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.

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....