Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Nice Surprise

The Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association got a nice mention from a fellow blogger.  This gal did a very nice write up about our Shepherd's Harvest rooing demos on Mother's Day weekend.
Check it out at: Independent Stitch Blog

As usual, I have my mouth open.....for those of you that know me, that should come as no surprise.  :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

6 Reasons to smile

More beautiful wool =Reason to smile
Love our new shearer, David Keir and I highly recommend him for Shetland sheep.  He understands the "rise" in Shetlands, he's gentle, calm and my fleeces aren't full of second cuts!!!!  
I admit that this week has had some trials that I could have done without.  Without trials, we can't fully appreciate some of the little jewels in life, nor can we fully appreciate the priceless jems...Friends & loved ones. 
My hubby, Mike, the my #1 reason for smiling on a daily basis,.....and the reason I can do what I love in life.
Just when I think I'm having a horrible week, little things pop up that make me smile.  One of those is a little "contest" given by a friend, fellow shepherdess and blogger.  I shamelessly promoted the fact that I wanted to win and guess what? I won!!!  I opened my little package from Michelle of Boulderneigh and I found a yummy bag of candy and a mini raglan sweater that she had knit.  Thank you Michelle, I love the gifts, especially the little sweater because it was made by someone special.  

This picture made me smile
My friend , Terri....holding the oops lamb, Santana, that was born yesterday
Terri helped us with shearing yesterday, as did my friend Donna.  Since Donna was our photographer for the shearing, you won't get to see her .  (big grin) Reason #2
Candy!!!!  Who doesn't love candy?   Smiling again.

A perfect mini raglan sweater, THIS was a very pleasant surprise since I secretly covet these little
works of art.   Yep, smiling.

A couple weeks ago I got this wonderful gift from Pat, she is a fellow ASK member (Argylian Society of Knitters).  I was so touched by this kind gesture that I actually cried.  She paints a lot of dogs and when she saw that I had posted a picture of our new Maremma pup on Facebook, she picked out a rock and painted  a profile of Bianca's head on that rock.  My dad took the rock home and mounted it on a nice little wood plaque so I could hang it on my wall.  Another thing that makes me smile.  

Pat is a friend and fellow knitter that belongs to my knitting group, and she paints too.  I was delighted to come to knitting to find this little treasure waiting for me.
(the rock is about 3 1/2" in diameter)

Smiling can be quite contagious.....Happy Wednesday everyone. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Life can be fickle

Before I tell you my good news, I want to thank each of you for your heart~felt words of comfort.  I know that there is no real answer to my question, but it's how I felt yesterday when my heart was heavy.   I prayed for an end to the little lambs suffering even when I knew there was not much chance she was going to recover, my prayer was answered, just not in the way I had planned.  Answers to pray aren't always what we want, but it's always what is best, that is a life lesson I've learned the hard way.  Her mom, Alabama, spent most of the day and night calling for her baby and I so wanted to be able to comfort her.

So, my good news.........We had another oops baby waiting when I got back home!!!  Salina, a Salicional x Forrest daughter, had a beautiful, healthy fawn kat ewe lamb.  She is lovely and has the oddest markings on her head and around her neck.  I had no intention of breeding any of my 2011 ewe lambs, but it turns out that Bug had other ideas.  When I saw that there was another lamb on the ground, my husband reminded me that Bug did escape after he got him back to me from his vacation at Juliann's house in December.  I remember saying to him, "Boy, I sure hope he didn't breed anyone".   Ha, subconsciously I knew it was rubbish the second it left my mouth.  
Here she is.....Santana, my little oops lamb that came at exactly the right time.  
Salina and her ewe lamb, Santana
Salina is a stellar mom, just like her mom...Salicional.

What would you say this head marking would be?  She has a white "beard " that goes around her head too.  And that
goofy white spot on her nose.  She's just a cutie pie.
Click to bigify

We spent most of last night preparing for the shearer's arrival, he is coming tonight after we get off work.  We spent a bit of our time flipping over the rest of the "unbred" yearlings to make sure we didn't have any more surprises.  Looks like we are finally done with a total of 29 lambs.  

Monday, May 21, 2012


I know there's a certain number of people that think we develop a tough shell that protects us when we lose a battle to save one of our animals.  Instead of it getting easier, it just hits me harder when I lose one, because I keep thinking there's one more thing I could have done or maybe I could have done this instead of that.  I woke up this morning to a yearling ewe that had given birth, a very unplanned pregnancy, as she was never in with a ram.  I'm going to assume they bred through the fence, or that the ram jumped over a 48" panel and then jumped back in...(unlikely).  We found this little ewe laying in the lot, with the mom by her, she was licked off, but cold and very near death.  I got out the towels and heating pad, finally she was warm. I ran to the shed and milked the mom and got some colostrum, got about 11 ml of that down her and some Nutri Drench and she was doing pretty good........then she started to have a seizure.  I picked her up and made a flying trip to the vet, 107 temp and low blood sugar.  We got her temp down and her glucose levels up, and then we wait.  I sat with her all morning into the afternoon, and at 2:03 pm she finally couldn't fight any more.  I only knew this little girl for 7 1/2 hrs, but I am devastated. So much for the notion that you get used to this sort of thing...........the heart still breaks, and I'm a giant baby that needs to toughen up.
My mind is numb and I still wonder..........why?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Roo, roo, roo your sheep....

Merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream. (yep, I've finally gone completely wacko)
Thank you Tylor for your graphic expertise....
The kids loved it when we handed them some fleece to touch and take with them.

We had to blade shear this guy a bit to finish.

Another large crowd for the demo

Most of this one was roo'd easily, but the neck wool wasn't quite ready and she was finished off with hand  shears

Garrett showing the fleece to the crowd, this fleece was sold right off the sheep and Kim donated the proceeds to FFSSA....Thank you Kim!!! 
Display Booth.....next to the demo booth
Shepherd's Harvest was a great experience and loads of fun for myself, Kim and Garrett this past weekend.  We had planned on doing 4 demos, 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, but the response to the the rooing demo's were so positive and well attended, we just kept going and managed to do 10 sheep!!!!  The weather was perfect and I understand from the event organizer that there were over 8,000 people in attendance at this year's festival.  Sunday morning Sandy (part of the festival organization crew) commented to Garrett that our display and demos were getting a lot of buzz and some very positive comments about how interesting there were to watch.  The response exceeded our expectations, and despite it being a lot of work, we had a blast.  We were given permission to sell the raw fleeces we roo'd as long as the proceeds were going to our organization and we sold 2 fleeces right off the sheep.  We have been invited back for next year's event, and maybe we can use a few of the things we saw and heard at this year's festival to make changes for next year.

Some of the comments that were made were.... "I had no idea that Shetland sheep did that". The best part was that so many people said "This is Shetland? I didn't know Shetland was this nice". And that's why we are working so hard to educate and give the fiber community the chance to see how wonderful Shetland fleece can be.  We also had a range of finished garments that illustrated how to utilize the fleece from various areas of the sheep, as well as a handout that indicated how each fleece type could be used in a finished item.   And once again, Eek, the felted mouse sculpture created by Sabrina was a big hit.

A huge Thank you to Kim Nikolai for letting me stay with her this weekend, plus a giant Thank you to Bob for grilling those perfect steaks on the grill Friday night.  I can't forget to thank Garrett and Tylor for all their help too.  None of of could have done this alone, so I'm grateful for the time and money spent to make this whole thing a reality.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Shepherd's Harvest....here I come

That's right folks, I'm on the road again.  My over worked hubby is stuck, once again, doing the chores at home while I trot around the country side immersing myself in sheepy activities.  (yes, I'm aware that sheepy is not a word)  
We will be in the animal barn area and there will be a Shetland sheep there as victims models for our demonstrations on how to roo and hand shear a Shetland sheep.  So get your hinders over to the festival and look us up.  You can never talk to much about Shetland sheep, knitting, spinning, weaving......well, you get the idea.   
Click to visit Shepherd's Harvest

Toodles for now (hand waving furiously)

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Something new

My good friend, Kristi, from the Argyle Fiber Mill was kind enough to lend me her triangular loom to see if it would be something I enjoyed before I took the plunge and bought one.  I watched the video that came with the loom, rounded up my supplies and got started.  The first day I worked on the shawl for 5 hours........and I was hooked.  I used a  light musket  and gray yarn that I hand spun, the black and moorit yarn is mill spun.  I can't wait to get started on another one, but the since I had to return the loom, I needed to either cough up the funds for a loom or make one.  Luckily, there's yahoo group that is for Tri-loom junkies and they have some great instructions for make a tri-loom in the files section.  

My first weaving attempt..100% OK Acres Shetland wool

Saturday I loaded up my 1" x 3" x 8' boards and headed to my mom and dad's house where a fully equipped wood shop resides in my parents garage.  My dad and I spent the better part of that day building the tri-loom that you see in the picture below.  The only change I made was to add nails every 1/4" so that I could weave with DK weight yarn as well as the bulky yarn.  

Triangular loom that my dad and I made this past weekend

A very simple felted mouse and my first felting experience.  LOVED IT!!!
Body is made from 50/50 blend of Shetland and Alpaca
This little fella was created while I was is in Waukesha at the WI Spin In.  My mouse in nowhere near as spectacular as Sabrina's that she lent to FFSSA for the display booth.  Mine is kind of like what a 1st grader would create and Sabrina's is what a college aged art major would make.  :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

One more ewe

I can't say enough good things about the 2 ram lambs I got from Velma this year, she never disappoints me, always gives me top notch lambs no matter what ram I use.  I have to see how these guys mature, but if they look close to how nice they are now, I don't know how I will decide who goes and who stays.  Lambing is bittersweet for me, it means I have to make hard decisions.  But I can certainly put those off for a bit yet.
Velma x Thor ram
divets instead of horns, great structure and very promising fleece.
As Corinne would say, Crimpy Purse too!!!  
Let me introduce you to a few of our new flock members.
Bing Crosby
Challis x Bug ram
being retained for further evaluation
Everything Bing does seems to scream........"Look at me"
I'm almost done lambing.....27 lambs to date, Purebred Shetland count is: 9 ewes and 13 rams. Crossbred lamb count is: 2 ewes and 3 rams.
I purchased Bee Sting late in the fall and while at Lil Country Acres, Juliann exposed Bee to Bug, she leased him for a month after I pulled my rams from their breeding groups.  This puts little Bee about one month later than the rest.  She's round and has an udder, so I'm thinking she won't be too much longer now.

Challis x Bug ewe
Being retained

Last night I sat on the hill and got a good ole dose of cuteness from the lambs, and coincidentally, I had my camera, so here are some of the lambs with a few weeks under their belts.  Let me know when you are sick of looking at lamb pictures, it won't stop me, but you can tell me.  :)
Buddy Holly
Dot x Bug ram
Can't let this guy go yet. 

Catherine x Thor ram (for sale)
Elton John
Salicional x Bug ram
Love this ram.......will consider selling, but reluctantly after evalutation 

John Lennon
Garnet x Bug ram
(retaining for evaluation)

Meadow x Thor ewe
(I have two of these ewes, one is sold)

Axl Rose
Catherine x Thor ram
horned-will be offered for sale after evaluation

Mick Jagger
Hermoine x Thor ram
horned-will be offered for sale after evaluation

Salicional x Bug ewe
Being retained

Ozzy Osborne
Hermoine x Thor ram
for sale after evaluations

Farrah x Camden ewe
Being retained

Ringo Starr
Velma x Thor ram
Being held for evaluation

Bailey x Bug ewe
Love this ewe, but I have several fawn kat so may be for sale

Tina Turner
Dot x Bug ewe
Being retained

Catherine x Thor ewe
Being held for evaluation

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Pick me, pick me

This is a shameless attempt on my part to win something from a fellow blogger and friend.  So go visit her blog  Boulderneigh blog link, it's  full of nice pictures and posts.  By linking back to her blog, I am entered in a drawing twice, that's right folks......2 chances for win.
Maybe she'll pick me.

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....