Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Not much use for a...."

"....crossbred ram!" The timing of this couldn't have been more appropriate! We've been reading Charlotte's Web here on Wheely Wooly Farm. The endearing story of a little girl named Fern and her little pig, Wilbur brought many fun story-telling moments. Of course, the gander, with his idio-idio-idiosyncrasies was the favorite....or was it Charlotte? Not sure! Anyways, we needed a buddy for Wooly Bear. We had been looking all summer, but Shetland wethers were hard to come by this year. We ended up finding this wether from Psalm 23 Farm. Laura, the shepherdess, made the comment "Not much use for a crossbred ram" when I asked why he was wethered. Holly thought that sounded so much like the keeping of the little pig in Charlotte's Web, that this sheep had the name "Wilbur" (or ..."Woolbur", not sure yet :) before we arrived to pick him up!

He is a Shetland/BFL cross. Laura told us he had been chilled as a lamb so he had to come in the house for a bit. She sure did a great job in warming him up, but not letting him forget he is a sheep! This skill in shepherding created a personable, friendly, people-loving sheep, who understands which side of the fence he's supposed to remain on. He is easy to catch (ppppffffff! I mean, move him out of the way of the gate!), loves to be petted, and is gentle around everyone. Goofball Goldie thinks he is nice, too. Yet you can walk away and Wilbur/Woolbur (is there an idiosyncracy here?) is content to go back to sheepy business. Since we have lots of visitors who love to see the sheep, he is the perfect fit for our farm, and his gentle temperment matches Wooly Bear's nicely as well.
His fleece is light, with greys and browns underneath. I know absolutley nothing about the BFL breed, and their fleeces are not my favorite, but I think his fleece is lovely enough to spin nicely and be soft wearing. Laura, by the way, was written up in a statewide newspaper called The Country Today last week! It was a long article with pictures and was very informative. Congratulations Laura on the publicity for your farm! Did you get the copy I mailed?
Maybe some of you out there can leave comments about his fleece and tell me what you think. Adio-adio-adios!

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