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.  

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....