Thursday, December 30, 2010

I visited the SSS site and found this..........

As it appears on the SSS site,.......I didn't change a single word.....
"Shetland sheep have for generations been noted for their very soft and well crimped fleece. The wool is the finest of all native breeds and shows an amazing variety of colours and patterns. There are 11 main whole colours and 30 recognised markings.
By selecting from coloured fleeces a range of naturally coloured yarn can be produced. This eliminates the need for dyeing and therefore retains the soft feel of the natural fibre and is favoured by those who prefer a totally natural approach.
Shetland wool fibres are of a simple construction with a central cortex covered by a thin scaly cuticle, and have an average diameter of about 23 microns. However there is a range from 10 to 20 microns for neck and shoulder wool to 25 to 35 microns for britch wool. The average staple length is 3.5 inches. The amount of crimp varies, and is important in providing the 'bounce' required for knitwear. There is a positive correlation between fineness and crimp, with wool of the finest quality being crimped at between 8 and 12 to the inch.
Wool from Shetland sheep is used to produce gossamer lace, the famous 'Fair isle' knitwear, and fine tweeds.
Pure bred Shetland sheep tend to shed their fleece in spring. The growth of new fleece can cause a rise or weak point and where this is present the fleece can sometimes be plucked or 'rooed' by hand. The timing of this can be different in each sheep, however, it is worth taking the care to get it right as rooed fleece can be amongst the softest because the fibres have no harsh cut ends as occurs with a sheared fleece.
Shetland fleece can be handspun straight from the fleece or made into rolags and then woollen spun. It can also be worsted spun by hand, used on a peg loom or handwoven. It also felts well using either dry or wet methods.
When processed commercially the wool can be made into the finest lightweight worsted cloth or heavier weight, harder wearing fabrics and tweeds."
Champion line up for 2010

Winner of the 2010 National Show and Sale was Ewingston Lydia, a shearling Moorit ewe bred by Kate Sharp. Runner up was St Baldreds Annie, a moorit ewe lamb from the Meikle's flock. Judge on the day was Jean Curtis.

2005 winner - Kate Sharp's Ewingston Cracker

Monday, December 27, 2010

Questions and concerns for the New Year

I have a question about some things that are in the works within NASSA right now and maybe someone can clarify some of this for me.
Are we going to start getting membership input on some of the changes that are being discussed?  Lack of education regarding impending changes caused a lot of hard feelings and confusion in previous years, so wouldn't it make sense to avoid a similar situation in the future?  I guess I just feel as if we are always left in the dark until things are done and over, and would like to see a way for that kind of thing to cease.  We voted the board members into office as representatives for us, which I don't feel gives anyone a rubber stamp to move forward with changes to by-laws and documents without a serious attempt to educate the folks you are representing.
Why aren't some of the impending changes posted on the chat list for discussion?  I've seen some very civil and intelligent discussions on that list and since you have to be a member to be included, there is no reason to NOT have those discussions.
The chat list has made other members points much clearer to me in the past, and I have no reason to believe that it wouldn't do exactly the same thing in the future.
There are some changes being discussed for the judges packet right now, and I think they are important and critical changes.  I'd like to see that discussion presented to the membership for input.  Whether this changes the minds of the board members when making a deciding vote or not is up for debate, but we should at least have the opportunity to have our voices be heard.   It promotes good will and I think it's a fair thing to allow membership discussion.
Let's start this new year with a real effort towards unity.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Last years ice storm!!!  Isn't it beautiful?

There's just something about a crystal tree branch.

That's our driveway.............!
Got up this morning to 5" of new snow and a coating of ice on everything.  Since I was rushing around trying to get ready for work, I failed to get pictures.  So...........I decided to dig up these from last year.

This is a close up of our lilac bush, it was
spectacular with all the ice on it.

Needless to say, we didn't go anywhere for awhile.

I've been busy baking cookies, knitting gifts and trying to get my shopping done lately, so haven't had a lot of time to post to my blog.  I'm sure everyone is caught up in the holiday bustle also, but it's nice to visit my blog community and enjoy the everyday happenings of my cyber pals.
My husband and I decided to buy gifts for the giving trees, Toys for Tots and Homeless Coalition this year in lieu of gifts for each other and it's been a wonderful experience.  Wednesday night Mike will be delivering baskets with the Fore Fathers, and I will be busy assembling gift boxes for the postman, our neighbor and a few people that really make our lives easier with their extra efforts throughout the year.  I do love shopping for the little kids in our family, but the simple act of giving to someone that isn't as fortunate as us, is enough to make me all warm and fuzzy.   I love the "pay it forward" concept...............
There are so many unsung heroes in our city of 10,000, and I guess I forget how many people just give and give of themselves,  356 days a year.  I need to remember that there's a need all year, and not just at Christmas.
I must be getting old..........all this quiet reflection seems to be something you do when you've become old and wise.  (ok, wiser)  Or, maybe it's because I woke up at 4 am and laid there with my mind racing. (grin)
Enough of my rambling, lots of things to do.
TaTa for now

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow and sunsets

Attika is still dealing with a bit of an attitude...........

Frigid sunset

Abby, my oldest girl, and first ever lamb at OK Acres

Bug doing what he does best..........bugging (Uncle Bill is today's push over)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hump day chickens

Blue cochin/black star X-hatched June 2010 (needs a new home ASAP-there's 2 of them.)

One of my little Mille Fleur D'Uccle hens

Little man D'Uccle roo

New Holland roos-from Corinne Rasso
I am a victim of chicken math!!!
Ok, in her defense, she did say I didn't have to take both of them. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Micron results

Here are the numbers from samples taken on 11/8/10

Sheltering Pines Bug: 25.9 mic, 4.9 SD, CV 18.9, CEM 8.6 mic, CF 85%, SF 24.8 mic  (used in 2010-polled)
Crosswinds Nantucket: 22.4 mic, SD 6.0, CV 26.9%, CEM 12.6 mic, CF 88.6%, SF 23.0 mic (used in 2010-horned)
Springview Raven: (used in 08-09) 25.6 mic, SD 5.7, CV 22.4%, CEM 10.4 mic, CF 81.1%, SF 25.2 mic (sold)

 Abby: 29.8 mic, SD 7.8, CV 26.3%, CEM 16.1 mic, CF 62.1%, SF 30.5 mic (last year of breeding for her)
 Alanna: 30.5 mic, SD 7.8, CV 25.5%, CEM 17.8 mic, CF 59.6% SF, 31.0 mic (Sold)
Aster: 27.9 mic, SD 6.1, CV 21.8%, CEM 11.8 mic, CF 70.7%, SF 27.4 mic
Bailey: 23.9 mic, 4.1 SD, CV 17.3% , CEM 7.5 mic, CF 93.9, SF 22.6 mic
Ceylon: 31.0 mic, 5.4 SD, 17.3%, CEM 10.1 mic, CF 51.8%, SF 29.3 mic
Garnet: 22.1 mic, 4.1 SD, CV 18.5%, CEM 7.4, CF 97.7%, SF 21.1 mic
Hayden: 32.9 mic, SD 8.8, CV 26.7%, CEM 18.2 mic, CF 44.3%, SF 33.8 mic
Maggie: 32.9 mic, SD 10.5, CV 32%, CEM 21.5 mic, CF 53.5%, SF 35.6 mic
Meadow: 26.7 mic, SD 4.8, CV 17.8%, CEM 8.2 mic, CF 78.5%, SF 25.4 mic
Mikala: 29.2 mic, SD 7.7, CV 26.3%, CEM 16.6 mic, CF 65.7%, SF 29.9 mic
Miranda: 28.3 mic, SD 7.2, CV 25.3%, CEM 13.1 mic, CF 66.1%, SF 28.7 mic
Morgan: 29.8 mic, SD 8.4, CV 28.3%, CEM 16.2 mic, CF 58.4%, SF 31.1 mic (Sold)
Myria: 28.4 mic, SD 6.6, CV 23.1%, CEM 12.8 mic, CF 68.3%, SF 28.1 mic
Sarah: 20.9 mic, SD 4.4, CV 20.9%, CEM 8.9 mic, CF 97%, SF 20.3 mic
Solace: 20.9 mic, SD 4.1, CV 19.8%, CEM 8 mic, CF 97.2%, SF 20.2 mic
Sweet Pea: 27.7 mic, SD 7.8, CV 28.8%, CEM 16.3 mic, CF 73.2%, SF 28.4 mic
Velma: 28.0 mic, SD 5.3, CV 19.1%, CEM 9.9 mic, CF 73%, SF 26.8 mic

These numbers are getting easier to predict as I continue to "train" my hands.  This round of micron tests did not contain one single surprise for me, so I'm making steady progress.  I'm hoping my choice of rams and new ewes will help me in significantly increasing my fleece quality, as well as some confirmation issues that I'd like to see change for my flock.  Slow and steady.............
Happy Holidays everyone.........

Monday, December 13, 2010

37 Turkeys

I got up early Saturday morning, I had a lot to do and wanted to get my running done before the blizzard hit too hard.  As I'm running around trying to get ready, I glance outside and saw a few turkeys, so I stopped and walked to the patio door to find this.................................................................................................

37 Turkeys!!!!!

Click on the pictures to bigify.

The bird feeders are about 5 ft. off my deck!

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Christmas and critters............and fiber!

My first skein of yarn ever.
Well, I got my first lesson on how to ply yarn last Wednesday night!  What fun.  I got approx. 108 ft on one spindle and 76 ft on another, and now I have to figure out what to make with it.   It's 100% shetland and I love the color and variations that I get with the gray, so I'm thinking a hat would be good, or maybe a felted pair of slippers.  I ended up with a worsted weight, so lots of possibilities.  I washed and set the twist on Saturday, then let it dry over the rest of the weekend and now I'm pretty excited to see it laying there all done.  I LOVE TO SPIN!!!  My new addiction has officially begun. On to some fabulous black roving I got back on Wed. from the mill right after I finish spinning up the white fiber that was sent with my wheel.  I'm pretty sure the fiber Pat included for me is alpaca, it spins up beautifully.  Thanks to all the ladies that have taken the time to help me with my newest challenge.  Fiber friends are fantastic!
Nothing says Christmas quite like a couple of over indulged animals lazing around the Christmas tree.  Thomas, my orange tabby cat, seems to think the tree was solely for his enjoyment.  But, Thomas thinks that everything in the house is  placed there for his enjoyment.
Tess is very fond of her new ortho-bed, Thomas tried to claim that and was quickly dispatched of the notion when Tess figured out it was hers.  Suspiciously absent is Nicki, my resident feline trouble maker, but she had just gotten a "talking to" about the removal of ornaments from the freshly adorned tree.  As soon as I put the camera away, she was back, looking for more trouble.  
Oh, but where would we be without these little gems in our lives?
Thomas enjoying his tree skirt

"You may place my gifts on the left and the right"

Tess on her new cushy pad (she's having trouble with her hips)
TaTa for now all............

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Tis the season.........

I must share a story with husband is a member of a group called the Juda Fore Fathers.  It's a local group of men and woman honoring the memory of some loved ones by forming a not for profit group that donates money and time to a number of causes in our area.  Contribution are done locally, and they even will contribute to families that have fallen on hard times due to fire, illness or death in the family.  It's a fantastic group and I'm proud to live in a community that is home to such a group.  
Last night, one of the law enforcement personnel came to give a talk about the upcoming "Shop with a Cop" program. It turns out that they have approx. 100 kids to shop with this year and each of them is given $100 to spend on family members. Some buy food, some buy gifts for siblings and parents, and some just want to buy warm clothes so they can go outside with the rest of the kids during recess.  If this doesn't choke you up, you are a stronger person than I.  I had no idea the need was so deep in our area, Monroe has a population of about 10,000 and I guess I thought the biggest need would be the more metropolitan areas.  Boy, was I wrong. 
As a mother, I can't even fathom how it must feel to have a child that needs a  coat, hat, mittens and boots and  not be unable to provide these basic items to keep them warm.  It makes me want to weep when I hear a child ask for a warm coat for Christmas, when other children  think they need the newest video game for under their tree.  
I haven't been able to shake the feeling that I need to do more.......just.......more.  We are so blessed, and I feel it's time to pass those blessings around a bit more than we have in the past.   So.....tonight I'm going to town, buying a bunch of warm outer wear for kids and donating it to the Homeless Coalition along with the hats I've knitted.  No child should have to go through winter without a coat and boots, and by giving to them, I'm really giving to myself.  Giving is addictive, and the more you give, the more you want to give, it's just a great feeling and I don't know anything else that gives me such joy as a simple act of kindness to another.  
May we all practice simple acts of kindness this holiday season and beyond.  
I've experienced a few acts of kindness this week after my last post, and am grateful for the warm feeling I get after reading each one.  Every comment was made with the intention of easing my hurt, and bless each of you for reaching out to me in this way, it was appreciated and it worked.  

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Heavy heart

Today my heart is heavy.  I shipped 2 wethers (texel/shetland x) to the processor as well as 2 rams that just didn't have what it took for breeding. I retained one very nice black ram, and even though I told myself that I didn't need a 3rd ram going into winter, he was just too promising to send off just yet.  Black as coal, soft, silky and luster like crazy, perfect little tail, nice and square, but not a lot of size yet, so I'm going to wait.
As much as I know what happens to rams that don't make the cut, it hurts me to have to send them to be processed.  My emotions are right on the surface today due to some return of my insomnia and chronic pain, so the early morning round up was especially heart wrenching for me today.  Then, just as I thought I couldn't feel any more guilty, the 2 wethers walked in the shed, followed me across to the door and walked right on the trailer.  My first thought was, maybe I'm not cut out for this stuff.
I'm pretty proud of the fact that I found homes for all the breeding quality rams with the exception of the one that I kept, and I keep reminding myself that we kept one Texel ewe to cross with the Shetlands for meat lambs, but today I'm struggling.
Maybe a good nights sleep will restore me and ease my hurt.........

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This has been the most action filled breeding season yet for my herd.  Last night all the rams decided they wanted to be in the same pen, and so they forced me to eliminate the breeding groups and pen the boys back in the ram pen for the year.  Bug is going to be in with the main flock for a couple weeks as a clean up ram, but I've had enough of everyone thinking they need to be in a pen other than their own.   Next year there will be some serious fencing done on the small pasture.  Up until this year, we have never had an issue with the electranet from Premier, but we have 2 sheep that are continually going under this year and it's caused a fair amount of frustration and work for us.  Bug has been the worst offender this past week, he just can't seem to accept the fact that Nantucket gets a group of his own, he wants all the girls.  Woven wire, here we come!
I'm quite certain everyone is bred, as the rams have not been sniffing any girls for a while now, but it's still is not fun doing a impromptu sheep round up at 8:30 pm in the dark.  I'm just glad we caught it right away so I don't have to worry about DNA testing to determine who bred what.  Tuesday will be the final day for 5 of the boys, so that will leave Bug and Nantucket as the only "men" on the place.
I currently have 25 sheep, 3  of them are wethers, 5 rams (3 are freezer rams)  and 17 ewes, one of which is a Texel cross ewe that I keep so we have a couple larger freezer lambs.  Two wethers and 3 rams will be going to the processor on Tuesday morning, so that will leave me 20 sheep through winter unless I sell one of the 3 ewes I have on my sale list.  I'd like to keep my breeding group to 20 or less, but I keep finding sheep that I think I need.  (grin)
Next on my list of "gotta have" is an emsket ewe or a gulmoget!  Maybe I will have one in the spring and won't have to go looking for one.  I just love the variations of gray colors, they are so lovely when made into yarn.  I seem to gravitate to the "blues" in all my critters, as Blue Cochins are my favorite chicken also.
May everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving surrounded by loved ones.
TaTa for now

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

New (to me) spinning wheel

It has arrived.......the wheel that I purchased from a fellow blogger arrived on Friday, and I got it all reassembled on Saturday.  I have yet to spin on it because my friend, Kristi, had generously lent a Luett to me to practice my first spinning attempts until my wheel arrived.  That meant I was right in the middle of filling a bobbin when my wheel arrived.  Pamela Davis had this on her blog, and what a great buying experience.  Lovingly packaged, great communication and speedy shipping, it was a top shelf transaction for me.
It is so refreshing to know that there are such honest and kind people out there, if you listen to the news, you'd think they are all gone.
For my first spinning attempts, I used some beautiful grey roving that I had on my shelf and I think it's make such lovely yarn.  And here it is, my first bobbin almost done.................
First spinning attempt

I have about 10 minutes worth of spinning left to finish this 3.8 oz bump.  One more bobbin to go and we shall see if I can ply.  Wish me luck.  It's not pretty, but I'm told I will get better.........we shall see. 
TaTa for now all

Monday, November 22, 2010

Rainy Monday

The rain and gloom somehow suit my mood on this Monday before Thanksgiving.  Gone are the vibrant orange, yellow and greens of fall as winter moves in and claims our portion of Wisconsin.  No fresh snow has fallen to cover the sea of brown that is the view from our windows right now.  The trees are blown barren of their leaves and the brush has thinned to stands of twigs and branches.  This may all sound pretty depressing, and at first, I thought so too. But, then I remembered..........all this dormancy is in preparation for the renewal of life!!!
Soon, our world will be blanketed in a pristine blanket of snow, insulating our future growth until spring.
All of our careful culling, selecting and gathering will bear fruit in just a few months, and we can begin the glorious task of posting lambs on our blogs for all to see once again.
In my mind, there's nothing quite like seeing the successful results from a breeding program.  It's such a rush to know that you are the only one that decided what ewe would be put with any given ram.  You are the one that decides what traits you are breeding towards according to how you've interpreted the breed standard, you are the one that gets that little butterfly in your stomach when you see something that speaks to your soul and says, "This is what I envisioned for my herd".  Keep those visions and goals, be steadfast in your determination to forge ahead towards what you believe in and be glad in the knowledge that you are doing it for yourself and your herd.
I am very excited about this coming year, there's a lot of great things in the works and lots of great people out there.  I've met so many friendly Shetland breeders in the last few years, and not a single one of them has ever been anything but helpful and encouraging to me.  Thank you to all of you........Corinne, Juliann, Theresa, Stephen, Karen, Meghan, Jen, Nancy, Kim, Chris, Michelle, Garrett, the list goes on and on.
I guess what started out as a gloomy Monday has transformed into a day full of friendship, hope and optimism for me.
TaTa for now all,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Children's hats for Homeless Coalition

I have been happily knitting away on a bunch of hats for the little kids in our family as well as some for the Homeless Coalition.  Once I get started on them, they just seem to knit themselves and they make such wonderful little head warmers.  I have an entire basket of earflap hats and now I have several caps.  I have been using acrylic yarn for these, as I never have the opportunity to let the recipients know they can't go in the washer and dryer like a store bought hat.

Also, just finished a lace shawl using mohair I purchased at the Wi Sheep and Wool Festival. It's made using all knit stitch, but I just liked it's simplicity when I saw it completed at the vendors booth.
I'm hoping to use some of my roving to make a braided rug this winter, cross your fingers for me that I can get enough of the colors I want to get it done.   My biggest problem is that when I get my hands on the softer wool, I just can't seem to convince myself that they should be put into a rug!  :D  I had thought that a few nice braided chair pads would be a lovely addition to my  chairs.  So many choices and so little time to make it all happen.
TaTa for now............

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

OK Acres Sweet Pea

  I so wanted to keep this little girl, but she decided to grow horns.
Thin and growing straight back.  Beautiful moorit color.  
I pulled a micron sample from her mid-summer and was a bit disappointed,  (AFD 29.1  SD 8.6  CV 29.7  CEM 16.5  CF 61.6  SF 30.8)  so pulled a sample from the other side and am waiting on the results.   She does have nice crimp and luster, although she is slightly cow hocked, there was enough that I liked about her that I decided to breed her and see if we could correct the things I wanted to improve.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Bred Ewe for sale

Asking $200 Contact me for details is interested.
Can't remember if she's in Bugs breeding group or Nantucket's-sorry I'll check on that tonight.
I've just got too many ewes.........Also have a bred moorit ewe for sale

Friday, November 12, 2010

Got a scare.........

As I was preparing supper last night after work, my husband went down to put hay in the sheep feeders.  He came in the house and said to me, "You better come down and look at Bug".  Panic immediately set in.  Why do things always happen to your most expensive sheep?  (He happens to be one of my favorites too) I ran down to the sheep lot and Bug is standing there looking at me with one of his scurs bleeding like crazy!  After catching him, which simply involved walking up to him, we determined that the blood was already starting to coagulate and decided to check on him again after supper.  After checking on him a bit later, I started to relax a bit, it appeared as is he was resting comfortably and there was no new blood on the side of his head.  We think he stuck his head through the fence to challenge Nantucket in the next pasture and caught his scur when pulling his head back out of the panel.  When doing chores this morning the "cap" to his horn had completely fallen off and he had no new bleeding, so relief washed over me.  
I had a nice long talk with Bug, so he knows he must be more careful, I can't take that sort of scare in my advanced age.  :D   I explained to him that I needed to count on Bug babies for many years to come.  I don't think he understood, all I got was his "Did you say you have fresh broccoli?" look.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Back from Vegas

I'm not going to bore anyone with vacation stories....I'm simply going to post a couple shots of my favorite thing......the fountains at the Bellagio!  The fountain lights and water are all choreographed to music.....everything from country western to show tunes.
The fountains "perform" every 15 minutes

Water, lights, and music........loved it.

My brother and sister in law: Jim and Rhonda

My brother and sister in law: Nick and Emily

Cousins from Utah: Suzanne and Justin
Fountains in action..........

The fountain view from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Terri getting a song from our waiter, Spanky.  The entire wait staff sang at this restaurant 

More Utah cousins: Ryan and Nicole w/ baby Emilee

Mike and I on the Bellagio side of the fountains
                       Ok, so I lied, I'm also going to include a cutsie shot of Mike and I on Hoover Dam.....

It was a wonderful trip, but I was glad to be home again.  Even when we have such great people to take care of our animals, I'm still happy to be home again to see them out my patio doors each day.  Vegas has an entirely different sort of "animal" roaming around, not sure I could ever live there.  There is never a time when there is not lights and music, it's a bit over the top.  Every corner has a tattoo parlor or a wedding chapel!  :D
I'll stay in boring old Wisconsin, thank you very much.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Mircon results

Ok, here's my SPRING micron results:  (better late than never) 
Abby: AFD 31.0  SD 6.9  CV21.6  CEM 13.5 CF 45.5  SF 31.2 (double coated 5 yr old) This didn't surprise me much.
Alanna: AFD 26.7  SD 7.9 CV 29.5  CEM 15.2  CF 71  SF 28.2
Aster: AFD 26.9  SD 6.9  CV 25.7  CEM 12.5  CF 72.3  SF 27.3
Hayden AFD 28.1  SD 6.5  CV 23.1  CEM 11.7  CF 65.3  SF 27.9
Heidi: AFD 29.9  SD 6.9  CV 23.1  CEM 13.6  CF 59.0  SF 29.6
Maggie: AFD 32.7  SD 11.2  CV 34.3 CEM 23.2  CF 57.1  SF 36.3  (double coated 5 yr old)
Murdock: AFD 28.3  SD 7.6  CV  27.6  CEM 17.3 CF69.0  SF 29.3
Velma: AFD 25.4  SD 5.2 CV 20.5 CEM 9.2 CF 84.1 SF 24.6
The final 2 samples were taken in September from ewe lambs
Solace: AFD 20.9  SD 4.6  CV 21.9  CEM 9.4 CF 96  SF 20.5  ( This thrilled me!!!)
Sweet Pea: AFD 29.1  SD 8.6  CV 29.7  CEM 16.5  CF 61.6  SF 30.8 (this did surprise me!)
I just took samples from everyone last Sunday again and will post those when I get them back.
All my sheep are single coated with the exception of the two that I note above.
I have placed Solace in Sheltering Pines Bug's breeding group, and am more anxious than ever to see what the 2 of them will give me. 
I had a lovely lady come this evening and purchase OK Acres Victor, one of the twin ram lambs out of Velma and OK Acres Morgan, a white ewe lamb.  I was so pleased that someone was going to be able to use this wonderful little ram, if I didn't have 2 rams already, I would have kept him, so this was a great day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

New sheep......well kind of

Look what I found at the feed store.  A frisbee inspired sheep toy for Tess.

Can I really have my very own sheep mom?

Thomas was not impressed by any of this. 
Well, ok then, you said  I could......
Hey, there's 5 squeekers in this thing.  Sweet.

I love my mom, she's the bestest ever.  I'm so happy!!
This bunch just kept freaking me out with their accusing stares.  I can feel their eyes following me.........

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wind, wind and more wind

If this is what it's like to live near the coast, you can have it.  I don't like wind when it's at normal levels, so this has just about made me wacko.  Some would argue that I already am a bit "off", but I only appear that way to throw people off balance a bit.  My husband says I'm goofy,  and I'm pretty sure that's one of the things he loves about me.   Back to the wind......turns out the wind and sideways rain we got, 3" of it, was not the worst of the storm to come.  The wind has steadily picked up speed all day and we lost power at work due to a large limb falling on a power line.  That's 2 power lines down in 2 days.  We had a tornado touch down near Racine, WI, and I'm thankful it didn't come any closer than that.  Janesville had a school close due to a portion of the roof coming off and a semi got blown over as well as an RV on the highway.  I'm sure the RV will be fine, they are made for roll overs....insert sarcasm here.
I am making a sheep costume for Halloween this year and am eternally grateful for the fact that tonight is not the night I have to go outside with clothes that have over 2000 cotton balls glued to it.  I'm hoping to finish up with gluing the cotton balls on tonight, I have purchased a new supply and I'm hoping what I bought will do the trick.  Once it's finished, I will get a picture and post it so everyone can get a chuckle out of completed project.   I haven't dressed up for Halloween since I was in my early twenties, before my son was born and decided that this was the year it was going to happen.  My husband will be the shepherd.  Originally, I was going to be Little Bo Peep, but I just couldn't talk my manly husband into being a sheep.  Lots of jokes would have been made and he felt like he'd have heard about it for the rest of his life.  So, I caved and decided to be the sheep myself and he thought a shepherd was manly enough for him.  *grin*
It might be a pretty neat idea to actually pose with one of my sheep while wearing the sheep costume.........hmmmmmm.
Stay anchored to the ground everyone......
TaTa for now.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breeding Groups!!!

All the sheep got put into their breeding groups today......And now I settled in for the 5 month wait that always seems to drive me batty.  Some would argue that I'm already batty, but I'm hoping it's a loving jab and they don't really think I'm nuts. 
Sheltering Pines Bug got:
OK Acres Abby                           OK Acres Miranda
Wintertime Solace                         Sheltering Pines Aster
V Creek Sarah                              Lil Country Meadow
Sheltering Pines Ceylon                 Lil Country Bailey
OK Acres Morgan

Crosswinds Nantucket got:
Pearl's Maggie                             OK Acres Sweet Pea
Lil Country Velma                       OK Acres Mikala
OK Acres Alanna                        OK Acres Myria
OK Acres Hayden
Wintertime Garnet

I also got fleece samples from everyone and they will be going out in tomorrow's mail.
I evaluated all the sheep, checked to see who might need worming, and I'm happy to say that only 7 sheep needed worming.  Not a single sheep had pale membranes, and most of them had a pinkish look to them, but felt they could have had more color and wormed them.  My goal is to breed towards parasite resistance and last year had me culling heavily to eliminate the worst ones from the herd.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Can anyone answer these questions for me?????

In my humble opinion, I don't think I can advocate splitting classes.  When this idea was first presented to me, I thought to myself, "Maybe this can stop all the anger and division", but  after giving it a lot of thought and considering all the input from the chat group, I think it would only increase the tension and split NASSA further.
I would like to know why we have strayed so far from our ties with SSS?  Specifically, when did this happen, and why aren't we doing more to renew this beneficial association with our sister organization?
I know this seems off topic, but I don't think it is, as their input into our current issue could be invaluable.
Isn't the Shetland breed supposed to follow the standard from it's country of origin?  Why do we, I mean North American Shetland breeders, have to Americanize everything we touch?  Shouldn't we be looking to the very place that recognized that this breed was straying and we'd lose it if something wasn't done to preserve the Shetland breed?
These are my concerns, and long fleece, short fleece, single coats, double coats, they all have a purpose, and each breeder has to decide for themselves which animals they feel are following the standard.
I don't think we are ever going to get everyone to agree on this hot topic.  I do believe that when there is an obvious divide such as we have within NASSA, then it should be settled by the membership, not a few board members.  Why can't the members vote on whether or not the Appendix stays or goes?
It has been mentioned that the shorter fleece suits the wool markets in the UK, and that's certainly true.  And from the research I've been conducting at some of the small mills, that's true for NA as well.  We have numerous mills in our neck of the woods, and all of them are small batch mills that produce a lot of roving for hand spinners.  Not a single mill owner expressed to me that the long wool was more desirable.  The hand spinners I questioned were all in agreement on that issue.  I'm not saying that longer wool is bad, it's just not as desirable in some areas of NA.  We have our share of longer fleeced Shetlands here, I have a couple in my herd, but I always let my customers feel their roving and the shorter, single coats are always chosen first.  I know this isn't the case everywhere, but it is what has swayed me to support the Appendix.  I know there are soft, longer, double coats out there, I applaud the diversity within the breed that allows them to emerge, but I don't think they should be the ideal.   Every fleece style has a use, but the soft, fine fleece is what we all agree we are striving to preserve.  And let's not forget conformation!!!  If there's not a good sheep under all that fleece, it doesn't matter what style of fleece is on your animals.

What a great topic for discussion on the NASSA chat group, right on the eve of our fall election!!  This is exactly the type of communication that most of us needed to help in our decision to elect our newest board members.  There's been a tremendous amount of input and I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate with so many breeders and members.  I only hope that this dialog can continue as we move forward, as there is a lot of knowledge and wisdom amongst our fellow shepherds.
TaTa for now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Friends are beautiful things

I had an interesting day on Monday, which led to me being very upset.  I am usually a very upbeat, positive person, but Monday tested me a bit.  I confided in a friend and less than an hour later, this shows up at my office.
So, what do I do?  Had to cry, the sweetness of my friends always amazes me.  I am truly blessed and am grateful for each and every kind soul in my life.  This flower arrangement says, "I hate it when you are sad and only want you to smile".  And, now.........I'm smiling!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Going Pink! aka Save the TaTa's

Our cousins, Tammy and Dave, sent us pink shirts for breast cancer awareness month from the Scottsboro, Alabama Fire Department and here is our group shot showing our support for the cause.

Amarillo Sky.........

So, I get to work on Monday morning and our 401K rep is here from Country Financial and she offers my boss 2 tickets to a Jason Aldean concert on Thursday night.  My boss is not a country western fan and asked me "Would you like.............(Yes, I screamed) go?"  Then she proceeds to tell me what this "package" included....backstage passes, VIP room with food and drinks, private concert with Jason, question and answer session with Jason and a picture!!!!!!!!!!!!  Freaked me out and I could barely contain my excitement.
The bonus to this concert experience was having Luke Bryan singing before Jason.   Great songs, great singers and 2 great performers.
During the question and asnwer period of our backstage experience Jason was asked what he'd be doing if he wasn't singing and he said, "I would probably be a Wal Mart greeter".  I hope he was kidding and I'm pretty sure he was.  Someone asked what he was driving, "Well, right now I'm driving a Jeep Wranger".  Go figure.
Who are the other 2 people in this photo, you ask?  Our new friends, Jenny and her daughter, Kate, that we met in the VIP area last night.  They won their tickets through 96.3 the local country station.  Kate was a real joy to watch, I've never seen anyone smile so much, for so long.  What a perfectly wonderful little girl she is, and it's easy to see why since her mom is sweet.  Kate got to hug Jason, give him a drawing she made and then he handed her his guitar pick!   You could hear her grinning by that point.  Then, one of the sound guys stepped forward after Jason walked off the little stage and gave Kate a bonus guitar pick.  The whole scene really brought tears to our eyes, what a great night.
All of this has absolutely nothing to do with sheep, but it was such a wonderful experience, I had to jot down the memories.
This is the small stage set up in the VIP room.........I was about 5' from him while he was performing.

Mike and I in the VIP room

Jason Aldean
This goes down in my personal history book as the best concert experience of my life.  Jason could not have been more down to earth and nice.     Pssst, little secret here......he's not very tall either.    
I have some slight sleep deprivation, my throat is a bit scratchy from yelling and my feet are sore from standing and dancing for 3 hrs., but I think I'll live!  
TaTa for now!!

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....