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!!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Let the felting begin

Sunday afternoon was one of those days were I just got a lot of little things done and one of those things involved getting the wringer washer dug out of the shed.  Well, technically, I wasn't the one that did the carrying of the wringer, my husband hauled it up in the lawn cart, but I watched!!!  :D
After a good soap and water scrubbing, Mike and Bill hauled it to it's new home in my laundry room.  After the last felting "incident", there will be no more felting done in the new high efficiency machine.  Did you know that all that wool really can jam a washing machine pump? What could possibly go wrong?   Well, let me tell you, it was bad, and $90 later, I determined that maybe it wasn't such a stellar idea to try that in the new washer.  My husband, bless his little pea picking heart, just looked at me and sighed, then said, "Maybe you shouldn't do that again Honey".  *grin*
What made all of this so bad was the fact that the wringer washer was in the shed all along!  Just never seemed to get it drug out from behind the machinery, cleaned and put in the house.
I'm going to call my newest laundry room addition, Myrtle.
Say hello to Myrtle
I am now the proud owner of a $90 project bag. 
Maybe Myrtle can save me a few bucks on the next one.  
TaTa for now all 

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Fall panic

I love mums!!!  

I love fall, it's smell, it's colors, the cooler temps and the prospect of pairing my sheep for another season.  Summer is nice, but's my favorite season.  All the things that have been lovingly tended through the summer is being harvested, equipment and summer toys are being stored for another year.  This has been the busiest summer I can ever remember, even with all the running and plans, I had a wonderful year.  The lack of camping and trail riding has frustrated me endlessly, but I can't do it all. it's time to wrap up all those projects and I've ran out of time and good weather to complete everything on my list.  PANIC!  How is all this going to happen?  What have I been doing all summer?  Why didn't I just stay home and get this stuff done?  The answer to all of these is.......I've had WAY too much fun this summer.  Is the world going to come to an end because all the stuff on my mental "to do" list didn't get done?  Probably not.  So, I'm taking a deep breath and deciding not to beat myself up over any of it, and we'll see if that works for me.  *grin*

Mike, Tess and I enjoying 10 seconds of rest on one of my auction finds from a couple years ago.

Last night we got the last of our carrots cleaned, packaged and in the freezer, the last of the tomatoes are in buckets in the back room, and I hope to get one more batch of salsa from them before they rot.  The potatoes have been dug up and the onions have been pulled and I completely gave up on trying to keep up with the green beans.  Garlic should go in the ground this weekend and that will be it for the garden stuff for one more year.  
One thing has become very clear to us over the coarse of the summer.....we have to replace some of our perimeter fencing soon, which means that fence lines need to be cleared.  Since we have a fireplace, the clearing of the fence lines will serve two purposes, but I just hate clearing brush, so I'm putting it off.  
Got all my fleeces from the spring skirted on Sunday!!!  WOOOHOOO!  Off to the mill they go tomorrow night.  I already have 2009 fleeces at the mill waiting on processing, but I am in no need of any more fiber right now and encourage them to do others ahead of me.  
Micron samples are going out in the mail today, did I mention they were the ones from spring?  (guilty shrug)  I promise I will do better in 2011.
Another busy week ahead, farrier tonight, knitting Wed. night, UW Extension meeting Thurs. night and my parents 50th anniversary Friday and Saturday.  The hubby and I are hoping to take a fall colors ride on the Harley on Sunday, so cross your fingers that the weather holds out.  
TaTa for now all.

Monday, October 04, 2010


Lots happening at OK Acres this sheep, new alpacas, that's right alpacas.  I am in the process of trying to figure out some names for them, but they aren't really talking to me much yet.  Born in Jan. of this year, they are still kinda young, so I'm hopeful that I can get them to warm to me some.  The dark brown one is always checking us out and alert, and the fawn colored one is.....well, do I say this delicately?  He's pissy, all the time.  To say that they are slightly irritated with us is a gross understatement, they are not the least bit amused by the fact that they were separated from their buddies at Kristi's house.  To say they are halter trained would be a giant exaggeration. I don't think they took a single step once the halters were placed on their head.  We managed to get them loaded, drove them home and coaxed into their new pen, where they promptly stationed themselves in the corner and glared at us.  How dare we.........!!!
I only saw a small chink in their armor when I brought them some hay and grain, but they did manage to stop glaring long enough to figure out that they had food.

Welcome Meadow and Bailey........

I've been trying to get down to Julian Budde's place all summer to get the ewe lamb that I had reserved and Saturday, I finally made it there.  As I predicted, I had a wonderful time visiting with Juliann and looking at all her wonderful sheep.  She's really got a nice herd of sheep and I think she should be very proud of all her hard work.  A big thanks to my hubby for always dragging my butt around to pick up all the sheep I decided I can't live without and then standing around patiently while I gab endlessly about Shetlands.
So, without further delay, let me introduce Lil'Country Meadow and Lil' Country Bailey,

Lil' Country Bailey 2010 Fawn Katmoget Ewe 

Bailey's butt on the left and Meadow's on the right

Front shot of Meadow

Lil' Country Meadow
Thank you Juliann for allowing me the opportunity to add these two great sheep to my flock.  I know I only drove to get one, but that's a long way for ONE SHEEP!  

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....