Monday, February 16, 2009

Spring is coming; shearing, then LAMBS

I believe it's coming-- I see the lawn again-- spring is around the corner!
We had a heat wave last week in Minnesota-- it hit 40 degrees for several days and melted away piles and piles of snow. It did leave ice slicks on the driveways, but they'll go away soon enough. My mom said "in the old days" they tossed ashes on the driveway to melt the ice-- so I've done that. It's working-- I wonder if it will be a mess when the ice is gone.

First, I want to introduce Osmo the Finn ram. Beautiful fawn color and the mildest, sweet boy you could ever meet. These pics were after a bright white snowfall around February 1st. Click on any to "bigify" them.

Actually, all my boys are pretty sweet this winter. Most want a chin scratch and no-one charges me when I am in their yards. I like them all. Nancy H. in NY bought Little Red Oak Mullein's lamb fleece and wants to see what the big boy looks like now, so here he is at 21 months. He's BIG for shetland-- and his crimpy, silky gray fleece is so big he looks even larger.

My two horned rams, July and Mullein, shared a pen this winter. I kept them from the hornless or half-horned rams so that nobody'd get hurt- those 4 had their own yard.
Here are Osmo, the Finn, with mioget scurred-horn Shawn on the left-- lovely wool-- and little snail-scurred,gray Ulysses on the right. All sweet boys. Three different lines, so they all got some girls. Shawn's mom was (fawn) JustaLitl Sarah, dad was Little Red Oak Mullein.(Earlier, I'd said he was out of another, mioget ram. Wrong!) That tells me Mullein carries modified AND polled, since Shawn is so golden, and Ulysses is so scurred. Ulysses is Mullein's son, too, and his mom was Sheltering Pines Ferah, a moorit. Kimberwood Leonardo, my polled Shetland ram, is still in with the girls.
I worry because I don't want to send any to the butcher this summer, and I'll have to if no-one else needs their services. So anyone who wants ANY of these rams this year, talk to me, I'm reasonable. My breeding strategy, with such a small flock of ewes, is to simply move the older rams out every year and get a new one.

I had to toss in this flock picture-- the beautiful blue sky, the crisp white snow, the incredibly rusty, beat up lean to that the ewes live in all winter till lambing time. . . is actually a lovely old straw filled haven inside, with a heated water pail and Christmas lights giving light. ..
And do notice what the horned guys did to the lower left wall of that building last year. Tsk Tsk.

Monday I'm going to the Weaver's Guild (MN Textile Center) in St Paul for a fun fiber day, meeting 4 women who all have different aims for going there. So fun.

And now, for sure, Shearing day is April 5th, Palm Sunday. Sorry you church-goers, the shearer didn't have a better day available. Come to watch, help, or pick your favorite fleece.

Monday, February 2, 2009

February sun

This is Kimberwood Leonardo and (we hope) his girlfriend, LittleRedOak Catnip. Leonardo's claim to fame is his handsome, hornless forehead. See that? It's the wave of (our) future. We love the horned look, truly we do-- but my buildings are made of tin foil, it seems, and those boys gave them a a beating.

Woo Hoo, we had a thaw on Saturday! 42 degrees and sunny, so good Minnesotans, we ran outside with just sweatshirts on and shoveled slush and ice away so we could celebrate dry sidewalks again, and hauled in firewood before the melting snow got it all wet, took photos of lovely sheep, and skirted fleeces shorn last fall so they can go to the mill. (Skirting, you non-shepherds, means removing the undesirable stuff from a sheep's fleece-- the stuff one wouldn't want in the wash water, like barnyard debris and hay). I only have brown and black balls of roving available for sale, now, but soon will have white, oatmeal and gray again.

I got a shearing date, tentatively, Sunday April 5th, 9 a.m. So if you want to come out to watch or join the work party, drop me an email.

Two weeks later, the lambs will start coming.

Our new computer has "had its moments", including a week back at the Best Buy! It doesn't like our old laser printer/copier or our old Adobe Photodeluxe, so some tasks are still not done.
I'm going to paste in a picture here, but it may be a bazillion pixels. We'll get that fixed soon, really. . . sorry, you dial-up folks.