!!!)  
Tiree thinks she's a Lipizzaner Stallion performing "Airs above the Ground" here.  She was walking so nice at home and when we got to the show, she was less than impressed with the process of standing quietly.  Cute as it may be here, it's horribly embarrassing in front of the judge, fellow exhibitors and the audience.  I have no clue how she won 1st place in her class.  Maybe her acrobatic skills impressed the judge and swayed his choice. (grin)

No, I didn't purposely flip her over for the judge to see her from all angles...........I was livid.  Never again!!!! (notice Philip is laughing at me-and can you blame him? )
Both the the photos above will need a bit of explanation.........THIS is what happens when you decide to bring a ewe lamb to the show at the last minute and think she's leading quite well at home after only a week of gentling her.  Ummm, NOT.

 This year's big winners are shown below.............
Sydell generously donated a trimming stand to this year's Supreme Champion!!!  I was blown away by their donation when I was called over to pick it up!  
Theresa Gygi with her Champion Ram/Supreme Champion, Under The Son Stilton

Meghan Namaste and Karen Valley with their Champion Ewe/Res. Supreme Champion, Wintertime Alanis

Lori Stephenson and her Granddaughter Campbell with Res. Champion ram, Sommarang Lief

 I will do a post of some fun photos in another post, this one has become very picture heavy and I better cease and desist.  :)

Congrats to all the winners of this year's show. 

Monday, August 04, 2014

Shetland Island Trip Part 6

One of the reasons we planned our trip for October was because we wished to attend the Flockbook Ram Show and Sale.  So we crossed our fingers that the weather would cooperate and I think we got fairly lucky except for the unfortunate timing of our trip over. (aka The Ferry ride from hell) 
Friday night we were invited to watch Oliver Henry judge the Shetland Fleece show at the Mart where the Show and Sale would take place the next day and we just couldn't pass it up.  Oliver has been sorting and grading Shetland fleeces on the Islands for about 50 years, so he kinda knows what he's doing by now. 
We were pretty surprised to see that the fleeces were single coats, with a few fleeces having some minor guard hairs, but nothing excessive that would create an overly long tip.  We had heard that the purebred Shetlands on the Islands had much longer fleece, and I did see some of those, but they were simply sheep ON Shetland and I have no way of knowing if they were cross bred or purebred.  The sheep at the Show and Sale, however, were all purebred Shetland sheep and were first inspected prior to entering the show.  Not all the rams passed inspection, but a large share of them did meet all the criteria for inclusion in the Flockbook.

Left to right: Suzanne Meikle, Philip Cowen deep in thought and Alan Hill watching the show on Saturday

Hamish Hunter with the white ram

Fleece show photo

Oliver's "Scoring" sheet

Best group of 3

More winners

Add caption

Moorit group of 3

This one shows how the peat makes the fleeces appear to be grey, but it does wash out.  

Mike and I

Mike and I
Mike and I at Nick and Emily's wedding

Raised beds & chickens coops

Raised beds & chickens coops
Can't wait for this stuff to actually be food....