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.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

One Bad Day...

...for Lucky the Duck. Here he is pictured with his mate Lucy last fall by the pumpkin patch. Together, they forage all around the farm. We were really looking forward to watching him float and splash around in springtime lakes...yes, for the first time ever, we were looking forward to spring flooding! (Funny how animals can change your perspective on things!) Then the other afternoon, I found Lucy running back and forth in front of the coop, alone, quacking like she was upset. Uh oh.

We ran all around the farm, looking for Lucky, but couldn't find him anywhere. Uh oh. No quacks, nothing. Lucy seemed relieved to see us, and they never part. This was not good. We combed the grasses, checked the woods, looked in all their favorite areas. Nothing. Then, we found him, in the barn aisle, stuck behind the door! Obviously, this was odd. As I got closer, I realized he was very quiet, still, and standing in a lot of mess. Humm. Bending down to pick him up, I could see he had a large injury to his neck! Oh no! A predator attack! In the middle of the day! We did the best we could for him, and settled them down in Coopville for the night, as they seem to want to live with the chickens. Later, we realized we couldn't figure out what happened to him. There were no signs of a predator anywhere that we could find. Also, he lacked signs of being in a predator's mouth over the rest of his body. So we wondered if he just got his head stuck somewhere? I think it will always be a mystery.

Two days later, he was not doing good, just when the spring lakes were at their finest!. I thought for sure we were going to lose him. Without Lucky, the possibility of hatching out ducklings was a spring without a plan! By morning yesterday, after our best efforts, DH made the decision to let him out to play as long as he wanted in the pond, so his last days would be happy. That turned out to be the turn around!! Even though he only stood in the water, water was healing. Today, he is still recovering, but has returned to eating, drinking, and preening! We aren't out of the woods yet, but we're heading in the right direction!

Here is some lovely Sheltand yarn. I've sold a lot of this now and have only a skein or two left.

I meet again with one of my student knitting groups soon. This program has really grown, so I'll be sure to wear short sleeves, as it will be busy! I'll have several students ranging widely in age, and skill level. It is soooo fun! They are all doing great, and the new ones have moved on from swatches to projects now.

On the Shetland Showcase, things are not good. Unfortunately for the many people involved, a group is attempting to utilize my Shetland Showcase concept into their event activities by just changing the name a bit, without my express permission or participation, even though they comprehend I am the one who solely designed and authored the Shetland Showcase, and that they don't have permission to use it in their event. It is my hope that they will realize what a mistake this is for the many involved, and come to a resolution quickly.

Meanwhile, we are having bird excitement every day. The sandhill cranes have been calling as they fly overhead now for a about a week. The robins are here and wake me up in the morning! :) The red winged blackbirds are perching in tree tops by the barn, just like always in March! This year, they are three days late and I sure missed them. :) And yesterday, we heard the killdeer and meadowlark!! I LOVE meadowlarks! They are my favorites. We also heard one mourning dove. So strange to only hear one in spring and none all winter. The dove hunt here has decimated our local doves. We have also seen a new woodpecker. We love the signs of spring! And a pigeon on the silo cracked me up. I was observing Lucky through Coopville's window to see if he was eating. While sadly watching him want to eat but not, I kept hearing this scriteeetch, scriteeeeeettttccchhh. Then I noticed a pigeon had figured out the top of the silo was wet and like a slide. He was sliding down, flying in a circle, landing and sliding down over and over. The scriteeeetch was his feet on the metal! Silly bird!!

I've started a new fleece on my wheel. This time, I'm working on a Shetland wether who's fleece so far has again been a very pleasant spin. I really enjoy the handle of Shetland fleeces!! His britch wool is really nice so moving up the fleece should be fun! Wethers tend to have nicer fleeces as they don't have all those raging hormones. The yarns I've spun recently have piled up and will take me awhile to wash nice. I also took some time recently to spin up some yarn from Lil' Rainbow, my iset ewe (see prior blogs in February). Then I knitted up a little swatch with the singles I had carded and spun. Wow! It's really pretty and softer than I thought it would be! The biggest surprise was that the yarn looks black! I'm so glad I snipped a few locks to play with before shearing! I can't wait to get the rest of her fleece in. I also carded and spun a singles of the little blue ram who's fleece is pictured a couple or so blogs back, then knitted up a swatch. Oh so funnn! More to come on his yarn!


  1. A couple of years ago we got a few ducklings and goslings. Even though they were contained in the chicken tractor (minus chickens), something got in there and killed most of them. But we ended up with one goose and two ducks - we called them "Duck, Duck, Goose". The ducks were mean, but the goose was wonderful. Unfortunately, they would roam and eventually we lost them all. I hope you have better luck with Lucky and Lucy!

  2. We sure worry about the predator possibility as ducks are so vulnerable. We really enjoy having them around! I love the names you gave your survivors! Amy