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.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Oh Gwennie! She is always seeking a chin scratch! If it was a good idea to kiss sheep, I'm sure she'd like that, square on the nose. Wish my camera took nicer photos without the eye reflection. This little ewe is a purebred, registered Shetland. She really struggled with parasite attacks as a lamb, and into her first year. It's been about 11 months now since we've had any problems, so I'm really hoping that her maturity will help her get past those parasite issues now for good. I learned fast with Gwennie...do your body condition checks, do more checks, and do more checks! It really pays to get out with your sheep and feel how they are doing. You'll notice right away if someone feels thinner.
Her fleece was sheared with her standing by the fence, chewing her cud on a warm, sunny day. She asked to keep her forehead wool, so I left it. Don't ask. :) She's a very gentle, playful ewe who loves to play gate games in the summer when the flock is rotated around on grass. She loves to pounce on all fours, over and over, just out of reach of the gate. Then, when she senses your fatigue at the silly games, she primly pounces right into the paddock, as if to tell you she didn't mean to exasperate you! We love Gwennie!
If you'd like to see pictures of her wool spun up, and made into something, search back on my blog for the brown socks. Her wool was washed the day I sheared her, and was spun up in it's entirety as soon as it was dry. About 7 days after shearing, I was trying on those wonderful socks, which now that I think about it, I'm wearing right now!
Today was a special day...we saw the first cardinal of the season. He was lean and the brightest Valentine red I've ever seen on a bird! The last couple of years, we've had a pair living on our farm all winter, but they haven't been here this year, and believe me, we miss them! The earliest I've ever heard a cardinal sing his spring song was Feb. 4th; the year I planted my potatoes and peas on March 12th! Well, I later learned what an oddity that year was! In reality, we're lucky to get potatoes planted by early May!! To see that bright fellow on the shepherd's hook feeder just out the window was really, really nice! He may not be singing his love songs yet, but at least he's here!