Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why do I raise sheep you ask?

Tuesday night we weaned lambs.........well, most of them. There was an oops lamb this year due to a ram  Bug walkabout well after breeding groups were split up.  The result was little Santana, a little heart stealer that is not just cute and unique, but she's a quality lamb that has yummy fleece.  Considering her parents fleece quality, I am not a bit surprised, but as every breeder knows, 2 good parents do not always produce good offspring.  It's a roll of the dice, much like planting crops and waiting for rain to start or rain to stop, we take our chances and pray for the best.  

My friend, Terri, loves this little lamb and it appears to be reciprocated.  :)

And speaking of rain, has anybody seen any lately? I've washed the car, hung out laundry, washed the car again, left windows open,  attended outdoor ceremonies and graduation parties, taken the motor cyle for a few rides, watered my plants and garden, chanted, and did a rain dance.....I'm exhausted and still DRY!!!  We had a cloud pass over about 1:30 pm to day and I saw rain on the glass of the door, so I hurried out with my camera, but not being 20 any longer, it wasn't quite quick enough and the rain stopped, dried up and moved on by the time I got there. (which was a whopping 20 seconds)  It rained so little that the rain drops on the cement didn't even touch.  *big sigh* 

Good news is that my good friend, Garrett Ramsay, of Ramsay Farms and the famous Ebonwald Cardigan's (Multi championships this year)    will be swinging by my place Monday or Tuesday of next week to deliver a white ewe I am purchasing from Tori Gygi , picking up a few sheep that I'm selling and one of those he will be taking  to Kim Nikolai in MN.  Garrett is also taking another pair of ewe lambs to Colorado for a new Shetland breeder.  

And...........the dvd is complete.  Copies are next and then I can mail them out to everyone that has sent in pre-orders.  

Keep cool everyone.  

Thursday, June 21, 2012

 I had Tami Mulder do some hand processing of some rooed fleeces that I felt were "very fine" and needed some gentle processing.  Tami took them home, washed them, picked them, (a lot) and ran them through her drum carder.  I got half and she retained half for her hard work of processing them.  I could not be more pleased with the results of her hard work!!  This stuff practically spins itself and I find that I make excuses to sit down for a bit and do some spinning since it's simply an effortless fiber to spin.
Grade 1 Roving from OK Acres Monroe (hand processed and drum carded by Tami Mulder)
                        2012 Micron results: 22.9 AFD/4.2 SD/18.5 CV/7.9 CEM/95.6 CF/21.8 SF 
A joy to spin and lovely variation throughout thanks to Tami's careful placement of the darker portion of this katmoget fleece. 

Closeup of yarn from Monroe's roving
     I can't wait to get this done for our FFSSA shawl project!!!

I have lovely friends.........and they are extremely talented too.  One of the upsides to having talented friends is the gifts I receive from them when they are feeling generous.  Imagine my surprise to get a package in the mail last week that contained the 2 little works of art that my best buddy, Terry, sent to me.  These quilted masterpieces could not be more perfect for me and my house.  I have one round table and one rectangular table and the colors are spot on for my decor.  Terry has recently retired from working for the State of Illinois for over 33 yrs and is using her considerable talent in the quilting world to start her own business.  You can visit her blog at:  Quilt Crazie  Tell her I sent ya!
Front view 
Reverse side

Companion runner 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Lazy days of summer

My question is...........Lazy for who?  I certainly haven't had 2 seconds to breath since about July of last year.  But am I complaining?  Guess so.  :)  

More kids and critters 
Bing with Anna, Aunt Emily and brother John

John and Bing

Tess and her delicious bone

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kids and Peanut butter and chocolate

This is how my husband and I spent Monday night.......over 2 hrs of walking our nieces and nephews on my Fox Trotter.  Twas' a beautiful night for a stroll......over and over and over and over.  :)

Now isn't this the cutest thing?  As tired as I was, this was fun.  
Lily and Lucas on my Misty
John and Anna "helping" my hubby, Mike, lead them around the yard.  
My only regret is that I don't live closer to my side of the family so they can come do things like this with us....they are only an hour away, but sometimes it feels like hundreds of miles.  It would be nice to share my everyday joys with them, I miss that.  Not sure why I'm a bit melancholy today, I just am a teensy bit.  
But I am going to Byron on Sunday to spend Father's Day with my dad......yeah!!!!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Are you kidding me????

I found this in the Police Blotter of our local newspaper from June 7th....

- A person at Recreation Park, 1700 22nd Avenue, complained at 7:54 p.m. Monday, June 4, that 8-year-old girls in swimsuits were dancing in a lewd fashion on the playground equipment. An officer dispatched to handle the situation noted in the report that the girls were using the playground equipment properly.

As soon as I quit laughing, I'll finish reading the paper. 

My only question is.......Why do we have to call the police for 8 yr old girls dancing in any manner?  

Monday, June 04, 2012

2012 Micron data


OK Acres Alabama-yearling        25.0 AFD/4.4 SD/21.9 CV/9.1 CEM/84.0 CF/24.6 SF
OK Acres Alexandria-yearling     23.6 AFD/4.4 SD/18.7 CV/7.2 CEM/95.5 CF/22.6 SF
Lil Ctry. Bailey-2 yr old               28.0 AFD/5.3 SD/18.7 CV/9.2 CEM/68.4 CF/26.8 SF
Lil Ctry. Bee Sting-yearling          23.7 AFD/4.8 SD/20.2 CV/9.0 CEM/91.0 CF/22.9 SF
Sheltg Pines Catherine-7 yrs        28.6 AFD/5.5 SD/19.1 CV/9.8 CEM/67.2 CF/27.4 SF
Sheltg Pines Ceylon-4 yr old        29.2 AFD/5.8 SD/19.8 CV/10.1CEM/60.2 CF/28.2 SF
Sommarang Challis-7 yr old         30.2 AFD/5.9 SD/19.7 CV/9.7 CEM/51.4 CF/29.0 SF (leased)
Lil Ctry. Disco-yearling                24.9 AFD/6.1 SD/24.5 CV/11.8 CEM/81.7 CF/25.0 SF
Kimberwood Dot-5 yr old           28.8 AFD/6.4 SD/22.3 CV/11.0 CEM/62.3 CF/28.4 SF
Sommarang Farrah-4 yr old         31.2 AFD/6.1 SD/19.4 CV/11.4 CEM/47.0 CF/29.9 SF (leased)
Wintertime Garnet-2 yr old          26.7 AFD/4.7 SD/17.9 CV/8.4 CEM/81.2 CF/25.3 SF
Sheltg Pines Hermoine-7 yrs        29.9 AFD/5.5 SD/18.5 CV/9.1 CEM/54.6 CF/28.5 SF
White Pine Killian-yearling           24.6 AFD/5.3 SD/21.7 CV/9.6 CEM/88.2 CF/24.1 SF
Sheltering Pines Maura-7 yr old   27.9 AFD/4.9 SD/17.7 CV/7.9 CEM/70.9 CF/26.4 SF
Lil Ctry. Meadow-5 yrs old         28.7 AFD/5.7 SD/19.7 CV/9.2 CEM/62.3 CF/27.6 SF
Sheltg Pines Salicional-6 yr old    26.3 AFD/4.8 SD/18.2 CV/8.3 CEM/81.4 CF/25.0 SF
OK Acres Salina-yearling            24.3 AFD/5.1 SD/20.9 CV/9.4 CEM/88.2 CF/23.6 SF
OK Acres Seneca-yearling          21.9 AFD/4.5 SD/20.7 CV/8.3 CEM/96.1 CF/21.3 SF
OK Acres Sierra-yearling            22.6 AFD/4.0 SD/17.9 CV/7.2 CEM/97.2 CF/21.5 SF
Sheltg Pines Temperance-2 yrs    24.4 AFD/4.7 SD/19.2 CV/9.1 CEM/90.9 CF/23.4 SF
Lil Ctry.Velma-3 yr old               29.4 AFD/5.6 SD/19.1 CV/9.7 CEM/60.4 CF/28.2 SF
OK Acres Vienna- yearling         22.2 AFD/5.2 SD/23.5 CV/9.0 CEM/94.6 CF/22.1 SF


Sheltg Pines Bug                       26.2 AFD/4.8 SD/18.2 CV/7.9 CEM/83.7 CF/24.9 SF  3 yr old
Sheltg Pines TelSay Camden     25.3 AFD/4.5 SD/17.8 CV/7.9 CEM/87.9 CF/24.0 SF  yearling
OK Acres Monroe                   22.9 AFD/4.2 SD/18.5 CV/7.9 CEM/95.6 CF/21.8 SF yearling
Crosswinds Thor                      23.2 AFD/4.5 SD/19.8 CV/8.1 CEM/94.4 CF/22.4 SF yearling
OK Acres Chandler-yearling       22.1 AFD/4.6 SD/20.7 CV/8.4 CEM/96.1 CF/21.4 SF  (fall sample)

Well, there it is, the good, the not so good and a couple surprises.  Looks like Thor is officially off the sales list for now, I will use him one more year and deal with the horns.  Monroe was going to be culled, but I have no idea how I will be able to send him to the processor in two weeks with numbers like that, and his structure is so fantastic to boot.  Anybody need a good ram?  lol  Just got his fleece back from being hand processed, got it on my wheel this weekend and it is spinning up fingering weight so easily that it's like I'm spinning nothing.  I've never spun fingering weight, and was scared to try it, but this fleece begs to be spun that way and attempts to spin it thicker is a struggle.
My hay this winter was superior quality, and I'm wondering if that has any effect on my fleece, as the previous year my hay was the worst I'd ever had and my micron numbers were a a point or two lower on the older ewes.  Just another thing that I'd like to explore more thoroughly in the coming years.  Since we started making our own hay last year, we have a bit more control of the quality, so I may be able to study the feed/fleece quality correlation more readily.  I also wonder if the fact that I got my fleece samples so late in the year has any effect on my test results......hmmmmm, I'm thinking I'll try a few experiments earlier in the year this next winter.  Maybe a sample taken every month on one or two sheep would be an interesting study.
Just an FYI to all you folks that micron test.........Texas A & M did NOT raise their fees!! I sent in $2.50 each for 27 samples and they returned the results in one week and I now have a credit.  The fee is still $2.00 per sample and the turn round time was very fast.

As usual, numbers aren't the be all and end all of a Shetland sheep, but it's a nice tool to help educate ourselves and our customers about fleece.   Now if someone wants a pound of Grade 1 fleece, I know exactly which sheep will give me that product and my customer knows that they will be getting what they ordered.

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....